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What's on Stage in January

A look at some of Washington's major theater debuts

By Jen Chaney
washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Friday, January 7, 2005;

Continuing its focus on Russian works, the Studio Theatre presents "Black Milk," a play about a pair of grifters from Moscow attempting to take advantage of unsuspecting patrons at a rural bus station. If you're a student, don't forget to take advantage of the half-price rush tickets, available a half-hour before curtain for theatergoers with full-time student IDs.
(Jan. 5-Feb. 13)

Between the success of "The DaVinci Code" and the influence of "moral values" on last year's presidential election, religion has been a hot-button topic in recent months. And that makes it ripe for satire, at least according to Charter Theatre Company, which presents "Sacred Cows" at the National Conservatory of the Dramatic Arts. Two actors play more than 50 roles, enough to even impress Ned Flanders, Homer Simpson's neighbor who takes his faith most seriously. (Jan. 5-30)

The newly refurbished Tivoli Theatre officially becomes the home of GALA Hispanic Theatre this month. (Lauren Victoria Burke - For The Washington Post)

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You've probably heard this line before: "Years from now, when you talk about this -- and you will -- be kind." But did you know it comes from the play (later a movie) "Tea and Sympathy"? American Century Theater attempts to remind you with a production of the rarely performed 1953 drama at the Gunston Arts Center. (Jan. 6-Feb. 5)

It once was a movie palace. Now it's a center for Latino arts and culture. The renovated Tivoli Theatre is the new home for GALA Hispanic Theatre, a 29-year-old professional, local Latino theater troupe. To celebrate, GALA's hosting two days of free activities as part of its Homecoming Opening Festivities. On Saturday, Jan. 8, from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., enjoy free performances and tours of the new venue. On Sunday, Jan. 9, from 2 to 4 p.m., bring the family to GALA's traditional Three Kings Day, with more performances and a petting zoo for the kids.

Don't expect to hear any Disney songs in the Kirov Ballet's version of "Cinderella." For those, you should check out "On the Record" (see below for details). If, however, you'd like to see exquisite dance by one of the foremost troupes in the world, then by all means head to the Kennedy Center for one of the production's seven performances. (Jan. 11-16)

Joyce Carol Oates is one of the country's most preeminent and prolific writers. She's twice been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in Literature and has been a finalist on three occasions for the Pulitzer Prize. So it's a big deal that Theater J will unveil the world premiere of Oates's "The Tattoed Girl," a stage adaptation of her novel about a Jewish writer's stormy relationship with an anti-Semitic personal assistant. Buy tickets for the play before Jan. 16 and get a $5 discount. See it at the D.C. Jewish Community Center.(Jan. 11-Feb. 20

Hungry for new, offbeat plays? Take in several at once during the Winter Carnival of New Works, co-presented by the Madcap Players and Theater Alliance at the H Street Playhouse. Come on Jan. 13 and pay what you can for a ticket. For other performances, tickets are $15, still a bargain in my book. (Jan. 13-23)

Wherefore art thou, Romeo? At the Folger Theatre, which presents its version of "Romeo and Juliet" this month. The production is directed by PJ Paparelli, author of the play "Columbinus," which will debut at Round House in March. (Jan. 12-Feb. 20)

Caryl Churchill's latest play, "A Number," is winning raves in New York. If you can't make it to New York, catch one of this celebrated British playwright's earlier works, "Cloud 9," presented by Catalyst Theater at Capitol Hill Arts Workshop. Pay-what-you-can performances are Jan. 13 and 14. (Jan. 13-Feb. 19)

Question: Do the comedy stylings of Mark Russell ever grow old? Answer: Apparently not. The crooning political satirist comes back to Ford's Theatre for a series of performances timed (coincidentally we're sure) with the presidential inauguration. (Jan. 18-23)

The prospect of a musical filled with songs from Disney movies either (a) fills you with feelings of unadulterated delight or (b) makes you want to retch. If you're in the former category, you'll be excited to know that "On the Record" -- a revue peppered with tunes from "Mary Poppins," "The Little Mermaid," "Snow White," "Aladdin" and many others -- opens at the National Theatre on Jan. 18. If you're in the latter category, you'll want to avoid the National for the latter half of January. (Jan. 18-30)

Jeffrey Carlson has been seen on Broadway in "The Goat, or Who is Syliva?" and, more recently, starring as '80s pop artist Marilyn in the short-lived Boy George musical, "Taboo." Now you can see him at the Shakespeare Theatre in its production of "Lorenzaccio," a French drama about political treachery. (Jan. 18-March 6)

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