Metro Weekly

Stage: Spring Arts Preview 2017

Spring theater is filled with the sound of musicals

Cabaret – Photo: Joan Marcus

The second half of any theater’s season is quite often as strong, if not stronger, than its first. Most theaters love to end on a big bang, prompting patrons to remember them when the call for next year’s season subscriptions arise. Hence, we have closers like Arena’s bracing, highly-anticipated new comedy Smart People, Ford’s certain-to-be dazzling (and massive) Ragtime, Olney’s My Fair Lady, MetroStage’s Master Class and Woolly’s dark comedy Hir, to call out a few.

In addition, musicals abound in the spring theater-scape, with the Kennedy Center hosting a lion’s share of astounding classics — Cabaret, The King & IThe Sound of Music, Chicago, Hedwig and the Angry Inch — and The National holding forth with Alison Bechdel’s glorious Fun Home and Rent. Meanwhile, Signature dusts off Jesus Christ Superstar, promising to give it a glossy, modern new coat and GALA goes for the gusto with the first-ever, all-Spanish version of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s pre-Hamilton musical, In the Heights. Who says you can’t buy a thrill?


7300 MacArthur Blvd
Glen Echo, Md.

  • Ella Enchanted — Based on the award-winning book, Ella of Frell is given a “gift” of obedience by Lucinda, a misguided fairy, and cannot disobey any direct order (Now to 3/19)
  • Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp — Aladdin and princess Adora must outsmart an evil wizard who wants the genie in Aladdin’s lamp for his own schemes (4/7-5/21)
  • Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook — Junie investigates the disappearance of her new furry mittens. Based on the book series by Barbara Park and directed by Colin Hovde (6/17-8/28)


1101 Sixth St. SW

  • Intelligence — A political thriller inspired by true events surrounding covert operative Valerie Plame (Now to 4/2, Kogod Cradle)
  • A Raisin in the Sun — Tazewell Thompson directs Lorraine Hansbury’s masterpice about a family yearning for a way out of Chicago’s tenements (3/31-4/30, Fichandler)
  • Smart People — Lydia R. Diamond explores cultural bias and other sticky subjects in her controversial and fiercely funny new play (4/14-5/21, Kreeger)


700 N. Calvert St.
Baltimore, Md.

  • The White Snake — A fantastical fairy tale brought to life in grand spectacle in Center Stage’s newly renovated Head Theater. Adapted by Mary Zimmerman from the ancient Chinese fable (Now to 3/26)
  • Twisted Melodies — Kevin Rolston stars in this one-man show based on the life of ’70s soul singer Donny Hathaway, composer of “The Closer I Get to You” and “Where is the Love?” (3/17-4/16)
  • Jazz — Adapted from Toni Morrison’s exhilarating novel, Joe and Violet move from the Virginia countryside to Harlem at the turn of the century. Two decades later, Joe’s interactions with another woman sets off a series of violent, unforgivable acts (5/19-6/25)


1835 14th St. NW

  • The Arabian Nights — Ten years ago, Constellation opened with a production of Mary Zimmerman’s entrancing adaptation of The Arabian Nights. They revisit their roots, with direction by Stockman and live music by Tom Teasley (5/4-6/4)


201 East Capitol St. SE

  • Timon of Athens — Sparing no expense on lavish parties, expensive gifts, and charity, the abundantly generous Timon suffers a downturn of fortune and friendship. Robert Richmond directs and Ian Merrill Peakes stars (5/9-6/11)

Ragtime: Coalhouse


511 Tenth St. NW

  • Ragtime — Based on the sprawling novel by E.L. Doctorow, with book, music and lyrics by Terrence McNally, Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, the Tony-winning musical depicts three families striving for the American dream at the turn of the 20th century. The cast includes Kevin McAllister, Tracy Lynn Olivera, Nova Y. Payton and Jonathan Atkinson (Now to 5/20)


8641 Colesville Rd.
Silver Spring, Md.

  • What Every Girl Should Know — Four teen girls in a 1914 New York reformatory adopt birth control activist Margaret Sanger as their secret patron saint and build a communal fantasy life that grows increasingly real (March-April)
  • Dryland — A play about abortion, female friendship, and resiliency from one of America’s most exciting young playwrights, Ruby Rae Spiegel (March-April)


