The Friday morning feature of what’s happening in D.C. theater. This week: first performances of “Carousel” at Arena Stage and “Mary Poppins” at the Olney Theatre Center; a flurry of hard-hitting dramas (“Milk Like Sugar,” “Tame,” “The Girl in the Red Corner”); last chance for “Angels in America” and “The Little Foxes.” Also check out the ETC. happenings at the end of this list for notable concerts, readings and beyond category events this week, including Laura Benanti — lately impersonating Melania Trump on Stephen Colbert’s “The Late Show” — at the Barns at Wolf Trap.
“American Hero.” The regional premiere of a dark comedy about struggling workers in a sandwich shop, by Bess Wohl (off-Broadway’s recent “Small Mouth Sounds”). Nov. 2-20 at Rep Stage, 10901 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia. Tickets $40. Call 443-518-1500 or visit repstage.org.
“Carousel.” Arena Stage Artistic Director Molly Smith (“South Pacific,” “Oklahoma!”) returns to one of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classics. Oct. 28-Dec. 24 at Arena Stage, 1101 Sixth St. SW. Tickets $50-$119, subject to change. Call 202-488-3300 or visit arenastage.org.
“Eurydice.” Sarah Ruhl’s 2003 re-imagining of the Orpheus myth. Oct. 27-Nov. 20 at Next Stop Theatre, 269 Sunset Park Dr., Herndon. Tickets $35. Call 703-481-5930 or visit nextstoptheatre.org.
“The Girl in the Red Corner.” The D.C. playwrights’ collective The Welders launches its second generation with a premiere about a troubled young woman training in mixed martial arts, by Stephen Spotswood. Nov. 3-20 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets $30. Call 202-399-7993 or visit thewelders.org.
“Mary Poppins.” The Disney musical flurry continues (see the new “Freaky Friday” at Signature Theatre) with this local staging of the 2006 Broadway hit. Nov. 2-Jan. 1 at the Olney Theatre Center, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Rd., Olney. Tickets $43-$80. Call 301-924-3400 or visit olneytheatre.org.
“Milk Like Sugar.” Kirsten Greenidge’s drama of teenage pregnancy; Jennifer Nelson directs for the Mosaic Theater Company. Nov. 2-27 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets $40-$60. Call 202-399-7993 or visit mosaictheaterdc.org.
“Tame.” Playwright Jonelle Walker’s new play riffs on “The Taming of the Shrew,” focusing on a grieving lesbian in 1960s Texas. Nov. 3-Dec. 11 at Gunston Arts Center, 2700 South Lang St., Arlington. Tickets $30-$35, with pay-what-you-will performances. Call 703-418-4808 or visit wscavantbard.org.
“43½: The Greatest Deaths of Shakespeare’s Tragedies.” Nu Sass Productions revisits and revises its 2013 Fringe Festival compilation of the Bard’s death scenes. Through Nov. 13 at the Logan Fringe Arts Space’s Trinidad Theatre, 1358 Florida Ave. NE. Tickets $30. Visit www.nusass.com.
“Freaky Friday.” “The polished, peppy and predictable new musical adapted from the popular young adult novel and a couple of Disney movies of the same title, is an ideal show for grown-ups looking for a completely wholesome activity to share with the kids in their lives. Composed with aplomb by ‘Next to Normal’ songwriters Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey and bookwriter Bridget Carpenter, the musical, in a world premiere at Signature Theatre, offers two marvelously sung, resonantly comical central performances by Heidi Blickenstaff and Emma Hunton. . . . The stakes are so clearly laid out, and the plot points so easy to anticipate, though, that ‘Freaky Friday’ has about it a prefabricated feel. A highly accomplished, squeaky-clean after-school special is what it reminds you of.” (Peter Marks) Through Nov. 20 at Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Tickets $40-$99. Call 703-820-9771 or visit www.sigtheatre.org.
“The Gulf.” A new two-character relationship drama unwinding in real time from Audrey Cefaly, whose “Maytag Virgin” made a splash at last year’s Women’s Voices Theater Festival. Rachel Zampelli and Maria Rizzo play Southern lovers adrift on a small fishing boat, neatly realized in Signature Theatre’s extremely intimate Ark space by set designer Paige Hathaway. “The audience eavesdrops on the women as they spend a lazy afternoon in Kendra’s beloved boat, with Kendra fishing for channel bass — and Betty fishing for a deeper commitment from Kendra.” (Peter Marks) Joe Calarco directs. Though Nov. 6 at Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Tickets $40-$89. Call 703-820-9771 or visit www.sigtheatre.org.
