The two Broadway shows bowing in March couldn't be more different. First up is Ring of Fire (Ethel Barrymore, March 12), a musical revue celebrating the songs of country music legend Johnny Cash, with a 14-person cast led by Jarrod Emick and Lari White. Then comes Well (Longacre, March 30), Lisa Kron's provocative and funny exploration of chronic illness, featuring a dynamite performance by the author as herself and an even more astounding one by Jayne Houdyshell as her mother.
But there are even bigger stars off the Great White Way. BAM is presenting the Sydney Theatre Company's production of Ibsen's classic drama Hedda Gabler with film superstar Cate Blanchett in the title role. A far different kind of "classic," Joe Orton's sexually charged Entertaining Mr. Sloane opens at the Roundabout's Laura Pels Theatre on March 16 with Alec Baldwin and Jan Maxwell as siblings who are both enamored of the title character, played by handsome Chris Carmack. Another show with sex on its mind is David Grimm's Measure for Pleasure (Public Theater, March 8), featuring the always superb Michael Stuhlbarg as a man who has to compete with a handsome womanizer for the affections of a transvestite prostitute, played by the always fabulous Euan Morton.
There's drama, drama everywhere -- and some laughs too. Fabrice Rozian's Transatlantic Liaison focuses on the volatile love affair between writers Simone DeBeauvoir and Nelson Algren (March 1, Harold Clurman); Randall David Cook's Sake with the Haiku Geisha focuses on three foreign teachers in Japan (March 3, Perry Street); Horton Foote's 1954 play The Traveling Lady gets a rare revival at E.S.T. (March 3), and the Pearl Theatre Company serves up a revival of Measure for Measure (March 5).
Moving on through this jam-packed month Sherry Glaser's solo show Family Secrets makes a long-overdue return (March 8, 37 Arts); Anne Nelson explores the consequences of war in Savages (March 8, Lion), Patricia Kalember heads the dysfunctional drama Shortly After Takeoff (March 11, Altered Stages); Rob Campbell and Ana Reeder play a couple dealing with the AIDS crisis in Living Room in Africa (March 22); and Adrienne Barbeau takes on one of the world's most legendary performers in The Property Known as Garland (Actor's Playhouse, March 23).
As the month ends, Larry Keith, Michael Mulheren, and Ron Orbach head the cast of Mark St. Germain's The God Committee, a new play about medical ethics (March 29); Amy Irving arrives in the solo show A Safe Harbor for Elizabeth Bishop (Primary Stages, March 30), about the famed American poetess; and City Center Encores! serves up a revival of Kander and Ebb's 70, Girls, 70 (March 30).
On the musical front, Michael John LaChiusa turns to the work of Federico Garcia Lorca for Bernarda Alba (Mitzi Newhouse, March 6), starring Phylicia Rashad as the mother who terrorizes her five daughters. Wallace Shawn and his brother Allen have collaborated on the play/opera The Music Teacher (Minetta Lane, March 6), while rising songwriters Scott Frankel and Michael Korie have teamed up with Pulitzer-winning playwright Doug Wright on Grey Gardens (Playwrights Horizons, March 7), based on the famed documentary about the reclusive Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter Edie. Christine Ebersole, Mary Louise Wilson, John McMartin, Sara Gettelfinger, and Matt Cavenaugh head the extraordinary cast.
Finally, Paul Sorvino, Lisa Vroman, and Leah Hocking headline the New York City Opera's revival of Frank Loesser's beloved The Most Happy Fella (March 7); Jon Peterson takes on the role of one of the world's great showmen in George M. Cohan Tonight! (Irish Rep, March 9); Sidd, a musical inspired by Herman Hesse's classic novel Siddhartha, features Manu Narayan in the title role (Dodger Stages, March 15); and a new production of the beloved revue Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, starring Robert Cuccioli, Gay Marshall, Rodney Hicks, and Natascia Diaz opens at the Zipper Theater on March 27.