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Boston Metro Spotlight: February 2011

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Gavin Creel
(© Tristan Fuge)
ART artistic director Diane Paulus is fomenting a "Dionysian" rock-concert version of Prometheus Bound at the Oberon nightclub space (February 25 - April 2), featuring book and lyrics by Steven Sater and music by Serj Tankian. Two-time Tony nominee Gavin Creel will play the ultimate sufferer, Lea DeLaria his tormentor. Meanwhile, in the company's Loeb mainstage, Soho Rep's Sarah Benson directs Sophocles' Ajax (February 12 - March 12), with Brent Harris as the celebrated warrior chafing at the strictures of peacetime and Ron Cephas Jones as his rival, Odysseus.

ArtsEmerson also has two shows on view, both Irish imports. Director Garry Hynes and Druid Theatre's production of Martin McDonagh's comedy The Cripple of Inishmaan (February 2-6) makes a stop at the Paramount on its national tour. The Abbey Theatre's Terminus, written and directed by Mark Rowe (February 8-13), promises three ordinary people "thrown into a fantastical world of serial killers, avenging angels and love-sick demons."

Even Ryan Landry's outré Gold Dust Orphans troupe has two shows up its sequined sleeves: at their HQ, the basement of the gay club Machine, they'll be hosting Dina Martina's first Boston gig, Sitting Ovations (February 10-13) and reviving their own award-winning Tennessee Williams homage, Pussy on the House (February 25 - March 20), featuring Larry Coen as a lesbian "Big Momma."

The Theatre District welcomes two touring companies of current Broadway shows, Mary Poppins at the Boston Opera House (February 17 - March 20) and RAIN - A Tribute To The Beatles at the Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre (February 25-26)

Internationally renowned heldentenor John MacMaster stars in Boston Lyric Opera's rendition of The Emperor of Atlantis, or Death Quits (February 1-6), written by Petr Kien and composer Viktor Ullmann as they awaited execution in Auschwitz; the program, presented at the BCA's Calderwood Pavilion, starts off with a prologue commissioned from Harvard composer Richard Beaudoin, "The After-Image." The Lyric Stage Company offers the New England premiere of Aaron Posner's adaptation of the Chaim Potok novel My Name is Asher Lev (February 11- March 12), about a young Jewish painter in post-WWII Brooklyn struggling against the restraints of his Hassidic upbringing. Jason Schuchman plays the conflicted rebel, Joel Colodner and Anne Gottlieb his protective parents.

Boston University presents a student/professional production of Athol Fugard's The Road to Mecca at the Lane-Comley Studio (February 16 - March 5), directed by Judy Braha and featuring faculty members Elaine Vaan Hogue and Mark Cohen. Boston Playwrights' Theatre, founded at BU 30 years ago by the Nobel Prize-winning poet/ playwright/professor Derek Walcott, and Underground Railway Theater are collaborating on a production of his 1957 folk parable Ti-Jean and His Brothers at the Central Square Theatre in Cambridge (February 10 - March 13).

Boston Children's Theatre is enjoying a recent renaissance under new management. Executive producer Toby Schine's adaptation of Kevin Henkes' popular children's book, Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse (February 5-16), promises fun for all ages. Other family-friendly entertainment includes Sunfish, a new musical at Stoneham Theatre by the writer/composer pair Michael Cooper and Hyeyoung Kim (February 10-27). It draws on a Korean folk tale about a country girl who braves a fantastical undersea adventure in her search to restore her father's sight. Several actors -- including, notably, Eve Kagan and Austin Ku -- share storytelling duties.

Ensconced in Somerville for the nonce (at The Storefront on Elm in Davis Square), the deliberately homeless Actors' Shakespeare Project premieres two shows for its Winter Festival, with a third to follow in March. Company member Doug Lockwood directs Cymbeline (February 9-20), and -- departing from the Bard -- David R. Gammons helms an atmospheric new play by John Kuntz, The Hotel Nepenthe (February 23 - March 6); the all-star cast for the latter includes the author, Marianna Bassham, Daniel Berger-Jones, and Georgia Lyman.

ASP regular Sarah Newhouse is otherwise engaged, playing Nora in Theresa Rebeck's 2001 Ibsen adaptation, DollHouse, at New Rep in Watertown (February 27 - March 20). Lowell's Merrimack Rep returns to playwright Bob Clyman for his latest play, The Exceptionals (February 10- March 6), a near-futuristic drama based on the growing debate about designer genes. Judith Lightfoot Clarke plays a parent liaison advising a mother-to-be (Carolyn Baeumler) about the severe risks that accompany a possible evolutionary leap forward.

Out in the Berkshires, Shakespeare & Company is keeping up local spirits with Charles Ludlam's hilarious two-man tour de force The Mystery of Irma Vep (February 4 - March 27), starring malleable in-house clowns Josh Aaron McCabe and Ryan Winkles.

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