NOW PLAYING

"Outdoor Recess," a comedy by Joy Jones, presented by the Metropolitan Ebony Theatre Company, about a pair of office workers who look for unorthodox ways to release their tension. Through next Sunday.

"Lenny & Lou," a Woolly Mammoth world premiere, directed by Tom Prewitt, of Ian Cohen's comic play about a deeply neurotic family from Queens. Through Sept. 26.

"Venus," Suzan-Lori Parks's drama of a young woman from South Africa who finds herself on exhibition as a sideshow freak. At Olney Theatre Center through Sept. 26.

"Tambourines to Glory," a new adaptation of the Langston Hughes play, marks the D.C. debut of an Atlanta-based company, True Colors Theatre, spearheaded by Kenny Leon, director of the recent Broadway revival of "A Raisin in the Sun." At the Lincoln Theatre through Sept. 26.

"The Donkey Show," a retelling of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" through disco -- yes, as in the collected works of Donna Summer -- makes its Washington bow courtesy of Asian Stories in America. Through Oct. 2.

"One Red Flower," the premiere at Signature Theatre of a new musical by Paris Barclay, inspired by soldiers' letters home from Vietnam in 1969. Eric Schaeffer directs a cast that includes Florence Lacey. Through Oct. 3.

"Ivona, Princess of Burgundy," Witold Gombrowicz's satire of the romantic mismatch of a playboy prince and his repulsive bride, is staged by Scena Theatre. Through Oct. 3.

"A Tale of a Tiger," Rorschach Theatre's staging of Dario Fo's fable of a Chinese soldier and the animal that helps him see the world in a new way. Directed by Ami Dayan. Through Oct. 3.

"The Time of Your Life," William Saroyan's 1939 comedy about barroom habitues, is revived by director Terry Kester for American Century Theater. Through Oct. 9.

"Living Out," the D.C. debut of Lisa Loomer's look at the complications of raising children with the help of nannies who don't have their green cards, directed by Wendy C. Goldberg at Round House. Through Oct. 10.

"The Elephant Man," a revival of Bernard Pomerance's hit Broadway drama about the trials of a grotesquely deformed man in Victorian England. The Catalyst Theater production is directed by Jim Petosa. Through Oct. 16.

"Host and Guest," Synetic Theater's powerful evocation in words and movement of tribal bloodshed and religious hatred in a mountain village, pays a return visit. Directed by Paata Tsikurishvili. Through Oct. 16.

"M. Butterfly," David Henry Hwang's breakthrough drama, based on a true story, about a man who does not know the woman he loves is actually a man. Stephen Bogardus and James Hiroyuki Liao are featured in the Arena Stage production, directed by Tazewell Thompson, which runs through Oct. 17.

"The Russian National Postal Service," a comedy by Oleg Bogaev, opens Studio Theatre's season of new and classic works by and about Russians. Floyd King plays an eccentric who writes letters to himself from Lenin and the Queen of England. Through Oct. 17.

"Macbeth," Shakespeare's tale of bloody ambition, with Kelly McGillis and Patrick Page as the Machiavellian schemers, in a Shakespeare Theatre production directed by Michael Kahn. Through Oct. 24.

SEPTEMBER

15 -- "Meet the Browns," a touring comedy about a wacky family, written and directed by Tyler Perry. At the Warner Theatre through Sept. 19.

16 -- "Varekai," another extravaganza from the New Age wizards at Cirque du Soleil, in the company's first visit to D.C. proper since 1991. The RFK Stadium engagement runs through Oct. 24.

16 -- "A Lesson Before Dying," the African Continuum Theatre Company production of Romulus Linney's play about death and dignity in the Deep South of the 1940s. Directed by David Charles Goyette. Through Oct. 10.

17 -- "Quintuples," a series of monologues by Puerto Rico's Teatro del Sesenta all linked to the story of a set of quintuplets. At the Kennedy Center's Film Theater through Sept. 18.

