The drama of the holidays (and I don’t mean A Christmas Carol) may be behind us, but there’s plenty more drama — and comedy and musicals — ahead to light up long winter nights. New Repertory Theatre is staying seasonal with the regional premiere of Bryony Lavery’s Frozen (January 22–February 12), in which a British woman whose daughter was murdered meets an American who’s working on a dissertation about serial killers. Adam Zahler directs. The Lyric Stage is also bellying up to a chilling topic with the Boston premiere of Edward Albee’s The Goat or Who is Sylvia? (February 17–March 18), a Tony-winning play about a married architect who rekindles his love light with a nanny — as in goat, not Daisy Wright or Mary Poppins. The implications, needless to say, are thorny.
The New York City wilderness is the setting for SpeakEasy Stage Company’s Brooklyn Boy (March 3–April 1). Pulitzer winner Donald Margulies’s play centers on a middle-aged novelist who finds sudden success with one of his novels — a semi-autobiographical one at that — and must deal with the pratfalls of literary success as well as with the impact it has on his relationships with his father and his ex-wife. It sounds a bit like what we’d get if Woody Allen had teamed up with Arthur Miller. And that’s not all the dysfunctional-family department has in store — the touring Aquila Theatre Company brings its production of Hamlet to the Cutler Majestic Theatre (January 19-21), and it seems the troupe have a few modern tricks up their sleeves.
Elizabethan words, words, words also ring out at the Boston Center for the Arts when Boston Theatre Works welcomes Elliot Norton Award–winning Shakespeare & Company vet Jonathan Epstein to the stage for its production of Othello (February 16–March 11). He’ll be the manipulative Iago in the Bard’s bout with the green-eyed monster.
The American Repertory Theatre is summoning Shakespeare as well. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Hungarian director János Szász, the man who put a bar in Uncle Vanya, takes on the star-crossed teens of Romeo and Juliet (February 2–March 25). The Huntington Theatre Company likewise plans to melt some winter frost when matters get steamy in Christopher Hampton’s Les Liaisons Dangereuses (January 6–February 5). In this play adapted from Pierre-Ambroise-François Choderlos de Laclos’s 18th-century epistolary novel of lust and betrayal, an aristocratic woman collaborates with a cunning gent to seduce her former lover’s bride-to-be. With its emphasis on the period’s fashion and décor, the work promises to be a visual banquet — Karl Lagerfeld is listed as inspiration for the Vicomte de Valmont’s wardrobe.
If antique corsets and drawers pique your interest, you’ll be happy to learn there are plenty more undergarments on display. Lingerie tells a whole story when Merrimack Repertory Theatre presents the regional premiere of Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel (February 9–March 5), which revolves around a black woman in Manhattan at the turn of the 20th century. As the romantic seamstress fashions lingerie for upper-class women as well as for those of shadier repute, she finds love with a Caribbean laborer who ushers her on a journey of self-discovery.
You’ve seen London in Scrooge’s escapades. Hampton brings us France. Now how about some German unmentionables? The Lyric Stage Company of Boston offers Steve Martin’s silly, scintillating adaptation of Carl Sternheim’s 1910 satire The Underpants (January 6–February 4), a spoof about a reserved housewife who gets caught in the whirlwind of the aftermath of an accidental public panties display (a/k/a “wardrobe malfunction”). When her unruly undies come undone, she becomes the object of a giant town scandal to hilarious effect.
Les Liaisons won’t be your only opportunity to coax your inner Francophile out of hiding. The ART launches the new year with Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit (January 7-29). Jerry Mouawad, co–artistic director of Oregon’s Imago Theatre (which brought its Frogz to Cambridge last spring), is at the helm of this stylized staging set atop a tipping platform. If your Francophile is a child of the revolution, note that Broadway in Boston is marching Les MisÉrables into the Opera House one last time (February 15-26).
When we hear the people sing in Les Miz, it’s a “song of angry men.” That’s a giant shift from the melodies that will fill the Opera House before the French troops arrive. Maureen McGovern heads up the cast of Little Women — The Musical (January 10-22), courtesy of Broadway in Boston.
Music also fills the Colonial Theatre when Monty Python’s triple Tony Award winner Spamalot (March 7–April 15) moves in. You may have a different take on King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table after you’ve seen them in a kick line.