Arena Stage is presenting the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Production of Mother Road, written by Octavio Solis & directed by Bill Rauch, thru March 8. The play was inspired by John Steinbeck’s classic, The Grapes of Wrath. It’s the story of the hardworking and terminally ill William Joad, who “sets out on an epic journey to pass down his family farm, and is humiliated to find that the only surviving descendant of his family is a Mexican-American named Martín Jodes, an ex-migrant worker.”
Arena Stage will present Celia and Fidel, written by Eduardo Machado and directed by Molly Smith, February 28-April 12. Set in Cuba in 1980, it’s the story of Fidel Castro and his most trusted confidant and political partner, Celia Sánchez. The play is said to be “imbued with magical realism” as it “imagines a conversation between Cuba’s most influential female revolutionary and its most notorious political leader in a contest between morality and power.”
Arena Stage is presenting A Thousand Splendid Suns, based on the novel by Khaled Hosseini and directed by Carey Perloff, thru 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
Arena Stage will present August Wilson's Seven Guitars, directed by Tazewell Thompson, April 3-May 3. The setting is Pittsburgh in the 1940s as “seven lives are interconnected when old friend and blues singer Floyd Barton vows to turn his life. Infused with deep and soaring blues rhythms, the play pits the desire for a better future against the harsh realities ultimately leading to heartbreaking and inescapable circumstances.”
Arena Stage will present Lydia R. Diamond's play titled Toni Stone, directed by Pam MacKinnon, in association with American Conservatory Theatre, April 23-May 31. Toni Stone was the first woman to play baseball in the Negro Leagues, also making her the first woman to play professionally in a men’s league in the 1950s. Based on Martha Ackmann’s book titled Curveball, the play is the latest work from award-winning playwright Lydia R. Diamond and “tells the dynamic and uplifting story of Stone’s journey of perseverance and resilience just to do what she loved the most — play baseball.”
Theater Alliance is presenting Harrison David Rivers's This Bitter Earth, directed by Otis Ramsasy-Zöe, at the Anacostia Playhouse, thru March 22. It’s the story of “an introspective black playwright, who finds his lack of activism questioned by his white boyfriend, who is “an impassioned member of the Black Lives Matter Movement.....eventually, the two men find themselves at a crossroads.”
Mosaic Theatre will present the world premiere of Inherit the Windbag, directed by Alexandra Petri, March 11-29 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. The production will feature John Lescaultas William F. Buckley and Paul Morella as Gore Vidal. The setting is the summer of 1968, when liberal Gore Vidal and conservative William F. Buckley met for a series of debates that “rocked America and defined the genre of punditry."
Mosaic Theatre Company will present Ifa Bayeza's The Till Trilogy, directed by Talvin Wilks, at the Atlas Performing Arts Center April 1-June 21. "The now-legendary story of Emmett “Bo” Till is believed by many to be the start of the modern civil rights movement of the 1950s and remains one of the most pivotal incidents in a monumental era." The production will feature Scott W. Abernethy, Drew Kopas, Billie Krishawn, Lolita Marie, Clayton Pelham, Jr., Jefferson A. Russell, Vaughn Ryan, Matthew R. Wilson, and Jaysen Wright.
Image below: Vaughn Ryan, playing Emmett Till - Photo by Iwan Bagus
Atlas Performing Arts Center is presenting the annual Intersections Festival, thru March 1. The festival “presents work that impacts our society, culture, and world by informing, inspiring, educating, and entertaining. The focus is on unique perspectives and art that connects us to the many facets of our humanity.”
ExPats Theatre will present Einstein's Wife, directed by Karin Rosnizeck, at Atlas Performing Arts Center, March 5-22. The focus of the play by Serbian playwright Snezena Gnjidic and English translator Milena Garfield is on Mileva Maric, Albert Einstein’s first wife. Mileva was a physicist, mathematician and fellow student of Einstein at Zurich Polytechnic. Recently discovered personal correspondence suggests that she contributed substantially to his scientific success yet received no professional credit. “What started as a scientific team eventually was derailed by motherhood and a world not prepared for women's professional achievements.” The role of Albert will be played by Sasha Olinick, and the role of Mileva will be played by Cecelia Auerswald.
Constellation Theatre Company - in residence at Source - is presenting The 39 Steps, adapted by Patrick Barlow from the novel by John Buchan thru March 8. A cast of four actors embodies over 150 characters in a funny remix of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 spy thriller film. Set in 1930s London, the comic spoof is about a man who starts his evening at the theatre and ends it mistakenly accused of murder. "The two-time Tony - and Drama Desk Award-winning whodunit - is both utterly ridiculous and ridiculously entertaining as it lovingly spoofs the iconic cinematic tropes of film noir."