22 -- "The Subject," Allyson Currin's new play detailing the relationship between a waitress and the patron who wants to feature her in his photography. The Charter Theatre production runs through Oct. 17.

23 -- "Picturesque," the Big Apple Circus's new show for its 27th season, marries the art of Renoir, Picasso and Chagall to the wonders of the big top -- and it's unveiled at Dulles Town Center before its New York engagement. Through Oct. 11.

24 -- "The Matchmaker," Thornton Wilder's warmblooded farce best known as the inspiration for "Hello, Dolly!," is the inaugural offering of Ford's Theatre's ambitious new artistic director, Paul Tetrault. Directed by Mark Lamos (Kennedy Center's "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"), the production features Andrea Martin as Dolly Levi. Through Oct. 24.

24 -- "Lady Windermere's Fan," Oscar Wilde's romantic drama about infidelity in Victorian England, as presented by Baltimore's Center Stage and directed by Irene Lewis. Through Oct. 24.

24 -- "The Seagull," an adaptation by Tom Stoppard of Chekhov's tale of broken dreams, presented by Rep Stage and directed by Kasi Campbell. Through Oct. 10.

28 -- "On Golden Pond," the Ernest Thompson weepie about old age, old love and family reconciliation, is revived for two major stars, James Earl Jones and Diahann Carroll. Leonard Foglia (Broadway's "Master Class") directs. Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater. Through Oct. 17.

29 -- "Tabletop," Rob Ackerman's buoyant examination of Madison Avenue and commercial-making, directed by Jane Beard, at Round House's Silver Spring theater through Nov. 7.

OCTOBER

1 -- "Anna in the Tropics," the atmospheric Pulitzer Prize-winner by Nilo Cruz that reimagines "Anna Karenina" in the world of Cuban emigres in Florida, reaches Washington in an Arena Stage production featuring Jason Manuel Olazabal, Yetta Gottesman and Mateo Gomez and directed by Jo Bonney. Through Nov. 21.

6 -- "Blithe Spirit," a comic journey into the paranormal, courtesy of Noel Coward, comes to Montgomery County under the auspices of Olney Theatre Center. Through Nov. 7.

8 -- "Mexico: En el Rincon de una Cantina," a multimedia exploration of Mexican music and culture. The Gala Hispanic Theatre production was conceived by Hugo Medrano and is directed by Abel Lopez. At the Warehouse Theater. Through Oct. 17.

13 -- "Accidental Death of an Anarchist," Dario Fo's political satire about interrogation and terror, is staged by Rorschach Theatre. Grady Weatherford directs. Through Nov. 13.

15 -- "La Lechuga" ("The Lettuce"), a dysfunctional family comedy by Venezuelan dramatist Cesar Sierra. The story of a bedridden old man and his torturous relationships with his children, who come for a birthday visit, opens Teatro de la Luna's season. Directed by Harold Ruiz. Through Nov. 13.

21 -- "One Good Marriage, a Simple Tale of Glorious Grief," a play by young Canadian dramatist Sean Reycraft, cracks open the secrets a couple harbors on their first wedding anniversary. At MetroStage through Nov. 21.

22 -- "The Light of Excalibur," a whimsical work for children by Norman Allen that ties a young girl's infatuation with computers to the legend of King Arthur, at the Kennedy Center Theater Lab. Through Nov. 7.

24 -- "The Pangea Project," a Theater Alliance series of five original plays that will be performed in succession during a five-week period. Playwrights include Jenny Laird, Randy Baker and Charlene James. Through Nov. 22.

25 -- "Grace," a Woolly Mammoth world premiere of a play by Craig Wright ("Recent Tragic Events") in which the playwright explores spiritual themes -- and a triple homicide in Florida. Michael John Garces is the director and Jennifer Mendenhall and Michael Willis are among the notables in the cast. At the Warehouse Theater. Through Dec. 19.

