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Thursday Theater Roundup

A Finale 1

"Jersey Boys," through Saturday in Shea's Performing Arts Center. ★★★½

From the review: "The decision to keep this glorious music native to its roots is the smartest thing the show does. It allows the story to steer the dramatic narrative arc, which is what Valli and his brothers – not to mention a tiring, pervasive theatrical genre – deserve. The amount of musical numbers is impressive, yet this still feels like a play with songs and not a musical with dialogue." --Ben Siegel

"Moonlight and Magnolias," through Saturday in the American Repertory Theatre of Western New York's home in the Church of the Ascension. ★★★

From the review: "Actors David Mitchell (Selznick), Todd Fuller (Fleming), and veteran Guy Wagner (Hecht) [are] at each other’s throats and physically manic for three acts. They’re loud and silly and frequently over-the-top on a Lauren Millman set. It all makes for an impressive rendering by [director Gail] Golden and the cast in a funny and occasionally crude piece." --Ted Hadley

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Christian Brandjes, Jose Rivera and Brian Mysliwy appear in the Irish Classical Theatre Company's production of "American Buffalo."

"American Buffalo," through Sunday in the Irish Classical Theatre Company's Andrews Theatre. ★★★★

From the review: "[Director Chris] Cavanagh has insisted that the economical speech patterns, the fragmented or unfinished sentences, the pulsating unrelenting cadence, the “scatological buckshot,” as the famed Jack Kroll once described Mamet’s work, remain intact and non-stop and he has assembled just the cast to do that." --Ted Hadley

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Kristen Tripp Kelley, Eileen Dugan and Sheila McCarthy star in the Kavinoky Theatre's production of "August: Osage County."

"August: Osage County," through Sunday in the Kavinoky Theatre. ★★★

From the review: "The Kavinoky has pulled off a fine production of [Tracy] Letts’ modern classic under the smart direction of Bob Waterhouse, a British-born man of the theater who clearly understands the peculiarly American sensibility and mood this play requires." --Colin Dabkowski

Partial-cast

"Blood on the Cat's Neck," through Sunday in Torn Space Theatre. ★★★

From the review: "A tuned cast makes this chilling but tedious piece, sometimes subtitled, inexplicably, 'Marilyn Monroe vs. The Vampires,' work." --Ted Hadley

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Andrea Andolina and Matthew Nerber star in the New Phoenix Theatre and Subversive Theatre Collective's production of "On the Waterfront."

"On the Waterfront," through May 25 in the New Phoenix Theatre. ★★★½

From the review: "A cast of stalwarts makes this play work. Victor Morales excels as Johnny Friendly; there is no one better than this fine actor in these tough-guy roles. He’s joined by a parade of Subversive-New Phoenix veterans, attuned to these rough-edged stories." --Ted Hadley

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Michael Zito, left, and Christopher Quinn star in Theatre of Youth's production of "Flat Stanley."

"The Adventures of Flat Stanley," through June 2 in Theatre of Youth's Allendale Theatre. ★★★

From the review: "Never mind that they barely appear concerned about their son’s desire to fly away, nor even anxious for his eventual return. But where Stanley’s plea for meaning in this obnoxiously pleasant existence is concerned, he might consider a quest more down to earth." --Ben Siegel

"God of Isaac," through June 2 in the Jewish Repertory Theatre's Maxine and Robert Seller Theatre. ★★★

From the review: "Now the {JRT] hit streak continues at the versatile yet intimate Maxine and Robert Seller Theatre with James Sherman’s comedy – albeit one with thoughtful, often serious, undercurrents – “The God of Isaac,” a little charmer of a play that has you hooked from its early minutes. In the late going, a whiff of preachiness appears and is forgiven. Like the man said. Shalom." --Ted Hadley

"Two Weeks Until the Rest of My Life," through June 2 in the Paul Robeson Theatre. ★★★

From the review: "This “Two Weeks” is a step beyond a “work in progress.” But, it could use some tweaking if it goes elsewhere, as planned. The story is told in a series of blackouts, too many of them interminable. Characters make far too many cellphone calls; they don’t move the action along and most conversations are inane and empty." --Ted Hadley

At the Shaw Festival:

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"Guys and Dolls," through Nov. 3 in the Festival Theatre. ★★★½

From the review: "For this production, directed by Tadeusz Bradecki with molecular fidelity to the original material and choreographed to within a millimeter of its life by Parker Esse, the Shaw has rounded up a phenomenal cast." --Colin Dabkowski

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"Major Barbara," through Oct. 19 in the Royal George Theatre. ★★★

From the review: "Director Jackie Maxwell’s production of Shaw’s long-winded but monumentally engaging play about the tug-of-war between public and corporate interests sets out to rescue Undershaft from her status as a weak protagonist all too willing to mold her ideals to the arguments of others. Alas, despite Maxwell’s laudable efforts and a remarkable performance from the magnetic Nicole Underhay in the title role, the show fails to transform Shaw’s projection screen of a protagonist into a living, breathing human." --Colin Dabkowski

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