Critics’ picks: theater, dance, arts



VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE While it’s too diffuse and thinly plotted to qualify as really first-rate, Christopher Durang’s Chekhov-inspired comedy has a giddy energy that generates gusts of laughter in Jessica Stone’s production, based on the Broadway direction of the late Nicholas Martin. Candy Buckley is a particular standout as Masha, a colossally self-absorbed movie star. Through Feb. 1. Huntington Theatre Company, at BU Theatre, Boston. 617-266-0800,

RED HOT PATRIOT: THE KICK-ASS WIT OF MOLLY IVINS A larger-than-life character like the late Molly Ivins is a pitch in Karen MacDonald’s wheelhouse, and the actress hits it pretty far in her winningly assured portrayal of the rambunctious Texas columnist who sought to afflict the comfortable within an inch of their lives. Margaret Engel and Allison Engel’s play is directed by Courtney O’Connor, with illuminating projection design by the talented Jonathan Carr. Through Jan. 31. Lyric Stage Company of Boston. 617-585-5678,



MEASURE FOR MEASUREWith eight actors portraying nearly two dozen characters, director Megan Sandberg-Zakian focuses intently on the dangerous impact of absolutes in a world of rich and varied human emotions. The result is a production full of clarity, comedy and complexity, avoiding the “problem play” label this Shakespearean morality play has often been saddled with. Sandberg-Zakian’s terrific ensemble, led by Maurice Emmanuel Parent and Michael Forden Walker, along with an evocative sound design by David Reiffel, provide an illuminating look at this dark comedy. Through Feb. 1. Actors’ Shakespeare Project, at the Multicultural Arts Center, Cambridge. 866-811-4111,

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MORALITY PLAY Actor, artistic director, and adapter Tony Estrella teams up with director Tyler Dobrowsky for a fast-paced and suspenseful murder mystery set in medieval England. Dobrowsky keeps this multi-layered story moving swiftly and believably around the Gamm Theatre’s immersive, in-the-round staging. Urgent, surprising, and ultimately a very satisfying evening in the theater. Through Feb. 1. Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre, Pawtucket, R.I. 401-723-4266,


A FUTURE PERFECTKen Urban’s new play is about two married 30-something couples who find pregnancy threatening their relationship even as they try to hang onto their political values and rock-music dreams. It’s not perfect, but it is a tough, warmhearted look at growing up and aging, and SpeakEasy gives it a natural, spontaneous production anchored by Marianna Bassham’s Claire. Through Feb. 7. SpeakEasy Stage Company, at Roberts Studio Theatre, Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600,



SAINT JOAN If you think a three-hours-plus, four-actor, minimally staged play about Joan of Arc is not your cup of tea, think again. Andrus Nichols’s performance as Joan is raw and brave. The production by New York-based Bedlam is riveting, surprisingly funny, and unsurprisingly moving. Through Feb. 8. Underground Railway Theater, at Central Square Theater, Cambridge. 866-811-4111,



DANCE TAKEOVERGo for the dance, stay for the beer. This presentation by NACHMO (National Choreography Month) Boston sets an evening of multidisciplinary dance in the Aeronaut Brewing Company. Movers include Intimations Dance, Michael Figueroa, Sarah Mae Gibbons, and Paradise Lost, with live musicians Blain Crawford, Sue Buzzard, and others. Performances are followed by a dance party with DJ. Jan. 31, 6 p.m., free. Aeronaut Brewery, 14 Tyler St., Somerville. 781-330-0535,

DRAWN INThis concert by Dance Currents, Inc., with guest artists from Dance Visions, springs from poetry by Maryland poet laureate Stanley Plumly. It features changing backdrops by artist Robert Murrell and choreography by Kathy Hassinger, Margot Parsons, and Ali Smith. In addition, Dondre Taylor-Stewart dances Donald McKayle’s “Rainbow Etude.” Jan. 31, 7:30 p.m., $17-$20. Green Street Studios, Cambridge. 617-965-1569,

ONSTAGE DANCE COMPANYThe Somerville-based company of nearly 80 avocational dancers presents its eighth annual showcase featuring original work and dance styles ranging from jazz and hip-hop to ballet and Bollywood. Jan. 31, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., $15. Arsenal Center for the Arts, Watertown. 617-410-6732,


FLAMENCO DANCE PROJECT Regis College presents this company’s new production, “De Todos Los Sabores” (“Of All Flavors”). Madrid native Mariano Cruceta Serrano is the flamenco show’s guest artist, along with singers José Cortés Fernández and Bárbara Martinez, guitarist Juanito Pascual, cajón player José Moreno, and dancers Sabrina Avilés, Yosi Karahashi, and Laura Sánchez. Jan. 30, 7:30 p.m., $10-$15. Regis College’s Casey Theatre, Weston.781-768-7070,



DIGNITY: TRIBES IN TRANSITION Dana Gluckstein has spent the last three decades traveling the world to photograph individuals in indigenous tribes, from Bhutanese schoolboys to a Haitian healer, as traditional cultures grapple with outside influences. Jan. 30-March 29. Boston University Art Gallery at the Stone Gallery, 855 Commonwealth Ave. 617-353-3329,

PUPPET SHOWPLACE THEATER: THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY EXHIBIT Puppet Showplace Theater founder Mary Churchill’s crocheted Cranberry Puppets and characters from master puppeteer Paul Vincent-Davis’s “Japanese Festival Dances” are spotlighted alongside work by the theater’s affiliated artists. Through Feb. 21. Towne Art Gallery, Wheelock College, 180 The Riverway. 617-879-2219,

SECOND SELVES Artist Alexis Avedisian curates this show, in which artists examine the gulf between public identity and private struggles, and the conflict that arises when private is made public — in art, online, and elsewhere. Through Feb. 21. The Distillery Gallery, 516 East 2nd St., South Boston.



NATURE, SCULPTURE, ABSTRACTION, AND CLAY: 100 YEARS OF AMERICAN CERAMICS A one-room overview of more than a century of fine art ceramics from the Museum of Fine Arts’ collection. A terrific show made possible by recent gifts to the museum. Through Jan. 3, 2016. Museum of Fine Arts. 617-267-9300,

LUTHER PRICE: LIGHT WINDOWSAn exhibition of projections by the dynamic Boston-based artist and filmmaker, who salvages old footage and then manipulates it, both physically and chemically, to create his own, inimitable work. Through Sunday. Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard University, Cambridge. 617-495-3251,

MONET/KELLYA small but intriguing show, with great loans, examining the surprising influence of Claude Monet on Ellsworth Kelly and their shared love of Belle Ile, an island off the coast of Brittany. Through Feb. 15. Clark Art Institute, Williamstown. 413-458-2303.

WALDEN, REVISITEDContemporary artists, including Spencer Finch, Deb Todd Wheeler, and Oscar Palacio, respond to the classic work by Henry David Thoreau, “Walden, or Life in the Woods.” Through April 26. DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln. 781-259-8355,


Color Fields

A splashy celebration of color and its expressiveness, “Color Fields” takes over both MassArt galleries and features 13 artists (including Michelle Grabner and Jim Lambie) and four site-specific installations. Through March 7. Bakalar & Paine Galleries, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, 621 Huntington Ave. 617-879-7333, CATE McQUAID

Don Aucoin can be reached at