Arena Stage is presenting Gretchen Law’s Turn Me Loose – a play about comic genius Dick Gregory – in the Kreeger Theatre through October 14. Directed by John Gould Rubin, the drama chronicles Dick Gregory’s rise as “the first Black comedian to expose audiences to racial comedy."
See the Theater J column below for information about the company's production at Arena Stage.
Atlas Performing Arts Center
Mosaic Theatre is presenting George Brant’s musical titled Marie and Rosetta, directed by Sandra L. Holloway and featuring Roz White as Rosetta Tharpe at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, thru September 30. Sister Rosetta Tharpe was “a pioneer of mid-20th-century music with a huge influence on Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jimi Hendrix, and Ray Charles. "The musical is a celebration of two extraordinary Black Women as it chronicles the unlikely first rehearsal between Rosetta and the prim young, Marie Knight, to see if the potential protégée could summon the stuff to allow for a professional partnership that might topple the male stranglehold suppressing Rosetta's career. "They would embark on a tour to establish them as one of the great duos in musical history.”
Mosaic Theatre will present Mat Smart's The Agitators, directed by KenYatta Rogers at the Atlas Performing Arts Center's Lang Theatre, October 24-November 25. The play examines “the 45-year friendship and occasional rivalry between Americans Frederick Douglass & Susan B Anthony.”
They met as young abolitionists in Rochester in the 1840s and were friends through the Civil War, although they “agitated each other as well as the country.”
The production will feature Ro Boddie as Frederick Douglass & Marni Penning as Susan B. Anthony.
Rorschach Theatre will present Iris Dauterman’s comedy titled Sing to Me Now, directed by Jenny McConnell Frederick, at Atlas Performing Arts Center, October 19-November 18.It’s about the last surviving muse Calliope, who, “drowning in the demands of a world desperate for inspiration, resorts to what any self-respecting Greek Goddess would: She hires an intern. But soon it becomes clear that Calliope is burying a deeper pain, and the fate of the universe may lie in this human intern’s unlikely ability to save her.”
Folger Theatre will present William Shakespeare's Macbeth, directed by Robert Richmond as adapted and amended by Sir William Davenant, with music performed by the Folger Consort - September 4-23.Davenant’s Restoration-era adaptation delighted audiences for most of the 18th-century. The special engagement will feature Helen Hayes Award-winners Kate Eastwoord Norris and Merrill Peakes
Images below:Kate Eastwood Norris & Ian Merrill Peakes.
The Folger Theatre will present William Shakespeare’s King John, directed by Aaron Posner, October 23-December 2. The play is about the epic struggle of John, who assumed the throne of England after the death of his older brother, King Richard the Lionheart. John’s battles with the King of France, who challenged John’s claim to the throne, is at the heart of a tale of ambition, politics, corruption, and murder. Kate Eastwood Norris will portray Philip the Bastard and Holly Twyford will play Constance, Arthur’s tragic mother.
Gala Hispanic Theatre is presenting the U.S. premiere of Como agua para Chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate), directed by Olga Sánchez, through October 7. The show is about "a young woman trapped by traditions who finds freedom in cooking so magical it inspires people to laugh, cry, and burn with desire." The production is performed in Spanish with English surtitles.
Images below: Illustrations by Mauricio Reyes for Como agua para Chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate)
Keegan Theatre will present John Strand's play titled Lincolnesque, directed by Colin Smith, September 22-October 14.Set in DC, it’s the story of a speechwriter who is in the final month of the campaign of an endangered mediocre Congressman. The writer's brother is a psychiatric outpatient recently released from St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, despite having a powerful delusion that he is Abraham Lincoln. The speechwriter turns to his brother for help writing “lincolnesque” speeches. Lincolnesque received its regional premiere at Keegan in 2009.
Theater J will present The Pianist of Willesden Lane in The Kennedy Center Family Theater, September 12-30.The settings are Vienna in 1938 and London during the Blitzkrieg. The solo production uses “tour-de-force storytelling and extraordinary live piano music to tell the true and inspiring story of Lisa Jura, a young Jewish pianist whose dream of making her concert debut at the storied Musikverein Concert Hall is dashed by the onset of World War II.” The role of Lisa Jura is performed by Jura’s daughter, Grammy®-nominated pianist Mona Golabek, and combines storytelling with live performances by Golabek of works by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, and more.
