This week, WGBH News’ Arts Editor Jared Bowen reviews the Aretha Franklin movie “Amazing Grace” and reviews two plays in Boston.

“Amazing Grace,” in select theaters now.

Amazing Grace
Aretha Franklin sings to the choir at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in "Amazing Grace."
Courtesy of NEON

In 1972, Aretha Franklin recorded the highest-selling gospel record of all time at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles. Those recording sessions were filmed but ultimately held back for decades due to technical difficulties and legal issues with, of all people, Aretha Franklin herself. Now, that footage has been reassembled into an intimate film documenting the two nights of recording.

“There are few times in my life when I’ve been so absorbed by a film that I’ve forgotten I’m in a theater,” says Jared. “This is one of them.”

“black odyssey boston,” presented at Central Square Theater by Underground Railway Theatre and the Front Porch Arts Collective through May 19.

black odyssey boston
Ramona Lisa Alexander (Circe) and Brandon G. Green (Ulysses Lincoln) with Akili Jamal Haynes in the background
Maggie Hall, courtesy of Central Square Theater

Marcus Gardley provides an original Boston adaptation of his play “Black Odyssey” at Central Square Theater. Based on Homer’s “The Odyssey,” “black odyssey boston” follows Ulysses Lincoln, a veteran of the Gulf War who fights to return to his family after being lost at sea. All the while, the gods overhead manipulate his fate for better and for worse.

Jared says “black odyssey boston” “beats with an extraordinary pulse. Heartwarming, frightening and searing, it deftly assumes the myth mantle.”

“Vietgone,” presented by Company One Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts Plaza Theatre through May 25.

Quentin Nguyen-duy and Rob Chen in "Vietgone"
Paul Fox, courtesy of Company One Theatre

Get ready for an unconventional immigration story in “Vietgone.” Written by Vietnamese-American playwright Qui Nguyen, the play centers around the story of his parents’ assimilation in the United States following their resettlement in Arkansas after the Vietnam War. What sounds like it should be a conventional tale quickly takes a turn into the quirky, humorous, and fantastical as Nguyen intersperses over-the-top ninja fight scenes and hilarity into his unique brand of “geek theater.”

“There’s a lot of skipping around, which makes for some uneven careening,” says Jared, “but Vietgone is largely hilarious and deliriously pointed.”

What shows are you excited for this Spring? Tell Jared about it on Facebook or Twitter!