Red Hot Patriots: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins Plays at the Lyric Stage Company of Boston through January 31st

A dyed-in-the-wool liberal from deep in the heart of Texas, the unsinkable Molly Ivins’ rapier wit made her one of America’s highest-regarded political columnists, satirists, and beloved rabble-rousers. Red Hot Patriot weaves personal anecdotes with Molly’s unforgettable humor and wisdom, celebrating her courage and tenacity — even when a complacent America wasn’t listening. Karen MacDonald plays Ivins.

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike Plays at the Huntington’s BU Theatre through February 1st

The 2013 Tony Award-winning production for Best New Play, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike kicks off the New Year at the Huntington Theatre Company. Written by “treasured playwright” (The New York Observer) Christopher Durang (Betty’s Summer Vacation), Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is a wickedly wonderful Chekhovian mashup that Newsday called “one of the funniest comedies Broadway has seen in seasons.” The Huntington’s production is dedicated to former Huntington Artistic Director Nicholas Martin, who passed away on April 30, 2014. Jessica Stone will direct the production based on Martin’s original Tony Award-nominated Broadway direction. Performances at the Avenue of the Arts / BU Theatre begin Friday, January 2 and continue through Sunday, February 1, 2015.

Downton Abbey: Season 5 Downton Abbey is now airing on Masterpiece on PBS

New loves, new secrets, new Downton Abbey! Downton Abbey returns for an epic fifth season of intimately interlaced stories centered on an English country estate—a deliciously entertaining formula that has made it the highest-rated drama in PBS history. Downton Abbey, Season 5, airs Sundays, January 4 - March 1, 2015 on MASTERPIECE on PBS. Downton Abbey Season 5 features returning stars Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern, Jim Carter, Laura Carmichael, Joanne Froggatt, Allen Leech, Robert James-Collier, Penelope Wilton, Phyllis Logan, Lily James, Brendan Coyle, Lesley Nicol, Sophie McShera, Samantha Bond, Ed Speleers, Kevin Doyle, Raquel Cassidy, David Robb, Tom Cullen, Julian Ovenden, Daisy Lewis, Douglas Reith, Jeremy Swift, and Andrew Scarborough. This acclaimed ensemble is joined by guest stars Harriet Walter (Atonement), reprising her role as Lady Shackleton, and Peter Egan (Death at a Funeral), who returns as Lord Flintshire, together with completely new characters played by Richard E. Grant (Girls), Anna Chancellor (The Hour), and Rade Sherbedgia (24).

Inherent Vice In theaters Friday

“Inherent Vice,” is the seventh feature from Paul Thomas Anderson and the first ever film adaption of a Thomas Pynchon novel. When private eye Doc Sportello’s ex-old lady suddenly out of nowhere shows up with a story about her current billionaire land developer boyfriend whom she just happens to be in love with, and a plot by his wife and her boyfriend to kidnap that billionaire and throw him in a loony bin…well, easy for her to say. It’s the tail end of the psychedelic `60s and paranoia is running the day and Doc knows that “love” is another of those words going around at the moment, like “trip” or “groovy,” that’s being way too overused—except this one usually leads to trouble. With a cast of characters that includes surfers, hustlers, dopers and rockers, a murderous loan shark, LAPD Detectives, a tenor sax player working undercover, and a mysterious entity known as the Golden Fang, which may only be a tax dodge set up by some dentists... Part surf noir, part psychedelic romp—all Thomas Pynchon.

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