There are two cool things about Hello, Dolly, one of the most highly regarded 20th-century American musicals. It doesn't break into song at the drop of a hat, and its dialogue outlines the action word for word, leaving the director free to embellish his people with character affectations. The story, about a meddlesome widow who tries to bring romance to several couples and winds up being romanced herself, is in production at Lamb's Players Theatre in Coronado—but if you're looking for those affectations, you're better off at an acting class. Kerry Meads is miscast as gritty busybody Dolly Levi; she's far too pretty and refined in her physiognomy to make a persuasive case. Everybody else pretty much follows suit, eagerly reciting lines rather than conveying ideas. Jeanne Reith scores yet again with the costumes, especially the women's gowns. Meanwhile, Meads has a character—but with all due respect to her and director Robert Smyth (whom I usually like very much), she just doesn't have the right one. Hello, Dolly runs through March 16 at the Paul and Ione Harter Stage, 1142 Orange Ave., Coronado. $26-$58. 619-437-0600 or www.lambs players.org.—Martin Jones Westlin
Don't Fence Me In: James Thurber, Maya Angelou and San Diegan Charlene Baldridge weigh in on the quest for human freedom in this staged reading of short stories on the topic. Opens Feb. 16 at Cygnet Theater, 6663 El Cajon Blvd. in the College Area. 619-297-8953. $10-$12.
The Seven: A brutal struggle for the throne of Thebes pits Oedipus' cursed sons against one another and transforms a peaceful countryside into a hostile battlefield. Now in previews, it opens Feb. 19 at La Jolla Playhouse's Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre, 2910 La Jolla Village Drive in La Jolla. 858-550-1010 or www.lajollaplayhouse.org. $28-$60.
Anton in Show Business: A stuffy television actress, a bustin'-out-all-over ingénue and a jaded New Yorker collaborate on an ill-fated San Antonio production of Anton Chekhov's The Three Sisters. Through March 2 at 6th@Penn Theatre, 3704 Sixth Ave. in Hillcrest. 619-688-9210 or www.sixthatpenn.com. $20-$23.
* Fences: Troy Maxson is fencing in his family amid his abandonment of personal responsibility. Through March 2 at Cygnet Theatre, 6663 El Cajon Blvd. in the College Area. 619-337-1525 or www.cygnettheatre.com. $22-$31.
* The Pillowman: An author is interrogated about the possible link between his short stories and a series of murders. Presented by Ion Theatre Company through Feb. 17 at The Lab, Academy for the Performing Arts, 4580-B Alvarado Canyon Road in Mission Valley. 619-374-6894 or www.iontheatre.com. $10-$29.50.
Tony and Cleo: The love story of Antony and Cleopatra is told, this one based on historical and primary sources and not on Shakespeare. Through Feb 27 at 6th@Penn Theatre, 3704 Sixth Ave. in Hillcrest. 619-688-9210 or www.6thatpenn.com. $12-$15.
Chalk It Up to Murder: HIT Productions features a cavalcade of new clues for a terrible crime. Fireside Steakhouse, 439 W. Washington Blvd. in Escondido, 619-561-8673. $16-$29.50.
Joey & Maria's Comedy Italian Wedding: The fortunes and foibles at the heart of an Italian wedding are laid on the table. Holiday Inn on the Bay, 1355 N. Harbor Drive, 800-944-5639. $49.50. Where There's a Will... There's a Wake: Gangland figure Sonny Shoehorn is heir to the family fortune unless his siblings have their way. Presented by Mystery Café Dinner Theater at Imperial House Restaurant, 505 Kalmia St., Downtown, 619-544-1600. $54.50-$59.50.OngoingTriple Espresso: Three dorks make a bid for fame on national TV. Through Feb. 17 at the Horton Grand Theatre, 444 Fourth Ave. Downtown, 619-234-9583. $10-$37.50.