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March 12, 2014

Backstage Pass:
Top 5 Plays to See in March

BY
DANNY BERNARDO

So the snow is finally melting and Chicago is starting to come back to life as we eagerly welcome spring. If you've been holed up in your house all winter long avoiding the Polar Vortex, it's time for you to get out and see some theatre. Here are my top picks for this month:

Top 5 Plays to See in March
Dessa Rose (Bailiwick Chicago)

I had the great pleasure of working on this show as assistant director and dramaturg. Dessa Rose is a stirring musical drama adapted from Sherley Anne Willam's novel by Lynn Ahrens & Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime, Once on this Island). Told as an oral history and related by two women, Ruth and Dessa Rose, this powerful tale of an unlikely friendship takes place in 1847, 14 years before the outbreak of the American Civil War. Based on both fact and fiction, the musical weaves together the stories of two real women, one white and one black, who struggled for different kinds of freedom in an era defined by men.

Performs through April 5 at Victory Gardens Theater - Richard Christensen Theatre. Tickets available here.

Top 5 Plays to See in March
Ghost Bike (Buzz22Chicago)

Ora and Eddie fell in love with Chicago on their bikes. But when Eddie is hit by a car and killed, Ora refuses to let him go. Instead, she rides beneath our city to bring him back, facing off against underworld gods and ghosts -some interested in helping her, some determined to get in her way. The more difficult her journey becomes, the more Ora must question what it is she's journeying towards. In GHOST BIKE, Chicago culture skitches off of Greek, African, and Chinese mythology, sparking a spirited mash-up of underworld and after-life as seen from the seats of fixies, BMX's and ten-speeds.

Performs through April 6 at the Greenhouse Theatre, 2257 N. Lincoln in Chicago. Tickets are available here.

Top 5 Plays to See in March
The Killing of Michael X (Jackalope Theatre)

Somewhere in Middle America, teenagers Celia and Randy careen down a dark highway in a stolen Lexus. Cut to: Big Pharma, a disappearing brother, a femur unearthed in a backyard dig. As the mysteries mount and the body count rises, Celia goes in search of her revenge, but she keeps getting closer to her own loss. Every road trip movie ends with redemption, but will this one?

Performs through April 13 at Broadway Armory Park, 5917 N. Broadway in Chicago. Tickets are available here.



Top 5 Plays to See in March
Miss Marx or The Involuntary Side Effect of Living (Strawdog Theatre Company)



Strawdog presents a world premiere by Phillip Dawkins (writer of the hit play The Homosexuals ), based on the true story of Karl Marx's youngest daughter. Known throughout Victorian England as an actress and political activist, Eleanor finds it far easier to fight for equality on the stage than in the bedroom. Falling into a tempestuous affair with a married man, can she follow her heart without betraying everything she symbolizes?

Performs through March 29 at Strawdog Theatre, 3829 N. Broadway in Chicago. Tickets can be purchased here.

Top 5 Plays to See in March
Passion (Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre)

Love, sex, obsession, illness, passion, beauty, power and manipulation come to a head in Stephen Sondheim's 1996 Tony Award-winning musical, based on Ettore Scola's film, "Passione d'Amore." Set in 19th century Italy, the story follows a young soldier and the changes in him brought about by the obsessive love of Fosca, his Colonel's homely, ailing cousin.

Performs through April 27 at Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre, 6970 N. Glenwood in Chicago. Dinner packages available. Tickets available here.

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This is just a small sampling of the amazing theatre happening in Chicago right now. For an extensive list of what's playing in Chicago right now, visit the League of Chicago Theatres.

 
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