Please note: The production of The Merry Wives of Windsor - described below - will be the last on-site at Folger Theatre for two years, as the Library begins its multi-year Building Renovation Project in March 2020. Folger Theatre will continue to produce works offsite and collaborating with area theaters.
The Folger Theatre is presenting Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor, directed by Aaron Posner, thru 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."
Image below: Regina Aquino (left, as Mrs. Page) and Ami Brabson (Mrs. Ford). Photo by Brittany Diliberto.
Ford's Theatre is presenting Silent Sky, directed by Seema Sueko, thru 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.”
Ford's Theatre will present the classic musical Guys and Dolls, directed by Peter Flynn, March 13-May 20. The 1950s musical comedy focuses on dice-slinging gamblers, pious missionaries and glamorous showgirls in a light-hearted romp through New York. The showstoppers include “Luck be a Lady,” “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat,” “Take Back Your Mink” and more.
Keegan Theatre is presentingBoy, written by Anna Ziegler and directed by Susan Marie Rhea, thru March 7. Set in the 1960s, the story unfolds as "a well-intentioned doctor convinces the parents of a male infant to raise their son as a girl after a terrible accident. Two decades later, the repercussions of that choice continue to unfold… Inspired by a true story, BOY explores the complicated journey of trying to find love in a new body and the inextricable bonds that are built along the way."
Keegan Theatre will present the D.C. premiere of Memphis, the 2010 Tony-Winner for Best Musical, directed by Kevin McAllister, with music and lyrics by David Bryan and book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro, April 10-May 10. The setting is the smoky halls and underground clubs of Memphis, Tennessee in the segregated ’50s, when a young white DJ named Huey Calhoun "falls in love with everything he shouldn’t: rock ‘n roll and an electrifying black singer named Felicia Farrell. It's an original story about fame, forbidden love, and the cultural revolution that erupted when his vision met her voice – and the music changed forever."
The Kennedy Center will present Story District's Funnier Than Fiction in The Reach - The Club at Studio K - on February 28. "DC's storytelling pros bring their best and funniest stories to the stage about real situations that are so ridiculous, you just have to laugh."
An International Women’s Day comedy event titled RIOT!will take place on March 8 in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Leading performers from the worlds of music and comedy will come together to celebrate women in the arts through song and laughter.
RIOT has become a "national platform for female artists to embrace creative risk and emphasize their perspective in our rapidly evolving culture."
Image below: The logo for RIOT!
Please Note: The performance is recommended for mature audiences.
Chris Thile, a four-time Grammy®-winning mandolinist, will present Live from Here in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall on March 14. Live from Here is American Public Media’s nationally syndicated, weekly variety show hosted by Thile. The program will feature "an all-female lineup of exciting guest artists."
The Kennedy Center will present Jesus Christ Superstar in the Opera House, April 14-26. The new production celebrates the 50th anniversary of the iconic musical and won the 2017 Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival. With music and lyrics by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, the musical “is set against the backdrop of an extraordinary series of events during the final weeks in the life of Jesus Christ as seen through the eyes of Judas.” The musical includes “I Don’t Know How to Love Him,” “Gethsemane,” and “Superstar.”
Broadway Center Stage will bring Bye Bye Birdie to the Eisenhower Theater, April 23-27. "A loving send-up of the early 1960s, small-town America, teenagers, and rock and roll, this Tony®-winning musical remains as fresh and vibrant as ever."
The National Theatre will present Bandstand, March 3-8. Three-time Tony® winner and Hamilton choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler will present “a poignant and inspiring new American musical that explodes with infectious music and high-octane, heart-stopping dancing.” The setting is 1945, as America’s soldiers returning from World War II struggle to rebuild the life they left when they went into military service. The lead character, Private First Class Donny Novitski, who is a singer and songwriter, and some fellow veterans form a band unlike any the nation has ever seen. Along the way, they discover the power of music to face the impossible, find their voice, and finally feel like they have a place to call home.” The show is recommended for ages 13 and up.
The National Theatre will present The Last Ship, March 27-April 5. The musical was inspired by Sting’s 1991 album titled “The Soul Cages” and his own childhood experiences, as it tells the story of a community amid the demise of the shipbuilding industry in Tyne and Wear, with the closure of the Swan Hunter shipyard. Sting will star as shipyard foreman Jackie White and will perform the role at every performance. THE LAST SHIP features an original score with music and lyrics by Sting plus a few of his best-loved songs: “Island of Souls,” “All This Time,” and “When We Dance.”
