Play by play: April 17, 2009

 Plays from A to Z
By CAROLYN CLAY  |  April 14, 2009

OPENING

ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY | Boston Children's Theatre brings to the stage children's author Judith Viorst's 1998 musical version of her popular 1972 tome about the title kid and a particularly rotten if hardly extraordinary 24 hours. | Grand Lodge of Masons of Massachusetts, 186 Tremont St, Boston | 617.424.6634 | April 18–May 3 | Curtain 2 pm Wed-Sat [Wed-Thurs April 22-23 only] | $12-$20

DAME EDNA: MY FIRST LAST TOUR | The lavender-locked, gladioli-hurling female alter ego of Australian comic Barry Humphries returns with "her new and uniquely intimate offering, which she created on her private multi-million-acre, possum-infested luxury estate in her native Australia." Don't sit too near the front unless you're into audience participation, which, whether you're willing or not, will ensue, as Dame Edna unleashes her sequined splendor and confides her deepest thoughts. | Colonial Theatre, 106 Boylston St, Boston | 800-982-2787 | April 16-19 | Curtain 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 2 + 8 pm Sat | 3 pm Sun | $50-$67.50

INAUGURAL HARVARD PLAYWRIGHTS FESTIVAL | Playwright Christine (Trojan Barbie) Evans and American Repertory Theatre '08-'09 season director Gideon Lester, who together teach an advanced playwriting course at the ART's Institute for Advanced Theatre Training, conceived the notion for this festival of staged readings of new works by student dramatists. | New College Theatre Rehearsal Studio, 10-12 Holyoke St, Cambridge | 617.495.8676 | April 23-26 | Curtain 5:30 + 7 pm Thurs-Fri | 2 + 3:30 + 5:30 + 7 pm Sat | 2 + 3:30 + 5 pm Sun | Free

MEN OF TORTUGA | Apollinaire Theatre Company presents the area premiere of Jason Wells's first play, which debuted in 2005 at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre. In Wells's "brutally hilarious satire, three power brokers scheme with a weapons specialist to eliminate their enemy. But when one of them takes a young idealist under his wing, his long-dormant conscience begins to reawaken, forcing the cabal to concoct even more outlandish scenarios of annihilation and ponder whether the ends justify their means." Danielle Fauteux Jacques directs. | Chelsea Theatre Works, 189 Winnisimmet St, Chelsea | 617.887.2336 | April 17–May 17 | Curtain 8 pm Fri-Sat | 3 pm Sun [May 10, 17] | $18 in advance; $20 at the door; $15 student rush

A MOON FOR THE MISBEGOTTEN | This Merrimack Repertory Theatre revival of Eugene O'Neill's redemptive drama is a co-production with Norfolk's Virginia Stage Company and is directed by Edward Morgan, who describes the encounter between drunk, self-loathing Jamie Tyrone and earth mother Josie Hogan as "part rollicking Irish comedy; part lyrical, soulful drama." | Merrimack Repertory Theatre, 50 East Merrimack St, Lowell | 978.654.4MRT | April 23–May 17 | Curtain 8 pm Wed-Fri + 2 pm Wed [April 29] | 4:30 + 8:30 pm Sat | 2 + 7 pm Sun | $26-$56; student, senior, discounts

NINE | Longwood Players take on the 1982 Tony Award-winning musical with book by Arthur Kopit and music and lyrics by Maury Yeston. It's based on the Fellini film , in which a famous film director is besieged by the women in his life. Kevin Mark Kline directs. | Cambridge Family YMCA Theatre, 820 Mass Ave, Cambridge | 800.595.4849 | April 24–May 2 | Curtain 8 pm Thurs-Fri | 2 pm [May 2] + 8 pm Sat | $16-$25; $3 discount students, seniors

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