Play by play: September 18, 2009

By JEFFREY GANTZ  |  September 17, 2009

SPEECH AND DEBATE | Stephen Karam's 2007 Off Broadway hit, which the Lyric Stage Company of Boston put on this past spring, comes to Wellfleet Harbors Actors Theater. Set in the chalkboard crucible of high school as well as in the pioneer tangles of the cyber universe, the comedy brings together a trio of disparate, initially distrustful misfits variously shanghai'd into the activity of the title — a high-school staple since 1925. They eventually bond, but with a minimum amount of saccharin spilled and every step of their mutually antagonistic journey played out as a National Forensics League–sanctioned competition category, from "Lincoln-Douglas Debate" to "Duo Interpretation" — this last featuring a time-travel encounter between a singing, jiving Mary Warren from The Crucible and a gay, teenage Abraham Lincoln. Don't ask. But trust us, it's hilarious. | Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, Harbor Stage, 1 Kendrick Ave [next to town pier], Wellfleet | 508.349.WHAT | Through September 27 | Curtain 7:30 pm Wed-Sun | $29

THE SUPERHEROINE MONOLOGUES II | It's back "by popular demand": Phoenix Theatre Artists and Company One reprise last season's presentation (April at the Boston Playwright's Theatre). John Kuntz & Rick Park's "action-packed parody starts in the 1940s and travels through decades, as Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Storm, Lois Lane, and the world's most beloved spandex-clad females" stop speeding bullets, control the weather, scratch one another's eyes out, and "answer all the questions you never dreamed to ask." Greg Maraio directs. | Boston Center for the Arts, Plaza Theatre, 539 Tremont St, Boston | 617.933.8600 | Through September 26 | Curtain 7:30 Wed-Thurs | 8pm Fri | 3 + 8 pm Sat | 3 pm Sun | $25; $20 students, seniors; $15 Wed

TRUTH VALUES: ONE GIRL'S ROMP THROUGH MIT'S MATH MAZE | Underground Railway Theater presents writer/performer and "recovering mathematician" Gioia De Cari in the title tale, an autobiographical solo show in which she recalls "the comic absurdity of being pawed by nerds, being asked to serve cookies at a seminar, and retaliating with fashion experiments" while pondering the role of woman in a man's mathematical world. Bring your own slide rule. | Central Square Theater, 450 Mass Ave, Cambridge | 617.576.9278 x 213 | Through September 20 | Curtain 7:30 Thurs | 8 pm Fri-Sat | 3 pm Sun | $35; $25 seniors; $20 students


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-Thurs | 7 pm Fri | 2 + 5 + 8 pm Sat | 4 + 7 pm Sun | $48-$62; $30 student rush

SHEAR MADNESS | The dramatis personae of the audience-participation whodunit (which is now the longest-running non-musical in American theater history, having run 29 years in Boston) continue to comb Newbury Street for the murderer of a classical pianist who lived over the unisex hair salon where the show is set. | Charles Playhouse Stage II, 74 Warrenton St, Boston | 617.426.5225 | Indefinitely | Curtain 8 pm Tues-Fri | 6 + 9 pm Sat | 3 + 7 pm Sun | $42; $31.50 with AAA discount; half-price college-student rush, one ticket per college ID, at the box office, one hour prior to curtain

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