Arena Stage is presenting The Pajama Game, with music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, directed by Alan Paul & choreographed by Parker Esse, on the Fichandler Stage, thru December 24.It’s the classic musical set in a pajama factory, where the new superintendent has fallen for the trouble-making head of the union grievance committee. “Sparks really start to fly when a workers’ strike pits management against labor and ignites an outrageous battle of the sexes.”The lively songs include “Steam Heat,” "Hernando’s Hideaway” and more.
Arena Stage is presenting Nina Simone: Four Women - written by Christina Ham, directed by Timothy Douglas and starring Harriett D. Foy - in the Kreeger Theater, thru December 24.The esteemed songstress Nina Simone has been celebrated for her signature renditions of standards from the American songbook, but the loss of four little girls in a devastating explosion in Birmingham, Alabama on September 15, 1963 led her to find her true voice through storytelling & song. Simone’s activist themes, including “Four Women,” “Mississippi Goddam,” “Old Jim Crow” and “To Be Young, Gifted and Black,” helped define the sound of the Civil Rights Movement.
Image below:Illustration by Uli Knorzer
Arena Stage will present Mary Kathryn Nagle’s play Sovereignty, directed by Molly Smith, in the Kreeger Theater, January 12-February 18.The production will be the fourth in Arena Stage’s Power Plays initiative, as it “travels the intersections of personal and political truths, historic and present struggles.” The play tells the story of Sarah Ridge Polson, a young Cherokee lawyer fighting to restore her Nation’s jurisdiction as she confronts the ever-present ghosts of her grandfathers. The story stretches from the 1830s Cherokee Nation (now present-day Georgia) and Andrew Jackson’s White House to the Cherokee Nation in present-day Oklahoma. Sovereignty “asks how high the flames of anger can rise before they ultimately consume the truth.”
Image below:The logo for Sovereignty by Goni Montez
Folger Theatre will present The Way of the World, a new comedy adapted from the classic play by William Congreve, written and directed by Theresa Rebeck, January 9-February 11.A physical comedy, it’s the story of “a sweet-natured woman with just a little baggage—a $600 million inheritance." The play is set among the one percent, where money and status determine everything………”
Ford’s Theatre is presenting A Christmas Carol, as the theatre has done for more than 35 years, thru December 31. The ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future lead the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge on a journey of transformation and redemption. The production was originally conceived by Michael Baron, and the “music-infused production captures the magic and joy of Charles Dickens’s Yuletide classic.” Acclaimed actor Craig Wallace returns to Ford’s to play Ebenezer Scrooge. The show is recommended for ages 5 and older.
Ford’s Theatre will present Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Jefferson’s Garden, which is a drama set during the American Revolution, January 19-February 11.The play, directed by Nataki Garrett, is said to explore “the contradictions between our founding fathers’ ideals and the realities of freedom in America. The story centers on a Quaker pacifist, who defies his family to fight in the American Revolution, and an enslaved woman who is tempted to fight for the British when they promise her liberty. On their travels, they cross paths with Thomas Jefferson, George Mason and Sally Hemings as the tale moves from Revolutionary battlefields to Paris to Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello. The play is part of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival.
Keegan Theatre is presenting Top Girlsby Caryl Churchill, directed by Amber Paige McGinnis, thru December 2.The setting is a dinner party in a London restaurant where a woman is celebrating her promotion to managing director of Top Girls employment agency.Her guests are five women from the past! They play was the 1983 Obie Award-winner for Best Play.
Keegan Theatre will present An Irish Carol, an original work written by Dublin native & Keegan company member Matthew J. Keenan & directed by Mark A. Rhea, December 14-31. The play is set in a modern Dublin pub, where “the wealthy pub owner who has lost touch with his own humanity in the interest of self-protection and material success. But on this Christmas Eve – challenged by a voice from the past, provoked by those in this present, and faced with the reality of a lonely future – David’s life may change forever.”
