Play by play: July 9, 2010

By MADDY MYERS  |  July 6, 2010

JOHNNY BASEBALL | The premise of the American Repertory Theater's new musical — book by Richard Dresser, music by Robert Reale, lyrics by Willie Reale, with ART artistic director Diane Paulus helming — is that the real Curse on the Boston Red Sox wasn't selling Babe Ruth (overplayed exuberantly by Burke Moses) to the Yankees, but rather the deep-seeded Boston racism that prevents the most gifted pitcher in the team's history, Johnny O'Brien (a/k/a Johnny Baseball, and played by Colin Donnell), from marrying the girl of his dreams, a black jazz singer named Daisy Wyatt (Stephanie Umoh). But the script pumps out its message in the style of an After School Special, the performances are hammy, and the Reales' songs are melodically undistinguished and lyrically overstated. | Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle St, Cambridge | 617.547.8300 or americanrepertorytheater.org | Through July 11 | Curtain 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 2 + 8 pm Sat | 2 + 7:30 pm Sun | $25-$75

THE LAST FIVE YEARS | Jason Robert Brown's 2001 musical finds its two characters, Jamie and Cathy, going in opposite directions as they narrate the story of their romance, Jamie starting at the beginning, Cathy at the end, the two meeting only in the middle, at their marriage. Julie Reiber and Patrick Anthony Stewart star in this Berkshire Theatre Festival production; Anders Cato directs. | Berkshire Theatre Festival Main Stage, Main St, Stockbridge | 413.298.5576 | Through July 10 | Curtain 2 + 8 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 2 + 8 pm Sat | $46-$68

THE LOOSE CHANTEUSE | Varla Jean Merman stars as the titular chanteuse in this intimate one-woman cabaret written by Jeffery Roberson and Jacques Lamarre. Pianist Tom Judson plays the accompanist, Gus Mattox. | Art House, 214 Commercial St, Provincetown | ptownarthouse.com | Through September 4 | Curtain 9 pm Mon [July 12], Tues-Fri, Sat [August 14, 21; September 4] | $30; $35 VIP

MENGELBERG AND MAHLER | Daniel Klein's one-man play finds illustrious Dutch conductor Willem Mengelberg — who led Amsterdam's Concertgebouw Orchestra for 50 years — engaged in a "conversation" with Jewish composer Gustav Mahler. In Mahler's lifetime and in the first decades following his death, Mengelberg did more to champion his music than any other conductor. Yet in the aftermath of World War II, Mengelberg is accused of having collaborated with the Nazis during their occupation of the Netherlands, and now he faces exile. Robert Lohbauer has the role; Emile Fallaux directs. | Shakespeare & Company, Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, 70 Kemble St, Lenox | 413.637.3353 | Through September 10 | Curtain this week: 8 pm Thurs [July 8] + Sun | 3 pm Tues | 8 pm Wed | $21-$48

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF RICHARD III | John Douglas Thompson stars as Richard III, deformed outcast "determined to prove a villain." In his Machiavellian rise from Duke of Gloucester to king of England, Richard outruns his conscience and buries himself in his own misanthropy and egotism, turning on his family and anyone else who dares trust him. Tod Randolph plays Elizabeth, and S&Co. artistic director Tony Simotes helms the production. | Shakespeare & Company, Founders Theatre, 70 Kemble St, Lenox | 413.637.3353 | July 2–September 5 | Curtain this week: 7:30 pm Thurs [July 8]-Sat | 2 pm Sun | $15-$43

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  Topics: Theater , Boston Center for the Arts, Boston Center for the Arts, Gloucester Stage Company,  More more >
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