From baseball to Shakespeare to male swans
As the winter wind makes fast tracks, it leaves a burgeoning crop of ancient masterpieces, world premieres, farces, and musicals to blossom come April. Boston Theatre Works slides right into the season with the New England premiere of Rebecca Gilman’s The Sweetest Swing in Baseball (April 13–May 6; BCA; 617.728.4321), where a young artist who’s landed in a psych ward finds an unlikely source of strength and support in archetypal bad-ass Darryl Strawberry. Gilman isn’t the only playwright riffing on familiar personalities. CRASHarts hosts the New York-based Civilians’ (I Am) Nobody’s Lunch (April 25–30; Zero Arrow Theatre; 617.876.4275), which raids popular culture to feed a musical investigation of how we acquire information and how what we learn has an impact on national identity.
The back story of the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch is told in tunes when Broadway in Boston brings the Tony-winning Wicked to the Opera House (April 12–May 14; 617.931.ARTS). New Repertory Theatre stages Ragtime (April 30–May 21; Arsenal Center for the Arts; 617.923.8487), the Tony-winning adaptation of E.L. Doctorow’s epic novel of immigrants living out the American Dream. SpeakEasy Stage Company presents a song-laden tale of cultural and ethnic disparities in Tony Kushner & Jeanine Tesori’s Caroline, or Change (May 5–June 3; Calderwood Pavilion; 617.933.8600) — set in the tumultuous 1960s, it’s the story of a black maid working for a Southern Jewish family with a forlorn young son while trying to secure the best for her own children. Social obstacles are rendered obsolete in Pierre Marivaux’s Island of Slaves (May 13–June 11; ART; 617.547.8300); Robert Woodruff directs Gideon Lester’s new translation of this 18th-century French play by the author of La dispute about two servants and their respective masters and how the power dynamics shift when the four end up shipwrecked.
John Corwin is a contemporary scribe who pokes at society’s raw edges. Merrimack Repertory Theatre stages his workplace comedy RealHush-Hush (April 20–May 14; 978.454.3926), where, in a mysterious office, a young woman is caught in the crossfire of two men’s ambitions and bureaucratic manipulations.
At the Huntington Theatre Company, the King of Navarre and his posse of lords strive for power over themselves and their urges when they take a vow of chastity for the sake of their studies in Love’s Labour’s Lost (May 12–June 11; 617.266.0800). It’s the first time artistic director Nicholas Martin has helmed the Bard’s work in town. Shakespeare’s comedies come in couplets this spring as Actors’ Shakespeare Project presents All’s Well That Ends Well (April 20–May 14; 866.811.4111) at the Cambridge Family YMCA Theatre.
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