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Critic’s picks: theater

CHINGLISH

With standout performances by Celeste Oliva and Barlow Adamson, Larry Coen’s first-rate production of David Henry Hwang’s poignant comedy generates sparks from the cultural collisions that result when a Midwesterner tries to pull off a big business deal in China. Through Dec. 23. Lyric Stage Company, Boston. 617-585-5678, www.lyricstage.com

CHESAPEAKE

A certain smugness about the lofty place of capital-A art and the ignorance of the philistines mars this solo play by Lee Blessing, but Georgia Lyman delivers a superb, many-shaded portrayal of a performance artist at loggerheads with a conservative Southern senator. Directed by Doug Lockwood. Through Dec. 16. New Repertory Theatre, Black Box Theater, Arsenal Center for the Arts, Watertown. 617-923-8487,
www.newrep.org

THE PIANIST OF WILLESDEN LANE

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In this compelling solo show, adapted and directed by Hershey Felder, the tale Mona Golabek has to tell — and we do sense that she has to tell it — is that of her own mother, Lisa Jura, an aspiring pianist who fled the Nazis as a young teenager. Through Dec. 16. ArtsEmerson. Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theater, Paramount Center. 617-824-8400, www.arts
emerson.org

DON AUCOIN

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