New This Week

Diner: The Musical (Delaware Theatre Company) Lifelong early-20s buddies meet, as always, at the diner, where they josh and jive and face the fact that growing up may be inevitable. In previews, opens Saturday.

Gentlemen Volunteers (Pig Iron Theatre) A revival of this popular story of two World War I ambulance drivers who travel from Yale to the battlefields of France. Preview Thursday, opens Friday.

Hansel and Gretel (Quintessence Theatre Group) A contemporary retelling of the classic Grimm fairy tale. Previews Wednesday-Friday, opens Saturday.

It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play (Bucks County Playhouse) A musical adaptation, set in the 1940s, of the beloved movie. Previews Friday-Saturday, opens Saturday.

Continuing

Reviewed by Wendy Rosenfield (W.R.), Jim Rutter (J.R.), David Patrick Stearns (D.P.S.) and Toby Zinman (T.Z.).

A Christmas Story (Walnut Street Theatre) If you loved the 1983 film version, you'll love this musical. And if you hated the 1983 film version, you'll love this musical. Through Jan 20. - J.R.

A Knee That Can Bend (Orbiter 3) An American studying in Senegal discovers a gay underground that opens a new world to her. Through Dec. 20.

The Bald Soprano (Curio Theatre) An incomprehensible evening with the Smiths and the Martins in Ionesco's first play. Through Dec. 19.

Baskerville (Philadelphia Theatre Company) A tissue-thin comedy revisits the Conan Doyle classic with some good performances but not in aid of much. Through Dec. 27. - D.P.S.

Becoming Dr. Ruth (Walnut Street Theatre/Independence Studio) This cozy, risk-free biodrama chronicles the life of America's most famous sex therapist. Through Dec. 27. - T.Z.

Billy Elliot (Media Theatre) This homage to dance's transformative power is a promise that Media's production expertly fulfills in one of its best musicals ever. Through Jan. 3. - J.R.

Black Nativity (Theatre Horizon) This Afrocentric holiday tradition is a joyful, noisy alternative to all those grim Dickensians and cynical elves. Through next Sunday. - W.R.

Bonnie and Clyde: The Musical (Eagle Theatre) The thrill-seeking Depression-era duo sing their way down a criminal spiral to inevitable disaster. Ends Saturday.

The Book of Mormon (Forrest Theatre) The enthusiastic elders deliver their religious message in a winning and hilarious, but very much R-rated, song-and-dance package. Through Dec. 27. - W.R.

Equivocation (Arden Theatre Company) Bill Cain weaves a fascinating, funny, and terrifying Jacobean world of intrigue and intellectual entrapment, which the cast makes even better. Through next Sunday. - W.R.

The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical (Montgomery Theater) If it's your thing, this holiday hillbilly special brings two hours of lowbrow fun. Through next Sunday. - J.R.

Lafferty's Wake (Society Hill Playhouse) Charlie Lafferty's (still) dead, and you're invited to join the memorializing, storytelling, and imbibing at his favorite pub. Through Dec. 20.

Menopause the Musical (Penn's Landing Playhouse) To classic tunes from the '60s and '70s, four women of a certain age bond over the one thing they share. Extended through January.

This Is the Week That Is (1812 Productions) Now marking its 10th anniversary, 1812's merry take on the highs and lows of current events is as fresh as ever. Through Dec. 31. - J.R.

The Three Musketeers (People's Light) In this year's holiday panto, Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and a chicken hunt for justice against the evil Lord Mazorotti. It's fun for all, but a little too long and a little too sweet. Through Jan. 10. - W.R.

Underneath the Lintel (Lantern Theater Company) A librarian dedicates his life to solving the mystery of an overdue book in this entrancing show. Ends Sunday. - T.Z.