Different Stages presents Doug Wright's Obie-winning drama about the Marquis de Sade and the contentious, talespinning turbulence of his years
spent confined to the Charenton Asylum for the Insane. What can you expect from this show? "Sex. Perversion. Violence." Also, a fine cast directed by Norman Blumensaadt, featuring Craig Kanne as the notorious Marquis. Jan. 4-26. Thu.-Sat., 8pm; Sun., 5:30pm
City Theatre, 3823-D Airport, 512/524-2870
How about a little history and rich drama for you, citizen? After all, this is where Downton Abbey pretty much started, isn't it? Here, the life of Queen Elizabeth I is portrayed by three separate women (Angela Loftus, Lorella Loftus, and Jennifer Underwood) in this new play by Lorella Loftus. Henry VIII, Thomas Seymour, Robert Dudley, William Cecil, Mary I, and Mary Queen of Scots make appropriate appearances, of course, and the whole show's directed by Karen Jambon. Through Jan. 26. Thu.-Sun., 8pm. $10-30. (2-for-1 admission on Thursdays and Sundays with donation of two canned goods for SafePlace).
The Vortex, 2307 Manor Rd., 512/478-5282
Jon Robin Baitz's acclaimed drama – his Broadway debut in 2011 – is a complex of family secrets, lies, and betrayals playing out against a backdrop of Californian affluence and restraint. The cast boasts the talents of Lara Toner, Babs George, Rick Roemer, Jacob Trussell, and Bernadette Nason – directed by Don Toner for Austin Playhouse, currently staging their productions in Highland Mall. Through Feb. 24. Thu.-Sat., 8pm; Sun., 5pm. 6001 Airport. $28-37 (student discounts available).
The big fierce Disney production returns to Austin with a roar like engines. This is the musical production that's loved even by people who dislike musicals, the Disney property cherished even by people who hate on the Mouse: A spectacular based-on-the-movie show that will undo your biases and touch you deep in that circle of life. Through Feb. 10. Tue.-Fri., 8pm; Sat., 2 & 8pm; Sun., 1 & 6:30pm. Bonus matinee: Thu., Jan. 17, 1pm. $29 and up.
David Lindsay-Abaire's drama about the working-class Boston neighborhood called Southie will be produced by Different Stages under the direction of Karen Jambon. Casting: African-American woman, age 30-40; man, age 25-35. Call or see website for details. Mon.-Tue., Jan. 28-29, 7-9pm.
Fronterafest's all over for another year, people, except for this Short Fringe: Best of the Fest part –and I'm glad to tell you that any night of this line-up is worth seeing, because you'll laugh, you might cry, you will be extremely fucking entertained at all times. [Full disclosure: I helped decide which shows got to be presented again this week.] And "Austin's Best Monologist" – it's true! – Steven Tomlinson debuts his new "How to Use Evernote" piece in the Wild Card Bill. You'd best hurry, though, because these nights (and one matinee) of no-fail theatrical enjoyment are selling out so fast you'd think they were Tim Doyle prints or something! See website for full schedule details. Wed.-Sat., Feb. 14-16, 8pm.
From the writing team – Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten – that brought you last season’s The Dixie Swim Club comes this story of the Futrelle sisters of Fayro, Texas, and one sister’s quest to plan her daughter’s antebellum-inspired wedding. Small-town, Southern-friend, pre-nuptial hijinks ensue! Through Feb. 3. Fri.-Sat., 7:30pm; Sun., 2pm. $10-24.
Jaston Williams, known to many Austinites as That One Greater Tuna Actor, is directed by Larry Randolph in this revealing and humorous Jay Presson Allen play about Truman Capote. Back at Zach after 12 years – by popular demand! Through March 10. Thu.-Sat., 8pm; Sun., 2:30pm. $40.
Dave Steakley directs Moisés Kaufman's drama in which a present-day music-scholar mother struggling with her daughter is contrasted with Ludwig van Beethoven struggling with the demands of his genius. Zach Theatre's got somebody coming in from New York to play Beethoven, but this show stars Beth Broderick and pianist Anton Nel. Jan. 23-Feb. 17. Wed.-Sat., 8pm; Sun., 2:30pm. $25-65 ($18, student rush tickets).