Keegan Theatre will present the DC premiere of Paul Slade Smith’s modern-day comedy titled Unnecessary Farce, directed by Ray Ficca, January 19-February 10.The tale is set “in a cheap motel room, where an embezzling mayor is supposed to meet with his female accountant, while in the room next door, two undercover cops wait to catch the meeting on videotape. But there’s some confusion as to who’s in which room, who’s being videotaped, who’s taken the money, who’s hired a hit man, and why the accountant keeps taking off her clothes.”
The Kennedy Center is presenting the world premiere of a musical adaptation titled Me...Jane: The Dreams & Adventures of Young Jane Goodall, directed by Aaron Posner, in the Family Theater, thru December 10. The Kennedy Center commission, with music & lyrics by Andy Mitton, is about “young Dr. Jane Goodall and her special toy chimpanzee Jubileeas they learn about the world around them and the importance of protecting all living species.” The cast features Eymard Cabling, Sam Ludwig, Tracy Lynn Olivera, Awa Sal Secka, and Erin Weaver as Young Jane. The show is most enjoyed by age 6 and up.
Image below: The logo for the show.
The Kennedy Center will presentGobsmacked! In the Eisenhower Theater, November 24-26.It’s a “mind-blowing, next-generation vocal show—the latest sensation from the UK—featuring reigning world champion beatboxer Ball-Zeeand an international cast of vocalists. Gobsmacked! weaves stories through all forms of a cappella, guaranteeing audiences will leave with a song in their hearts and smiles on their faces.” For those of us who didn’t know, “beatboxing” is a form of vocal percussion that mimicks drum machines, using one's mouth, lips, tongue, and voice.
The Kennedy Center will celebrate the centennial of Swedish Film Director Ingmar Bergman (1918–2007) in December.Bergman’s wife and muse, celebrated director Liv Ullmann, has expanded his 1996 film titled Live Confessionsinto a stage adaptation which delves into the realms of infidelity, family relationships, loneliness, and the weighty results of keeping secrets deep within. The U.S. premiere of the play will be performed by the National Theatre of Norway in the Eisenhower Theater, December 6-9. The play will be performed in Norwegian with projected English titles.
The production is recommended for age 16 and up.
Image below: Liv Ullmann
The Second City will present Twist Your Dickens in the Kennedy Center Theater Lab, December 5-31. “The legendary comedy troupe brings its infamous improvisational skills and sketch comedy mastery to the timeless tale of Ebenezer Scrooge.” The show is a “wicked parody" of “the night before Christmas” with Tiny Tim, three ridiculous ghosts, and a brilliant cast of The Second City’s funniest comedians. Complete with an abundance of audience participation, this seasonal satire—written by former The Colbert Report writers Peter Gwinn and Bobby Mort—is the perfect holiday event.” The show is recommended for age 16 and up.
Image below:A scene from Twist Your Dickens
The Kennedy Center will present The Illusionists in the Eisenhower Theater, December 27-January 7.The show will come direct from Broadway & has been called “the world’s best-selling magic show.” The Illusionists sold out shows in their appearance at the Kennedy Center in 2015.The “mind-blowing spectacular showcases the jaw-dropping talents of the most incredible Illusionists on earth.” The show is recommended for age 7 & up.
Image below:The Illusionists
Casa Mañana Theatre from Ft. Worth, Texas will present the musical Mr. Popper’s Penguins in the Kennedy Center Family Theater, December 22-31. Some feathery friends will be “out of their element in this fresh and funny musical adaptation of Richard and Florence Atwater’s popular book.” Set in the small town of Stillwater, it’s about a painter and decorator - Mr. Popper – whose home is overrun by a bunch of boisterous black-and-white penguins! The show features catchy songs and penguin puppets aplenty, as well as songs that “will leave you chirping with cheer!”
The show is most enjoyed by age 3 and up.
