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The week ahead: Theater, galleries, and museums

Ksusha Melyukhina and Ferguson in “Urban Nutcracker.”

Peter Paradise/RavenWolfe Photography

Ksusha Melyukhina and Ferguson in “Urban Nutcracker.”

A more modern ‘Nutcracker’

URBAN NUTCRACKER With music that alternates between the traditional Tchaikovsky score and Duke Ellington’s jazz suite, Tony Williams’s popular multicultural version of the E.T.A. Hoffmann tale puts a contemporary urban spin on the choreography, blending ballet with elements of tap, hip-hop, swing, flamenco, step, and jazz. The cast includes krumper Russell Ferguson and tap whiz Khalid Hill. Dec. 6-22. $25-$85. John Hancock Hall. 888-596-1027,



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A CHRISTMAS STORY, THE MUSICAL There was reason to fret about a musical adaptation of the endearing 1983 film about Ralphie, a boy yearning for a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. But the creative team managed to replicate the movie’s cheerfully anarchic spirit. As Ralphie’s father and mother, John Bolton and Erin Dilly deliver standout performances, with solid support by Dan Lauria as radio humorist Jean Shepherd. Through Dec. 8. Citi Performing Arts Center, Wang Theatre, Boston. 866-348-9738,

THE COCKTAIL HOUR Though playwright A.R. Gurney could have and should have dug deeper into the issues he raises, especially the question of loyalty to family vs. loyalty to self, this Maria Aitken-directed production succeeds as a briskly entertaining, occasionally touching comedy of manners. Through Dec. 15. Huntington Theatre Company, Boston University Theatre, Boston. 617-266-0800,

VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE Christopher Durang’s broad and scattershot study of middle-aged ennui lacks the satiric bite that would make it really top-drawer, much less the fangs that drew blood in such ferociously subversive early works by the playwright as “Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You.’’ But even defanged Durang proves to have its rollicking pleasures in this New England premiere, directed with finesse by Curt Columbus and highlighted by Phyllis Kay’s performance as Masha, a vain and self-involved movie star. Through Dec. 22. Trinity Repertory Company, Dowling Theater, Providence. 401-351-4242,


BECKY’S NEW CAR In Steven Dietz’s rollicking 2008 comedy, Becky gets more than a new car — she gets a new life as the lady friend of a wealthy widower. Thing is, Becky doesn’t want to give up her current life with her husband of 28 years. With a game-show and board-game set and a vivacious performance from Celeste Oliva in the title role, this Lyric Stage production takes “Becky’s New Car” for a fun ride. Through Dec 22. Lyric Stage Company, Boston. 617-585-5678,

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A LITTLE PRINCESS Based on the 1905 children’s classic by Frances Hodgson Burnett, this 2004 musical from Brian Crawley and Andrew Lippa changes the story line and leans heavily on Broadway clichés. But the Fiddlehead Theatre presentation, despite its overamplification of the performers, is imaginative, energetic, and hard to resist, with infectious choreography and a winning Sirena Abalian in the title role. The musical hasn’t made it to Broadway, but watching this production, you almost believe it could. Through Dec. 8. Fiddlehead Theatre Company, Strand Theatre, Boston. 781-329-1901,



ANNUAL HOLIDAY DANCE SPECTACULAR This family-friendly show brings together The Dance Inn of Lexington’s four performing troupes — the About Time Tappers, Adult Jazz Performers, The Dance Inn Youth Intensive, and the Legacy Dance Company — for a production of holiday-themed tap, jazz, hip-hop, and contemporary dance. Dec. 6-7. $15, $10 for senior, students and children. Regent Theatre, Arlington. 781-646-4849,

GREEN STREET STUDIOS PERFORMANCE FUNDRAISER The venerable dance center continues its series of benefits to raise funds for a new space with this showcase featuring some of the most dedicated artists who call the studios home, including Marcus Schulkind, Luminarium Dance, Jody Weber, Daniel McCusker, and Kieran Jordan, among others. Dec. 6-7. $20-$35. Green Street Studios, Cambridge. 617-864-3191,

THE NUTCRACKER José Mateo Ballet Theatre brings its colorful production to its home theater for the next two weekends. Mateo’s choreography is lovely, the story is streamlined, and there are lots of adorable children in the cast. Dec. 5-15. $38-$50. Sanctuary Theatre, Cambridge. 617-354-7467,



TIME PIECES Canadian sculptor Danielle Sauvé and Venezuelan-born painter Jesús Matheus make work that distills ideas into simple forms. Sauvé examines labor with folds of clay like fabric. Matheus’s geometric paintings address the sacred in bold blocks of color. Through Jan. 11 Gallery at ArtBlock, 725 Harrison Ave.

FROM PAPER TO PIXELS Rebecca Smith Allen, CEO of Infrared5, which develops games and apps, paired traditional artists with new media artists to see what interactive art they’d cook up. Artists include Sally B. Moore and Keith Peters. Through Jan. 17. Suffolk University Art Gallery, 75 Arlington St. 617-994-4283,

OBJECTS OF STATUS, POWER, & ADORNMENT II Handmade jewelry by established and emerging artists. At the opening, 3-5 p.m. on Saturday, (Dec. 7) authors Betty Helen Longhi and Cynthia Eid will sign their book, “Creative Metal Forming.” Through Jan. 31. Mobilia Gallery,
358 Huron Ave., Cambridge. 617-876-2109,



JOHN SINGER SARGENT WATERCOLORS More than 90 of Sargent’s beloved watercolors in a show that combines the superb Sargent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts and the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Through Jan. 20. Museum of Fine Arts. 617-267-9300,

AFRICA INTERWEAVE: TEXTILE DIASPORAS Forty textiles, garments, and other items from across the continent of Africa. Through Jan. 12. Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, N.H. 603-669-6144,

2013 DECORDOVA BIENNIAL New England’s contemporary artists are featured in this closely watched survey featuring work in all media. Through April 13. DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln. 781 259 8355,

FIRED EARTH, WOVEN BAMBOO Around 60 contemporary Japanese ceramics and baskets from the Snider collection, recently given to the MFA. Through Sept. 8. Museum of Fine Arts. 617-267-9300,


Details of “Crevice.’’

Details of “Crevice.’’

All natural

MIRA CANTOR: MELTWATER This landscape painter has long delved into what we read into natural forms, what marks we make there, and what we can glean about ourselves through looking. These new works investigate mortality, transience, and climate change. Through Dec. 29. Kingston Gallery, 450 Harrison Ave. 617-666-3674,


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