26 -- "The Highest Yellow," one of the major events of the fall: Eric Schaeffer directs Judy Kuhn and Jason Danieley in the world premiere of Michael John LaChiusa's musical treatment of the story of a French doctor called on to treat a volatile genius of a patient, one Vincent van Gogh. The book is by John Strand. At Signature Theatre. Through Dec. 12.

28 -- "Pound," the Washington Stage Guild's world premiere of a new play by Sean O'Leary about the life of Ezra Pound and the time he spent at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, with Conrad Feininger as the poet. John MacDonald is the director. Through Nov. 28.

29 -- "Becoming Adele," a presentation at Rep Stage of Eric Houston's solo show about a feisty Brooklyn waitress. With Audrey Wasilewski. Through Nov. 21.

30 -- "A Bad Friend," Jules Feiffer's comedy about a young Brooklyn girl whose mother idolizes Stalin, is staged by Theater J and directed by Nick Olcott. Through Nov. 28.

NOVEMBER

3 -- "Ivanov," Chekhov's minor masterpiece, is the first production to fill Studio Theatre's new space in the company's renovated complex on 14th and P streets NW. Joy Zinoman directs a cast that includes Philip Goodwin, Nancy Robinette and David Sabin in an adaptation by David Hare. Through Dec. 12.

9 -- "Pericles," the episodic tale of an ancient mariner by Shakespeare and John Fletcher, is the bait that finally lures the visually stylish Chicago director Mary Zimmerman ("Metamorphoses") to the Shakespeare Theatre for her Washington debut. Through Jan. 2.

9 -- "Miss Saigon," the warhorse with the story modeled on "Madame Butterfly" and the onstage evacuation by helicopter, returns to D.C. At the Warner Theatre through Nov. 14.

10 -- "The Diary of Anne Frank," a new adaptation by Wendy Kesselman of the much-loved play based on the harrowing wartime experiences of a Jewish girl hiding in Amsterdam. Directed by Rebecca Taichman. At Round House through Dec. 12.

10 -- "Forbidden Christmas, or the Doctor and the Patient" stars Mikhail Baryshnikov in Rezo Gabriadze's anti-Soviet allegory. At the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater through Nov. 14.

11 -- "Two Gentlemen of Verona," the Shakespeare romantic comedy, is revived by Folger Theatre and director Aaron Posner ("Twelfth Night") with a cast that includes Ian Merrill Peakes and Holly Twyford. Through Dec. 19.

11 -- "The Price," the Arthur Miller drama of the reunion of a pair of alienated brothers, comes to Center Stage under the direction of Will Frears. Through Nov. 12.

12 -- "The Importance of Being Earnest," Oscar Wilde's farcical comedy of wicked manners, is revived by Arena Stage with an intriguing director: Everett Quinton, of Ridiculous Theatrical Company fame. Through Dec. 26.

17 -- "Paradise Lost," a little-known work by Clifford Odets outlining the hardships of American life during the Depression, is staged by American Century Theater. DeAnna Duncan directs. Through Dec. 18.

17 -- "Carousel," the musical-theater classic with the lush Rodgers and Hammerstein score ("If I Loved You," "When I Marry Mr. Snow") gets the Olney treatment. Through Dec. 26.

18 -- "Titus Andronicus," Shakespeare's gory precursor to the modern splatter flick, is presented by Washington Shakespeare Company, as interpreted by director Joe Banno.

19 -- "Movin' Out," the initial visit to the District of Twyla Tharp's thrilling rock ballet, set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War and danced to the music of Billy Joel. At the National Theatre through Dec. 19.

21 -- "The Fever," a dark comedy by Wallace Shawn about a man of means contemplating the world's inequities while lying ill in a hotel room in a Third World country, is revived by Scena Theatre. Through Jan. 3.

23 -- "A Christmas Carol," a Ford's Theatre perennial, gets an overhaul in this new adaptation by Michael Wilson. Directed by Matt August. Through Jan. 2.