“Kiss.” “Plays rarely pull the rug out from under audiences as successfully as Guillermo Calderón’s ‘Kiss’ is managing the trick at Woolly Mammoth. The funny, searingly topical show comes on like a campy melodrama as American actors stage a soap opera script they found online. It’s by a Syrian writer who they think is hiding underground in the Middle East. They’re mostly right, but what they don’t know drives a lot of the surprises in ‘Kiss,’ which is easily one of the most urgent and gripping performances of the new theater season.” (Nelson Pressley) Through Nov. 6 at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, 641 D S t. NW. Tickets $20-$69. Call 202-393-3939 or visit www.woollymammoth.net.
“The Night Alive.” Irish dramatist Conor McPherson’s closely observed study of a down-and-out man and the battered woman he rescues from the street, staged only last fall at Round House Theatre and now revived just down the block by Quotidian Theatre. The smaller new production suggests the beautifully written drama’s depressive and exuberant poles, but it’s haunted by the spectre of the sturdier Round House version, which still feels visible in the rear view mirror. Through Nov. 20 at the Writer’s Center, 4508 Walsh St., Bethesda. Tickets $30. Call 800-838-3006 or visit quotidiantheatre.org .
“Rameau’s Nephew.” The stage adaptation of Enlightenment philosopher/critic Denis Diderot’s misanthropic dialogue, from Spooky Action Theater. “The conversation, which includes some lively anecdotes, constitutes the play’s entire dramatic action, more or less. Presumably to compensate for the lack of showier incident, Henrich’s production abounds in conspicuous stage business. . . . The hyperbolic acting style eventually becomes grating.” (Celia Wren) Through Nov. 13 at the Universalist National Memorial Church, 1810 16th St. NW. Tickets $30-$40. Call 202-248-0301 or visit spookyaction.org.
“Romeo and Juliet.” Alan Paul’s relatable staging is youthful and pulsing with club music, but Shakespeare’s accessible tragedy isn’t as ablaze as it aspires to be, despite a giant hot red set. Jeffrey Carlson is a zesty, brooding Mercutio, and Andrew Veenstra’s Romeo and Ayana Workman’s Juliet are appealing, yet the famous plot and its quick-burning romance don’t quite find the urgent gear the play needs: “The language seldom sings.” (Nelson Pressley) Through Nov. 6 at the Lansburgh Theatre, 450 Seventh St. NW. Tickets $44-$118. Call 202-547-1122 or visit www.shakespearetheatre.org.
“Sense and Sensibility.” Boss Austen at the Folger Theater, from the New York troupe Bedlam. “Modeled closely on their hit off-Broadway production, still running in Greenwich Village, the Folger spinoff (with a completely new cast) successfully bottles the spirit of the 19th-century novelist afresh, in its rendering of the pure-hearted Dashwood sisters and the waves of cattiness and misfortune that batter them this way and that. It’s an enterprise so fleet of conception that it quite literally glides through the stories of the romantic struggles.” (Peter Marks) Through Nov. 13 at Folger Theatre, 201 E. Capitol St. SE. Tickets $30-$75. Call 202-544-7077 or visit www.folger.edu.
“The Who’s Tommy.” Russell Harvard of the New York productions of “Tribes” and Deaf West’s “Spring Awakening” is featured in the title role; the Open Circle Productions features a mixed cast of disabled and non-disabled performers. Through Nov. 20 at the Silver Spring Black Box Theater, 8641 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring. Tickets $30-$45. Visit opencircletheatre.org.
“To Have Done With the Judgement of God.” Theatre du Jour revives its surreal 45-minute staging from earlier this year. “The visual shock tactics certainly fit the bill: If there ever was a text that called for surreal pageantry, it is this delirious rant by Antonin Artaud (1896-1948), the French thespian, theorist and sometime mental-asylum patient who is perhaps best known for his manifestos proposing a ‘Theater of Cruelty.’” (Celia Wren) Through Nov. 21 at DC Arts Center, 2438 18th St. NW. Tickets $20. Call 202-462-7833 of visit theatredujour.org.
