October 5, 2017 at 3:12 PM
The weekly feature of what's happening on Washington stages.
The variables are cleverly manipulated in Forum Theater's "Love and Information," the brisk brainteaser from Caryl Churchill, while the 1960s Harold Pinter one-acts "The Lover" and "The Collection" are packed with dose of sultry menace at the Shakespeare Theatre Company.
In the ETC. category, also note Matthew Bourne's dance-theater adaptation of the 1948 film "The Red Shoes" at the Kennedy Center's Opera House starting Tuesday.
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"An Act of God." The David Javerbaum comedy that featured "The Big Bang"'s Jim Parsons as God on Broadway; Tom Story plays Him here. Through Nov. 26 at Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Tickets $40-$104, subject to change. Call 703-820-9771 or visit sigtheatre.org.
"Antony & Cleopatra." Shirine Babb and Cody Nickell play the title roles in Robert Richmond's production. Oct. 10-Nov. 19 at Folger Theatre, 201 East Capitol St. SE. Tickets $35-$79. Call 202-544-7077 or visit folger.edu.
"Are You Now or Have You Ever Been." A blues-poetry portrait of Langston Hughes preparing to testify before Joseph McCarthy's committee in the 1950s, by Carlyle Brown and with music by William Knowles. Through Nov. 5 at MetroStage, 1201 N. Royal St., Alexandria. Tickets $55-$60. Call 800-494-8497 or visit metrostage.org.
"Assassins." The Stephen Sondheim-John Weidman musical, staged by Pallas Theatre Collective (a separate "Assassins" begins Oct. 19 at Next Stop in Herndon). Through Oct. 15 at the Logan Fringe Arts Space's Trinidad Theater, 1358 Florida Ave., NE. Tickets $25. Call 866-811-4111 or visit pallastheatre.org.
"The Effect." A love story in an antidepressant milieu by British "Enron" playwright Lucy Prebble. Through Oct. 29 at Studio Theatre, 1501 14th St. NW. Tickets $20-$55. Call 202-332-3300 or visit studiotheatre.org.
"Emilie: La Marquise Du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight." An area premiere by the nationally busy playwright Lauren Gunderson about the early 18th century French intellectual who died in childbirth. Oct. 12-Nov 19 at Gunston Arts Center Theater II, 2700 S. Lang St., Arlington. Tickets $35. Call 703-418-4808 or visit wscavantbard.org.
"I'll Get You Back Again." The premiere of Sarah Gancher's 1960s-tinged play with live rock music, directed by Rachel Chavkin of Broadway's "Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812." Through Oct. 29 at Round House Theatre, 4545 East-West Hwy., Bethesda. Tickets $36-$65. Call 240-644-1100 or visit roundhousetheatre.org.
"The Mistress Cycle." Portraits of five women across the centuries, including Anais Nin. Music by Jenny Giering, book and lyrics by Beth Blatt. Through Oct. 29 at Creative Cauldron, 410 S. Maple Avenue, Falls Church. Tickets $30. Call 703-436-9948 or visit creativecauldron.org.
"Our Town." Directed by Aaron Posner of "Stupid F-ing Bird" and numerous Shakespearean stagings, including a "Measure for Measure" with puppets in supporting roles (Bunraku puppets will depict the supporting townspeople here). Through Nov. 12 at the Olney Theatre Center, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Rd. Tickets $54-$74. Call 301-924-3400 or visit olneytheatre.org.
"The Price." In Arena's 200-seat Kogod Cradle, Arthur Miller's 1968 drama — similarly produced on Olney Theatre Center's smallest stage two years ago — about a family coming to terms. Hal Linden of the 1970s TV comedy "Barney Miller" plays a wily antique dealer. Through Nov. 12 at Arena Stage, 1101 Sixth St. SW. Tickets $40-$111, subject to change. Call 202-488-3300 or visit arenastage.org.
