The week ahead: Performing and visual arts

Meg Birnbaum

All kinds of folk

FOLK Kate McNamara, the savvy director and chief curator of the Boston University Art Gallery, juried this show, which celebrates folk and the word’s many interpretations: traditional, handmade, indigenous, artisanal, down home. Pictured: Meg Birnbaum’s “Frieda B. Fabulous.’’ Through Aug. 30. Gallery 263, 263 Pearl St., Cambridge. (No phone), www.gallery263.com



GYPSY Leslie Uggams, believed to be the first African-American actress to play Mama Rose in a professional production, delivers a fiercely committed performance that is true to the many contradictions of this mother of all stage mothers. Uggams is ably supported by a multiracial cast. Directed by Vincent J. Cardinal. Through July 20. Connecticut Repertory Theatre. At Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre, University of Connecticut, Storrs.
860-486-2113, www.crt.uconn.edu


AULD LANG SYNE Paula Plum and Richard Snee make the most of the roomy showcase for their talents provided by Jack Neary’s slight but likable comedy-drama. It’s about a South Boston woman who makes a very unusual New Year’s Eve request to a down-on-his-luck gangster. Directed by Douglas Lockwood. Through July 27. Gloucester Stage Company, Gloucester. 978-281-4433, www.gloucesterstage.com

A GREAT WILDERNESS A flawed but affecting drama by Samuel D. Hunter about an elderly specialist in “gay conversion therapy,’’ played by Jeffrey DeMunn, who is forced into a reckoning with himself and with the unintended consequences of his life’s work when a 16-year-old boy goes missing. Directed by Eric Ting. Through July 20. Williamstown Theatre Festival, Nikos Stage, Williamstown. 413-597-3400, www.wtfestival.org


WELCOME TO ARROYO’S This triumphantly funny, poignant play from Kristoffer Diaz (“The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity”) mixes hip-hop with family values and grief with gritty determination for an unexpectedly delightful ride into the history of a musical genre and a changing neighborhood. (See review, Page 6). Through July 27. Circuit Theatre Company. At Club Oberon, Cambridge. 617-547-8300, www.circuittheatre.com


DISNEY’S THE LITTLE MERMAID The stage adaptation of the popular film lands with a satisfying splash, making imaginative use of the circular stage, multiple entrances, and creative set pieces to transport audiences from under the sea to dry land and back again. While the extra songs written for the Broadway musical occasionally feel like unnecessary padding, knockout performances by Adrienne Eller as Ariel and Kecia Lewis as Ursula the Sea Witch, as well as an excellent ensemble, make this production enjoyable for kids and parents alike. Through July 27. North Shore Music Theatre, Beverly. 978-232-7200, www.nsmt.org

JULIUS CAESAR With this “bare Bard” production, director Tina Packer reminds us just how skillful she is at clearing away anything that might distract from William Shakespeare’s tale of ambition, pride, and political manipulation. Seven actors play more than 40 characters, morphing easily from distinct individuals to an angry mob, for an effect that is never less than exhilarating. Through Aug. 30. Shakespeare & Company. At Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, Lenox. 413-637-3353, www.shakespeare.org



DORRANCE DANCE A testament to tap sensation Michelle Dorrance’s considerable chops and imagination, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival presents her company in a rare two-week engagement. The world premiere “ETM: The Initial Approach” features Ephrat “Bounce” Asherie, original tap dance instruments created by Nicholas Young, and vocalist Aaron Marcellus performing live. Be warned: Dorrance Dance sold out last season’s Pillow visit. July 16-27, $19-$45. Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Becket. 413-243-0745, www.jacobspillow.org


BALLET 2014 New York City Ballet principal dancer Daniel Ulbricht gathers some of his talented peers in the ballet world for what promises to be an intriguing program of contemporary ballets, including Christopher Wheeldon’s “Liturgy,” Benjamin Millepied’s “Two Hearts,” a collaboration with composer Nico Muhly, and the world premiere of a duet by Emery LeCrone. Jerome Robbins’s buoyant “Fancy Free” is the icing on the cake. July 16-20, $19-$75. Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Becket. 413-243-0745, www.jacobspillow.org

WINDHOVER SUMMER DANCE CONCERT Forty Steps Dance and Sarah Slifer Swift share the docket for this Windhover Center for the Performing Arts presentation. Forty Steps Dance channels the natural surroundings of the outdoor stage with the animalistic “Creatures,” while Swift explores inner and outer landscapes with “Invisible Stories,” a collaboration with writer Kate Tarlow Morgan. Swift’s “Insenser,” a premiere, examines our response to watching and being watched. July 18-20, $18-$25 (children under 10 free). Windhover Center for the Performing Arts, Rockport. 978-546-3611, www.windhover.org

GREAT FRIENDS DANCE FESTIVAL Florida’s Surfscape Contemporary Dance Theatre is the resident ensemble for Island Moving Company’s fifth annual summer festival. Spread over two weekends, the festival features nine shared programs by a range of performers, including New York choreographer Marta Renzi and her new octet “The Book of Breath,” Dance Iquail (Philadelphia), Matthew Westerby Company (New York), and Colleen Cavanaugh (Providence). July 17-26, $20-$25. Great Friends Meeting House, Newport, R.I. 401-847-4470, www.islandmovingco.org



ELLEN LEBOW: THE GREAT MIGRATION LeBow coats her white surface with black ink then scratches out delicate, star-spotted drawings that look like creation myths, constellations, or both. In most, skies tumble and glow with figures and animals. Through July 30. Rice Polak Gallery, 430 Commercial St., Provincetown. 508-487-1052, www.ricepolakgallery.com


LA COULEUR DU VENT: AN INTERNATIONAL EXHIBIT OF 51 DESIGN BINDINGS American, Canadian and French artists created unique bindings for the same book: Gilles Vigneault’s collection of poems — in translation, “the color of the wind.” July 18-Sept. 12. Windgate Gallery, North Bennet Street School, 150 North Bennet St. 617-227-0155, www.nbss.edu

2014 BOSTON YOUNG CONTEMPORARIES The roster for this year’s juried show of work coming from MFA programs around New England features 75 artists. Some to watch: Ricardo De Lima, Fish McGill, Dinora Justice, and Monica Guerra. July 18-Aug. 22. 808 Gallery, Boston University, 808 Commonwealth Ave. (No phone), www.bostonyoungcontemporaries.com



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, www.portlandmuseum.org

SIGHT SPECIFIC: A SELECTION OF AMERICAN PERCEPTUAL PAINTINGS Representational paintings by an array of painters with well-established local and national reputations, organized by George Nick. Includes work by Richard Estes, Catherine Kehoe, Harold Reddicliffe, Philip Pearlstein, Nick, and many others. Through Aug. 13. Concord Art Association, Concord. 978-369-2578, www.concordart.org

JIM HODGES: GIVE MORE THAN YOU TAKE A survey of the 25-year career of the New York-based installation artist, who has said that when he started out he wanted to sit between Yoko Ono and Richard Tuttle on the bus of art history. Hodges makes poetic, fragile works in a variety of media, from colored cloth to pencil, gold leaf and ink. Through Sept. 1. Institute of Contemporary Art. 617-478-3100, www.icaboston.org


CAST FOR ETERNITY: ANCIENT RITUAL BRONZES FROM THE SHANGHAI MUSEUM Thirty two elaborately decorated objects produced in China from the Xia through the Han periods, or around 1800 BCE through to 8 CE. Through Sept. 21. Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. 413-458-2303, www.clarkart.edu.