Jeremy van Meter and Amanda Powell star
in Tallgrass Gothic and The Changeling
Jeremy van Meter and Amanda Powell star
in Tallgrass Gothic and The Changeling
The most ambitious project of a crowded March calendar may be the rotating rep mounted by the small Off-Loop Caffeine Theatre. Using the same lead actors but different directors, Caffeine opens Melanie Marnich's contemporary love tale, Tallgrass Gothic, on March 12 followed the next night by The Changeling, the sensational Jacobean tragedy by Middleton and Rowley. The plays are separated by 386 years, but the folks at Caffeine see shared themes in the two dark tales of dark love and lust (Raven Theatre, through April 12).

As always, world premiers will be a major part of the March schedule. Regina Taylor's Magnolia, set in the changing South of the 1960's, is at the Goodman Theatre (March 14-April 19). Everything Freezes: another winter's tale, only the second production by Sideshow Theatre Company, is authored by Jonathan L. Green and Walt McGough. With a nod to Shakespeare, the play more-or-less shows that things aren't all good after Queen Hermione is miraculously resurrected (Chicago Dramatists, through April 5). Other new works include: Broken Thread, a drama by Wysteria Edwards directed by Broadway veteran Nikkieli DeMose, presented by Urban Theatre Company (Encore Talent Agency, March 14-May 3); The Quiet Man Tales, adapted from the Irish stories of Maurice Walsh at the Chicago Studio Theatre (March 6-May 24); and a sex comedy by Chicago author Tony Fiorentino, All My Love, staged by his Diamante Productions at Theatre Building Chicago (March 19-May 10).

The regional premiere of A Perfect Wedding, by Charles L. Mee, tells the story of both marriage and marriage ceremonies gone awry until a gay twist sets things -- uh -- straight (Circle Theatre, March 13-May 3). A half-dozen years ago, I had the pleasure of seeing the world premiere of a fascinating and powerful Canadian play at the Alberta Theatre Projects in Calgary, The Shape of a Girl, by Joan MacLeod. Now, at long last, this one-woman show about an intense and violent -- yet sometimes funny -- 15-year-old girl is being done in Chicago at Pegasus Players (through April 12).

Aguijon Theatre, Chicago's only fully Spanish-language theater company, offers a Latino story inspired by Miller's Death of a Salesman. In Raul Dorantes' El lunes de Leon Rodriguez, the worn-out drummer sells pots and pans door-to-door but, just like Willy Loman, he always seems to come up short (March 6-April 19). Meanwhile, Teatro Luna, Chicago's luminous ensemble of Latina writers and performers, presents an updated version of its 2006 hit, now called S-E-X-Oh! The Remix, performed mostly in English, at the 16th Street Theatre in Berwyn (March 6-29).

A couple of companies examine the sticky, violent and seemingly-endless conflict between Israel and its neighbors. First, Robin Sears has compiled some real-life stories and recipes into The Arab-Israeli Cookbook, being produced by Theatre Mir (that's Russian for peace) at the City of Chicago's Storefront Theatre (March 5-April 5). Then, the Silk Road Theatre Project offers its first play by an Israeli author, Pangs of the Messiah, by Motti Lerner (March 19-May 10). The company's unique mission is to offer plays telling stories of the diasporas of cultures along the ancient Silk Road trade routes.

March seems to have given up musical theater for Lent, with tuners few and far between. Apple Tree Theatre offers the engrossing chamber musical version of Arthur Kopit's fascinating and sensitive portrait of a stroke patient, Wings, with local favorite Mary Ernster in the lead role (March 11-April 5). Then, Porchlight Music Theatre continues its multi-year love affair with Sondheim by staging Pacific Overtures -- one of his few shows Porchlight has NOT staged previously -- at Theatre Building Chicago (March 15-May 2).

Redtwist Theatre presents Albee's The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? (through March 29), while Open Eye Productions does Solid Gold Cadillac at the Athenaeum (March 5-April 5). Court Theatre offers Wait Until Dark (March 5-April 5), while Steppenwolf Theatre Company stages Yasmina Reza's Art (through June 7). Shaw's Arms and the Man is being presented by Oak Park Festival Theater at the Pleasant Home (March 7-29).

Trap Door Theatre presents a contemporary absurdist work commenting on war as commonplace, Horses at the Window, by Romanian author Matei Visniec, and directed by Romanian guest artists Radu Alexandra-Nica (March 19-April 25). Trap Door then will take the show on the road performing at three theater festivals in Romania over the summer, among them the famous International Sibiu Festival. The Museum of Contemporary Art offers a short-run (March 20-22 only) performance attraction, Mexico City's Theatro de Cierto Habitantes in Monsters and Prodigies: The History of the Castrati. Perhaps you should leave the kids at home for this one, or at least little boys.

Finally, the inimitable Chazz Palmenteri brings his autobiographical one-man show, A Bronx Tale, to the Ford Center/Oriental Theatre (March 10-22), under the auspices of Broadway In Chicago.