LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL | Characterized by its author as a “drama in the form of a cabaret act,” Lanie Robertson’s 1987 play about the jazz great at the end of the line precedes both the Donald Clarke and the Stuart Nicholson biographies of Billie Holiday, and one presumes that it relies, as did the 1972 Diana Ross film, on Holiday’s own somewhat sketchy autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues. The script is pretty perfunctory, but the piece continues to turn up, primarily because it offers a talented African-American singer/actress the chance to put her stamp on the jazz standards most closely associated with Holiday, and to dip into the sad story of her life. Jacqui Parker, whether starting out the show draped in mink stole and bittersweet melancholy or ending it deeply immersed in drugs and the music, is a performer who can get both jobs done — if not the impossible one of bringing Holiday, with her singular delivery, back to life. And in this Lyric Stage production directed by Spiros Veloudos, she’s abetted by musical director Chauncey Moore as her worried but cajoling man-of-few-words pianist in such numbers as “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.” | Lyric Stage Company of Boston, 140 Clarendon St, Boston | 617.585.5678 | Through April 24 | Curtain 2 pm [April 21] + 7:30 pm Wed | 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 3 + 8 pm Sat | 3 pm Sun | $25-$54

THE LAST DAYS OF MICKEY & JANE | Merrimack Repertory Theatre commissioned this brand new work from prolific Massachusetts native Richard Dresser (Below the Belt, Rounding Third) that has Whitey Bulger written all over it. “Mickey, a witty, paranoid fugitive ex-mobster from Southie who is on the lam with his no-longer young, Charleston-native girlfriend, Jean, is forced into an early retirement in Europe. With his Boston Red Sox cap never out of reach, he is out of place and away from the one thing he truly loves: his work. While he searches for a way to get back into business and Jean longs for a ‘normal’ life back in Boston, the dysfunctional couple runs into one hilarious situation after another, learning shocking secrets about each other along the way.” With Jack Wetherall as Mickey and Rae C. Wright as Jean; MRT artistic director Charles Towers is at the helm. | Merrimack Repertory Theatre, 50 East Merrimack St, Lowell | 978.654.4MRT | Through April 11 | Curtain 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 4 + 8 pm Sat | 2 pm Sun | $26-$56

LIMONADE TOUS LES JOURS | Exquisite Corps Theatre stages this Charles L. Mee play about a young Parisian cabaret singer and a middle-aged American tourist who meet at a Paris café, wander through the city together, and fall in love. With Marie Polizzano as Ya Ya, Peter Haydu as Andrew, and countertenor Doug Dodson as, we gather, a singing waiter; Exquisite Corps artistic director Louisa Richards is at the helm. | Arsenal Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal St, Watertown | exquisitecorps.org | Through April 10 | Curtain 7:30 Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 2 + 8 pm Sat | $20

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