By Ciara LaVelle
By George Martinez
By Kat Bein
By Ciara LaVelle
By Travis Cohen
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Monica McGivern
By Travis Cohen
Altar Boyz: The hit off-Broadway musical about a fictional Catholic boy band brims with delightful sacrilege. The show is set up like a concert, with songs and between-song banter, and is moving in the flashy, exuberant manner of feel-good musical theater. It is the Boyz' mission to save us all. To do so, they sing about the group's genesis (it happened in a rectory); about the universal brotherhood of Christ; about the importance of confession; about how wonderful it is to not have sex with your girlfriend (especially one you love: the song's hook hangs on the line "There's something about you, baby/You make me want to wait"); about the importance of coming out to your family as, you know, a Catholic; and about how much Satan sucks. It's joy as much as mirth that gives Altar Boyz its punch. — Brandon K. Thorp Through February 10. Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables; 305-44-9293, www.actorsplayhouse.org.
Fill Our Mouths: There's trouble brewing when so many opportunities for political correctness — same-sex relationships explored by differently abled people in the midst of a foreign culture — are jammed together in a single play. But Fill Our Mouths is nothing like you'd expect. Or almost nothing. It does, in fact, have a moral — avoid labels, be true to yourself, be adventuresome, and so forth — but nobody goes to the theater for the moral any more than they go to Chinese restaurants for the fortune cookie. People go to the theater to be entertained and moved, usually in that order. And appearances to the contrary, those are the very things playwright Lauren Feldman seems to have been chasing with Fill Our Mouths. Although it is unlikely to blow minds or change your opinion of deaf lesbians, it will make you smile, empathize, feel good, and feel bad. Mostly, though, the play finds traction in humor, and that's remarkable. — Brandon K. Thorp Through February 10. New Theatre at the Burstein Family Stage, 4120 Laguna St., Coral Gables; 305-443-5909, www.new-theatre.org.
The Pearl Catchers: The closest Georges Bizet ever got to Sri Lanka was Rome, where he studied for three years in his twenties. Naturally this didn't stop him from using it as the locale for his opera Le Pecheurs de Perles (The Pearl Catchers). Romantic-era European composers loved to write for foreign places about which they knew nothing. Le Pecheurs is rarely performed and even more rarely recorded. Even most opera people have never heard it, save the duet "Au Fond du Temple Saint." It's a regrettable situation. "Au Fond" is lovely, and despite a poor public reception upon its first performance, Le Pecheurs has since met with glowing reviews from the few who've experienced it. — Brandon K. Thorp Through February 10. The Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-949-6722, www.arshtcenter.org.
The Lonesome West: The new production at the Naked Stage on the Barry University campus is a fine achievement: well-acted, funny, engaging, and intermittently moving. But for once, it appears playwright Martin McDonagh's bloodlust has overtaken his dramatic instincts. This is bad, because a bloodlust as prodigious as McDonagh's needs a great story to be worth the plasma. Unlike the last locally staged McDonagh joint, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, the poles are reversed, and the story is in service to the violence. This ought to be disturbing to anybody who cares about why a given play exists. Alas, there aren't many of us, and this is a late date to be delivering a referendum on McDonagh's morals. — Brandon K. Thorp Through February 17. The Naked Stage at the Pelican Theatre, 11300 NE Second Ave., Miami Shores; 866-811-4111; www.nakedstage.org.