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Studio Theatre creates a feeling of intimacy with its small-scale, realist plays and teeny stages. The audience’s proximity to the actors builds a sense of involvement in even the most uncomfortable moments. For Choir Boy, that means you’re front row for playwright and MacArthur “genius” grantee Tarell Alvin McCraney’s (pictured) tale set at a prestigious black prep school that’s fallen on tough times. The protagonist is a young man in line to be the next leader of the award-winning gospel choir, who must decide whether to go along to get along or advocate for his own beliefs about equality. As the play’s title implies, gospel music features prominently in the show. Director Kent Gash makes his Studio directing debut and comes based on a recommendation from McCraney himself, whose previous works have been produced at Studio to critical acclaim. If their response to McCraney’s other plays is any indication, audiences will find themselves thoroughly immersed in his nuanced personal stories. The play runs Jan. 7 to Feb. 22 at Studio Theatre, 1501 14th St. NW. $20–$88. (202) 332-3300. studiotheatre.org.