The guys have it: If you'd asked 19th-century Swedish playwright August Strindberg the difference between a woman and a bucket of shit, he'd likely reply, “The bucket”—such was his disdain for all things female following one heartbreak after another. He's a very good writer, but the problem is that the poor chicks in his plays don't stand a fighting chance against the guys, and his Creditors comes out accordingly. Director / playwright Doug Wright's world-premiere adaptation for La Jolla Playhouse stacks the deck a little less formidably for Tekla (Kathryn Meisle), but that outer cloak of revenge is still too heavy-handed amid her part in a brutal ménage à trois. Meanwhile, Meisle is the very picture of disingenuousness, and Robert Brill's set design will blow your breath away. Through Oct. 25 at La Jolla Playhouse's Potiker Theatre, 2900 La Jolla Village Drive. $30-$65. www.lajollaplayhouse.com.
Joyful Noise: You wouldn't believe the trouble George Frederick Handel had in getting out his Messiah. Produced by Lamb's Players Theatre, it's in previews and opens Oct. 16 at the Paul and Ione Harter Stage, 1142 Orange Ave. in Coronado. $22-$58. 619-437-0600, www.lambsplayers.org.
* 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.
Sammy: Sammy Davis Jr. didn't just sing, dance and act; he defined an entertainment era. Through Nov. 8 at The Old Globe Theatre mainstage, 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park. $68-$78. www.oldglobe.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.
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.