Editors' pick

Free Night of Theater

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Editorial Review

Area Stages Offer Theater For Free

Friday, September 25, 2009

If there's one thing we've learned during this economic downturn, it's to never miss a chance to go out on someone else's tab.

The upcoming Free Night of Theater offers just such a chance. The annual national event enlists theaters to give away a chunk of seats to one show. Locally, the "free night" will feel more like many nights and many performances, with theaters including Folger, Theater J and Woolly Mammoth freeing up 3,000 tickets to select shows from Oct. 6 to Nov. 19. And new this year, the Washington National Opera is offering tickets to "Ariadne auf Naxos."

"It's a great way to level the playing field and invite everyone to come see a show," says Lauren Beyea of Ford's Theatre.

Tickets (up to two per person and limited to one performance) will be available beginning Thursday at noon through the League of Washington Theatres' Web site, http://www.lowt.org, and they will go quickly.

A peek at some of the offerings:

-- Ford's Theatre is opening one performance of "Black Pearl Sings!," about an imprisoned woman asked to give up the songs of her African American ancestors to the Library of Congress. Free Night of Theater date: Oct. 15. Number of free tickets: 163.

-- Solas Nua turns its Flashpoint space into a club for "Danny & Chantelle (Still Here)," a U.S. premiere of an Irish play about a pair of hard-partying friends whose hearts may be as tangled as their heads. Dates: Nov. 11 and both shows Nov. 13. Number of free tickets: 55 (the whole house) on Nov. 11; 25 for each show Nov. 13.

-- Synetic Theatre gives its 2005 visually arresting "Dracula" -- one of the theater's most successful shows -- another go at the Rosslyn Spectrum. Dates: Oct. 15-18. Number of free tickets: 400 over the four days.

-- Teatro de la Luna will offer a handful of tickets to three performances in its International Hispanic Theatre Festival series. Dates: Oct. 15 ("Letter From a Stranger"); Oct. 22 ("Fan of a Single Woman"); Oct. 29 ("Walking in Light"). Number of free tickets: 10 tickets per show.

-- Lavanya Ramanathan