Fall Arts Guide: This season’s theater scene includes Vonnegut, Godot, Hobbits and more

 

'We Will Rock You'
‘We Will Rock You’

‘Burning’
September 26 through October 20
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
949 Comm. Ave., Boston
$10-$30, 617-353-5443
bu.edu/bpt

This play by Ginger Lazarus, based on “Cyrano de Bergerac”, tells of a lesbian Army vet who employs a poetic follow soldier’s talents to woo the woman she’s after. The homosexual angle brings Rostand’s classic story into new territory — namely the labyrinthine world of deception, both of others and self, born of the notorious “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

‘Romeo and Juliet’
October 2 through November 3
Strand Theatre
543 Columbia Rd., Dorchester
$28-$50, 866-811-4111
actorsshakespeareproject.org

Shakespeare’s best-known play contains everything that made him such a great recorder of how it feels to be human, from its witty comedic asides to the agony of its tragically unnecessary conclusion. Of course young love isn’t worth all that, but certainly seems to be when you’re in it, and it’s that seeming-to-be that Shakespeare captured better than anyone.

‘Kiss and Cry’
October 10 through 12
Cutler Majestic Theatre
219 Tremont St., Boston
$25-$56, 617-824-3006
artsemerson.org

This unusual Belgian production mixes elements of dance, theater, music and film with frame narration by a woman reminiscing, at the end of her life, on her various lovers. The weird thing is that these scenes are acted out only with hands, walking around on their fingers on a set filled with miniature props — and it’s heart-wrenching nonetheless.

‘Million Dollar Quartet’
October 8 through 20
Citi Emerson Colonial Theatre
106 Boylston St., Boston
$24-$129, 866-348-9738
citicenter.org

This musical tells the true story of a legendary 1956 Sun Records jam session featuring four seminal country and rock icons: Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash. More remarkable than the fact that this ever happened, and that the recordings survive, is the fact that it came together more or less by pure chance.

‘The Power of Duff’
October 11 through November 9
Boston Center for the Arts
527 Tremont St., Boston
$25-$80, 617-266-0800
huntingtontheatre.org

This Tony-nominated play by David Ives tells the story of Charlie Duff, whose fortunes as a TV newscaster change overnight when, out of sheer exasperation, he begins offering a prayer at the end of each broadcast. He becomes immensely popular, but can he practice in his personal life what he’s now preaching? Moreover, does he even believe in it?

‘The Hobbit’
October 25 through November 25
Wheelock Family Theatre
200 The Riverway, Boston
$20-$35, 617-879-2300
wheelockfamilytheatre.org

How can you turn “The Hobbit,” with its giant fire-breathing dragons and sweeping landscapes, into a play? Well, you focus on the human side of the story. At its heart Tolkein’s beloved tale is concerned with the triumph of courage and faith over power and fear, and the effect even a small soul can have on the world.

‘Waiting for Godot’
October 31 through November 10
Paramount Theatre
589 Washington St., Boston
$25-$79, 617-824-3006
artsemerson.org

Spoiler alert: Samuel Beckett’s iconic absurdist comedy “Waiting for Godot” makes no sense, and it’s meant to be that way. Why see it, then? Because there are plenty of times when real life fails to make any sense to our tiny human brains, and if you can laugh at this play, you might be able to survive those moments too.

‘Kurt Vonnegut’s Make Up Your Mind’
November 1 through 30
Boston Center for the Arts
527 Tremont St., Boston
$45-$55, 617-933-8600
speakeasystage.com

One of Kurt Vonnegut’s few plays, this is the humorously cautionary tale of a man who devises a way to cure the problem of human indecisiveness once and for all. Like a good American, he tries to sell it, bringing upon himself a heap of problems arguably worse than not being able to make up one’s mind.

‘We Will Rock You’
November 5 through 10
Boston Opera House
539 Washington St., Boston
$30-$110, 800-745-3000
broadwayinboston.com

Queen’s music, with its potent mix of macho hard rock bombast and melodramatic fabulosity, already seemed like the soundtrack to an unwritten Broadway show, so it must not have been hard to adapt it for this musical. It takes place 300 years from now, when soulless technocracy rules the world, and the only thing that can save us is rock ‘n’ roll (natch).

‘Vieux Carre’
November 14 through 17
Zack Box, Boston Conservatory
8 The Fenway
$10, 617-912-9222
bostonconservatory.edu

One of Tennessee Williams’ lesser-known plays, “Vieux Carre” takes place in the perfect South Gothic setting: a shady boarding house in New Orleans. We glimpse the lives of its down-and-out inhabitants, all deliciously over-the-top visions of human decay and denial, through the eyes of Writer (an obvious stand-in for Williams), who’s both fascinated and repulsed by their wrecked lives.


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