Play by play: August 14, 2009

By JEFFREY GANTZ  |  August 11, 2009

JERSEY BOYS | Those would be the Four Seasons, four boys from Newark who in the early '60s gave us "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Walk like a Man," "Candy Girl," "Dawn," and "Rag Doll." And with its tale of internecine loyalty and resentment among a hardscrabble quartet from the industrial badlands near Newark and its irresistibly tight white-boy harmonies, the 2006 Tony-winning musical chronicling the rise, fall, and resurrection of the prolific pop group is a well-put-together and well-executed if schematic affair that is head, shoulders, and string ties above most jukebox musicals. What's more, the lavish touring edition serves up a knock-your-socks-off quartet who really do sound like the Four Seasons, from Joseph Leo Bwarie's channeling of Frankie Valli's unearthly falsetto to Steve Gouveia's gargling of the goofy bass interpolations of "silly girl" into "Big Girls Don't Cry." Tony winner (for Big River and The Who's Tommy) Des McAnuff directs. | Shubert Theatre, 265 Tremont St, Boston | 866.348.9738 | Through September 26 | Curtain 8 pm Tues-Fri | 2 + 8 pm Sat | 2 + 7 pm Sun | $49-$99

LAUGHING WILD | Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater's Harbor Stage season continues with Christopher Durang's crazy, poignant 1987 comedy set in the aisle of a Manhattan grocery store. In this accumulatively wacko riff on modern urban alienation, an unhinged if articulate woman has assaulted a depressed but struggling man by the tuna-fish display. Following monologues by both characters, the two find themselves wafting in and out of quirky, cartoon-violent dreams in which they clash until an embryo of empathy is formed. The play's awash in pop-cultural flotsam and jetsam of the 1980s, but it catches the pulse of unconnected, urban anxiety. And anything that introduces the Infant of Prague to Sally Jessy Raphaël (both somewhat obscure icons in these days is okay with us. Brendan Hughes directs. | Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, Harbor Stage, 1 Kendrick Ave [next to town pier], Wellfleet | 508.349.WHAT | Through August 16 | Curtain 7:30 pm Thurs-Sun | $29; $16 student rush

THE LITTLE DOG LAUGHED | Next up for Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater is Douglas Carter Beane's Tony-nominated 2006 comedy, a send-up of show-biz hypocrisy in which an up-and-coming film star falls in love with a male hustler, much to the chagrin of his high-powered female agent. Beane is the author of As Bees in Honey Drown and the book for the Broadway musical Xanadu. Daisy Walker directs | Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, Julie Harris Stage, 2357 Rte 6, Wellfleet | 508.349.WHAT | Through September 5 | Curtain 8 pm Tues-Sat | $25-$32

MY FAIR LADY | "Cape Rep finally tackles a musical" — well, you can't argue with the choice. Kim Weild ("associate director of Broadway's Blithe Spirit starring Angela Lansbury") directs; Scott Storr provides the musical direction. | Cape Rep Theatre, 1772 Main St, Brewster | 508.896.1888 | Through August 29 | Curtain 8 pm Thurs-Sat | $28

OTHELLO | Like its Hamlet, this is a Shakespeare & Company "encore presentation," from last August, with John Douglas Thompson as Othello, Michael Hammond as Iago, and Merritt Janson as Desdemona, all from the 2008 production, and Tony Simotes again directing. Cuckoldry, real or imagined, is a potent thing in the very masculine world of this Othello, and it strands Janson's Desdemona as an island of innocence. And though the actors' tongues race as swiftly as the production does, you hear every word, and the imagery sticks deep. | Shakespeare & Company, Founders Theatre, 70 Kemble St, Lenox | 413.637.3353 | Through September 6 | Curtain times vary | $16-$60

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  Topics: Theater , Entertainment, Reduced Shakespeare Company, Garrison Keillor,  More more >
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