Metro Weekly

Stage: Spring Arts Preview 2024

From a Macbeth starring Ralph Fiennes to an unabashed Hair at Signature, the spring season on D.C.-area stages is as vibrant as ever.

Rose: You Are Who You Eat at Woolly Mammoth
Rose: You Are Who You Eat at Woolly Mammoth

There is still an abundance of great theater remaining in the season, including the absolute showstopper at The Shakespeare Theatre — Simon Godwin’s production of¬†Macbeth¬†starring Ralph Fiennes and Indira Varma. But, let’s be honest, all of our area theatres have showstoppers up their sleeves…

Signature lets its hair down. Baltimore Center Stage serves up some fiery wings. Mosaic tells the tale of two Nancys. Folger takes on the Gods. GALA gets into mummified territory. Keegan slams door after door after door. Ford’s feeds a very big, bloodthirsty plant. Richmond Triangle Players cavort in Xanadu. And that’s just a sampling.

As is often the case with summer, big musicals dominate, especially at the Kennedy Center, where productions of Funny Girl, Back to the Future, Nine and Mamma Mia! lie in wait. Broadway at the National, meanwhile, dusts off the spirit of Michael Jackson, as it ushers in the tour of the Broadway phenom, MJ.

Yet the strangest show of all may be over at Woolly (fitting, given it’s Woolly) —¬†Rose: You Are Who You Eat, John Jarboe’s thrilling one-person show about the meaning of gender identity. Trust us, you’ll want seconds.


1ST STAGE

1524 Spring Hill Rd.
Mclean, Va.
703-854-1856
www.1ststage.org

  • The Nance — Nick Olcott directed Douglas Carter Beane’s Tony Award-winning play that recreates the naughty, raucous world of burlesque’s heyday and tells the backstage story of gay performer Chauncey Miles (4/4-21)
  • Postcards from Ihatov — Adapted from the works of Kenji Miyazawa, a spellbinding tale of friendship, self-discovery, and the transcendent power of imagination that takes audiences on a cosmic journey through the stars. Directed by Natsu Onoda Power (6/6-23)

ARENA STAGE

1101 Sixth St. SW
202-488-3300
www.arenastage.org

  • Unknown Soldier — A sweeping, elegiac musical from Daniel Goldstein and the late Michael Friedman on a woman’s journey to unearth the secrets of her family’s past (3/29-5/5, Kreeger)
  • The Migration: Reflections on Jacob Lawrence — Step Afrika tells the story of one of the largest movements of people in United States history, when millions of African American migrants moved from the rural South to the industrial North in the 1900s to escape Jim Crow, racial oppression, and lynchings (6/6-7/14, Kreeger)

AVANT BARD

2700 S. Lang Street
Arlington, Va.
703-418-4808
www.avantbard.org

  • Homeless Garden — Playwright Matt Minnicino modernizes and deconstructs Chekhov’sThe Cherry Orchardwith an eye on the interconnection of environmental and class issues. Kathleen Akerley directs (5/2-25)

BALTIMORE CENTER STAGE

700 N. Calvert St.
Baltimore, Md.
410-332-0033
www.centerstage.org

  • The Hot Wing King — Memphis, Tennessee’s annual Hot Wang Festival is quickly approaching, and Cordell Crutchfield is determined to be crowned king of the wings. With support from The New Wing Order, made up of his partner Dwayne and his friends Isom & Big Charles, victory seems inevitable. But is it really? From playwright Katori Hall who won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for the play. Directed by Christopher Betts (4/11-28)
  • The Importance of Being Earnest — A reimagined version of Oscar Wilde’s classic comedy about two British men who create alter egos to escape to the monotony of their lives. Adapted and directed by Jenny Koons (5/9-26)

CONSTELLATION THEATRE

1835 14th St. NW
202-204-7741
www.constellationtheatre.org

  • Is God Is — A fierce and funny drama that follows impassioned twin sisters as they go on an epic adventure across America to exact righteous revenge on the man who betrayed their family. Directed by KenYatta Rogers (6/13-7/14)

