Upcoming arts events around Boston

Urban safari

ROBERTA PAUL: MOVE ME Vans driving around Cambridge have been wrapped in Paul’s drawings of safari animals. She’s working with curator Beth Kantrowitz to use the metaphor of animal migration to explore human immigration, on the street and in this show. Through June 15. Cambridge Arts Council Gallery, City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway, Cambridge. 617-349-4380, CATE McQUAID


MAESTRO: LEONARD BERNSTEIN In a finely wrought portrait, Hershey Felder explores the inner conflicts of a musical genius who packed several brilliant careers into one lifetime, but still struggled with regret at not having devoted more time to composing the masterwork of which he was capable. Through May 20. Presented by ArtsEmerson. At Paramount Center Mainstage, Boston. 617-824-8400,

THE REALISTIC JONESES In the world according to playwright Will Eno, dread underlies our daily routines, sudden change is not a possibility but a certainty, and there’s not a thing we can do about it. Except, perhaps, huddle uncertainly together, as the four mismatched Joneses do in this frequently funny, stealthily unsettling new play. Directed by Sam Gold. Through May 12. Yale Repertory Theatre, New Haven. 203-432-1234,


THE MIRACLE WORKER Brittany Rolfs, a 20-year-old from Milton, delivers an extraordinarily assured performance as Annie Sullivan in William Gibson’s drama about the relationship between Sullivan and Helen Keller. Directed by Susan Kosoff, who is ending her three-decade tenure at Wheelock Family Theatre on a decidedly high note. Through May 13. Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston. 617-879-2300,

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LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS All the 1982 cult-classic musical about a ravenous flytrap really needs is four cute incarnations of Audrey II and accomplished singer-actors to play Seymour, Audrey, Mushnik, Orin, and the girl-group chorus. This production delivers on every count; you even believe you’re watching a hip musical retelling of “Macbeth.” Through May 27. New Repertory Theatre, Charles Mosesian Theater, Arsenal Center for the Arts, Watertown.

MARY POPPERS Ryan Landry and his Gold Dust Orphans hit the bull’s-eye with a musical parody of “Mary Poppins” that stars Olive Another as the title nanny who sets up a crystal-meth lab in the Banks kids’ bedroom. Not for children, but adults can enjoy it without stimulation of any kind. Through May 20. Presented by Gold Dust Orphans. At Machine. 800-838-3006,

GHOST-WRITER What begins as an exploration of the creative process evolves into a touching tale of memory. Under the sensitive direction of Charles Towers, Michael Hollinger’s drama unfolds thoughtfully, even wistfully, as we travel deep into the relationship between a writer and his secretary. Through
May 13. Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Lowell. 978-654-4678, www.merrimack

BIG APPLE CIRCUS: DREAM BIG The Big Apple Circus never fails to delight, but this year’s installment is a beautifully integrated show that pulls together terrific production values, especially the stunning costumes. It may be “Grandma’s Farewell Tour,” but Grandma the clown graciously shares the spotlight with Shandong Acrobatic Troupe, the Flying Cortes trapeze act, a hilarious magician and his assistant, and many more. Through May 13. City Hall Plaza, Boston. 888-541-3750,




FANCY FREE Boston Ballet’s final production of the season should be a winner. It is anchored by Jerome Robbins’s delightful, ever-popular masterwork “Fancy Free,” an irrepressible charmer about three sailors on shore leave set to Leonard Bernstein’s colorful, rousing score. The program also includes Peter Martins’s “Barber Violin Concerto” and Harald Lander’s “Études.” May 10-20. $25-$137. Boston Opera House.

NEXT GENERATION Here’s your chance to catch a glimpse of the ballet world’s possible stars of tomorrow, as Boston Ballet showcases its pre-professional students. This one-night-only concert features original faculty choreography as well as a world premiere by Yury Yanowsky. Guest performers include members of Boston Ballet II and the New England Conservatory Youth Philharmonic Orchestra. May 16, 7 p.m. $25-$100. Boston Opera House.

RED, BLACK & GREEN: A BLUES (RBGB) This ambitious multimedia work by Marc Bamuthi Joseph combines dance with music, poetry, and visual imagery in an exploration of social and environmental responsibility amid the escalating concerns of climate change. May 11-12. $25 ($22 for students and members). Institute of Contemporary Art. 617-478-3103,

DESIDERARE Prometheus Dance evokes the conflicted lives of seven women in a 19th-century brothel in this darkly provocative dance-theater work. Cellist Ashima Scripp contributes live music, and poet Karen Klein portrays a uniquely eloquent madam. May 13,
8 p.m. $30 ($25 students, seniors). Oberon, Cambridge. 866-811-4111,



HYMAN BLOOM Bloom, the great, under-recognized Boston Expressionist painter, died in 2009. His canvases, vividly gestural and glowing with opulent color, often address spiritual matters, evoking themes of suffering, death, and rebirth, intimating a reality beyond our grasp. Through June 6. Alpha Gallery, 37 Newbury St. 617-536-4465,


LINDA SZABO WHITE: LOOKING FOR FUN Szabo White photographs carnivals and amusement parks. Her images blend the dazzle of an evening's diversion with moments of isolation or boredom. Motion blurs, color blares, and gaudy, artificial light throws itself against the sky. Through June 2.
HallSpace, 950 Dorchester Ave.

ALICE DENISON: MAY DAY, RICHARD RAISELIS: FACING MUSIC Denison has removed any background from her flower paintings, investigating space with her pendulous petals. Raiselis's paintings call attention upward, to the drawings made in the sky by telephone poles and wires. Through May 26. Gallery NAGA, 67 Newbury St. 617-267-9060,


ALEX KATZ PRINTS One hundred-and-twenty-five prints from the 1960s until recently, in a show that surveys the graphic career of this beloved Pop artist. Through July 29. Museum of Fine Arts. 617-267-9300,

NINA BOHLEN: MY WOODS Charged and atmospheric monotypes depicting the trees and woods of Lubec, Maine, by this esteemed artist. Through May 20. Danforth Museum of Art, Framingham. 508-620-0050, www.danforth

LESLEY VANCE Twenty-one vivid paintings and watercolors in the first solo museum show by this Los Angeles-based painter. She was included in the 2010 Whitney Biennial. Through July 1. Bowdoin College Museum of Art. 207-725-3275,

CHARLINE VON HEYL A small but electrifying suite of abstract paintings and two lively suites of works on paper by the talented German-born, New York-based painter. Through July 15. Institute of Contemporary Art. 617-478-3100,