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Arts: the week ahead

ROCK OF AGES This good-natured musical homage to 1980s rock ’n’ roll may not have the highest IQ, but its EQ (Enjoyment Quotient) is way up there. In reprising his Broadway role as Drew, a wannabe rocker, Constantine Maroulis shows why he was nominated for a Tony, and Rebecca Faulkenberry (pictured with Maroulis) is a powerhouse as an aspiring actress named Sherrie. Through Oct. 17. Colonial Theatre. 800-982-2787, www.Broadwayacrossamerica.com/boston ROCK OF AGES This good-natured musical homage to 1980s rock ’n’ roll may not have the highest IQ, but its EQ (Enjoyment Quotient) is way up there. In reprising his Broadway role as Drew, a wannabe rocker, Constantine Maroulis shows why he was nominated for a Tony, and Rebecca Faulkenberry (pictured with Maroulis) is a powerhouse as an aspiring actress named Sherrie. Through Oct. 17. Colonial Theatre. 800-982-2787, www.Broadwayacrossamerica.com/boston (Winslow Townson for The Boston Globe)
October 14, 2010

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THEATER
THE COVETED CROWN: HENRY IV, PARTS I AND II There’s plenty of swordplay, wordplay, and revelry in this sprawling, high-energy production of Shakespeare’s two-part tale of a fretful king, his wastrel son, and, best of all, Falstaff, a role the inimitable Robert Walsh chomps on with gusto. Through Nov. 21. Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Midway Studios. 866-811-4111, www.actorsshakespeareproject.org

IN THE NEXT ROOM (OR THE VIBRATOR PLAY) Director Scott Edmiston and a strong cast led by Anne Gottlieb and Marianna Bassham explore the shadows as well as the light in this superb production of Sarah Ruhl’s play. Through Oct. 16. SpeakEasy Stage Company. Roberts Studio Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600, www.speakeasystage.com

BUS STOP The vigor of this production, directed by Nicholas Martin, helps obscure the dated aspects of William Inge’s curious comedy about an over-the-top cowboy, the nightclub singer he is determined to marry, and others stranded in a Kansas diner when a blizzard hits. Through Oct. 17. Huntington Theatre Company. Boston University Theatre. 617-266-0800, www.huntingtontheatre.org

WICKED The cast of this touring company is competent, but not really more than that, with one electrifying exception: Jackie Burns, whose performance as Elphaba (a.k.a. the Wicked Witch of the West) puts such a charge into Stephen Schwartz’s songs that she almost threatens to make audiences forget Idina Menzel. Through Oct. 17. Boston Opera House. 800-982-2787, www.ticketmaster.com/wicked

MUSEUMS
THE EMPEROR’S PRIVATE PARADISE: TREASURES FROM THE FORBIDDEN CITY The contents of an 18th-century emperor’s private quarters deep within the Forbidden City in Beijing revealed to the public for the first time. Through Jan. 9. Peabody Essex Museum, Salem. 978-745-9500, www.pem.org

LYNDA BENGLIS A career survey of this inventive American artist, featuring wax paintings, poured latex and polyurethane foam sculptures, video, installations, fabric “knots,’’ and much more. Through Jan. 9. Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art, Providence. 401-454-6500, www.risdmuseum.org

2010 JAMES AND AUDREY FOSTER PRIZE A display of contenders for this annual prize, which celebrates Boston-area artists. This time featuring nine artists, up from four last year. Through Jan. 17. Institute of Contemporary Art. 617-478-3100, www.icaboston.org

WILLIAM KENTRIDGE: AMBIVALENT AFFINITIES AND PROJECTS Two exhibitions presenting an overview of the work of this acclaimed South African animator, draughtsman, sculptor, and set designer. Through Dec. 11. Sandra and David Bakalar Gallery, Massachusetts College of Art. 617-879-7333. www.massart.edu/galleries SEBASTIAN SMEE

