Andrew J. Pond stars in MadKap Productions' one-man show about the effect of early-onset Parkinson's on both patient and caregiver. $25, $20 for seniors, $15 for students
The star attraction is John Mahoney as Dan, a retired laborer who can't get over the death of the woman he's loved for 30 years. But it's Penny Slusher who provides all that's worthwhile in this world-premiere staging of a hokey two-hander by Irish playwright Christian O'Reilly. Slusher plays Betty, an aging divorcee with nothing but a brood of cats (19 of them "and counting," she says) to take the edge off her loneliness. Literally running into Dan at the vet's, she sets about bringing both him and herself back to life. If only she could do the same for the show as a whole. Between the formulaic script and a miscast Mahoney, however, that's impossible. Still, Slusher enlivens her every moment onstage with a bittersweet ebullience that bubbles over every so often into little dances of everyday transcendence. When Betty dons a ridiculous red party dress and asserts that she looks lovely in it, we have to admit she's right. —Tony Adler $25-$72
Students in the theater's young artists' program present a sequel to the classic fairy tale. $12
Erasing the Distance partners with Turning Point Behavioral Health Care Center to present monologues about mental health issues.http://tpoint.org.
Staged readings of new plays. A post-reading discussion follows.
Meddlesome fairies cause trouble and then set things to rights in William Shakespeare's comedy about a series of magic-assisted romantic mix-ups in an enchanted forest. But the fairies sink Jason Martin's staging of the play, thanks to performers who are too busy writhing and twirling to bother with making themselves understood. It's too bad the supernatural parts are so tedious, because the cast shows promise elsewhere. Of the four young lovers lost in the woods, the women are especially strong. Diana Coates makes a tangy and intelligent Hermia, while Deborah Craft brings a surprisingly effective Carol Burnett-like goofiness to Helena. Joshua D. Allard's costumes are presumably meant to be sexy and exotic, but everybody ends up looking like a Game of Thrones extra. —Zac Thompson $10-$25
Rob Winn Anderson explores gender identity in this new work. $20
This 2012 drama by Amy Herzog (whose Belleville ran at Steppenwolf last year) focuses on a young man (Brett Schneider) who learns that he may have been sexually abused as a child, and how the knowledge affects his already ambivalent relationships with others in his life. These include his pregnant lover (Kristina Valada-Viars), perplexed by her mate's emotional diffidence; his parents (Jan Radcliff and James Leaming), whose own marital troubles might have played a part in the matter; his elderly former babysitter (Margaret Kustermann), who may know more than she's telling; and the boyhood friend (Matt Hawkins) who reveals the possible past molestation. The 75-minute one-act's principal focus is on the unreliability of memory—it's never certain whether the suspected abuse actually took place—and the play's ambiguities are skillfully negotiated by director Kimberly Senior and her excellent cast. —Albert Williams $30-$45http://nexttheatre.org
It's practically impossible to miss the parallels between August Strindberg's The Dance of Death and Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf—and somebody's sure to point them out to you if by chance you do. I know I've found the resemblance noted everywhere I've looked, from Wikipedia to the program notes for Writers Theatre's fierce production of the Strindberg play, built around a new adaptation by Irish playwright Conor McPherson. Continue reading >> $35-$70