March theater picks
Mary Ann Thebus and Michael Patrick Thornton are some of this city’s best actors. Now they’re taking on two powerful roles in Sister Aloysius and Father Flynn—the conservative nun and the progressive young priest, respectively, in John Patrick Shanley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Doubt: A Parable. Watch these local titans go head to head at Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theatre.
Perhaps Remember the Alamo isn’t the most accurate title for Neo-Futurist Nick Hart’s immersive take on the famous battle. Reenact the Alamo in All Its Gory Detail might be a better fit. Directed by fellow Neo Kurt Chiang, this play mashes up American history, personal narratives and a hearty helping of metatheatrical silliness. It’s a very special recipe that only the Neo-Futurists could execute.
It’s a classic story: Boy meets girl. Boy meets talking plant. Plant promises to help boy get girl so long as boy feeds plant human blood. Boy and plant go on killing spree. Christopher Kale Jones stars as the lovestruck Seymour in the Mercury Theater’s new rendition of the cult-classic musical. Make alternative plans if you have a fear of dentists and/or murderous plants.
In 2011, playwright Lynn Nottage interviewed residents of the nation’s poorest town, Reading, Pennsylvania. Those discussions were the backbone for her Pulitzer Prize-winning play Sweat, which catalogs the broken dreams of working-class Americans. The Chicago premiere comes courtesy of veteran director Ron OJ Parson and a dynamite cast.
Based on the 2001 documentary of the same name, this folk and bluegrass musical chronicles the life of Robert Eads, a transgender man whose cancer diagnosis affords him one last trip to the Southern Comfort Transgender Conference in Atlanta. Written by the team behind Trevor: The Musical, this production from director JD Caudill features transgender actors in all applicable roles.
Despite its simple setup—two men (a father and son) together in a room—this play immediately starts screwing with your head. Call it the Caryl Churchill special. Director Robin Witt directs William Brown and Nate Burger in this dark, British sci-fi thriller. It’s the nature-nurture debate taken to a frightening conclusion.
A one-man show turned movie turned Broadway musical, A Bronx Tale is actor Chazz Palminteri’s autobiographical story of a young man in ’50s New York who’s caught between a glamorous gangster and his hardworking dad. The show features an original doo-wop score from Little Mermaid composer Alan Menken and, oh yeah, it’s directed by Robert freaking DeNiro.
Big-budget disaster movies like 1972’s The Poseidon Adventure are simultaneously ridiculous and divine. It’s that irreverent reverence for shlock that powers Poseidon! An Upside Down Musical, David Cerda and Scott Lamberty’s 2002 smash-hit parody. Returning for a third go-around, Poseidon! has become a bit of a classic itself.
Translated by Daniel Brunet, this disturbing, subversive satire from German playwright Wolfram Lotz splices together a Heart of Darkness-esque quest to find a madman in the jungle with a modern-day Somali pirate’s journey through the heart of the European justice system. Directed by Ian Damont Martin, The Ridiculous Darkness promises to be unlike anything else in town.