The weekly feature of what’s happening on Washington stages.
Pick of the week: “Vicuña & The American Epilogue,” Jon Robin Baitz’s blistering Trump drama, and the dance-happy “Crazy for You” gets started at Signature Theatre
In the ETC. category, see the free showcase or emerging composers in “Broadway: The Next Generation” Sunday through Friday at the Kennedy Center.
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“Amazing Grace.” A non-Equity tour of the 2015 Broadway musical opens the 472-seat World Stage Theater in the new Museum of the Bible. Nov. 18-Jan. 7 at the Museum of the Bible, 409 3rd St SW. Tickets $85-$100. Call 202-848-1600 or visit museumofthebible.org.
“Annie.” Wilson Jermaine Heredia, the original Angel in Broadway’s “Rent,” plays the rascal Rooster in a cast that includes Kevin McAllister and Rachel Zampelli. Through Dec. 31 at the Olney Theatre Center, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Rd., Olney, Tickets $42-$84. Call 301-924-3400 or visit olneytheatre.org.
“The Book of Merman.” A satire performed by Landless Theater Company. Nov. 16-Dec. 8 at DC Arts Center, 2438 18th St. NW. Tickets $25. Visit landlesstheatre.com.
“A Christmas Carol.” “Craig Wallace’s grand scowl anchors the holiday staple at Ford’s. The show’s accents don’t consistently send you to Dickens’s London, but the bustling ghost story is still writ large (a cast of roughly two dozen, with several big spooky effects) in Michael Baron’s extravagant production.” (Nelson Pressley) Nov. 16-Dec. 31 at Ford’s Theatre, 511 10th St. NW. Tickets $$24-$107. Call 888-616-0270 or visit fords.org.
“A Coffin in Egypt” and “St. Nicholas.” Horton Foote’s “Coffin,” about a 90 year old widow, plays on alternate nights with Connor McPherson’s “St. Nicholas,” about a drama critic’s adventures. Nov. 15-Dec. 17 at The Writer’s Center, 4508 Walsh Street, Bethesda. Tickets $30. Call 301-816-1023 or visit quotidiantheatre.org.
“Crazy For You.” The dance-happy Gershwin musical comedy that debuted on Broadway in 1992. Denis Jones (“Honeymoon in Vegas”) choreographs. Through Jan. 14 at Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Shirlington. Tickets $40-$108, subject to change. Call 703-820-9771 or visit sigtheatre.org.
“The Dog in the Manger.” We Happy Few presents Lope de Vega’s 17th century play. Through Dec. 2 at Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, 545 7th St. SE. Tickets $15. Call 757-999-0418 or visit wehappyfewdc.com.
“Mean Girls.” Headed for Broadway next spring; book by Tina Fey, based on her 2004
movie. Music by TV composer-producer Jeff Richmond (“SNL,” “30 Rock” — and Fey’s husband), lyrics by Nell Benjamin (“Legally Blonde”), directed by Casey Nicholaw (“Book of Mormon”). Through Dec. 3 at the National Theatre, 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Tickets $48-$128. Call 202-628-6161 or visit thenationaldc.org.
“Misterman.” Thomas Keegan plays the obsessed character in Irish writer Enda Walsh’s monologue. Nov. 16-Dec. 9 at Dance Loft on 14, 4618 14th Street NW. Tickets $35-$45. visit solasnua.org.
“My Name Is Asher Lev.” Aaron Posner’s adaptation of the Chaim Potok novel. Nov. 16-Dec. 17 at 1st Stage, 1524 Spring Hill Rd., McLean. Tickets $15-$33. Call 703-854-1856 or visit 1ststagetysons.org.
“Nina Simone: Four Women.” A play with music by Christina Ham, placing the activist singer Simone in the bombed Alabama church where four girls were killed in 1963. Nov. 10-Dec. 24 at Arena Stage, 1101 Sixth St. SW. Tickets $40-$111, subject to change. Call 202-488-3300 or visit arenastage.org.
“Nothing to Lose (But Our Chains).” From Second City, following the troupe’s recent “Black Side of the Moon” at Woolly Mammoth and based on Second City actor Felonious Munk. Nov. 11-Dec. 31. at Woolly Mammoth, 641 D St. NW. Tickets $49-$69, subject to change. Call 202-393-3939 or visit woollymammoth.org.
