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Spring Rolls In with Nice Offerings on NKY/Cincinnati Stages

Spring is about – new, and there are some musts on local stages. Don’t miss interactive Beertown (I’m excited!), led by Washington D.C.’s dog & pony. It invites audiences to attend a ‘community meeting’ (a.k.a. interactive theater) to create a time capsule filled with items to define our town. (Needless to say, the show changes every night).

Contemporary Art Center presents solo piece Bronx Gothic by Okwui Okpokwasili’s that brings together theater, dance and visual art installation while Ensemble offers the regional premiere of Annapurna, about a rage- and compassion-filled reunion between a pair of long-estranged marrieds that invites big performances.

Spring also means lots of comedy, from Jane Austen at Cincinnati Shakespeare (Emma) to a Terrence McNally regional premiere at Playhouse in the Park (Mothers and Sons). Lots of musicals, too –like touring Newsies at the Aronoff and CCM showing off its contempo rock chops with Green Day’s American Idiot. And Cincinnati Fringe reprises a pair of past hits.

And finally – worth checking sites like Goldstar for more discounts.

Here's a look at what's on stage in March:

Emma, through March 26. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, 719 Race St., Downtown Cincinnati. Tickets $22-$39 (plus fees.)  513-381-2273 ext. 1 and www.cincyshakes.com.

Jane Austen! Amateur matchmaker Emma Wodehouse has a penchant for meddling in the love lives of others. Her latest mission is to find a promising prospect for her less-than-promising friend Harriet. Oh, no! Her efforts go awry – and she does a lot of growing up on her way to happily ever after.

Newsies, March 1-13. Broadway in Cincinnati, Aronoff Center for the Arts, 650 Walnut St., downtown Cincinnati. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets $24-$99 plus ticket fees (from $8.95-$13.25 per ticket). 513-621-ARTS and CincinnatiArts.org. Prices and cast are subject to change without notice.

They delivered the papers, until they made the headlines. It’s 1899, Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst are having a newspaper war and cutting the pay of the already poorly paid newsboys. Strike! And dance with jaw-dropping exuberance.

Beertown, March 2-19. Know Theatre. 1120 Jackson St., Over-the-Rhine. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets $20; $10 rush seats 10 minutes before curtain when available (cash only). Free admission on select Wednesdays. 513-300-5669 and knowtheatre.com.

Washington D.C.’s inventive dog & pony ensemble returns to Know for the 20th Quinquennial Beertown Time Capsule Day celebration. It’s a collaboration with Cincinnati artists (and audiences) for an interactive exploration of history, civic ritual, identity, community, and memory incorporating live music, dance, group song...and it all starts with a dessert potluck (provided by showgoers! That’s us!) Every performance is different. It was a Buzz show in D.C.

Bronx Gothic, 8 p.m. March 2-4. Contemporary Arts Center, Sixth at Walnut, Downtown Cincinnati. Tickets $20 here.

Okwui Okpokwasili’s Bessie Award-winning solo brings together theater, dance and visual art installation to create a drama about a charged relationship between two girls on the verge of adolescence in 1980s outer-borough New York City -- where Newports are bought in singles at the corner deli, sex-saturated notes are passed in class, and Orchard Beach erupts in flame.

(Check out: After the Moment: Reflections on Robert Mapplethorpe while you’re there)

Green Day’s American Idiot, March 3-13. Patricia Corbett Theatre, College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets: $35 and $31, students $24 and $20. 513-556-4183 and here.

Based on the Grammy Award-winning album of the same name by American punk rock band Green Day. The Tony Award-winning musical tells the story of three disillusioned youth who are forced to choose between freedom and the safety of suburbia. The New York Times calls it “invigorating, moving and thrilling… a true rock opera.” 

Alert! Selling out fast! Also, contains mature subject matter, including references to drug use, sexual content and profanity.

To Kill a Mockingbird, March 5-April 3. Playhouse in the Park, Eden Park. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets $35-$86 and subject to change; $30-$45 children, teens and students in advance. 513-421-3888 and www.cincyplay.com

We know Harper Lee’s iconic American story by heart, and love it: a life-changing summer for a young girl in Depression-era, small town Alabama, when her father Atticus Finch defends a black man accused of a crime he didn’t commit.

