Metro Weekly

Alexandria’s MetroStage turns 30

Alexandria's MetroStage celebrates three decades of providing powerful experiences

Metro Stage: 30th-anniversary and Three Sistahs Photo by Chris Banks

Three Sistahs – Photo: Chris Banks

“When you have a 130-seat theater with a semi-thrust stage,” Carolyn Griffin says, “you better have the best actors in town because there are no secrets on that stage.”

True to form, Griffin has consistently recruited the best actors for shows at Alexandria’s MetroStage. In fact, the 30-year-old outfit was originally named the American Showcase Theatre Company, “founded to showcase acting teachers and students.” Griffin changed the name after becoming artistic director a few years later, but never changed focus on presenting strong actors, working in tandem.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had a critic say I had an uneven cast,” asserts Griffin, who has numerous Helen Hayes Award nominations for best ensemble performance to prove it. “I take pride in … these kind of remarkable ensemble pieces that resonate with an audience. And because the audience is so close to the stage, it is really a very powerful theater experience.”

It’s also consistently not the kind of experience — or show — you can get elsewhere. “All you have to do is look in the back of American Theater magazine and you’ll see what the hot shows are,” Griffin says. “Everybody is doing the same shows — and we’re not.” Instead, MetroStage has made its name with less buzzy, history-steeped plays featuring just a couple actors — such as Athol Fugard’s The Island, on tap for next spring — and for small, intimate musicals generally focused on the cultural experiences and impact of African Americans. Griffin concedes this can add to the challenge of attracting audiences to MetroStage’s location of the past 12 years, in a developing but still off-the-beaten-path area near the Alexandria waterfront. But it’s worth it in the end, for her, and for audiences, too.

Take, for example, the musical that kicks off MetroStage’s 30th anniversary season. Directed by MetroStage’s most frequent collaborator, Atlanta-based Thomas W. Jones, who also wrote the book and lyrics, Three Sistahs features original gospel, R&B and funk music by William Hubbard, and focuses on sisters who reconnect at their father’s funeral. The show stars MetroStage veterans Bernardine Mitchell and Roz White, along with newcomer Ashley Ware Jenkins — “three of the most terrific African-American performers you’ll ever see on a stage any place,” Griffin boasts.

Noting one theatergoer who vowed to renew long lost ties to her own sister after seeing the show, Griffin says, “It’s leaving people with a powerful feeling as they leave the theater, and that is what I think theater is meant to do and should do.”

Three Sisters runs to Nov. 2 at MetroStage, 1201 North Royal St., Alexandria. Tickets are $55 to $60. Call 800-494-8497 or visit metrostage.org.

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Capitol Hill Ghost Tour

at DC Metro Area, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Thu, April 26
Sun, April 29
Thu, May 03
+ 8 more dates
Thu, April 26
Sun, April 29
Thu, May 03
Sun, May 06
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Sun, May 13
Thu, May 17
Sun, May 20
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Sun, May 27
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[less-]
FULL PRICE: $20
OFFER PRICE: $10

Our newest addition to the dark side walking tours, explore Capitol Hill with your guide to talk about scandals and hauntings. DC By Foot's Capitol Hill Ghost Tour is a walking tour intended to provid... [more+]

Our newest addition to the dark side walking tours, explore Capitol Hill with your guide to talk about scandals and hauntings. DC By Foot's Capitol Hill Ghost Tour is a walking tour intended to provide guests with the history of the largest historic residential neighborhood in DC, with a dark twist. The guides will discuss the deaths, ghosts, curses and often violent figures and events of Capitol Hill. You'll hear about hauntings associated with the Capitol, the Library of Congress, Old Capitol Prison, historic homes and dark parks. [less-]

"Witch": Bold New Witchcraft History Musical

at Creative Cauldron, Falls Church
OFFER DATES:
Thu, April 26
Fri, April 27
Sun, April 29
FULL PRICE: $30
OFFER PRICE: $15

From the dawn of time, women have been demonized, feared and objectified whenever their power challenged the traditional order. Weaving a thread from the Salem Witch trials through modern-day politics... [more+]

