Arena Stage is presenting Disney's Tony Award-winning musical Newsies, directed by Molly Smith, thru December 22. The show is set in the summer of 1899, when the newsboys of New York City took on publishers Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst - and won. Inspired by true events, the Broadway smash hit musical features fan-favorites like “Carrying the Banner,” “King of New York” and “Seize the Day.” The show is deemed “perfect for the whole family.”
Arena Stage is presenting Ken Ludwig's Dear Jack, Dear Louise, directed by Jackie Maxwell, thru December 29. The play tells the joyous, heart-warming story of the courtship of Ken Ludwig’s parents during World War II “and the results are anything but expected.” “When two strangers meet by letter during World War II, a love story begins. U.S. Army Captain Jack Ludwig, a military doctor stationed in Oregon, begins writing to Louise Rabiner, an aspiring actress and dancer in New York City, hoping to meet her someday if the war will allow. But as the war continues, it threatens to end their relationship before it even starts.”
Arena Stage will present A Thousand Splendid Suns, based on the novel by Khaled Hosseini and directed by Carey Perloff, January 17-March 1. The play focuses on the lives of two Afghan women who are inextricably bound together. In the war-ravaged Kabul, “they become unlikely allies in the face of the insurmountable odds of a brutal and oppressive way of life. Hopes of a new life lead to an unselfish and shocking decision, changing the course of their futures forever.”
Illustration: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Charlie Davis
Anacostia Playhouse will present Langston Hughes’s Black Nativity, directed by Stephawn Stephens, with music direction by William Knowles, December 14-January 5. The song-play is a retelling of the Christmas story from an Afrocentric perspective, infused with gospel, blues, funk, jazz music and dance, with griot-style storytelling from an ensemble cast. The show was performed annually at the Kennedy Center before moving to perform with H Street Playhouse and Theater Alliance.
Mosaic Theatre Company will present Eureka Day, written by Jonathan Spector & directed by Serge Seiden at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, December 4-January 5. The comedy will feature Regina Aquino, Lise Bruneau, Erica Chamblee, Sam Lunay, and Elan Zafir. The setting is at Eureka Day School in Berkeley, "where all decisions made by consensus, diversity and inclusion are valued, and vaccinations are a personal matter. When a mumps outbreak hits the school, it turns out that not everyone in the community has the same definition of social justice. Now the board of directors must confront the central question: how do you find consensus when you can’t agree on the facts?"
Scena Theatre will present The Dead– a musical version by James Joyce (Ireland) - based on his novella and directed by Robert McNamara, at ATLAS Performing Arts Center, Lab II, December 10-January 21. The story is one of “lost love and Irish identity and is the greatest, final story in Joyce's renowned collection, The Dubliners.”
Mosaic Theatre Company will present Pilgrims Musa & Sheri, written by Yussef El Guindi and directed by Shirley Serotsky at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, January 16-February 16. The production will feature Ahmad Kamal as Musa and Rachel Felstein as Sheri, with Freddie Bennett, Sanam L. Hashemi, and Gerrad Alex Taylor. The production is part of the Voices from a Changing Middle East Festival. The romantic comedy is about Muslim and American identity and is “full of unexpected twists. Musa, a new immigrant from Egypt, picks up Sheri, a boisterous and quirky waitress, after her shift. A night of improbable passion turns into an extended labyrinth of cultural assumptions upended.”
The Folger Theatre is presenting Peter Shaffer's play titled Amadeus, directed by Richard Clifford, thru November 22.Amadeus won 5 Tony Awards®, including Best Play. The play explores what happens when “Genius and jealousy collide in the opulent salons and opera houses of 18th-century Vienna."
The Folger Theatre will present Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor, directed by Aaron Posner, January 14-March 1, 2020. "Falstaff’s dubious plan to woo Windsor’s wealthy housewives is met with hilarious retaliation, when the ladies devise a plot to teach him a lesson he won’t soon forget. The comedic comeuppance is an absolute treat in Shakespeare’s delightful comedy on love, money, deception, and the power of women."
