February 24, 2024

Beauty Arts

The Arts Authority

Stage: Spring Arts Preview 2023

Stage: Spring Arts Preview 2023
King Lear – Shakespeare Theatre – DJ Corey

The 2022-2023 theater season is now past its halfway point, and still there is an abundance of great shows and musicals filling D.C.’s stages. Such is the testament to our city being one of America’s best theater towns in America.

There are some notable LGBTQ highlights in store, including the sapphic Hurricane Diane at Avant Bard, a staging of Tony Kushner’s extraordinary Angels in America, Part 1 at Arena, featuring Ed Gero as Roy Cohn in a role that seems custom-made for the powerhouse actor, and a production of 1776 at the Kennedy Center that includes a cast replete with performers who identify as female, non-binary, and trans. Founding fathers, indeed!

The sad news, however, is that after 29 years, Rep Stage is shutting its doors. The theater, on the campus of Howard Community College in Maryland, is being closed by the university. It’s a tremendous loss for the area and for the LGBTQ community, as Artistic Director Joseph W. Ritsch ensured the theater’s many queer-themed productions were rife with inclusivity. Rep Stage ends its run with the very same musical they launched with nearly three decades ago: William Finn and James Lapine’s wonderful LGBTQ musical, Falsettos. Bravo, Rep Stage, Bravo!

1ST STAGE

1524 Spring Hill Rd.
Mclean, Va.
703-854-1856
www.1ststage.org

  • How the Light Gets In — Four disparate people who build a community of healing and hope. Set against the inviting backdrop of a Japanese garden, the play is told like a fairytale. Directed by Alex Levy (Now-3/26)
  • Mojada — Luis Alfaro takes the chilling ancient Greek tale of Medea and re-imagines it in a Los Angeles Mexican-American immigrant community (4/20-5/7)
  • The Last Match — Played out under the bright lights of the U.S. Open Semifinals, rising Russian star Sergei Sergeyev is pitted against American great Tim Porter in an epic showdown that follows two tennis titans through pivotal moments in their lives both on-and-off the court. Directed by Alex Levy (6/8-25)

ARENA STAGE

1101 Sixth St. SW
202-488-3300
arenastage.org

  • Angels in America: Millennium Approaches — Part one of Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning opus, one of the finest gay plays ever put to paper. Directed by Hungarian filmmaker János Szász (Now-4/23, Fichandler)
  • Exclusion — An award-winning historian is thrilled when her best-selling book about the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 is optioned for a mini-series by a Hollywood mogul. Her euphoria turns to disillusionment as she finds herself constantly defending its authenticity in the struggle between what’s true and what sells (5/25-6/25, Kreeger)

AVANT BARD

Gunston Arts Center, Theatre Two
2700 S. Lang Street
Arlington, Va.
703-418-4808
www.avantbard.org

  • Julius Caesar — Kathleen Akerley’s groundbreaking modernization of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar features an ensemble of seven actors — but no Julius Caesar — as it explores the nature of political ambition and betrayal (Now-April 1)
  • Hurricane Diane — In the garden of a suburban New Jersey home, the Greek god Dionysus has arrived in the form of Diane, a lesbian permaculture gardener from Vermont in Madeleine George’s riotous evisceration of the blind eye we turn to climate change (5/18-6/10)



BALTIMORE CENTER STAGE

700 N. Calvert St.
Baltimore, Md.
410-332-0033
www.centerstage.org

  • Life is a Dream — An adaptation of Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s play by María Irene Fornés. A prince has spent his life locked in a tower because of a prophecy that he will destroy the realm. When a mysterious visitor arrives, Segismund gets his first chance at freedom. A tale of power, love, and illusion. (5/4-21)

CONSTELLATION THEATRE

1835 14th St. NW
202-204-7741
www.constellationtheatre.org

  • The School for Lies — In the heart of Paris, a beautiful, young widow hosts a posh salon and entertains her guests with satiric impressions of society’s dilettantes. An adaptation of Molière’s The Misanthrope by playwright David Ives (4/27-5/28)

EVERYMAN THEATRE

315 West Fayette St.
Baltimore, Md.
410-752-2208
www.Everymantheatre.org

  • The Sound Inside — A suspenseful drama set in an Ivy League university. Adam Rapp’s play was nominated for six Tony Awards. Directed by Vincent M. Lancisi (Now-4/2)
  • Harvey — Everyone’s favorite six-foot-tall invisible rabbit is back in this new production of Mary Chase’s sweetly affecting classic (4/25-5/21)
  • And the World Goes Round — A Kander and Ebb songbook, highlighting some of the duo’s greatest hits from their greatest shows, including “Maybe This Time,” New York, New York,” and “All That Jazz.” A co-production with Olney Theatre (6/6-7/2)

