NEXT FALL A humane and emotionally resonant play by Arlington native Geoffrey Nauffts, superbly acted by a cast of six and insightfully directed by Scott Edmiston, about a gay couple struggling to sustain a relationship amid stark religious differences (one is a fundamentalist Christian, one is a nonbeliever). Through Oct. 15. SpeakEasy Stage Company, Roberts Studio Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600, www.speakeasystage.com
MORTAL TERROR The second play in Robert Brustein’s Shakespeare trilogy is a witty and worldly exploration of the multifarious forces that converge to create that mysterious thing called theater. Through Oct. 2. Coproduction of Suffolk University and Boston Playwrights’ Theatre. Modern Theatre. 866-811-4111, www.bostonplaywrights.org, www.moderntheatre.com
HIS GIRL FRIDAY A crackerjack production, with an adaptation by John Guare and direction by Curt Columbus, that plays like a love story about the irresistible allure of the news business. Fred Sullivan Jr. plays editor Walter Burns with endlessly inventive rascality, while Angela Brazil brings fire and wit to the role of ace reporter Hildy Johnson. Through Oct. 9. Trinity Repertory Company, Providence. 401-351-4242, www.trinityrep.com
RENT In a New Repertory Theatre production that features standout performances by Aimee Doherty and John Ambrosino, director Benjamin Evett navigates that fine line between the heart-on-its-sleeve earnestness essential to this musical’s success and the melodramatic excess that perpetually threatens to capsize it. Extended through Oct. 2. New Repertory Theatre, Arsenal Center for the Arts, Charles Mosesian Theater, Watertown. 617-923-8487, www.newrep.org
THE DING DONGS, OR WHAT IS THE PENALTY IN PORTUGAL? Playwright Brenda Withers toys expertly with the line between possession and dispossession, everyday suburban life and surreal nightmare, while dissolving that line in her own performance as a woman who, along with her husband, perpetrates a very unusual sort of home invasion. Through Oct. 9. Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, Harbor Stage, Wellfleet. 508-349-9428, www.what.org
THE GERSHWINS’ PORGY AND BESS This vibrant and stirring musical-theater adaptation makes some revisions to the masterpiece, but director Diane Paulus and collaborators Suzan-Lori Parks and Dierdre L. Murray are largely faithful to the original’s spirit. 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
SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE This wildly popular TV show’s 10 finalists from last season are bringing new material as well as some of their top routines for this one-night-only live show in Boston as part of a US tour. Sept. 27. $38.50-$58.50. Agganis Arena. 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com
COPPÉLIA: BALLET ON FILM The Coolidge Corner Theatre, in collaboration with José Mateo Ballet Theatre, opens this season’s “Raising the Barre: Ballet From Around the World’’ digital cinema series with the Bolshoi Ballet’s fanciful 2009 production of “Coppélia,’’ filmed last May. The ever-popular ballet portrays the story of the mechanical doll who comes to life and wreaks havoc on two young lovers. Natalia Osipova stars. Sept. 24, 11 a.m. $17-$20. Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline. 617-734-2500, www.coolidge.org/ballet
EVIDENCE: A JAZZ CREATION Los Angeles-based dancer/choreographer Courtney Giannone joins the new musical ensemble Evidence (jazz trumpet virtuoso Lew Soloff, bass player Francois Moutin, and vocalist/cellist Anne Sila) for a multilayered live performance of improvisations. Giannone dances live and on film. Sept. 26. $17-$20. Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline. 617-734-2500, www.coolidge.org/programs/onstage
OPEN FOR DANCING This ambitious biennial festival by Island Moving Co. assembles choreographers, professional and community dancers, and musicians to create site-specific dances for prominent Newport landscapes. This year’s incarnation features new works by Marta Renzi (at the Norman Bird Sanctuary), Zach Morris (at Fort Adams), and Christine Sandorfi (on the grounds of Bellevue House.) Philadelphia dance group Green Chair performs all around downtown Newport. Sept. 24-25. Free. Newport, R.I. 401-847-4470, ww.islandmovingco.org
AMANDA MEANS: GLASS + LIGHT The photographer examines the passage of light through glass in a series of images of drinking glasses and light bulbs. Limiting her subjects, Means still displays a stunning array of effects as illumination plays against transparency. Through Oct. 11. Howard Yezerski Gallery, 460 Harrison Ave. 617-262-0550, www.howardyezerskigallery.com
LAURA McPHEE: SOMETHING ABOUT LOVE Since 2006, McPhee has been photographing her daughter, Isobel, surrounded by flowers or representations of flowers. The results recall the work of Julia Margaret Cameron, and evoke the emotional tension of growing up. Through Oct. 29. Carroll and Sons, 450 Harrison Ave.617-482-2477, www.carrollandsons.net
DISPONIBLE: A KIND OF MEXICAN SHOW Eight Mexican artists explore the challenges of their country, engaging in social critique and witty design solutions. The show’s title means both available and disposable. Through Nov. 19. Barbara and Steven Grossman Gallery, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, 230 The Fenway. 617-267-6100, www.smfa.edu
SHAHZIA SIKANDER: THE EXPLODING COMPANY MAN AND OTHER ABSTRACTIONS This Pakistani-born artist studied miniature painting, and now she unravels that medium’s conventions to make subversive, multi-media work that unpacks globalization. Through Nov. 26. Sandra and David Bakalar Gallery, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, 621 Huntington Ave. 617-879-7333, www.massart.edu
PRINTS AND THE PURSUIT OF KNOWLEDGE IN EARLY MODERN EUROPE A rich and scholarly exhibition delving into the connections between artists and science through the dissemination of prints, maps, books, and scientific instruments in the 16th century. Through Dec. 10. Harvard Art Museums. 617 495 9400, www.harvardartmuseums.org.
ELLSWORTH KELLY: WOOD SCULPTURE A survey of the acclaimed abstract artist’s sculpture in a variety of unpainted woods. Through March 4. Museum of Fine Arts. 617-267-9300, www.mfa.org
RICHARD BELL: UZ VS. THEM A career survey of the provocative and playful work of Australian Aboriginal artist and activist Richard Bell. Through Nov. 20. Tufts University Art Gallery. 617-627-3518, ase.tufts.edu/gallery.
TEMPORARY STRUCTURES: PERFORMING ARCHITECTURE IN CONTEMPORARY ART Work by artists interested in the intersection between architectural space and performance, including Vito Acconci, Kate Gilmore, Gordon Matta-Clark, and Erwin Wurm. Through Dec. 31. DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln. 781-259-8355, www.decordova.org.