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Critics’ picks: Theater

Joan Marcus

WICKED The hard-to-resist musical about the witches of Oz is back, in a production featuring an excellent performance by Jenn Gambatese as Glinda, Alison Luff in the role of Elphaba, and none other than John Davidson as the Wizard. With music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Winnie Holzman. (Pictured: Curt Hansen and Luff.) Through Sept. 15. Broadway in Boston. Boston Opera House. 800-982-2787, www.broadwayinboston.com

THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE Home is where the hate is in Martin McDonagh’s chilling 1996 drama about the poisonous relationship between a mother, played by Tina Packer as a kind of living gargoyle, and her daughter, portrayed with seething force by Elizabeth Aspenlieder. Directed by Matthew Penn. Through Sept. 15. Shakespeare & Company, at Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, Lenox. 413-637-3353, www.shakespeare.org

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ODYSSEO This one rides on horsepower all the way. The brainchild of Cirque du Soleil cofounder Normand Latourelle, it’s a transporting spectacle that imaginatively and elegantly fuses highly stylized equestrian arts with Cirque-style atmospherics, acrobatics, and aerial stunts. Extended through Sept. 22. Cavalia. Assembly Square, Somerville. 866-999-8111, www.cavalia.netDON AUCOIN

DRIVING MISS DAISY Under the deft direction of Benny Sato Ambush, three extraordinary actors at the Gloucester Stage Company deliver delicately tuned performances that uncover depth and nuance from stock characters. Steering away from archetypes, Johnny Lee Davenport, Lindsay Crouse, and Robert Pemberton offer revelatory performances that draw us completely into the heart of this “family” to remind us that the beauty of Alfred Uhry’s play lies not in his characters’ ability to find commonality, but in their openness to learning to love and respect their differences. Through Sept. 22. Gloucester Stage Company, Gloucester. 978-281-4433, www.gloucesterstage.comTERRY BYRNE

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