DC: Season Preview

The Fringe Festival wrapped up a month ago and September is just around the corner. That means new theatre seasons are starting across the DC region. Here’s what I’m looking forward to, and what you should be sure not to miss.

The reason I love the DC area is because it is strong in my two favorite types of theatre to attend – Shakespeare and new work. Next season is a prime example of this. Several theatre companies are bringing us works that have debuted in New York within the last couple of years.

Arena Stage: Next to Normal, a new musical by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey. Original New York director Michael Greif will be staging this production. Unfortunately original cast member Brian D’Arcy James will not be a part of this production, but this will still be an exciting event.
November 21 – January 18

Signature Theatre: Not only do we get two new musicals by Michael John LaChiusa, Giant and See What I Wanna See, but Signature will also be mounting a production of The Lieutenant of Inishmore, by my favorite living playwright, Martin McDonagh.
The Lieutenant of Inishmore: September 23 – November 16
Giant: April 28 – May 31
See What I Wanna See: April 7 – May 31

Studio Theatre: Basically Studio’s entire upcoming season is amazing. If you were going to purchase a season subscription to one theatre this year, Studio would be the one to pick. The season opens with The Road to Mecca. After their stunning production of My Children! My Africa! last season, it seems safe to assume that Studio will give us another top-notch production of an Athold Fugard play. Next up is Grey Gardens, a musical I was sad to miss when it played on Broadway. But now we all have a chance to see it in our own backyard. The season also includes a production of Rock’N’Roll, Tom Stoppard’s newest play. I did see this one in New York, and it’s not his best work, so I wouldn’t normally be inclined to see a second production so soon, except that Studio’s will be starring Ted van Griethuysen. I’m there. Studio’s 2ndstage also looks excellent, with plays such as The Receptionist, Fucking A, and Blackbird.

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company: There is always reason to be excited about a season at Woolly Mammoth. These aren’t direct from New York productions, they are world premieres given full, polished productions. Since they are new works I am, of course, not familiar with them, but Woolly’s history of well-directed, well-acted production means I will be attending them all. Woolly’s company members read like a who’s who of DC actors, so every production has someone in the cast to look forward to seeing. But if I had to pick just one production, I’m most excited about Boom, by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, which will feature Kimberly Gilbert, Sarah Marshall and Aubrey Deeker. November 3 – November 30

We in DC are fortunate to have one of the nation’s foremost Shakespearean companies in our midst, the Shakespeare Theatre Company. I am particularly excited about three of their productions this year. Be sure to catch The Way of the World by William Congreve, one of the best Restoration Comedies and The Dog in the Manger, one of Lope de Vega’s masterpieces. Veanne Cox, who was brilliant in The Beaux Strategm will be returning to DC for The Way of The World. I can’t wait to see more of her work. Most thrilling however is their season opener, an all-male production of Romeo and Juliet. As an audience member, I love all-male Shakespeare. As an actress, it always irks me. There are too few parts for us as it is, and the Shakespeare Theatre is going to take away JULIET from one of us! Fortunately, Taffety Punk is responding with their own production of Romeo and Juliet which will feature an all-female cast. These productions are must sees, especially since the role of Mercutio will be played by Aubrey Deeker and Kimberly Gilbert. This is going to be an exciting fall for Washington theatre.
The Way of the World, September 30 – November 16
Dog in a Manager, February 10 – March 29
STC’s Romeo and Juliet, September 9 – October 12
Taffety Punk’s Romeo and Juliet, September 14 – October 4

If you are one of the five people in the Washington, DC area who has not yet seen Doubt: A Parable, you haven’t missed your chance. Everyman Theatre in Baltimore will be opening their season with this fascinating play. I’ve seen the excellent production at Olney and the very good production at Elden Street Players, so I’ll try to make it up to Everyman to see their take on the play. August 27 – October 5.

CenterStage in Baltimore has a couple new works I’m excited about. First is Fabulation or, The Re-education of Undine by Lynn Nottage. This play is a 2005 OBIE Award winner. Nottage is a playwright to pay attention to – I saw her Intimate Apparel off-Broadway and loved it. Another playwright that I wish more people were familiar with is Theresa Rebeck. Her Spike Heels and Sunday on the Rocks are wonderful works that should be performed more often. CenterStage will be producing a new play of hers, The Understudy.
Fabulation or The Re-education of Undine, January 28 – March 8
The Understudy, April 24 – May 24

Catalyst Theater Company: Where else can you see cutting edge, intimate productions for only $10? The answer is nowhere else. Their production of The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui remains one of the best things I’ve seen here in the past two years. I look forward to seeing what they do this year, and you should as well.

The Kennedy Center will be mounting a new production of Ragtime, running April 18 – May 10.

Round House Theatre will be mounting Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl. I saw the recent production at 2nd Stage in New York, and it is a magical, breathtaking play. Don’t miss this. February 4 – March 1.

And perhaps most exciting of all is the fact that the new Broadway production of West Side Story will perform out-of-town at the National Theatre, December 15 – January 17.

There’s a lot to see this year, so get out there and attend some of the great theatre we have in the DC region. And then let us know what you thought of it.


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