From the dawn of time, women have been demonized, feared and objectified whenever their power challenged the traditional order. Weaving a thread from the Salem Witch trials through modern-day politics, this world premiere musical examines the complex and compelling stories of women who've been labeled as witches throughout the centuries. Building on their beautifully crafted productions of "The Turn of the Screw", "Monsters of the Villa Diodati" and "Kaleidoscope", Matt Conner and Stephen Gregory Smith bring us "Witch", their highly anticipated "Bold New Work," at Creative Cauldron in Falls Church. [less-]

"Top and Bottom": Funny 'n' Kinky Dating Comedy

at DC Arts Center, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Thu, April 26
Fri, April 27
Sat, April 28
+ 1 more dates
Thu, April 26
Fri, April 27
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FULL PRICE: $35
OFFER PRICE: $17.50

Rainbow Theatre Project presents "Top and Bottom", the hit of the New York Fringe Festival. Two young men display their charms as they celebrate the splendors of gay dating in this funny, poignant pla... [more+]

Rainbow Theatre Project presents "Top and Bottom", the hit of the New York Fringe Festival. Two young men display their charms as they celebrate the splendors of gay dating in this funny, poignant play. "Top and Bottom" explores an encounter between two cute guys who want to explore their sexual bondage fantasies. The only problem? They're a bit klutzy, a bit nerdy and not totally sure what they're doing. See this sure-fire crowd pleaser at DC Arts Center. [less-]

Tony-Winning ""Master Harold" ... and the boys"

at Round House Theatre - Bethesda, Bethesda
OFFER DATES:
Thu, April 26
Fri, April 27
Sat, April 28
+ 4 more dates
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FULL PRICE: $51 - $56
OFFER PRICE: $20.40 - $28

Here's a picture you wouldn't imagine in 1950 South Africa: Two black men and a white boy joking and dancing together. Defying the harsh realities of apartheid, Harold's black workers are more than ju... [more+]

Here's a picture you wouldn't imagine in 1950 South Africa: Two black men and a white boy joking and dancing together. Defying the harsh realities of apartheid, Harold's black workers are more than just his employees -- They're his friends. Faced with the return of his alcoholic father, Harold must weigh his father's racist outlook against the respect he has for his companions. Winner of the Tony Award for Best Play in 1982, and initially banned in South Africa, ""Master Harold" ... and the boys" remains one of the most powerful coming-of-age plays ever written. Come see it at the Round House Theatre in Bethesda. [less-]

Arthur Miller's Chilling Witch Hunt Drama

at Olney Theatre Center - Mainstage, Olney
OFFER DATES:
Thu, April 26
Fri, April 27
Sat, April 28
+ 15 more dates
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[less-]
FULL PRICE: $64 - $74
OFFER PRICE: $32 - $37

In Arthur Miller's classic play about the Salem witch trials, unseen and unseeable evil stalks the town, threatening to destroy the lives of the God-fearing colonists. A clique of young girls are the ... [more+]

In Arthur Miller's classic play about the Salem witch trials, unseen and unseeable evil stalks the town, threatening to destroy the lives of the God-fearing colonists. A clique of young girls are the only ones capable of unmasking the terror allegedly caused by hidden witches and devil's consorts. The girls uncover ugly truths, settle old scores and leave behind a trail of destruction. Since its premiere in 1953, a masterful allegory for the rise of McCarthyism in the late 1940s, "The Crucible" has become an American classic. Experience the timeless and poignant tale at Olney Theatre Center's mainstage. [less-]

Powerful Medical Drama: "Roz and Ray"

at Theater J at the Edlavitch DCJCC, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Thu, April 26
Sat, April 28
Sun, April 29
FULL PRICE: $52 - $69
OFFER PRICE: $25 - $31

It's 1976, and Ray, a newly single parent, has only one goal: Keep his twin boys alive. Both of Ray's sons are hemophiliacs, which means that in addition to the regular stresses of single parenthood R... [more+]