FORD’S THEATRE

511 Tenth St. NW
202-347-4833
www.fordstheatre.org

  • Shout Sister Shout! — A new musical about Sister Rosetta Tharpe, one of America’s most influential rock, R&B, and gospel crossover singers and guitarists (see our Yola interview at the start of this issue). Written by noted playwright Cheryl L. West. Directed by Kenneth L. Roberson (Now-5/13)
Shout Sister Shout – Ford’s Theatre

GALA HISPANIC THEATRE

3333 14th St. NW
202-234-7174
www.galatheatre.org

  • La Valentía (Valor) — Sanzol construye con experticia una astuta y humorística historia llena de disputas familiares y secretos sobrenaturales. Esta disparatada comedia presenta la batalla de las hermanas Trini y Guada sobre la venta de la casa familiar de veraneo, ubicada justo al lado de una ruidosa autopista. Cada una utiliza absurdas tácticas para lograr su cometido, pero pronto visitantes misteriosos llegan para crear situaciones hilarantes… pero ¿quiénes son ellos en realidad? [An expertly constructed tale brimming with family feuds and supernatural secrets. This rollicking comedy finds sisters Trini and Guada battling over whether to sell their beloved family summer home that sits next to a bustling highway. With each increasingly absurd tactic they use to get their way, the sisters encounter mysterious visitors who provide hilarious twists and turns.] By Spanish playwright Alfredo Sanzol (4/20-5/14)
  • Kumanana! — Como poetas, músicos, bailarines, coreógrafos e historiadores, los hermanos Victoria y Nicomedes Santa Cruz encabezaron el resurgimiento de las artes afroperuanas en los años 60s. Sus esfuerzos para reconstruir y presentar los olvidados géneros de la cultura afroperuana en los escenarios más prestigiosos de Lima contrarrestaron la marginalización de estas artes en un momento histórico crucial. Kumanana revive la riqueza artística propia de la comunidad afroperuana. [As poets, musicians, dancers, choreographers, and historians, Victoria and Nicomedes Santa Cruz led the resurgence of Afro-Peruvian arts in the 1960s. Their efforts to restage and reconstruct forgotten genres of Afro-Peruvian cultural history in Lima’s most prestigious theaters provided powerful resistance to their marginalization at a crucial moment in history. Celebrating the legacy of the Santa Cruz siblings in this captivating musical revue that features their own original music and writing, Kumanana shines a spotlight on the wealth of artistry from the Afro-Peruvian community.] Conceived and directed by Hugo Medrano (6/7-25)



KEEGAN THEATRE

1742 Church St. NW
202-265-3767
www.keegantheatre.com

  • Push the Button — A playful and poignant parody of modern morality written by Drew Anderson and Dwayne Lawson-Brown. The show touches on social and cultural topics with incredible wit and light-heartedness and is filled with irresistible hip hop music (3/25-4/7)
  • The Wilting Point — In this world premiere from playwright Graziella Jackson, audiences travel with Mina Melo, the producer of the award-winning podcast Clime, to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Southern Colorado, where she is reluctantly adapting Clime as a series for a new streaming entertainment company (4/13-30)
  • Seussical: The Musical — Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty’s winning musical brings to life Dr. Seuss’s characters, including Horton the Elephant, The Cat in the Hat, and the Whos (6/17-7/22)
  • Sweat — Lynn Nottage’s play tells story of a group of friends who have spent their lives sharing drinks, secrets, and laughs while working together on the factory floor. But when layoffs and picket lines begin to chip away at their trust, the friends find themselves pitted against each other in a heart-wrenching fight to stay afloat (8/19-9/16)

