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Arts This Week: 'The Rake's Progress,' 'Edward II,' 'Topdog/Underdog'

Jared's arts picks for this week: The Rake's Progress (left), Edward II (top right), Topdog/Underdog (bottom right)

Every week, WGBH News' Arts Editor Jared Bowen sums up the exhibitions, theater, movies, and music you should check out in and around Boston.

The Rake's Progress, presented by the Boston Lyric Opera at the Cutler Majestic Theatre through March 19.

Mother Goose (Jane Eaglen), the madam of a London brothel, stakes a claim on newcomer Tom Rakewell (Ben Bliss) in Boston Lyric Opera’s new production of Stravinsky’s "The Rake's Progress."
T. Charles Erickson

Boston Lyric Opera's Synopsis: "Dissatisfied with the simple country life, Tom Rakewell abandons his sweetheart to strike a deal with the devil and travels to the big city to embark on a life of reckless pursuit of money, power, fame and pleasure. After a visit to a sordid but enticing brothel, a grotesque marriage, a disastrously failed start-up venture and a game of cards with horrifyingly high stakes, Tom realizes the true nature of the bargain he has struck. Can he turn back the clock or is his fate already sealed? In a surreal battle of ideals, desires and temptation, Stravinsky tips the rake into madness and finds in Tom’s story a path to his own self recreation." 

Jared Says: "I believe this is where BLO soars ... smaller operas with outsized resonance."

Edward IIpresented by Actors’ Shakespeare Project at Charlestown Working Theater through March 19.

(Left to right) Edward II (Maurice Emmanuel Parent) and Gaveston (Eddie Shields) in "Edward II."
Maggie Hall

Actors' Shakespeare Project's Synopsis: "In the wake of Edward I’s death, his son has taken the throne as Edward II. His radical ideas around affairs of state, lack of military acumen, and loyalty to his ambitious lover Piers Gaveston pit him against powerful nobles and his calculating queen. These conflicts lead to Gaveston’s exile and murder, new and shifting romantic loyalties on all sides, and revenge and retribution that ultimately seal Edward’s fate."

Jared Says: "Strap yourself in - this is at once a delirious combination of the erotic, the visceral, and the brutal."

Topdog/Underdog, presented by Huntington Theatre Company through April 9.

Tyrone Mitchell Henderson and Matthew J. Harris in "Topdog/Underdog."
T. Charles Erickson

Huntington Theatre Company's Synopsis: "Lincoln and Booth are brothers: best friends and bitter rivals. Lincoln, a former 3-card monte hustler, works as a Lincoln impersonator in a shooting gallery; Booth is an aspiring grifter.  He tempts his brother to get back in the game, but the consequences could be deadly. Suzan-Lori Parks made history as the first African American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Drama for this darkly comic, deeply theatrical fable about family wounds and healing bonds."

Jared Says: "Superbly directed, with chemistry that will make you want to watch the show on repeat."

Think we missed a big arts event this week? Tell Jared about it on Facebook or Twitter

This post has been updated.

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