Arena Stage will present the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Production of Mother Road, written by Octavio Solis & directed by Bill Rauch, February 7-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
The Anacostia Playhouse is presenting the return of RS/24 the riveting original work of Clayton LeBouef, with co-direction by Cheryl L. Hawkins and Ella C. Davis, thru February 9. The drama “explores how the lives of two characters, Hubie, a record shop owner, and a distressed Street Worker, collide one night on a chance encounter. Each is unaware that this meeting will play a significant role in carving out their destinies. RS/24 draws upon ancestral wisdom, vintage music and the return of vinyl to highlight how African American music has shaped world culture. LeBouef adds his performance in this original one-act stage production at the Anacostia Playhouse, to his growing body of work that includes productions on local, national and international stages. RS/24 celebrates ancestral wisdom, vintage music and the return of vinyl.”
Theater Alliance will present Harrison David Rivers's This Bitter Earth, directed by Otis Ramsasy-Zöe, at the Anacostia Playhouse, February 22-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 Company is presenting Pilgrims Musa & Sheri, written by Yussef El Guindi and directed by Shirley Serotsky at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, thru February 16. The production features 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.”
Mosaic Theatre will present the world premiere of Windbag the Windbag, directed by Alexsandra 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."
Atlas Performing Arts Center will present the annual Intersections Festival, February 20-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 - will present The 39 Steps, adapted by Patrick Barlow from the novel by John Buchan February 6-March 8. A cast of four actors will embody 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 will presentBoy, written by Anna Ziegler and directed by Susan Marie Rhea, February 7-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."
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 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."
WORLD STAGES will present the U.S. premiere of Huff, featuring Cliff Cardinal, in the Family Theater, February 6-8. Huff is a daring solo show by award-winning Cree actor and playwright Cliff Cardinal, who has been called "one of the most exciting new voices in Canadian theater." Cardinal portrays over a dozen characters in the play, which focuses on the disturbing realities of life on a reservation.
The play will be performed in English and is recommended for age 16 and up.
WORLD STAGES will present the U.S. premiere of Heroine - a female soldier's story in the Family Theater February 12-14. The play is about a woman – Sgt Davis - who is on a dangerous mission inside a combat zone and must work with the perpetrator of her sexual attack to get her squad home safely.
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.
The National Theatre will present the U.S. debut of The King's Speech, February 11-16. The play, written by David Seidler, is based on the true story of King George VI's struggle with a speech impediment and the friendship he formed with his unconventional speech therapist, Lionel Logue. The play inspired the 2010 Oscar-winning film starring Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush. The play is recommended for ages 13 and up.
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 Fellowship for Performing Arts will present C.S. Lewis's The Great Divorce, adapted for the stage by Max McLean and directed by Christa Scott-Reed, at the Michael R. Klein Theatre at the Lansburgh Theatre, January 30-February 9. The play is "a mesmerizing fantasy about heaven and hell brought to life on stage with Lewis's signature wit, amazing actors and dazzling, state-of-the-art projections. Four actors portray 22 characters who take a strange bus trip from hell to the outskirts of heaven, where they are given an opportunity to stay or return to hell." The cast is comprised of Joel Rainwater, Jonathan Hadley, Carol Halstead and Tom Souhrada.
Image below: Carol Halstead in The Great Divorce - Photo by Jeremy Daniel
The Shakespeare Theatre Company will present James Baldwin’s The Amen Corner, directed by Whitney White, February 11–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) will present Timon of Athens by William Shakespeare, directed by Simon Godwin in a co-production with Theatre for a New Audience, February 20–March 22. The production will mark 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.”
Studio Theatre is presenting Pipeline, written by Dominique Morisseau and directed by AWOYE TIMPO in the Mead Theatre, thru 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.
Image below: Andrea Harris Smith, who plays Nya in Pipeline
Theater J is presenting SHELTERED, written byAlix Sobler and directed by Adam Immerwahr, thru 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 features McLean Fletcher, Kimberly Gilbert, David Schlumpf, Alexander Strain and Erin Weaver.
Theater J will present Anna Ziegler’s THE WANDERERS, directed by Amber Paige McGinnis, February 19-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 is presenting the area premiere of Steven Dietz's play titled Bloomsday, thru 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."
Image below: Josh Adams as Robbie & Danielle Scott as Caithleen in BLOOMSDAY - Photo by C. Stanley Photography
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, who will be playing Samuel Beckett
Woolly Mammoth will present Anne Washburn's Shipwreck - A History Play about 2017, directed by Saheem Ali and produced in association with The Public Theater, February 10-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."