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What’s up in Boston, Providence theater

Matthew Spencer in "1984." (Photo by Manuel Harlan)

Lots happening in Boston theater, I’ve been crazy-busy and here’s my attempt to catch up with a chunk of it all…

— American Repertory Theater’s next show is Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan’s new adaptation of George Orwell’s “1984.” The show opens Sunday and runs through March 6 at the Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle Street, Cambridge. The production, which comes directly from an extended run on the West End in London, uses the original story about Big Brother to explore surveillance, identity and why Orwell’s vision of the future is as relevant now as ever.

At A.R.T.’s nightclub stage, Oberon, tonight’s show is the latest collaboration with the Afterglow Festival in Provincetown. The show is Erin Markey’s “There’s a New Emergency Contact in Town,”  described as an “at once riotous and unexpectedly moving performance about figuring out who you might be” developed with Philadelphia-based musician Emily Bate with original music and pop covers.

Coming up is “Searching for Signal,” presented by ToUch Performance Art. The show mixes dialogue, dance, and video to create a contemporary theater experience that press material says “captures an authentic slice of life in this fast-changing world.  Follow two dreamers as they trek through a world of misconnections and struggle to separate their virtual identities from who they really are. The show runs Thursday through March 4.

Also happening there: A.R.T. will hold its annual gala, “Boundless,” Feb. 29 at the City Wang Theatre (270 Tremont St., Boston), featuring a performance by Matthew Morrison from Broadway’s “Finding Neverland,” which debuted at A.R.T. The event will begin with a cocktail party at 6 p.m., followed by a 7 p.m. dinner, a live auction, and then the show by Morrison as well as the Boston Children’s Chorus. The evening will also include the presentation of the A.R.T. Angel Award to Anne Finucane, Vice Chairman and Global Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer for Bank of America who has been a champion of the A.R.T. and the Boston arts community. Tickets begin at $1,000 for the event:

“Pippin,” the Tony Award-winning revival that began life at A.R.T. then moved to Broadway, is now stopping on tour at the Providence Performing Arts Center after a Boston run. The Rhode Island shows are Tuesday through next Sunday, Feb. 21. The Stephen Schwartz musical is about the son of Charlemagne searching for the meaning of life and how to be extraordinary, and Diane Paulus’ revival staging includes jaw-dropping circus tricks. For tickets to the shows at the 220 Weybosset St. theater: or 401-421-2787.

— Underground Railway Theater is producing Danai Gurira’s “The Convert” through Feb. 28. The plot: In 1895 Southern Africa, a young Shona girl escapes an arranged marriage by converting to Christianity, becoming a servant and a student to an African Evangelical. As anti-European sentiments spread throughout the native population, she is forced to choose between her family’s traditions and her newfound faith. Gurira is an actress (TV’s “The Walking Dead”) and writer whose play “Eclipsed,”  starring Lupita Nyong’o was an off-Broadway hit last fall and will begin previews on Broadway later this month. “The Convert” plays at Central Square Theater, 450 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge. Tickets: 617-576-9278,

— Continuing through March 6 at Trinity Rep in Providence (201 Washington St.) is Charise Castro’s dark comedy “The Hunchback of Seville,” which takes a look at Spanish history and colonialism. The description: At the turn of the 16th century (Columbus’ time), the fate of Spain falls into the hands of the brilliant adopted sister of Queen Isabella who has to “weave her way through mountains of prejudice, politics, religion and the horrors of history.” Tickets and information: 401-351-4242 or After the Feb. 20 matinee, there will be a moderated discussion called “Latino Voices/Voces Latinas at Trinity Rep” by Boston-based artist and Emerson College professor Christina Marin and members of RI Latino Arts.

— Boston Playwrights Theater is continuing its production of Melinda Lopez’ “Back the Night” through Feb. 28. The show, exploring violence against women,  is about a college student who makes personal discoveries during the investigation of a sexual assault on her best friend. Shows are at the theater, 949 Commonwealth Avenue. Tickets and information: 866-811-4111 or

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