JOSÉ MATEO BALLET THEATRE The company welcomes in its fall season with a brand new work, “Taking Turns,” a 25-minute ballet set to Philip Glass’s String Quartet No. 4. The program, titled “Mysterious Arrangements,” also includes Mateo’s “Dancers’ Overture,” set to the Overture from Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 2 and not performed since its premiere in 2001, and “Time Beyond Time” (2005), set to Messiaen’s haunting “Quartet for the End of Time.” Oct. 5-28. $38. Sanctuary Theatre, Cambridge. 617-354-7467, www.ballettheatre.org
RAGTIME The 1998 musical adaptation is more faithful to E.L. Doctorow’s melting-pot novel than is Milos Forman’s 1981 film, and Fiddlehead Theatre Company’s production kicks up its heels, with accomplished performances in the lead roles of Coalhouse Walker, Sarah, Mother, and Tateh, as well as generally excellent acting, singing, and dancing. Through Oct. 7. Fiddlehead Theatre Company. At Strand Theatre, Boston. 781-329-1901, www.fiddlehead
GOOD PEOPLE South Boston native David Lindsay-Abaire’s brilliant look homeward may seem like it’s about class issues, but there’s much more going on in his layered narrative of choices and personal integrity, beautifully directed by Kate Whoriskey. Johanna Day is wonderfully war-weary as the heroine, Margie, one of a cast of achingly imperfect characters in this Boston-set drama. Through Oct. 14. Huntington Theatre Company. At Boston University Theatre. 617-266-0800, www.huntingtontheatre
THE [EXPLETIVE] WITH THE HAT Director David R. Gammons and his first-rate cast capture the jumpy rhythms of Stephen Adly Guirgis’s dark comedy about a newly paroled drug dealer who struggles to figure out the right way to live, even as he’s knocked for a loop by the discovery of a mysterious hat that suggests his girlfriend has been cheating on him. Through Oct. 13. SpeakEasy Stage Company. At Roberts Studio Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600, www.speakeasystage.com
THE KITE RUNNER Directed by Elaine Vaan Hogue from Matthew Spangler’s adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s best-selling novel, and featuring an excellent performance by Nael Nacer, this is a compassionate, deeply moving, event-packed journey across eras, cultures, national boundaries, and the emotional terrain of tumultuous lives. The fact that the trip also includes a few detours into melodrama and hard-to-swallow coincidence doesn’t diminish its overall power. Through Oct. 7. New Repertory Theatre. At Charles Mosesian Theater, Arsenal Center for the Arts, Watertown. 617-923-8487, www.newrep.org
PANDIT BIRJU MAHARAJ: CONCERT OF THE LEGEND Northern India’s classical Kathak dance combines the gestures of dramatic storytelling with rapid-fire, highly sophisticated rhythmic footwork. Two local chapters of the Association for India’s Development present an undisputed master of the form, who brings three dancers and two musicians with him for a program ranging from ancient to modern. Oct. 7, 7 p.m. $30-$90, $15 students; $5 more at door. Kresge Auditorium, MIT, Cambridge. 857-600-2431, www.aidboston.org
TWIST & SHOUT! OrigiNation Cultural Arts Center, which uses dance as a way to empower youth, honors actor-philanthropist Terrence Howard during the first of two fund-raising evenings of dance. Guest artists include Omekongo and Levi Marsman, and both concerts feature world premieres and performances by Nia Dance Troupe, Girlz of Imani, Imani Jr., and Aleye. Oct. 5,
8 p.m. $35-$50; $100 includes 6:30 p.m. reception. Oct. 6, 8 p.m. $15-$25. Mainstage Theater, Roxbury Community College, 1234 Columbus Ave. 617-541-1875, www.originationinc.org
THE WRATHSKELLAR The Boston Babydolls dive into the dark with this cabaret burlesque. The music of Lotte Lenya, Tom Waits, and Dead Can Dance set the tone for an evening designed to evoke the moody back alleys of London. Oct. 5-28. $25-$45. Davis Square Theatre, Somerville. 800-838-3006, www.bostonbabydolls.com
BILL JACOBSON: PLACE (SERIES) The photographer's latest images may call to mind paintings by Piet Mondrian, or Josef Albers's "Homage to the Square" series. By placing squares and rectangles in a variety of settings, Jacobson limns the tensions between real and abstract. Through Oct. 27. Robert Klein Gallery, 38 Newbury St. 617-267-7997, www.robertkleingallery.com
Starting with webcam shots of Portland's waterfront, Blank laser-engraved them on granite, then scanned the granite slabs to inkjet prints, and scanned those to another medium, with each generation making a new series, moving progressively further from the original image. Through Oct. 24. LaMontagne Gallery, 555 East 2nd St., South Boston. 617-464-4640,
CHRISTOPHER FISHER: CAVE DRAWINGS
In work that references Robert Rauschenberg and Aaron Siskind, Fisher photographs walls in the New York subway system. The result is a rich pentimento, in which traces of torn flyers and peeling paint coalesce into a larger abstraction. Through Oct. 28. Gurari Collections, 460 Harrison Ave. 617-367-9800,
SOMETHING ALONG THOSE LINES A group show of prominent artists, including Lawrence Weiner, Bruce Nauman, Ann Carlson + Mary Ellen Strom, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, and Fred Sandback, riffing on a work by Sol LeWitt, Wall Drawing #118, which was first executed at the museum school in 1971. Through Nov. 3. School of the Museum of Fine Arts.
PAUL KLEE: PHILOSOPHICAL
VISION; FROM NATURE TO ART Exploring the philosophy of the great European modernist as expressed in his art. Through Dec. 9. McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College. 617-552-8100, www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/artmuseum
HATS: AN ANTHOLOGY BY
STEPHEN JONES More than 250 turbans, bonnets, and other imaginative hats designed by British “milliner-to-the-stars” Jones, organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Through Feb. 3. Peabody Essex Museum, Salem.
CROSSING CULTURES: THE OWEN AND WAGNER COLLECTION OF CONTEMPORARY
ABORIGINAL AUSTRALIAN ART AT THE HOOD MUSEUM OF ART More than 100 works of Australian indigenous art from the Hood’s collection, including acrylic paintings, bark paintings, and sculptures. Through March 10. Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H. 603-646-2808, hoodmuseum.dartmouth.edu
A touch of glass
KATINA HUSTON: GOLDBERG VARIATIONS Huston traces shadows in ink, creating ghostly abstractions. For this project, she duplicated the notation for Bach’s Goldberg Variations with crystal stemware, then she drew the shadows the glasses cast, mapping Bach's music. Pictured: Huston’s “Variatio 2 a Clav #2.” Through Oct. 28. Chase Young Gallery, 450 Harrison Ave.