"Sotto Voce." Nilo Cruz's drama, set against the backdrop of the German ocean liner St. Louis and its 900 Jewish refugees rebuffed at Cuba and Florida in 1939, premiered 2014 in New York. José Carrasquillo directs. Through Oct. 29 at Theater J, 1529 16th St. NW. Tickets $39-$69. Call 202-777-3210 or visit edjcc.org.
"The Arsonists." "An unmistakable response to the stunning — and, to many, alarming — Trump electoral victory last fall, and it's clear why director Michael John Garcés and Woolly Mammoth Artistic Director Howard Shalwitz (playing a nebbish whose home is invaded by arsonists) decided to stage it almost as soon as the November results were tallied. Max Frisch's 1958 play, which evolved over nearly a decade and was a response to European countries succumbing to varieties of odious political domination, isn't an explicit knockoff of a single party, ideology or leader. Its real target is any citizenry that rather lazily doesn't respond." (Nelson Pressley) Through Oct. 15 at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, 641 D St. NW. Tickets $34-$69, subject to change. Call 202-393-3939 or visit woollymammoth.net.
"Clover." "Written by Laura Rocklyn and Ty Hallmark, 'Clover' is an informative and bustling but formally stodgy bio-drama about Marian 'Clover' Hooper Adams, the wife of Henry Adams. The play recounts Clover's career as a society hostess in Washington, the solace she found in photography, and her eventual suicide. In the title role, Rocklyn suggests Clover's intelligence, wit, nagging depression and frustration with life as a public figure." (Celia Wren) Through Oct. 28 at Caos on F, 923 F St. NW. Tickets $25. Visit allytheatrecompany.org.
"Death of a Salesman." "A serious performance, full of furrowed brows and impassioned arguments as Willy blusters about being 'well liked,' wife Linda soothes his rants, unemployed son Biff chafes at his dotard dad and the womanizing youngest son, Happy, pretends he's happy. If you've never seen it, director Stephen Rayne's staging feels textbook. The substantial wrinkle is the question posed by casting African American actor Craig Wallace in the lead role. Do the systemic capitalist pressures that Arthur Miller dramatized operate differently on this Willy Loman? Rayne's production does not italicize the issue, but the show is not indifferent, either." (Nelson Pressley) Through Oct. 22 at Ford's Theatre, 511 10th St. NW. Tickets $17-$64. Call 202-347-4833 or visit fords.org.
"In the Heights." Lin-Manuel Miranda's 2008 Tony-winning musical, co-produced by the Olney Theatre Center and Round House Theatre. "An enjoyably faithful, warmhearted facsimile of the original Broadway show. As this incarnation, directed and choreographed by Marcos Santana, so replicates the sound, look and feel of its Broadway predecessor, you're always comfortably aware of Miranda's spirit circulating through the house … Robin De Jesús steps with pleasing confidence into Miranda's own shoes to portray Usnavi, the lovelorn bodega owner who narrates the story of an eventful Fourth of July in Washington Heights." (Peter Marks) Through Oct. 22 at the Olney Theatre Center, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Rd., Olney. Tickets $37-$84. Call 301-924-3400 or visit olneytheatre.org.
"Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train." "A bravura play, and perhaps 1st Stage's finest work yet. The dialogue can be ear-scaldingly profane, and the heaven-or-hell speeches soar like theological arias. The show's five actors consistently deliver Stephen Adly Guirgis's high drama with an inspired mix of saltiness and soul." (Nelson Pressley) Through Oct. 15 at 1st Stage, 1524 Spring Hill Rd., McLean. Tickets $15-$33. Call 703-854-1856 or visit 1ststagetysons.org.
"A Little Night Music." "What director Eric Schaeffer and crew get so right here are all the risible wry personalities in a delightful waltz through the amorous follies of Swedish aristocrats and other randy, needy mortals. Justice to Sondheim's most conventionally romantic musical goes unserved if the characters aren't revealed to be robustly funny. Led by Holly Twyford as a most beguiling and comically self-aware Desiree Armfeldt — vivacious touring actress and singer of 'Send in the Clowns' — Schaeffer's cast meets the formidable challenge of behaving foolishly in high style." (Peter Marks) Through Oct. 15 at Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Tickets $40-$104, subject to change. Call 703-820-9771 or visit sigtheatre.org.
