With Spring just around the corner, area theaters are in preparation to welcome audiences to the season’s lineup musicals and plays.
From comedies to tragedies, child-friendly to more, umm, mature offerings, the city boasts something for every theatergoer. To get you started, here are eight shows going up this month that you’ll want to catch.
Gem of the Ocean
The first installment of August Wilson’s 10-play chronicle, The American Century Cycle, Gem of the Ocean takes place in Pittsburgh, circa 1904. Examining the African-American experience, the mystical play centers on a 287-year-old matriarch who welcomes a man born as a slave and another man looking for a new life into her home. Directed by Philly native playwright James Ijames, Gem of the Ocean explores the theme of freedom in all its dimensions. | Now-March 31. $18-$52. Arden Theatre Company, 40 N. 2nd St. ardentheatre.org
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Continuing with its 210th anniversary season, the historic Walnut Street Theater takes on five-time Tony-Award-winning play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. The spellbinding show based on Mark Haddon’s best-selling novel of the same name centers on Christopher, a neurodivergent boy who investigates the mystery behind the death of his neighbor’s dog. Visually impeccable, the staging includes pipework and screens to reflect the neurons in the brain of a child on the autism spectrum. | March 20-April 28. Prices vary. Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut St. walnutstreettheatre.org
Broadway Philadelphia presents the Tony-Award winning musical Miss Saigon. Inspired by Giacomo Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly, Miss Saigon deals with a tragic story of a Vietnamese woman abandoned by her American soldier lover during the Vietnam War. The same creators behind the musical Les Miserables, Miss Saigon boasts showtime classic songs, like “Last Night of the World” and “The Heat Is On in Saigon.” | March 19-31. Prices vary. Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad St. kimmelcenter.org/events-and-tickets
“When we are born we cry that we have come to this great stage of fools.” Judging from the quote, this isn’t one of William Shakespeare’s comedies. Presented by Quintessence Theatre Group, the classic tragedy chronicles an old king who divides his British throne among his three daughters. Taking daddy issues to a whole new level, after King Lear’s youngest daughter rebels against flattering her father for her share of the kingdom, he reappropriates her section among the other two daughters and sets off a civil war. Exiled and spiraling into madness, the play ruminates on timeless themes of family dynamics and power. | March 19-April 20. Sedgwick Theater, 7137 Germantown Ave. $15-$35. quintessencetheatre.secure.force.com
Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Farewell Play Tour
Everything comes to an end, even Tyler Perry’s Madea character. Before you reach for the tissues, Perry will be retiring the outrageous and tough elderly woman with a farewell tour. Bid adieu to this brash biddy before she goes into the vault. In addition to Perry, the play will also feature Tamela Mann, David Mann and Cassi Davis. | March 20-24. Prices vary. The Met Philadelphia, 858 N. Broad St.themetphilly.com/events/
A musical satire about abortion in America, The Appointment chronicles several women at the clinic to have an abortion. Presented by Lightning Rod Special, the new pop-musical uses a hefty dose of comedy to fully delve into today’s debates about bodily autonomy and rights. Please be advised, the show is not recommended for children under 16. | March 20-31. $15-$31. FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Blvd. fringearts.com
How To Catch Creation
How do you create a legacy, and what do you want it to say about you? Following four artists uncertain about their creative futures, their lives begin to interconnect after one uncovers works from the past by a black queer feminist writer. Written by Christina Anderson, How To Catch Creation comes from the Kilroys’ List, a gender parity initiative to increase representation for women and trans playwrights. | March 22-April 14. Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 480 S. Broad St. Prices vary. Philadelphiatheatrecompany.org
Peg + Cat Live!
Perfect for the little ones, check out the musical revamp of the Emmy-winning PBS kids show Peg + Cat. Only in town for one day, Peg + Cat Live! will have two showtimes full of song, dance and a splash of interactive problem-solving. Peg and Cat face a really big problem that only math can solve when they run into a big dog on their way to mail important letters. Can Peg and Cat count on you to count with them and solve the problem? | March 30. 2 p.m. & 5 p.m. $25-$50. Merriam Theater, 250 S. Broad St. kimmelcenter.org