Considering all the stress that comes with the end of the year and the holiday season, the ability to step out of regular life into a completely new world is impossibly alluring. Indeed, a night at the theater never fails to be the most powerful remedy to all holiday woes. Check out our guide to 10 of the most exciting plays in Boston this winter.
"The Color Purple"
This Tony Award-winning Broadway revival has made its way to Boston. The musical tells the story of one woman’s discovery of love and purpose in spite of oppression in the American South. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning Alice Walker novel of the same name, the performance brings the tale to life with jazz, gospel, ragtime and blues. Nov. 21-Dec. 3, Shubert Theater, 265 Tremont, Boston, $48+, bochcenter.org
“A Christmas Carol”
This unique version of the Christmas-time story weaves past with present. Set in a city suspended between
Victorian and modern-day London, this show uses puppetry, music and dancing to turn the old story into a modern day holiday spectacle. Nov. 24-Dec.31, Central Square Theater, 450 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, $16+, centralsquaretheater.org
"Hold These Truths"
In the '40s, as the United States cruelly rounded up hundreds of thousands of people of Japanese descent in internment camps, one man bravely fought the tide. "Hold these Truths" is a monologue based on the true story of Gordon Hirabayashi, the son of immigrants famous for refusing internment as an act of civil disobedience. The play will include elements of Kabuki, traditional Japanese theater. Dec.1-Dec. 31, Lyric Stage, 140 Clarendon St., Boston, $35+, lyricstage.com
“Sense and Sensibility”
Check out a new twist on the Jane Austen classic of the two Dashwood sisters learning to understand love and themselves. Adapted by Kate Hamill and directed by Eric Tucker, this play makes Austen accessible, even to
her biggest skeptics, with energetic performances and a rotating stage setup. Dec. 10-Jan.14, Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle St., Cambridge, $25+, americanrepertorytheater.org
Come for a contemporary, hip-hop version of the beloved holiday story, complete with dancers, a violinist, a DJ and MC Kurtis Blow. The performance takes the classic tale to the present; for example, Act II is set not in the Land of Sweets, but in the ‘80s Brooklyn nightclub Maria-Clara’s parents met. Dec. 21-Dec.23, Shubert Theatre, 265 Tremont, $25+, bochcenter.org
Enthusiasts of the power of light and shadow won’t want to miss "Ada/Ava," a multi-media performance incorporating shadow puppetry, live-action silhouettes and overhead projection. The performance tells the story of Ada and Ava, inseparable twins until Ava unexpectedly dies; Ada then takes the audience on a journey through her grief. Jan. 10-14, Emerson Paramount Center, 559 Washington St., Boston, $20+, emersonparamount.org
“Shakespeare in Love”
Based on the Oscar-winning film of the same name, the show follows Shakespeare’s romance with one of his actors, and the resulting drama that unfolds in his play’s plot and production. Jan. 12-Feb. 10, Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont St., $25+, bostontheatrescene.com
"In the Eruptive Mode"
This performance provides a new lens for learning about 2011’s Arab Spring. "In the Eruptive Mode" is six poetic monologues, with song, from women caught up in the Arab Spring. These evocative narratives are performed and subtitled in Arabic and English. Jan. 24-28, Emerson Paramount Center, 559 Washington St., Boston, $20+, emersonparamount.org
Hayley Walker has a common problem: a string of bad luck in the dating world. However, her coping mechanism may be a bit unconventional. In “Bad Dates,” Hayley shares her stories around a series of unfortunate dates with the audience in this monologue. Jan. 26-Feb. 25, Avenue of the Arts/Huntington Avenue Theatre, 264 Huntington Avenue, $25+, huntingtontheatre.org
"Death and the Maiden"
This critically acclaimed play exploring themes of repression, madness and justice is making its way to Massachusetts. Set in a post-totalitarian state coming to grips with is past, a lawyer investigating past human rights abuses is thrown in the middle of the drama when his wife accuses the lawyer’s acquaintance of being her past torturer. Jan. 30- Feb. 11, Black Box Theater, Sorenson Center for the Arts, 19 Babson College Drive, Babson College, $40+, commshakes.org