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Shakespeare & Beyond

What's onstage at Shakespeare theaters in March

Thanks to Julius Caesar, March feels like an especially Shakespearean month (“Beware the ides”). Happily, Caesar is one of the plays our theater partners across the United States are staging this month—catch it in Cincinnati through March 24—along with Macbeth, The Merchant of Venice, and much more. Scroll on to see what’s onstage at a theater near you, and let us know what you’re planning to see in the comments.

African-American Shakespeare Company

March 16 – 31, the African-American Shakespeare Company presents the San Francisco-debut of Dominque Morisseau’s Pipeline.

Nya, a recently-divorced inner-city public high school teacher, is raising her son, Omari, on her own, and is striving to give him opportunities her students will never have. When a controversial incident at his upstate private school threatens to get him expelled, Omari’s father gets involved, and Nya questions her choices as a parent as she digs in to protect her son’s future.

“To my mind, this is perhaps one of the most important contemporary plays out there right now,” says AASC Artistic Director L. Peter Callender. “I have directed it twice before for companies in Florida and feel more than ever the need to continue to shine a light on the need to resist the systemic, mental reprogramming inherent in the school-to-jail pipeline mentality currently plaguing Black and brown youth.”

Leontyne Mbele-Mbong as Nya, Atlantis Clay as Omari, and Michael Gene Sullivan as Xavier in Pipeline, from the African-American Shakespeare Company. Photo: Lindsey Mclntire.

Atlanta Shakespeare Company

Atlanta Shakespeare Company presents a LadyShakes production of The Merchant of Venice through March 30, featuring an all-female-identifying cast.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater

There’s one more chance to catch Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Short Shakespeare! production of Romeo and Juliet. This 75-minute adaptation, told in Shakespeare’s own words, asks whether true love can can survive in a divided community. The production combines Shakespeare’s original verse with dynamic staging and a bright, bold 1980s setting to connect young audiences with the characters’ journeys. Following each performance, stay for a free discussion with the entire cast, and mingle with them in the Lobby for informal conversations and photos.

Then stay tuned for as Tony- and Emmy-winning Seinfeld alumnus Jason Alexander makes his Chicago stage debut in the world premiere of Judgment Day, directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel. The irreverent new comedy begins April 23.

Kelly Mengelkoch as Octavia in Julius Caesar at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company

Cincinnati Shakespeare celebrates the Ides of March with their riveting production of Julius Caesar, onstage until March 24. Their rendition delves into the seedy world of Roman politics with an Italian mafia twist. Following this gripping tragedy, Cincy Shakes shifts gears with Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare’s timeless enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy, beginning April 12. Experience the dramatic diversity as the stage transforms from political scheming to uproarious love.

The Old Globe

The breathtaking career of NBA icon LeBron James is the backdrop for King James, an energetic and funny play by Pulitzer Prize finalist Rajiv Joseph onstage through March 31 at San Diego’s The Old Globe. Shawn is Black and Matt is white, and they couldn’t be more different—except for their love of the Cleveland Cavaliers. The friendship that develops between them, at turns contentious and compassionate, becomes something as enduring and profound as James’s legacy itself. Interwoven with moments of camaraderie, laughter, and poignancy, King James dives into the heart of basketball fandom and highlights the profound connections that sports can cultivate.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

There’s lots to see in Ashland, OR, this month as the Oregon Shakespeare Festival begins its season.

Macbeth kicks things off on March 19, directed by former OSF Associate Artistic Director Evren Odcikin.

Born With Teeth, co-presented by OSF and Alley Theatre, begins March 20. In this razor-sharp and remarkably relevant dark comedy, William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe go head-to-head, fighting, flirting, and festering while collaborating on a play.

Shakespeare and the Alchemy of Gender, created and performed by Lisa Wolpe, begins March 21. In a lyrical, fearless, and deeply personal one-person show, the renowned actor and Shakespeare scholar triumphantly illustrates Shakespeare’s insight into the human condition. Tickets for all three shows start at $35!

San Francisco Shakespeare Festival

San Francisco Shakespeare Festival’s As You Like It has been touring Bay Area schools since February. This month, catch free, open-to-the-public performances in Reedley (March 21), Saratoga (March 23), and Los Altos (March 30). Stay tuned for more public performances in April!

Frances Domingos and Alan Coyne in SF Shakespeare Festival’s touring production of As You Like It. Photo by Neal Ormond.

Renderings for Parmida Ziaei’s scenic design for The Bed Trick, onstage at Seattle Shakes beginning March 20.

Seattle Shakespeare Company

Seattle Shakespeare Company presents its first-ever commission, a world-premiere by Keiko Green, The Bed Trick running March 20 – April 7. When she played Helena in Seattle Shakespeare’s 2019 production of All’s Well that Ends Well, Keiko received endless post-student matinee questions about the problematic “bed trick”—the moment in the play when the protagonist, Helen, sneaks into Bertram’s bed, substituting herself for another woman, and sleeps with him without his being aware. The Bed Trick is her response to those questions… though may not leave you with any answers.

College freshmen Lulu and Marianne test their limits as they party through the school year. When their drama-nerd-roommate Harriet brings in baggage from a student production of All’s Well That Ends Well, ideas of consent and manipulation start to seep into their lives as they are pushed toward a Shakespearean conclusion.

Shakespeare at Notre Dame

Time is running out to catch Actors From The London Stage’s spring tour, of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, presented by  Shakespeare at Notre Dame. The tour wraps up with engagements in Glendora, CA, and Florence, AL.

Adam Best as Macbeth and Nicole Cooper as Lady Macbeth in Macbeth (an undoing), written and directed by Zinnie Harris and coming to Theatre for a New Audience in April. Photo by Stuart Armitt.

Theatre for a New Audience

Next month, Theatre for a New Audience, in association with Rose Theatre, London presents the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh’s production of Macbeth (an undoing), written and directed by Zinnie Harris. When the play made its world premiere at Royal Lyceum Theatre last year, The Guardian praised the “audacious conjuring” of Macbeth and the “superb” Nicole Cooper in her turn as Lady Macbeth (which she’ll reprise for TFANA). In her acclaimed plays This Restless House and The Duchess (of Malfi), Harris reimagined classic texts, bringing the perspectives of their female characters center stage. Shakespeare’s iconic Lady Macbeth is ruthless and driven, unstoppable in her pursuit of power, yet she quickly descends into madness and despair. Harris’ thrilling new version undoes the story we know and remakes it, examining Lady Macbeth’s trajectory and asking if we have really heard the whole story.


African-American Shakespeare Company, Atlanta Shakespeare Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, The Old Globe, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Seattle Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare at Notre Dame, and Theatre for a New Audience are members of the Folger’s Theater Partnership Program.