The weekly feature of what’s happening on Washington stages, with links to critics’ reviews and news.
GALA Hispanic Theatre’s exuberant staging of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s 2008 “In the Heights” is the first of that show’s three D.C. productions slated for the coming year, while 2015 best musical Tony winner “Fun Home” continues at the National Theatre. In the ETC. category: the grand Russian “Three Sisters” this week only at the Kennedy Center, and concerts by Alan Cumming at the Kennedy Center and “Rent” stars Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp at Strathmore.
Already looking ahead? Keep up with our guide to D.C. theater’s 2017-18 season here, with notes from Post critics. More than 100 shows have already been announced.
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“Arabian Nights.” Constellation Theatre marks its 10th anniversary by revisiting its very first show, artistic director Allison Arkell Stockman’s staging of Mary Zimmerman’s “1001 Nights” adaptation. May 4-June 4 at Source, 1835 14th St. NW. Tickets $20-$45. Call 202-204-7800 or visit constellationtheatre.org .
“Building the Wall.” The brand-new play from Robert Schenkkan (of the LBJ drama “All the Way”), written in the heat of the Trump victory. Forum Theatre has the D.C. premiere, first performed at Arena Stage and then at its Silver Spring base. Through May 7 at Arena Stage, 1101 Sixth St. SW; then May 18-27 at the Silver Spring Black Box Theatre, 8641 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring. Tickets $18-$38. Call 301-588-8279 or visit forum-theatre.org.
“Dorian’s Closet.” A new musical based on the real-life female impersonator Dorian Corey, featured in the 1991 documentary “Paris Is Burning” and who, um, kept a mummified body in the apartment. Through May 14 at Rep Stage, 10901 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia. Tickets $40. Call 443-518-1500 or visit repstage.org.
“Forgotten Kingdoms.” Rorschach Theatre co-founder/co-artistic director Randy Baker’s new play about a holy man and a young skeptic is set in Indonesia, where Baker grew up. Through May 28 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets $20-$30. Call 202-399-7993 or visit rorschachtheatre.com.
“Kaleidoscope.” Broadway veteran Florence Lacey stars in a new Matt Conner-Stephen Gregory Smith musical about an acclaimed performer wrestling with dementia. May 4-28 at Creative Cauldron, 410 S. Maple Ave., Falls Church. Tickets $18-$30. Call 703-436-9948 or visit creativecauldron.org.
“Laura Bush Killed a Guy.” An irreverent solo show with Lisa Hodsoll as the former first lady; Ian Allen’s script is directed by John Vreeke, in a production by The Klunch. May 4-June 4 at Caos on F, 923 F St NW. Tickets $25-$35. Call 202-215-6993 or visit theklunch.com.
“Brighton Beach Memoirs.” The season’s second revival of one of Neil Simon’s 1980s autobiographical trilogy, following “Broadway Bound” at 1st Stage. “Susan Rome’s portrait of the harried, controlling Kate is an invaluable anchoring force in director Matt Torney’s production. Few of the other actors embed their characters quite as deeply and seamlessly in the world of Neil Simon’s semi-autobiographical play, about a cash-strapped household in 1937 Brooklyn. Still, it’s a pleasant production, well stocked with funny, absorbing moments and boasting a couple of notably persuasive turns by young actors.” (Celia Wren) Through May 14 at Theater J, 1529 16th St. NW. Tickets $15-$57. Call 202-777-3210 or visit theaterj.org.
“.d0t: A Rotoplastic Ballet.” A 45 minute multimedia fable of robots and the last human, from the puppeteers at Pointless Theatre. “A trippy mash-up of hip-hop, sci-fi and the designs of the Italian artist of futurism, Fortunato Depero. . . . Executed by eight unseen puppeteers, expertly manipulating dozens of figures and objects on sticks in a toy puppet theater four separate perspectives deep, ‘.D0t’ explores a time in the future when humanity has been reduced to a single survivor, Navi (Navid Azeez). On this day, something goes awry: robot Dee Zero Tee develops a glitch of some sort, and one rebellious machine threatens to shatter the harmony of a perfectly ordered world.” (Peter Marks) Through May 6 at Flashpoint, 916 G St. NW. Tickets $30. Call 202-315-1305 or visit pointlesstheatre.com.
“Fun Home.” “The traveling incarnation of the Tony-winning musical that occupies the National Theatre for the next 3½ weeks is not only a first-rate representation of the work of composer Jeanine Tesori and book writer and lyricist Lisa Kron. It also in some significant ways constitutes a more powerful evening than was built at off-Broadway’s Public Theater in 2013 and transferred to Broadway for an 18-month run. . . . ‘Fun Home’ is a musical about initiations and discoveries, orbiting around the sorrow that adheres to the adult Alison (a terrific Kate Shindle) as she reflects on the secret life and ghastly suicide of her father, Bruce (Robert Petkoff, in an invigorating, unsentimental performance). The dad, a closeted gay English teacher who cruises bars, tries to seduce students and, seemingly inexplicably, retains the loyalty of his wife, Helen (Susan Moniz, also excellent), is such an enigma that it takes three Alisons to retrace his erratic steps.” (Peter Marks) Through May 13 at the National Theatre, 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Tickets $48-$98. Call 202-628-6161 or visit thenationaldc.org.
