There's always a lot of theater around in the Boston area, most of it performed by energetic non-professional groups. Now there's nothing wrong with that, God knows, but every now and then we get a hankering for real theater--the stuff the pros put on, and the nearest you can usually get to that around here is (retch) dinner theater.

But, hold on a second, Boston is not as theatrically limp as it might seem, for this week brings us a whole bunch of actual, guaranteed-not-to-tarnish Broadway plays. Except for one thing. They're all about ten years old, or, at any rate, we saw them in New York before we even knew what SAT's were.

Okay, so the offerings aren't new. You can go see Richard Kiley dragging poor Don Quixote out of the closet one more time in Man of La Mancha, which will be at the Music Hall. He was great in 1966, and the play really is a winner--if you've never seen it before. But remember, you'll have to fork out $6.50 just to get in, and the good seats go for an unbelievable $22.50. And Kiley doesn't do the Saturday matinee.

In a similar retread vein is the road production of The Wiz, now at the Schubert Theater (where it will boogie until September 3). Again, this was one hell of a show four or five years ago. And you'll still have to pay grotesque prices to see this admittedly enjoyable production of The Wizard of Oz gone funky. Is it worth a $9 minimum? We think not. And if Boston's theatrical renaissance keeps going at the present rate, we'll be seeing Tobacco Road, Abie's Irish Rose, and Life With Father real soon. Can't wait.

Other than that, just about everything that we listed last week (you remember last week, don't you?) is still playing. If you crave real theater, go to something other than the faded relics of Broadway.