“The Real Americans.” A solo project drawn from heartland interviews by San Francisco-based Dan Hoyle, newly updated since its 2010 debut. Nov. 10-Dec. 17 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets $45-$65. Call 202-399-7993 or visit mosaictheater.org.
“Twelfth Night.” Ethan McSweeny directs Shakespeare’s comedy. Nov. 14-Dec. 20 at the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F St. NW. Tickets $25-$118, subject to change. Call 202-547-1122 or visit shakespearetheatre.org.
“The Adventures of Peter Pan.” “A funny, fast-paced, visually arresting new Synetic Theater production. Among the adaptation’s striking features is a significant backstory for Tinker Bell. Portrayed with elfin verve by Ana Tsikurishvili, the fairy is a riveting figure whose lime-green dress swirls with tiny lights and whose twitchy movements hint at the feral energy she channels.” (Celia Wren) Through Nov. 19 at Synetic Theater, 1800 S. Bell St., Arlington. Tickets $20-$60. Call 866-811-4111 or visit synetictheater.org.
“An Act of God.” “More like a ‘A Riff From God,’ a 75-minute comedy stand-up set delivered Vegas-style by the Lord. Its one-liners derive from ‘The Daily Show With Jon Stewart’ Emmy winner David Javerbaum’s Twitter account @TheTweetOfGod (3 million followers). Tom Story wryly delivers the holy shtick, but this slick production cries out for more disarming comedy-club rapport.” (Nelson Pressley) 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.” “You could make ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ arena-scale and get away with it; the passions and prima donna reversals are that grand. Director Robert Richmond goes the other way at the Folger, making a rare conversion of the 250-ish seat
Elizabethan stage to a cozy in-the-round space. Cody Nickell and Shirine Babb beautifully embody the powerful lovers in Mariah Hale’s fabulous and flattering costumes, and they command our attention as if by birthright. But they don’t often find tones between joy and anger.” (Nelson Pressley) Through Nov. 19 at Folger Theatre, 201 East Capitol St. SE. Tickets $35-$79. Call 202-544-7077 or visit folger.edu.
“The Book of Mormon.” “South Park” does Broadway in this popular musical comedy, back at the Kennedy Center for its third tour. “Money can buy happiness. You’ll not only laugh; you’ll also marvel at the skill with which this show is constructed. Yes, the jibes descend into the juvenile, and the jokes at the expense of religion, AIDS and Third World poverty may compel you to wonder how that sweet-looking older couple at the end of your aisle is taking to all the seemingly blasphemous profanity. But the surprising thing about ‘Book of Mormon’ is that despite all its nihilistic swagger, it’s a musical with a soul.” (Peter Marks) Through Nov. 19 at the Kennedy Center’s Opera House. Tickets $59-$199. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
“Emilie: La Marquise Du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight.” “Lauren Gunderson’s bracing, brainy play based on real-life 18th-century French scientific genius Émilie du Châtelet, whose achievements included making needed fixes to Newton’s physics. Gunderson’s play demands an actor who can convincingly evoke Emilie’s restless intellect and wit, and in Avant Bard’s current production, Sara Barker rises to the task.” (Celia Wren) Through Nov 19 at Gunston Arts Center Theater II, 2700 S. Lang St., Arlington. Tickets $35. Call 703-418-4808 or visit wscavantbard.org.
“Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill.” Celeste Jones plays Billie Holiday in the grim concert drama from 1986 that’s getting three different productions this season around D.C. The jazz trio is fine, but the cabaret seating is odd, since no food or drink was available on opening night. It’s really all about Jones, a clear, confident singer who effectively burrows into Holiday’s intoxicated haze during this bitter late-career set. (Nelson Pressley) Through Nov. 19 at Rep Stage, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. Tickets $15-$40. Call 443-518-1500 or visit repstage.org.
“Mystery School.” Nora Achrati plays the five women in Paul Selig’s one-woman drama, presented by the Edge of the Universe Players 2 in Woolly Mammoth’s rehearsal hall. Through Nov. 20 at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, 641 D St. NW. Tickets $25. Visit universeplayers2.org.
