Triad Stage just kicked off its production of locally written VROOOM- MM!, a comedy about NASCAR, male egos and women fighting in a man’s world. Production runs this week through Feb. 7 at Hanesbrands Theatre.

Friday, Theatre Alliance is producing another of its By-The-Book series with a free staged reading of a collection of dark one-act plays written by Neil LaBrute. Bash, which reveals surprising plot twists and characters’ secrets, is a dark, but brilliant portrayal of human nature and everyday evil.

Friday through next Tuesday UNC School of the Arts is hosting A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute’s The Italian Straw Hat, a comedic opera, at the Stevens Center. Stage Director Steven LaCosse calls the French farces a classic comedy. “It’s an amusing story, and a ridiculous situation to begin with,” LaCosse said. “They get into one crazy predicament after another.”

LaCosse also said that though the comedy is an opera—something some might be intimidated by—it’s worth checking out and is a great way to get introduced to the genre. “It’s a perfect introduction for those who have never been to an opera,” he said. “Don’t be intimidated because it is sung in Italian. You have the words provided, and the tunes are lovely. You already know (Nino Rota’s) music from his score for The Godfather. It’s theatre, basically, with music and dance.”

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and there are a few productions worthy of date night.

Twin City Stage is presenting Proposals, a Neil Simon comedy that takes place on a warm summer day in 1953 and features a house full of romantic entanglements. The relationship comedy is suggested for teens and adults and contains some mild language. Productions run Friday through Sunday and Feb. 11-14 at the Arts Council Theatre.

Theatre Alliance will be presenting I DO! I DO! in honor of the holiday. The musical, which runs next Wednesday through Feb. 14, follows a couple from their wedding day vows to their mid-life crises and a full 50 years of marriage. !