TIMON OF ATHENS | Believe it or not: a play by William Shakespeare, published in the First Folio of 1623, is about to have its Boston premiere, courtesy of Actors’ Shakespeare Project. When it comes to the Bard’s Problem Plays, the 1607 Timon tops the list: we’re not sure whether it’s some kind of experiment or just unfinished, and we’re not even sure he wrote all of it, since parts sound more like the work of Thomas Middleton. The plot has our wealthy Athenian gentleman throwing a large banquet and giving away money by the bushelful. (Could Shakespeare be commenting on the spending habits of the Jacobean nobility?) When his steward informs Timon that he’s given it all away, he appeals to his “friends” for help but is turned down, whereupon he flees Athens for a cave in the wilderness — where gold is discovered. Will Timon use his new wealth to destroy the city? With Allyn Burrows in the title role, plus Steven Barkhimer, Daniel Berger-Jones, Joel Colodner, Michelle Dowd, John Kuntz, Will Lyman, and Bobbie Steinbach; Bill Barclay directs. | Midway Studios, 15 Channel Center St, Fort Point Channel, Boston | 866.811.4111 | Through June 13 | Curtain 10 am [May 27] + 7:30 pm Thurs | 7:30 pm Fri | 3 pm [no May 22] + 8 pm Sat | 2 pm Sun | $20-$47

INDEFINITELY
BLUE MAN GROUP | The Drama Desk Award–winning trio of cobalt-painted bald pates begin their delightful and deafening evening of anti–performance art beating drums that are also deep buckets of paint, so that sprays of color jump from the instruments like breaking surf, and end by engulfing the spectators in tangles of toilet paper. | Charles Playhouse, 74 Warrenton St, Boston | 617.931.ARTS | Indefinitely | Curtain this week: 8 pm Thurs [May 20] | 7 + 10 pm Fri | 4 + 7 + 10 pm Sat | 2 + 5 pm Sun | 8 pm Tues-Wed | 8 pm Thurs [May 27] | $48-$62; $30 student rush

THE DONKEY SHOW | Diane Paulus & Randy Weiner’s disco-set riff on A Midsummer Night’s Dream is an hour-long work set in the Studio 54–inspired environs of Club Oberon and framed by episodes of Saturday Night Fever in which you may or may not choose to star. The dramatis personae include Dr. Wheelgood, a gold-lamé-clad Puck on roller skates; club owner Mr. Oberon, who’s out to humiliate his haughty diva girlfriend, Tytania; desperately yearning or cockily dismissive lovers Helen, Dimitri, Mia, and Sander; and a twin couple of ruffle-shirted, Afro-coiffed dudes both named Vinnie. Ingeniously double-cast, sexily supple, and screeching into headsets, they join the paying crowd (a small minority of whom occupy tables in a cabaret area that also sees action) for an immersive night of hedonism and hustle driven by the pounding beat and melodramatic passions of disco hits from the 1970s. | Oberon, Mass Ave + Arrow St, Cambridge | 617.547.8300 | Indefinitely | Curtain 8 pm Fri | 8 + 10:30 pm Sat | $25-$49

SHEAR MADNESS | The dramatis personae of the audience-participation whodunit (which is now the longest-running non-musical in American theater history, having run 29 years in Boston) continue to comb Newbury Street for the murderer of a classical pianist who lived over the unisex hair salon where the show is set. | Charles Playhouse Stage II, 74 Warrenton St, Boston | 617.426.5225 | Indefinitely | Curtain 8 pm Tues-Fri | 6 + 9 pm Sat | 3 + 7 pm Sun | $42; $31.50 with AAA discount; half-price college-student rush, one ticket per college ID, at the box office, one hour prior to curtain

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