Italy's St. Philip Neri had some sage advice for all of us when he said, “If you want obedience, don't give commands.” At the very least, he was totally after my heart following my recent look at Lamb's Players Theatre's current The Light in the Piazza. This Robert Smyth-directed musical, about a mother and daughter and the dark secrets that trump the pleasures of their vacation in Italy, is over-animated, shrill and strident, demanding our attention at every turn—which is why, of course, it rarely succeeds in capturing it. It plays through Nov. 2 at the Paul and Ione Harter Stage, 1142 Orange Ave. in Coronado. $20-$56. 619-437-0600 or www.lambsplayers.org.
Back, Back, Back: Three baseball players eventually turn on each other amid a wave of steroid use that threatens to destroy the game. Through Oct. 26 at the Copley Auditorium, 1649 El Prado in Balboa Park. $55. 619-23-GLOBE or www.oldglobe.org.
* Dying City: A year after her husband's death in Iraq, Kelly confronts his identical twin brother, who arrives at her apartment unannounced. Through Oct. 26 at Cygnet Theatre's Rolando venue, 6663 El Cajon Blvd. in the College Area. $22-$48. 619-337-1525 or www.cygnettheatre.com. See our review on this page.
In a Dark, Dark House and Bash: These two plays feature dark secrets and ordinary people's capacities for committing unspeakable acts. Produced by Ion Theatre Company, the shows run in repertory through Nov. 1 at The Lab, The Academy for the Performing Arts, 4580-B Alvarado Canyon Road in Mission Valley. $23.50. 619-374-6894 or www.iontheatre.com.
* The Third Story: Two B-movie scriptwriters wind up in a fairytale on which their script may be based. Through Oct. 19 at La Jolla Playhouse's Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre, 2910 La Jolla Village Drive. $36-$63. www.lajollaplayhouse.org.
* The Women: The seamy side of Depression-era New York-socialite life is exposed. Through Oct. 26 at The Old Globe Theatre mainstage, 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park. $56-$58. 619-23-GLOBE or www.oldglobe.org.
Tobacco Road: Jeeter Lester never gives up despite his hopeless situation in Depression-era Georgia. Through Oct. 26 at the Mandell Weiss Forum, 2910 La Jolla Village Drive in La Jolla. $36-$62. 858-550-1010 or www.lajollaplayhouse.org.