Wit What’s dramatized in Margaret Edson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play is the story of Dr. Vivian Bearing, a 50-year-old, tyrannical English professor who specializes in the Holy Sonnets of 17th-century poet John Donne. When she discovers that she has advanced ovarian cancer, she begins months of chemotherapy; and as her illness worsens, we watch her reach out for kindness and try it on like a new suit of clothes. The play, if done right, is lyrical, efficient, and at times wrenchingly moving. Oct. 26-Nov. 4, American Stage at The Palladium, St. Petersburg. 727-823-PLAY, americanstage.org.
Romeo and Juliet After bringing us two Shakespeare comedies — A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Comedy of Errors — freeFall Theatre is betting that Bay area audiences will welcome this most poignant of all tragedies. And who could be so churlish as to ignore young Romeo and naïve Juliet, eloquent children who dare find truth not in their families but in each other. And don’t forget the secondary characters who entered immortality with R&J: the garrulous Mercutio and Juliet’s salacious Nurse. “He jests at scars that never felt a wound.” Get out your handkerchiefs. Oct. 26-Nov. 18, freeFall Theatre, St. Petersburg. 727-498-5205, freefalltheatre.com.
The Glass Menagerie After Emilia Sargent’s brilliant performance earlier this year in A Streetcar Named Desire, every avid theatergoer has to be wondering what she’ll make of Tennessee Williams’ Amanda Wingfield. And for that matter, what will Tampa Rep do with Amanda’s treacherous, daydreaming son Tom, her pathologically shy daughter Laura, and the Gentleman Caller whose evening with the Wingfields changes one of them forever. This ultimately tender play asks, aren’t there some times when it’s better to live somewhere other than here and now? And mightn’t a unicorn be better off as an ordinary mare? Jan. 10-27 at Tampa Repertory Theatre, Tampa, tamparep.org.
Also on the radar…
Cabaret freeFall Theatre’s stunning revival of the Kander/Ebb musical has been extended for a full month because of audience demand. David Mann as the Emcee is reason enough to go. Through Sept. 30, freeFall Theatre, St. Petersburg.
Fahrenheit 451 This adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s novel brings us a future dystopia in which book-burner Guy Montag has to decide whether the printed word ought instead to be saved. Through Sept. 30, Jobsite Theater, Straz Center, Tampa. 813-229-STAR, jobsitetheater.org.
The Colored Museum A look at the presentation of African-Americans over the centuries, George C. Wolfe’s satirical mosaic suggests that the truth is beyond all stereotypes. Oct. 4-21, Stageworks, Tampa, 813-727-2708, stageworkstheatre.org.
The Screwtape Letters A great success in New York and Chicago, this adapation of C. S. Lewis’ comic novel brings us a devil who’s trying, with mixed success, to lead an unsuspecting human to damnation. Oct. 27-28, Straz Center, Tampa, 813-229-STAR, strazcenter.org.
A Doll’s House What can you give to a woman who has everything but respect, dignity, and adult responsibilities? Take her to the play that rocked Europe and slammed a certain door forever. Nov. 16-Dec. 23, American Stage.
Hay Fever A houseful of guests find themselves entirely unprepared for Noel Coward’s unconventional, wonderfully eccentric Bliss family. Funnier than Private Lives, more spirited than Blithe Spirit. Jan. 9-Feb. 3, Jobsite Theater.
The Piano Lesson When should you let go of the past, and when is it better to hold on even to tragic memories? It’s all about a piano, and a world where ghosts walk. Jan. 18-March 3, American Stage.
An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf The entire restaurant staff busies itself serving Monsieur, the Café’s owner — only he seems to have lost his taste for food and life. The first full-length play by Michael Hollinger, whose subsequent work includes Opus, a hit in NYC and two seasons ago at American Stage. Jan. 25-Feb. 17, freeFall Theatre.