David Hess, Benjamin Eakeley, and
Judy Kaye in Sweeney Todd
(© David Allen Studio)
David Hess, Benjamin Eakeley, and
Judy Kaye in Sweeney Todd
(© David Allen Studio)
Quite a varied array of productions will pass through Boston this month. In the city's major houses are the National Puppet Theater of Japan (Majestic Theater, October 2-3), the national tour of John Doyle's innovative version of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd starring David Hess and Judy Kaye (Colonial, October 23-November 4), and Disney's touring High School Musical (Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre, October 31-November 4).

Heading to Cambridge, American Repertory Theatre offers a glimpse of Adelheid Roosen's The Veiled Monologues, an intimate survey of Muslim women (October 16-21) and explores the dark, imaginative side of adolescence in Marco Stern's adaptation of the cult movie Donnie Darko (October 27-November 18). Meanwhile, at the Boston Center for the Arts' Calderwood Pavilion, the Huntington hosts Ronan Noone's new play, Brendan, which relates the comic travails of a recent Irish immigrant trying desperately to adapt (October 12-November 11).

The Theater Offensive's annual Out on the Edge festival of queer theatre (October 20-November 11) offers a fresh influx of avantgardism, including the New England premiere of the Five Lesbian Brothers' off-Broadway hit Oedipus at Palm Springs (October 25-28). Meanwhile, Boston University hosts its eleventh annual Fringe Festival (October 12 - November 4). BU also houses the Boston Playwrights Theatre, where Nathan Warren Lane's The Devil's Teacup: Two Prodigal Sons in the Bible Belt (October 17-28), tells the tale of a hardened New Yorker struggling to acclimate when plunked back in his southern Baptist hometown. Additionally, BU hosts the latest production of the intentionally peripatetic Actors Shakespeare Project: the company's all-female Macbeth (October 18-November 11).

Elsewhere, the Charlestown Working Theater hosts the rural-communal Double Edge Theatre in Republic of Dreams, drawn from the writings and erotic sketches of Bruno Schulz (October 3-13), and Theatre on Fire presents Ben Elton's consumerist satire Gasping (October 19-November 3). The Zeitgeist Stage Company and Way Theater Artists team up to present Robert Schenkkan's six-hour saga, The Kentucky Cycle (October 6-November 17). Lyric Stage presents Christopher Shinn's provocative Dying City (October 19-November 11), about a young Iraq War widow whose grieving process is disrupted by the appearance of her late husband's twin brother. Wheelock Family Theatre resurrects To Kill a Mockingbird (October 16-November 25).

Along the periphery, Merrimack Rep mounts the regional premiere of Richard Dresser's comedy The Pursuit of Happiness (October 4-18), about a teen who just says no to college, prompting a family crisis. James McLindon's Distant Music -- a dramedy about a disillusioned lawyer -- resurfaces in an Irish bar in Waltham, under the aegis of Lowell's Image Theater (October 13-21). Worcester's Foothills Theatre assays Douglas Carter Beane's slick contemporary comedy As Bees in Honey Drown (October 20-November 11). North Shore Music Theatre mounts the beloved musical Les Miserables in the round (October 23-November 11).

Watertown's New Repertory Theatre is part of the "rolling world premiere" of Thomas Gibbons' A House with No Walls (October 23-November 18), which melds the real-life story of one of George Washington's slaves, who dreamed of escape, and a controversial present-day proposal to designate her former quarters a "museum of liberty." On the fluffier side (with tragic undertones), Sunny Thompson appears in Greg Thompson's Marilyn: Forever Blonde at Stoneham Theatre (October 25-November 11).

At the Chester Theatre out in the Berkshires, David Birney directs -- and appears in -- a double bill: David Rodgers's The Gravity of Honey and Jerome Kilty's Dear Liar (October 3-14). Barrington Stage puts its year-round digs to good use with the Kander-Ebb revue The World Goes 'Round (October 3-21), helmed by artistic director Julianne Boyd.

On Cape Cod, the New Provincetown Players introduce Meryl Cohn's dysfunctional-family comedy Reasons to Live (October 6-13), with TheaterMania contributor Lynda Sturner as a beleaguered mater familias determined to marry off her offspring at all costs. For a "special Halloween treat" at its tiny Harbor Stage, the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater imports New York's ingenious Rabbit Hole Ensemble in The Night of Nosferatu (October 17-31). WHAT's Julie Harris Stage will be given over to the East Coast premiere of John Kolvenbach's Love Song (October 25 - November 25), an improbable romance that started out at Steppenwolf and went over big in London last season.