If set design drives your theater, you'll like La Jolla Playhouse's current Tobacco Road, the story of the Lester family's turmoil and hope during Depression-era Georgia. David Zinn's set is a powerful counterpart to the story—by the play's end, the Lester house isn't dilapidated so much as emaciated. But the Jack Kirkland script doesn't mix the subtext so much as compartmentalize it; John Fleck's assured turn as patriarch Jeeter Lester is thus undermined. I recommend this, but not with any particular enthusiasm. It runs through Oct. 26 at La Jolla Playhouse's Mandell Weiss Forum (a splendid place to see a play), 2910 La Jolla Village Drive in La Jolla. $36-$62. 858-550-1010 or www.lajollaplayhouse.org.
Bleeding Kansas: The slavery issue, a new resident with a scandalous lifestyle and heightened religious fervor threaten neighborly relations in the Kansas farmland. Produced by MOXIE Theatre, the show opens Oct. 18 at Diversionary Theatre, 4545 Park Blvd. in University Heights. $15-$25. 619-275-0332 or www.moxietheatre.com.
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.
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.
* Fool for Love: Eddie and Mae battle obsession, jealousy and each other in a night of heart-to-heart, hand-to-hand combat. Through Oct. 26 at New Village Arts Theatre, 2787-B State St. in Carlsbad. $22-$30. 760-433-3245 or www.newvillagearts.org. See our review on this page.