It's 1976, and Ray, a newly single parent, has only one goal: Keep his twin boys alive. Both of Ray's sons are hemophiliacs, which means that in addition to the regular stresses of single parenthood Ray must also contend with endless hospital trips, rigorous testing and frequent blood transfusions. When Ray meets Roz -- an optimistic and caring doctor with a miracle treatment for his sons' condition -- he thinks that he's found his savior. But miracles aren't always what they appear to be, and life on the cutting edge of biomedicine means moral ambiguity and impossible choices. Powerful, urgent and beautiful, "Roz and Ray" charts the untold story of a devastating chapter of medical and queer history. See why the "Chicago Tribune" deemed this a "very powerful play," when it comes to the stage of Theater J in Washington, DC. [less-]

Smithsonian American Art Adventures

at Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Thu, April 26
Fri, April 27
Sat, April 28
+ 33 more dates
Thu, April 26
Fri, April 27
Sat, April 28
Sun, April 29
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[less-]
FULL PRICE: $30
OFFER PRICE: $15

Take a quirky tour of one of the most historic -- and underrated --buildings and museums in Washington, D.C. with Smithsonian American Art Adventures. You'll dive into American history through art whi... [more+]

Take a quirky tour of one of the most historic -- and underrated --buildings and museums in Washington, D.C. with Smithsonian American Art Adventures. You'll dive into American history through art while your guide regales you with amazing tales of the power players who shaped the country. At the same time, you'll be taking in one of the world's largest collections of art. [less-]

Blues Alley: D.C.'s Premier Jazz & Supper Club

at Blues Alley, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Thu, April 26
Mon, April 30
Tue, May 01
+ 12 more dates
Thu, April 26
Mon, April 30
Tue, May 01
Wed, May 02
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Wed, May 09
Tue, May 15
Wed, May 16
Thu, May 17
Mon, May 21
Wed, May 23
Thu, May 24
Sun, May 27
Tue, May 29
Wed, May 30
[less-]
FULL PRICE: $22 - $30
OFFER PRICE: $11 - $15

Founded in 1965, Blues Alley is the nation's oldest operating jazz supper club, having showcased such internationally renowned artists as Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson, Grover Washingto... [more+]

Founded in 1965, Blues Alley is the nation's oldest operating jazz supper club, having showcased such internationally renowned artists as Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson, Grover Washington Jr., Ramsey Lewis, Charlie Byrd, Maynard Ferguson and Eva Cassidy. Located in the heart of historic Georgetown in an 18th century red brick carriage house, Blues Alley offers a unique and intimate ambiance, reminiscent of the jazz clubs of the 1920s and '30s. Go for just the music and drinks, or make it an evening and choose from authentic Creole cuisine, steak and seafood dishes. [less-]

"I Did It My Way in Yiddish (in English)"

at MetroStage, Alexandria
OFFER DATES:
Thu, April 26
Fri, April 27
Sat, April 28
+ 2 more dates
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FULL PRICE: $45
OFFER PRICE: $30

Most likely the only New Zealand-born Jewish Canadian comedian you'll ever come across, Deb Filler delivers her newest one-woman show to MetroStage's female-centric Spring Solo Series. Filler's latest... [more+]

Most likely the only New Zealand-born Jewish Canadian comedian you'll ever come across, Deb Filler delivers her newest one-woman show to MetroStage's female-centric Spring Solo Series. Filler's latest tour-de-force play, "I Did It My Way in Yiddish (in English)", finds her with a guitar and a grab bag of lovable characters, sharing stories of her encounters with three Lennys: Leonard Bernstein, Leonard Cohen and another musician called Lenny. "Wahington Jewish Week" raves she's "a master of mimicry." She's received rave reviews for the show in Toronto, London, Sydney, Jerusalem, NYC and L.A., and was last seen at MetroStage baking challah live on the stage while performing as 27 different people in "Filler Up". [less-]