Image below: A scene from Mr. Popper’s Penguins
The Kennedy Center will present On Your Feet!in the Opera House, January 9-28. The show tells the real-life story of Emilio & Gloria Estefan, who came from humble beginnings in Cube to America and “broke through all barriers to become a crossover sensation at the very top of the pop music world. But just when they thought they had it all, they almost lost everything.” Directed by two-time Tony Award® winner Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots), with choreography by Olivier Award winner Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys), and an original book by Academy Award® winner Alexander Dinelaris (Birdman), On Your Feet! features “some of the most iconic songs of the past quarter century—and one of the most inspiring stories in music history.” The show is recommended for age 8 and up.
Image below: A scene from On Your Feet!
The Kennedy Center will present The Humansin the Eisenhower Theatre, January 9-28. The play “takes place over the course of a family dinner on Thanksgiving. As darkness falls and eerie things start to go bump in the night, the Blake clan’s deepest fears and greatest follies are laid bare. Our modern age of anxiety is keenly observed in this new American classic that won the 2016 Tony Award® for Best Play.” The play’s all-star cast includes Emmy® winner and Tony® nominee Richard Thomas. The show is recommended for age 15 & up.
Image below: The logo for The Humans.
The Kennedy Center will present Digging Up Dessa, which is a world premiere written by Laura Schellhardt& directed by Rives Collins, in the Family Theater, February 3-18. The theme of the show is that “from dinosaur bones to hidden memories, the world is filled with buried treasures just waiting to be uncovered. Dessa, a girl in the 21st-century century, sets out to dig up some super-sized discoveries with help from a remarkable friend—the pioneering 19th-century English paleontologist Mary Anning.” After a field trip to a museum reveals that Mary Anning’s legacy has been buried by history because of her gender and lack of formal education, Dessa decides that she’s going to fight to earn her friend the credit she deserves.”
The show is recommended for Age 10+
Image below: The logo for Digging Up Dessa
Mosaic Theatre is presenting Vicuña & The American Epilogue - an area & world premiere by Jon Robin Baitz, directed by Robert Egan, at the Atlas Performing Arts Center’sLang Theatre, thru November 26. It's the story of an Iranian tailor, Amir, and his apprentice as they struggle to make a custom-suit out of vicuña wool for an unlikely customer—a real-estate tycoon preparing for the final presidential debate. The play was originally produced during the 2016 election, and this newly-updated version is followed by a world premiere Epilogue drawn from the playwright’s own headline-making experience coming to DC on the night of the inauguration to be a witness to history, only to find himself--like his character Amir--becoming a casualty of it.”
Image below: The poster for Vicuña & The American Epilogue
Mosaic Theatre is presenting The Real Americans - in rep with Draw the Circle - written & performed by Dan Hoyle& directed by Charlie Varon at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, Lab II, thruDecember 22. The Real Americans wasinspired by 100 days travelling in a van through small-town America. Actor/journalist Hoyle enacts a multi-character encounter with the people at ground zero of our country’s growing economic inequality and polarized politics.”
Draw the Circlewas written by & will be performed by Mashuq Mushtaq Deen, directed by Chay Yew, at the Atlas's Lab II, as mentioned above, December 1-24. “Gender transition can be a test for any household—but when Mashuq Mushtaq Deen comes out to his conservative Muslim family, traditional values and Western ideals collide in an hilarious and moving immigration journey unlike any other. Told entirely from the point of view of family and friends, yet performed by Deen himself, Draw the Circle is a moving story about survival, transition, and unconditional love.”
Mosaic Theatre will present the world premiere of Caleen Sinnette Jennings’s Queens Girl in Africa, directed by Paige Hernandez and featuring Erika Rose at the Atlas Performing Arts Center’s Lang Theatre, January 4-February 4.The production will be part of the 2018 Women’s Voices Theater Festival. The play is about “Jacqueline Marie Butler as she and her family sail to Nigeria following the assassination of her father’s close friend, Malcolm X.”It’s “a touching coming-of-age story of a woman finding her place in Civil War-torn Nigeria."
The Museum of the Bible is presenting the Broadway production titled Amazing Grace: The Musical on the museum's World Stage, thru January 7, 2018. The musical inaugurates the new, state-of-the-art theatre. The venue showcases "a first-of-its-kind, digital mapping system that transforms the theater space into a virtual canvas, surrounding the audience with an environment that enhances what they see on stage." The musical commemorates the 269th anniversary of the conversion of John Newton, the composer of Amazing Grace, from a brutal slave trader to a committed Reformer and Christian who would ultimately pen the “hymn of hymns.” The show "tells the story of how the song came to be and is said to elicits widespread gasps and cheering from the audience.”
Image below: The entrance to the Museum of the Bible
The National Theatre is presenting the world premiere ofMeanGirls, directed by Tony® winner Casey Nicholaw, thru December 3 - prior to its opening on Broadway.The new musical has a book by Tina Feywithoriginal music by Jeff Richmond and lyrics by Nell Benjamin. The show's about a sheltered young girl who moves to a new school, where she encounters unfamiliar personalities and challenges.The show is said to be "full of razor-sharp wit and remarkable insight, as it takes a look at friendships — and human nature — through a ferociously funny lens." The show is produced by Lorne Michaels and Stuart Thompson. Image below: The logo for Mean Girls
The National Theatre will present Cameron Mackintosh’s production Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s Tony Award-winning musical LES MISÉRABLES, December 20-January 7. Tickets went on sale on September 22.
The celebrated production will come to The National Theatre direct from a two-and-a-half year Broadway engagement. The production features new staging and “dazzlingly reimagined scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo…. Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, LES MISÉRABLES tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption – a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. The musical has one of the greatest scores of all time, with thrilling and beloved songs including “I Dreamed A Dream,” “On My Own,” “Stars," “Bring Him Home,” “One Day More,” “Do You Hear the People Sing” and many more.”
The National Theatre will present ThePianoGuys performing their new live show titled Christmas Together, December 13-16.The popular classical/pop crossover act features a special holiday spin on “their one-of-a-kind arrangements and comedic charm.” The four talented dads from Utah became superstars via immensely successful YouTube videos.
The National Theatre will present Travis Wall’s Shaping Sound After the Curtain on January 24. The show, conceived & choreographed by two-time Emmy Award winner Travis Wall, tells the story of a man fighting to find his creative voice after the death of his one true love. Triangle Magazine described After The Curtain as “the pinnacle of contemporary dance!” Wall was the runner-up for the popular Fox reality show So You Think You Can Dance Season 2 and is now a resident choreographer for the show.He won an Emmy in 2015 and has been nominated seven consecutive times.
Scena Theatre will present the U.S. premiere of Australian playwright John Shand’s Guilt, directed by Robert McNamara, at Atlas Performing Arts Center, January 10-February 4.Shand won the Walkley Arts Journalism Award - Australia’s most prestigious arts writing award, for the play. The play, which has been called “a powerful opera without music” tells “the story of a philandering priest named Grandier (1590-1634). The nuns in his convent fall in love with him—and the church believes that he has cast a spell on them. So Grandier is unmercifully burned at the stake. This riveting play traces the accusers' remorse and denial over burning an innocent man. Guilt is a bold metaphor for the culture of lies, clash of religions, and rejection of human rights in modern times.”
The Shakespeare Theatre Company is presenting Twelfth Night, directed by Ethan McSweeny, in Sidney Harman Hall, thru December 20. The tale of a girl who has been shipwrecked on the coast of Illyria features “an explosive love triangle in which identity, passion and gender all threaten to come undone.” Visit http://www.shakespearetheatre.org/
The Shakespeare Theatre Company will present William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, starring Michael Urie & directed by Michael Kahn, in Sidney Harman Hall, January 16-February 25. Michael Urie studied at Julliard, where he was taught by Michael Kahn. He first gained fame for his starring role on television in the hit comedy series titled Ugly Betty. This Hamlet will “undoubtedly constitute the last version of Shakespeare’s emblematic tragedy that Kahn will stage for the company, from which he retires at the end of the 2018-2019 season. The production promises “to give life to the greatest character of Western literature as he confronts the line between madness and inspiration.”
Studio Theatre will present Rachel Bonds’s comic play Curve of Departure, directed by Mike Donahue, November 29-January 7, 2018.The tale takes place the night before a funeral, “as family members gather in a single hotel room in New Mexico, shuffling sleeping arrangements, dealing with absent family members, and preparing for their uncertain futures.” The theme is “family, funerals, and an uncertain future.”
Studio Theatre Studio X will present the world premiere of Daniel Kitson’s show titled A Short Series of Disagreements Presented Here in Chronological Order, November 8-25.Supported by Studio R&D, Studio’s New Works initiative, the show “is likely to be both funny and thoughtful, absurd and serious, rich with humanity and riddled with frustration.”
Studio Theatre will present The Wolves, written by Sarah Delappe & directed by Marti Lyons, January 17-March 4.The play explores the violence and teamwork of sports and adolescence, as "it follows a pack of 16-year-old girls who turn into warriors on the field."
Theater J will present Alfred Uhry’s play titled The Last Night of Ballyhoo, directed by Amber McGinnis, November 29-December 31.“The year is 1939 and Atlanta’s posh German Jews are preparing for Ballyhoo, their annual lavish country club ball. The Freitag family hopes that the party of the year will be the chance for their daughters to meet their future husbands—but when their uncle brings home his new employee, a handsome Eastern European bachelor from Brooklyn, everyone must confront their own prejudices, desires, and beliefs.” The play, by the writer of Driving Miss Daisy, won a Tony Award for Best Play.
Theater J will present the East Coast premiere of Everything is Illuminatedby Simon Block, adapted from the book by Jonathan Safran Foer & directed by Aaron Posner, January 11-February 4.The play “tells the story of a young man — also named Jonathan Safran Foer — who sets out to find the woman who might or might not have saved his grandfather. Accompanied by an old man haunted by memories of the war, an amorous dog named Sammy Davis, Jr. and a young Ukrainian translator who speaks in a sublimely butchered English, Jonathan takes a quixotic journey into an unexpected past, where reality collides with fiction in a heart-stopping scene of extraordinary power.”
Washington Stage Guild will present A Child’s Christmas in Wales & Other Storiesadapted byBill Largess, November 24-December 17.“An evening of works adapted from Dylan Thomas, Charles Dickens, AA Milne, Louisa May Alcott and others, will receive its world premiere in a warm and nostalgic production.”
Image below: The poster for A Child's Christmas in Wales & Other Stories.
Washington Stage Guild will present the area premiere of Arlene Hutton’s play titled See Rock City, January 18-February 11. The story is set in the height of World War II, as a young couple have returned home for Kentucky “to figure out their lives. Their two very different mothers have plenty of ideas for them, but the war’s progression affects them all, and leads to a heartwarming, bittersweet conclusion.” The young couple was introduced in last season’s uplifting hit play Last Train to Nibroc.Wood Van Meter and Lexi Langs, who played the lead roles in the previous production, will return to perform in See Rock City.
Woolly Mammoth Theatre is presenting Felonious Munk’s Nothing to Lose (But Our Chains), directed by Billy Bungeroth, thru December 31. The show tells “the hilarious and harrowing story of how one Black man went from six years in a state prison to a six-figure job in corporate America to a new life as an activist and satirist. Performed by Felonious and a cast of Chicago’s sharpest comedians, the latest installment in the long-running partnership between Woolly and The Second City will combine sketch, stand-up, and music to remind us that true freedom comes only from within.”
Image below: Felonious Munk in Nothing to Lose (But Our Chains) - Photo by Scott Suchman