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Upcoming arts events around Boston

Stephen Schreiber

Dream team

ANIKAI DANCE COMPANY

Wendy Jehlen and Pradhuman Nayak studied how we sleep and dream for their new “The Knocking Within,” a one-hour dance theater work that draws on texts from Shakespeare and blends contemporary dance styles with elements of Indian classical dance, Brazilian Capoeira, and west African dance. Nov. 10, 5 and 8 p.m. Tickets: $18 in advance, $20 at the door,
$15 seniors and students. Boston University Dance Theater. 800-838-3006,
www.anikai.org

THEATER

THE SUSSMAN VARIATIONS

A Broadway composer is about to turn 75, and his two adult children have brought plenty of emotional baggage to the party. Playwright Richard Schotter doesn’t break much new ground, but he is perceptive about the push and pull of family relationships, that complex minuet in which power struggles surface out of nowhere and patterns of behavior are replicated from generation to generation. Directed by Jeff Zinn. Through Nov. 18. Boston Playwrights’ Theatre. 866-811-4111, www.bostonplaywrights.org

44 PLAYS FOR 44 PRESIDENTS

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It’s American history on caffeine. With a nimble cast of five directed by Jeffrey Mosser, this kaleidoscopic show sketches rapid-fire portraits of every single commander in chief in about two hours. It often succeeds in capturing something essential about them, even as it cuts them down to size. Through Nov. 11. Bad Habit Productions. At Deane Rehearsal Hall, Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600, www.badhabitproductions.org

BLOODY BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON

Rough, rude, fast, loud, and irreverent, this musical satire by Alex Timbers and Michael Friedman is to standard presidential biography as a punch in the nose is to afternoon tea. As portrayed with all-out gusto by Gus Curry, Old Hickory is driven by testosterone and an adolescent I’ll-show-’em ambition, not by any grand vision or abundance of smarts. A superb set by Eric Levenson creates a visual correlative to the frontier sensibility and vanity of the title character. Through Nov. 17. SpeakEasy Stage Company.
At Roberts Studio Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600, www.speak
easystage.com

BENGAL TIGER AT THE BAGHDAD ZOO

A tiger is pursued by existential questions through a restless afterlife, even as he haunts the US Marine who killed him. Meanwhile, an Iraqi translator must cope with the invading Americans’ arrogant treatment, the ghost of Uday Hussein, and his own wrenching guilt about a horrific prewar episode. Director Shawn LaCount and his fine cast illuminate playwright Rajiv Joseph’s bleak and unsettling vision, occasionally pierced by mordant humor. Through Nov. 17.
Company One. At Plaza Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600, www.companyone.org

THE CHOSEN

Adapted by Aaron Posner and Chaim Potok from Potok’s 1967 novel, this play flashes back to 1940s Brooklyn, where two Jewish teenagers — Danny, who’s Hasidic, and Reuven, who’s not — become best friends and try to remain so as World War II ends, the enormity of the Holocaust is revealed, the new state of Israel emerges, and their fathers take opposite positions. The play is about growing up and overcoming differences, but it’s also about learning to listen, and this production encourages us to do just that. Through Nov. 17. Lyric Stage Company. 617-585-5678, www.lyricstage
.com

UNCLE VANYA

A revival of last winter’s production of Anton Chekhov’s classic study of wasted lives, with Diego Arciniegas replacing John Kuntz in the title role. Craig Lucas’s adaptation is Americanized to a fault, but staging each of the four acts in a different room makes the audience feel like privileged guests on a provincial Russian estate. (Reviewed January 2012.) Through Nov. 11. Apollinaire Theatre Company. At Chelsea Theatre Works, Chelsea. 617-887-2336, www.apollinairetheatre.com

GUYS AND DOLLS

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This production of Frank Loesser’s tale of lovable New York gamblers hits the jackpot. Directed with an exacting eye for detail by Mark Martino, coupled with a brilliant sense of pace by musical director Craig Barna, the production captures all the beauty of Loesser’s music, including such gems as “I’ll Know” and “Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat,” without losing any of the fun of the simple story line. Through Nov. 11. North Shore Music Theatre, Beverly. 978-232-7200, www.nsmt.org

MEMORY HOUSE

What is it about baking a pie that strikes such a visceral chord? There’s an exactness to the art that playwright Kathleen Tolan transforms into a powerful metaphor in this dance of negotiation and connection between a recently divorced mother and her teenage daughter. Crisply directed by Melia Bensussen. Through Nov. 18. Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Lowell. 978-654-4678, www.mrt.org

