ENTERTAINING MR. SLOANE | The Publick Theatre essays Joe Orton's first success, a perverse bit of tickle in which middle-class pretension is laid like a doily over the ruthless, amoral pursuit of personal satisfaction. The title mystery man rents a room from middle-aged Kath and is soon the object of her sexual attentions — but then she discovers she'll have to compete with her estranged brother, Ed, who hires Mr. Sloane to be his driver. With Jack Cutmore-Scott as Mr. Sloane, Sandra Shipley as Kath, Nigel Gore as Ed, and Daffyd Rees as Kemp, the siblings' antiquated, inconvenient old da; Eric C. Engel directs. | Boston Center for the Arts, Plaza Theatre, 539 Tremont St, Boston | 617.933.8600 | Through April 3 | Curtain 7:30 pm Wed-Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 3 + 8 pm Sat | 3 pm Sun | $33-$37.50 | Carolyn Clay's review on page TK

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 1 + 7 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 2 + 8 pm Sat | 1 pm Sun | $22.50-$135

MELANCHOLY PLAY: A CONTEMPORARY FARCE | Holland Productions concludes its 2009–2010 season with Sarah Ruhl's "whimsical celebration of sadness, in which "Tilly, an irresistibly melancholy young stranger, makes her sorrow so sexy that everyone in her life falls maddeningly in love with her. When Tilly suddenly finds happiness, this change of heart throws her whole universe off-kilter, resulting in a mystical and hilarious quest to define joy." The cast includes Kate deLima as Joan, Philana Mia as Tilly, Kathryn Lynch as Frances, Michael Moran as Frank, and Alex Simoes as Lorenzo; M. Bevin O'Gara directs. | Factory Theatre, 791 Tremont St, Boston | theatermania.com | Through March 20 | Curtain 8 pm Thurs-Sat | 5 pm Sun | $17; $13 students, seniors

MINUS 32 MILLION WORDS | Dorchester native and acclaimed comic, actor, and writer Sue Costello (Fox TV's Costello, NYPD Blue) brings her one-woman show back home. "The show — alternately hilarious and heartbreaking — tracks Costello's life growing up in a chaotic home in Dorchester and how it led her to a desperate need for fame and money, and to the final realization that it was all part of a spiritual quest to find her authentic self." | Boston Center for the Arts, Plaza Black Box Theatre, 539 Tremont St, Boston | 617.933.8600 | Through April 3 | Curtain 7:30 pm Wed-Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 3 + 8 pm Sat | 3 pm Sun | $43.50; $39.15 students

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