Explore History of U.S. Through Music: Guided Tour

at National Museum of American History, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Thu, April 26
Fri, April 27
Sat, April 28
+ 33 more dates
Thu, April 26
Fri, April 27
Sat, April 28
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Thu, May 31
[less-]
FULL PRICE: $30
OFFER PRICE: $15

Travel through time and explore U.S. history with a musical twist at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. Learn about the origins and controversies of America's national anthem,... [more+]

Travel through time and explore U.S. history with a musical twist at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. Learn about the origins and controversies of America's national anthem, discover the evolution of spiritual music into blues, jazz, rock n' roll, hip-hop and R&B, and live out your dream of becoming a hip-hop DJ by learning a funky beat -- all with your local guide by your side! [less-]

Speakeasies & Craft Cocktail Tour of the Capitol

at Temperance Fountain, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Thu, April 26
Fri, April 27
Sat, April 28
+ 2 more dates
Thu, April 26
Fri, April 27
Sat, April 28
Sun, April 29
Mon, April 30
[less-]
FULL PRICE: $64
OFFER PRICE: $32

If there's one thing you'll immediately learn about the hardworking citizens of Washington, D.C., it's that they love a good happy hour! Urban Adventures helps you sip your way through the Capitol's v... [more+]

If there's one thing you'll immediately learn about the hardworking citizens of Washington, D.C., it's that they love a good happy hour! Urban Adventures helps you sip your way through the Capitol's vibing craft cocktail scene, where you'll sample sweet libations at hidden gems and even learn how to make your own drinks. Get a history lesson too on how prohibition shaped D.C., and discover the speakeasies that still thrive here today. [less-]

Filipino Guest Workers Become Tel Aviv Drag Queens

at Atlas Performing Arts Center, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Thu, April 26
Fri, April 27
Sat, April 28
+ 2 more dates
Thu, April 26
Fri, April 27
Sat, April 28
Sat, April 28
Sun, April 29
[less-]
FULL PRICE: $45 - $65
OFFER PRICE: $22.50 - $32.50

In "Paper Dolls", a group of five Filipino guest workers living in Tel Aviv spend their days caring for elderly Orthodox men and their nights performing in nightclubs as drag queens -- and the crazies... [more+]

In "Paper Dolls", a group of five Filipino guest workers living in Tel Aviv spend their days caring for elderly Orthodox men and their nights performing in nightclubs as drag queens -- and the craziest part is, this karaoke musical is based on a true story! First profiled in an acclaimed 2006 documentary, the workers must contend with an immigration system that denies them citizenship and will deport them if they lose their jobs, while still enjoying the socially accepting atmosphere of Tel Aviv compared to the Philippines. See the American premiere of this vibrant, thought-provoking musical at the Atlas Performing Arts Center in Washington, D.C. [less-]

Tour the Capital Sites on the Washington D.C. Unveiled Electric Roadster Tour

at L'Enfant Plaza, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Thu, April 26
Fri, April 27
Sat, April 28
+ 33 more dates
Thu, April 26
Fri, April 27
Sat, April 28
Sun, April 29
Mon, April 30
Tue, May 01
Wed, May 02
Thu, May 03
Fri, May 04
Sat, May 05
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Mon, May 07
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Fri, May 11
Sat, May 12
Sun, May 13
Mon, May 14
Tue, May 15
Wed, May 16
Thu, May 17
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Thu, May 31
[less-]
FULL PRICE: $56
OFFER PRICE: $28

If a full day of walking the National Mall and visiting the D.C. monuments sounds exhausting, skip the crowded sidewalks and cruise around in a slick electric roadster. You'll get to visit all the sit... [more+]

If a full day of walking the National Mall and visiting the D.C. monuments sounds exhausting, skip the crowded sidewalks and cruise around in a slick electric roadster. You'll get to visit all the sites on your list while getting first-class treatment as your Urban Adventures tour guide shuttles you between the Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Lincoln memorials, while providing the inside scoop on the White House, Capitol Building and Smithsonian Museum. During your guided tour of just over two hours, you'll also get great tips on other things to see in D.C., plus suggestions for the best places to eat and drink in the capital. [less-]

