THE GOOD NEGRO | Company One | January 15–February 6 | Company One heads up the New England premiere of Tracey Scott Wilson’s 2008 play about the civil-rights movement. The Good Negro is backdropped by rising racial tensions in the ’60s-era Deep South, as a trio of aspiring black leaders struggle with death threats from Klan members, FBI wiretaps, and their own self-doubt. With Jonathan L. Dent as James, Cedric Lilly as Rutherford, Cliff Odle as Henry, and Marvelyn McFarlane as Claudette; Summer L. Williams directs.
Plaza Theatre, BCA, 539 Tremont St, Boston | $18-$38; $30 seniors, $15 students | 617.292.7110 orwww.companyone.org
TWELFTH NIGHT | Trinity Repertory Company | January 29–March 7 | In this version of the Shakespeare comedy of errors involving shipwrecked twins, mistaken identity, and cross-dressing, Cherie Corinne Rice plays both Viola and Sebastian, so the dénouement must involve mirror tricks, a schizoid interpretation of the character(s), and/or a three-way wedding — we’re as curious as you are. Stephen Berensen is jester Feste; Brian McEleney directs the multi-racial cast and also plays Malvolio.
201 Washington St, Providence | $10-$65 | 401.351.4242 or www.trinityrep.com
PRIVATE FEARS IN PUBLIC PLACES | Zeitgeist Stage Company | February 12-March 6 | Alan Ayckbourn’s 2004 play about fractured relationships and tragic coincidences comprises 54 short scenes and no intermission. Six Londoners, each leading a life of alienation, fumble to connect and find fulfillment in their relationships with one another. David J. Miller directs.
Plaza Black Box Theatre, BCA, 539 Tremont St, Boston | $30 | 617.759.8836 or www.zeitgeiststage.com
LEGACY OF LIGHT | Lyric Stage Company of Boston | February 12–March 13 | Lois Roach directs the New England premiere of this cerebral, Stoppard-esque comedy written by Karen Zacarias. The first of its interweaving two stories takes place during the Age of Enlightenment, with brilliant female physicist Emilie du Châtelet discovering she’s pregnant. While the 42-year-old Emilie rushes to finish her studies, fearing she may die in childbirth, the second story of a modern-day female researcher unfolds — Olivia, who’s unable to conceive and is searching for a surrogate. Past and present mingle as the two women face their multiple challenges.
140 Clarendon St, Boston | $25-$50 | 617.585.5678 or lyricstage.com
PARADISE LOST | American Repertory Theater | February 27–March 20 | Clifford Odets first published this Depression-era drama in 1935, when he thought the work would make audiences feel “glad they’re alive.” Modern American audiences may just be thankful that our recession is no Depression as they watch this story of a middle-class family who lose everything and struggle to cope with their new predicament. Daniel Fish directs.
Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle St, Cambridge | $25-$75 | 617.547.8300 or www.americanrepertorytheater.org
ADDING MACHINE: A MUSICAL | SpeakEasy Stage Company | March 12–April 10 | Originally published in 1923, Elmer Rice’s The Adding Machine is considered the first American Expressionist play. Accountant Mr. Zero learns that after 25 years of hard work, he’s about to be replaced by an adding machine. He reacts violently, and the rest of the story describes the real and surreal consequences. This 2008 musical adaptation features an original score by Joshua Schmidt and Jason Loewith that includes a mixture of discordant art songs, spoken choruses, and hummable tunes like “I’d Rather Watch You.” Brendan McNab stars as Mr. Zero; Paul Melone directs.
Roberts Studio Theatre, Calderwood Pavilion, BCA, 527 Tremont St, Boston | $30-$54 | 617.482.3279 or www.speakeasystage.com
Correction: In a previous version of this article, we incorrectly listed the cast for The Heights as the Broadway cast and not the touring cast coming to Boston. The correction has been made above.