“The Year of Magical Thinking.” Kathleen Turner returns to Arena Stage’s intimate Kogod Cradle in the solo adaptation of Joan Didion’s bestselling memoir about coping with her husband’s death and her daughter’s illness. “Turner can’t help but heat up Didion’s frosty ‘The Year of Magical Thinking.’ Her one-of-a-kind voice is a steady low boil, and as she fixes the Arena Stage audience with a commanding gaze and announces warningly that grief hits us all, you can tell Turner’s in for a fight.” (Nelson Pressley) Through Nov. 20 at Arena Stage, 1101 Sixth St. SW. Tickets $40-$90. Call 202-488-3300 or visit www.arenastage.org.
“Angels in America, Part I: Millennium Approaches/Part II: Perestroika.” Tony Kushner’s seven-hour, two-part epic about AIDS in the Reagan era is being presented at Round House Theatre in a co-production with the Olney Theatre Center. “Bolstered by some extremely high-caliber performances, director Ryan Rilette picks up with aplomb at Round House where Jason Loewith, who staged Part I, left off. . . . Round House and Olney offer such a fully realized serving of Kushner’s epic that you would be inaccurate if you asserted you’ve had the ‘Angels’ experience without seeing both. It’s a big commitment, for sure. But Kushner’s a big thinker.” (Peter Marks) Through Oct. 30 at Round House Theatre, 4545 East-West Hwy., Bethesda. Tickets $30-$61. Call 240-644-100 or visit www.roundhousetheatre.org.
“Dante’s Inferno.” Synetic Theatre’s return to Dante. “Danced with nothing less than a demonic vengeance. . . . As in a pact with any devil, though, the rewards come at a price. In this case, being a movement piece with lovely extremities has too little going on now, as in 2009.” (Peter Marks) Through Oct. 30 at Synetic Theater, 1800 S. Bell St., Arlington. Tickets $20-$60. Call 866-811-4111 or visit www.synetictheater.org.
“The Little Foxes.” Marg Helgenberger (“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”) headlines the first of two Lillian Hellman revivals slated at Arena Stage this season as Regina Giddens, conniving sister of the avaricious Hubbard clan. The 1939 drama pivots on the intrigue around a Southern family angling against each other as a potentially profitable deal is about to be made. Edward Gero (Antonin Scalia in “The Originalist”) plays Regina’s older brother; Jack Willis is Regina’s weary, dying husband; and Regina’s sister-in-law Birdie is “played here with fluttery brilliance by Isabel Keating. . . . Staged by director Kyle Donnelly with a secure grasp of the diabolical brand of gentility practiced by the Hubbard clan, the production proves exemplary at milking the tension without falling prey — as it might — to outdated histrionics.” (Peter Marks) Through Oct. 30 at Arena Stage, 1101 Sixth St. SW. Tickets $40-$118. Call 202-488-3300 or visit arenastage.org.
“Ruthless! The Musical.” “Pure diversion. . . . The saga is ‘The Bad Seed’ meets ‘Gypsy’ and ‘All About Eve,’ so director Matt Conner — a performer himself, and the composer of several musicals at Signature Theatre — keeps his actors at a mostly amusingly high level of anxiety.” (Nelson Pressley) Through Oct. 30 at Creative Cauldron, 410 S. Maple Ave., Falls Church. Tickets $30. Call 703-436-9948 or visit www.creativecauldron.org
“The Trump Card.” The return of Mike Daisey’s solo exploration of Donald Trump, updated since its first brief appearance this summer as a workshop performance. “The free-floating, incredulous contempt suffusing ‘The Trump Card,’ recalling the comedically sophisticated musings of an in-the-know satirist of another era, Mort Sahl, is in itself welcome at this unsettling moment. Because, more than anything else, what we all really want to do is vent.” (Peter Marks) Through 30 at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, 641 D St. NW. $20-$74, subject to change. Call 202-393-3939 or visit www.woollymammoth.net.