"Love and Information." "Over the course of 57 skits — some as short as a tweet — a cast of 14 compels us to examine issues that can sound at times like grist for a college course, such as, how much about one another do we really need to know, or can we hope to know? Or, what is it about intimacy that allows people to communicate without words? (One playlet consists entirely of one actor posing the question to the other: 'Chicken tikka masala?') Rhythm, choreography and even improvisation are essential ingredients, and director Michael Dove shows a keen mastery of the play's unusual demands." (Peter Marks) Through Oct. 21 at the Silver Spring Black Box, 8641 Colesville Rd, Silver Spring. Tickets $18-$38. Call 301-588-8279 or visit forum-theatre.org.
"The Lover/The Collection." Harold Pinter one-acts, directed by Michael Kahn. "'The Lover' draws us fleetly and delightfully into the elaborate charades of a white-collar British couple who seem to be in constant need of mutual reassurance, or more spice in the bedroom, or both. Impeccably manicured housewife Sarah (Lisa Dwan), in the short and curvy costumes of master designer Jane Greenwood, sends button-down husband Richard (Patrick Kennedy) off to work with chaste kisses and reminders that her lover will be arriving in a few hours, for a matinee of carnal engagement. Kennedy and Dwan are beautifully matched: They can turn the steam on and off at will. While sufficiently Pinteresque in the variety of curveballs it pitches, 'The Collection' hasn't aged quite as well." (Peter Marks) Through Oct. 29 at the Lansburgh, 450 Seventh St. NW. Tickets $44-$118. Call 202-547-1122, 877-487-8849 or visit shakespearetheatre.org.
"Native Gardens." "An out-loud situation comedy rife with tiresome antics and characters that telegraph American tics minted circa 1957. The premise of Karen Zacarías's utterly predictable play concerns the bruising battle over a property line in a Washington neighborhood. Fastidious gardening nut Frank (Steve Hendrickson) and volatile wife Virginia (Sally Wingert) face off against the new younger homeowners next door, lawyer Pablo (Dan Domingues) and expectant graduate student Tania (Jacqueline Correa). Yes, it's the White Couple vs. the Latino Couple, together scrounging for broad yuks in a pair of back yards that might as well be seeded with trigger warnings." (Peter Marks) Through Oct. 22 at Arena Stage, 1101 Sixth St. SW. Tickets $40-$111, subject to change. Call 202-488-3300 or visit arenastage.org.
"She Rode Horses Like the Stock Exchange." "A deliciously vicious little helping of the melting economy. Amy is a highflying investment banker and Max is a bitter rival (and former co-worker). Playwright Amelia Roper's lens slowly widens from subtle digs and blunt questions — 'I'm sleeping with your wife,' Henry says, only to agree when Max replies, 'No, you're not' — to what Amy and Max actually do at work. Kelsey Mesa's deft cast comically flutters and stings against Roper's backdrop of looming national calamity." (Nelson Pressley) Through Oct. 14 at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, 545 7th Street SE. Tickets $15. Call 202-355-9441 or visit taffetypunk.com.
"Widowers' Houses." "George Bernard Shaw's play comes on like a romantic comedy: A handsome and well-off young man meets an interested and moneyed young woman. Their match is blocked, oddly, by the economics of slum housing. The show is devilishly anchored by Lawrence Redmond as the father of the would-be bride, and the entire performance is well balanced, with each actor colorfully putting forth self-interests and contradictions." (Nelson Pressley) Through Oct. 22 at the Undercoft Theater, 900 Massachusetts Avenue, NW. Tickets $50-$60. Call 240-582-0050 or visit stageguild.org.
