It's that time of year, when area theaters announce their 2013-14 seasons, and locals start making unofficial must-see and probably-skip lists. The Kennedy Center's big announcement earlier today was that it will host rapper Nas for a -- say what? -- collaboration with the NSO Pops. Also featured: Broadway fixtures Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin (who may always be Inigo Montoya to some); and "Flashdance -- The Musical." In less exciting news, "The Lion King" is back.
Here's a rundown of what other local theater companies are presenting in the upcoming seasons:
Signature Theatre boasts a super-sized season with a number of fresh titles, including the world premiere of “Pride in the Falls of Autrey Mill,” the new work by "Really Really" playwright Paul Downs Colaizzo.
Ford's Theatre's four-show slate kicks off with "The Laramie Project," marking the 15th anniversary of Matthew Shepard's murder.
Arena Stage, on the heels of recent artistic successes "Metamorphoses" and "Good People," boasts some big names next season. Kathleen Turner will return to star in "Mother Courage and Her Children," Bill Pullman pays a visit for "Healing Wars" and Oscar winner Estelle Parsons co-stars in "The Velocity of Autumn" alongside Tony winner Stephen Spinella.
A lot of familiar titles are on the menu at Shakespeare Theatre Company, including "The Importance of Being Earnest." The August Free for All will be the Cuba-set "Much Ado About Nothing" that premiered in 2011.
Round House starts its season on a darkly comic note with an Irish import, Martin McDonagh’s “The Beauty Queen of Leenane.” And over at the company's Silver Spring outpost, Forum Theatre will be reviving its hit, "The Last Days of Judas Iscariot."
In other theater news, the talented Idina Menzel -- of "Wicked" and "Rent" fame -- comes to National Theatre for the musical "If/Then" before it hits Broadway. And here's something to warm you up on a potentially snowy day: Fringe Festival descends on D.C. July 11-28 with 135 shows. The full schedule will be announced June 17.