Brendan McNab in The Adding Machine
(© Mark L. Saperstein)
Brendan McNab in The Adding Machine
(© Mark L. Saperstein)
Boston is playing catch-up-with-Manhattan this month -- the Huntington Theatre Company with Gina Gionfriddo's biting comedy Becky Shaw (March 5 - April 4), which artistic director Peter DuBois successfully helmed Off-Broadway last season, and SpeakEasy Stage with the offbeat musical Adding Machine at the Calderwood Pavilion within the Boston Center for the Arts (March 12 - April 10). The former features actors imported from New York (Maureen Anderman, Seth Fisher, Keira Naughton); the latter, local favorites like Leigh Barrett and Amelia Broome.

Elsewhere within the BCA warren, the Publick Theatre revival of Joe Orton's Entertaining Mr. Sloane (March 11 - April 3) marks the triumphant return of Sandra Shipley, who left Boston for Broadway some time back. Queer Soup Theater assays We All Will be Received, a multimedia performance piece about gender identity which entails a road trip to Graceland and Dollywood (March 11-27). Company One and Phoenix Theatre Artists collaborate on Vern Thiessen's Apple, about an unemployed man at loose ends, torn between his sick wife and an alluring young woman (March 12 - April 3).

The intentionally peripatetic Actors Shakespeare Project returns to the atmospheric Villa Victoria Center for the Arts in the South End for Othello, featuring Jason Bowen and Brooke Hardman as the title character and his wife and real-life marrieds Ken Cheeseman and Paula Langton as Iago and Emilia (March 10 - April 11). Boston Lyric Opera welcomes the North American premiere of the Welsh National Opera production of Ariadne auf Naxos to the Shubert Theatre (March 12-23). Erik Nelsen conducts, and Marjorie Owens sings the title role opposite Brandon Jovanovich.

Lyric Stage opts for intimate, with the estimable Jacqui Parker playing Billie Holiday in the solo musical Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill (March 26 - April 24). The tiny Factory Theatre harbors two fringe shows: Holland Productions mounts Sarah Ruhl's Melancholy Play (March 12-20), and the Boston Actors Theater presents The Altruists, a satire by Nicky Silver (March 16 - April 4). Charles Darwin (played by Wesley Savick) serves as narrator for award-winning local author Melinda Lopez's latest, From Orchids to Octopi, presented by the Underground Railway Theater in concert with the Catalyst Collaborative@MIT at the Central Square Theatre (March 31 - May 2).

Young theatergoers have a choice of Seussical Jr., performed by Boston Children's Theatre at the Grand Lodge of Masons (March 13-21), and the New England premiere of The Dinosaur Musical at the suburban Stoneham Theatre (March 5-21). Stoneham is also reviving Israel Horovitz's adaptation of Edoardo Erba's Marathon (March 11-21), to pave the way for a fund-raising team that plans to run the Boston Marathon in April.

What would March in Boston be without a touch of the Irish? Broadway's Sarah Pfisterer and Liam Harney (star of London's Riverdance) lead a mostly local cast of eighty in the Reagle Player's twelfth annual edition of A Little Bit of Ireland in Waltham (March 12-14). Lowell's Merrimack Repertory Theatre is incubating its seventh Richard Dresser premiere, The Last Days of Mickey and Jean (March 18 - April 11), a comedy about an aging mobster -- played by Queer as Folk's Jack Wetherall -- on the lam with his homesick moll (Rae C. Wright). In Watertown, New Rep offers the regional premiere of Michael Hollinger's Opus, an insider's view -- Hollinger trained as a violinist -- of the volatile inner workings of a top-tier string quartet (March 28 - April 18).

Cape Cod, usually somnolent this time of year, has two shows brewing. The brand-new Feel the Bend by Priscilla Sale at the Provincetown Theatre (March 4-14) concerns a bi triangle; The Last 5 Years, produced by Provincetown's Counter Productions at the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre, is Jason Robert Brown's musical two-hander about the dissolution of a marriage (March 12-28).

101 Dalmatians The Musical romps into the Providence Performing Arts Center (March 16-21), with the strong-voiced Sarah Gettelfinger as Cruella, and complete with canine troupers. The Gamm Theater in Pawtucket tackles the Williams classic The Glass Menagerie (March 4 - April 4), with company stalwart Wendy Overly playing the not-so-indomitable Amanda Wingfield.