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Boston Metro Spotlight: May 2007

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Victor Garber in Present Laughter
(© Joan Marcus)
Boston is awash in TV stars this month: Alias' Victor Garber is a self-enamored matinee idol in Coward's Present Laughter at the Huntington (May 18-June 17), and Paul Benedict (Jeffersons) and Max Wright (Alf) star in Pinter's No Man's Land at the American Repertory Theatre (May 12-June 10). All three actors also have mega stage credits.

Monologist Mike Daisey is still reeling from an audience revolt; an offended high-school chaperone dumped water on his Invincible Summer notes while ushering out his charges mid-performance. But Daisey will forge on at ART's Zero Arrow space with an earlier piece, Monopoly! (May 1-5), and a new riff in progress, Tongues Will Wag (May 8), about offspring, dogs, and our tendency to confuse the two.

Chita Rivera blows into town with The Dancer's Life at the Colonial (May 1-6), to be followed by the touring Light in the Piazza (May 29-June 9). Diva/divo sightings include Liz Callaway fronting the Boston Pops in A Baby Boomer Bash (May 11-12) and Brian Stokes Mitchell making his Celebrity Series debut at Harvard's Sanders Theatre (May 11). On the dance front, the Mark Morris Dance Group alights at the Institute for Contemporary Art (May 15-20), and Snappy Dance Theater brings its multimedia-enhanced acrobatics to the Boston Center for the Arts (May 30-June 10).

The BCA's Calderwood Pavilion will witness the debut of David the Musical (May 9-13), drawn from ancient Israeli history and featuring a DeMille-scale cast. Occupying the pavilion's other mainstage, the always stellar SpeakEasy Stage takes on Parade (May 12-June 16), a 1999 double Tony winner by Alfred Uhry and Jason Robert Brown, set in early 20th-century Georgia. Brendan McNab plays a Jew unjustly accused of murder; Bridget Beirne, who won a 2000 Norton Award performing at SpeakEasy while still a Boston Conservatory student, returns from New York to play his loyal wife.

Meanwhile, in BCA's rehearsal rooms and black boxes, 11:11 Theatre Company premieres Brian Tuttle's The Autumn Hours (May 11-20), about a web of relationships; Gurnet Theatre Project offers an '04 New York Fringe Festival hit, the Peanuts parody Dog Sees God (May 17-26); and Stagewrights Corp presents a new male-male romance, Just Say Love, set right in the neighborhood: the predominantly gay South End (May 31-June 30).

The Lyric Stage resurrects Shaw's Arms and the Man (May 4-June 2) with a cast of local favorites, including Barlow Adamson and Ken Baltin. Lyric's resident interactive children's theatre, Once upon a Time, revives Sleeping Beauty (May 12-20).

The fringes are astir with Lee Blessing's Beirut hostage drama Two Rooms, mounted by Theatre on Fire at the Charlestown Working Theatre (May 4-19), and Leslie Harrell Dillen's one-woman piece Action Jesus: A Spiritual Comedy at the Boston Playwrights Theatre (May 10-27). The Actors Shakespeare Project may have started out fringey, but a string of dazzling low-budget productions have made national news. Next up -- staged, like the recent, staggering Titus, in a cement basement at The Garage in Harvard Square -- is Love's Labor's Lost (May 31-June 24) in an innovative configuration: four actors play four couples, switching genders as needed.

Out in the suburbs, Stoneham Theatre instills chills with the Agatha Christie chestnut And Then There Were None (May 10-27); Foothills Theatre Company introduces the parodic Musical of Musicals: The Musical (May 10-June 3); Gloucester Stage's PR director Heidi Dallin makes the most of her resemblance to the former First Lady in Yvette Heyliger's Hillary and Monica: The Winter of Her Discontent (May 25-June 3); and the North Shore Music Theatre mounts a romping, stomping Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (May 29-June 17).

Out in the Berkshires, Barrington Stage, which has gone year-round, extends its shoulder season with Jeffrey Hatcher's A Picasso (May 9-June 10). Directed by Tyler Marchant, the show stars Thom Christopher (an Emmy-winner for One Life to Live) and Broadway veteran Gretchen Egolf.

Meanwhile, the nearby Berkshire Theatre Festival kicks off its season with Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie (May 24-June 30) starring Tom Story and Aya Cash. Shakespeare & Company eschews the Bard -- temporarily -- for Sir Tom Stoppard, specifically his farcical Molnar/Wodehouse adaptation Rough Crossing (May 25-September 2).

On Cape Cod, the Cape Rep Theatre tackles Suzan-Lori Parks's Topdog/Underdog (May 10-June 3); the New Provincetown Players mount Albee's The Goat or, Who Is Sylvia? (May 18-June 3); and the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre introduces Mojo (May 23 - June 16), Jez Butterworth's noir comedy set in a Mob-riddled, pre-Mod London nightclub.

Anyone with pint-size companions, and even those without, must absolutely not miss the return engagement of Frogz! at the Cutler Majestic (May 30-June 3). Seattle's Imago Theatre wowed audiences as guests of ART two years ago, and who knows when they'll be hopping this way again.

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