Theater Critic Picks

These are the 13 can't-miss shows in Dallas-Fort Worth theater for March

These are the 13 can't-miss shows in DFW theater for March

Theatre Three presents Passing Strange
Passing Strange plays Theatre Three March 2-26. Photo by Jeffrey Schmidt
The Basement presents This is Our Youth
The Basement is a new company founded by performers under the age of 20. Photo by Chuck Marcelo
Stage West Theatre presents Deer
Stage West presents Deer March 11-April 9. Photo by Evan Michael Woods
Ochre House Theater presents Dr. Bobaganush
Matthew Posey is back onstage in Dr. Bobaganush after suffering a brutal assault. Photo by Robert Hart
Casa Mañana presents West Side Story
Casa Manana's West Side Story is using Jerome Robbins' original choreography. Photo by Chip Tompkins
Theatre Three presents Passing Strange
The Basement presents This is Our Youth
Stage West Theatre presents Deer
Ochre House Theater presents Dr. Bobaganush
Casa Mañana presents West Side Story

It's a baker's dozen of culture this month, with March focused on introducing the new and welcoming back the beloved. From brand-new companies to world-premiere plays to the return of everyone's favorite theatrical drinking game, there's so much on the boards that we couldn't even include it all here. Keep an eye on our calendar to make sure you don't miss a thing.

Here are the 13 shows to see, in order by start date:

Passing Strange
Theatre Three, March 2-26
It's out of the box for T3, but in a very good way. This hard-to-pin-down musical by singer-songwriter Stew and Heidi Rodewald follows a protagonist called the Youth who drifts through experiences while trying out several different styles of music, all the while searching for "the real." He's shaped by being black, American, and middle class, but rebels against society and his mother. Acclaimed director Vickie Washington describes it as "a rock and roll concert + coming of age story + travelogue."

The Tempest
Public Works Dallas/Dallas Theater Center, March 3-5
Dallas Theater Center holds the honor of being the first outside of New York City to put the Public Works initiative into practice, and it all culminates with this 90-minute musical version of Shakespeare's shipwreck play performed by a cast of about 200 — only five of whom are professional actors. The Wyly Theatre will also be populated by local arts groups, civic leaders (hey, Mayor Mike Rawlings!), and performers such as singer-rapper Sam Lao. Even better: Tickets are free.

West Side Story
Casa Mañana, March 4-12
There's no one in DFW who's more qualified to re-create Jerome Robbins' iconic fight-dance choreography than Jeremy Dumont, who learned it from a Robbins disciple and then spent years globe-trotting with various touring productions. So when you're watching the Jets and Sharks fight their turf war through jetés and chaînés, know that it's about as close to experiencing the original as you can get onstage in 2017.

Yemaya's Belly
Cara Mía Theatre Co., March 4-19
The Pulitzer Prize-winning Quiara Alegría Hudes is addressing immigration with whimsy and brutal honesty — something that Cara Mía regularly relies upon to get its own points across. The play, which is led by the company's original artistic director Marisela Barrera, follows a boy through his epic journey from a Latin American island to the U.S., the land of materialism.

Dr. Bobaganush
Ochre House Theater, March 8-25
If you're thinking, "Wait, didn't this show already run in January?," you're sort of right. Ochre House opened the new work right before writer, director, and star Matthew Posey was assaulted in Deep Ellum, forcing the company to cancel all remaining performances. But being the amazing trooper that he is, Posey has come back from being shot twice in the face to reopen the show. He joins eight other actors in a biting musical satire about fascism, supported by seven of the area's best musicians. It sounds weird and engaging and wonderfully Ochre House.

Deer
Stage West, March 11-April 9
Aaron Mark's dark comedy is getting its world premiere under the direction of Garret Storms, which sounds like a recipe for something great. Described as "a little bit Coen brothers," the story follows a long-married couple who are on their way to a relaxing retreat when they accidentally hit a deer with their car. What they do next reveals things they never saw coming.

Waiting for Lefty
Upstart Productions, March 17-April 1
Though they disappeared for a while, this exciting group is back with Clifford Odets' 1935 play about unions and labor strikes. Performing in ASH Studios and directed by David Meglino, the production is comprised of seven vignettes that happen within the framework of taxi drivers deciding whether or not they should strike.

White Rabbit Red Rabbit
Amphibian Productions, March 22-26
There's a note that theaters are required to include about Nassim Soleimanpour's mysterious play, stating that it is not explicitly political. And other than the fact that a different actor performs the Iranian playwright's work each night of its run, without having seen the script beforehand, that's about all that can be said about the "theater entertainment meets social experiment," which has been performed over 1,000 times and translated into 20 languages since its 2011 premiere.

Master Class
Brick Road Theatre, March 23-26
It's bold to program a show about a famous opera diva in only your second full season of operation, but the relatively young Brick Road has never shied away from a challenge. It also snagged Diana Sheehan to portray the infamous soprano Maria Callas and former WaterTower Theatre artistic director Terry Martin to helm the production. 

This Is Our Youth
The Basement, March 23-25
They grow up so fast. A handful of young actors whom you might recognize from their work at Fun House Theatre and Film have branched out and formed their own company — and they're all under 20 years old. Even better is that 16-year-old Kennedy Waterman is directing the first show, an early work from (now Academy Award-winning) writer Kenneth Lonergan that will be staged without a realistic set and for no more than 30-person audiences at a time in the Stone Cottage Theatre at Addison Conference and Theatre Center.

It Shoulda Been You
Uptown Players, March 24-April 9
Though it didn't win any major awards during its run on Broadway in 2015, this musical about a wedding where literally nothing goes according to plan did endear itself to audiences. It also has a high drama quotient and characters making emotionally deep decisions, which are two things Uptown Players handles very, very well.

Parade
WaterTower Theatre, March 25

WTT first staged this haunting musical a decade ago and is now bringing it back as a one-night-only benefit concert. Composed by Jason Robert Brown and written by Alfred Uhry, it's based on the real murder of a young girl and the accusations against and trial of her Jewish employer that caused a 1900s Georgia town to deliver vigilante justice. Director Kelsey Leigh Ervi and music director Scott A. Eckert lead a starry cast.

The Merry Wives of Windsor
Shakespeare in the Bar, March 27 and April 3
Raise a glass, because reports of the death of Shakespeare in the Bar have been greatly exaggerated. The under-rehearsed and over-imbibed troupe has re-formed for two performances of Shakespeare's comedy, which seems an excellent choice considering the lead character is the often-soused Falstaff. The first show is at the Ginger Man's Dallas location and the second is the familiar stomping grounds of the Wild Detectives' backyard in the Bishop Arts District. Tickets are already on sale and tend to go fast, but there will be a pre-show raffle and 50 tickets held back for first-come first-served sales beginning at 5 pm on the day of the show.