DANCE

LORRAINE CHAPMAN THE COMPANY

The veteran dancer-choreographer and her troupe continue their 10th anniversary celebration this weekend with three concerts showcasing Chapman’s work, including the recent “the changing room.” The Sunday performance also sports the new solo “Madame Sherry” choreographed especially for Chapman by David Parker.  Nov. 9-11, Tickets: $2, $15 seniors and students. Green Street Studios, Cambridge. 617-864-3191, www.lorrainechapman.org

FASHIONLESS DANCE

This innovative fund-raiser for Betty’s Closet, the Dance Complex’s new costume co-op, illumines how the clothing performers wear can radically change how we perceive a dance. Five dances by Stephen Chang, Kelley Donovan, Katie Egan, Joan Green, and Annie Kloppenberg are performed once in rehearsal clothes, then later in specially designed costumes by Erika Carey, Shaniece Cooper, Solé Nazare, and Deborah Parker. Nov. 10-11. Tickets: $20, $18 students. The Dance Complex, Cambridge. 617-547-9363, www.dancecomplex.org

SEPARATED: AN ALS BENEFIT

This collaborative evening by SPUNKandCOmpany honors the late singer-songwriter Eric Lowen with choreography by Miriam Lundgren, Jillian Grunnah, and Tara McCrystal, live painting, multimedia dance video, and a special guest performance by Lowen’s longtime partner, Dan Navarro. Nov. 10, 8 p.m. Tickets: $30 at the door, $25 presale, $20 students and educators. Pine Manor College’s Ellsworth Theatre, Chestnut Hill. 312-315-4181, www.spunkandcodance.com

GALLERIES

SAM TRIOLI: BRUMAIRE  

The hyper-realist painter dives into abstraction by painting the grainy details of old photographs of explosions and fires. Painting just a portion of a famous picture of the Hindenburg exploding, Trioli prods us to see it afresh. Through Dec. 22. Howard Yezerski Gallery, 460 Harrison Ave. 617-262-0550, www.howardyezerskigallery.com

WENDY BURTON: HISTORIES  

Do inhabitants imbue a site with meaning? What’s left behind after a place’s utility has passed? This photographer is drawn to abandoned locales, from birds’ nests to grain elevators to deserted churches. Through Dec. 22. Robert Klein at Ars Libri, 500 Harrison Ave. 617-357-5212, www.arslibri.com

COLLISION18:PRESENT

The artist/technologist group COLLISIONcollective   contemplates the many definitions of the word “present” with geeky, provocative, and amusing installations, sculptures, videos, and more by close to 30 artists from around the world. Through Dec. 14. Boston Cyberarts Gallery, 141 Green St., Jamaica Plain. 617-524-8495,
www.bostoncyberarts.org

MUSEUMS

PAUL KLEE: PHILOSOPHICAL VISION; FROM NATURE TO ART

Exploring the philosophy of the great European modernist as expressed in his art. Through Dec. 9. McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College. 617-552-8100, www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/artmuseum.

AMERICAN VANGUARDS: GRAHAM, DAVIS, GORKY, DE KOONING, AND THEIR CIRCLE, 1927-1942

A look at the influence of John Graham’s circle on American modernism. Through Dec. 30. Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover. 978-749-4015, www.andover.edu/Museums

WEATHERBEATEN: WINSLOW HOMER AND MAINE

Timed to coincide with the opening of the renovated Winslow Homer Studio at Prouts Neck, this show gathers together 35 major works painted by Homer in the final decade of his life. Through Dec. 30. Portland Museum of Art, Portland, Maine. 207-775-6148, www.portlandmuseum.org

JULIANNE SWARTZ: HOW DEEP IS YOUR

Inventive, poetic, and witty installations and sculpture that play with perception. Through Dec. 30. DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln. 781-259-8355, www.decordova.org

Surreal world

SALVADOR DALÍ

An immense exhibit of more than 2,000 graphic works by the Spanish Surrealist and provocateur, known for his bizarre, hallucinatory imagery. The works have until now been in a private collection, which was acquired from Dalí himself. Through Dec. 21. DTR Modern Galleries, 167 Newbury St. 617-424-9700, www.dtrmodern.com

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