Ford's Theatre is presenting A Christmas Carol, written by Charles Dickens and adapted by Michael Wilson, with direction by Michael Baron, thru January 1. The music-infused production was originally conceived by Michael Baron and “captures the magic and joy of the Yuletide classic.” The ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future lead the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, played by Craig Wallace, on a journey of transformation and redemption.
Ford's Theatre will present Silent Sky, directed by Seema Sueko, January 24-February 23. The drama is about Henrietta Leavitt and her fellow women “computers” who transformed the science of astronomy. “In the Harvard Observatory, Leavitt found 2,400 new variable stars and made important discoveries about their fluctuating brightness, enabling fellow scientists to map the Milky Way and beyond. This inspiring drama explores the determination, passion and sacrifice of the women who redefined our understanding of the cosmos.”
Keegan Theatre will present the DC premiere of Chelsea Marcantel's Airness, directed by Christina A. Coakley and choreographed by Jessica Redish, November 8-30. The play is a comedy about competition, completion, and finding the airness inside yourself.
The story is about a girl who enters her first air guitar competition, which she thinks will be easy to win until she discovers that there’s more to the art form than playing pretend. AIRNESS is co-produced with 1st Stage of Tysons, VA.
Urban Arias will present a new staging of contemporary American opera Glory Deniedat Keegan Theatre in D.C., January 16-19.Based on the book by Tom Philpott, the opera tells the true story of America’s longest held prisoner of war Col. Floyd “Jim” Thompson. With music and libretto by Tom Cipullo, Glory Denied examines the sacrifices made overseas and at home during times of war.
Keegan Theatre will present An Irish Carol 2019, written by company member Matthew J. Keenan and directed by Mark A. Rhea, December 12-31. The original work is an homage to Dickens’s classic – “told as only the Irish can.” The comic play is set in a modern Dublin pub, where it follows one evening in the life of a wealthy pub owner who has lost touch with his own humanity in the interest of self-protection and material success.
The Kennedy Center will present The Second City's Love, Factually in the Theater Lab, December 3-29. The show is a “romantic romp that parodies classic holiday film Love, Actually along with many other classic holiday rom-com moments.”
The Kennedy Center will present the award winning musical Come from Away in the Eisenhower Theater, December 10-January 5. The musical tells the true story of 7,000 stranded passengers and the small town in Newfoundland that welcomed them. “Cultures clashed and nerves ran high, but uneasiness turned into trust, music soared into the night, and gratitude grew into enduring friendships.”
The Kennedy Center will present the Lincoln Center Theater production of Lerner & Loewe's My Fair Lady in the Opera House, December 17-January 19. It’s the story of Eliza Doolittle, a young Cockney flower seller, and Henry Higgins, a linguistics professor who is determined to transform her into his idea of a “proper lady.” The show has such classic songs as “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “The Rain in Spain,” and “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly.”
Alfred Street Baptist Church Music and Worship Arts Ministry will present Joy to the World—A Christmas Celebration in the Concert Hall on December 2. It's "a dynamic presentation of the Christmas story told through music, dance, and drama." The concert, led by conductor Theodore Thorpe III, features a choir of over 100 voices accompanied by a full symphony orchestra, “with interpretations enriched by liturgical dance and drama. Guests will include 10-time Grammy Award® winners Take 6 - a world-class a cappella sextet specializing in jazz-styled sacred music classics - and Metropolitan Opera soprano Brandie Sutton."
Broadway Center Stage will present Next to Normal in the Eisenhower Theater, January 29-February 2. Tony Award® winner Rachel Bay Jones "stars in this unflinching look at a suburban family struggling with the effects of mental illness."
Please note: Broadway Center Stage performances are presented as semi-staged concerts. The actors may carry scripts in hands for various scenes of their performances.
