Metro Weekly

Stage: Spring Arts Preview 2018

Live theater, plays and musicals coming to D.C., Maryland and Virginia

Hamilton National Tour — Photo: Joan Marcus

As we enter the Spring half of Washington’s vibrant theater season, there’s only one question you need to ask: “HOW DO I GET A TICKET TO HAMILTON AT THE KENNEDY CENTER???”

Hopefully, you already have yours in hand. But if not, don’t fret — it’s not the only musical in town. There’s plenty more to choose from, including two semi-staged musicals in the KenCen’s dazzling new series, Broadway Center Stage — How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and In the Heights — as well as The Wiz, which is primed to blow the rafters off Ford’s Theatre. Meanwhile, Olney fires up On the Town, Signature rolls out Kander & Ebb’s rarely done The Scottsboro Boys, and the Shakespeare Theatre Company lights up the Harman with Camelot.

In the realm of “straight” plays, Studio ushers in some gay starpower with 30 Rock‘s Maulik Pancholy in The Remains, Arena hits the August Wilson trail with Two Trains Running, and Folger dives headfirst into A Winter’s Tale. Talk about thumbing your nose at Spring….


7300 MacArthur Blvd
Glen Echo, Md.

  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day — Cara Gabriel directs a stage adaptation of Judith Viorst’s book about a disastrous day in a boy’s life and the hope for better days ahead (Now to 3/31)
  • Judy Moody & Stink: The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt — A testy sister and her know-it-all little brother are in a competitive search for gold on Artichoke Island, based on the books by Megan McDonald (4/20-6/3)
  • Tinker Bell — The story of Peter Pan from the feisty fairy’s point of view, in a world premiere adaptation by Patrick Flynn and directed by Nick Olcott (6/22-8/20)


1101 Sixth St. SW

  • Hold These Truths — A play for our times, Jeanne Sakata’s inspirational true story focuses on a man who defied his government and the unjust and utterly un-American policy of interning Japanese Americans during World War II. Jessica Kubzansky directs (Now to 4/8, Kogod Cradle)
  • Two Trains Running — Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson’s masterpiece, set in a black Pittsburgh neighborhood during the Civil Rights Era, showing the impact of social change in the lives of everyday people (3/30-4/29, Fichandler)
  • Snow Child — A magical new work, based on a novel by Eowyn Ivey, set in Alaska and with a score combining backcountry string-band traditions and contemporary musical theater (4/13-5/20, Kreeger)


700 N. Calvert St.
Baltimore, Md.

  • Mobile Unit: Twelfth Night — A production of the Bard classic presented by the company’s ensemble, focused on bringing theater to the city’s underserved communities, including the homeless and the elderly (3/22-3/25, Third Space)
  • George Orwell’s Animal Farm — Some animals are more equal than others in the classic dystopia. May Adrales directs an adaptation by Ian Wooldridge of a work with political resonance today (3/1-4/1)
  • Soul: The Stax Musical — Kwame Kwei-Armah ends his tenure as artistic director with a world premiere musical about Memphis-based Stax Records and the launch of its iconic artists, including Otis Redding, The Staple Singers, Isaac Hayes, and Booker T & The MG’s (5/3-6/10)


1835 14th St. NW

  • The Caucasian Chalk Circle — Few companies do epic adventure on an intimate scale as fantastically as Constellation. This Brecht tale, with vivid characters, high-stakes scenarios and live music, should put that award-winning theatrical sleight of hand into sharp relief (4/12-5/13)


315 West Fayette St.
Baltimore, Md,

  • Aubergine — A Korean family struggles to relate across emotional and cultural divides, but it’s the food they share that leads to understanding in Julia Cho’s drama. A co-production with Olney Theatre (3/14-4/15)
  • The Book of Joseph — The discovery of a stash of letters stamped with Swastikas opens clues to an untold family history spanning multiple generations. Based on Richard Hollander’s book Every Day Lasts a Year: A Jewish Family’s Correspondence from Poland (5/9-6/10)


201 East Capitol St. SE

  • The Winter’s Tale — Aaron Posner directs the fanciful romance and tale of redemption (3/13-4/22)
  • Saint Joan — Four actors perform over 25 roles in a stripped-down production of George Bernard Shaw’s Joan of Arc tale. A special engagement from New York’s brilliant theater company Bedlam, responsible for last year’s Sense & Sensibility (5/12-6/3)


511 Tenth St. NW

  • The Wiz — Responsible for Studio Theatre’s exhilarating Wig Out, director Kent Gash eases on down the road with Charlie Smalls and William F. Brown’s Tony-winning “Super Soul” retelling of The Wizard of Oz (3/9-5/12)


