Four shows are opening on Broadway in March. Two of them are transfers from Off-Broadway that thrilled audiences in very different ways: “Be More Chill” and “What The Constitution Means To Me.” The other two bring to Broadway some beloved tunes — a revival of Cole Porter’s “Kiss Me Kate” and “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations”
But as savvy New York theatergoers know, Broadway ain’t the half of it: For every “Ain’t Too Proud” on Broadway, there’s an “Ain’t No Mo'” Off-Broadway. Among the shows opening Off-Broadway in March:
Daveed Diggs in “White Noise,” a new play by Suzan-Lori Parks (Top Dog/Underdog); Isabelle Huppert in The Mother, a new play by Florian Zeller (The Father); Alan Cumming in “Daddy,” a new play by Jeremy O. Harris (Slave Play.)
Below is a selective list of Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off Broadway and festival offerings in March, 2019, organized chronologically by opening date, with each title linked to a relevant website.
Color key of theaters: Broadway: Red. Off Broadway: Black, Blue, or Purple. Off Off Broadway: Green. Theater festival: Orange. Puppetry: Brown. Immersive: Magenta.
Ajijaak on Turtle Island (New Victory)
A “family-friendly First Nations spectacle.” Separated from her family in a Tar Sands fire, the crane Ajijaak makes her first migration from Canada to the Gulf Coast alone, discovering the strength of her song along the way.
Chained: A Victorian Nightmare: (FOST at Starrett-Leigh Building )
An immersive theater VR adaptation of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. Tickets sold only as an add-on to the FOST (Future of Storytelling) Story Arcade, which is described as a “pop-up, showcasing a… sampling of immersive, experiential, and multi-sensory exhibits.”
THE B-SIDE: Negro Folklore from Texas State Prisons (St. Ann’s Warehouse)
The Wooster Group brings the 1965 LP to life, channeling the voices of the men performing work songs, blues, spirituals, preaching and toasts on the record via an in-ear receiver, and providing context via the book Wake Up Dead Man: Hard Labor and Southern Blues.
Daddy (Vineyard at Signature)
In the second Off-Broadway play by Jeremy O. Harris (who gained some notoriety with his Slave Play in the fall), Alan Cumming plays Andre, an older white art collector who befriends Franklin, young black artist on the verge of his first show. Their bond creates a battle of wills with Franklin’s mother.
The Cake (MTC at City Center)
In what sounds like a recent Supreme Court case, Debra Jo Rupp portrays a baker in North Carolina who refuses to create a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The difference — one of the brides is the daughter of a dear friend, now deceased. The play is by Bekah Brunstetter (who writes for the TV series This Is Us.)
Fleabag (Soho Playhouse)
The play by Phoebe Waller-Bridge that inspired the BBC television series currently being shown on Amazon Prime.
Actually We’re F**ked (Cherry Lane)
In this play by Matt Williams, “four millennials gather every Thursday to order take-out, drink too much wine, and argue over how to unf**k the planet.”
Chick Flick The Musical (Westside Theater)
In this musical by Suzy Conn, four friends gather to unwind, watch a chick flick and play their favorite chick flick drinking game.
A “non-verbal puppet play based on true events.” An aging, isolated chimpanzee pieces together the fragments of her childhood in a human family
Be More Chill (Lyceum)
Broadway transfer of the teenage cult musical about high school student Jeremy Heere who sees himself as a loser but then swallows a pill containing a supercomputer and becomes cool — but at what cost?
If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka(Playwrights Horizons)
In the village of Affreakah-Amirrorkah, no one questions that Akim is the one true, perfect beauty — not even her jealous classmates. But they’ll be damned before they let her be the leading lady in this story. A decidedly contemporary riff on a West African fable by Tori Sampson
The Mother (Atlantic)
Isabelle Huppert stars in a play by Florian Zeller (The Father) as a woman suffering from clinical depression and grasping for stability after her grown children move on to build lives of their own.
