8 p.m. Nov. 4; 7:30 p.m. & 9 p.m. Nov. 5-6; 8 p.m. Nov. 8; Little Gem Saloon, 445 S. Rampart St.
The NOLA Project's immersive show is a dark-edged comic whodunit, set in a nightclub run by a clown underworld boss. Happy Mahoney thought he had escaped the clown life until his younger brother, a tragically unfunny clown, turns up dead. Happy returns to a nightclub filled with angry, violent clowns, clown crooners and clown strippers. The audience fills the Little Gem Saloon's upstairs bar, and the action swirls from the stage to the bar and around the room as Happy tries to get the last laugh. Playwright Adam Szymkowicz cleverly turns stock goodfellas into menacing wiseguys with red noses and big floppy shoes. It's a rough-and-tumble, foulmouthed world, and not for kids.
9 p.m. Nov. 5, 12, 14 & 19-21; 5 p.m. Nov. 8, 15 & 22; Old Marquer Theatre, 2400 St. Claude Ave.
A man set to deliver a eulogy realizes his prepared remarks are inappropriate, but as he ad libs, the situation goes from bad to worse to darkly funny. In the one-man show, Michael Burgos (pictured) animates a slew of colorful eulogists, all trying to save a service gone horribly awry. Awkward tributes and remembrances spill out as speakers and funeral attendees avoid the hard truth that they may not have the fondest memories or most flattering sentiments to offer. Burgos trained at the Parisian clown theater school Ecole Philipp Gaulier (Sacha Baron Cohen is a fellow alum) and has performed the show at several fringe festivals.
9 p.m. Nov. 6; 7 p.m. & 9 p.m. Nov. 7; 7 p.m. Nov. 8; Dancing Grounds, 3705 St. Claude Ave.
Dancer/choreographer Maritza Mercado-Narcisse developed Evangeline around ideas of displacement. It follows the basic story of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's namesake poem about the expulsion of Acadians from Nova Scotia and their settlement in central Louisiana in the 1700s. In it Evangeline is separated from and searches for her love Gabriel. The piece also reflects evacuation and return following Hurricane Katrina and the federal floods. It's a dance-based multimedia piece with live music performed in two parts, one for Evangeline and one for Gabriel, which occur simultaneously in adjoining spaces — and they're repeated so the audience sees both parts.
Looking at a Broad
7:30 p.m. Nov. 6-8, 13-15 & 20-22; The Theatre at St. Claude, 2240 St. Claude Ave.
Rebecca Mwase was born in North Carolina and her first big trip was to Zimbabwe, from which her parents had immigrated to the United States. As a teen, she lived in China where her father worked as a visiting professor, and she later studied there and returned many times before settling in New Orleans in 2009. Looking at a Broad is a poetic dance piece about travel, the search for home and finding oneself. It examines how perceptions of race, gender and sexuality affect identity. Mwase intended to premiere the piece last year, but was unable to due to an injury. She says the work's debut has become much more timely in light of the Black Lives Matter movement and discussion of immigration and borders in the United States and elsewhere. The multimedia work incorporates minimal props, video projections and some audience interaction.
Terminator: The Musical
7 p.m. Nov. 5-9, 12-16 & 19-21; Old Marquer Theatre, 2400 St. Claude Ave.
After garnering acclaim for comical, blood-splattering productions of Evil Dead: The Musical and Musical of the Living Dead, See Em On Stage productions was approached by local playwright Breanna Bietz about staging her work, Terminator: The Musical. Her parody of the Arnold Schwarzenegger franchise covers the first two films, in which a cyborg time-travels from the future to kill the leader of a rebel movement before the uprising begins — and then comes back a second time. In the second film, the Terminator gained insight into why humans cry, and in the musical, he sings about how hard it is to find love ("Programmed to Kill"). The show takes up the sci-fi thrillers and adds a chorus.
Uncle Vanya: Quarter Life Crisis
8 p.m. Nov. 5-8, 12-15 & 19-22; Ether Dome, 3625 St. Claude Ave.
Director Chris Kaminstein and Goat in the Road Productions adapted Anton Chekhov's classic work about disaffected middle-aged Russians questioning what they've done with their lives and mulling over feelings of dissatisfaction. They've set the piece in New Orleans following the financial upheaval of 2008, where a group of 20-somethings look for direction in their lives, balancing work, ennui and aspirations.