6 Shows You Should See in March
It's March, when the city begins to thaw and the stage heats up. These are six sizzling shows playing this month that you should see before everyone else.
1. Be More Chill (currently in previews)
This rollicking sci-fi musical is about a high school dweeb who invites a Japanese supercomputer into his brain in order to learn how to "be more chill." Thanks to the wildly popular cast recording of the 2015 production at New Jersey's Two River Theater, the show was already a cult sensation before playing a sold-out run off-Broadway this past summer. Now it's on Broadway as what may very well be the first mega-musical spawned by Internet fandom. Young audiences are sure to love it, but it's hard at any age to resist Joe Iconis and Joe Tracz's infectious pop-rock score, or Chase Brock's aerobic choreography. This is the perfect show for those who love high-energy production numbers.
2. The Cake (opened March 5)
The frontline of the battle for gay rights is layered in fondant — or so the news networks would have us believe. This ripped-from-the-headlines play by Bekah Brunstetter (This Is Us) tells the story of a talented pastry chef who is pleased as pie to bake a cake for the daughter of her late best friend, until she learns that she'll have to place two little plastic brides on top. Debra Jo Rupp of That '70s Show stars as the flour-flinging protagonist, a woman forced to weigh her commitment to a beloved friend against her devotion to God — or, at least, her idea of what that devotion entails.
3. "Daddy" (opened March 5)
Alan Cumming stars in this world-premiere play about a talented young black artist and his relationship with an older white collector. Throw in the artist's disapproving religious mother, and you've got the ingredients for an explosive drama. It comes from the mind of playwright Jeremy O. Harris, who had the whole city buzzing last month with his controversial Slave Play. If "Daddy" is anything like that thrilling debut, it promises to be an uncomfortably honest look at relationships and the forces that govern them. Oh, and it's already selling out, so don't wait to book.
4. White Noise (currently in previews)
This world premiere by Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks (Topdog/Underdog) stars Daveed Diggs (Hamilton) as Leo, a black man with a tight circle of multiracial friends. Progressive and cosmopolitan, they are left in an awkward position when Leo is involved in a racially charged incident with the cops and he decides to take radical action to protect himself. What is that radical action? You'll have to see for yourself. Parks is the author of F**king A and In the Blood, both of which received excellent revivals in 2017. You won't want to miss the latest from one of America's most accomplished playwrights.
5. What the Constitution Means to Me (previews begin March 14)
When Heidi Schreck was young, she traveled the country giving speeches about the Constitution to American Legion halls as part of an elaborate plan to finance her college education through scholarships. It worked, but now that she looks back as an adult woman, she wonders about the source of her enthusiasm for our republic's founding document. Are we falling short of the Constitution's promises, or were they the wrong promises all along? Not your typical play, but 10 times more thrilling than a TED Talk, this dramatic discourse is a shot in the arm of American democracy. It should be required viewing for all citizens.
6. The Lehman Trilogy (previews begin March 22)
Just a short walk from the site where the investment bank Lehman Brothers spectacularly imploded in 2008 (almost taking the global economy with it), this grand history play at Park Avenue Armory traces Lehman from its humble origins to its dramatic bankerdämmerung. Simon Russell Beale, Ben Miles, and Adam Godley play brothers Henry, Emanuel, and Mayer Lehman, who emigrated from Bavaria to Alabama right before the Civil War (just in time to capitalize on major fluctuations in the cotton market). Playwright Stefano Massini explores the tension between this immigrant success story and the consequences of unbridled finance in an epic theatrical event staged by director Sam Mendes (The Ferryman).