26 -- "A Broadway Christmas Carol," yet another recycling of the Dickens classic, this one performed with rewritten show tunes. Well, well, hello Scroogey! At Round House Silver Spring through Dec. 30.

26 -- "Fit to Be Tied," a raucous comedy by Nicky Silver, is staged by Fountainhead Theatre and directed by Kerri Rambow. Through Dec. 19.

DECEMBER

7 -- "Thoroughly Modern Millie," a touring version of the banal and brassy Broadway musical, comes to the Kennedy Center Opera House for holiday time. Through Dec. 26.

8 -- "Our Lady of 121st Street," the D.C. unveiling of a play by Stephen Adly Guirgis ("Jesus Hopped the A-Train") in which the body of dreaded nun disappears. John Vreeke directs for Woolly Mammoth. Through Jan. 2.

10 -- "Hallelujah, Baby!," the rags-to-riches story that won the 1968 Tony for best musical, is revived at Arena Stage under the direction of Arthur Laurents, who also happens to have written the show's book. The music is by Jule Styne, the lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. Through Feb. 13.

23 -- "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," the musical, returns to the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater for your school kids' Christmas break. Through Dec. 30.

31 -- "Elmina's Kitchen," a new play by Kwame Kwei-Armah about the inner-city struggle of West Indian immigrants, makes its U.S. premiere at Center Stage, directed by Marion McClinton. Through Jan. 30.

JANUARY

5 -- "Black Milk," Vassily Sigarev's contemporary story of two young con artists, continues Studio Theatre's Russian season, with a production directed by Serge Seiden and featuring Holly Twyford and Matthew Montelongo, of last season's terrific "Far Away." Through Feb. 13.

7 -- "Tea and Sympathy," the Robert Anderson drama about loneliness at a boys' boarding school, is served up by American Century Theater in a staging by Steven Mazzola. Through Feb. 5.

11 -- "Fallen From Proust," a new comedy by Norman Allen ("Nijinsky's Last Dance") that tracks the amorous adventures of three young San Franciscans. Will Pomerantz (Studio's "The Shape of Things") is the director. At Signature through Feb. 20.

11 -- "The Tattooed Girl," a Theater J world premiere of a play by Joyce Carol Oates that explores the world of her 2003 novel -- and her own Jewish background. Directed by John Vreeke. Through Feb. 20.

13 -- "Cloud Nine," Caryl Churchill's mesmerizing play, is mounted by Catalyst Theater under the direction of Halo Wines. Through Feb. 19.

14 -- "Romeo and Juliet," the eternal teen-age tragedy, is staged by Folger Theatre. Through Feb. 20.

18 -- "Lorenzaccio," the rarely performed 19th-century history play by Alfred de Musset, gets the lush Shakespeare Theatre treatment in a production featuring Wallace Acton ("Richard III") and directed by Michael Kahn. Through March 6.

18 -- "On the Record," a new jukebox show from Disney that features more than 50 songs from Disney movies, including "The Little Mermaid," "Sleeping Beauty," "Lady and the Tramp" and "Snow White." At the National Theatre through Jan. 30.

18 -- "Mark Russell: Comedy, Music, Bribery and Conspiracy" is the title of a lighthearted political evening at Ford's Theatre by this D.C. institution (Russell, that is), just in time for the Inauguration. Through Jan. 23.

21 -- "Intimations for Saxophone," a new Jazz Age piece adapted from the work of Sophie Treadwell, is brought to life for Arena Stage by the experimental director Anne Bogart. Through Feb. 27.

28 -- "Kimberly Akimbo," David Lindsay Abaire's whimsical comedy at Rep Stage about a young girl aging at a warp speed. Directed by Kasi Campbell. Through Feb. 20.

Patrick Page and Kelly McGillis in the Shakepeare Theatre's "Macbeth," running through Oct. 24. Right, the national touring company of "Thoroughly Modern Millie" visits the Kennedy Center Opera House Dec. 7-26.Cirque du Soleil's "Varekai" opens a month-long run at RFK Stadium Sept. 16.