Variety shows

Trailer parks, baseball curses, mad scientists, and Darwin
By MADDY MYERS  |  March 12, 2010

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YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN Mel Brooks’s musical adaptation of his movie hits the Opera House April 20.

There's plenty more than we can fit in, but here's a sampling of the broad range covered on Boston stages this spring, from new works to Shakespeare and Mel Brooks.

At the BCA, Company One will stage local playwright Lois Roach's THE EMANCIPATION OF MANDY & MIZ ELLIE (April 30–May 22; companyone.com), a study of life before and after the Emancipation Proclamation as seen through the eyes of the title characters. At Trinity Rep, Pamela Gien's THE SYRINGA TREE (April 30–May 30; trinityrep.com) deals with a different story of racial inequality — it's an autobiographical work about her childhood under apartheid.

At Midway Studios, Actors' Shakespeare Project takes on TIMON OF ATHENS (May 19–June 3; actorsshakespeareproject.org), one of the Bard's more unwieldy works. Timon fritters his wealth away on ungrateful leeches, and once in poverty, he discovers that his only loyal friend is his low-born servant. Pride also goes before the fall in Beau Willimon's FARRAGUT NORTH, in which a young press secretary's rise to power hits a speed bump after a problematic one-night stand with a teenage staffer — it's loosely based on Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign. Zeitgeist Stage Company will present it at the BCA (April 30–May 22; zeitgeiststage.com).

The Underground Railway Theater collaborates with MIT’s Catalyst Collaborative in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species with a Melinda Lopez play in evolution's honor, FROM ORCHIDS TO OCTOPI (March 31–May 2; centralsquaretheater.org). For those who prefer mad science, Broadway Across America is bringing YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (April 20–May 2; broadwayacrossamerica.com/boston) to the Opera House, Mel Brooks & Thomas Meehan's musical adaptation of Brooks's 1974 film comedy.

Merrimack Repertory Theatre showcases Australian playwright Robert Hewett's THE BLONDE, THE BRUNETTE, AND THE VENGEFUL REDHEAD (April 22–May 16; mecompanyone.comrrimackrep.org), a one-woman show about a wife who suspects her husband of cheating. The Lyric Stage will also rely on a single talented performer in Lanie Robertson's LADY DAY AT EMERSON'S BAR AND GRILL (March 26-April 2; lyricstage.com) — Jacqui Parker stars as Billie Holiday in this concert-style revue interspersed with biographical monologues. For more jazz, gospel, and blues, try New Rep's THE HOT MIKADO (May 2-23; newrep.org) at the Arsenal Center for the Arts, a swinging re-orchestration of the Gilbert & Sullivan favorite adapted by David H. Bell and Rob Bowman.

SpeakEasy Stage Company sets unsung white-trash heroes to music in THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK MUSICAL (April 30–May 29; speakeasystage.com) at the Calderwood Pavilion. David Nehls wrote the songs and Betsy Kelso penned the story of conflict unfolding in Florida's most exclusive trailer park. The American Repertory Theater celebrates better-known American champions in its brand-new musical JOHNNY BASEBALL (May 14–June 27; americanrepertorytheatre.com) at the Loeb Drama Center. Robert Reale set Willie Reale's lyrics to music, and Richard Dresser blended fact and fiction in his retelling of the overturning of the Curse of the Bambino.

The Huntington Theatre Company essays Craig Lucas's 1988 AIDS-epidemic-informed PRELUDE TO A KISS (May 14–June 13; huntingtontheatre.org). A supernatural event tests the bond between a just-married couple: the bride accidentally switches bodies with an old man, and her groom must contend with her now frail, unappealing body for the few years they have left together.

And for indecisive audiences (or reluctant theater companions with short attention spans), there's always Boston Playwrights' Theatre's annual BOSTON THEATER MARATHON (May 21-23; bu.edu/bpt/btm), in which 50 10-minute plays are presented in a span of 10 hours.

Editor's Note: In a previous version of this article it was written that the Nora Theater Company at Central Square Theater is presenting the play From Orchids to Octopi when it is the MIT’s Catalyst Collaborative presenting the show. The correction has been made above.

  Topics: Theater , Entertainment, Entertainment, BOSTON THEATER MARATHON,  More more >
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