Theater & art


The week ahead: Theater, galleries and museums

Gary Ng

Part of the family

OLIVER! This production of the Lionel Bart musical finds Dickens’s sense of hope and love in the midst of degradation and despair, and energizes the story with a terrific vocal ensemble of children and adults. Pictured: Charlie Clinton as Oliver Twist, Jeffrey Sewell as Dodger, and Caroline Workman as Bet.
Through Feb. 24. Wheelock Family Theatre. 617-879-2300,

Terry Byrne


SISTER ACT This musical adaptation of the 1992 Whoopi Goldberg film doesn’t aim high, but under the direction of Jerry Zaks the show hits what it aims at: a goofy, disco-flavored good time. Through Feb. 3. Broadway in Boston. At Boston Opera House. 800-982-2787,

OTHER DESERT CITIES Over the holidays with her parents, a writer announces that her new memoir revisits a very grim chapter in their family history. Blood relations, indeed. Jon Robin Baitz’s play is directed by Scott Edmiston with his usual fluid assurance, and it features superb performances by Anne Gottlieb as the anxious but determined author and Karen MacDonald as her formidable mother. An engrossing display of familial fireworks. Through Feb. 9. SpeakEasy Stage Company. At Wimberly Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600,


INVISIBLE MAN The nameless protagonist confronts racial injustice, power politics, and betrayal in a stage adaptation of Ralph Ellison’s classic novel that’s every bit as unsettling as Ellison would have wanted it to be. Adapted by Oren Jacoby, directed by Christopher McElroen, and starring Teagle F. Bougere as the title character, in a performance that steadily grows in force over the play’s nearly three hours. Through Feb. 3. Huntington Theatre Company. At Boston University Theatre. 617-266-0800, www.huntingtontheatre

Don Aucoin

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YOU FOR ME FOR YOU Mia Chung’s surreal play about a pair of starving sisters in North Korea starts off a little stiff and strident, as if it might turn into propaganda, but once Junhee escapes to Manhattan, this Boston premiere blossoms into a powerful parable of love and sacrifice that’s well acted throughout, with an affectingly poignant performance from Jordan Clark as Junhee. Through Feb. 16. Company One. At Plaza Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600,

VINEGAR TOM Caryl Churchill’s 1976 witch-hunt play is a dark look at misogyny and hypocrisy in the 17th century — and the 20th. Directed by Mac Young, this powerful realization is almost too dark, with villains and victims clearly delineated and a graphic hanging scene. It’s not for the fainthearted, but Churchill’s chilling message does get delivered. Through Feb. 2. Whistler in the Dark Theatre. At Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600, www.whistlerinthe

Jeffrey Gantz


LES BALLETS JAZZ DE MONTRÉAL Over four decades, this dynamite troupe has become known for its adventurous fusion of street dance with modern and ballet. This World Music/CRASHarts engagement features a provocative slate of Boston premieres by Cayetano Soto, Wen Wei Wang, and Barak Marshall. Jan. 31-Feb. 3. $50. Institute of Contemporary Art. 617-876-4275,

PACO PEÑA FLAMENCO DANCE COMPANY The celebrated guitarist and his company of dancers and musicians open World Music/CRASHarts’s Flamenco Festival 2013 with “Flamenco Vivo,” Peña’s most recent show. The production showcases how the art form’s vibrant legacy informs contemporary artists. Feb. 3, 2 p.m. $30-$48. Berklee Performance Center. 617-876-4275,


CARNAVAL This event by SambaViva promises audiences the chance to “party like a Brazilian.” This celebration of Brazil’s raucous annual festival is part performance, part salsa lesson, and part getting your groove on. Ages 21-plus. Feb. 2, 9 p.m.-2 a.m. $12. Havana Club, 288 Green St., Cambridge. 617-842-0510,

STORIES OF OUR BODIES IN MOTION For this performance of dance, music, and theatrical scenes, True Story Theater explores how we are transformed through movement, asking us to consider what our bodies teach us. Dance party immediately following. Feb. 2, 7:30 p.m. $10-$15 suggested donation. Arlington Senior Center, 27 Maple St., Arlington. 781-646-1705,

Karen Campbell


ABSENT/PRESENT For performance artists Kate Gilmore and Zsuzsanna Szegedi, video isn’t just a means to document — the video of a performance is itself an artwork. Gilmore stars in her performance videos; Szegedi is elusive in hers. Through March 30. Montserrat College
of Art Gallery, 23 Essex St.,
Beverly. 978-921-4242,

HISTORIES OF NOW: A SPACE FOR DIALOGUE, ART, AND ACTIVISM  Following last year’s “Histories of Now: Six Artists From Cairo,” this exhibit explores social transformation in Egypt and elsewhere through lectures, Skype conversations, performances, and more. Through March 12. Barbara and Steven Grossman Gallery, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, 230 The Fenway. 617-369-3718,

NEAR DEATH  Impresario and performance artist Vela Phelan brings together performance artists from Boston and beyond to explore the edge between life and death, including themes of fear, dissolution, the body, and wholeness. Feb. 2 (4-11 p.m.) and Feb. 3. (6-11 p.m.) Fourth Wall Project, 132 Brookline Ave. (No phone), www.temple

Cate McQuaid



BRUCE DAVIDSON: EAST 100TH STREET The celebrated Magnum photographer spent two years in the mid-’60s visiting East Harlem almost every day. The 43 images in the show are social documentary at its best. Through Sept. 8. Museum of Fine Arts. 617-267-9300,

Mark Feeney

LOÏS MAILOU JONES This retrospective traces the career of the 20th-century painter, whose work reached full flower in the 1960s and ’70s, with works that integrate African and Caribbean influences, design smarts, and a keen painterly sensibility. Through Oct. 14. Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave. 617-267-9300,

Brickbottom Gallery
“Spillway # 1203,” by Jessie Morgan.

MICKALENE THOMAS Thomas is a painter on the rise, mixing up 1970s designer kitsch with weighty art historical themes, while upending tired old power structures. She does it all with painterly panache, fragmenting interiors and making patterns pop. Through April 7. Institute of Contemporary Art, 100 Northern Ave. 617-478-3100,

RICHARD YARDE: SELECTED WORK Yarde, who died in 2011 at 72, was a master watercolorist. Inspired by his mother’s quilt patterns, he built vibrant, unusually large-scale watercolors over grids, in work that often chronicled African-American life. Through March 24. Danforth Museum of Art, 123 Union Ave., Framingham. 508-620-0050, www.danforth

Cate McQuaid

Layers of meaning

SURFACE MATTERS  Tactility, texture, and the materiality of paint are all elemental aspects of painting celebrated by the abstract artists in this show. Each painter, too, deploys a luscious color sense, whether revealed in thin layers or applied in thick impasto. Through March 2. Brickbottom Gallery, 1 Fitchburg St., Somerville. 617-697-3768,

Cate McQuaid