MOTHER COURAGE Jean Cocteau Repertory, Ernest Johns, artistic director, presents the premiere of a translation by Marc Bliztstein of Bertholt Brecht’s 1941 play with music, inspired by Nazi German’s invasion of Germany. Blitzstein, a gay playwright who died in 1964, also completed the world-renowned translation of Brecht’s “Three Penny Opera,” and wrote “ The Cradle Will Rock,” the famed 1930s plays that President Franklin Roosevelt’s WPA felt compelled to shut down for its leftist leanings. David Fuller directs. Previews begin Aug. 26, with an opening on Sep. 4. Runs through Oct. 8. Wed. 7 p.m.; Thu.-Sat. 8 p.m.; Sun. 3 p.m. Bouwerie Lane Theatre, 330 Bowery, btwn. Bond and East Second St. Ticket are $54.50; 212-279-4200.
DRUMSTUCK 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., 212-239-6200.
FRINGENYC As the spunky, indefatigable co-founder and producing artistic director of the New York Fringe Festival, Elena K. Holy has seen thousands of shows. “We got over 800 applications and accepted about 200 to be in this year’s festival,” Holy said. But how do they choose? Merit and talent are a given, as well as adding to the festival’s trademark mix of diversity. But there’s another, more elusive component. “It often comes down to passion,” explained Holy. Various venues, Aug. 12-28. 212-279-4488 or fringenyc.org. (David Kennerley)
OEDIPUS AT PALM SPRINGS When a play is called “Oedipus at Palm Springs” and is about four lesbians at a gay retreat, what “plot twist” could be really surprising? Part of the fun of this delightful new play by the Five Lesbian Brothers is watching how the outsized elements of Greek tragedy have been interpreted for mere mortals on the ground. New York Theater Workshop, 79 E. Fourth St., 212-239-6200. (Christopher Byrne)