Critic’s picks: Theater


The New York ensemble Universes in “Ameriville,’’ presented by ArtsEmerson on the Paramount Center Mainstage.

PHOTOGRAPH 51 X-ray images taken by the young British scientist Rosalind Franklin led to the discovery of the double-helix structure of DNA, but her contributions have been far less heralded than those of the three men who shared a Nobel Prize for the breakthrough. Playwright Anna Ziegler seeks to rectify that in this drama, directed by Daniel Gidron, and starring Becky Webber as the driven Franklin, who died at age 37 of ovarian cancer. Feb. 9-March 4. Presented by Nora Theatre Company. At Central Square Theater, Cambridge. 866-811-4111,

WILD SWANS A world premiere, directed by Sacha Wares and adapted by Alexandra Wood from Jung Chang’s best-selling memoir about her family’s tumultuous journey through 20th-century China, with a focus on three women: Chang’s grandmother, her mother, and herself. Feb. 11-March 11. Coproduction of American Repertory Theater, Young Vic Theatre Company, and Actors Touring Company. At Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge. 617-547-8300,


TIME STANDS STILL Scott Edmiston directs a drama by Donald Margulies about tensions in the relationship between a photojournalist, who was severely injured while covering the Iraq war, and her boyfriend, a foreign correspondent coping with a different kind of wound. Feb. 17-March 17. Lyric Stage Company of Boston. 617-585-5678,

CIRCA The Boston debut of an Australian troupe (like the show, also called Circa), known for its innovative blend of circus and dance, with elements of vaudeville, burlesque, and cabaret thrown into the mix. You’re likely to see acrobatics, trapeze performances, and a rope act, but giant Band-Aids, hula hoops, bubble wrap, and balloons may also enter the picture. Feb. 29-March 4. Presented by Celebrity Series of Boston, in association with ArtsEmerson. At Paramount Center Mainstage, Boston. 617-824-8000,

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DEPORTED/A DREAM PLAY In a new drama inspired by the story of her own grandmother and the grandmother’s best friend, playwright Joyce Van Dyke explores the Armenian genocide through the dreams and memories of two women who survived it. March 8-April 1. Presented by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre in association with Suffolk University. At Modern Theatre, Boston. 866-811-4111,

RECENT TRAGIC EVENTS In this dark comedy by Craig Wright, directed by Bridget Kathleen O’Leary, a young advertising executive named Waverly (played by Aimee Rose Ranger, so excellent in “Fen’’) goes on a blind date on the evening after 9/11. March 9-24. Whistler in the Dark Theatre. At Factory Theatre, Boston. 800-838-3006,

MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM In a Chicago studio in the 1920s where legendary blues singer Gertrude (Ma) Rainey and several musicians are recording a new album, conflicts push to the surface issues of racial identity and stark questions about the price ambitious black artists are forced to pay in a segregated nation. This drama by the late and very great August Wilson will be directed by Liesl Tommy and will feature Yvette Freeman (“ER’’) as Ma Rainey. March 9-April 8. Huntington Theatre Company. At Boston University Theatre, Boston. 617-266-0800,


AMERIVILLE The New York-based theater ensemble Universes, best-known for 2001’s “Slanguage,’’ drew on their interviews with residents of New Orleans to construct this fusion of storytelling, commentary, and song (hip-hop, gospel, and jazz) that looks at issues of race, class, power, and politics through the prism of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. March 13-18. Presented by ArtsEmerson. At Paramount Center Mainstage. 617-824-8400,

LES MISERABLES On the 25th anniversary of the first Broadway production, it’s back to the barricades for this musical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s novel about the valiant Jean Valjean, the obsessive Inspector Javert, the tragic Fantine, and the winsome Cosette. March 13-April 1. Presented by Broadway in Boston. At Boston Opera House. 800-982-2787,

THE ANDERSEN PROJECT The celebrated Canadian writer-director-actor Robert Lepage, known for his work in theater, film, and opera - including the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Wagner’s “Ring’’ cycle - is at the helm for the Boston premiere of his solo play, performed by Yves Jacques. It’s about a rock ’n’ roll songwriter who makes some surprising discoveries when he arrives in Paris to write the libretto for a children’s opera to commemorate Hans Christian Andersen. March 24-April 1. Production by Ex Machina. Presented by ArtsEmerson. At Cutler Majestic Theatre, Boston. 617-824-8400,

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