KENNEDY CENTER

202-467-4600
www.kennedy-center.org

  • Les Misérables — In 1986, the Kennedy Center hosted the pre-Broadway run of what has become one of the world’s most popular musicals, seen by over 130 million people worldwide. They’ve now brought the epic home (4/11-29, Opera House)
  • Broadway Center Stage: Spamalot — If you love Monty Python and the Holy Grail, you’ll flip for Python-member Eric Idle’s staged adaptation of the motion picture, featuring a chorus line of knights, men in tights, and, naturally, a vicious killer rabbit. The score will be performed onstage by the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra (5/12-21, Eisenhower)
  • The Lion King — Julie Taymor’s inventive Broadway hit, with music and lyrics by Elton John and Tim Rice, roars back into the Opera House, antelope stampede and all (6/22-7/29, Opera House)
  • 1776 — Where better than Washington, D.C. to get a reminder of the importance of the declaration of our nation’s independence, as John Adams attempts to persuade his fellow members of the Continental Congress to vote in favor of American Independence from the tyrannical British overlords. The production hails from the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University and Roundabout Theatre Company, and the cast includes performers who identify as female, non-binary, and trans (6/27-7/16, Eisenhower)
  • The Play That Goes Wrong — Just about the funniest British, door-slamming farce you’re likely to ever see on stage (7/20-8/13, Eisenhower)
  • Moulin Rouge! The Musical — Baz Luhrmann’s revolutionary film comes to life onstage, remixed in a new musical mash-up extravaganza. Directed by Tony Award winner Alex Timbers, and featuring a book by Tony Award winner John Logan (8/2-9/24, Opera House)

MOSAIC THEATER

Atlas Arts Center
1333 H St. NE
202-399-7993, x501
www.mosaictheater.org

  • Unseen — In Mona Mansour’s drama, an American conflict photographer wakes up in her ex-girlfriend’s Istanbul apartment, but doesn’t recall how she got there. The contents of her camera might shed some light (3/30-4/23)
  • One in Two — Three Black queer men sit in an ethereal waiting room inviting audiences to join them in a whimsical theatrical experiment that is equal parts harrowing, hilarious, and hopeful. Inspired by his own HIV diagnosis and the resilience of the LGBTQ community, award-winning playwright Donja R. Love shines an honest light on the people behind the statistics (6/1-25)

NATIONAL THEATRE

1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
202-628-6161
www.thenationaldc.org

  • My Fair Lady — Lerner & Loewe’s classic, directed by Bartlett Sher and boasting such classic songs as “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “The Rain in Spain,” “Wouldn’t it be Loverly” and “On the Street Where You Live (4/6-9)
  • Disney’s Aladdin — The flying carpet alone will blow your mind (4/19-30)
  • Beetlejuice — It got its pre-Broadway tryout at The National and now it’s back to stir up the oddball haunts inspired by Tim Burton’s classic (5/16-28)
  • Hadestown — Anaïs Mitchell’s musical intertwines two mythic tales, that of young dreamers Orpheus and Eurydice, and that of King Hades and his wife Persephone, as it ventures to the underworld and back (6/6-18)

OLNEY THEATRE CENTER

2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Rd.
Olney, Md.
301-924-3400
www.olneytheatre.org

  • A Nice Indian Boy — Madhuri Shekar’s play deals with the fallout from an Indian family’s gay son bringing home a white boyfriend. An inter-generational, inter-cultural comedy about acceptance (Now-4/16, Theatre Lab)
  • And The World Goes Round — A Kander and Ebb songbook, conceived by David Thompson, Scott Ellis, and Susan Stroman, highlighting some of the duo’s greatest hits from their greatest shows, including “Maybe This Time,” New York, New York,” and “All That Jazz.” A co-production with Everyman Theatre (4/19-5/21, Mainstage)
  • Fela! — Olney joins forces with Round House to present this epic production of the Tony Award-winning musical, the first professional production anywhere in the world since its national tour more than ten years ago. Book by Bill T. Jones and Jim Lewis, and music by Fela Kuti (7/7-8/13)


REP STAGE

10901 Little Patuxent Parkway
Columbia, Md.
443-518-1500
www.repstage.org

  • Falsettos — It was the very first production Rep Stage stage when it opened its doors 29 years ago. The storied company now closes its final season with William Finn and James Lapine’s groundbreaking, Tony Award-winning musical. The show revolves around the life of a charming, intelligent, neurotic gay man, his wife, lover, about-to-be-Bar-Mitzvahed son, their psychiatrist, and the lesbians next door. Directed by Joseph W. Ritsch (4/27-5/14)

