It’s an embarrassment of riches, including some dazzling marquee names. All these high-profile shows are in March previews:

  • Burn This. Adam Driver and Keri Russell should smolder in this revival of Lanford Wilson’s sexy murder mystery, at the Hudson Theatre, 144 W. 44th St. Previews begin March 15.
  • Oklahoma. A darkly psychological reimagining of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s beloved musical arrives on Broadway from a run Off-Broadway. Previews begin March 19 at Circle in the Square Theatre, 235 W. 50th St.
  • Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations. The terrible temptation is to sing along to “My Girl” and “Get Ready.” Behave yourself and don’t dance in the aisles. Jeremy Pope, fresh from his dazzling run as star of Choir Boy, joins the cast. Opens March 21 at the Imperial Theatre, 249 W. 45th St.
  • The Lehman Trilogy. A 3½-hour show about the financial disaster caused by Lehman Bros., a transfer from London with its much-acclaimed British cast: Simon Russell Beale, Adam Godley, and Ben Miles. Begins March 22, closes April 20 at the Park Avenue Armory, 643 Park Ave.
  • Hadestown. This new musical is an Off-Broadway transfer that played London’s National Theatre before coming back across the pond. It takes ancient myths about lovers as allegories for our times. Previews begin on March 22 at the Walter Kerr Theatre, 219 W. 48th St.
  • Beetlejuice. This musical comedy, adapted from the Tim Burton movie. (Fun fact: The character Betelguese, from which the story gets is title, is named for one of the “red giant" stars in the constellation Orion.) Previews begin March 28 at the Winter Garden Theatre, on Broadway at 50th St.
  • Gary. Brilliant avant-garde darling Taylor Mac (A 24-Decade History of Popular Music) brings a new script to Broadway starring Nathan Lane and Kristine Nielsen (replacing Andrea Martin, who broke four ribs during rehearsal), and directed by George C. Wolfe. And here’s the best/weirdest part: Gary is subtitled as a sequel to Shakespeare’s least-read and most gruesome tragedy, Titus Andronicus. Opens April 11 at the Booth Theatre, 222 W. 45th St.
  • Hillary and Clinton. Laurie Metcalf and John Lithgow star as the power couple of our time. Philadelphia Theatre Company presented this play by Lucas Hnath (Doll House, Part 2) in 2016. Opens April 18 at the John Golden Theatre, 252 W. 45th St.
  • White Noise. Suzan-Lori Parks (Topdog/Underdog) is back with a new play about the “unraveling of the social contract” and starring the man we know from Hamilton as the Marquis de Lafayette, Daveed Diggs. Opened March 5; closing slated for April 21 at the Public Theatre, 425 Lafayette St. (at Astor Place).

Backstage glimpse

If you’re a reader of theater programs, your eye probably travels across the name of the show’s sound designer without registering it. Your ear may similarly absorb without consciously hearing the sonic world of the play — all that we hear in addition to the actors’ voices. How does the sound designer design?

I asked Mikaal Sulaiman, 38, a much-in-demand sound designer whose work can be heard now in By the Way, Meet Vera Stark at New York’s Signature Theatre. He’s off next to Trinity Rep, and is booked at similarly prestigious venues until he returns to Philadelphia in August for a Pig Iron show.

Mikaal Sulaiman
Mikaal Sulaiman

A graduate of the University of the Arts (full disclosure: he was a student of mine there) and of the LeCoq School in London, Sulaiman came to theater through acting and then — in that curious way that careers happen — he discovered sound design, studied it, and was launched. A phone call invited him to work on a new project — little company, no money, the usual — which turned out to be the runaway hit Underground Railroad.

“Sound design is one of those mystery aspects of theater that people, even directors, don’t quite understand," he says. "You’re really designing the audience’s experience.

“Where I place speakers in the theater will change how you experience the show,” Sulaiman says.

"Another aspect is trying to crack the code of the director’s desire — sometimes it’s more like a therapy session. … I’ll ask them what color, what temperature is the soundscape — their fever dream of the play — and I translate that.

"A tricky thing about sound designing is that unlike sets or lighting or costumes, sound is so subjective. You can make a set bluer, but if you’re not a musician, how do you say, ‘Turn that cello down?’ …. We don’t have a vocabulary for what I do.

On the other hand, he says, "I know that everything I know about theater I learned in Philly.”

Garden State crackdown

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has signed a bill into law to protect the state’s ticket-buyers from “white-label" internet ticket resellers who try to mislead customers by using the name of venues, productions, and performers in their internet domain names.

Under the new law, resellers masquerading as the official show site can be fined $10,000.