Spring awake

Local stages bloom
By LIZA WEISSTUCH  |  March 17, 2009

SINGING AND NOT Spring Awakening comes to town in the form of the original 1891 play and as the Tony-winning musical (seen here). 

Head to the American Repertory Theatre's Zero Arrow Theatre (
www.amrep.org) for the world premiere of Christine Evans's TROJAN BARBIE (March 28–April 22). The Mattel-minted heroine ends up playing a central role in this contemporary tribute to Euripides's The Trojan Women. But the ancients have nothing on Batgirl and Wonder Woman, who are just a few of the strapping, sassy, sequin-sporting dames who come to the rescue in THE SUPERHEROINE MONOLOGUES (April 10-26) at Boston Playwrights' Theatre (www.bu.edu/bpt). John Kuntz teams up with Rick Park in this campy romp from Phoenix Theatre Artists and Company One.

Salvation is an exercise in rhetoric for the adolescent outsiders in Stephen Karam's Off Broadway hit comedy, SPEECH AND DEBATE, which makes its Boston debut (March 27–April 25) at the Lyric Stage Company (www.lyricstage.com). Chazz Palminteri occupies the spotlight at the Colonial Theatre (www.broadwayacrossamerica.com) as he morphs into various characters to relate grisly stories rooted in his 1960s youth in A BRONX TALE (March 31–April 11). Palminteri's one-man show became the 1993 film in which he starred with Robert De Niro. It's a survival story, and so is THE WRESTLING PATIENT (March 27–April 11). This new play by Kirk Lynn, Katie Pearl, and Anne Gottlieb is based on the journals of Dutch writer Etty Hillesum, a Jew who turned to Jungian analysis to deal with the horrors of Nazi-occupied Holland. It'll be produced by SpeakEasy Stage Company (www.speakeasystage.com), FortyMagnolias Productions, and Boston Playwrights' Theatre at the BCA's Calderwood Pavilion.

There's romance aplenty as Actors' Shakespeare Project (www.actorsshakespeareproject.org) makes MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (May 14–June 14) at the Roxbury Center for Arts at Hibernian Hall. At the Cutler Majestic Theatre (www.maj.org), Vox Lumiere (www.voxlumiere.com) illumines THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (March 25-29) in a performance piece using live actors, a rock band, the silent film starring Lon Chaney, and light-show tricks. Love springs the eternal farce mechanism when Peter DuBois, artistic director of the Huntington Theatre Company (www.huntingtontheatre.org), helms the world premiere of David Grimm's Renaissance-set THE MIRACLE AT NAPLES (April 3–May 9) at the Calderwood Pavilion. And the libidinous turns litigious when the ART stages David Mamet's 2005 play ROMANCE (May 9-13), a courtroom farce that sits in judgment of comic characters running amok in the legal system.

So what happened to good old-fashioned love stories? Zeitgeist Stage Company (www.zeitgeiststage.com) offers a dark answer in SPRING AWAKENING (April 17–May 9) at the BCA. Frank Wedekind's once-banned 1891 play captures the tension between adolescent sexual urges and the oppressive moral code teens are held to in a rural German village. The play inspired the Tony-winning Broadway musical of the same name, the national tour of which touches down at the Colonial Theatre (April 28–May 24).

More lurid issues are set to music at the Calderwood when SpeakEasy stages JERRY SPRINGER: THE OPERA (May 1-30). At the Lyric, GREY GARDENS THE MUSICAL (May 8–June 6) is the story of Jackie O's oddball co-dependent relatives, notorious recluses in East Hampton. And a very different part of New York — Harlem — is the backdrop for AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' (April 10-12), the Tony-winning musical revue of Fats Waller tunes. American Idol champ Ruben Studdard stars in the 30th anniversary tour at the Strand Theatre (www.citicenter.org).

Related: Tough neighborhoods, Winter's tales, New blood, More more >
  Topics: Theater , Entertainment, Peter DuBois, Robert De Niro,  More more >
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