Theater & art

The week ahead: Theater

Mark S. Howard

Once upon a stage

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. Pictured: Bostic (foreground) and Parent. Through June 29. Lyric Stage Company of Boston. 617-585-5678,



SMART PEOPLE Lydia R. Diamond’s splendid new Cambridge-based play sifts through the implications of research that suggests racism might be hard-wired into the human brain while showcasing a quartet of complex, flawed, intriguing, and, yes, smart people who register as much more than delivery systems for polemical freight. Directed by Peter DuBois. Through July 6. Huntington Theatre Company, at Wimberly Theatre, Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-266-0800,



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THE TEMPEST Directed by Aaron Posner and Teller, the silent half of the Penn & Teller team, this dandy production dresses up Shakespeare with stage magic, a gymnastic two-man Caliban, and an onstage band playing songs from the Tom Waits catalog. Through June 15. American Repertory Theater. Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge. 617-547-8300,


AMALUNA Cirque du Soleil is back with its big top, performing a female-centered spectacle that combines Las Vegas razzle-dazzle with refined art. Directed by Diane Paulus, artistic director of the American Repertory Theater, the production is based loosely on “The Tempest,” with a female Prospera. This outing is more plot-based than previous Cirque shows, which gives it an intimacy and ties the circus acts together. Yes, you can expect the usual Cirque derring-do. One new act is not to be missed: A character called the Balance Goddess makes a sculpture out of giant palm leaf ribs, and the effect is graceful and gripping. Through July 6. Boston Marine Industrial Park. 800-450-1480,




CLASS ACT Inspired by classic film noir, “The Great Gatsby,” Fred Astaire, and the spirit of vaudeville, this ode to the 1920s and ’30s features original tap choreography by improbably tall tap fave Ryan P. Casey and hoofer Kelly Kaleta. Expect dancing detectives, high-kicking kingpins, and flirtatious flappers. June 15,4 p.m. $16-$20. Oberon, Cambridge. 617-547-8300,

THE DRAGON AND THE PHOENIX Boston’s Chinese Folk Art Workshop, Inc. presents a family-friendly program of Chinese dance and music that highlights the complementary dualities of yin and yang, represented in Chinese mythology by the dragon and the phoenix. June 14, 7:30 p.m., $12-$15. Regis College’s Casey Theater, Weston. 781-608-3971,

BESSIE SCHÖNBERG MENTORSHIP RESIDENCY PERFORMANCES For three weeks, Oregon choreographer Eric Skinner and New York choreographers Cori Marquis and Luke Murphy have been exploring and creating new work at The Yard, fueled by the spirit of Martha’s Vineyard and the mentorship of David Brick (co-artistic director of Philadelphia’s Headlong Dance Theater). These concerts showcase where their inspiration has led them. June 13-14, $15-$25. The Yard, Patricia N. Nanon Theater, Chilmark. 508-645-9662,



JOE WARDWELL: PARTY OVER Wardwell’s paintings layer abstraction, landscape, and text. They explore ties between landscape painting and American identity, examine the fallout of conquering the wilderness, and upend the heroic message implicit in many American landscapes. Through July 19. LaMontagne Gallery, 555 East 2nd St.,
South Boston. 617-464-4640,


SOMERVILLE TOY CAMERA FESTIVAL Five exhibitions celebrate the low-tech wonders, and occasional happy accidents, of shooting with lightweight, inexpensive plastic film cameras. Start at Nave Gallery Annex, then visit Nave Gallery, Washington Street Arts Center, Somerville Museum, and Brickbottom Gallery. Through June 28. Nave Gallery Annex, 53 Chester St., Somerville. (No phone),

CODY JUSTUS: MILEAGE A rigorous painter just sprung from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Justus applies the formal stillness of certain modernist styles to the movement of road trips, creating works that flip between painting and signage. Through June 30. Hallway Gallery, 66a South St., Jamaica Plain. 617-818-5996,



TURNER & THE SEA Turner’s vision of the sea as a stage fit for stirring drama is extensively demonstrated in this show organized by the National Maritime Museum in London. The great painter gives us the full treatment in a memorable show. Through Sept. 1. Peabody Essex Museum, Salem. 866-745-1876,

RICHARD ESTES’S REALISM A large survey of the pioneering painter, often associated with photorealism, organized by the Portland Museum of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Through Sept. 7. Portland Museum of Art, Portland, Maine. 207-775-6148,

UNKNOWN HOPPER: EDWARD HOPPER AS ILLUSTRATOR A comprehensive survey of the great American realist’s little-known 20-year career (1906-1925) as a producer of cover and story illustrations for periodicals such as Country Gentleman, Scribner’s Magazine, and Hotel Management. Through Oct. 26. Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge. 413-298-4100,

QUILTS AND COLOR Nearly 60 quilts from the Pilgrim/Roy Collection, accumulated over five decades by artists Paul Pilgrim and Gerald Roy, with an emphasis on works that chime with 20th century aesthetics. Through July 27. Museum of Fine Arts. 617-267-9300,

Sebastian Smee

Giving shape

BAHAR YURUKOGLU: NEOSCAPES Yurukoglu, who had an installation in the 2013 deCordova Biennial, plays with light and color, photographing still lifes constructed from colored Plexiglas. Her images skew perceptions of space: Some appear sculptural, others flat; some waver between the two. Pictured: “Neoscape XX, Throwing Shade.” Through June 28. Beth Urdang Gallery, 129 Newbury St. 781-264-1121,