The year 1936 was a bittersweet one for little Michael Evans, who would soon look on as his mom and her four sisters lose their rural Irish home to industrialization. That summer, the house was filled with music and dancing—the latter was a metaphor for the women's happy memories and a stock in trade for their brother Jack. He's a missionary riddled with disease and age, and his pagan rites bear a remarkable resemblance to the sisters' rituals. Brian Friel's Dancing at Lughnasa, a tender parable about family love and loss told through the eyes of 7-year-old Michael, is ideally suited to New Village Arts' resident performers. Plus, it's directed by Esther Emery, so you know it's good. The show runs through March 30 at New Village Arts Theatre, 2787-B State St. in Carlsbad. $22-$26. 760-433-2345 or www.NewVillageArts.org.—Martin Jones Westlin
A Little Night Music: A successful lawyer and his trophy wife are party to a series of events that illustrate the difficulties and splendor of romantic love. Now in previews, it opens March 22 at Theatre's Old Town Theatre, 4848 Twiggs St. in Old Town. 619-337-1525 or www.cygnettheatre.com. $24-$35.
* A Shayna Maidel: A Holocaust survivor has tales of grief and hope for her younger sister when the two are reunited in America after 20 years. Through March 23 at North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987-D Lomas Santa Fe Drive in Solana Beach. 858-481-1055 or www.northcoastrep.org. $32-$35.
Bluebonnet Court: A war correspondent on her way to a tryst with an MGM starlet stumbles into another world when she's waylaid in Texas. Co-produced by Diversionary and MOXIE theatres, the show opens in previews March 20 at Diversionary Theatre, 4545 Park Blvd. in University Heights. 619-220-0097 or www.diversionary.org. $20-$33, $40 opening night March 22.
* Dancing in the Dark: A fading Hollywood star teams with a Shakespearean actor and a bunch of diverse theatrical personalities to create a musical that's strictly “entertainment.” Through April 20 at The Old Globe Theatre mainstage, 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park 619-23-GLOBE or www.oldglobe.org. $52-$69.
* One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: Randall McMurphy, a patient in a 1960s mental ward, empowers his fellow inmates and earns the disdain of the staff. Presented by The Theatre, Inc., the show runs through March 29 at Twiggs Tea & Coffee Co., 4590 Park Blvd. in University Heights. 619-216-3016 or www.thetheatreinc.com. $22-$25. See our review on this page.
* tick, tick... BOOM!: Jonathan is still trying to write the great American musical before time—and, unpredictably for him, life—passes him by. Presented by Stone Soup Theatre, the show runs through March 30 at The Lab, Academy of Performing Arts, 4580-B Alvarado Canyon Road in Mission Valley. 619-287-3065 or www.stonesouptheatre.net. $20-$25.
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. in Bankers Hill. 619-544-1600. $54.50-$59.50.