best march theater
Cross-dressing cowboy bank robbers, wacky wedding jitters, and the perfect sandwich star in Houston's must-see March theater
We’re going on quite the theatrical odyssey this month, from psychological horrors to a wedding comedy, to the quest for the ultimate sandwich.
Houston stage fans can expenct lots of world premieres, including new Texas stories, lots of award-winning playwrights and great performances from some of our favorite local actors.
Misery from Dirt Dogs Theatre Company (now through March 18)
This different kind of horror story, originally from Stephen King, takes fandom love to a thriller level, as a successful romance novelist, Paul Sheldon, gets rescued from an isolated car crash by his “number one fan,” Annie Wilkes.
Sneaking a peek at a copy of Paul’s latest, still-unpublished novel, Annie has some notes and powerful incentives for Paul to change the ending. The play by Oscar-winning screenwriter and novelist in his own right, William Goldman – who also wrote the screenplay for the 1990 film — explores how fictional worlds have the power to turn comfort into obsession.
Adding to the twisty fun is the casting of Dirt Dogs artistic director Malinda L. Beckham as super fan and occasional hostage-taker Annie and company executive director Trevor B. Cone as writer Paul.
Cowboy Bob at Alley Theatre (now through March 26)
This world premiere musical is inspired by the true Texas story of Peggy Jo Tallas, bank robber extraordinaire whose series of cross-dressing, weaponless robberies made her Texas infamous. Disguising herself as a man with a signature fake mustache and cowboy hat, Tallas set off on a string of successful robbers in the 1990s.
After she was caught and served prison time, she picked up her trade once more in the early 2000s when she was in her 60s. With a book by Galveston’s own Molly Beach Murphy, the new musical tells the story through the eyes of a restaurant waitress desperate to buck her flavorless life and awaken to all that’s possible.
Composer Jeanna Phillips sets the music for the heist with a multi-genre score that shifts from country to punk to folk and indie rock.
Another City from Houston Grand Opera (March 9-11)
The latest world premiere opera from HGO, a commission of their Song of Houston series, gives voice to Houstonians experiencing homelessness.
To put those stories to music, composer Jeremy Howard Beck and librettist Stephanie Fleischmann conducted first-hand research and listening sessions with members of the unhoused community and the entities that have been leading the charge to assist them. Set at the Beacon, the real downtown organization that provides services to those experiencing homelessness, the opera asks the question: how do we bridge the chasm between the city we can see and the one we cannot — a city which is all around us but invisible, hiding in plain sight?
The site-specific performance at Ecclesia Houston will utilize Ecclesia’s space, allowing artists to move in and around a central platform for an immersive experience for the audience.
Summer & Smoke from Houston Ballet (March 9-19)
For their first mixed-rep production of the year, HB presents a touch of classic, contemporary and very new with this lineup and a mirrored talent showcase for the men and women of the company. Featuring seven men and one woman, and set to music by Bach, artistic director Stanton Welch’s Clear reveals the power of transparency in movement.
In contrast, George Balanchine’s neoclassical ballet, Concerto Barocco, also set to Bach, features a cast of 10 women and one man. Then, HB gets theatrical with the world premiere of internationally renowned choreographer Cathy Marston’s Summer and Smoke.
Based on the Tennessee Williams play, the narrative ballet set in the early 20th century tells the love story of minister’s daughter Alma, and aspiring doctor John, as they try to find the balance between the pulls of faith and science that keep them apart.
Denise Fennell’s the Bride, or: Does This Dress Make Me Look Married at Stages (March 10-May 14)
Our favorite holiday nun wears a very different veil in this partly true comedy written by Denise Fennell herself with acting/writing partner and real-life hubby Rick Pasqualone.
As the familiar veteran nun of numerous Stages productions of the LNCTU (Late Nite Catechism Theatrical Universe), it seems appropriate Fennell will world premiere this bridal comedy in Houston with Stages artistic director Kenn McLaughlin directing.
With less than two hours until her wedding, a bride of a certain age begins to question the meaning of love, life, and the ritual of marriage. Fennell certainly know something about wedding dramatic glamour as the real-life Fennell/Pasqualone wedding made New York Times-style headlines in 2021.
The Book of Mary (It Costs a Lot to be Real) at MATCH (March 23-April 9)
An icon of local theater, Mary Hooper, gives us a behind-the-scenes looks at not only life as a performer, but also the Houston arts scene over the decades.
This one-woman show written by Hooper tells it like it really is: from her Beaumont beginnings as a shy child of deaf parents and her timely escape to the “gayborhood” of Montrose in the ’70s and ’80s, to her adventures onstage in Houston’s many-states-away off Broadway theatre scene.
In keeping with its deep Houston roots, the show is directed by Ted Swindley, founder of Houston’s Stages theatre and author of the local favorite musical, Always…Patsy Cline.
Sanctuary City from 4th Wall Theatre (March 23-April 15)
Keeping with their season lineup of the hottest contemporary plays, 4th Wall goes with another Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, Martyna Majok, for this story about two teen DREAMers trying to find a place for themselves in the only home they’ve known, the U.S.
Friendship is their real sanctuary growing up, but time might lead them to different futures. The production is directed by 4th Wall co-founder Philip Lehl with two up and coming Houston favs Raven Justine Troup and Luis Quintero in the lead roles as G and B.
Clyde’s at Ensemble Theatre (March 23-April 16)
Can we find meaning in the perfect sandwich? (Editor’s note: Yes.) What if it’s the act of creation — the sandwich’s, that is — itself that brings us redemption?
Such are the questions comedically explored in this Broadway darling play from Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Lynn Nottage. Clyde’s is one of the most produced contemporary plays in the country right now, so we can’t wait to have Ensemble give it a Houston go in this story chronically the lives of a group of formerly incarcerated kitchen staff at a truck stop sandwich shop.
Even as the shop’s callous owner, Clyde, tries to keep them under her thumb, these sandwich chefs find purpose and permission to dream by their shared quest to create the perfect sandwich.
The Odyssey at Alley Theatre (March 24-April 23)
For this contemporary twist on the ancient tale, Nobel Prize winning writer Derek Walcott takes inspiration from his native Trinidad, giving Odysseus’s epic journey home after war a Caribbean set song.
Homer even becomes a character within the story as blind singer Billy Blue, give commentary to Odysseus and crew adventures at sea. Houston-raised, now NY stage and screen actor, Gabriel Lawrence plays Odysseus in a this cast mix of Alley company members, Houston favs and New York actors.
“This amalgamation of worlds, Ancient Greece and Mid-Century Caribbean is creative, clever, and epic. In the grandness of it all, Walcott demonstrates how the quest for home, honor, and connection is universally felt,” says director Christopher Windom.