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fall arts preview

Critics’ picks: Theater

Thomas Derrah as Kaa and Larry Yando as Shere Khan in a new adaptation of “The Jungle Book.”

Liz Lauren

Thomas Derrah as Kaa and Larry Yando as Shere Khan in a new adaptation of “The Jungle Book.”

DRIVING MISS DAISY Lindsay Crouse and Johnny Lee Davenport star in Alfred Uhry’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about the relationship between an elderly Jewish widow and an African-American chauffeur over nearly three decades in the South that span the years of the civil rights movement. Also featuring Robert Pemberton. Directed by Benny Sato Ambush. Through Sept. 22. Gloucester Stage Company, Gloucester. 978-281-4433, www.gloucesterstage.com

SEMINAR Theresa Rebeck’s comedy about the personal and professional dynamics among four aspiring writers and their teacher, an acid-tongued literary eminence. Directed by Weylin Symes. Sept. 12-29. Stoneham Theatre, Stoneham. 781-279-2200, www.stonehamtheatre.org

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THE OTHER PLACE Debra Wise stars in Sharr White’s drama about a scientist coping with turmoil in her personal life and in her psyche. Directed by Bridget Kathleen O’Leary. Sept. 12-Oct. 6. Coproduction by Nora Theatre Company and Underground Railway Theater. At Central Square Theater, Cambridge. 866-811-4111, www.centralsquaretheater.org

ROMEO & JULIET Actors’ Shakespeare Project launches its 10th season with a production of Shakespeare’s tragedy of star-crossed lovers, played by Jason Bowen and Julie Ann Earls. Codirected by Bobbie Steinbach and Allyn Burrows. Oct. 2-Nov. 3. Actors’ Shakespeare Project. At Strand Theatre, Dorchester. www.actorsshakespeareproject.org

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET A jukebox musical inspired by the 1956 jam session at a Memphis studio whose participants included Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis. Oct. 8-20. Broadway in Boston. At Citi Emerson Colonial Theatre. 866-348-9738, www.broadwayinboston.com

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WATER BY THE SPOONFUL Quiara Alegría Hudes won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for this drama about a veteran of the Iraq war struggling to reacclimate to civilian life while a parallel narrative chronicles the connections among four people in an online chatroom for recovering addicts. Directed by Scott Edmiston. Oct. 18-Nov. 16. Lyric Stage Company. 617-585-5678, www.lyricstage.com

THE JUNGLE BOOK Mary Zimmerman’s version of “Candide’’ at the Huntington Theatre Company was one of the Boston theater highlights of 2011. Now comes Zimmerman’s adaptation of “The Jungle Book,’’ based on stories by Rudyard Kipling and on the 1967 Disney animated film. Directed by Zimmerman, it features 10-year-old Akash Chopra as Mowgli the “man cub’’ and includes some of the film’s songs in “Indian-inspired arrangements,’’ along with choreography by Christopher Gattelli. Sept. 7-Oct. 13. Coproduction by Huntington Theatre Company and Goodman Theatre. At Boston University Theatre. 617-266-0800, www.huntingtontheatre.org

BURNING A “reinvention’’ of Rostand’s “Cyrano de Bergerac,’’ this new drama by Ginger Lazarus revolves around Cy Burns, discharged from the Army for being gay and now writing a blog that exposes malfeasance in the military. She is in love with an artist friend, but the friend is smitten with an inarticulate infantryman, who turns to Cy for help expressing his feelings. Directed by Steven Bogart. Sept. 26-Oct. 20. At Boston Playwrights’ Theatre. 866-811-4111, www.bostonplaywrights.org

WAITING FOR GODOT Two years ago Conor Lovett performed a powerful solo adaptation of “Moby Dick’’ in Boston. Now Lovett is back, playing Vladimir, one of two men in Samuel Beckett’s classic drama who wait, and wait, and wait on a country road for a mysterious fellow who never shows up. When it premiered on Broadway in 1956, New York Times critic Brooks Atkinson described it as an “acrid cartoon of the story of mankind.’’ Directed by Judy Hegarty Lovett. Oct. 31-Nov. 10. Production by Gare St. Lazare Players Ireland. At ArtsEmerson, Paramount Center Mainstage. 617-824-8400, www.artsemerson.org

THE AFTER-DINNER JOKE Five actors will play more than 60 characters in this 1978 BBC teleplay by the great Caryl Churchill, later adapted for the stage. It revolves around an idealistic charity worker who runs head-on into the political complexities of philanthropy. Directed by Meg Taintor. Nov. 7-24. Whistler in the Dark Theatre. At Charlestown Working Theater, Charlestown. www.whistlerinthedark.com

THE NORMAL HEART In Larry Kramer’s 1985 drama, it’s the early phase of the AIDS epidemic, and the fiery writer-activist Ned Weeks, played by Victor Shopov, is determined to sound the alarm about the disease as forcefully as possible, even if it means alienating allies who are less confrontational than he is. Directed by David J. Miller. Nov. 1-23. Zeitgeist Stage Company. At Plaza Black Box Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600, www.zeitgeiststage.com

HAIRY TALES A double bill of two radio plays by Angela Carter: “Vampirella,’’ a gothic take on “Sleeping Beauty,’’ and “In the Company of Wolves,’’ a reimagining of the story of Little Red Riding Hood. Directed by Matthew Woods, with original music by Sam Beebe. On Saturday and Sunday afternoons, there will be matinees of Carter’s “Puss in Boots.’’ Oct. 4-26. Imaginary Beasts. At Plaza Black Box Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600, www.bostontheatrescene.com

THE MADNESS OF SMALL WORLDS A pair of monologues by the renowned experimental playwright Mac Wellman, both of them directed by Elena Araoz. “Horrocks (and Toutatis Too)’’ will be performed by New York-based actress Erin Mallon. “Wu World Woo’’ will be performed by Omaha-based actor Timothy Siragusa. In addition, the evening will feature a short play, “Wrench,’’ by Elana Greenfield, directed by Kenneth Prestininzi. Oct. 25-26. Sleeping Weazel. At Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre, Paramount Center, Boston. 617-824-8400, www.paramountboston.org

KURT VONNEGUT’S MAKE UP YOUR MIND A world premiere, “assembled’’ by the playwright Nicky Silver (“The Lyons’’) from a dozen versions of a 1993 play written by Vonnegut about a man who devises a therapeutic approach for the severely indecisive, then confronts a decision of his own when he falls in love with a wealthy woman. Directed by Cliff Fannin Baker. Oct. 30-Nov. 30. SpeakEasy Stage Company. At Roberts Studio Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600, www.speakeasystage.com

ALL THE WAY “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston has walked out of the meth lab and into the White House. The three-time Emmy winner tackles the role of President Lyndon B. Johnson in a play that covers the year between John F. Kennedy’s assassination in November 1963 and Johnson’s election in November 1964. Written by Pulitzer winner Robert Schenkkan and directed by Bill Rauch, who helmed its world premiere at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival last year. Sept. 13-Oct. 12.American Repertory Theater. At Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge. 617-547-8300, www.americanrepertorytheater.org

Don Aucoin can be reached at aucoin@globe.com.
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