Bradley Cooper has professed that seeing David Lynch’s The Elephant Man (1980) as a kid is what led him to want to become an actor. So it’s no wonder that now, in the middle of a well-rounded career that runs the gamut from comedy to drama, he’s taking on the tragic role himself. The man in question was Joseph Merrick of England (1862–1890), who suffered severe deformities the likes of which modern medicine had never approached before his case. In this particular revival of Bernard Pomerance’s 1977 play, Cooper, like Billy Crudup and David Bowie before him, will assume the title role without the aid of prosthetics or makeup. The Elephant Man, which co-stars Alessandro Nivola and Patricia Clarkson, opens today.

Sundays, 3 p.m.; Tuesdays, Thursdays, 7 p.m.; Wednesdays, Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m.; Fridays, 8 p.m. Starts: Dec. 7. Continues through Jan. 3, 2014