A pie-making waitress, a Thanksgiving dinner, and two guards at the Taj Mahal

Richard Thomas, Therese Plaehn, Pamela Reed, Lauren Klein, Daisy Eagan, and Luis Vega in “The Humans.”
Richard Thomas, Therese Plaehn, Pamela Reed, Lauren Klein, Daisy Eagan, and Luis Vega in “The Humans.”(Julieta Cervantes)

DEATH AND THE MAIDEN A former political prisoner in an unnamed country confronts the man she believes was the leader of her captors. Steven Maler directs the drama by Chilean-American author Ariel Dorfman, with a cast that includes Flora Diaz, Mickey Solis, and Mark Torres. Jan. 30-Feb. 11. Commonwealth Shakespeare Company. At Sandra L. Sorenson Black Box, Babson College, Wellesley. 781-239-5880,

WAITRESS The tale of a waitress and superlative pie-maker, seeking a way out of her abusive marriage, who enters a baking contest while considering the possibilities for romance with her small town’s new doctor. The all-female creative team includes Sara Bareilles (music and lyrics), Jessie Nelson (book), Lorin Latarro (choreography), and Diane Paulus (direction). Feb. 20-March 4. Broadway In Boston. At Boston Opera House. 800-982-2787,


RIPE FRENZY In the aftermath of a mass shooting at a high school production of “Our Town,’’ Zoe (Veronika Duerr), the town historian, recounts the days leading up to the event. Jennifer Barclay’s play is directed by Bridget Kathleen O’Leary and features Stacy Fischer and Samantha Richert. Feb. 24-March 11. Co-production by New Repertory Theatre and Boston Center for American Performance. At Studio One, Boston University College of Fine Arts. 617-923-8487,

THE WHITE CARD “Can American society progress if whiteness stays invisible?’’ is the question undergirding the world premiere of a play written by Claudia Rankine, author of the award-winning “Citizen: An American Lyric.’’ In “The White Card,’’ a white Manhattan couple hosts a dinner party for a young black artist on the rise. Directed by Diane Paulus, with dramaturgy by P. Carl. Feb. 24-April 1. Production by American Repertory Theater presented by ArtsEmerson at Robert J. Orchard Stage, Paramount Center, Boston. 617-824-8400,

GUARDS AT THE TAJ Set in India in the mid-17th century, this play by Rajiv Joseph (“Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo’’) revolves around two guards, portrayed by Jacob Athyal and Harsh J. Gagoomal, who are protecting the Taj Mahal on the night before it is first unveiled. A harrowing surprise is in store for them when dawn breaks. Directed by Gabriel Vega Weissman. Content warning from theater of “blood, violence.’’ March 1-April 1. Underground Railway Theater. At Central Square Theater, Cambridge. 617-576-9278 ext. 1,


EVERY BRILLIANT THING Two of New England’s best actresses team up for this production, although only one of them will perform. Marianna Bassham steps offstage to assume the role of director in the Boston premiere of a solo play, written by Duncan McMillan with Jonny Donahoe, that stars the always-compelling Adrianne Krstansky. She plays a woman who grew up with a suicidal mother, and got in the habit of compiling a numbered inventory of the pleasures of the world that constitute reasons to go on living. March 2-31. SpeakEasy Stage Company. At Roberts Studio Theatre, Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600,

SKELETON CREW In Dominique Morisseau’s drama, set in 2008 as the Great Recession is tightening its grip, Detroit auto workers face the closing of their plant, which poses an urgent threat not just to their livelihoods but to their identities. Directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian. March 2-31. Huntington Theatre Company. Wimberly Theatre, Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-266-0800,

THE HUMANS Economic and personal anxieties steadily rise to the surface as a middle-class Pennsylvania family gathers in lower Manhattan for Thanksgiving dinner in Stephen Karam’s probing drama, which earned the 2016 Tony Award for best play and was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize. Directed by Joe Mantello, with a cast that includes Richard Thomas, Pamela Reed, and Therese Plaehn, who played Emily in David Cromer’s production of “Our Town’’ at Huntington Theatre Company. March 13-25. Boch Center. At Shubert Theatre, Boston. 866-348-9738,


FIRST LOVE IS THE REVOLUTION The U.S. premiere of a fable by Australian playwright Rita Kalnejais, about the unlikely bond between a lonely, bullied 14-year-old boy and the female fox who gets caught in a trap he sets in the family garden. A reviewer for the Guardian described it as “Romeo and Juliet with fur.’’ Directed by Danielle Fauteux Jacques. April 13-May 5. Apollinaire Theatre Company. At Chelsea Theatre Works, Chelsea. 617-887-2336,

ANNA CHRISTIE Eugene O’Neill won the second of his four Pulitzer Prizes for this 1921 drama about a one-time prostitute, played by Lindsey McWhorter, who is reunited with her long-estranged father (Johnny Lee Davenport), the captain of a coal barge. Featuring Dan Whelton as the Irish shipman who falls in love with Anna and Nancy E. Carroll as a woman involved with Anna’s father. Directed by Scott Edmiston. April 6-May 6. Lyric Stage Company of Boston. 617-585-5678,

Don Aucoin can be reached at Follow him on Twitter@GlobeAucoin