3333 14th St. NW

  • In the Heights — Before Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, there was this musical with its gripping tales of hope surrounding New York’s Washington Heights area (4/20-5/21)


1742 Church St. NW

  • Parade — With a book by Alfred Uhry, the musical tells the true story of the Southern lynching of a Jewish man accused of murder (3/11-4/8)
  • Outside Mullingar — John Patrick Shanley’s comedy poses the question: is it ever too late to take a chance on love? (5/6-28)
  • When We Were Young and Unafraid — In the early 1970s, a quiet bed and breakfast is turned into one of the few spots where victims of domestic violence can seek refuge (6/17-7/8)
  • Big Fish — Travelling salesman Edward Bloom tells incredible, larger-than-life stories in this musical adaptation of the Tim Burton film (8/5-9/2)

Euan Morton as Hedwig: Hedwig and the Angry Inch – Photo: Joan Marcus



  • Chicago — Razzle-dazzle (4/4-16, Opera House)
  • The Last Two People on Earth: An Apocalyptic Vaudeville — An apocalyptic flood leaves only two people with no common language, until they discover shared song and dance. Mandy Patinkin and Taylor Mac star. With direction/choreography by Susan Stroman (4/11-16, Eisenhower)
  • The Sound of Music — The hills are alive with it in this new production directed by three-time Tony-winner Jack O’Brien (6/13-7/16, Opera House)
  • Hedwig and the Angry Inch — The landmark American rock musical by John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask (6/13-7/2, Eisenhower)
  • Cabaret — Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall joined forces to create this 1998 Tony Award-winning production of the Kander and Ebb classic (7/11-8/6, Eisenhower)
  • The King and I — Lincoln Center Theater’s critically acclaimed production of the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic and winner of four 2015 Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical (7/18-8/20, Opera House)


1201 N. Royal St.
Alexandria, Va.

  • The Gin Game — Roz White and Doug Brown take on D.L. Coburns iconic play (Closes 3/12)
  • Master Class — Ilona Dulaski stars in Terrence McNally’s “love letter to Callas” (5/4-6/11)


1333 H St. NE

  • The Blood Knot — One of South African playwright Athol Fugard’s finest dramas about two brothers separated by the color of their skin. Directed by Studio Theatre founder Joy Zinoman (3/29-4/30)
  • A Human Being Died That Night — A tense confrontation recounts the black, African psychologist Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela’s interrogations of Apartheid-era torturer and assassin Eugene de Kock (4/6-30)
  • Ulysses on Bottles — Serge Seiden directs Israeli playwright Gilad Evron’s poetic and poignant play about an Israeli-Arab ex-teacher’s attempts to sail into Gaza on a raft made of plastic bottles (5/18-6/11)
  • The Return — Palestinian playwright Hanna Eady and Seattle-based writer Edward Mast dramatizes the tension between a Palestinian mechanic and an attracted, conflicted Israeli Jewish woman from his past (6/7-7/2)


1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW

  • Fun Home — Alison Bechdel’s spirited musical won the Tony in 2015 (4/18-5/13)
  • Rent – The young artists are back, singing their hearts out (6/20-25)


2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Rd.
Olney, Md.

  • Fickle: A Fancy French Farce — Disguises, mistaken identities, palace intrigues and improbable romance in a delightful comic romp by playwright Meg Miroshnik (3/1-4/2, Theatre Lab)
  • The Magic Play — Andrew Hinderaker’s newest play combines vivid theatricality, profound emotions, and magic, as a magician loses control of his life (4/12-5/7, Mainstage)
  • Topdog/Underdog — The 2002 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about two African-American brothers who turn on each other. The play will be presented, for the first time ever, with two actresses, Jessica Frances Dukes and Dawn Ursula (5/17-6/11, Theatre Lab)
  • My Fair Lady — The Lerner and Loewe classic comes to Olney (6/21-5/23, Mainstage)
  • Thurgood — Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall changed the face of American jurisprudence and this one man show gives rare insight to his character (7/19-8/20, Theatre Lab)