The National Theatre will present Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, April 7-12. The show will feature songs from the original film, including “Pure Imagination,” “The Candy Man,” and “I've Got a Golden Ticket,” alongside “a toe-tapping and ear-tickling new score from the songwriters of Hairspray.” It’s been called “a mesmerizing joyride through a world of pure imagination.”
The show is recommended for ages 6 and up.
Image below: The cast of Roald Dahl’s CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.
The Shakespeare Theatre Company is presenting James Baldwin’s The Amen Corner, directed by Whitney White, thru March 15. The setting is a 1950s storefront church in Harlem, as a young female pastor rails at her congregation and her teenaged son for their vices. “With a gospel choir singing of redemption in one room and her son bonding with his ailing father over their love of jazz in the next, Margaret must face the music herself when a figure from her own troubled past returns.” The play “tackles the role of the church in the African American community in this landmark work, which Baldwin wrote immediately after his breakthrough novel Go Tell It on the Mountain.
The Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) is presenting Timon of Athens by William Shakespeare, directed by Simon Godwin in a co-production with Theatre for a New Audience, thru March 22. The production marks Artistic Director Godwin’s directorial debut at the STC with a restaging of his recent, acclaimed production of Timon of Athens. The setting is Athens, where “Timon lives in a golden world of opulence and generosity throwing wild parties attended by politicians, artists and celebrities. When she loses her wealth and her friends abandon her, she takes to the forest, exchanging her luxurious gowns for sackcloth and plotting revenge against the city she loves.”
The Shakespeare Theatre Company will present Jean-Pierre Améris and Philippe Blasband's musical comedy titled Romantics Anonymous, directed by Emma Rice, in the Michael R. Klein Theatre, April 7-May 17. Set in Paris, the musical is based on the film Les Émotifs Anonymes about two painfully timid chocolatiers. The show is "sprinkled with the passionate songs of Kooman and Dimond."
Studio Theatre will present Antoinette Nwandu's play titled Pass Over, directed by Psalmayene 24, March 4-April 12. The play has been called "A humorous and chilling collision of the Exodus saga and Waiting for Godot about the dreams of generations of young Black men marooned in a cycle of violence and yearning for the promised land." The production will star Christopher Lovell, Jaten Gilbert and Cary Donaldson.
Studio Theatre has extended the run of Pipeline, written by Dominique Morisseau and directed by AWOYE TIMPO in the Mead Theatre, thru February 23. 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.
Image below: Andrea Harris Smith, who plays Nya in Pipeline
Theater J is presenting Anna Ziegler’s THE WANDERERS, directed by Amber Paige McGinnis, thru March 15. The drama is about two couples whose lives couldn’t be more different; but the hidden connections between the seemingly disparate people draw the audience into an intriguing puzzle and “a deeply sympathetic look at modern love.”
Theater J will present Mark St. Germain’s play Becoming Dr. Ruth, directed by Holly Twyford and starring Naomi Jacobson, March 27-April 19. Before she became Dr. Ruth Westheimer - America’s favorite sex therapist - Karola Siegel had to flee Germany in the Kindertransport, become a sniper in Jerusalem, and survive as a single mother in America. Naomi Jacobson, who earned a Helen Hayes Award nomination for the role in an earlier production, will return to Theater J "for an unforgettable, heart-warming evening of theater."
Washington Stage Guild will present the area premiere of Sam & Dede or My Dinner with Andre the Giantby Gino DiIorio, March 19-April 12. It's "the story of one of the unlikeliest of friendships that began when an aspiring writer, an Irish expatriate in France, gave a young man (whose remarkable size made him the object of derision) rides to school each day, discussing playwriting, pro wrestling, and where their lives would lead them."
Image below: Alan Wade, at left, who plays Samuel Beckett and Scott McCormick, who plays Andre.
Woolly Mammoth is presenting Anne Washburn's Shipwreck - A History Play about 2017, directed by Saheem Ali and produced in association with The Public Theater, thru March 8. It's the sinister and sensational story of "a group of well-meaning liberals who gather at a farmhouse in upstate NY for a relaxing weekend. A son adopted from Kenya struggles to feel connected to his new family and country. And the 45th US President sends a history-altering dinner invitation."
Woolly Mammoth will present the world premiere of Paola Lázaro’s play titled There's Always the Hudson, directed by Jess McLeod, April 6-May 3. The play has been called “an unflinching look at confronting trauma, and how the bonds with our chosen family can carry us through.”
Paola Lázaro is “both a Latinx female actor and playwright, and her characters leap off the page with tremendous energy, authenticity, and depth."