Features NYCNYC Features Published 26 February 2018

Exeunt NYC Recommends: March

Exeunt NYC’s critics make their picks of March shows you should not miss.

Exeunt Staff

In like a lion, out like a lamb, we’ve got ferocious and gentle shows in the month of March to recommend.

Off-Broadway Plays and Musicals 

Erin Treadway in Spaceman (Photo: Clinton Brandhagen)

Erin Treadway in Spaceman at The Wild Project (Photo: Clinton Brandhagen)

Spaceman (Loading Dock Theatre/Wild Project)(February 22-March 13). A play about space travel and the effects of solitude, Leegrid Stevens’s Spaceman looks interesting in both theatrical artistry–trying to portray microgravity and the confinement of a solo space capsule inside a black-box theater–and storytelling ingenuity–imagining one woman’s solo journey to Mars in both its physical and its psychological detail. It seems really simple, but also exciting to do well. (Loren Noveck)

Folk Wandering (Pipeline Theatre/ART New York Theatres)(February 23-March 25):  It feels rare that musicals center primarily on women’s voices. Even among those that do they are frequently penned by men.  This new musical is about three women in different eras spanning 1911-1955 and happily boasts a book by playwright Jaclyn Backhaus. Backhaus and director Andrew Neisler co-conceived the piece with music from nine different singer-songwriters (including downtown artists such as Jo Lampert and Annie Tippe). I’m curious to see this ambitious independent production focused on stories about women across the twentieth century. (Nicole Serratore)

Bobbie Clearly (Roundabout Theatre Underground)(March 8-May 6): Playwright Alex Lubischer has called his breakout play Bobbie Clearly “a comedy about a tragedy.” How else would you describe a work that depicts the aftermath of a teenager’s murder – and the murderer’s subsequent reintegration into society – with equal parts levity and grace? Lubischer’s individualistic portrait of the small town where the tragedy occurred calls to mind Our Town and Spoon River Anthology, with a decidedly modern twist. (Cameron Kelsall)

Dido of Idaho (Ensemble Studio Theatre)(March 14-April 8): Playwright Abby Rosebrock has a charming, comedic voice that won me over a couple of years ago when she wrote (and starred in) a funny, sad-sweet play about a real-life Midwestern organization called Singles in Agriculture. Her new play at EST promises the return of her biting wit with a story of a woman in a bad relationship and the unexpected advice she seeks from her evangelical mother.  (Nicole Serratore)

¡Oye!For My Dear Brooklyn (Abrons Arts Center)(March 15-March 31) Modesto Flako Jimenez has built an impressive career as a theater maker and a community builder.  He’s active in the Brooklyn arts scene telling his elegiac and collaged stories with heart and charisma. His ethos of bringing people together, working with passion, and doing it all with a Brooklyn swagger is intriguing to many young and old artists alike. (Aron Canter)

The Wholehearted at Abrons Arts Center

The Wholehearted at Abrons Arts Center (Photo: Craig Schwartz CTG Presentation)

The Wholehearted (Abrons Art Center)(March 15-April 1): Stein/Holum Projects’ story of a female prize fighter’s bigger fight with domestic abuse lands in the ring of the #MeToo conversation, fresh from a noted run in L.A. The production is the creation of Deborah Stein and Suli Holum (whose Chimera, in Under the Radar 2012, was a Drama Desk Award nominee). The story and staging swing hard at gender stereotypes and female victimhood, but expect no rope-a-dope in Holum’s performance as Dee or the rockabilly score from James Sugg and Heather Christian (Animal Wisdom at Bushwick Starr). (Molly Grogan)

Pygmalion (Bedlam/Sheen Center)(March 16-April 22): The poster art for Bedlam’s new production of Pygmalion features a woman with a black eye and a man with a busted lip. This choice tacitly implies a desire to explore the various levels of violence – emotional, sexual, psychological – at the heart of Shaw’s eternally popular twisted romance. (I can pretty much guarantee you won’t get that at My Fair Lady, which begins its Lincoln Center run on Broadway one day earlier). Director Eric Tucker has made reinventing classics his specialty, and you can bet that whatever he’s cooking up will be worth your time. (Cameron Kelsall)

Miss You Like Hell (The Public Theater)(March 20-May 6). This new musical by Pulitzer Prize winner Quiara Alegría Hudes and Erin McKeown couldn’t be more timely, tackling issues of undocumented immigration and the state of America. Timely political theater can be risky, but in the hands of the always bracingly honest Hudes, eclectic and untraditional composer McKeown, director Lear deBessonet, and star Daphne Rubin-Vega, I have hopes that this will soar rather than sink. (Loren Noveck)

Symphonie Fantastique (HERE)(March 29-May 31): Symphonie Fantastique kicked off master puppeteer Basil Twist’s career, and HERE’s excellent puppetry program, in 1998. It’s one of those shows that’s virtually impossible to describe in a way that makes it sound anywhere near as magical as it is–it’s underwater, nonrepresentational puppetry set to classical music, after all. But there is genuinely nothing else like it; it’s visually stunning and strangely emotionally effective. It may not convert diehard puppet-haters, but if you have any interest in puppet theater, dance, or even modern art, it’s a milestone. (Loren Noveck)

International Touring Productions

Billie Piper in Simon Stone Yerma (Photo: Johan Persson)

Billie Piper in Simon Stone’s Yerma (Photo: Johan Persson)

Yerma (Park Avenue Armony)(March 23-April 21): We could all use a little more Federico García Lorca in our lives. The brilliant Spanish playwright’s works are seen far too rarely in major U.S. productions, so serious theater lovers should jump at the chance to catch Australian director Simon Stone’s highly acclaimed staging on our shores. In her American stage debut, Billie Piper reprises her Olivier-winning performance of the title role. (Cameron Kelsall)

War and Peace (NYU Skirball)(March 29-31): If a recent musical derived from part of Tolstoy’s novel left you wishing for a little less romance and a little more scope and perspective – or a lot more war – Gob Squad is sure to take a more issues-based approach to conflict in the Napoleonic age – and ours, too.  But don’t count on these British Berliners for answers; as always, audience participation and a healthy dose of skepticism to counter the bromides of received wisdom will be essential to deconstructing this enormous text and whatever messages we can take away from it today (spoiler: Tolstoy had no unifying answers for his own contemporaries). (Molly Grogan)

Exeunt Staff is a contributor to Exeunt Magazine


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