The M Ensemble Company presents "Mahalia: A Gospel Musical" about the life of gospel legend Mahalia Jackson, focusing on Ms. Jackson's roots as the grandchild of slaves born in New Orleans and her rise to fame. 8 p.m. Thursday-Sunday and Sunday matinees at 3 p.m. Ends Feb. 21. The M Ensemble's actors studio, 12320 W Dixie Highway, North Miami. $20-$30. Details: (305) 899-2217 or www.themensemble.com.
CATHARSIS OUT WEST
FIU Theatre presents playwright Sam Shepard's gripping drama "A Lie of the Mind," which tells of two families connected by marriage and torn apart by violence in the dangerous American West. A study of family dysfunction and the nature of love, the play opens with husband Jake's beating and the hospitalization of his wife Beth, moving on to his search for meaning in life after his wife suffers brain damage. 8 p.m. Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Performing Arts Center, 10910 SW 17th St., Florida International University's Modesto A. Maidique Campus, Sweetwater. Additional performances 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Ends Feb. 14. Details: (305) 348-0496 or firstname.lastname@example.org or www.gofiu.at/tickets.fiu.edu.
A LITTLE LESS CLASS
Described as "South Park" meets "Desperate Housewives," "The Great American Trailer Park Musical" follows the residents of Armadillo Acres, a Florida mobile-home community. The R-rated plot promises murderous ex-boyfriends, a chorus of trailer park residents and a stripper on the run who comes between a Dr. Phil-loving housewife and her toll collector husband. Performances Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Sundays, 2 p.m. Ends Feb. 7. Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables. Details: (305) 444-9293 or www.actorsplayhouse.org.
"The Hour of the Tiger," by South Florida playwright and historian Sandra Riley, follows two women from different worlds who fight against tradition in search of fulfillment and freedom. This performance series marks the play's world premier and was produced with the aid of a Japanese consultant. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. 1 p.m. Sunday. Ends Feb. 14. New Theatre, 4120 Laguna St., Coral Gables. $20-$40. Details: (305) 443-5909 or www.new-theatre.org.
Watch the jealousy, intrigue and insecurity unfold in this short written and performed by students at the Academy of Arts & Minds in Coconut Grove, which focuses on the trials and tribulations relationships can bring. 8:30 p.m. Additional performances on Feb. 6, 12 and 13. Academy of Arts & Minds, 3138 Commodore Plaza, Abanico Theater, Coconut Grove. $10. Details: (305) 448-1100 or www.coconutgrovechamber.com.
A story of lessons learned, Michael McKeever's "Melt" follows the interactions of African American siblings, a Jewish father and his son and a Hispanic mother and her child, each of whom learns to see social and moral issues from another's perspective. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday. 2 p.m. Sunday. Ends Feb. 28. Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables. $15-$30. Details: www.facebook.com/pages/MELT-One-CommunityOne-Play/211927847720?ref=mf.