GALLERIES
MEGAN AND MURRAY McMILLAN: WHAT STANDS BETWEEN US AND THE SUN The McMillans built an artificial lake in a Rhode Island warehouse, and performers altered it to suggest a solar eclipse. This exhibit features photography, video, and elements made from that set. Through Nov. 27. Axiom Center for New and Experimental Media, 141 Green St., Jamaica Plain. 301-455-3722, www.axiomart.org

WARNER FRIEDMAN: PLACES IN THE SUN, ILANA MANOLSON: STASIS/FLUX Friedman creates trompe l’oeil paintings combining natural and built environments that seem to project right into the gallery. Manolson, trained as a naturalist, marries close observation with expressive technique in her fluid, intricate nature scenes. Through Oct. 30. Clark Gallery, 145 Lincoln Road, Lincoln. 781-259-8303, www.clarkgallery.com

CONTROL ISSUES The Boston Center for the Arts partners with the Goethe Institute to present video works about climate change by artists from around the world, who consider humanity’s response in the face of unstable, unstoppable forces of nature. Pictured: Eugenio Ampudia’s 2003 ‘‘Fuego Frío I.’’ Through Oct. 24. Mills Gallery, Boston Center for the Arts, 551 Tremont St. 617-426-8835, www.bcaonline.org

THE TEAPOT REDEFINED 2010 An array of artists explores the form of the humble teapot, in materials as diverse as textiles (Donna Marder’s lace and wire pot), beadwork, metals, glass, wood (Sylvie Rosenthal’s duck-billed “Tea House Teapot’’), and ceramics. Through Nov. 6. Mobilia Gallery, 358 Huron Ave., Cambridge. 617-876-2109, www.mobilia-gallery.com

CATE McQUAID

DANCE
MARK MORRIS DANCE GROUP The popular company returns to Boston with a world premiere in honor of Celebrity Series of Boston president and executive director Marty Jones’s 25th anniversary with the organization. Titled ‘‘Petrichor,’’ it is set to the Villa-Lobos String Quartet No. 2. The program with live music also features two Boston premieres, ‘‘Excursions,’’ to Barber’s piano gems, and ‘‘Empire Garden,’’ set to Charles Ives’s Trio for Violin, Violoncello and Piano. Presented by Celebrity Series. Oct. 14-17. $53-$350. Cutler Majestic Theatre. 617-482-6661, www.celebrityseries.org

THE SHOWING This intriguing project presents the Finnish duo of dancer/choreographer Hanna Pajala-Assefa and percussionist Mamba in site-specific dance performances tailored to two private loft spaces: one in East Cambridge (Oct. 15) and the other in Downtown Boston (Oct. 16). The dancer takes on the role of a real estate agent trying to sell each space in this partly improvised dance theater piece. Exact locations will be revealed upon registration. $10. Oct. 15 (www.theshowingoct15.eventbrite.com) and Oct. 16 (www.theshowingoct16.eventbrite.com).

CURIOUS DYNAMICS: A SHARED CHOREOGRAPHERS’ CONCERT One of the Dance Complex’s most successful initiatives consists of the mentored concerts that bring together promising emerging and independent choreographers. This weekend’s collaborative showcase features new work by Kara Fili, Naomi Bennett & Alisia L.L. Waller, Cecilia Raasina, Judie Clark, and Alma Baumwoll. Oct. 15-16. $10. Dance Complex, Cambridge. 617-547-9363, www.dancecomplex.org

TWO NIGHTS IN SPAIN This mini-festival of Spanish culture features flamenco dancers Eva Lorca and Yvonne Lalyre in two programs of music, dance, poetry, and drama. ‘‘A Poet’s Life: Lorca in Words and Music’’ (Oct. 15) honors the legendary Federico Garcia Lorca. ‘‘Romantic Spain: Albeniz, Falla, Granados’’ (Oct. 16) celebrates three of Spain’s greatest nationalist composers. $10-$25. Blacksmith House, Cambridge. 617-666-7973, www.alwaysbdancing.blogspot.com

KAREN CAMPBELL