BOOM | "It's the end of the world. Do you have a date?" That's the premise for this play by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb that's getting its New England premiere from Downstage @ New Rep. "As an undiscovered comet hurtles towards earth, one lone scientist takes it upon himself to preserve the human race. Hilarity ensues when the woman he has taken captive refuses to procreate, and the shelter he has built is damaged beyond repair." Scott Sweatt, Zofia Gozynska (Luciana in last summer's Commonwealth Shakespeare production of The Comedy of Errors), and ART mainstay Karen MacDonald make up the cast; New Rep artistic associate Bridget Kathleen O'Leary directs. | Arsenal Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal St, Watertown | 617.923.8487 or newrep.org | Through March 13 | Curtain 8 pm Thurs | 8:30 pm Fri | 4 + 8:30 pm Sat | $25 general admission

DEAD MAN'S CELL PHONE | Hard on the heels of the Lyric Stage's production last October, Trinity Repertory Company takes on Pulitzer finalist Sarah Ruhl's 2008 Off Broadway hit, a smash-up of life and death, profundity and whimsy, that kicks off when Jean answers a stranger's cell phone — just after he's bought the farm. Is it too late to fall in love with him? Trinity has Janice Duclos as Jean, Richard Donelly as the deceased, Phyllis Kay as his widow, Barbara Meek as his mother, and Rachael Warren as his mistress; Beth F. Miles directs. | Trinity Repertory Company, 201 Washington St, Providence, Rhode Island | 401.351.4242 | Through March 28 | Curtain 7:30 pm Tues | 2 pm [March 17] + 7:30 pm Wed | 7:30 pm Thurs-Fri | 2 pm [no March 20] + 7:30 pm Sat-Sun | $25-$65

LEGACY OF LIGHT | The Lyric Stage serves up the New England premiere of this cerebral, Stoppard-esque comedy by Karen Zacarias. The first of its interweaving two stories takes place during the Age of Enlightenment, with 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 unfolds, in which modern-day researcher Olivia finds she's unable to conceive and starts looking for a surrogate. Ingenious, entertaining, and thought-provoking, the play is in the end too contrived to evoke more than also-ran comparison to Arcadia. But even to live in Stoppard's neighborhood is to own valuable dramaturgical real estate. And director Lois Roach makes the most of Zacarias's double-pronged drollery, with the historical figures stepping out of their reality, and later their deaths, to converse not only with their modern counterparts but also with us, supplying Wikipedia-esque background and arch commentary. | Lyric Stage Company of Boston, 140 Clarendon St, Boston | 617.585.5678 | Through March 13 | Curtain 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 3 + 8 pm Sat | $25-$54

THE LION KING | The Disney Tony, Grammy, Drama Desk, and Olivier (to name only a few) award winner and crowd pleaser is back, with its Julie Taymor masks and puppets, its Garth Fagan choreography, and its Elton John–Tim Rice score. This five-week engagement (which is running concurrently with productions in New York, London, Hamburg, Tokyo, Paris, and Las Vegas) will have Dionne Randolph as Mufasa, Phindile Mkhize as Rafiki, André Jackson as Simba, Marja Harmon as Nala, Brent Harris as Scar, Tony Freeman as Zazu, Tyler Murree as Timon, and Ben Lipitz as Pumbaa. | Opera House, 539 Washington St, Boston | 800.982.ARTS | Through March 21 | Curtain 7:30 pm Tues-Wed | 1 pm [March 18] + 7 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 2 + 8 pm Sat | 1 + 6:30 pm [evening March 14] Sun | $22.50-$135

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