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 7 | Curtain 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 4 + 8 pm Sat | 3 pm Sun | $25-$44

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 June 7 | Curtain 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 8 pm Sat | 3 pm Sun [June 7] | $51-$54; $46-$49 students, seniors; $30 gallery seats; $14 student rush

MOTHER G | The opening entry in Our Place Theatre Project's ninth annual African-American Theatre Festival is Robert Johnson's play about a choir director in a black Baptist church back in 1963 and the minister — Reverend Mercy — who seduces and then abandons her. Johnson based his story on the true experience of his mother. Our Place artistic director Jacqui Parker is at the helm; musical direction — yes, there's gospel singing — is by Chauncey McGlathery. | BCA Plaza Theatre, 539 Tremont St, Boston | 617.933.8600 | Through June 5 | Curtain 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | $15-$35

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