JERRY SPRINGER: THE OPERA
Artistic director Paul Daigneault is at the helm of this SpeakEasy Stage Company area premiere of the 2004 Olivier Award–winning London sensation. So how do you exaggerate The Jerry Springer Show? First you give TV's long-running combative confessional such a pottymouth that, subject to the FCC, it would be bleeped from here to eternity. Then you take it to eternity, by means of a second act that finds Springer moderating a Blakean smackdown in Hell. Most important, you plug the lowlife losers, cheaters, and perverts that are the show's 15-minutes-of-fame-seeking fodder and turn their profane, pathetic extrusions into the high art of opera, with influences ranging from Bach and Handel to Gershwin (not to mention jazz, funk, and Busby Berkeley). There has never been anything quite like this wild ride on the back of Jerry Springer from composer Richard Thomas and stand-up comic Stewart Lee. And if SpeakEasy Stage Company doesn't clear every hurdle, it stays in the saddle with an extravagant, large-cast production that includes swirling projections, a hand-held video cam, tap-dancing Ku Klux Klansmen, and something perilously close to an auto-da-fé. | Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont St, Boston | 617.933.8600 | Through May 30 | Curtain 7:30 pm Tues | 7:30 pm Wed-Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 4 + 8 pm Sat | 3 pm Sun | $51-$54; $46-$49 students, seniors; $30 gallery seats; $14 student rush

MISS MARGARIDA'S WAY
Theatre on Fire and Charlestown Working Theater take on Brazilian writer Roberto Athayde's 1973 work, an allegory about power and recession set in an eighth-grade biology class whose teacher is way out of control. The audience plays her students. Darren Evans directs. | Charlestown Working Theater, 442 Bunker Hill St, Charlestown | 866.811.4111 | Through May 23 | Curtain 8 pm Thurs-Sat | $15-$20; $10 seniors; free students with ID

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
Beatrice and Benedick are at it again professing their distaste for each other — until the mystery mash notes surface — in Shakespeare's bittersweet comedy about love and honor, as Actors' Shakespeare Project takes itself to Roxbury. Even the title's not as innocent as it might look when you check out what Elizabethan slang has to say about "nothing." Benjamin Evett directs a cast that includes Sheldon Best, Johnny Lee Davenport, John Kuntz, Doug Lockwood, Paula Plum, Kami Rushell Smith, Richard Snee, Bobbie Steinbach, and Michael Forden Walker | Roxbury Center for the Arts at Hibernian Hall, 182 Dudley St, Roxbury | 866.811.4111 | Through June 14 | Curtain 1 pm Wed [May 27] | 7:30 pm Thurs-Fri | 2 + 8 pm Sat | 2 pm Sun | $25-$47 | Carolyn Clay's review on page 26

A NIGHT AT THE ROCK OPERA
Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra, a Boston-based group "committed to bringing the best of classic rock to life for those who've never had a chance to hear it LIVE in 3-D," reprises its evening-long orgy of the Who, David Bowie, the Beatles, and Queen — and threatens to throw some Led Zeppelin into the mix. | Stuart St Playhouse, 200 Stuart St, Boston | 800.447.7400 | Through June 27 | Curtain 7:30 pm Sat | $39.50

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