ON THE VERGE
"Machetes" are promised in this comedy (we think) show written by Eric Overmyer, directed by Wesley Savick, and presented by Nora Theatre. Also (seems to be a '50s theme) "Rock 'n' Roll. Burma Shave. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Discover the unpredictable land of Terra Incognita with three intrepid women explorers who can never be quite sure where — or when — their next steps will lead them. . . ." | Central Square Theater, 450 Mass Ave, Cambridge |
www.centralsquaretheater.org| May 28–June 21 | Curtain 7:30 pm Wed-Thurs | 8 pm Fri-Sat | 3 pm Sun | $32; $22 seniors; $18 students; $12 students day-of

ROMEO AND JULIET
Shakespeare & Company starts off its 2009 season with this abbreviated production of the Bard's romantic tragedy that's been touring schools and theaters in the Northeast since January. The non-Equity cast of seven — Paul D'Agostino, Ben Brinton, Kaitlin Henderson, Alyssa Hughlett, Kelley Johnston, Sean Kazarian, and Daniel Kurtz — take multiple roles; there's original music composed and performed by Marc Scipione, and Jonathan Croy directs. | Shakespeare & Company, Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, 70 Kemble St, Lenox | 413.637.3353 | May 21–June 7 | Curtain 3 pm Wed [June 3] | 3 pm [May 28, June 4] or 8 pm [May 21] Thurs | 7:30 pm [May 29] or 8:30 pm [May 22, June 5] Fri | 3 + 8:30 pm Sat | 3 pm [May 24] + 8:30 pm Sun | $12-$48

SERIOUSLY FUNNY
The students from the ART/MXAT Institute for Advanced Theatre Training make their contribution to the American Repertory Theatre's "Sex, Satire, Romance, and Ducks: A David Mamet Celebration" with this evening of short comedies by "friends and frequent collaborators" Mamet, Harold Pinter, and Shel Silverstein. | Zero Arrow Theatre, Mass Ave + Arrow St, Cambridge | 617.547.8300 | May 29–June 6 | Curtain 7:30 pm Wed-Thurs | 8 pm Fri-Sat | $10; $5 students, seniors

SHIRLEY VALENTINE
Next for Shakespeare & Company, in its "Diva Series," is Willy Russell's monologue about the Liverpool working-class housewife whose life changes after that fateful holiday in Greece — and who could the diva be but S&C's own director, Tina Packer? Jenna Ware directs. | Shakespeare & Company, Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, 70 Kemble St, Lenox | 413.637.3353 | May 27-31 | Curtain 7:30 pm Wed-Thurs | 3 pm Fri + Sun | $16-$25; $11-$20 students, seniors


NOW PLAYING

GREY GARDENS
What the singing version of Grey Gardens, in its local premiere by the Lyric Stage Company of Boston, has that David and Albert Maysles's 1975 peep into the lives of fallen American aristocrats Edith Bouvier Beale and her namesake daughter Edie does not is a flashback of a first act that underlines Big and Little Edie's connections to Camelot and a score, part period novelty, part haunting subtext, not borrowed from No, No, Nanette. What Spiro Veloudos's well-pitched production throws in are a couple of pretty uncanny replications of the eccentric, dysfunctional duo the Maysles brothers captured living amid memory, grievance, and squalor. Moreover, Leigh Barrett, who plays Big Edie in act one and the idiosyncratic Little Edie of the documentary in act two, sings better than either. Some of the first-act songs are jitterbugging filler, and the creators —Scott Frankel (music), Michael Korie (lyrics), Doug Wright (book) — seem to have felt that the musical couldn't just peter out but required a climax and a cuddly reconciliation for its subjects. But the odd valor of the women and the poignancy of their shared dysfunction — the very things that make the documentary more than an exercise in voyeurism — are enhanced by the score. | Lyric Stage Company of Boston, 140 Clarendon St, Boston | 617.585.5678 | Through June 6 | Curtain 2 pm [June 3] + 7:30 pm Wed | 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 4 + 8 pm Sat | 3 pm Sun | $25-$44

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