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The week ahead: Performing and visual arts

Theater

INTO THE WOODS A captivating production of the Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine musical, adroitly directed by Spiro Veloudos, in which the disenchanted forest of the title is thick with pathos, dread, and disillusion, but also shot through with humor, life and wayward romance. With eye-catching steampunk costumes by Elisabetta Polito and top-notch performances, especially by Aimee Doherty, Lisa Yuen, Erica Spyres, Maurice Emmanuel Parent, John Ambrosino, and Maritza Bostic.Extended through June 29. Lyric Stage Company of Boston. 617-585-5678, www.lyricstage.com

SMART PEOPLE Lydia R. Diamond (“Stick Fly,’’ “Voyeurs de Venus’’) examines the question of whether prejudice and racism are “hard-wired’’ into human beings. Thrashing out that issue are four characters: an African-American doctor, a white neurobiologist, a Chinese-Japanese-American psychologist, and an African-American actress. Directed by Peter DuBois. May 23-June 29. Huntington Theatre Company. At Wimberly Theatre, Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-266-0800, www.huntingtontheatre.org

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IMAGINING MADOFF Deborah Margolin’s speculative leap into the inner life of her notorious subject results in an engrossing drama of ideas whose intellectual and metaphysical gymnastics are a perfect match for the skills of Jeremiah Kissel, who won an Elliot Norton Award this week for his performance in the title role, and for his costars, Joel Colodner and Adrianne Krstansky. A remount of the New Repertory Theater production, copresented with the Boston Center for American Performance. Directed by Elaine Vaan Hogue. May 28-June 1. At Boston University Theatre, Lane-Comley Studio 210. 617-923-8487, www.newrep.org

DON AUCOIN

ON THE VERGE Eric Overmyer’s delightful comedy opens in 1888, with three American ladies exploring Terra Incognita, but they soon find themselves blazing a trail into the future, where they meet a German-speaking cannibal, a yeti, a toll-collecting troll, Mr. Coffee, a good-old-boy gas-station attendant, and a Havana-style-nightclub owner and singer — all portrayed by the same actor. Overmyer’s imagination runs riot, but this production is largely equal to the challenge. Through May 25. New Repertory Theatre. At Charles Mosesian Theater, Arsenal Center for the Arts, Watertown. 617-923-8487, www.newrep.org

JEFFREY GANTZ

DANCE

JEWELS Boston Ballet wraps up its 50th season at home with Balanchine’s brilliant three-part “Jewels.” “Emeralds,” with music by Fauré, evokes the elegance of France, while “Diamonds” (Tchaikovsky) recalls the grandeur of Russian ballet. “Rubies” epitomizes the legendary collaboration between Balanchine and Stravinsky. May 22-June 1, $29-$137. Boston Opera House. 617-695-6955, www.bostonballet.org

CELEBRATE THE PAST, DANCE INTO THE FUTURE For 35 years, the Jeannette Neill Dance Studio has been offering top-notch dance education in a range of styles for kids and adults alike. It’s also home to Boston Youth Moves, some of whose dancers have gone on to perform on Broadway and in major companies. This concert of original jazz, modern, hip-hop, and contemporary dance choreography celebrates the studio’s spirit and diversity. May 23-24, $20-$25. Tsai Performance Center. 617-523-1355, www.jndance.ticketleap.com

JEAN APPOLON EXPRESSIONS Based in Boston but raised in Port-au-Prince, Appolon returns to his native Haiti each summer for his Jean Appolon Summer Dance Institute, which provides a free competitive, four-week intensive for 50 young dancers. This weekend’s “Family” event is his company’s benefit concert of dance and live music to raise funds for the worthy project. May 23-24, $20-$25. Dance Complex, Cambridge. 617-547-9363, www.jeanappolonexpressions.org

DANCE CHAT “Two guys walk into a barre. . .” Boston Center for the Arts presents a conversation between veteran dancemaker and Dance Complex director Peter DiMuro and New York-based choreographer and performing arts consultant Sydney Skybetter. With audience participation feeding in as well, this promises to be a lively exchange about what it takes to survive as a dance artist. Refreshments and cash bar. May 28, 7 p.m., Free. Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-426-5000, www.bcaonline.org

KAREN CAMPBELL

Other worldly

CULTURAL [DIVIDE] Three photographers turn their lenses on societies, familiar and foreign: Irina Rozovsky visits Cuba, Cassandra Giraldo hangs out with activist punks in Russia (above), and Todd Danforth unpacks the mysteries of his own New England family. Through June 14, 555 Gallery, 555 East 2nd St., South Boston. 857-496-7234, www.555gallery.com

CATE MCQUAID

GALLERIES

CHEMA MADOZ: SIN TITULO The Spanish photographer’s carefully constructed, deceptively simple black-and-white images make unlikely associations, and have Surrealist undertones: a cloud in a birdcage; a mirror ball/globe. He playfully subverts everyday objects to make them odd and magical. Through June 21. Robert Klein Gallery, 38 Newbury St. 617-267-7997, www.robertkleingallery.com

VISIBLE SOUL: CELEBRATING THE FELINE AS MUSE THROUGH PAINTING, DRAWING, PHOTOGRAPHY, AND SCULPTURE Our cats command, cajole, and comfort us. This show pays tribute to their many guises, with work by Andy Warhol, Louise Bourgeois , and more. Through June 14. VanDernoot Gallery, Lesley University, 1815 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge. 617-585-6656, www.lesley.edu/college-art-and-design/events/

2014 NATIONAL PRIZE SHOW The Cambridge Art Association’s annual juried show features a range of noteworthy artists. James Welu, director emeritus of the Worcester Art Museum, was the juror. Through June 26. Kathryn Shultz Gallery, 25 Lowell St., Cambridge, and University Place Gallery, 124 Mount Auburn St., Cambridge. 617-876-0246, www.cambridgeart.org

CATE McQUAID

MUSEUMS

IAN HAMILTON FINLAY: ARCADIAN REVOLUTIONARY AND AVANT-GARDENER More than 200 works are included in this ambitious survey of the career of the great Scottish artist, poet, and garden designer. Through Oct. 13. DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln. 781 259 8355, www.decordova.org

OLAFUR ELIASSON A suite of works, including an artificial outdoor waterfall, a spinning mobile, and a row of colored light projectors casting patterned shadows, by the Danish-Icelandic artist. Through Nov. 30. Hall Art Foundation, Reading, VT. 802-952-1056, www.hallartfoundation.org

PERMISSION TO BE GLOBAL/PRACTICAS GLOBALES: LATIN AMERICAN ART FROM THE ELLA FONTANALES-CISNEROS COLLECTION The first survey of contemporary Latin American art hosted by the Museum of Fine Arts. Featuring work by 46 artists from Central and South America and the Caribbean, all from a single collection. The show was first seen at Art Basel Miami Beach late last year. Through July 13. Museum of Fine Arts. 617-267-9300, www.mfa.org

NATALIE DJURBURG + HANS BERG: A WORLD OF GLASS An installation of 193 polyurethane sculptures, on four tables, and four compelling (if somewhat eye-popping: It’s not suitable for young children) Claymation video projections by the Swedish artist Djurburg, with accompanying music by the Swedish composer Berg. Through July 6. Institute of Contemporary Art. 617-478-3100, www.icaboston.com

SEBASTIAN SMEE

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