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Boston’s theater scene comes alive with music, dance and drama

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As the theater scene blossoms, we finally get a glimpse of a handful of productions that were set to debut two years ago. Between the joys of seeing long-gestating projects hit the stage, the spring theater season includes ballet, modern dance, Afrofuturism, history lessons, Tony winners, jukebox musicals and jukebox musicals that are also Tony-winning history lessons.

“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”, Lyric Stage, April 15 – May 22

It’s a simple plan. All Monty Navarro has to do to become the ninth Earl of Highhurst is murder eight innocent members of the highborn D’Ysquith clan. But will love get in his way? Fun, melodious and completely murderous. (lyricstage.com)

“Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations”, April 19 – May 1, Citizens Bank Opera House

Some jukebox musicals don’t have enough tunes to fill a shoebox. That’s no problem with this slice of Motown history. The Temptations have scored 42 Top 10 hits and an astounding 14 roster toppers. From the streets of Detroit to immortality thanks to perfect choreography, powerful harmonies and wonderful melodies. (boston.broadway.com)

“Parable of the Sower,” April 21-24, Emerson Cutler Majestic Theater

After her sold-out concert experience in 2017, Octavia E. Butler’s work (finally, after years of COVID-related delays) returns as a fully realized stage production with over 30 original compositions taken from 200 years of black musical traditions. “Parable of the Sower” explores a not-so-distant future where climate change has devastated the world while reflecting on a present where gender and race determine people’s fates. (artsemerson.org)

“The Inheritance,” Calderwood Pavilion at BCA, April 22-June 11

Written by Matthew Lopez and directed by Paul Daigneault, this epic two-part play totaling over six hours transports EM Forster’s novel “Howards End” to 21st century New York, a generation after the AIDS crisis. The creative team then uses Forster’s framework to examine the lives of young gay men in New York City and the legacy of a nearly lost generation. (speakeasystage.com)

“Ain’t Misbehavin’ – The Fats Waller Musical”, April 28 – May 29, Central Square Theater

Fats Waller’s personality, talent and mischievous smile made him a legend. Check out the 1943 film “Stormy Weather” to get a taste of his charisma. “Ain’t Misbehavin'” explores all the magic behind that smile and the history of the Harlem Renaissance (and won a Tony Award for Best Musical). Local actor Maurice Emmanuel Parent directs. (centralsquaretheater.org)

RevelationsChoreographer: Alvin AileyAlvin Ailey American Dance Theater (Photo: ©Paul Kolnik)

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Wang Theatre, April 28 – May 1

The story of this dance company is told. But surprisingly, since 2011, Ailey’s dancers have only become more engaging under the guidance of artistic director and former Juilliard, Robert Battle. (bochcenter.org)

“1776”, Loeb Drama Center, May 15 – July 24

American Repertory Theater artistic director Diane Paulus didn’t grow up in the shadow of “Hamilton” (a daunting prospect for young writers and directors). The historic masterpiece of his generation came with the Tony Tony-winning musical ‘1776’ in 1969. More than two years ago, Paulus raved about the opportunity to close the season ARTs 2020 with the revival of a show that examines how the Founders invented modern freedom and whose freedom it was. Finally, the dream becomes reality. (americanrepertorytheatre.org)

“Swan Lake”, May 26 to June 5, Citizens Bank Opera House

Boston Ballet’s Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen’s “Swan Lake” is the ultimate gateway from “The Nutcracker” to your great new obsession with the art form. When discussing this season’s wide array, he considered the pair of classics to be great bookends. “It begins with Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic and ends with the best-known classical ballet.” (bostonballet.org)