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Arts

Stirring the spirit THE GERSHWINS’ PORGY AND BESS This vibrant and stirring musical-theater adaptation makes some revisions, but director Diane Paulus and collaborators Suzan-Lori Parks and Dierdre L. Murray are largely faithful to the spirit of the original. In Audra McDonald, this production boasts a Bess for the ages. Through Oct. 2. American Repertory Theater, Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge. 617-547-8300, www.americanrepertorytheater.org DON AUCOIN Stirring the spirit

THE GERSHWINS’ PORGY AND BESS This vibrant and stirring musical-theater adaptation makes some revisions, but director Diane Paulus and collaborators Suzan-Lori Parks and Dierdre L. Murray are largely faithful to the spirit of the original. In Audra McDonald, this production boasts a Bess for the ages. Through Oct. 2. American Repertory Theater, Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge. 617-547-8300, www.americanrepertorytheater.org DON AUCOIN (Michael J. Lutch)
September 8, 2011

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THEATER

BIG RIVER: THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN It’s mighty hard to fathom why this musical adaptation of Twain’s novel won so many Tony Awards back in the 1980s, but an appealing cast makes it a journey down the Mississippi worth taking. Through Oct. 8. Lyric Stage Company, Boston. 617-585-5678, www.lyricstage.com

DON AUCOIN

THE BOOK OF MERMAN No relation to that struggling little show in New York City, Varla Jean Merman’s latest revue, starring the dazzlingly cross-dressed Jeffery Roberson, is way more scandalous - and funny. Through Sept. 17. At The Art House in Provincetown. 508-487-9222, www.ptownarthouse.com SANDY MACDONALD DANCE

LEFT Inspired by events surrounding the 1973 coup in Chile, Zoe Dance’s Callie Chapman Korn aims to create a surreal dance theater work for eight that evokes memories of a pivotal time, one with lessons for today. With original music by Rachel Arnold and Ivan Korn. Sept. 9-11. $15-$20. Dance Complex, Cambridge. 617-547-9363, www.zoedance.org

CASE CLOSED! Everett Dance Theatre presents this troupe of young dancers in “Daydream in the Ghetto,’’ a hip-hop-influenced work about overcoming the limitations and obstacles of one’s origins to find new possibilities. Sept. 9-10. $5. Carriage House, Providence. 401-831-9479, www.everettdancetheatre.org

MASSRAQS GALA The Boston University Lebanese Student Club presents this one-night-only showcase of Middle Eastern dance, featuring 13 soloists and companies from around the world. Sept. 10. $20-$30. Boston University Dance Theater. 978-254-7277, www.massraqs2011gala.eventbrite.com

WEBER DANCE FUND-RAISER Choreographer Jody Weber assembles current and former members of her troupe for an evening of performances and refreshments. The event features a sneak peak at Weber’s new collaboration with storyteller/adventurer Jon Turk, “Synchronicity & the Sacred Space.’’ Sept. 10. $20. 100 Holton St., Brighton. 617-625-0907, www.weberdance.org

KAREN CAMPBELL GALLERIES

RICHARD BELL: UZ VS. THEM This Australian Aboriginal artist addresses charged issues with cheeky paintings and videos. His work comments on art history and the art market, and it complicates the way we think about race. Through Nov. 20. Tufts University Art Gallery, Aidekman Arts Center, 40 Talbot Ave., Medford. 617-627-3094, artgallery.tufts.edu

ALEXIA STAMATIOU: THE CALL TO ADVENTURE! In her paintings, Stamatiou examines the beginning of the hero’s journey and the quest for civilization. She focuses on fertility symbols and the ecstasy of life, but death is ever present. Through Oct. 8. LaMontagne Gallery, 555 East 2nd St., South Boston. 617-464-4640, www.lamontagnegallery.com

STEREO STILLS Three-dimensional imaging dates back to the mid-1800s, and a system of stereoscopic photography that evolved, in the 20th century, into View-Masters. The eight artists in this show work in that medium, using paired 35mm transparencies to create intimate, 3-D viewing experiences. Through Oct. 29. Gallery Seven, 7 Nason St., Maynard. 978-897-9777, www.gallerysevenmaynard.com

CATE McQUAID MUSEUMS

JEWELS, GEMS, AND TREASURES: ANCIENT TO MODERN An exhibition of dazzling jewelry from various cultures, inaugurating the MFA’s jewelry gallery. Through Nov. 1, 2012. Museum of Fine Arts. 617-267-9300, www.mfa.org

THE STRANGE LIFE OF OBJECTS: THE ART OF ANNETTE LEMIEUX A survey of the intelligent and inventive work of this accomplished conceptual sculptor. Through Oct. 9. Worcester Art Museum, Worcester. 508-799-4406, www.worcesterart.org

EDWARD HOPPER’S MAINE The first exhibition to focus on the paintings, prints, and drawings produced by Hopper on his summer visits to Maine. Through Oct. 16. Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine. 207-725-3275, www.bowdoin.edu/art-museum

ANDREW WYETH: CHRISTINA’S WORLD AND THE OLSON HOUSE A small but fascinating exhibition focused on Wyeth’s depictions of Christina and Alvaro Olson and their home in Maine. Through Oct. 30. Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland, Maine. 207-596-6457, www.farnsworthmuseum.org

SEBASTIAN SMEE