Play by Play: December 4, 2009

By JEFFREY GANTZ  |  December 2, 2009

GIRLS NIGHT: THE MUSICAL | This girls' night out — which got its start in Great Britain in 2003 and spread to the US in 2007 — "follows five friends in their 30s and 40s as they relive their past, celebrate their present, and look to the future on a wild and hilarious night out at a karaoke bar," in the process singing "It's Raining Men," "I Will Survive," Lady Marmalade," "We Are Family," "Man I Feel like a Woman," and "Girls Just Want To Have Fun." | Club Café, 209 Columbus Ave, Boston | 877.386.6968 | Through December 20 | Curtain 7:30 pm Fri | 4 pm [3 pm December 5, 12] + 7:30 pm Sat | 3 pm Sun | $55

HEROES | Merrimack Repertory Theatre presents the New England premiere of this Tom Stoppard adaptation of the Olivier Award–winning drama by French playwright Gérald Sibleyras in which three combat survivors of World War I find themselves stranded, 40 years later, in a veterans' home, alone with their injuries, their memories, a 200-pound stone dog, and a masochistic nun. Carl Forsman directs; Ken Tigar, Jonathan Hogan, and Tony winner Ron Holgate make up the cast. The approximately 90-minute performance will run without intermission. | Merrimack Repertory Theatre, 50 East Merrimack St, Lowell | 978.654.4MRT | Through December 13 | Curtain 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 4 + 8 pm Sat | 2 + 7 pm [evening December 6] Sun | $26-$56; $23-$51 seniors; $15 students [balcony] | Carolyn Clay's review on page 28

IN ON IT | "This One and That One — possibly actors, possibly angels, possibly lovers — are creating a play. Or celebrating their relationship. Or tearing it apart. Bitingly funny, wildly imaginative, and whimsically heartbreaking, In on It is a puzzle that ultimately reveals how lives can intertwine in unintended and unexpected ways. Like the threads of a gray lambswool jacket." That's the skinny on this Whistler in the Dark production of a play by Daniel MacIvor that's directed by Meg Taintor and stars Joe Lanza as This One and Scott Sweatt as That One — unless it's the other way round. | Piano Factory Theatre, 791 Tremont St, Boston | Through December 6 | Curtain 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 4 + 8 pm Sat | 4 pm Sun | $20; $10 students

RECKLESS | Craig Lucas's 1988 holiday heartwarmer gets a seasonal outing from SpeakEasy Stage Company. Wondering what Rachel's husband is going to get her for Christmas? How about a hit man! Hubby does have the decency to warn her on Christmas Eve, whereupon she scrambles out the kitchen window and into the not so silent night, where both her resolve and her sanity are tested. Director Scott Edmiston connects the play's surreal, unlikely stream of events through a recurring pageant in which the characters lurk and twirl to a sound suite by Dewey Dellay that runs the gamut from mournful and otherworldly to Macy's-elevator-worthy. And Marianna Bassham mixes a profound sadness into her burbling, agitated Rachel, trekking in nightgown and candy-cane socks through a perpetual Yule that flings her from saccharine snugness through terror and tragedy (not to mention the Christopher Durangian crucible of modern psychiatry) to the edge of redemption. The play may be Reckless, but the well-acted production — something of a thespian treat featuring, in addition to Bassham, fellow Elliot Norton Award winners Larry Coen and Paula Plum — is carefully calibrated, its cartoon whimsy balanced by the AIDS-age suffering from which it sprang. | Boston Center for the Arts Roberts Studio Theatre, 539 Tremont St, Boston | 617.933.8600 | Through December 12 | Curtain 7:30 pm Tues-Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 4 + 8 pm Sat | 3 pm Sun | $30-$47; students, seniors $30-$42

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