Springtime heralds renewal, and it won't get much newer than the plays at Sarasota's Asolo Repertory Theatre this month. Unplugged: Theatre in the Raw (March 14-April 3) provides a proving ground for fledgling works from five hungry playwrights including a full production of Love & Irony, the latest from Craig Lucas. Tradition also holds sway in Sarasota this month, with the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall playing host to Shirley Jones and the Hollywood Concert Orchestra in A Night at the Oscars (March 12), a tribute to movie musical show-stoppers .
Coming off an extended run in New Orleans, John Biguenet's Shotgun brings the racial tension of a Katrina-displaced family to the Orlando Shakespeare Theater (March 17-April 11). Meanwhile, Mad Cow Theatre brings us Superior Donuts (March 19-April 18), an atypically warm comedy from Bug and August: Osage County playwright Tracy Letts. Orlando is also the launching pad for the Florida run of the spicy Latin musical In the Heights, coming to the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center (March 9-March 14) before heading south to Fort Lauderdale's Broward Center for the Performing Arts (March 16-March 28) and the Philharmonic Center for the Arts in Naples (March 29-April 3).
Elsewhere in Naples, Gulfshore Playhouse brings down the hausfrau with Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House (March 26-April 11), while another loving couple get the comedic treatment with Florida Repertory Theatre's production of Alan Ayckbourn's British farce Relatively Speaking (March 12-28) in Fort Myers. And at the nearby Theatre Conspiracy, get a library full of laughs when All the Great Books (Abridged) (March 12-March 27) lightens up the heavy pages of Homer, Hemingway, and more.
More smiles can be found in Miami as Chicago's famed Second City troupe targets the Adrienne Arsht Center for Second City: Loco in El Show Mas Funny (March 11-28) with Spanglish sketches sure to please all sides of the cultural divide. The infectious ABBA musical Mamma Mia! also stops by the Arsht Center (March 30-April 4), while the Actor's Playhouse presents the musical Miss Saigon at the Miracle Theatre (March 3-April 4). Meanwhile, the New Theatre in Coral Gables stages Peter Schaffer's still-daring psychodrama Equus (March 5-April 4).
Making our way up the coast, we find Harold Pinter's tense and surreal hitman comedy The Dumb Waiter at the Mailman Hollywood Theatre in Davie (March 5-21). West Palm hosts the still-crooning Broadway musical Jersey Boys at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts (March 10-March 28). The Lake Worth Playhouse sets the stage for murder with Agatha Christie's classic The Mousetrap (March 5-21), while Delray Beach Playhouse unleashes The Prisoner of Second Avenue (March 26-April 11), Neil Simon's comedy of sad-sack redemption. And in Melbourne, be sure to catch the loud and limber dancers of Stomp at the King Center for the Performing Arts (March 12-14).