Jesus Christ Superstar, March 10-24. Footlighters, Stained Glass Theatre, 802 York St., Newport. Tickets $20 plus $1 handling fee. 859-652-3849.

Classic rock musical that follows the last seven days in the life of Jesus as seen through the eyes of Judas Iscariot. You know the score: "I Don't Know How to Love Him," "Everything's Alright," "Gethsemane," and, of course, "Superstar."

Fringe Encores: Edgar Allan/Petunia & Chicken, March 13-15. Know Theatre, 1120 Jackson St., Over-the-Rhine. Dates and Times: March 13 and March 15: Edgar Allan @ 7:30 p.m., Petunia & Chicken @ 8:45 p.m. March 14: Petunia & Chicken @ 7:30 p.m., Edgar Allan @ 8:45 p.m. Tickets $15 in advance or at the door for individual tickets, $25 in advance or at the door for two-show pass. 513-300-5669 and knowtheatre.com/.

Edgar Allan is a dark musical that uses an 11 year-old doppelganger to explore the horrors and isolation of childhood, as viewed through the life and work of Edgar Allan Poe. Petunia & Chicken features two performers, a hat, a scarf and song to tell an epic story of love and loss, inspired by the writings of Midwestern author Willa Cather.

Mothers and Sons, March 18-April 17. Playhouse in the Park, Eden Park. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets $35-$86 and subject to change; $30-$45 children, teens and students in advance. 513-421-3888 and www.cincyplay.com.

From Terrence McNally (Love! Valour! Compassion!), a drama about change, reconciliation and what it means to be a family. Cal and his husband Will have built a happy life with their six-year-old child. Then the mother of Cal’s former lover makes a surprise visit to their Manhattan home — 20 years after her son’s untimely death.

Beauty Queen of Leenane, March 18-April 2. Falcon Theatre, 636 Monmouth St., Newport. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. Tickets $20, students $15. (Service fee for online orders.) 513-479-6783 and here

Ed Cohen directs Irish playwright Martin McDonough’s nasty little contemporary gothic. Maureen Folan, fortysomething, plain and lonely, is tormented by her manipulative aging mother Mag, who happily interferes with Maureen’s first and possibly final chance for love. There are consequences.

Wild Sweet Love, March 18-19. Cincinnati Ballet, Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., Downtown Cincinnati. 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets: $34-$100 plus service fees here

What’s a better dance for Spring than George Balanchine’s Carefree, celebrating the Gershwins  and NYC? The triple-bill with BalletMet Columbus includes Trey McIntyre’s title work about the tempestuous ups and downs of love set to music from Roberta Flack to Queen;  and Age of Innocence, a contemporary work inspired by Jane Austen and choreographed by BalletMet artistic director Edwaard Liang. Set to music by Thomas Newman and Philip Glass.

Annapurna, March 22-April 10. Ensemble Theatre, 1028 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $28-$44 adults, $25 students. 513-421-3555 and www.ensemblecincinnati.org.

What if you had experienced the defining moment of your life -- but couldn't remember it? Twenty years ago, Emma walked out on her husband, cowboy-poet Ulysses, in the middle of the night. Now, hearing he’s in dire straits, she tracks him down to the wilds of Colorado in a grungy trailer. He’s working on his magnum opus, hooked to an oxygen tank, and cooking breakfast in the buff. Their reunion is tragedy and comedy.

Pygmalion, March 29-April 3. Northern Kentucky University, Corbett Theatre, Fine Arts Center, Highland Heights. Tickets $14, seniors $10, students $8. 859-572-5464 and [email protected]

A chance encounter between Cockney flower seller Eliza Doolittle, and world class dialectologist Henry Higgins inspires a bet and is beloved as one of George Bernard Shaw’s enduring comedies. Shaw employs his trademark wit to examine issues of class and independence in a story of transformation and self-identity.

Consider: The Humana Festival of New American Plays, continuing through the month at Actors Theatre of Louisville. East day trip, details here.

Written by Jackie Demaline, RCN Arts