‘The Coward’

Opening: Nick Jones is best known as a writer and co-producer of the Netflix series “Orange Is the New Black.” But he got his start in theater, where he was a puppet-maker and playwright. “The Coward,” his 90-minute one-act comedy, gets its regional premiere in the Twin Cities by Walking Shadow Theatre Company. Set in 1790, it focuses on a meek fellow who eschews violence. When he has to defend his family’s honor in a duel, he hires a common criminal to fight in his stead. Director Amy Rummenie has put a twist on this show about manly honor by reversing the gender balance of Jones’ original. She has cast six women and one man in “The Coward,” including Briana Patnode as the title character. (7:30 p.m. Thu.-Sat. & Mon., Ends Feb. 28; Red Eye Theatre, 15 W. 14th St., Mpls.; $10-$30, 612-375-0300 or walkingshadowcompany.org.)

ROHAN PRESTON

 

Ballet Works Project

Opening: Each year, James Sewell Ballet steps outside of the box for this laboratory of dance experimentation. Intended to nurture innovation inside and outside the ballet form, it’s a chance to see the JSB company probe what contemporary ballet and dance can look like. This year’s “Ballet Works Project” features guest choreographer Joanna Kotze, who will be showing “The Rest of Everything.” Born in South Africa, Kotze studied architecture, giving her work a particularly visual and structured aesthetic. It’s the first of two opportunities for Twin Cities audiences to experience the Bessie Award winner’s choreography, as later this year she’ll be creating a commission for Zenon Dance. “Ballet Works Project 2015” also features Houston choreographer Jane Wiener’s “Suspicious Fisherman” and work by the Reif Center’s Amy Earnest and Lance Hardin and JSB company member Nic Lincoln. (8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sun., 7:30 p.m. Thu. Ends Feb. 15; JSB Tek Box, 528 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls.; $16-$20, 612-206-3600 or thecowlescenter.org).

Sheila Regan

 

‘The Woman in Black’

Opening: “Small but power-packed,” that could be the motto for Yellow Tree Theatre. The company consistently taps big talents for its suburban shows. Their latest catches? Guthrie veterans J.C. Cutler and Nat Fuller, who are starring in “The Woman in Black.” Jon Cranney, former artistic director of the Children’s Theatre, stages this horror about a spectral figure that haunts a widowed young lawyer who is helping to settle the affairs of a dead eccentric. Daniel Radcliffe played the lawyer in a 2012 film. That role will be played by Cutler, who has played Scrooge at the Guthrie (so has Fuller, for that matter). (7:30 p.m. Wed.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sun. Ends March 8; Yellow Tree Theatre, 320 5th Av. SE., Osseo; $18-$25. 7 63-493-8733 or www. yellowtreetheatre.com.)

R.P.

 

‘African America’

Opening: On opening night of “Neighbors” on Sept. 16, 2011, actor Warren Bowles, who was playing a character named Mammy, collapsed near the end of the performance. He lost pulse and was miraculously revived by paramedics. Bowles has lived each day since as a gift. He also has tried to make sure that his contributions are marked by grace. He has been writing, acting and directing with gusto ever since. His latest work is “African America,” a piece that is directed by Ansa Akyea and is part of Mixed Blood Theatre’s touring program. It features actors Sasha Andreev, Aaliyah Habeeb and Hope Cervantes. (2 p.m. Sat., 7:30 p.m. Sun. & Mon; Mixed Blood Theatre, 1501 S. 4th St., Mpls.; $20 guaranteed admission. Free rush line. 612-338-6131 or mixedblood.com.)

R.P.