“The Pajama Game.” “Old fashioned, but there’s no reason it can’t paste a smile on your face if it’s got enough cheerful, seductive steam heat. Alan Paul’s new production at Arena Stage gets a lot right, and it doesn’t make the mistake of trying to change the musical comedy’s vintage stripes. The mere appearance of ‘A Chorus Line’ Tony winner Donna McKechnie as office secretary Mabel gives the audience a lift, and Esse has playground fun with hula hoops and badminton rackets in the picnic dance bonanza ‘Once a Year Day.’ But the exacting machinery isn’t quite there.” (Nelson Pressley) Through Dec. 24 at Arena Stage, 1101 Sixth St. SW. Tickets $40-$120, subject to change. Call 202-488-3300 or visit arenastage.org.
“The Price.” Arthur Miller’s 1968 drama of middle aged brother coming to terms as they liquidate family assets, with Hal Linden as 89 year old used furniture dealer Gregory Solomon. “Miller knew salesmen, and Solomon’s a beauty: he charms, he jokes and he philosophizes as he nibbles a hard boiled egg from his briefcase. Solomon brings laughter and light to a drama that’s full of heavy showdowns, and mostly the role fits Linden like a soft leather glove. Of course the guy who played Barney Miller in one of TV’s smarter sitcoms knows how to drop dry punchlines into the prevailing inanity. Linden also knows how to gently sound notes of time and loss, which elsewhere in this performance bang like gongs.” (Nelson Pressley) Through Nov. 19 at Arena Stage, 1101 Sixth St. SW. Tickets $40-$111, subject to change. Call 202-488-3300 or visit arenastage.org.
“The Ravens.” “The job in Alana Valentine’s drama is the oldest profession. Suzanne Edgar keeps you hooked in Venus Theatre’s intimate storefront production, which features a pole for pole dancing in the middle of the small stage. Edgar does the good girl-bad girl thing well enough to have you rooting for her, and then despairing.” Through Nov. 26 at the Venus Theatre Play Shack, 21 C St., Laurel. Tickets $40. Call 202-236-4078 or visit venustheatre.org.
“Shakespeare in Love.” “If you want an expensive copy of the wonderfully escapist 1999 Best Picture winner, by all means check it out. The players chomp into the material with zest and poetic verve. They are beautifully outfitted in Kathleen Geldard’s costumes and underscored by Matthew M. Nielson’s cinema-ready soundtrack. You could film it.” (Nelson Pressley) Through Nov. 26 at Baltimore Center Stage, 700 N. Calvert St., Baltimore. Tickets, $20-$79. Call 410-332-0033 or visit centerstage.org.
“A Short Series of Disagreements Presented Here in Chronological Order.” “Riding his bike near his London flat, Daniel Kitson, a British comic monologuist with a cult following, witnessed the aftermath of another cyclist’s bashing by a car. As she was being hoisted into an ambulance, Kitson swears, the victim winked at him. Not everyone has the nervous energy and intellectual virtuosity to take a fleeting moment (and the resulting, idiosyncratic paper trail) and turn it into a two-hour-plus account of their investigation into a South London bicycle club that may or may not have harbored a nest of anti-automobile driveway terrorists.” (Peter Marks) Through Nov. 25 at Studio Theatre, 1501 14th St. NW. Tickets $25. call 202-332-3300 or visit studiotheatre.org.
“Top Girls.” “Caryl Churchill’s 1982 ‘Top Girls’ is still breathtaking as women ranging from the 9th-century Pope Joan to 13th-century concubine Lady Nijo and Victorian-era explorer Isabella Bird gather for a vivacious dinner party hosted by a modern employment agency manager who is celebrating a promotion. The acting is notably sensitive and intelligent, especially in the imaginative opening act and during the earthy realistic sisterly showdown of Act 3, which crackles with surprisingly up-to-the-minute political friction.” Through Dec. 2 at Keegan Theatre, 1742 Church St. NW. Tickets $45. Call 202-265-3767 or visit keegantheatre.com.
“Vicuña & The American Epilogue.” “The first top-drawer political play of the Trump era. It’s satisfying because even though it’s satire, it takes the presidential contender, here named Kurt Seaman, deadly seriously. And it portrays those close to him not as cardboard-cutout toadies, but as desperate comic characters spinning around the drain of an enveloping cataclysm.” (Peter Marks) Through Dec. 3 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets $20-$65. Call 202-399-7993 or visit mosaictheater.org.