In a small village in the south of Norway, a young man sets houses on fire, and a writer seizes them as literary material several decades later. From Plexus/Polaire, the Norwegian/French avant-garde theater company that in January presented Chambre Noir
Surely Goodness and Mercy (Keen Company at Theater Row)
In this play by Chisa Hutchinson (“She Like Girls,” “Dead & Breathing”), a Bible-toting boy with a photographic memory befriends the cantankerous old lunch lady in an underfunded public school in Newark.
In this play by Rehana Lew Mirza, passions ignite when Layla, an intense literature professor, accuses Imran, a brashly iconoclastic novelist, of trading in anti-Muslim stereotypes. But as their attraction grows into something more, they discover that good sex doesn’t always make good bedfellows.
Kiss Me Kate (Roundabout at Studio 54)
Kelli O’Hara and Will Chase star as warring ex-lovers forced to portray the warring couple of Shakespeare’s ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ in this third Broadway revival of Cole Porter’s 1948 musical. The winner of the first-ever Tony Award for Best Musical, the show features such familiar tunes as “Too Darn Hot,” “So In Love” and “Always True To You In My Fashion.”
In this play by Catya McMullen, three 30-year-old women who have been friends since high school set off on a road trip south–with homemade female urination devices, too much pie, ill-advised sexual escapades–to celebrate and mourn a figure from their past.
Rogues Gallery (Broken Ghost)
Unleash your inner villain in this fully immersive evening of world conquest and inevitable betrayal!
Culturemart Festival (HERE)
Nantucket Sleigh Ride (Lincoln Center’s Mitzi Newhouse)
Written by John Guare and directed by Jerry Zaks (the pair behind House of Blue Leaves and Six Degrees of Separation) this new play stars John Larroquette as a New York playwright turned stockbroker revisiting a wild event that happened 35 years ago on that island.
Juno and the Paycock (Irish Rep)
Part of the theater’s season of Sean O’Casey, the play is a devastating portrait of wasted potential in a Dublin torn apart by the chaos of the Irish Civil War. When a handsome visitor arrives with news of an inheritance, the Boyle family begins to plan their new life, but their apparent salvation soon reveals itself to be the cause of their ruin
White Noise (Public)
Daveed Diggs (Hamilton) returns Off-Broadway in a new play by Suzan-Lori Parks, directed by Public Theater artistic director Oskar Eustis. Long-time friends and lovers Leo, Misha, Ralph, and Dawn are educated, progressive, cosmopolitan, and woke. But when a racially motivated incident with the cops leaves Leo shaken, he decides extreme measures must be taken for self-preservation
St. Peter’s Foot (UP Theater)
Mike and Roma think they made the right decision in not having children. Then a baby is left on their doorstep
“Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations” stars Jeremy Pope (Choir Boy) as Eddie Kendricks, Ephraim Sykes as David Ruffin, etc. This new musical with a book by Dominique Morisseau helmed by the director of “Jersey Boys” follows The Temptations’ journey from the streets of Detroit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Southern Promises (Flea)
A revival of Thomas Bradshaw’s incendiary 2008 play: On his deathbed, a plantation owner vows to set his slaves free, but when his wife rejects the request chaos erupts on the plantation.
Accidentally Brave (DR2 Theater)
Actor and playwright Maddie Corman shares her true story of what happened after her husband was arrested on a shocking charge.
The Lehman Trilogy (Park Ave Armory)
Italian playwright Stefano Massini’s play, adapted by Ben Power and directed by Sam Mendes (The Ferryman!) stars acclaimed actors Simon Russell Beale, Adam Godley, and Ben Miles and the Lehman brothers and their sons and grandsons over nearly two centuries, climaxing with the end of the firm that bore their name in the crash of 2008.
Ain’t No Mo’ (Public)
In this satire by Jordan E. Cooper that began at the Fire This Time Festival, African-Americans leave en masse a country plagued with injustice.
Fifteen-year-old Heidi Schreck earned enough money for her college tuition by winning Constitutional debate competitions across the United States. Now, the Obie Award winner resurrects her teenage self in order to trace the profound relationship between four generations of women in her own family and the founding document that dictated their rights and citizenship.
My review of the play Off-Broadway