Keeping Tabs: Events in and around Boston

Francis Ma

‘Wind’ songs: A guy suddenly shows up in your barn, and he says he’s Jesus. (I hate when that happens.) But a young Louisiana girl’s life is changed by the arrival of the young man, even if the town doesn’t see things the same way that she does. That’s the premise of Whistle Down the Wind,” the “new” Andrew Lloyd Webber musical that was a hit in London, and now makes its first stop in Boston, Jan. 29-Feb. 3 at the Wang Theatre in Boston. Tickets: $25-$69.50. Call 800-447-7400. 

Piano Man: If there ever was a Godfather of the piano, it would be the internationally acclaimed pianist Leslie Howard. He has a ridiculous discography of 130 albums and has “pianistic immortality” for recording the complete piano music of Franz Liszt on 97 CDs. To put that in terms you understand, that’s like being the quarterback of a football team on the verge of the perfect season (Go Pats!). Yes, Howard is a classical music superstar and is coming to perform pieces by Balakirev, Borodin, Glazunov, and Rachmaninoff (all of which have the bragging rights of having hard names to spell). Bask in this man’s glory. Tuesday, Jan. 29, 8 p.m. in The Boston Conservatory’s Seully Hall in Boston. Tickets: $10. Call 617-912-9222.

The Soul of Armenia: Surprisingly, the soul of this land-locked country is in an instrument called the “duduk,” a double-reed lute carved from the root of an apricot tree. You’ll hear that, along with the “kanoon” and the “kamancheh,” when the Shoghaken Ensemble performs. The group is the country’s premier folk ensemble, playing haunting lullabies and a “thrillingly exotic” sound. This sounds scary and sexy. I’m intrigued. The group recently performed with Yo-Yo Ma, which gives them some coveted world music street cred. Respect. Friday, Feb.1 8 p.m. at Somerville Theatre. Tickets: $28. Call 617-876-4275.

Mocking Hollywood: This isn’t about drunk driving or spitting out racist remarks. Instead, this 2007 Tony nominee for Best Play digs a tad deeper and presents us with a world where an up-and-coming young movie star, with “a slight case of homosexuality,” gets tangled with a young callboy and his slacker girlfriend. “The Little Dog Laughed comes from Douglas Carter Beane, the same guy who wrote the movie with the insanely long title “To Wong Fu, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar.” That was a funny movie — besides, Wesley Snipes is hilarious whenever he’s forced to act, instead of just shooting someone on screen. Jan. 18 to Feb. 16, Wednesdays and Thursdays 7:30 p.m., Fridays 8 p.m., Saturdays 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., Sundays 3 p.m. Presented by SpeakEasy Stage at the Boston Center for the Arts. Tickets: $46-$54. Call 617-933-8600.

Secret Lovers: In the early days of Hollywood, the rumors focused on secret romances as opposed to today’s obsession with Scientologists and rehab stints. One of the more notorious and alleged relationships was between Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy, two members of Hollywood royalty who sang and danced their way into America’s hearts, and yet married other people. The new musical “Yes, Yes, Jeanette!,” explores this relationship between these two though the songs they sang (“Indian Love Call” and “Sweethearts” are among the musical numbers in the production), scenes from the movies they acted in together, and various interviews they gave. This is the world premiere, so the fate of this show is in your hands. Embrace the power. Feb. 2-3, Saturday 8 p.m.. Sunday 3 p.m. at the Christ Episcopal Church in Needham. Tickets: $25-$28. Call 978-887-2045.

Play Chess: The acclaimed “Chess,” the musical from Tim Rice and the two guys from ABBA, is set in the 1980s during the Cold War and is about a love triangle between a woman who manages one chess player, but falls for his rival (that’s a checkmate…of the soul). Returning fans will remember the pop-infused “One Night in Bangkok” and the power ballad “I Know Him So Well.” I’m confused. Did this make chess cool for a little bit when it opened? Feb. 1 to March 2, Thursdays-Saturdays 8 p.m., Sundays 2 p.m. at the Turtle Lane Playhouse in Newton. Tickets: $25-$27.50. Call 617-244-0169.

Underground Pop Hero: It’s finally time for pop’s hidden gem to get some face time with the public. Will Kimbrough has been one of Nashville’s most demanded sideman for the past decade, working with Jimmy Buffet, Rodney Cowell and Matthew Ryan. He’ll be on his own on stage, performing songs from his recently released “EP” and last year’s “Americanitis.” Enjoy Kimbrough’s engaging songwriting and his immense talent for melody that helped him win 2004’s Instrumentalist of the Year from the Americana Music Association. Friday, Feb. 1, 8 p.m. at Club Passim in Cambridge. Tickets: $15. Call 617-492-5300.