8641 Colesville Rd.
Silver Spring, Md.

  • Nat Turner in Jerusalem — Imagining the anti-slavery rebel’s final night in a jail cell in Jerusalem, Virginia, reckoning with what has passed and what the dawn might bring (3/14-4/7)


3333 14th St. NW

  • En el tiempo de las mariposas (In the Time of the Butterflies) — The Mirabal sisters of the Dominican Republic were elegant, wealthy, and inspired resistance cells against a dictatorial regime until their murder (4/12-5/13)


1742 Church St. NW

  • Chicago — Yes, Chicago. Who wants to take bets on how long this will extend? (3/10-4/7)
  • The Undeniable Sound of Right Now — In 1992 Hank is struggling to keep a legendary rock club going amid changing times and changing tastes (5/5-27)
  • Other Life Forms — A world premiere comedy about the trials of online dating by local playwright Brandon McCoy (6/15-7/7)
  • The Bridges of Madison County — A musical based on the best-selling novel, with music by Jason Robert Brown and a book by Marsha Norman (8/4-9/2)



  • Broadway Center Stage: In the Heights — A semi-staged concert performance of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-winning first Broadway musical (3/21-25)
  • Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival — A thrilling national festival that brings together participants from student theatre programs around the country (4/19-22)
  • After the Rehearsal and Persona — Two Ingmar Bergman screenplays brilliantly reimagined for the stage by celebrated Belgian director Ivo van Hove (4/19-22, Eisenhower)
  • Broadway Center Stage: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying — The Frank Loesser classic in a semi-staged concert (6/6-10)
  • Hamilton — Not just a musical, it’s a theatrical lifeforce at this point, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s breathtaking, visionary musical settles in for a four-month run. Tickets go on sale to KenCen members in Feb. 2018 and to the general public in March (6/12-9/16, Opera House)
  • The Color Purple — An all-new Broadway production directed by John Doyle (7/31-8/26, Eisenhower)


1201 N. Royal St.
Alexandria, Va.

  • George – Don’t Do That — Catherine Flye celebrates the wit and wisdom of Joyce Grenfell, one of Britain’s most beloved comediennes. Featuring pianist Joe Walsh and Michael Tolaydo (Now to 3/25)
  • I Did It My Way In Yiddish (In English) — Deb Filler, a Canadian/New Zealand Jewish comic performer, charms with stories of her encounters with three Lennys (4/13-29)


1333 H St. NE

  • Paper Dolls — Meet five Filipino guest workers who care for elderly Orthodox men in Israel by day — and headline a drag show by night. A “karaoke musical” based on a 2006 documentary, part of Mosaic’s 2018 Voices From A Changing Middle East Festival (3/29-4/22)
  • Hooded, Or Being Black for Dummies — A special encore remount of Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm’s irreverent comedy after its sold-out run earlier this year (5/2-6/3)
  • The Vagrant Trilogy: The Hour of Feeling (Part I), The Vagrant (Part II) — Mona Mansour explores the life and events of a displaced Palestinian family spanning four decades. Part of Voices From A Changing Middle East (5/31-6/24); The Vagrant Trilogy: Urge for Going (Part III) — “A Special Event Presentation,” examining the cost of collective dreams deferred as the family lands in a refugee camp in Lebanon in Mansour’s conclusion (6/18-20)


1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW

  • Waitress — The Washington premiere of Sara Bareilles’ Tony-nominated musical (5/15-6/3)


2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Rd.
Olney, Md.

    • Every Brilliant Thing — Developed with actor Jonny Donohue, Duncan MacMillan’s unusual one-person play pivots on interactions with the audience, collectively examining a child’s reaction to his depressed mother and helping build a list of things worth living for. Michael Dove directs (Now to 3/25, Theatre Lab)
    • The Crucible — Arthur Miller’s opus on the Salem witch trials remains as timely and cautionary a tale as ever: a reminder of what can happen when fear runs amok and truth is bent to political convenience (4/18-5/20, Mainstage)
    • The Invisible Hand — The power of the free market is put to the test in a thriller by Pulitzer Prize winner Ayad Akhta (5/9-6/10, Theatre Lab)
    • On The Town — Three sailors on shore leave romp around New York. Olney’s Jason Loewith revives this early musical with an exuberant score by Leonard Bernstein in the year of the composer’s centennial. It’s a heck of a show (6/20-7/22, Mainstage)
  • The Pirates of Penzance, H.M.S. Pinafore — Chicago’s innovative company the Hypocrites returns with its wild takes on two classic Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, staged in repertory (7/11-8/18, Theatre Lab)


10901 Little Patuxent Parkway
Columbia, Md.

  • True West — The late Sam Shepard’s explosive, darkly funny American classic (4/26-5/13)


