Chilly scenes in winter

By LIZA WEISSTUCH  |  October 27, 2008

You’ve seen London in Scrooge’s escapades. Hampton brings us France. Now how about some German unmentionables? The Lyric Stage Company of Boston offers Steve Martin’s silly, scintillating adaptation of Carl Sternheim’s 1910 satire The Underpants (January 6–February 4), a spoof about a reserved housewife who gets caught in the whirlwind of the aftermath of an accidental public panties display (a/k/a “wardrobe malfunction”). When her unruly undies come undone, she becomes the object of a giant town scandal to hilarious effect.

Les Liaisons won’t be your only opportunity to coax your inner Francophile out of hiding. The ART launches the new year with Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit (January 7-29). Jerry Mouawad, co–artistic director of Oregon’s Imago Theatre (which brought its Frogz to Cambridge last spring), is at the helm of this stylized staging set atop a tipping platform. If your Francophile is a child of the revolution, note that Broadway in Boston is marching Les MisÉrables into the Opera House one last time (February 15-26).

When we hear the people sing in Les Miz, it’s a “song of angry men.” That’s a giant shift from the melodies that will fill the Opera House before the French troops arrive. Maureen McGovern heads up the cast of Little Women — The Musical (January 10-22), courtesy of Broadway in Boston.

Music also fills the Colonial Theatre when Monty Python’s triple Tony Award winner Spamalot (March 7–April 15) moves in. You may have a different take on King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table after you’ve seen them in a kick line.

But leave it to the pro roasters of Forbidden Broadway to lampoon the classics of the Great White Way. The Huntington brings Forbidden Broadway: SVU (February 14–March 12) to the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts. This musical revue takes aim at the Avenue Q puppets and the gentile cast of Fiddler on the Roof and offers new jabs at old favorites. It’s not parody for fragile types. Súgán Theatre Company’s Tom Crean — Antarctic Explorer (January 25–February 11) is likewise not a play for the weak of heart. Aidan Dooley performs his monologue about the adventures of the Irishman who trekked to remote corners of the planet with Scott and Shackleton. Scarcely less brutal is the world of the small-time racetrack, and that’s the milieu Sam Shepard dissects in Simpatico. Devanaughn Theatre Company offers the psychological thriller at the Piano Factory (January 26–February 12).

Hankering for tales of a region where horses run free? SpeakEasy offers Five By Tenn (January 27–February 25), five recently discovered early one-acts by Tennessee Williams, at the Calderwood. You’ll hear more Southern accents in Dark As a Thousand Midnights (January 17-22), which was written by and features Elliot Norton Award winner Jacqui Parker. This play about the life of a Mississippi family during the summer Emmett Till was murdered is one of two offerings that make up Our Place Theatre Project’s sixth annual African American Theatre Festival (January 10-22) at the Calderwood.

Theater intermingles with dance when CRASHarts brings Everett Dance Theatre to Zero Arrow Theatre for Home Movies (January 11-15), a multi-media look at the modern American family. CRASH follows that up with Flamenco Festival 2006 at the Cutler Majestic Theatre (January 26-29), with Noche Flamenca and the Boston debut of the experimental Nuevo Ballet Español.

Boston Ballet gets witty and whimsical with the dancing chickens of Frederick Ashton’s La fille mal gardÉe (March 9-12). And for its annual Bank of America Celebrity Series appearance, Mark Morris Dance Group is bringing L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, Morris’s full-length ballet set to Handel’s oratorio, to the Wang Theatre (January 20-22). The Celebrity Series’s dance series continues with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (March 3-5) at the Shubert.

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