ROMANCE | David Mamet's utterly injudicious courtroom farce is a very funny valentine to political incorrectness and the seeming impossibility of the peace process. And it's scrawled across the American Repertory Theatre's Loeb stage with the playwright's signature staccato rhythms and nose-thumbing panache. Moreover, propped up like some addled American eagle at the center of Mamet pal Scott Zigler's production is the sublime Will LeBow as easily the most ridiculous judge since The Tonight Show fielded the Dancing Itos. Yes, the play is a slow starter, and that seems particularly ungenerous in a show lasting only 95 minutes (which includes intermission). Yet once it achieves warp speed, in the more cohesive second act, Mamet's legalistic trip to nowhere, an amalgam of Kafka, Queer Eye, and the Marx Brothers that leaves no epithet unturned, would probably have Golda Meir and Yasser Arafat laughing together in the dark. Romance won't win Mamet any awards other than one for picking an even more baffling title than he did for Oleanna. But it may give its audience, suspended between outraged affront and guilty laughter, a new respect for contempt of court. | Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle St, Cambridge | 617.547.8300 | Through June 7 | Curtain 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 2 + 8 pm Sat | 2 + 7:30 pm Sun | $25-$79; $10 discount seniors; $25 students; $15 students day of performance; 50 tickets @ $15, day of performance at noon, in person, at the box office

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 | Through June 7 | 3 pm Thurs | 8:30 pm Fri | 3 + 8:30 pm Sat | 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 | Through June 6 | Curtain 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri-Sat | $10; $5 students, seniors


BLUE MAN GROUP | The Drama Desk Award–winning trio of cobalt-painted bald pates begin their delightful and deafening evening of anti–performance art beating drums that are also deep buckets of paint, so that sprays of color jump from the instruments like breaking surf, and end by engulfing the spectators in tangles of toilet paper. | Charles Playhouse, 74 Warrenton St, Boston | 617.931.ARTS | Indefinitely | Curtain 8 pm Tues-Wed + 2 pm Wed [May 27] | 5 pm [May 14, 28] + 8 pm Thurs | 7 pm Fri | 2 + 5 + 8 pm Sat | 1 pm + 4 pm + 7 pm [May 24, 31] Sun | $48-$62; $30 student rush

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