Play by play: August 21, 2009

By JEFFREY GANTZ  |  August 18, 2009

SINS OF THE MOTHER | Former Gloucester Stage Company artistic director Israel Horovitz returns to direct this new, expanded version of the one-act he presented at Gloucester Stage back in 2003. The setting is, yes, Gloucester, and Douggie Shimmatarro is back in town, after an absence of 10 years. But the three lumpers who turn up at the fish plant to have their unemployment cards stamped don't exactly roll out the welcome mat. Then they remember who Douggie's mother was. They knew his mother, all right. All the men in town did. Francisco Solorzano, Sean Meehan, David Nail, and Robert Walsh make up the cast. | Gloucester Stage Company, 267 East Main St, Gloucester | 978.281.4433 | August 27–September 13 | Curtain 8 pm Thurs-Fri | 3 + 8 pm Sat | 4 pm Sun | $32-$37


LA CAGE AUX FOLLES | Reagle Players wrap up their 2009 summer season with this musical from Harvey Fierstein and Jerry Herman that's set in Saint-Tropez, where Georges and Albin live happily and Albin performs as Zaza in the title local drag club. But then Georges's son (from back before Georges's real gender preference kicked in), Jean-Michel, arrives with the news that he's engaged to Anne, whose father heads the Tradition, Family, and Morality Party, and of course her parents want to meet Jean-Michel's parents. The cast includes original (1983) Broadway cast members Jamie Ross and David Engel; original Broadway cast member David Scala choreographs and directs. | Robinson Theatre, 617 Lexington St, Waltham | 781.891.5600 | Through August 22 | Curtain 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 7:30 pm Sat | $32-$54

THE COMPLETE WORKS OF SHAKESPEARE (ABRIDGED) | What Hamlet calls "this most excellent canopy, the air," overhangs Orfeo Group's zanily laid-back rendition of the Reduced Shakespeare Company's The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), which is being performed outdoors on the Publick Theatre stage in Christian Herter Park (through August 9). Neither are the plays of Shakespeare the only things squeezed by Orfeo, which reduces the title of this parodic staple to The Complete WOWS(A) and shaves the price of admission on Thursdays to nothing. The popular RSC spoof has been purveying its low-comedy take on the lofty art of the Bard since 1987, but Orfeo throws in a party atmosphere, beer for sale, and an urgency of its own. As Risher Reddick, nimble and nauseated as the show's too-too-solid heroines, warns, the troupe rejects "dry, boring, vomit-less Shakespeare." Joining the retching Risher in punning, mugging, swashbuckling, and pratfalling under the direction of Steven Barkhimer are an at-ease Daniel Berger-Jones and a more pompously antic Gabriel Kuttner. Skilled actors on a hambone holiday, they'll have you laughing till the light fades. | Publick Theatre, Christian Herter Park, 1175A Soldiers Field Road, Brighton | 617.747.4460 | Through August 22 | Curtain 6:45 pm Thurs-Sat | $15; Thurs free to all; Fri free with student ID

THE DREAMER EXAMINES HIS PILLOW | Shakespeare & Company does this early (1986) John Patrick Shanley play about a dreamer who wants to be a painter, his former girlfriend, his former girlfriend's father (who actually is a painter), and a refrigerator you're advised to keep an eye on. With Bowman Wright as Tommy, Miriam Hyman as Donna, and John Douglas Thompson as Donna's dad; no word on who plays the refrigerator. Long-time S&C favorite Tod Randolph makes her directing debut. | Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, 70 Kemble St, Lenox | 413.637.3353 | Through September 6 | Curtain times vary | $16-$38; $11-$29 students, seniors

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Related: Play by Play: August 28, 2009, Play by play: August 14, 2009, Disco ball, More more >
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