“Assassins.” Not a knock-‘em-dead staging of the Stephen Sondheim-John Weidman musical, yet the material remains arresting, certainly in the wake of another momentary astonishment about another mass public shooting. Guns are freely waved and sung about
as the cast plays presidential assassins from John Wilkes Booth to John Hinckley; the depiction of off-kilter American disgruntlement still gives you pause. The shadowy carnival atmosphere and most of the performances seem right. The squeaky, synthetic tone of the Americana music sounds wrong. Through Nov. 12 at Next Stop Theatre, 269 Sunset Park Drive, Herndon. Tickets $20-$60. Call 866-811-4111 or visit nextstoptheatre.org.
“The Effect.” “Lucy Prebble’s smart and stimulating play concerns the science of love, and how much the organic elements of attraction that course through our bodies might be altered by substances added to our systems. In the sexy, well-synchronized performances of Rafi Silver and Katie Kleiger, Studio Theatre’s stylish production, directed by David Muse, has no problem immersing us in the story’s central mystery: whether the intense passion that develops between Silver’s Tristan and Kleiger’s Connie has been triggered by the heart, or a bottle of pills.” (Peter Marks) Through Nov. 11 at Studio Theatre, 1501 14th St. NW. Tickets $20-$55. Call 202-332-3300 or visit studiotheatre.org.
“Hello, My Name Is . . . ” “A dramatic installation by designer Deb Sivigny that roams through an old house in the District’s Takoma Park neighborhood for audiences of about 15 at a time, immersing viewers in the world of mostly Korean adoptees growing up in America. Sivigny nicely sets the table for nuanced arguments about adoption policies in
Korea and the American agency that insists it’s doing good.” (Nelson Pressley) Through Nov. 12 at Rhizome DC, 6950 Maple St, NW. Tickets $40. Visit thewelders.org.
“Our Town.” Thornton Wilder’s timeless homey drama. “Director Aaron Posner’s production contains fine moments of gentle comedy and warm human truth, and some core performances are winning. But as designed by Aaron Cromie and — more importantly — voiced and animated by the seven-actor cast, the puppets who depict the tale’s supporting characters often come across as cutesy. Their adorable folk-art look and idiosyncratic voices — lots of lovable-old-coot speaking patterns — ultimately distance us from the simple but profound reality of Grover’s Corners.” (Celia Wren) Through Nov. 12 at the Olney Theatre Center, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Rd. Tickets $54-$74. Call 301-924-3400 or visit olneytheatre.org.
“Safe as Houses.” “Gets stuck explaining itself again and again as a different kind of broken family has a ‘Twilight Zone’ moment. It’s Valentine’s Day, and Isabel is celebrating with her second husband when her first husband walks in out of a storm — not realizing 10 years have passed. Too little of playwright Natalie Ann Piegari’s fantasy (debuted by Pinky Swear Productions) passes basic credibility tests, and too much overwritten dialogue is composed of flabbergasted variations on ‘I don’t understand.’” (Nelson Pressley) Through Nov. 11 at Trinidad Theater in the Logan Fringe Arts Space, 1358 Florida Avenue NE. Tickets $35. Call 866-811-4111 or visit pinkyswear-productions.com.
“The Very Last Days of the First Colored Circus.” A revised version of the show presented by Restoration Stage earlier this year, a new play with music chronicling the challenges faced by African American circus performers in 1920s La Plata, Md. Through Nov. 12 at the Anacostia Playhouse, 2020 Shannon Place SE. Tickets $45-$55. Visit restorationstage.biz.
“Broadway: The Next Generation.” ASCAP (The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) presents a week-long series showcasing musical theater composers performing their work. Nov. 12: Oliver Houser. Nov. 13: Nikko Benson. Nov. 14: Julian Hornik. Nov. 15: Matt Gould and Griffin Matthews. Nov. 16: Max Vernon. Nov. 17: Andrew Lippa. At the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage. 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.
“The Shadow of a Doubt.” Edith Wharton’s only play gets a free staged reading as part of the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s “Re:Discovery” series. Nov. 13 at the Lansburgh Theatre, 450 7th St. NW. Free. Call 202-547-1122 or visit shakespearetheatre.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.
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