Spicy Quips From Comedian Hot Sauce

at Baltimore Comedy Factory, Baltimore
OFFER DATES:
Thu, April 26
FULL PRICE: $20
OFFER PRICE: $13

Longtime class clown Brandon Glover earned the nickname Hot Sauce because of the bright red hue his face turns when he's cracking people up with his irreverent antics. After making his big debut at Fu... [more+]

Longtime class clown Brandon Glover earned the nickname Hot Sauce because of the bright red hue his face turns when he's cracking people up with his irreverent antics. After making his big debut at Funny Bone, one of St. Louis's top comedy clubs, Hot Sauce quickly gained popularity for his fiery wit and incindiary energy. Now a nationally-touring comic with appearances on Comedy Central and TruTV, Hot Sauce is coming to spice up Baltimore Comedy Factory with a flaming hot set that roasts his family, his love life and everything inbetween. [less-]

Politics & Pints Capitol Hill Walking Tour

at US Capitol Building, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Thu, April 26
Fri, April 27
Sat, April 28
+ 33 more dates
Thu, April 26
Fri, April 27
Sat, April 28
Sun, April 29
Mon, April 30
Tue, May 01
Wed, May 02
Thu, May 03
Fri, May 04
Sat, May 05
Sun, May 06
Mon, May 07
Tue, May 08
Wed, May 09
Thu, May 10
Fri, May 11
Sat, May 12
Sun, May 13
Mon, May 14
Tue, May 15
Wed, May 16
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Sun, May 27
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Thu, May 31
[less-]
FULL PRICE: $30
OFFER PRICE: $15

On the Politics & Pints Capitol Hill Tour, you'll explore the historic Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Discover the birthplace of American government while seeing iconic landmarks and le... [more+]

On the Politics & Pints Capitol Hill Tour, you'll explore the historic Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Discover the birthplace of American government while seeing iconic landmarks and learning fascinating history on this two-hour walking tour. Cap it all off by grabbing a drink in the city's oldest commercial district. [less-]

"Speechless: The Ultimate Improvisational Gauntlet"

at Drafthouse Comedy Theater, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Thu, April 26
FULL PRICE: $5
OFFER PRICE: COMP

Since 2013, "Speechless: The Ultimate Improvisational Gauntlet" has been selling out shows at comedy clubs and conferences all over the country and the world. Armed only with a laser pointer and a dec... [more+]

Since 2013, "Speechless: The Ultimate Improvisational Gauntlet" has been selling out shows at comedy clubs and conferences all over the country and the world. Armed only with a laser pointer and a deck of random slides, presenters ranging from stand up comedians to software engineers and Tony Award winners to TED presenters have put their talents to the test in the ultimate improvisational gauntlet--giving a presentation that they've never seen before. Fusing technology with comedy, "Speechless" is the entertainment experience for the Web 2.0 world. "Speechless" has entertained and trained companies all over the world including Google, Adobe, Microsoft, Uber, Twitter, Salesforce, Zynga, IDEO, eBay, Paypal, Walmart, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and many more. Speechless has been showcased at the Hollywood Improv, SF Sketchfest, Joe's Pub in New York, as well as many other comedy clubs and festivals. "Speechless" has been featured in "Newsweek", "The Wall Street Journal", "The Huffington Post", the "San Francisco Chronicle", Inc.com, and "The New York Times". Now come see "Speechless", hosted by Josh Kuderna and Dylan Meyer, at Drafthouse Comedy Theater in Washington DC. [less-]

Pulitzer Winner Annie Baker's "John"

at Signature Theatre, Arlington
OFFER DATES:
Thu, April 26
Fri, April 27
Sat, April 28
+ 1 more dates
Thu, April 26
Fri, April 27
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[less-]
FULL PRICE: $80 - $90
OFFER PRICE: $39 - $59

When you picture a B&B, you probably see a charming Victorian, a cozy fireplace, lots of doilies and tchotchkes strewn about. But for Elias and Jenny, the young Brooklyn couple at the center of Pulitz... [more+]