Image below: Illustration for The Pianist of Willesden Lane
The Kennedy Center will present Chicago's award-winning Theater Unspeakable's American Revolution, an event for young audiences, in the Family Theater, October 12-14.The production features seven actors on a tiny stage as it recreates the entire American fight for independence in 50 minutes.The show is suggested for ages 9+.
Image below: A scene from the show.
The Kennedy Center will present WORLD STAGES: Measure for Measure in the Eisenhower Theater, October 10-13.Shakespeare’s classic play is presented as “a mirror of modern society in a dexterously crafted adaption from director Declan Donnellan and others. The show is presented in Russian with projected English titles.The production is recommended for ages 16 and up; it includes depictions of violence and brief nudity.
Image below:A scene from Measure for Measure.
A Kennedy Center commission for young audiences titled Long Way Downwill be presented in the Family Theater, October 27-November 4. The play is based on D.C.-area native Jason Reynolds'sNew York Times best-selling book. The play is presented in free-form poetry as it tells about events that follow the shooting of a fifteen-year-old boy's brother as the boy takes an elevator down to get revenge. After all performances, special guest experts will engage audiences in a conversation that "unpacks the themes presented on stage." The production is suggested for ages 12+.
Image below: The poster for Long Way Down.
Broadway Center Stage will present the musical Little Shop of Horrors in the Eisenhower Theater, October 24-28.The science fiction camp classic will be presented in a semi-staged concert format and will feature a cast of stars from Broadway. It’s the tale of a meek, floral shop assistant who discovers a strange plant, “which will develop a soulful R&B voice and an unquenchable thirst for human flesh…..the carnivorous plant promises limitless fame and fortune to the young man as long as he continues to provide a fresh supply of blood.
Image below:The poster for Little Shop of Horrors.
The Kennedy Center will present the new musical Anastasiain the Opera House, October 30-November 25. The show was inspired by beloved films about a doomed Russian princess who takes a journey to discover the mystery of her past. The show “transports us from the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s.” The musical is recommended for ages 7 and up.
Image below:A scene from Anastasia
Stand-up Comedian Colin Quinn will perform his one-man show titled One in Every Crowd in the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater on October 6.Fans remember him from MTV, SNL, Comedy Central & more. The performance is recommended for mature audiences.
Image below:Colin Quinn.
Comedienne Lily Tomlin will perform in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall on October 17.She has starred in television, theater, motion pictures, animation, video, and social media.” Lily's many awards include seven Emmys; two Tonys, a Drama Desk Award, an Outer Critics’ Circle Award; two Peabody Awards and more.In 2003, she received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor and, in December 2014, was the recipient of the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors.
Image below:Lily Tomlin.
Vocal Arts DC will present soprano Hyesang Park in recital in the Terrace Theater on October 25. The vocalist, who is from South Korea, is a recent alumnus of Juilliard and the Metropolitan Opera's prestigious Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. Ms. Park has won several distinguished competions. She will be accompanied by pianist Ken Noda. Her program will include works by Henry Purcell, Joaquin Rodrigo, Clara Schumann, Reynaldo Hahn, Gabriel Fauré, Francis Poulenc, Maurice Ravel, and Enrique Granados.
Looking ahead to next season, the National Theatre will present the world premiere of the new pre-Broadway musical comedy BeetlejuiceOctober 14-November 18. Tickets are now on sale at http://thenationaldc.org The show will be directed by two-time Tony Award nominee Alex Timbers & choreographed by Connor Gallagher. The show will feature an original score by Eddie Perfect & and a book by Scott Brown and Emmy Award nominee Anthony King.
Image below:The logo for Beetlejuice.
The National Theatre now has tickets available for Beautiful - The Carole King Musical.The Tony® and Grammy® Award-winning Broadway smash hit will be on stage November 27-December 30. Beautiful "tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history. "Along the way, she made more than beautiful music, she wrote the soundtrack to a generation."
Image below:SarahBockel as Carole King.Photo by Matthew Murphy
Simon Godwin has been named to succeed Michael Kahn as Artistic Director of the Shakespeare Theatre Company at the completion of the 2018-2019 Season. Godwin is the Associate Director at the Royal National Theatre and has previously served as Associate Director of London’s Royal Court Theatre and Associate Director at the Bristol Old Vic in the United Kingdom. Simon was named a permanent associate of the National Theatre in 2015.Simon has also enjoyed a long-standing relationship with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC). In 2016 he directed an acclaimed Hamlet, which toured to the Kennedy Center. Simon will return to the RSC in the Fall of 2018 to direct Timon of Athens. In 2019 he will make his Tokyo debut, directing a Japanese cast in Hamlet. His productions which were staged at New York’s Roundabout Theatre Company in 2016, at the Theatre for a New Audience in 2017, and for the RSC “were celebrated for their fresh, timely and contemporary relevance.” Simon has directed “inventive classical theatre in both the United Kingdom and the U.S. and has attracted impeccably talented and diverse actors and fellow artists as collaborators.”
The Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) will present The Comedy of Errors, directed by Associate Artistic Director Alan Paul, at Sidney Harmon Hall, September 25-October 28.Shakespeare’s play about two sets of twins, each with the same name, will star STC performers. They will bring “the madcap world of The Comedy of Errors to life in all its antic, anarchic glory.”
Studio Theatre is presenting Steven Levenson’s play titled If I Forget, directed by Matt Torney, through October 14.The setting is July, 2000 as a modern Jewish family in Tenleytown, D.C. debates whether to sell their real estate on 14th Street.
Studio Theatre will present The Fall, in Studio X, October 14-November 18.The play was written by seven student activists from South Africa who grapple with the legacies of race, class, gender, history, and power still standing 24 years after the official end of Apartheid. The students wrote the play as the statue of imperialist Cecil Rhodes was dismantled at the University of Cape Town.
Theater J, which is the nation’s pre-eminent professional Jewish theater, will present its 2018-2019 season “around town” in top cultural venues throughout the city, as the historic Edlavitch DCJCC building undergoes major renovation. The company will present Anna Ziegler’s new play titled Actually, directed by Johanna Gruenhut, at Arena Stage, October 17-November 18. It’s the story of two freshmen at Princeton University who “seem to be on the same page about where their relationship is heading, until suddenly they aren’t." The play is said to investigate “the intersection of gender and race in campus politics today, offering a nuanced and psychologically rich portrait of a generation.” The production will feature Sylvia Kates and Jaysen Wright.
Washington Stage Guild will present Arlitia Jones’s play titled Summerland, directed by Kasi Campbell and featuring Steven Carpenter, Yury Lomakin and Rachel Felstein,September 27–October 21.The play, which is based on a true story, tells the mysterious tale of William H. Mumler, a spirit photographer with a talent for capturing haunting images from the world beyond the veil. At the time of the story, The Civil War had ended, and a grieving nation saw many turning to spiritualism to contact the dead. Mumler's business boomed as mourners, including a very famous one, flocked to his studio. Meanwhile, a city official made it his mission to prove that spiritualism is a fraud, "but found that harder than he'd hoped.” The company performs at The Undercroft Theatre which is on the ground (street) level of the Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church in downtown D.C.
Image below: The logo for Summerland - Image Design: Robert Sacheli
Washington Stage Guild will present Greg Jones Ellis’s comedy/drama titled All Save One, November 15-December 9.Set in Hollywood 1950, the play “reveals what goes on behind closed doors when a world-famous writer, his actress wife and his longtime secretary arrive from England only to have their comfortable household disrupted by the arrival of a handsome young priest and a film producer with a secret of his own. Add a malicious young blackmailer, and this glimpse into how Hollywood dealt with private lives is by turns darkly funny and emotionally powerful.”
Woolly Mammoth (WM) will present Gloria, a play written byBranden Jacobs-Jenkins & directed by Kip Fagan, September 3-30.The play is about “squabbling editorial assistants at one of New York's most prestigious magazines. "When an ordinary day at the office suddenly becomes a living nightmare, two survivors transform the experience into career-making stories.”