“In the Heights.” The Spanish language premiere of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s 2008 Tony-winning hip-hop musical, foreshadowing his “Hamilton” success. “You can feel the influence of ‘Rent’ in this first foray by Miranda onto Broadway. . . . The emphasis on personality manifested in song doesn’t always lend itself to a satisfying caliber of storytelling. And yet like ‘Rent,’ there is a larger story here worth telling: how the city forges families that transcend bloodlines. A party is what ‘In the Heights’ strives to be. Director Luis Salgado’s choreography gives the young, vibrant ensemble at GALA a platform to show off the best dancing in town — some of the best you may ever see in these parts.” (Peter Marks) Through May 21 at GALA Hispanic Theatre, 3333 14th St. NW. Tickets $60. Call 202-234-7174 or visit galatheatre.org.
“The Late Wedding.” “A bold and brainy but tedious play that is receiving its D.C.-area premiere from the Hub Theatre. Written by Christopher Chen, the play takes its inspiration from the fiction of the Italian writer Italo Calvino, whose celebrated shape-shifting meta-novel ‘If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler’ features second-person narration (the pronoun ‘you’ as the subject). . . . The narrative and conceptual high jinks too often feel laborious or arid, you read. The scenes illustrating marriage customs seem frozen in time, while the genre-sampling snippets change direction too often to be satisfying.” (Celia Wren) Through May 7 at the Hub Theatre, 9431 Silver King Ct., Fairfax. Call 703-674-3177 or visit thehubtheatre.org.
“The Magic Play.” A rolling premiere by “Colossal” playwright Andrew Hinderaker, created with lead actor Brett Schneider. “Schneider is a real magician, the kind who buries your chosen card in a flurry of shuffling and makes it hop to the top of the deck anyway, just for openers . . . Hinderaker has an eye for inside information, for art and craft, and for characters who lose themselves in the absorbing calling of their professions. ‘Colossal’ dramatized a fervent, dedicated, conflicted young man paralyzed by a football injury. In ‘The Magic Play,’ Schneider’s character — called the Magician — is paralyzed by the wreckage of a breakup with his lover, who got tired of being played like a deck of cards.” (Nelson Pressley) Through May 14 at the Olney Theatre Center, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Rd., Olney. Tickets $20-$70. Call 301-924-3400 or visit olneytheatre.org.
“Or,.” “Is it the late 1660s in the poets-and-spies comedy ‘Or,’ which at Round House Theatre gives us the ever-dashing Washington actress Holly Twyford as Restoration-era playwright Aphra Behn? Or does the post-Puritan sexual and political liberation wafting through the air smell just a bit like the 1960s? The answer in Liz Duffy Adams’s popular play is often ‘both.’ . . . It’s a thoughtful drama and a hilarious farce, a play popping with rhymed couplets and earthy f-bombs. It’s also a total feast for the three performers in director Aaron Posner’s swaggering entertainment.” (Nelson Pressley) Through May 7 at Round House Theatre, 4545 East-West Hwy., Bethesda. Tickets $30-$60. Call 240-644-1100 or visit roundhousetheatre.org.
“Ragtime.” “‘Make them hear you,’ goes the climactic chorus in the musical ‘Ragtime,’ and the new production at Ford’s Theatre stirringly delivers on the kaleidoscopic show’s cries for justice. The setting is 1906, but the issues ring true throughout the 1998 musical’s crusading score. . . . As its cast of two dozen swarms up and down a three-story set layered with class implications, Peter Flynn’s production utilizes the full volume of the large Ford’s stage. Ford’s keeps displaying a knack for putting local actors into the right big roles, and as a composed, powerful Coalhouse, McAllister emerges as the soul of the show.” (Nelson Pressley) Through May 20 at Ford’s Theatre, 511 10th St. NW. Tickets $18-$71. Call 202-347-4833 or visit fords.org.
“A Raisin in the Sun.” “The weather vane of Arena Stage’s aggressively entertaining ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ is Lizan Mitchell, the force-of-nature actress playing the 1959 play’s righteous, loving grandmother, Lena Younger. When director Tazewell Thompson wants this show to be funny, the impish Mitchell nails a punchline. When he wants it to be grand, Mitchell rises majestically and gives the performance the force and depth of Greek tragedy. Quibble with its florid excesses if you like, but there’s no mistaking that this ‘Raisin’ — bizarrely, the first in the company’s nearly 70-year-history — is a crowd-pleaser. . . . Watching it, you might realize that there’s been a lot of August Wilson the past few decades where at least a little Lorraine Hansberry should have been.” (Nelson Pressley) Through May 7 at Arena Stage, 1101 Sixth St. SW. Tickets $40-$111, subject to change. Call 202-488-3300 or visit arenastage.org.