WORLD STAGES will present the D.C. premiere of Grey Rockin the Terrace Theater January 30-February 1. The play is about "the inalienable right to dream: A Palestinian man decides to build a rocket to the moon in a shed."
The National Theatre will present Tony Award-winner John Leguizamo's Latin History for Morons, November 21-23.The one-man play tells of his “outrageously funny, frenzied search to find a Latin hero for his son’s school history project.” The show is recommended for ages 13 and up.
Image below John-Leguizamo – Photo by Matthew Murphy 2017.
The National Theatre will present Mandy Patinkin in Concert: Diaries on November 29.The acclaimed actor/singer/storyteller performs a “powerful, passionate evening of song, marrying many of Mandy’s favorite Broadway and classic American tunes with selections from his newest recording. He takes the audience on a musical journey from the songs of Randy Newman to Stephen Sondheim, and from Harry Chapin to Rufus Wainwright. The show is recommended for ages 4 and up.
The National Theatre will present The Illusionists – Magic of the Holidays, December 3-8. The production showcases “the jaw-dropping talents of the most incredible illusionists on earth. The Illusionists has shattered box office records across the globe and dazzles audiences of all ages with a powerful mix of the most outrageous and astonishing acts ever seen on stage.”
The National Theatre will present Fiddler on the Roof, December 10-15. The Tony-winning director Bartlett Sher and his team will bring “a fresh and authentic vision to the beloved theatrical masterpiece. The new production has movement and dance from acclaimed Israeli choreographer Hofesh Shechter, based on the original staging by Jerome Robbins. The score features the Broadway classics “Tradition,” “If I Were a Rich Man,” “Sunrise, Sunset,” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker,” and “To Life.” The show is recommended for ages 8 and up.
The National Theatre will present Jersey Boys, December 17-January 5. The show tells the behind-the-music story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. They were "just four guys from Jersey, until they sang their very first note." The show features all their hits including “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Oh What A Night,” “Walk Like A Man,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and “Working My Way Back To You.”
Image below: Left to right - Corey Greenan, Eric Chambliss, Jon Hacker and Michael Milton - Photo: Joan Marcus
The National Theatre will present The Simon & Garfunkel Story, January 31-February 1. The immersive concert-style theater show will chronicle the journey shared by folk-rock duo Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. The show features huge projection photos and original film footage, plus a full live band performing all of their hits.
Scena Theatre will present the U.S. premiere of SEA by acclaimed Norwegian writer Jon Fosse, directed by Scena’s Artistic Director Robert McNamara, as translated by May-Brit Akerholt, at the District of Columbia Arts Center on 18th Street NW, November 7-24. The production will feature Buck O’Leary, Greg Ongao, Eamon Walsh, Sara Barker, Kim Curtis and Ellie Nicoll. SEA is “the harrowing story of a shipmaster who guides a bizarre band of travelers through a modern-day Hades. It's an episodic tale of lost love in the otherworld that unfolds as past relationships meet present realities. Together, travelers face many daunting challenges on a quest for their ultimate salvation.” Jon Fosse is the most performed living writer in Europe. His plays have been translated and performed in 40 languages worldwide, yet he is relatively unknown in the US. The play is considered suitable for all ages.
The Shakespeare Theatre Company will present PETER PAN by J.M. Barrie in a world-premiere adaptation by Lauren Gunderson directed by Alan Paul, at Sidney Harman Hall, December 3-January 12, 2020. Lauren Gunderson “places Wendycenter stage, a budding scientist breaking free from the constraints of Edwardian traditions. Whisked away by Peter Pan to Neverland, they confront menacing pirates, a formidable crocodile and the dastardly Captain Hook.” The classic tale of adventure and wonder is “sure to delight adults and children alike.”
