ODYSSEO This one rides on horsepower all the way. The brainchild of Cirque du Soleil cofounder Normand Latourelle, it’s a transporting spectacle that imaginatively and elegantly fuses highly stylized equestrian arts with Cirque-style atmospherics, acrobatics, and aerial stunts. Through Sept. 22. Cavalia. Assembly Square, Somerville. 866-999-8111, www.cavalia.net
THE SEAGULL Robert Kropf directs his own pared-down adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s classic drama. Kropf’s cast delivers vividly etched portrayals of unhappy people trapped in a narrow, stifling orbit as they try to resolve those Chekhovian dilemmas: art, love, existence. Through Sept. 22. Harbor Stage Company, at Modern Theatre at Suffolk University, Boston. 508-349-6800, www.harborstage.org.
THE ELEPHANT MAN In this spare production, directed by Jim Petosa, Bernard Pomerance’s drama still has the power to shake us. Tim Spears delivers a performance of skill, heart and conviction in the title role. Through Sept. 29. New Repertory Theatre, Charles Mosesian Theater, Arsenal Center for the Arts, Watertown. 617-923-8487, www.newrep.org
DRIVING MISS DAISY Under the deft direction of Benny Sato Ambush, three extraordinary actors at the Gloucester Stage Company deliver delicately tuned performances that uncover depth and nuance from stock characters. Steering away from archetypes, Johnny Lee Davenport, Lindsay Crouse, and Robert Pemberton offer revelatory performances that draw us completely into the heart of this “family” to remind us that the beauty of Alfred Uhry’s play lies not in his characters’ ability to find commonality, but in their openness to learning to love and respect their differences. Through Sept. 22. Gloucester Stage Company, Gloucester. 978-281-4433, www.gloucesterstage.com.
THE LIBERTINE Terrific acting elevates this production of Stephen Jeffreys’s play about John Wilmot, the second Earl of Rochester, a Restoration wit who drowned his existential doubts in drink and whoring. The unusual venue – audience and players alike occupy the stage, with the curtain mostly closed – adds an appropriate back-alley exclusiveness. Through Sept. 22. Bridge Repertory Theater of Boston, in partnership with Playhouse Creatures Theatre Company of New York. At Wimberly Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600, www.bostontheatrescene.com
NIGHT OF STARS Boston Ballet’s season opener offers a delicious gift to Boston with this free performance on Boston Common to kick off its 50th anniversary celebration. Featuring a live orchestra and a host of dancers, from emerging talents to undisputed stars, this diverse program includes excerpts of “La Bayadère,” two gorgeous Balanchine works, Jorma Elo’s striking “Plan to B,” and Christopher Bruce’s “Rooster.” Sept. 21, 7 p.m., free. Boston Common (at Beacon and Charles streets). 617-695-6955, www.bostonballet.org
SACRED DANCERS OF ANGKOR The Cambodian company of 23 young dancers and seven musicians launches its US tour with this concert of rare dances, sacred rituals, and music dating back centuries, a rich culture that was almost decimated by the Khmer Rouge. Sept. 22, 1 p.m., $20. Lowell High School, 50 Father Morissette Boulevard, Lowell. www.nkfc.org/ustour
49TH PARALLEL DANCE COMPANY Led by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre graduates Ariana Champlin (New York City) and Carolyn Schmidt (Vancouver) and featuring nine dancers from the United States and Canada, this young troupe makes its Maine debut with “Watering Hole,” a work combining dance, music, and spoken word to evoke a wild night at a local pub. Sept. 20, 7:30 p.m., $16-$20. The Dance Hall, 7 Walker St., Kittery, Maine. 207-703-2083, www.brownpapertickets.com
OPEN FOR DANCING 2013 Island Moving Company’s ambitious biennial festival gathers dancers, choreographers, and musicians to create new site-specific dances at intriguing locations around Newport and Providence, R.I. This weekend’s festival features new works by Yanira Castro, Deborah Lohse, and John-Mark Owen in free performances at various sites, ranging from a mansion terrace to a meditation maze. Through Sept. 22, free. 401-847-4470, www.islandmovingco.org
RANIA MATAR: L'ENFANT FEMME The artist continues her exploration of the formation of feminine identity in these portraits of girls ages 8 to 12, photographed in their homes in Lebanon and here, in postures that read as typically female. Through Oct. 26. Carroll and Sons, 450 Harrison Ave. 617-482-2477, www.carrollandsons.net
DILATED BIOGRAPHY: CONTEMPORARY CUBAN NARRATIVES Jorge Antonio Fernández Torres, curator of the Cuban pavilion at the 2013 Venice Biennale, invites 15 Cuban artists to explore the history and culture of their nation using personal stories as starting points. Through Oct. 19. School of the Museum of Fine Arts, 230 The Fenway, 617-369-3718, www.smfa.edu/cuba
DANA WOULFE: CONFLICT AND RESOLVE Woulfe’s dynamic large-scale abstract paintings rush and surge with light and darkness. He deploys spray paint, watercolor, oil paint, and collage to create dynamic compositions filled with motion and atmosphere, underpinned by sharp geometry. Through Oct. 4. Lot F Gallery, 145 Pearl St.,617-620-8452, www.lotfgallery.com
LIGHT YEARS: JACK WHITTEN 1971-1973 Large-scale abstract paintings, never previously exhibited, as well as smaller canvases and drawings from a turning point in the career of the celebrated experimental painter. Through Dec. 15. Rose Art Museum, Waltham. 781-736-3434, www.brandeis.edu/rose.
SACRED PAGES: CONVERSATIONS ABOUT THE QUR’AN Pages selected from 25 Qur’ans, ranging from the 7th century to contemporary, in the collection of the MFA, complemented by commentaries from Boston’s Islamic community. Through Feb. 23. Museum of Fine Arts. 617-267-9300, www.mfa.org.
FLASHBACK — NOVEMBER 22, 1963 Paintings, prints, photographs, and sculptures responding to the assassination of President Kennedy, including work by Andy Warhol, Marisol, and Ant Farm. Through Jan. 12. Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover. 978-749- 4015, www.andover.edu/Museums/Addison
COLOR, PATTERN, WHIMSY, SCALE: THE BEST OF SHELBURNE MUSEUM One hundred objects from the eclectic permanent collection illustrate the principles guiding museum founder Electra Havemeyer Webb’s inspired collecting. The show inaugurates Shelburne Museum’s new Pizzagalli Center for Art and Education, which, unlike the rest of the museum, will remain open year-round. Through Dec. 31. Shelburne Museum, Shelburne, Vt. 802-985-3346,
Cat in a spat
PEDIGREE This group show put together by Elizabeth Devlin spoofs art-world constructs about prestige by mounting art influenced by classic European styles alongside more strictly contemporary pieces in a prop-filled environment that mimics a Victorian-era salon. Pictured: Shelley Reed’s “Cat Fight (after Snyders).” Through Oct. 14. New Art Center, 61 Washington Park, Newtonville. 617-964-3424, www.newartcenter.org