10901 Little Patuxent Parkway
Columbia, Md.

  • Dorian’s Closet — A new musical based on the life of legendary female impersonator Dorian Corey, including a fictionalized account of what led to a mummified body being found in Corey’s closet after her death (4/26-5/14)


4545 East-West Highway
Bethesda, Md.

  • Or, — A playful farce about an up-and-coming playwright tasked with completing her first commission by dawn (4/12-5/7)
  • How I Learned What I Learned — Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson explores his days as a struggling young writer in Pittsburgh in this solo show (6/7-7/2)


450 7th St. NW

  • The Select (The Sun Also Rises) — Elevator Repair Service adapt Hemingway’s novel about a group of American and British expatriates who travel to Spain for the Running of the Bulls (Closes 4/2, Lansburgh)
  • Macbeth — Shakespeare’s exploration of murderous ambition, fiendish equivocation, and a love of terrifying intimacy (4/25-5/28, Harman)
  • The School for Lies — Michael Kahn helms David Ives’ adaptation of Molière’s The Misanthrope, in an update of the aristocratic French comedy (5/30-7/2, Lansburgh)


4200 Campbell Ave.
Arlington, Va.

  • Mrs. Miller Does Her Thing — Emmy and Tony-winner Debra Monk stars in a comedy by Pulitzer-winning playwright James Lapine about Elva Miller, a songstress whose off-key singing found fame in the ’60s — she was pop music’s Florence Foster Jenkins (Closes 3/26)
  • Midwestern Gothic — A new musical about a young woman who longs to escape her midwestern town. Signature promises it will provoke, shock and entertain in equal measure (3/14-4/30)
  • Jesus Christ Superstar — Chiseled abs and thorny crowns at the ready, as Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s rock opera gets a “sleek, modern” production (5/9-7/2)


1501 14th St. NW

  • Three Sisters — Chekov’s tragicomic masterpiece about the missed opportunities and misplaced dreams of siblings in a backwater town (3/8-4/23)
  • No Sisters — Aaron Posner reimagines Chekov’s classic from the point of view of the members of the household you don’t see (3/16-4/23, Studio X)
  • The Father — Local legend Ted van Griethuysen stars in this one man tour de force about a 80-year-old man struggling with his sense of self. Christopher Hampton translated Florian Zeller’s text and David Muse directs
  • Wig Out! — Tarell Alvin McCraney (Moonlight) offers a mesmerizing trip into the heart of African-American drag ball culture (7/12-8/6, Studio X)


1800 South Bell St.
Crystal City, Va.

  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame — Synetic’s Paata Tsikurishvili brings his mind-bending, cinematic style to Victor Hugo’s gothic, heartbreaking epic (5/10-6/11)
  • Carmen — A wordless opera? Yes, Georges Bizet’s popular classic has been reimagined to sizzling effect, starring Synetic co-founder Irina Tsikurishvili (7/19-8/13)


2020 Shannon Pl. SE

  • Mnemonic — Colin Hovde directs a show of “potent physicality, inventive design, and striking visuals.” With movement by Dody DiSanto (3/16-4/9)
  • A Beautiful Thing — A new play developed by the Theatre Alliance staff about female boxing in the 1950s, interracial adoption, and the power of memory (6/8-7/12)


1529 16th St. NW

  • Brighton Beach Memoirs — Neil Simon’s semi-autobiographical play about a Depression-era family trying to laugh through tears gets the Theater J treatment (4/5-5/7)
  • Broken Glass — One of America’s greatest playwrights, Arthur Miller’s riveting psychological drama is set in 1938 Brooklyn during the horrors of Nazi Germany’s Kristallnacht (6/14-7/9)


900 Massachusetts Ave. NW

  • Back to Methuselah: As Far As Thought Can Reach — A work of science fiction from George Bernard Shaw that throws humanity 25,000 years into the future, featuring the playwright’s celebrated wit and a touch of satire (3/23-4/16)


641 D St. NW

  • Pike St. — A mother tries to keep her daughter’s respirator powered as a storm quickly approaches, in Nilaja Sun’s one-woman exploration of Puerto Rican immigrant life (3/27-4/23)
  • Hir — An “audacious, uproarious black comedy” that flips the script on gender power dynamics (5/22-6/18)

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