The Shakespeare Theatre Company will present Susan Hill's The Woman in Black, adapted by Stephen Mallatratt and directed by Robin Herford, in the Lansburgh Theatre, December 4-22. Robin Herford’s production has been called “a gripping study in atmosphere, illusion, and controlled horror. A lawyer obsessed with a curse that he believes has been cast over him and his family by the specter of a woman in black engages a skeptical young actor to help him tell his terrifying story and hopefully exorcise the fear that grips his soul. As they reach further into his darkest memories, they find themselves snared in a world of eerie marshes and moaning winds.”
Studio Theatre has extended the run of Anchuli Felicia King's play White Pearl, directed by Desdemona Chiang, thru December 15.The “twisted” corporate comedy is about the ugliness of the beauty industry. The setting is "a cosmetics company on the rise: Based in Singapore, launching a global skincare line, and bringing a start-up mentality to the big leagues."
Studio X is presenting Keep, written and performed by monologist Daniel Kitson, thru December 1.It's "a new show about how much past the present should contain. About rigor and generosity and the value of regret and the possibility of hope and the delusion of starting again and the inevitable sadness of ever holding on to anything."
Studio Theatre will present Pipeline, written by Dominique Morisseau and directed by AWOYE TIMPO in the Mead Theatre, January 15-February 16. The play tells the story of a single mom and dedicated teacher at a high-poverty city school. She is determined to give her teenaged son opportunities that her students will never have. When an altercation with a teacher at his private school threatens the boy’s future, his mother has to fight a system that’s against him in any environment.
Studio Theatre’s new Work in Progress Series will continue withScenes from Good Bones by James Ijames in the Milton Theatre on January 23. It’s the story of “Aisha, who has moved back to the block, but the neighborhood’s changed."
Theater J is presenting Edward Albee’s play titled Occupant, directed by Aaron Posner, thru December 8.The play tells the true story of “a little Jewish girl from Russia who immigrated to the U.S. and became the renowned sculptor, Louise Nevelson. In Albee’s play, she’s been invited to participate in an interview — from beyond the grave. Through her ups and downs, her contradictions and evasions, we witness the deep inner turmoil and intrepid triumphs of one of the 20th century’s greatest artistic minds.” The production stars Susan Rome in a “surprising, touching, and delicious play that offers an unabashed exploration of how a pioneer for free-thinking women everywhere found her voice.”
Theater J will present SHELTERED, written byAlix Sobler and directed by Adam Immerwahr, January 9-February 2. The setting is 1939, when Hitler’s assault on Europe has begun and much of the world has turned its back on the Jews of Europe. An ordinary American couple “makes a bold decision that could save the lives of many Jewish children and change the course of history. But first, they must convince their estranged friends to help. The production will feature McLean Fletcher, Kimberly Gilbert, David Schlumpf, Alexander Strain and Erin Weaver.
Washington Stage Guild is presenting Charles Dickens's Hard Times, adapted for the stage by Stephen Jeffreys, thru December 8.Dickens’s tale of love, loss, and circus folk is set against the backdrop of the Industrial Revolution in England. This version, in which four actors play dozens of characters, has not been seen in Washington for over two decades.
Images below: The poster for Hard Times, followed by a photo of Brit Herring as Tom & Chelsea Mayo as Louisa. Photo by C. Stanley Photography
Washington Stage Guild will present the area premiere of Steven Dietz's play titled Bloomsday, January 23-February 16. The time-bending romance is about a young couple who meet on a walking tour of James Joyce’s Dublin, "but a misunderstanding keeps them apart. Thirty-five years later, they return to retrace their steps and confront their younger selves about the missed opportunity."
Woolly Mammoth will present The Second City's She the People: The Resistance Continues! directed by Carly Heffernan, December 1-January 5. The new show was inspired by the 2018 all-female blockbuster, She the People. Last year’s all-female all-star team further satirizes “the reality of being a woman in this wild world, exploding the myths and misrepresentations surrounding body positivity, bachelorettes, Beyoncé, and the 2020 ballot.”