Though many of our intown stages are dark till September, with local actors and directors flung around the corners of the country doing summer stock elsewhere, the theaters are far from dormant. Behind their closed doors they are busy preparing the upcoming fall season's schedule, and most important, raising the funds that will keep the theatrical blood pumping during the "regular season."
You don't have to leave town for live theater, though -- this is an unusually active summer for some city stages (and the suburban dinner theaters are always busy). Here's what the intown theaters have planned to keep the dust off the boards and the theater in your heart:
ARENA -- Stephen Wade's "Banjo Dancing," which has been filling Arena's Old Vat Room for what seems like an eternity (it's in its fifth year) plunks and twangs right on through the summer. Sixth and Maine SW. Call 488- 3300.
FORD'S -- The resurrection of "Godspell" is still doing well, so Ford's spokesperson says they may extend it beyond the scheduled July 28 closing date. 511 10th St. NW. Call 347-4833.
KENNEDY CENTER -- Peter Sellars is out of town doing his unique version of summer stock -- directing Brecht-Weill's "Little Mahagonny" and Handel's "Julius Caesar" at SUNY/Purchase's Summerfare festival. But he's left us with lively stages at the Kennedy Center. The Chicago Season resumes July 6 with Steppenwolf's production of David Rabe's "Streamers" at the Free Theater July 22 to August 10, and Wisdom Bridge's "Kabuki Medea," July 9 to August 3 at the Terrace Theater.
The 91-member Grand Kabuki company storms the Opera House July 23 through August 4. And in August, Jason Robards heats up the stage with a revival of "The Iceman Cometh," directed by Jose Quintero, August 1 through September 14. To counter that, the Opera House will freeze its stage for the John Curry Skaters, performing four world premieres Aug. 8 to 24. Call 254- 3600.
NATIONAL -- Neil Simon's "Brighton Beach Memoirs" returns for a summer stay July 9 through August 4, with the same cast that was here in December, including the wonderfully funny Patrick Dempsey as Eugene. And "Noises Off," the noisy British farce about backstage catastrophes, is set to open August 6, through September 1. 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Call 628-6161.
ROUND HOUSE -- The summer offering is William Gibson's comedy "Two for the Seesaw," directed by new artistic director Jerry Whiddon. The show runs July 10 through August 4. 12210 Bushey Dr., Silver Spring. Call 468- 4234.
SOURCE THEATER -- How's your sense of adventure? The fifth annual "A Washington Theater Festival" runs July 8 to 28 and features 19 new plays, including new work by Washington playwrights Steven Hayes, Gary Bohlke and T.J. Edwards. Each play has a three-day run, and it's a good chance to see Washington's acting corps at work. At the Main Stage, 1809 14th St. NW, and the Warehouse Rep, 1835 14th St. NW. Call 462-1073 for tickets and a complete schedule.
SUMMER OPERA THEATER COMPANY -- The seventh season of this well- received opera company opens with Strauss' "Ariadne auf Naxos," July 8-14; followed by Puccini's "La Rondine," July 29-August 4. All performances are at 8 p.m. at Hartke Theater on the campus of the Catholic University of America. Call 529-3333.