Playwright Alan Bennett had prepared himself for a career as a history lecturer when the stage called him away. With this brainy comedy-drama about English schoolboys and the teaching of history and literature, which won six Tony Awards, he left his mark.
7:30 p.m. FRIDAY-SUNDAY, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, through June 8, Artists Repertory Theatre, 1515 SW. Morrison St., 503-241-1278, www.artistsrep.org, $20-$47
'The Little Dog Laughed'
Douglas Carter Beane's satire follows an artist management type as she tries to keep a promising young actor in the closet for marketing purposes.
7:30 p.m. FRIDAY, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. SUNDAY, 7:30 Tuesday and Wednesday, noon and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, through June 15 (times vary later in run), Gerding Theater at the Armory, 128 N.W. 11th Ave., 503-445-3700, www.pcs.org, $15-$42
'The Mystery of Edwin Drood'
Rupert Holmes' musical murder mystery, which takes up where an unfinished Charles Dickens novel left off, won five Tony Awards. Ron Daum directs for Lakewood Theatre.
8 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 7 p.m. SUNDAY, 8 p.m. Thursday, through June 8, Lakewood Center for the Arts, 368 S. State St., Lake Oswego, 503-635-3901, www.lakewood-center.org, $26-$28
'The Wild Party'
Live On Stage Productions presents the big, bold musical that won acclaim off Broadway in 2000. John Oules directs with choreography from Polaris Dance head Robert Guitron.
8 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, through May 31, World Trade Center Theatre, 121 S.W. Salmon St., 503-280-5483, www.liveonstage.us, $27-$30
Seven women confront the storms within themselves in the Insight Out Theater Collective's original production, which was inspired by Shakespeare's 'The Tempest.'
8 p.m. FRIDAY-SUNDAY, 8 p.m. Thursday, through May 17 (also 2 p.m. Saturday, May 17), Mississippi Ballroom, 833 N. Shaver St., 503-493-8070, www.iotcpdx.com, $10-$15
'She Stoops to Conquer'
Five actors handle 19 roles in New Group Theatre Company's production of the classic Oliver Goldsmith farce.
7 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 2 p.m. SUNDAY, 7 p.m. Thursday, through May 17, Shoe Box Theater, 2110 S.E. 10th Ave., 503-312-6789, $10
'The Long Christmas Ride Home'
Paula Vogel's comedy-drama, which starts out black and gets darker as it goes, begins with a couple en route to the in-laws' for the holidays.
Vogel's insights are steely sharp, which produces both pathos and plenty of laughs, but when we fast-forward to the adult lives of the children, the truth of how their parents' poisonous relationship scarred them really starts to sting.
Fine performances from a solid Theatre Vertigo cast and a skilled assist from the puppet people at Tears of Joy Theatre make this exquisitely harrowing stuff.
8 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 8 p.m. Thursday, through May 17, Theater Theatre, 3430 S.E. Belmont St., 503-306-0870, www.theatrevertigo.org, $15
'The Garden Party'
Defunkt Theatre offers a production of the absurdist work that won acclaim for Václav Havel, the dramatist and first president of the Czech Republic after the fall of communism.
8 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 8 p.m. Thursday, through May 31, Back Door Theater, 4319 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd., 503-481-2960, www.defunktheatre.com, $10-$15
'A Streetcar Named Desire'
Decades after Stanley Kowalski's brutish, fists-first view of the world and Blanche DuBois' alcohol-fueled slide into madness made them stand-alone figures in the theater canon, they're still hard to watch.
Stanley (Mic Matarrese) stalks the stage with hair-trigger fury, bathing the whole enterprise in well-felt menace. And while the production gets solid performances from Val Landrum as Stella and Stephan Henry as Stanley's buddy Mitch, Artists Repertory Theatre's production succeeds on Andrea Frankle's stunning portrayal of Blanche and her mighty battle to hold on to her dignity.
7:30 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. SUNDAY, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, through May 18, Artists Repertory Theatre, Second Stage, 1515 S.W. Morrison St., 503-241-1278, www.artistsrep.org, $20-$47
'Sometimes a Great Notion'
In director Aaron Posner's world-premiere adaptation at Portland Center Stage, nothing is more vividly on display than the power of Ken Kesey's 1964 novel.
In it, a defiantly self-reliant logging family in early '60s Oregon contracts to do the work of fellow loggers out on strike, raising a potentially deadly conflict between self-interest and community.
But Kesey has woven other matters into the fabric, including a dangerous rivalry between half-brothers as threatened by their similarities as their differences.
This beautifully acted production tells Kesey's rich story with great economy, and Posner, a Eugene native, succeeds in making the earthy Oregon milieu a crucial player in the drama.
7:30 p.m. FRIDAY, 2 p.m. and 7:30 SUNDAY, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, through May 10, Gerding Theater at the Armory, Main Stage, 128 N.W. 11th Ave., 503-445-3700, www.pcs.org, $16.50-$61.50
'Who Stole My Dead Husband?'
New York native Lou Pallotta has touched a nerve with his raucous tribute to growing up in Brooklyn, which he did. His star-filled interactive comedy about a disappearing corpse has been delighting weekend audiences since 2006.
7:30 p.m. FRIDAY and SATURDAY, ongoing, Madison's East Wing, 1125 S.E. Madison St., 1-800-966-8865, www.whostolemydeadhusband.com, $64-$69, includes dinner
Beethoven's Seventh Symphony
Beethoven himself conducted when this work premiered in Vienna in 1813, at a benefit for wounded soldiers. Here, Gregory Vajda leads the Oregon Symphony.
2 p.m. SUNDAY, May 4, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 S.W. Broadway, 503-228-1353, www.orsymphony.org, $15-$75