Deathwatch and The Maids The Egress Theatre Company presents an all-male, rotating repertory productions of gay poet-criminal laureate Jean Genet’s “Deathwatch” and “The Maids.” “The Maids” follows two sisters through their grotesque and ritualistic impersonations of their employer and subsequent designs to destroy her. “Deathwatch” explores the hierarchy of crime underlying the twisted relationships among three prison convicts. In their feverish competition to outdo one another, two inmates will stop at nothing, even murder, to win the admiration of the highest-ranking criminal in the cell. CRS Studio Theatre in Union Square, 123 Fourth Ave., second floor. $15 at 212-352-3101 or at TheaterMania.com. Through Nov. 20.
THIRD Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Wendy Wasserstein’s new play is a portrait of a woman at a crossroads in her life. College professor Laurie Jameson’s orderly life as wife, mother, daughter, and educator, is thrown into disarray after she accuses a student of plagiarism. The cast includes Dianne Wiest as Jameson, Amy Aquino as her best friend, Charles Durning as her father, Gaby Hoffmann as her daughter, and Jason Ritter as her student. Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center. $70 and $75 at 212-239-6200 or lct.org. Through Dec. 18.
Absurd Person Singular In a world of clumsy, obvious comedies that feel compelled to hit one over the head with the supposedly hysterical, Ayckbourn’s satire is oblique and character-driven. It’s just “out there” enough to be funny, but the emotions and motivations of the characters always ring true. The playwright respects his audiences enough to know the knee-slapping belly laugh is not the only type of comedy that succeeds. He has command of every tool in the box—slapstick, absurd situations, social stereotypes, and more and his reflection of nature may come from the funhouse, but it basically reflects what is there. The cast is excellent. Director John Tillinger has perfectly captured Ayckbourn’s essential comedic magic—to have an audience laughing hysterically at how painful and imperfect life can be. Manhattan Theatre Club, At the Biltmore Theatre, 261 W. 47th St. Tue.-Sat. 8 p.m.; Wed., Sat., Sun. 2 p.m. $26-$80 at 212-239-6200. (Chris Byrne)
DRUMSTRUCK The charming and engaging company’s delightfully orchestrated pieces inspire one to hear and marvel at the complexity and beauty of the sounds being made. But don’t look too deep. “Drumstruck” is disappointing, and at some points disquieting, insisting on educating in a manner simplistic and condescending. Dodger Stages, 340 W, 50th St. $61-$66 at 212-239-6200. (Christopher Byrne)
FRAN’S BED This uncommonly boring play by the usually adept James Lapine involves Fran falling into a coma, a plastic mannequin representing her comatose body while her spirit—Mia Farrow—floats around. Fran’s utter self-absorption has allowed her to be unfaithful to her husband, wretched to her children, and to generally make life miserable for those around her. What follows, as the family gathers, is a dysfunctional “Blithe Spirit.” Playwright’s Horizons, 416 W. 42nd St. $60 at 212-279-4200. Through Dec. 18. (Christopher Byrne)
IN MY LIFE This new musical is a bubblegum play list in search of an organizing philosophy. Music, lyric, and book writer Joseph Brooks, has, in effect, written the same song about 20 times in different styles, all in major keys with parallel chords, and tossed them onto the stage at the Music Box with a lot of stuff going on around them. The only way to appreciate this is as a kind of demented parlor game as the audience tries to wrest a coherent narrative from the mishmash. Music Box Theatre, 239 W. 45 St., $26.25-$101.25 at 212-239-6200. (Christopher Byrne)