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

OTHELLO | Set in a “near future” when Venice’s Senate is a multi-cultural counsel of women, Judy Braha’s militarist production for Actors’ Shakespeare Project takes its cue from Ken Cheeseman’s Iago, choosing thunderous action over more subtle craft. Well-spoken ASP member Jason Bowen is a young, initially commanding Othello who radiates less gravitas than bonhomie. And he clearly delights in his bride, newcomer Brooke Hardman’s chaste but hardly innocent vixen in ankle boots, who returns the allegiance with a gutsiness she retains through tyranny and tears, right up to her wrongful death. The marches, carousals, fights, and ambushes are well staged by Braha and violence designer Robert Najarian. Scenic designer Tijana Bjelajac’s use of the Villa Victoria space is arresting, as is GW Rodriguez’s otherworldly, percussive sound design. This actor-driven troupe’s Othello is a real barnstormer that will rivet your attention if not break your heart. | Villa Victoria Center for the Arts, 85 West Newton St, Boston | 866.811.4111 | Through April 4 | Curtain 10 am Tues | 10 am [March 26] + 7:30 pm Thurs-Fri | 3 + 8 pm Sat | 2 pm Sun | $25-$47

PHANTOM OF THE OPRAH | That title has Ryan Landry and the Gold Dust Orphans written all over it, so you won’t be surprised to learn that the mighty Afrodite stars as “The Phantom” and the “internationally known singing sensation Miss Varla Jean Merman” plays Christine — unless you were expecting it to be the other way around. Elements of “burlesque, vaudeville, silent movies, Broadway musicals, rock operas, and television” are promised, along with original music, long-lost rock anthems and some very popular standards.” Book and lyrics are by, yes, Ryan Landry; Larry Coen directs. | Machine, 1254-1256 Boylston St, Boston | golddustorphans.com | Through March 28 | Curtain 8 pm Fri-Sat | 5 pm Sun | $35-$45

STICK FLY | “Sparks fly and long-hidden secrets tumble into the open when the LeVay brothers bring their new girlfriends home to Martha’s Vineyard’s world of privilege.” This 2006 portrait of a complex African-American family from Huntington Playwriting Fellow Lydia R. Diamond (Voyeurs de Venus, The Bluest Eye) makes marvelous entertainment of poking old wounds and pressing hot buttons — not just in the social order but in a sextet of characters so smart and smartly drawn that you’d like to take them home. In the Huntington Theatre Company’s production, both Kenny Leon’s direction and David Gallo’s set contribute to the tight-quartered, in-your-face element of the LeVays’ Edgartown get-together, no matter how airy and cushy its setting. Leon nicely calibrates the Fences echoes without hitting them like a gong. And the cast, led by Salter as the feisty if wounded Taylor and Iman as the equally prickly, equally hurting Cheryl, proves that Diamond wasn’t far off when she looked into her glass and decided you could create a cocktail that was equal parts Cosby and cultural anthropology, with a splash of O’Neill. | Boston Center for the Arts, Calderwood Pavilion, Virginia Wimberly Theatre, 527 Tremont St, Boston | 617.266.0800 | Through March 28 | Curtain 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 2 + 8 pm Sat | 2 pm Sun | $50-$60; $45-$55 seniors; $15 student rush; $20 last row orchestra

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