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Arts: the week ahead

BALANCHINE/ROBBINS Boston Ballet honors two of the greatest ballet choreographers of the past century. The program pairs Balanchine’s “Divertimento No. 15’’ (Mozart) and “Symphony in Three Movements’’ (Stravinsky) with Robbins’s “Afternoon of a Faun’’ and “Antique Epigraphs,’’ both to music by Debussy. May 12-22.$25-$137 ($20 student rush). Boston Opera House. 617-695-6955, www.bostonballet.org BALANCHINE/ROBBINS Boston Ballet honors two of the greatest ballet choreographers of the past century. The program pairs Balanchine’s “Divertimento No. 15’’ (Mozart) and “Symphony in Three Movements’’ (Stravinsky) with Robbins’s “Afternoon of a Faun’’ and “Antique Epigraphs,’’ both to music by Debussy. May 12-22.$25-$137 ($20 student rush). Boston Opera House. 617-695-6955, www.bostonballet.org (Eric Antoniou)
May 12, 2011

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THEATER

THE DROWSY CHAPERONE Karen MacDonald, Thomas Derrah, Will McGarrahan, McCaela Donovan, Kerry A. Dowling, and the rest of the cast shine in this joyously goofy — or is it goofily joyous? — musical-within-a-comedy. Through June 5. SpeakEasy Stage Company. Roberts Studio Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600, www.speakeasystage.com

ANIMAL CRACKERS There are periods of sluggishness when this 1928 musical comedy shows its age, but then Ed Hoopman reappears, playing Captain Jeffrey T. Spaulding, a.k.a. Groucho Marx, and “Animal Crackers’’ comes robustly to life. Through June 4. Lyric Stage Company. 617-585-5678, www.lyricstage.com

ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA Paula Plum is a wily and commanding Cleopatra, projecting both sensuality and smarts, under the direction of Adrianne Krstansky. As Antony, James Andreassi holds his own with Plum — no mean feat. Through May 21. Actors’ Shakespeare Project. Modern Theatre. 866-811-4111, www.actorsshakespeareproject.org

PASSING STRANGE With the help of an ebullient and talented ensemble, director Kate Warner captures the playful humor and the poignancy of Stew’s musical chronicle of a young African-American man who journeys to Europe in search of culture, adventure, and an answer to the age-old question of who he is. Through May 22. New Repertory Theatre. Arsenal Center for the Arts, Watertown. 617-923-8487, www.newrep.org

DON AUCOIN

DANCE ON! This year’s spruced-up installment of the Big Apple Circus blends a playful sense of rhythm with the company’s trademark roster of talented circus acts. Through May 15. City Hall Plaza. 888-541-3750, www.bigapplecircus.org

TERRY BYRNE

DANCE

PROMETHEUS DANCE The imaginative troupe offers the premiere of “Desiderare,’’ a Diane Arvanites/Tommy Neblett collaboration with poet Karen Klein and cellist Ashima Scripp. The dance/theater piece evokes the lives of seven tough, resilient, and independent women in a 19th-century brothel. May 12-14. $20-$25. Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center, Cambridge. 617-577-1400, www.cmacusa.org

LOIS’ TAP LANE: ALL-STAR TAP AND JAZZ SALUTE This year’s International Tap Day in Boston brings a blowout concert honoring longtime dance student/aficionado Lois O’Hara, recently diagnosed with lung disease. Conceived by tap maverick Josh Hilberman, this gift concert with live music unites a host of dynamite hoofers from New England and New York, including Brenda Bufalino, Tony Waag, Barbara Duffy, Julia Boynton, and Sean Fielder. May 13. $24-$28. Regent Theatre, Arlington. 781-646-4849, www.regenttheatre.com

BALLROOM WITH A TWIST If you’re hooked on “So You Think You Can Dance’’ and “Dancing With the Stars,’’ you can get a hit of live song and dance action from a spirited cast of young talent with this show, conceived and choreographed by “DWTS’’ hunk Louis Van Amstel. May 15 at 2 p.m. $25-$50. Reagle Music Theatre at Robinson Theatre, Waltham. 781-891-5600, www.reaglemusictheatre.com

KAREN CAMPBELL

MUSEUMS

THE RECORD: CONTEMPORARY ART AND VINYL A brilliant survey of art inspired by vinyl records, album covers, and turntables. Through Sept. 5. Institute of Contemporary Art. 617-478-3100, www.icaboston.org

2011 PORTLAND MUSEUM OF ART BIENNIAL A survey of contemporary artists living in (or natives of) Maine. Through June 5. Portland Museum of Art, Portland, Maine. 207-775-6148, www.portlandmuseum.org

FLUXUS AND THE ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS OF LIFE A fresh look at Fluxus, one of the most influential art movements of the ’60s and ’70s, drawn from the Hood’s remarkable collection, supplemented by many loans. Through Aug. 7. Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover. 603-646-2808, www.hoodmuseum.dartmouth.edu

EL ANATSUI: WHEN I LAST WROTE TO YOU ABOUT AFRICA The first career retrospective by this celebrated artist, born in Ghana and resident in Nigeria, best known for his large-scale wall sculptures made from discarded bottle tops. Through June 26. Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley. 781-283-2051, www.davismuseum.wellesley.edu

SEBASTIAN SMEE

GALLERIES

MICHAEL MAZUR: THE BLACK PAINTINGS Mazur, the great painter and printmaker, died in 2009. His last body of work, in a range of grays and blacks, features visionary paintings of oddball characters in deep space, and a thoughtful response to war and violence. Through June 7. Barbara Krakow Gallery, 10 Newbury St. 617-262-4490, www.barbarakrakowgallery.com

JESS T. DUGAN: A MOMENT COLLECTED, A PLACE SO AS TO STAY Two photographic meditations on place. “A Moment Collected’’ features photos of people and objects at the Harvard University Art Museums. “A Place to Stay’’ captures people in the spaces they have made for themselves. Through May 28. Gallery Kayafas, 450 Harrison Ave. 617-482-0411, www.gallerykayafas.com

DISCOVERIES Photographer Eva Timothy, pinhole photographer Jesseca Ferguson, and Fran Forman, who creates photo-based tableaus, revisit history through the assemblage of imagery and objects. Also on view, three-dimensional photographic objects by Heidi Kirkpatrick. Through June 6. Panopticon Gallery, 502c Commonwealth Ave. 617-267-8929, www.panopticongallery.com

LINDA LESLIE BROWN: HABITS OF GROWTH Brown creates large sculptural installations inhabited by living plants. Tillandsias, or air plants, grow into the crannies of Brown’s secret forts, curl around her flailing branches, and crawl into her Dr. Seussian arrays. Through May 29. Kingston Gallery, 450 Harrison Ave. 617-423-4113, www.kingstongallery.com

CATE McQUAID