Ring-a-Ding-Dingaling: Sammy Davis Jr. was by some measures the greatest entertainer of the 20th century—in any case, it sure seemed like he was around a lot longer than his paltry 64 years (he died in 1990). But the legend is lost in The Old Globe Theatre's world-premiere Sammy, possibly because the acclaimed Leslie Bricusse, who wrote the book, music and lyrics, is too close to the material. Director Keith Glover does what he can, but Bricusse never makes a case for the downers in Sam's life as his inspiration to greatness. On the other hand, Obba Babatundé has Sam's slouch and voice down-pat, and Adam James will make you think Sinatra's still alive. Through Nov. 8 at The Old Globe Theatre mainstage, 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park. $68-$78. www.oldglobe.org.
Joyful Noise: You wouldn't believe the trouble George Frederick Handel had in getting out his Messiah. Produced by Lamb's Players Theatre, it opens in previews Oct. 9 at the Paul and Ione Harter Stage 1142 Orange Ave. in Coronado. $22-$58. 619-437-0600, www.lambsplayers.org.
Creditors: Undercurrents of sexuality, language and economics explode into a tangled web of intrigue, suspicion and revenge—all because of a little conversation on art. Through Oct. 25 at La Jolla Playhouse's Potiker Theatre, 2900 La Jolla Village Drive. $30-$65. www.lajollaplayhouse.com.
Man from Nebraska: A luxury sedan, a church pew and visits to a nursing home form Ken Carpenter's daily life—a life he's beginning to hate. Produced by Cygnet Theatre Company, it runs through Nov. 1 at the Old Town Theatre, 4848 Twiggs St. in Old Town. $17-$42. www.cygnettheatre.com.
North Park Playwright Festival: Seven short new plays are on tap each weekend through Oct. 25 at The North Park Vaudeville and Candy Shoppe, 2031 El Cajon Blvd. in North Park .$14. www.northparkvaudeville.com.
Side Man: Clifford narrates the story of his broken family and the decline of jazz as popular entertainment. Produced by Bang! Productions, it runs through Oct. 11 at Diversionary Theatre, 4545 Park Blvd. in University Heights. $12.50-$25. www.sidemansandiego.org.
The Savannah Disputation: Mary hatches a plan to bring fellow Catholic Margaret back into the fold by enlisting the aid of their unsuspecting parish priest. Through Nov. 1 at The Old Globe Theatre Arena Stage, 1450 El Prado in Balboa Park. $29-$68.50. www.oldglobe.org.
Things We Want: Three brothers are living together in their childhood apartment, struggling to define themselves while pursuing their desires and dreams. Through Oct. 11 at New Village Arts, 2787 State St. in Carlsbad. $20-$40. www.newvillagearts.org.
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?: A jaded, faded older couple set a terrible example for two younger new friends. Through Oct. 24 at Compass Theatre, 3704 Sixth Ave. in Hillcrest. $15-$23. www.compasstheatre.com.