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17 Chicago theater shows to see in March

Two reimagined takes on the land of Oz, genderqueer narratives in ‘Hedwig’ and ‘Picnic,’ plus new plays, musicals and more

Photograph: Debora Robinson
Destiny of Desire at South Coast Repertory

Among this month’s most intriguing offerings on Chicago stages are several that, intentionally or not, in this moment could easily be filed under R for resistance. Consider, obviously, Trap Door Theatre’s well-timed revival of Bertolt Brecht’s Chicago-set fascist allegory The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui. The modern genderqueer classic Hedwig and the Angry Inch, though it’s touring based on the 2014 Broadway revival, hits Chicago at an auspicious-feeling moment, and overlaps with American Theater Company’s revivial of William Inge’s Picnic, with gender– and race-conscious casting to make us rethink the 1950s melodrama.

The conspiracy-minded could even read the doubled takes on L. Frank Baum’s man-behind-the-curtain tale suspiciously, but we’re confident that Kokandy Productions’ revival of the ’70s-flavored The Wiz and the House Theatre of Chicago’s remount of its 2005 The Great and Terrible Wizard of Oz would be worth getting excited about regardless of current events. And because Chicago theater offers too many riches to fit into any single narrative, there are highly anticipated Chicago premieres by writers like Tom Stoppard, Theresa Rebeck, Anne Washburn and Karen Zacarías to boot. Missing out on these shows would be real March madness.

March theater picks

Spamilton

Recommended

This parody of the musical Hamilton, from Forbidden Broadway mastermind Gerard Allesandrini, follows its source material from New York to Chicago. The satire replaces central character Alexander Hamilton with creator Lin-Manuel Miranda himself, as he grapples with ubiquitous fame and Disney dollars.

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Royal George Theatre , Lincoln Park Until Sunday September 3 2017

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