1300 Altamont Ave.

  • The Normal Heart — Larry Kramer’s searing, Tony-winning drama about AIDS, a central work to the history of the LGBTQ movement and its theater (4/18-5/12)
  • A Chorus Line — The musical that celebrates the dancer — and the theater queen — in us all, one of the first Broadway hits to feature a major gay character in a fully realized way (6/6-7/7)


4545 East-West Highway
Bethesda, Md.

  • Master Harold”… And the Boys — Athol Fugard’s masterpiece is set in a small South African tea shop in 1950, two black men and a white boy defying the brutalities of apartheid (4/11-5/6)
  • The Legend of Georgia McBride — The owner of a run-down bar in the Florida Panhandle hires his cousin’s drag show to attract more customers. Directed by Tom Story (6/6-7/1)


1333 H St. NE

  • Three By Beckett — Three short plays by Samuel Beckett, one of the fathers of “theater of the absurd” — Footfalls, Not I, and Rockaby (3/12-4/8)
  • 1984 — An adaptation of George Orwell’s dystopian drama, directed by Robert McNamara (4/23-5/27)


450 7th St. NW

  • Noura — A departure for the Shakespeare, dealing with the timely topic of Iraqi immigrants living in New York (Now to 3/14, Lansburgh)
  • Waiting for Godot — Samuel Beckett’s absurd, anarchic exploration of time is one of theater’s greatest modern masterpieces. Production design by Druid (4/17-5/20, Lansburgh)
  • Camelot — Alan Paul, who helmed the magnificent Kiss Me, Kate, directs this Lerner and Loewe classic about King Arthur’s court (5/22-7/1, Harman)


4200 Campbell Ave.
Arlington, Va.

  • John — A ghost haunts a couple on their retreat in Gettysburg, a quietly suspenseful play with the kind of sly, observant humor about humanity that playwright Annie Baker is known for (4/3-29, Max)
  • Girlfriend — Matthew Sweet’s power-pop music becomes the background for a tender tale of a college-bound jock and his aimless, first-time boyfriend in small-town Nebraska circa 1993. Matthew Gardiner directs (4/17-6/10, Ark)
  • The Scottsboro Boys — Joe Calarco directs Signature’s take on Kander & Ebb’s final musical collaboration, a breathtaking critique of a true story of racism and injustice from 1931 (5/22-7/1, Max)


1501 14th St. NW

  • Translations — British army engineers arrive in 19th-century rural Ireland to draw new borders and translate local place names into the King’s English. A modern classic from Brian Friel reminding us of how personal the political can be (3/21-4/22)
  • Vietgone — Vietnamese-American playwright Qui Nguyen recreates his parents’ 1975 refugee camp romance in a high-octane comedy. Part of Studio X (4/25-5/20)
  • The Remains — A comedy about the tragedy of loving starring Maulik Pancholy (30 Rock). David Muse directs a world premiere from Ken Urban (5/16-6/17)


1800 South Bell St.
Crystal City, Va.

  • Titus Andronicus — Synetic founder Paata Tsikurishvili tackles this revenge-driven tragedy as the 13th entry in the company’s celebrated “Silent Shakespeare” series (4/25-5/27)
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz — Premiering the Synetic New Voice Series with a collaborative adaptation of the L. Frank Baum classic (7/11-8/12)


2020 Shannon Pl. SE

  • Flood City — Set amid the Great Flood of Pennsylvania in 1889, Gabrielle Reisman’s play looks at disasters, corporate responsibility, and a community’s resilience (5/10-6/17)


1529 16th St. NW

  • Becoming Dr. Ruth — Holly Twyford directs Naomi Jacobson as America’s favorite sex therapist in this one-woman show (Now to 3/18)
  • Roz and Ray — A gripping medical drama about a doctor at the onset of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, as Dr. Roz Kagan offers a new miracle drug to save Ray Leon’s hemophiliac twins (4/3-29)
  • Trayf — By day, Zalmy is the rabbi’s loyal foot soldier. By night, he sneaks away from his Orthodox community to roller-skate, dance in discos, and listen to rock and roll (5/30-6/24)


900 Massachusetts Ave. NW

  • Alabama Story — A librarian in segregation-era Alabama purchases a new children’s book for the library, leading to a crusade against the book. Based on a true story from the ’50s (3/22-4/15)


641 D St. NW

  • Underground Railroad Game — Two middle school teachers get shockingly down and dirty with a lesson about race, sex, and power. An unflinching comedy from Ars Nova (4/4-29)
  • Botticelli in the Fire — While painting “The Birth of Venus,” the famed artist is put to the test by the arrival of a conservative priest leading a populist revolution in Lorenzo de’ Medici’s Florence. By acclaimed Canadian playwright Jordan Tannahill (5/28-6/24)
Randy Shulman is Metro Weekly's Publisher and Editor-in-Chief. He can be reached at