"The Wild Party." "Allison Arkell Stockman directs the musical that Andrew Lippa based on the 1928 narrative poem by Joseph Moncure March. The story centers on two vaudeville performers who, in hopes of reigniting their once-sizzling sexual relationship, throw a rowdy shindig that ends in violence. Choreographer Ilona Kessell makes ingenious use of the small stage area, devising Roaring Twenties dance sequences that express the characters' restlessness." (Celia Wren) Through Oct. 29 at Source Theatre, 1835 14th St. NW. Tickets $25-$55. Call 202-204-7741 or visit constellationtheatre.org.
"Skeleton Crew." "The output of playwright Dominique Morisseau has finally found a Washington home — and on the evidence of 'Skeleton Crew,' it's high time it occurred. Autoworkers of color in a cutthroat economy provide the characters and premise of Morisseau's well-made play, set in the plant's employee break room and dexterously mounted by director Patricia McGregor. Theatrical embroidery is mercifully kept to a minimum: this is ethics-driven meat-and-potatoes drama, in the Arthur Miller vein." (Peter Marks) Through Oct. 8 at Studio Theatre, 1501 14th St. NW. Tickets $20-$85. Call 202-332-3300 or visit studiotheatre.org.
"Stones in His Pockets." "Marie Jones's two-actor comedy about rural Irish townspeople coping with a big budget Hollywood film crew is cleverly designed and performed in Abigail Isaac Fine's staging. Josh Sticklin and Matthew J. Keenan winsomely embody everyone from town elders to an American starlet, and the live video feed when they play extras is reliably good for a laugh." (Nelson Pressley) Through Oct. 5 at Keegan Theatre, 1742 Church St. NW. Tickets $35-$45. Call 202-265-3767 or visit keegantheatre.com.
"Word Becomes Flesh." Theater Alliance revives its hit staging, winner of five Helen Hayes Awards earlier this year, of Marc Bamunthi Joseph's hip-hop fugue. "'Word Becomes Flesh' started as a solo show more than a decade ago and then was adapted for five men; under Psalmayene 24's direction it pops like an energetic concert. The actors fuse as a tight unit, giving voice to a 27-year-old man's fear, anger and hope as expressed to an unborn son." (Nelson Pressley) Through Oct. 8 at the Anacostia Playhouse, 2020 Shannon Pl. SE. Tickets $14-$40. Call 202-290-2328 or visit theateralliance.com.
TYA (Theater for Young Audiences)
"Blancaflor, The Girl Wizard." A premiere of Cecilia Cackley's adaptation of a fairy tale about a girl who helps a prince with impossible tasks. Oct. 7-21 at GALA Hispanic Theatre, 3333 14th St. NW. Tickets $10-$12. Call 202-234-7174 or visit galatheatre.org.
"How I Became a Pirate." A musical based on Melinda Long's book. Through Oct. 22 at Adventure Theatre MTC, 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo. Tickets $19.50. Call 301-634-2270 or visit adventuretheatre-mtc.org.
"The Smartest Girl in the World." A brother and sister try to help their parents. Oct. 7-29 at Imagination Stage, 4908 Auburn Ave., Bethesda. Tickets $12-$30. Call 301-280-1660 or visit imaginationstage.org.
The Capitol Steps. The longtime political satirists, tearing laughs from the headlines. Fridays and Saturdays in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center Amphitheater, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Tickets $40.50. Call 202-397-7328 or visit www.capsteps.com.
"The Red Shoes." British director-choreographer Matthew Bourne adapts the 1948 film into a dance-theater piece, now touring the U.S. Oct. 10-15 at the Kennedy Center's Opera House. Tickets $29-$129. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
"Shear Madness." The indestructible interactive comedy whodunit, at 12,000-plus performances. Ongoing in the Kennedy Center's Theater Lab. Tickets $50-$54. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
"Wilderness." For ages 12 and up, a music-movement-multimedia En Garde Arts project on 21st century parenting, based on real stories. Oct. 12-15 at the Kennedy Center's Family Theater. Tickets $29-$35. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
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