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March forward, spring ahead 

Ten performance picks to blow you away this month

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click to enlarge Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Todd Rosenberg

Theater (Kerry Reid)

What the Constitution Means to Me

Heidi Schreck's Tony-nominated play, in which the playwright originally starred, draws a trajectory between her youth, when she won college prize money participating in Constitution debates at American Legion halls, and the complicated ways in which the Constitution has and has not protected the most vulnerable of Americans, such as the women in her own family. Maria Dizzia plays Schreck in this touring production. Broadway Playhouse, 3/4-4/12, broadwayinchicago.com.

Incomplete Conversations

Silent Theatre Company brings back its immersive site-specific show from last fall, which Reader critic Max Maller described as "an astonishing play." Set during the funeral of Pastor Eddy, Nell Voss's play (which she also directs), allows the audience to follow congregants around the church, overhearing conversations and piecing together the relationships behind the tragedy. Unlike past Silent Theatre productions, this one does, naturally, feature spoken (if incomplete) dialogue. Tapestry Fellowship Church, 3/4-4/4, silenttheatre.com.

Teenage Dick 

Now is the adolescence of our discontent, where "the winter formal gives way to glorious spring fling." Mike Lew's play digs up the bones of Richard III with a contemporary tale of Richard, a teen with cerebral palsy and a tendency to drive classmates batty with monologues, who plans to win the title of class president and to get the most popular girl to ask him to the "Sadie Hawkins" dance. Brian Balcom, a director who uses a wheelchair, directs the Chicago premiere with a cast including actors with and without disabilities. Theater Wit, 3/6-4/19, theaterwit.org. 

School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play

More high school politics unfolds in the Chicago premiere of Jocelyn Bioh's comedy—an off-Broadway smash two years ago. Set at an exclusive Ghanaian boarding school in the 1980s, the story recasts American teen social comedies like Heathers and of course Mean Girls. Here, Paulina, the queen of the social scene who aspires to compete in the Miss Universe pageant, finds competition with Ericka, the daughter of a local cocoa tycoon who was raised in Ohio. Lili-Anne Brown directs. Goodman Theatre, 3/7-4/2, goodmantheatre.org.

My Dear Hussein

Silk Road Rising presents the world premiere of Nahal Navidar's surrealistic drama about a four-year-old girl during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s who tries to escape into a world of fantasy, inspired by the playwright's own experiences living in Iran during that time. Tlaloc Rivas directs. Silk Road Rising, 3/17-4/19, silkroadrising.org.

Dance (Irene Hsiao)

The Nearest Place 

February’s so long this year, it’s practically March. Emma Draves and Project Bound Dance’s Ashley Deran and Emily Loar get us through the seasonal slump with an evening of new and older solos, duets, and group works on themes of “safety, hibernation, intimacy, cohabitation, warmth, and empathy.” With live music by Nine Worlds Ensemble’s Thor Bremer and Stephanie Young, they promise a cozy night in the snug bonhomie of human gathering. Links Hall, 2/28-3/1, 7:30 PM, linkshall.org.

Light Play

Hedwig Dances artistic director Jan Bartoszek continues her Bauhaus-inspired inquiry following Futura, her 2018 evening-length exploration of geometric forms, which the company premiered in Chicago before bringing the work to Bauhaus Dessau in Germany for the centenary of the utopian design movement. In Raum, Bartoszek and dancers focus on movement, light forms, and the works of László Moholy-Nagy, Bauhaus artist and founder of the School of Design at IIT. Also on the program is company member Rigoberto Saura’s 2019 work, The Flowering Mechanisms, which explores how bodies respond and connect to technology on a set Saura designed. Ruth Page Center for the Arts, Fri-Sat 3/13-3/14, 7:30 PM and Sun 3/15, 3 PM, hedwigdances.com.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and American Ballet Theatre

The Auditorium hosts two New York “visiting resident companies” this month: Alvin Ailey’s perennially popular annual sojourn, now in its 51st year, brings a variety of works new to the midwest, including Ode, by AAADT dancer and resident choreographer Jamar Roberts, Greenwood by Donald Byrd, and Ounce of Faith by Darrell Grand Moultrie. Stick around for American Ballet Theatre’s 80th birthday mix of classics including Natalia Makarova’s staging of “The Kingdom of the Shades” from La Bayadere and Antony Tudor’s Jardin aux Lilas, created for ABT’s first season in 1940. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, 3/4-3/8 and American Ballet Theatre, 3/19-3/22, Auditorium Theatre, auditoriumtheatre.org.

Comedy (Brianna Wellen)

So Emo 

Yaz Bat hosts this variety show featuring music, comedy, and drag from past and current emo kids. The lineup includes Sharron Palm, Elias Rios, Mike Stricker, Faux Pa, and Emma Grace and the night also includes raffles and an emo costume contest. Mon 3/2, 8 PM, Elixir Andersonville, 1509 W. Balmoral, facebook.com/soemolol, $10, $5 in advance.

Cameron Esposito: Save Yourself Tour

Chicago stand-up Cameron Esposito returns home for a night of comedy in honor of her memoir, Save Yourself, which covers the things she’s been talking about on stage for years: coming out, joining the circus, and the joy of being yourself. Sun 3/29, 8 PM, Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee, thedentheatre.com, $37.50 includes an autographed copy of the book. SOLD OUT  v

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