“Smart People.” “A tidy geometry of gender and race takes shape right away in the Arena Stage production of Lydia R. Diamond’s bright, acerbic comedy. Two men: one black, one white. Two women: one black, one Asian American. See how different combinations of ethnic and/or sexual lines parallel, bisect or glance off in tangents. . . . ‘Smart People’ doesn’t muddle much with subtext: this is the sort of comedy where everyone is completely capable of saying exactly what they think. That should be an advantage, but the dialogue is oddly delivered at lecture hall levels in Seema Sueko’s visually slick production. Luckily, Diamond’s dialogue is as clever as the title promises, and her characters press through initial assumption-laden encounters to — well, whole new levels of assumption-laden encounters.” (Nelson Pressley) Through May 21 at Arena Stage, 1101 Sixth St. NW. Tickets $40-$101, Subject to change. Call 202-488-3300 or visit arenastage.org.
“The Blood Knot.” “Mosaic typically leans hard (and thoughtfully) into new works on contested issues, but this one has a deeper pedigree. It’s an acclaimed 1961 work by South Africa’s great anti-apartheid playwright Athol Fugard. And it’s directed by Joy Zinoman, the retired founding artistic director of the Studio Theatre. ‘Blood Knot’ deals with half brothers Morris, who is light enough to pass as white, and Zachariah, who is dark-skinned. . . . Cannily winds itself up to epic heights thanks to the earthy, ferocious performances by Tom Story and Nathan Hinton.” (Nelson Pressley) P art of Mosaic’s “South Africa: Then and Now” rep with Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela’s “A Human Being Died That Night.” Through April 30 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets $20-$60. Call 202-399-7993 or visit mosaictheater.org.
“Boeing Boeing.” The 1960s farce, recently seen at Rep Stage and the now-defunct No Rules Theatre, about a playboy juggling international stewardesses. Through April 30 at Next Stop Theatre Company, 269 Sunset Park Dr., Herndon. Tickets $35-$55. Call 866-811-4111 or visit nextstoptheatre.org.
“Henry V.” From DC’s We Happy Few, a 90-minute take on Shakespeare’s history play with a cast of eight. Through April 29 at Capitol Hill Arts Workshop. Tickets $15. Visit wehappyfewdc .
“A Human Being Died That Night.” “You want to try acting a whole show with your feet chained to the floor? Chris Genebach accomplishes it with flair as South Africa’s notorious Eugene de Kock, the apartheid-era Death Squad officer widely known as ‘Prime Evil.’ The white de Kock wisecracks about a Hannibal Lecter vibe as he sits on the other side of a prison cell interrogation table from a black woman, Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, but the 80-minute ‘A Human Being Died That Night’ is anything but a psycho-thriller. It’s an unflinching face-to-face dialogue about how people and countries become utterly unglued.” (Nelson Pressley) Part of Mosaic’s “South Africa: Then and Now” rep with Athol Fugard’s “The Blood Knot.” Through April 30 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets $20-$60. Call 202-399-7993 or visit mosaictheater.org.
“Midwestern Gothic.” A brand new musical thriller set in a small town, with music by Josh Schmidt (composer of “The Adding Machine”) and book by the busy librettist Royce Vavrek. “It isn’t quite ‘Fargo, the Musical,’ but ‘Midwestern Gothic’ attempts to dance right up to the edge of Coen brothers territory, with maybe a quick two-step and a hop over to the land of David Lynch . . . What we’re to make of the manipulative Stina — who ropes into her odd, malevolent schemes a local boob — is never brought entertainingly to light. An audience begins to lose hope, and interest, well before the bloodiest business has a chance to start.” (Peter Marks) Through April 30 at Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Tickets $40-$100. Call 703-820-9771 or visit sigtheatre.org.
“Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp.” For all ages. Through May 21 at Adventure Theatre MTC, 7300 MacArthur Blvd (Glen Echo Park), Glen Echo. Tickets $19.50. Call 301-634-2270 or visit adventuretheatre-mtc.org.
“The Jungle Book.” Five actors play all the parts in this staging for age 4 and older. Through May 28 at Imagination Stage, 4908 Auburn Ave., Bethesda. Tickets $12-$35. Call 301-280-1660 or visit imaginationstage.org .
Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp. The original “Rent” stars, in concert together. April 28 at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets $30-$75. Call 301-581-5100 or visit strathmore.org.
Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs. The “Cabaret” and “Good Wife” star in concert. April 29 at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets $29-$99, subject to change. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.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.
“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.
“Three Sisters.” Russia’s Maly Drama Theatre of St. Peterburg presents Chekhov’s drama. “Exactly what you imagine a practiced Russian staging of Anton Chekhov’s classic would be: stately, emotional, and powered by three spectacularly passionate actresses. Performed in Russian, with English surtitles. Director Lev Dodin displays a genius for clustering characters into intimate groups in the big theater. Repeatedly, the sisters — young Irina (Elizaveta Boyarskaya), the glamorous middle sister Masha (Ksenia Rappoport) and the old-before-her-time Olga (Irina Tychichina) — huddle on the steps, often surrounded by family, a few soldiers stationed in the town and assorted hangers-on. Audiences catching this ‘Three Sisters’ may rate it as a touchstone.” (Nelson Pressley) Through April 30 at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater. Tickets $29-$59. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org .
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