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Dramas, musicals, and a trio of blue men: 10 shows for theatergoers this winter

Charis Gullage (center) as Disco Donna in "Summer: The Donna Summer Musical," which comes to the Emerson Colonial Theatre Feb. 22-March 6.nick gould

BLUE MAN GROUP In writing about the appeal of “comfort food theater” two years ago at this time, just before You-Know-What reared its head, I described the typical Blue Man Group performance as “artistically ambitious yet joyously accessible as it floods the senses and stimulates the imagination, its mysterious performers as enigmatic and endearing as ever.” Resuming performances at the Charles Playhouse for the first time since March 13, 2020, Blue Man Group will return Feb. 10 with its particular brand of magic presumably intact, as well as a few tweaks to its trademark interactive bits. From Feb. 10 on. From Feb. 18-27, the show schedule will be expanded, including added weekday matinees. Charles Playhouse. www.blueman.com/boston


PEOPLE, PLACES & THINGS Duncan Macmillan’s play about addiction, recovery, and mental health stars Marianna Bassham as Emma, a thirtysomething actress whose turbulent journey through rehab begins with an onstage meltdown. Co-starring Kadahj Bennett, Adrianne Krstansky, John Kuntz, and Nael Nacer. Also featuring Josephine Moshiri Elwood, Parker Jennings, Victor L. Shopov, Shanelle Chloe Villegas, and Sharmarke Yusuf. Directed by David R. Gammons. Feb. 11-March 5. SpeakEasy Stage Company. At Roberts Studio Theatre, Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600, www.SpeakEasyStage.com

YOUNG NERDS OF COLOR After more than 60 interviews with scientists of color about their challenges and dreams, playwright Melinda Lopez assembled their stories into a theater piece directed by Dawn M. Simmons, with original music by Nona Hendryx. Cast includes Kortney Adams, Karina Beleno Carney, Lindsey McWhorter, James Ricardo Milord, Daniel Rios Jr., and Alison Yueming Qu. Feb. 17-March 20. Underground Railway at Central Square Theater. A Catalyst Collaborative@MIT Production. At Central Square Theater, Cambridge. 617-576-9278, www.CentralSquareTheater.org

SUMMER: THE DONNA SUMMER MUSICAL The Boston-born Queen of Disco is the subject of this jukebox musical, with three actresses sharing the title role: Brittny Smith as “Diva Donna,” Charis Gullage as “Disco Donna,” and Amahri Edwards-Jones as “Duckling Donna.” Songs are by Summer, Giorgio Moroder, and others. Directed by Lauren L. Sobon, based on Des McAnuff’s original direction, with choreography by Natalie Caruncho, based on Sergio Trujillo’s original choreography. The book is by Colman Domingo, Robert Cary, and McAnuff. Feb. 22-March 6. Broadway In Boston. At Emerson Colonial Theatre. 888-616-0272, www.BroadwayInBoston.com


OCEAN FILIBUSTER After “Mr. Majority” (Jennifer Kidwell) introduces a bill within an august governing body to shrink the world’s oceans to a collection of inland seas, the Ocean itself (Kidwell again) enters the body’s chamber to argue on its own behalf. Featuring a six-member onstage choir, “Ocean Filibuster” was created by PearlDamour, which is the team of Katie Pearl and Lisa D’Amour. The script was written by D’Amour, with music by Sxip Shirey, and it will be directed by Pearl. Feb. 24-March 13. American Repertory Theater. At Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge. 617-547-8300, www.AmericanRepertoryTheater.org

ERMA BOMBECK: AT WIT’S END In 2015, Karen MacDonald memorably portrayed firebrand journalist Molly Ivins in “Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins,” by twin sisters Allison Engel and Margaret Engel, at Lyric Stage Company of Boston. Now MacDonald will play another witty woman, the celebrated humorist of the homefront Erma Bombeck, in the Engels’ solo play, “At Wit’s End.” Directed by Terry Berliner. Feb. 24-March 13. Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Lowell. 978-654-4678, www.mrt.org

THE BOOK OF WILL In this comedy by the endlessly prolific Lauren Gunderson (”The Half-Life of Marie Curie,” “Silent Sky”), one of the most produced playwrights in the country, Shakespeare’s company of actors bands together after his death to preserve his plays. Featuring Ed Hoopman, Joshua Wolf Coleman, Will McGarrahan, Shani Farrell, Sarah Newhouse, Scot Colford, Grace Experience, Lewis D. Wheeler, Hector Toledo Jr., and Fred Sullivan Jr. Directed by Courtney O’Connor. Feb. 25-March 27. Lyric Stage Company of Boston. 617-585-5678, www.lyricstage.com


INCIDENT AT OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP In Katie Forgette’s comedy, 19-year-old Linda O’Shea guides the audience through four tempestuous days in the life of her middle-class Irish-Catholic family in 1973. It begins when Linda explains the birds and the bees to her younger sister, and their conversation is overheard by their parish priest, who indignantly confronts the family about “the corruption of their eldest daughter’s soul.” Featuring Barlow Adamson, Amy Barker, Autumn Blazon-Brown, Maureen Keiller, and Vin Vega. Directed by Weylin Symes. March 3-20. Greater Boston Stage Company, Stoneham. 781-279-2200, www.greaterbostonstage.org

EVERYDAY LIFE AND OTHER ODDS AND ENDS Playwright Charlotte Meehan (”The Audacity: Women Speak”) incorporates dance, music, and video in her play about three couples who navigate the challenges of Parkinson’s disease thanks to what the playwright describes as “the gift of grace and the strength of love.” Featuring Christina Chan, Gloria Crist, Judith Nelson Dilday, Evelyn Holley, Bruce Kaye, Mal Malme, and Veronica Anastasio Wiseman. Directed by Tara Brooke Watkins. March 12-27. Production by Sleeping Weazel. Presented by ArtsEmerson. At Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre, Paramount Center. 617-824-8400, artsemerson.org


A scene from a performance of "Freestyle Love Supreme" at New York's Booth Theatre, with co-creator Anthony Veneziale (center).Joan Marcus

FREESTYLE LOVE SUPREME Devised by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Anthony Veneziale, and Thomas Kail back before “Hamilton” made Miranda world-famous, “Freestyle Love Supreme” is an improvisational comedy show in which performers take audience suggestions and transform them into hip-hop numbers. Directed by Kail, and featuring Veneziale, Andrew Bancroft, Jay C. Ellis, Aneesa Folds, Kaila Mullady, Morgan Reilly, and Chris Sullivan. March 18-April 2. Emerson Colonial Theatre. 888-616-0272, www.emersoncolonialtheatre.com


Don Aucoin can be reached at donald.aucoin@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeAucoin.