THE ALTRUISTS | Boston Actors Theatre presents the Nicky Silver play whose young radicals, we’re told, “won’t say NO to a protest! They’ll march for gay rights and children’s rights and Women Against Drunk Drivers.” But then things get complicated for their leader, Ronald, when his soap-opera-actress sister shoots her sleeping boyfriend — an act that tears him away from his boyfriend. Joey C. Pelletier directs. | Factory Theatre, 791 Tremont St, Boston | 866.811.4111 | March 26–April 4 | Curtain 8 pm Fri-Sat | 2 pm Sun | $15; $10 students
FROM ORCHIDS TO OCTOPI: AN EVOLUTIONARY LOVE STORY | Catalyst Collaborative@MIT— Underground Railway Theater’s science-theater initiative with MIT — presents the world premiere of this Melinda Lopez (The Order of Things, Sonia Flew) work, which was commissioned by the National Institutes of Health to celebrate the 150th anniversary of On the Origin of Species. “Surprises erupt as a muralist’s work is derailed by hallucinations, pregnancy, and dinosaurs in this witty take on how we understand — or do not — the theory of evolution. Charles Darwin comments on it all.” Publick Theatre artistic director Diego Arciniegas is in charge. | Central Square Theater, 450 Mass Ave, Cambridge | 617.576.9278 | March 31–May 2 | Curtain 7:30 pm Wed-Thurs | 8 pm Fri-Sat | 2 pm Sun | $35; $25 seniors; $20 students
LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL | Jacqui Parker stars as Billie Holiday in this Lyric Stage Company of Boston production of Lanie Robertson’s Off Broadway hit, singing “I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone,” “Crazy He Calls Me,” “What a Little Moonlight Can Do,” “When a Woman Loves a Man,” “Them There Eyes,” and “God Bless the Child,” among other Holiday hits, and reflecting on her life and career. Lyric artistic director Spiro Veloudos is at the helm. | Lyric Stage Company of Boston, 140 Clarendon St, Boston | 617.585.5678 | March 26–April 24 | Curtain 2 pm [March 31, April 21] + 7:30 pm Wed | 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 3 + 8 pm Sat | 3 pm Sun | $25-$54
NOT PLAYING WITH A FULL DECK | Uh, we’ll be the judge of that when Lily Tomlin returns to Boston for two performances of this one-woman show. | Wilbur Theatre, 246 Tremont St, Boston | ticketmaster.com | March 27 | Curtain 7 + 9:45 pm Sat | $54-$77
OPUS | New Repertory Theatre presents the New England premiere of violinist-turned-playwright Michael Hollinger’s 2007 drama, in which “the celebrated and world-renowned Lazara String Quartet is struggling to prepare for its highest-profile performance when its gifted but volatile violist mysteriously disappears.” “Sex, drugs, and chamber music!” is how Charles Isherwood began his New York Times review. With Shelley Bolman, Benjamin Evett, Michael Kaye, Becky Webber, and Bates Wilder; Jim Petosa directs. | New Repertory Theatre, 321 Arsenal St, Watertown | 617.923.8487 | March 28–April 17 | Curtain 7:30 pm Mon [March 29] + Wed [April 14] | 2 pm [April 1] + 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 3:30 [no April 3] + 8 pm Sat | 2 + 7 pm [no evening April 4] Sun | $35-$54; $27-$49 seniors; half-price student reservations.