It's a big month for opera. Boston Lyric Opera will be doing Britten's The Turn of the Screw in an evocative venue, a 19th-century armory (February 3-6); Met vet Emily Pulley plays the freaked-out governess. Former American Repertory Theater artistic director Robert Woodruff is back in town with the world premiere of Madame White Snake at the Cutler Majestic (February 26 - March 2). Co-commissioned by BLO and the Beijing Music Festival, the opera -- by composer Zhou Long and librettist Cerise Lim Jacob -- is based on an ancient Chinese legend about a demon who assumes human form in order to experience love. Finally, Ryan Landry and the Gold Dust Orphans weigh in with yet another ingenious mash-up at Machine, The Phantom of the Oprah, starring Varla Jean Merman (February 26 - March 28).
Huntington Theatre Company is in residence this month at the Boston Center for the Arts, presenting Lydia R. Diamond's Stick Fly (February 19 - March 22). Directed by Kenny Leon, the dramady, set on Martha's Vineyard, concerns two privileged African-American brothers (Jason Dirden and Billy Eugene Jones) who bring home girlfriends (Nikkole Salter and Rosie Benton) whose race and class challenge their clan's covert family values. The BCA's black boxes are given over to the Orfeo Group doing Marivaux's The Island of Slaves (February 11 - March 6), featuring Risher Reddick and Daniel Berger-Jones, and Zeitgeist Stage Company's rendering of Sir Alan Ayckbourn's Private Fears in Public Places (February 12 - March 6), about six Londoners whose lives are circumstantially linked.
Lyric Stage presents Legacy of Light (February 12 - March 13), Karen Zacarias' comedic dual portrait about the travails of an 18th-century French female physicist (played by Sarah Newhouse) and her contemporary counterpart (Susanne Nitter). If your knuckles are overdue for a rapping, Maripat Donovan will be in residence at the ordinarily permissive Club Café with Late Nite Catechism 3: 'Til Death Do Us Part (February 19 - March 28).
In the tiny Factory Theatre, Whistler in the Dark offers Naomi Wallace's 1997 Obie-winning One Flea Spare (February 5-21), in which five beleaguered Londoners of varying castes do all they can to survive the plague year of 1665. Meanwhile, the Boston Playwrights Theatre plays host to a brief but action-packed New England Russian Theatre Festival (February 18-21), comprising Ludmila Anselm's new full-length play, Chekhov's Last Love, and some 25 one-acts collected from across the U.S.
In Cambridge, the American Repertory Company is gearing up for major revival of Clifford Odets's Paradise Lost, a newly timely 1935 tale about an extended family coping with the pressures of the Depression (February 7 - March 20). The Nora Theatre Company offers the East Coast premiere of Not Enough Air (February 11 - March 14), Masha Obolensky's drama about the headline-grabbing 1920s murder trial of a Long Island housewife, as seen through the eyes of playwright Sophie Treadwell.
Watertown's New Repertory Theatre gives its black box over to the New England premiere of Peter Sinn Nachtrieb's apocalyptic comedy boom (February 20 - March 14). Chelsea's Apollinaire Theatre Company takes on Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom (February 12 - March 14), Jennifer Haley's cautionary tale about a couple of suburban kids whose obsession with an online game about zombies starts to spill over into real life. The Charlestown Working Theater has concocted The Moondog Madrigal Puppet Show (February 19-21), set to the music of Louis "Moondog" Hardin, a familiar figure on the New York streets -- the Viking outfit was hard to miss -- in the 1960s and '70s. Lowell's Merrimack Rep puts on a regional premiere of Frank Higgins' Black Pearl Sings! (February 11 - March 7), about a musicologist (Valerie Leonard) who befriends a virtuoso singer of spirituals (Cherene Snow) confined in a Texas prison.
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