When you picture a B&B, you probably see a charming Victorian, a cozy fireplace, lots of doilies and tchotchkes strewn about. But for Elias and Jenny, the young Brooklyn couple at the center of Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Baker's "John", there's nothing quaint about their little getaway. With their relationship in trouble, the couple checks in only to be greeted by a cheerful yet somehow ... off innkeeper. Soon, it becomes apparent that they're not alone. Shot-through with Baker's wit and lyrical beauty, with shades of the supernatural, "John" is "so good on so many levels that it casts a unique and brilliant light" ("The New Yorker"). Now you can experience it at Signature Theatre in Arlington. [less-]

International Gem & Jewelry Show at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center

at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor
OFFER DATES:
Fri, April 27
Sat, April 28
Sun, April 29
FULL PRICE: $6
OFFER PRICE: COMP

This is the most dazzling display of gems, jewelry, beads, accessories and minerals you'll ever see under one roof. Since the 1960s, the acclaimed International Gem and Jewelry Show has been bringing ... [more+]

This is the most dazzling display of gems, jewelry, beads, accessories and minerals you'll ever see under one roof. Since the 1960s, the acclaimed International Gem and Jewelry Show has been bringing a fantastic selection of jewelry at the lowest prices to locations across the country, and now the show is back in town. You can expect to find colored gemstones, exquisite fine jewelry, gold and silver earrings, necklaces and bracelets, beads and crystals, ethnic jewelry, classic pearls, vintage estate jewelry, engagement rings and wedding bands, designer watches and one-of-a-kind seasonal pieces. With a varied selection and special show pricing direct from worldwide designers and manufacturers, this show is perfect for gem enthusiasts, jewelry lovers and anyone looking for unique new accessories at great prices. [less-]

"Legally Blonde The Musical"

at The Washington County Playhouse Dinner Theater and Children's Theater, Hagerstown
OFFER DATES:
Fri, April 27
Sat, April 28
FULL PRICE: n/a
OFFER PRICE: Sold Out

Elle Woods appears to have it all. But her life is turned upside down when her boyfriend dumps her so he can start getting serious about his life and attend Harvard Law. Determined to get him back, El... [more+]

Elle Woods appears to have it all. But her life is turned upside down when her boyfriend dumps her so he can start getting serious about his life and attend Harvard Law. Determined to get him back, Elle uses her charm to get into Harvard Law. At school, she struggles with peers, professors and Warner Huntington. With the help of Paulette and Emmett, though, Elle quickly realizes her potential and sets out to prove herself to the world. Based on the adored movie, "Legally Blonde The Musical" stays true to form with a peppy score and playful book. This musical with buffet dinner at Washington County Playhouse Dinner Theater and Children's Theater in Hagerstown is ridiculously enjoyable, from start to finish. [less-]

"Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"

at Laurel Mill Playhouse, Laurel
OFFER DATES:
Fri, April 27
Sat, April 28
Fri, May 04
+ 6 more dates
Fri, April 27
Sat, April 28
Fri, May 04
Sat, May 05
Fri, May 11
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Fri, May 18
Sat, May 19
[less-]
FULL PRICE: $22
OFFER PRICE: $11

Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018, one of the most enduring shows of all time comes to the Laurel Mill Playhouse. "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" is a re-imagining of the Biblica... [more+]

Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018, one of the most enduring shows of all time comes to the Laurel Mill Playhouse. "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" is a re-imagining of the Biblical story of Joseph, his father Jacob, eleven brothers and the coat of many colors. Told entirely through song with the help of a narrator, the musical follows preferred son Joseph. After being sold into slavery by his brothers, he ingratiates himself with Egyptian noble Potiphar, but ends up in jail after refusing the amorous advances of Potiphar's wife. While imprisoned, Joseph discovers his ability to interpret dreams, and he soon finds himself in front of the mighty but troubled, Elvis-inspired Pharaoh. Joseph's solution to Egypt's famine elevates him to Pharaoh's right-hand man and reunites him with his family. [less-]

Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly.