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The hottest tickets in town

Our guide to the season's most exciting theatrical productions.


Moonbox Productions presents Peter Shaffer’s exploration of Mozart—notoriously presented here as a fart-joke-loving, skirt-chasing bro who just so happens to be one of history’s greatest musical geniuses — through the eyes of the inferior Italian composer Salieri, whose increasingly obsessive envy of Wolfgang’s apparently effortless genius drives him straight to crazy town.

Nov. 25 through Dec. 17, Plaza Theater, 539 Tremont St., Boston, $25-$50, bostontheatrescene.com

‘The Pillowman’

Abraham Society presents this play by Martin McDonough, which takes place in a totalitarian society rather than the Irish playwright’s usual Irish settings. It concerns Katurian, a writer living in a gruesome police state, whose violent fiction resembles a recent spate of murders. Even worse, his own brother has already confessed to the crimes and implicated him. Can a brother catch a break?

Nov. 30 through Dec. 4, BCA Plaza Black Box, 539 Tremont St., Boston, $20-$25, bostontheatrescene.com

‘Fiddler on the Roof’

New Repertory Theater brings us the tale of Tevye, a regular man in a Russian-Jewish village at the dawn of the Revolution, reeling in the face of social changes he can’t understand but must accept. The 1964 musical’s mysterious mix of gravity and levity has made it an enduring classic of the genre, paving the way for greater social realism on Broadway.

Dec. 2 - 24,Arsenal Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal St., Watertown, $22-$42, newrep.org


Sue, the heroine of this play from the American Repertory Theatre, is a pickpocket in Victorian England, currently teaming up with a con artist to bilk a rich young woman out of her fortune. Only problem is, she’s falling in love with her mark. Actually, we lied — that’s just the first step down a mind-bending rabbit hole of intrigue.

Dec. 4 through Jan. 8, Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle St., Cambridge $25-$95, americanrepertorytheater.org

‘The Cradle will Rock’

This allegorical musical by Marc Blitzstein dates back to 1937, but may well be more relevant today. It takes place in “Steeltown, U.S.A.,” where our hero, the union organizer Larry Foreman, battles the evil capitalist Mr. Mister, who pretty much owns the whole town. Orson Welles actually directed the original production —perhaps there’s a little Mr. Mister in Charles Foster Kane.

Dec. 14 - 18, Calderwood Pavilion, 527 Tremont St., Boston, $12, bostonontheartsscene.com

‘James and the Giant Peach’
Parents who were fond of Roald Dahl as children will jump at the chance to show their own kids a Dahl tale in theatrical form, the American Repertory Theater picked a particularly weird tale from Dahl’s weird oeuvre: the adventures of an orphaned boy and his insect friends who get around in, yes, a giant peach. Why not, right?

Dec. 17-31, Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle St., Cambridge, $20, americanrepertorytheater.org

‘Hand to God’
This New England premiere from SpeakEasy Stage tells the weird story of a shy, neurotic teenager named Jason who dealt with his fears by creating Tyrone, a violent, assertive alter ego voiced through a sock puppet. It was effective until the Tyrone antics started getting out of — uh, hand. Those familiar with the “Batman” villain Scarface know how bad this can get if it goes untreated.

Jan. 6 through Feb. 4, Calderwood Pavilion, 527 Tremont St., Boston, $25-$52, speakeasystage.com

‘A Doll’s House’
With the feminist movement stronger than it’s been in decades — locker room talk notwithstanding — it seems like an excellent time to revisit this classic domestic tale from Henrik Ibsen. Though the Norwegian playwright denied any specifically feminist intentions, his story of a housewife awakening to her own agency and freedom could hardly function as a better parable for the injustices of patriarchy.

Jan. 6 through Feb. 5, Boston University Theater, 264 Huntington Ave., Boston, $20-$76, bostontheatrescene.com

‘Trans Scripts, Part 1: The Women’
Playwright Paul Lucas stitched this show together from dozens of interviews with transwomen, presenting a wide-ranging chorus of voices, from a former garage mechanic to a gynecologist to a drag performer. Considering all the misinformation that exists about transgender issues, even among sympathetic cisgender folks, this should be not only a fascinating set of character studies, but also a valuable social service.

Jan. 19 through Feb. 5, Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle St., Cambridge, Prices TBA, americanrepertorytheater.org

‘Our Secrets’
ArtsEmerson brings Bela Pinter and Company’s Iron Curtain play to Boston. In 1980’s Hungary, a man is caught by the secret police confessing his pedophilic desires. Rather than be exposed as a predator, he agrees to become a state informant, which soon puts him in the rather uncomfortable position of selling out his best friend. Where’s Edward Snowden when you need him?

Jan. 19 - 22. Paramount Center, 559 Washington St., Boston, Prices TBA, artsemerson.org

Roundabout Theater Company comes in January bearing Sam Mendes and Robert Marshall’s Tony-winning production of “Cabaret.” Since the mid-80’s, the 1966 show has seen a revival every five years or so in either New York or London. Timeless? We think so. There’s an endless appeal in the show’s heroes, desperately trying to make a safe space for fun in a world of fear.

Jan. 31 through Feb. 12, Boston Opera House, 539 Washington St., $40-$125, boston.broadway.com

‘The Beauty Queen of Leenane’
Ireland’s Druid Theater Company drops in with Martin McDonagh’s 1996 black comedy about a rather dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship taking place somewhere in county Connemara. The play, which won several Tony awards when it first ran on Broadway, has been celebrated for knocking the audience’s expectations around like a ping-pong ball. Fun fact: Marie Mullen, who originally played the daughter, now plays the mother.

Feb 8 - 19, Paramount Center, 559 Washington St., Boston, Prices TBA, artsemerson.org

‘Tis a Pity She’s a Whore’

The incestuous romance at the center of this 17th century tragedy by English playwright John Ford was totally scandalous in its day and up until the mid-20th century, by which time most critics could no longer be shocked by anything. Today, Ford seems remarkably ahead of his time in his depiction of human complexity, daring to tread even where Shakespeare didn’t.

Feb. 18-25, Calderwood Pavilion, 527 Tremont St., Boston, $12, bostontheatrescene.com

For the rest of the best entertainment in Boston during the holidays, visit our Winter Arts Guide.

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