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events

The week ahead: Theater, galleries and museums

THEATER

MILDRED FIERCE In Ryan Landry’s dizzily entertaining musical parody of “Mildred Pierce,’’ the sublime Varla Jean Merman devours a signature Joan Crawford role like one of the pies Mildred sells to keep her no-good daughter in the lap of luxury. Through March 17. Ryan Landry and the Gold Dust Orphans. At Machine. www.brownpapertickets.com

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STONES IN HIS POCKETS Marie Jones’s darkly funny play about Irish extras in a movie that’s being shot in Kerry has two adroit actors playing a total of 15 characters. Phil Tayler and Daniel Berger-Jones move from one person to the next in the blink of an eye, illuminating Jones’s essay on what it means to be Irish when Hollywood comes calling. Through March 16. Lyric Stage Company. 617-585-5678, www.lyricstage.com

THE GLASS MENAGERIE John Tiffany’s revival of Tennessee Williams’s semi-autobiographical 1944 play is grounded in the excellence of its four actors, particularly Cherry Jones as faded Southern belle Amanda Wingfield. And by staging the action on a pair of hexagonal platforms that seem to float in time and space, Tiffany reminds us that you can never really leave your family behind. Through March 17. American Repertory Theater. At Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge. 800-547-8300, www.americanrepertorytheater.org

LIFE OF RILEY An intimate staging of Alan Ayckbourn’s dark comedy does the playwright proud. Maureen Adduci leads a terrific cast. Through March 2. Zeitgeist Stage Company. At Plaza Black Box Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600, www.zeitgeiststage.com

THE IRISH . . . AND HOW THEY GOT THAT WAY Frank McCourt’s celebration, through story and song, of the Irish-American experience and a heritage that confronts adversity with determination, good humor, music, and a love of life. Through April 28. At Davis Square Theatre, Somerville. 800-660-8462, www.frankmccourtstheirish.com

DANCE

GRUPO CORPO This superbly talented Brazilian troupe infuses classical and modern technique with the vibrant energy and flair of the samba and other forms, resulting in substantive choreography that often swings cool yet whips up a heat wave. The Celebrity Series of Boston presents the group’s Boston debut. Feb. 28-March 2. $60-$75. Citi Shubert Theatre. 866-348-9738, www.celebrityseries.org

BALLET FLAMENCO DE ANDALUCÍA Expect the clack of castanets, the flourish of fans, and the mesmerizing tattoos of fiery footwork as this acclaimed Spanish troupe makes its Boston debut with the US premiere of “Metáfora.” Presented as part of World Music/CRASHarts’s Flamenco Festival 2013. March 1-3. $40-$65. Cutler Majestic Theatre. 617-876-4275, www.worldmusic.org

ZOE DANCE In Callie Chapman’s new “Past Is Present,” the performers of the 10-year-old Zoe Dance connect not just with each other, but with live and pre-recorded video projections as they explore the effects of individual and collective memory. March 1-3. $17, $15 seniors and students. Dance Complex, Cambridge. 781-738-3272, www.zoedance.org

DOUG VARONE AND DANCERS Varone’s “Carrugi” takes its name and inspiration from people-watching while walking the well-trod pathways between tiny hillside towns in Italy. As part of its 25th-anniversary tour, the company presents this new work along with the popular “Rise,” leaving time for the choreographer to chat about his process as well. March 2, 8 p.m. $35-$42. Zeiterion Theatre, New Bedford. 508-994-2900, www.zeiterion.org

GALLERIES

GERRY BERGSTEIN: THEORY AND PRACTICE  The painter's new body of work features his trademark exploration of chaos, piling up images, snippets of narrative, and spatial tricks. This time, he often uses a scroll format, and depicts intellectual giants such as Einstein and Freud. Through March 23. Gallery NAGA, 67 Newbury St. 617-267-9060, www.gallerynaga.com

LYNN SAVILLE: VACANCY  Saville goes out at dawn and dusk to photograph streets in the evolving light. Her exposures are long: Colors deepen, lights gild windows or walls, shadows crop up unexpectedly, and people blur or vanish from view. Through March 30. Gallery Kayafas, 450 Harrison Ave. 617-482-0411, www.gallerykayafas.com 

THE ORIGIN OF THE WORLD/ THE FORCE OF THE SOURCE/ THE CAUSE OF THE VIGOR Taking its cue from Gustave Courbet's erotic 1866 painting “The Origin of the World” and Naomi Wolf's recent book “Vagina: A New Biography,” this group show celebrates the vagina. Through March 30. Samson, 450 Harrison Ave. 617-357-7177, www.samsonprojects.com

MUSEUMS

FREEPORT [NO. 006]: NICK CAVE Three faceless, funky, sculptural costumes by the fabric artist, seen in conjunction with a film projection. Cave’s exuberant “Soundsuits” recall anything from African ceremonial garb to neon-hued yeti to conglomerations of Beanie Babies. Through May 27. Peabody Essex Museum, 161 Essex St., Salem. 978-745-9500, www.pem.org

LOÏS MAILOU JONES This small retrospective traces the career of the 20th-century painter, whose work reached full flower in the 1960s and 1970s, with works that integrate African and Caribbean influences, design smarts, and a keen painterly sensibility. Through Oct. 14. Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave. 617-267-9300, www.mfa.org

FRAME BY FRAME: PHOTOGRAPHIC SERIES AND PORTFOLIOS FROM THE COLLECTION Frame is the name of the game, since the photographers in this superb show are named Robert Frank, Aaron Siskind, Bruce Davidson, William Eggleston,William Christenberry, and Bill Owens. Through April 14. Addison Gallery of American Art. 978-749-4015,www.addisongallery.org

Karen Moss: Off-kilter.

Karen Moss: Off-kilter.

IN HARMONY: THE NORMA JEAN CALDERWOOD COLLECTION OF ISLAMIC ART Ceramics, illustrated folio pages, and drawings on paper, most them exquisite, make up this exhibition of Persianate work from the 9th to 19th centuries. Through June 1. Arthur M. Sackler Museum. 617-495-9400, www.harvardartmuseums.org/visit

Skewed views

KAREN MOSS: OFF-KILTER  Moss plucks familiar-seeming images from children's books, toys, and more, and bends them into social commentary in her mixed-media collages. She humorously skewers gender roles, environmental degradation, and our consumer culture. Pictured: Moss’s “Lost at Sea.” Through March 22. Kniznick Gallery, Women's Studies Research Center, Brandeis University, 515 South St., Waltham. 781-736-8102, www.brandeis.edu/wsrc 

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