“Witch.” An hour-long adaptation of the Jacobean tragedy “The Witch of Edmonton” by the performance collective Convergence Theatre. “Wields a double-edged sword as it emphasizes the themes of misogyny and sexism, which are implicit in the story. Those issues have loomed large in the presidential election, lending this show an extra sheen of topicality. But various details press the point too baldly.” (Celia Wren) Through Oct. 30 at the Mead Theatre Lab at Flashpoint, 916 G St. NW. Tickets $18. Visit www.convergencetheatre.org.
“Zombie Prom.” The campy 1990s off-Broadway musical about a high school zombie and the girl who loves him. “Strictly for hardcore musical devotees who want to see what Dana P. Rowe and John Dempsey wrote before their musicals ‘The Fix’ and ‘The Witches of Eastwick.’ . . . The rock-and-roll quartet tucked up onto a platform in a back corner of the stage tries to capture the feel of the 1950s sock-hop score but can’t quite swing it. Neither can much of the rest of the indifferently designed, unevenly performed show.” (Nelson Pressley) Through Oct. 30 at the Randolph Road Theater, 4010 Randolph Rd., Wheaton. Tickets $10-$27.50. Call 301-337-8290 or visit www.unexpectedstage.org.
“Beertown.” dog & pony dc’s devised, interactive, quirky piece on democratic process, first seen in 2011, now revised and updated in time for the election’s home stretch. “It may be a mock proceeding, but ‘Beertown’ really does hammer home, at a pivotal moment, the notion that every vote counts.” (Peter Marks) Through Nov. 7 at the Thurgood Marshall Center for Service and Heritage, 1816 12th St. NW. Tickets $17-$27. Visit www.dogandponydc.com.
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.
“Dream Within a Dream: Madness.” An immersive performance about Edgar Allan Poe’s madness after the death of his wife, re-imagined by Through the 4th Wall — which performed the show in a found building on New York Avenue NW during the 2014 Capital Fringe Festival — for Alexandria’s Torpedo Factory. Through Oct. 31 at the Torpedo Factory, 105 N. Union St., Alexandria. Tickets $40. Call 703-838-4565 or visit www.torpedofactory.org.
“The Every28Hours Plays.” Part of a national project of one-minute plays on the killing of black men and women by police, security guards and vigilantes. Presented Oct. 29 at 5 p.m. as a partnership between City at Peace and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in the Great Hall of the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets free. Call 202-399-7993 or visit atlasarts.org.
“Freeze Frame: Stop the Madness.” A hybrid dance-theater-music-cinema piece on violence and race, written, directed and choreographed by Debbie Allen. Through Oct. 30 at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater. Tickets $29-$109. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org .
Laura Benanti. The Broadway performer (“She Loves Me,” “Gypsy”) with her concert “Tales From Soprano Isle.” Oct. 29 at the Barns at Wolf Trap, 1645 Trap Rd., Vienna. Tickets $40-$45. Call 877-9653872 or visit wolftrap.org.
“On Stage With the Migration Series.” Staged readings of short plays connected to painter Jacob Lawrence’s 60-panel “Migration Series,” which is being reunited in full at the Phillips Collection. The playwrights are Norman Allen, Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm, Annalisa Dias, Jacqueline E. Lawton and Laura Shamas. Nov. 3 at the Phillips Collection, 1600 21st St. NW. Tickets $12. Call 202-387-2151 or visit phillipscollection.org.
“POTUS Among Us.” A “diverting interactive show . . . this nutty immersive spoof of a presidential campaign allows theatergoers to winnow down a field of (fictional) crackpot political candidates, based on mini-debates, mini-stump speeches and such game-show-style faceoffs as a competition to shamelessly curry favor with Walmart.” (Celia Wren) Through Nov. 6 at Source, 1835 14th St. NW. Tickets $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Visit www.witdc.org.
“Shear Madness.” The indestructible interactive comedy whodunit, at 12,000-plus performances in the Kennedy Center’s Theater Lab. Ongoing. Tickets $50-$54. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.
“Warrior Class.” Kenneth Lin’s 2012 hardball political drama about the rise of a so-called “Republican Obama” possibly running for Congress. Directed by Joy Zinoman and featuring Rick Foucheux, Isabel Keating, Tony Nam and Deidra LaWan Starnes. Part of “Theatrical Selections,” the series of free Monday night readings of politically themed works at several area theaters, Monday nights until the election. Oct. 31 at 7:30 p.m. in the Kennedy Center’s Theater Lab. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org .