Theater & art
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    Critics’ picks: Theater

    Jing Xu, Margaret Anna Brady, Thomas Derrah, and Taylor Mac in the American Repertory Theatre’s “The Lily’s Revenge.”
    Gretjen Helene
    Jing Xu, Margaret Anna Brady, Thomas Derrah, and Taylor Mac in the American Repertory Theatre’s “The Lily’s Revenge.”

    Opening

    ANNE OF GREEN GABLES A musical adaptation of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s novel about a resourceful orphan who is sent to live in a farming village. Directed by Jane Staab and featuring Jennifer Beth Glick as Anne Shirley, with a cast that includes Kippy Goldfarb, Maureen Keiller, Jacqui Parker, and Robert Saoud. Through Nov. 18. Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston. 617-879-2300, www.wheelockfamily
    theatre.org

    44 PLAYS FOR 44 PRESIDENTS Brief biographical sketches of every commander in chief from Washington to Obama. Oct. 27-Nov. 11. Bad Habit Productions. At Deane Hall, Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600, www.bostontheatrescene
    .comDON AUCOIN

    Now playing

    VOLTAIRE AND FREDERICK: A LIFE IN LETTERS A staged reading, featuring Thomas Derrah and John Kuntz, of Detlef Gericke-Schönhagen’s new play, which is built on the decades-long correspondence between the irreverent French author of “Candide’’ and Frederick the Great. Directed by Guy Ben-Aharon. German Stage, Goethe-Institut Boston. Oct. 22 at Mandel Humanities Center, Brandeis University, Waltham. 781-736-2756, www.brandeis.edu/cges. Nov. 1 at Adolphus Busch Hall, Harvard University. 617-496-2222. www.box
    office.harvard.edu

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    THE LILY’S REVENGE If Busby Berkeley had dropped acid while watching “Pee-wee’s Playhouse,’’ this might have been the result. Cutesy and ham-handed though it is at times, Taylor Mac’s five-act, four-hour-plus extravaganza about a flower that wants to marry a human sweeps you up in its gaudy, irrepressible theatricality. Through Oct. 28. American Repertory Theater. At Oberon, Cambridge.
    617-547-8300, www.american
    repertorytheater.org

    MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

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    A screening of a production staged last year in London at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, starring Eve Best as Beatrice and Charles Edwards as Benedick, a duo who delight in verbal volleying. Oct. 23 and 29 at Kendall Square Cinema, Cambridge. 617-621-1202, www.landmarktheatres.com.

    Oct. 29 at Showcase Cinemas, Lowell; Showcase Cinema, Legacy Place, Dedham; and Showcase Cinemas, Woburn. 800-315-4000, www.showcasecinemas.com

    DON AUCOIN

    UNCLE VANYA A revival of last winter’s production of Anton Chekhov’s classic study of wasted lives, with Diego Arciniegas replacing John Kuntz in the title role. Craig Lucas’s adaptation is Americanized to a fault, but staging each of the four acts in a different room makes the audience feel like privileged guests on a provincial Russian estate. (Reviewed January 2012.) Through Nov. 11. Apollinaire Theatre Company. At Chelsea Theatre Works, Chelsea. 617-887-2336, www.apollinairetheatre.com

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    JEFFREY GANTZ