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FALL ARTS PREVIEW

10 plays and musicals from a season of a rebirth

Director Rachel Chavkin (center) leads a rehearsal of "Hadestown" at the Walter Kerr Theatre on Broadway earlier this month. A touring production of the Tony-winning musical comes to the Citizens Bank Opera House Nov. 2-14.
Director Rachel Chavkin (center) leads a rehearsal of "Hadestown" at the Walter Kerr Theatre on Broadway earlier this month. A touring production of the Tony-winning musical comes to the Citizens Bank Opera House Nov. 2-14.Jennifer S. Altman

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE Nael Nacer’s extraordinary track record as an actor in Boston over the past decade, combined with that of Igor Golyak as a director during roughly the same time period, make this a production to look forward to. With Golyak at the helm, Nacer will portray Shylock in a production whose cast will also include Gigi Watson as Portia, Jesse Hinson as Bassanio, and Dennis Trainor as Antonio. Sept. 23-Oct. 17. Actors’ Shakespeare Project. At Plaza Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-241-2200, www.actorsshakespeareproject.org

BE HERE NOW In this comedy by the gifted Deborah Zoe Laufer (”Out of Sterno,” “The Last Schwartz”), Samantha Richert portrays a nihilistic academic named Bari whose worldview is challenged after she experiences seizures that lead to a personality transformation. Also featuring the always-welcome Barlow Adamson, Shani Farrell, and Katherine C. Shaver. Directed by Courtney O’Connor. Sept. 24-Oct. 17. Lyric Stage Company of Boston. www.lyricstage.com, 617-585-5678

QUEENS GIRL IN THE WORLD A coming-of-age solo play by Caleen Sinnette Jennings that stars Jasmine M. Rush as Jacqueline Marie Butler, a Black teenager living in Queens in the 1960s. Against the backdrop of the civil rights movement, Jacqueline attends a progressive school in Greenwich Village where she is one of only a handful of Black students. Rush will portray more than a dozen characters. Directed by Dawn M. Simmons. Sept. 30-Oct. 31. Presented by The Nora@Central Square Theater, The Front Porch Arts Collective, and the Hangar Theatre. At Central Square Theater, Cambridge. 617-576-9278, www.centralsquaretheater.org

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MAMMA MIA! Yes, it’s been around forever, and there’s a movie version you can watch anytime you want. But when it’s done well live, this ABBA jukebox musical allows you to turn off your brain and embrace its larky spirit of fun for fun’s sake. And that might be just the ticket for our pandemic-weary souls at the moment. Featuring Lexie Dorsett Sharp as Donna, Tiffani Barbour as Rosie, and Merrill Peiffer as Tanya. Directed and choreographed by Kevin P. Hill. Oct. 5-17. North Shore Music Theatre, Beverly. 978-232-7200, www.nsmt.org

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RENT It has somehow been a quarter-century since Jonathan Larson’s rock musical exploded onto Broadway, where it proceeded to run for a dozen years, picking up a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award for best musical along the way. Loosely based on Puccini’s “La Boheme,” “Rent” focuses on artists and activists in New York’s East Village during the height of the AIDS epidemic. Staged by Evan Ensign, based on Michael Greif’s original direction. Oct. 12-17. At the Boch Center Shubert Theatre. 800-982-2787, www.bochcenter.org, or via Ticketmaster.

WITCH Based on “The Witch of Edmonton,” a Jacobean drama from 1621, “Witch” revolves around Elizabeth, an outcast who has been falsely labeled a witch by the residents of her village and scapegoated for their troubles. Then a charming devil shows up in town, offering to grant anyone’s deepest wishes if they sell him their soul. Will Elizabeth accept this Faustian bargain, given that everyone already believes her to be evil anyway? The play by Jen Silverman (”The Roommate”) is directed by Rebecca Bradshaw. Oct. 15-Nov. 14. Huntington Theatre Company. At Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-266-0800, www.huntingtontheatre.org

MACBETH IN STRIDE Through the character and story of Lady Macbeth, creator-performer Whitney White explores questions of “contemporary Black female power, femininity, and desire,’’ accompanied by a live band performing R&B, rock, gospel, and pop music. White will perform opposite Charlie Thurston, with Phoenix Best, Kira Helper, and Reggie D. White as the three witches. Directed by Tyler Dobrowsky and Taibi Magar. Oct. 23-Nov. 14. American Repertory Theater. At: Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge. 617-547-8300, www.AmericanRepertoryTheater.org

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BLKS Three Black women in their 20s who are trying to cope with romantic and career challenges embark on a freewheeling night on the town after one of them experiences a health scare. This play by Aziza Barnes will be directed by Tonasia Jones and will feature Shanelle Villegas, Thomika Bridwell, and Sandra Seoane-Serí. Oct. 29-Nov. 20. SpeakEasy Stage Company. At Roberts Studio Theatre, Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600, www.speakeasystage.com

HADESTOWN From its origins as a community-theater piece in Vermont to a concept album to a full-fledged Broadway musical, “Hadestown” has had a circuitous journey that led to eight Tony Awards in 2019, including Best Musical. Anais Mitchell, who grew up on a sheep farm in Vermont, wrote the music, lyrics, and book for this folk- and jazz-infused retelling of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, entwined with the tale of King Hades and his restless wife Persephone. Developed with and directed by Rachel Chavkin. Nov. 2-14. Presented by Broadway In Boston at Citizens Bank Opera House, Boston. www.broadwayinboston.com

IPHIGENIA The world premiere of an ambitious operatic reimagining of the Greek myth. “Iphigenia” will feature an orchestral score with classical and jazz forms by Wayne Shorter, a libretto by Grammy winner esperanza spalding (who will also perform) that fractures and multiplies Iphigenia’s identity, and scenic design by famed architect Frank Gehry. Directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz. Nov. 12-13. ArtsEmerson. At Cutler Majestic Theatre. 617-824-8400, www.artsemerson.org

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DON AUCOIN


Don Aucoin can be reached at donald.aucoin@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeAucoin.