Each spring, Lowell's Image Theatre shines the spotlight on talented female playwrights in its "Fem Noire Festival of Women Playwrights."
Created several years ago by Image's co-founder Ann Garvin, this year's fest, on Friday-Saturday, May 4-5, at 8 p.m., at the Whistler House Museum of Art, 243 Worthen St., features an array of short plays, several of which focus on hot-button topics.
Among them are "A Misinterpretation of Events" by Margie Semilof, which is about an older, out-of-touch father who is fired by his own daughter for his loutish behavior.
Andrea Aptecker's "The Revenge Bureau" is a dark comedy about what happens when a couple seeks justice from the Department of Retribution and Indignation.
"By The Way" by Andrea Fleck Clardy focuses on the interactions when a "townie" woman meets a young, professional Muslim woman in a crowded airport food court.
"We, the Sisters" by Laura Neill is a play about two past sorority sisters, one now a U.S. senator and the other a yoga instructor who lock horns over an important issue.
Vicki Meagher's "Asking For It" is a farcical court drama about a stolen wallet that asks "was the victim asking for it?"
"Blue Socks" by Kathleen Miller is an endearing, short monologue about the insecurities of youth.
Monica Raymond's "At St. Wildings" concerns two men desperately trying to put the lid on a sexual-harassment charge from long ago.
And in "Mrs. Williams, Concerned Citizen," Susan Goodell presents a crazy courtroom comedy that would make even Judge Judy go insane.
Garvin and her Image co-founder/artistic director Jerry Bisantz direct all the plays.
"Many of these plays deal with hot-button issues that are in the paper every day -- some farcical, some dramatic," said Bisantz. "It's a great group of plays, and our actors are fantastic. The show gets better every year."
For tickets and info., visit www.imagetheater.com or call 978-441-0102.
Nancye Tuttle's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the marquee
SPRING 'POPS': It's a sure sign of spring when Pops concerts roll around. The Lowell Philharmonic Orchestra's annual Spring Pops concert is Sunday, May 6, at 2 p.m., at Nevins Memorial Library, 305 Broadway, Methuen. Its "stage and screen" theme includes music from "Evita," "Hawaii Five-O," western classics like "The Magnificent Seven" and "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly," and "Sleeping Beauty." Avik Sarkar, this year's concerto competition winner, will perform. $10, adults; $8, seniors; $5 kids and students with ID at door or online at BrownPaperTickets. ... The 2018 Boston Pops season, under conductor Keith Lockhart, kicks off Wednesday, May 9, with multiplatinum-selling pop artist Andy Grammer as the special guest. Known for hits like "Keep Your Head Up" and "Fresh Eyes," he's becoming a regular Pops performer since headlining the 2017 Fireworks Spectacular last July 4 and performing this season at Tanglewood on June 22. The 2018 Pops season will celebrate the centennial of Leonard Bernstein, an iconic 20th-century musical figure. Other highlights include John Williams Film Night, Disney's Broadway Hits and Dance to the Movies. Tickets are on sale at 888-266-1200 or visit www.boston.pops.org.
THE BELL TOLLS: The Concord Players present the musical "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" at 51 Walden Street in Concord this month. Featuring a score by Menken and Schwartz, the show is directed by Nancy Curran Willis, with musical direction by Don Boroson and choreography by Jennifer Condon. Performances are May 4, 5, 10, 11, 12 at 8 p.m., and May 6 at 2 p.m. Call 978-369-2990 or visit www.concordplayers.org for tickets.
LOCAL STAGES: Chelmsford Center for the Arts, 1A North Road, stages a "Beethoven Marathon" on Saturday, May 6, starting at 2 p.m. The Thoreau Piano Trio will play the six "essential" Beethoven piano trios in one afternoon. There will be two intervals with wine, beer and snacks available. Call 978-250-3780 or visit www.chelmsfordarts.org for tickets. ... The Cannon Theatre, Great Road, Littleton, brings the musical classic "Annie Get Your Gun" by Irving Berlin to audiences this month. Show dates are May 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 24, 25 and 26 at 7:30 p.m., and a matinee on May 12 at 1 p.m. Heather Pruiksma of Ayer plays Annie Oakley, and Tom Frates of Lexington is Frank Butler. $20, adults; $15, seniors/students; $10, kids, 10 and under at www.thecannontheatre.org or call 978-448-2108.
YOUTHFUL MUSINGS: Middlesex Community College's Theatre Department presents the musical "Spring Awakening," an angsty rock musical about sexual awakening, youthful revolt and self-discovery, this weekend. Performances May 3-5 at 75 John St. in Lowell. Tickets at door and on Facebook.