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10 shows to see in a robust season at the theater

A touring production of "Tina: The Tina Turner Musical" arrives at the Citizens Bank Opera House Sept. 20.Manuel Harlan

JONATHAN and THE GOOD DELI Two intriguing-sounding premieres of works by local playwrights are being presented in rotating repertory by Moonbox Productions. “Jonathan,” by Mary ElizaBeth Peters, focuses on a young man with autism (Sam Fidler) employed at a big-box store who has to decide, during the busy week before Christmas, whether his personal goals can be fulfilled at his current job and whether his employer is committed to helping him succeed. Directed by Brad Reinking. Kevin Cirone’s “The Good Deli” stars Aimee Doherty as Julia, an on-the-rise Boston comedian whose father is on his deathbed. With time running out, Julia hits the road on a mission — along with an ex-priest, an exotic dancer, and her older brother — to find an Italian deli her father is obsessed with so he can have a final, perfect sandwich. Directed by Allison Olivia Choat. Running Sept.15-Oct. 2 on alternating nights. Moonbox Productions. At Plaza Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600,

TINA: THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL A biomusical based on the remarkable life of the woman born Anna Mae Bullock in rural Nutbush, Tenn., who built herself into a music legend named Tina Turner, survived an abusive marriage to Ike Turner, and crafted a second act for the ages. The role will be shared evenly between Naomi Rodgers and Zurin Villanueva, with Garrett Turner as Ike Turner. The cast also includes Ann Nesby, Roz White, and Lael Van Keuren. Directed by Phyllida Lloyd (”Mamma Mia!”), with a book by Katori Hall (a 2021 Pulitzer Prize winner for “The Hot Wing King”) and choreography by Anthony Van Laast. Sept. 20-Oct. 2. Broadway In Boston. At Citizens Bank Opera House.


VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE Christopher Durang won the Tony Award for best play in 2013 for this uproarious Chekhov send-up. Directed by Darren Evans, with a cast that includes Shelley Brown, Alisha Jansky, Scot Colford, Eric McGowan, Will Shapiro, and Julia Hertzberg. It was recently reported that Durang — one of the most distinctive and sharp-witted playwrights of his generation, known for scorching works like “Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You” — has been diagnosed with a rare language disorder called logopenic primary progressive aphasia. Sept. 21-Oct. 8. Titanic Theatre Company. Plaza Black Box Theater, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600,

DRACULA (A FEMINIST REVENGE FANTASY, REALLY) Known for her adaptations of literary classics like “Pride and Prejudice,” “Sense and Sensibility,” and “Vanity Fair” from a feminist perspective, Kate Hamill has crafted a take on Bram Stoker’s vampire tale in which, according to press materials, “the Count meets his match — and the #MeToo movement.” Featuring Dustin Teuber as Count Dracula, Maria Hendricks as Dr. Van Helsing, Dominic Carter as Dr. Seward, Gabrielle Hatcher as Lucy Westenra, and Sara Jones as Renfield. Directed by Michelle Aguillon. Sept. 30-Oct. 23. At Umbrella Black Box, The Umbrella Arts Center, Concord. 978-371-0820, ext. 209;


JOE TURNER’S COME AND GONE Reopening the newly renovated Huntington Theatre with a nod to history, the Huntington Theatre Company is producing the first August Wilson play it presented (back in 1986, starring Delroy Lindo and a young Angela Bassett) before going on to stage numerous other Wilson dramas. Directed by Lili-Anne Brown, “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” centers on a man named Herald Loomis, who arrives at a Pittsburgh boarding house with his young daughter in 1911, searching for the wife from whom he was separated when he was forced to work on a chain gang for seven years. Oct. 14-Nov. 13. Huntington Theatre Company. At Huntington Theatre. 617-266-0800,


ENGLISH Iranian-American playwright Sanaz Toossi won this year’s Lucille Lortel Award for outstanding play for this seriocomic exploration of the complexities of language. It’s set in Karaj, Iran, in 2008, where four students are wrestling with the challenge of learning English — and their teacher with the challenge of teaching it — so they can pass a crucial exam. The stakes are different but high for everyone involved. Cast includes Josephine Moshiri Elwood, Lily Gilan James, Deniz Khateri, and Zaven Ovian. Directed by Melory Mirashrafi. Oct. 21-Nov. 19. SpeakEasy Stage Company. Roberts Studio Theatre, Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600,

ROALD DAHL’S MATILDA, THE MUSICAL Tim Minchin’s score crackles with ingenuity and wit in musicalizing Roald Dahl’s tale of an uncommonly gifted little girl who does not shrink from the challenges posed by her doltish family and the tyrannical headmistress of her school. Directed by Emily Ranii, with a book by Dennis Kelly, choreography by Larry Sousa, and music direction by David Coleman. Featuring Sky Fuller as Matilda, Johanna Carlisle-Zepeda as the fearsome Miss Trunchbull, Kira Troilo as Miss Honey, Matilda’s timid teacher, and Anthony Pires Jr. and Aimee Doherty as Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood, Matilda’s parents. Oct. 21-Nov. 20. Wheelock Family Theatre at Boston University. 617-353-3001,


ON BECKETT Bill Irwin is a gifted clown and actor (his portrayal of George opposite Kathleen Turner’s Martha in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” won him the Tony Award in 2005). In this solo show, which he conceived, Irwin brings his physicality to an investigation of a performer’s relationship with the language, comedy, and tragedy of Samuel Beckett’s work, including “Waiting for Godot,” “Texts for Nothing,” and “Watt.” Oct. 26-30. Production by Octopus Theatricals. Presented by ArtsEmerson. At Robert J. Orchard Stage, Emerson Paramount Center. 617-824-8400,

Mikhail Baryshnikov in "The Orchard."Maria Baranova

THE ORCHARD Conceived and directed by Igor Golyak, this innovative take on Anton Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard” stars Mikhail Baryshnikov as Chekhov and also as the octogenarian butler Firs, and Jessica Hecht as the aristocratic, dreamily oblivious Madame Ranevskaya, who proves unwilling to take the steps necessary to keep the family estate from being auctioned off, beloved cherry trees and all. Cast also includes Nael Nacer, Darya Denisova, Juliet Brett, Jeffrey Hayenga, Elise Kibler, and Gene Ravvin. Nov. 3-13. Groundswell Theatricals presents a production by Arlekin Players | (zero-G) Lab. “The Orchard” can be seen in person at Robert J. Orchard Stage, Emerson Paramount Center, or online. Tickets for in-person and virtual productions go on sale Sept. 20 at 617-824-8400,

THE CHINESE LADY Lloyd Suh’s absorbing and nuanced play, which was inspired by a true story, sheds an unflattering but illuminating light on American history as it chronicles the experiences of Afong Moy, who may have been the first Chinese woman in the United States. Brought from China to New York at the age of 14 in 1834, she is put on display in museums — brewing tea, eating with chopsticks, walking around a room on her bound feet — as white audiences look on. Directed by Sarah Shin. Nov. 10-Dec. 11. Central Square Theater, Cambridge. 617-576-9278, ext. 1;


Don Aucoin can be reached at Follow him @GlobeAucoin.