ROUND HOUSE THEATRE

4545 East-West Highway
Bethesda, Md.
240-644-1100
www.roundhousetheatre.org

  • On the Far End — Muscogee leader Ella Jean Hill traces her family’s history from the Trail of Tears to her grandfather’s allotment in central Oklahoma in this astonishing one-woman play (3/28-5/7)
  • Jennifer, Who is Leaving — A familiar and hilarious exploration of the expectations placed on women, the physical, mental, and emotional labor of being a caregiver, and what happens when we reach our breaking point. Written and directed by Morgan Gould (3/30-5/7)
  • Radio Golf — The final entry in August Wilson’s extraordinary play cycle chronicling 20th-century Black life in America decade-by-decade. Directed by Reginald Douglas (6/7-7/2)
  • Fela! — Round House joins forces with Olney to present this epic production of the Tony Award-winning musical, centering on the life of musician, activist, and global superstar Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Book by Bill T. Jones and Jim Lewis, and music by Fela Kuti (7/7-8/13, at Olney’s Mainstage)

SHAKESPEARE THEATRE COMPANY

Sidney Harman Hall
610 F Street NW
202-547-1122
www.shakespearetheatre.org

  • King Lear — Patrick Page (Hadestown, The Gilded Age) returns to STC as the once-revered king caught in an emotional hurricane ravaging his home, head, and heart (Now-4/16, Klein)
  • The Jungle — An extraordinary panorama of the people suffering, dreaming, and surviving in a camp of stateless citizens in Calais, France. A co-presentation with Woolly Mammoth (3/28-4/16, Harman)
  • Goddess — Inspired by the myth of Marimba, who created beautiful songs from her heartbreak, Goddess is a rousing tale of romance, the supernatural, and the quest of stepping into one’s true identity (5/25-6/25, Harman)

SIGNATURE THEATRE

4200 Campbell Ave.
Arlington, Va.
703-820-9771
www.sigtheatre.org

  • Selling Kabul — A suspenseful drama about family and sacrifice from an exciting new voice (Now-4/2, Ark)
  • Pacific Overtures — A stunning exploration of tradition and transformation based on historical events, this innovative epic of East meets West is one of Sondheim’s most ambitious and rarely produced musicals (3/7-4/9, Max)
  • Passing Strange — Music is the freight train to ride for this electrifying Tony Award-winning travelogue of identity, acceptance and love (4/25-6/18, Ark)
  • Sweeney Todd — Sondheim’s masterpiece is a savory Victorian melodrama, as a barber’s thirst for vengeance against the corrupt judge who sent him away leads him on a murderous spree (5/16-7/9, Max)

STUDIO THEATRE

1501 14th St. NW
202-332-3300
studiotheatre.org

  • Clyde’s — Pulitzer Prize-winner Lynn Nottage’s sweet and savory comedy trades in wonder, Wonder Bread, and the healing powers of food (Now-4/2, Victor Shargai)
  • Good Bones — Pulitzer Prize-winner James Ijames explores gentrification and belonging, displacement and upward mobility, and being haunted by a legacy you’re only just beginning to understand (5/10-6/11, Milton)
  • Fun Home — The Tony Award-winning story of a daughter and father, of coming out and coming to terms with a life shaped by a family’s secret (6/24-7/19, Milton)

THEATER J

1529 16th St. NW
202-777-3210
www.theaterj.org

  • Gloria: A Life — Holly Twyford directs Emily Mann’s celebration of Gloria Steinem (Now-4/2)
  • One Jewish Boy — In this bittersweet, sophisticated and quick-fire new British comedy about antisemitism, Jesse, a nice Jewish boy, falls in love with Alex, a nice mixed-race girl. The play received a massive antisemitic response when the UK production opened in 2018 — posters were defaced, and playwright Stephen Laughton received death threats (6/7-7/2)

WASHINGTON STAGE GUILD

900 Massachusetts Ave. NW
240-582-0050
www.stageguild.org

  • Ben Butler — When a runaway slave makes an eloquent plea for sanctuary in not-yet-seceded Virginia, whose laws must a Union general follow? (Now-4/16)

WOOLLY MAMMOTH

641 D St. NW
202-393-3939
www.woollymammoth.net

  • The Jungle — An extraordinary panorama of the people suffering, dreaming, and surviving in a camp of stateless citizens in Calais, France. A co-presentation with Shakespeare Theatre (3/28-4/16, Shakespeare’s Harman Hall)
  • The Nosebleed — Aya Ogawa’s absurd autobiographical vignettes delve into the sh*tshow of parenthood, as both parent and child, and what it takes to forgive (3/31-4/23)
  • Incendiary — Tanya is a Black mother determined to break her son out of prison — or die trying. A collision of the hilarious and tragic, harnessing comic books and video games to explore generational trauma and daring heroism (5/29-6/25)

For more D.C. theater highlights and reviews throughout the year, read Metro Weekly’s digital magazine. Click here to subscribe for free.