CREATIVE CAULDRON

410 South Maple Ave.
Falls Church, Va.
703-436-9948
www.creativecauldron.org

  • Chicks in Heaven — When four friends come together in a rural southwest Virginia town for a reunion, and a local boy sets fire to the van of one of the friends. Clashes ensue. Directed by Laura Connors Hull (4/11-28)
  • Working — Based on Studs Terkel’s best-selling book of interviews with American workers, the classic has been updated for a modern age, featuring new songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda, as well as favorites by Stephen Schwartz, Craig Carnelia, James Taylor, and Micki Grant. Directed by Matt Connor (5/16-6/9)
The Book Club Play at Everyman

EVERYMAN THEATRE

315 West Fayette St.
Baltimore, Md,
410-752-2208
www.everymantheatre.org

  • The Book Club Play — D.C.-based playwright Karen Zacar√≠as’ Helen Hayes Award-winning comedy follows Ana and her friends whose book club becomes the subject of a legendary documentarian (Now-4/14)
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream — Noah Himmelstein directs Shakespeare’s most magical and beloved of comedies, set in a mystical forest and swooning in mismatched romance (5/12-6/9)

FOLGER THEATRE

201 E. Capitol St. SE
202-544-7077
www.folger.edu

  • Metamorphoses — Mary Zimmerman’s adaptation of Ovid’s classic tales where gods and mortals experience love, loss, and transformation. Directed by Psalmayene 24 (5/7-6/16)

FORD’S THEATRE

511 Tenth St. NW
202-347-4833
www.fordstheatre.org

  • Little Shop of Horrors — Ford’s has always had stunning success with musicals (witness their flawless Into the Woods from several seasons back), and this Alan Mencken-Howard Ashman masterpiece could be the one to top them all (3/15-5/18)

GALA HISPANIC THEATRE

3333 14th St. NW
202-234-7174
www.galatheatre.org

  • Momia en el cl√≥set (Mummy in the Closet) — With tantalizing lyrics and the seductive allure of tango, waltz, and salsa, this wicked musical by Mariano Vales and Gustavo Ott blends history and fantasy as the preserved corpse of Argentina’s Eva Per√≥n ignites political scandals, clandestine affairs, and mysterious murders (5/9-6/9)
Webster’s Bitch at Keegan

KEEGAN THEATRE

1742 Church St. NW
202-265-3767
www.keegantheatre.com

  • Webster’s Bitch — In Jacqueline Bircher’s dark comedy, the employees of Webster’s Dictionary find themselves at the center of an internet uprising over gender and obscenity in the age of social media. Directed by Susan Marie Rhea (4/6-5/5)
  • Expecting — Developed in collaboration with deaf artist Paula Clarke and featuring both deaf and hearing artists, the poetic one-act play explores a young couple’s impending parenthood. Presented by c21 Theatre Company (5/16-25)
  • The Elephant in the Room — Priyanka Shetty’s one-woman show is a witty, dark comedy about an Indian who must navigate life as an immigrant arriving in Trump’s America (6/1-23)
  • Noises Off — A revival of Keegan’s hit 2010 production of one of the funniest door-slamming farces ever to grace any stage, anywhere. Mark A. Rhea directs Michael Frayn’s extraordinarily funny comedy (7/27-9/1)

KENNEDY CENTER

202-467-4600
www.kennedy-center.org

  • Company — The most recent revival of the Stephen Sondheim crowd-pleaser, directed by three-time Tony-winner Marianne Elliott (Now-3/31, Opera House)
  • Message in a Bottle — The peaceful village of Bebko is under attack and three siblings must embark on perilous journeys in order to survive in this spectacular new dance-theatre show from five-time Olivier Award nominee Kate Prince, set to the iconic hits of Sting (4/9-21, Opera House)
  • The Illusionists — Extraordinary magic, Broadway-style (4/23-28, Opera House)
  • Dixie’s Tupperware Party — Dixie Longate is a fast-talking, gum-chewing, ginger-haired Alabama gal bringing your grandma’s Tupperware party into the 21st century (5/7-6/6, Family Theater)
  • Broadway Center Stage: Bye, Bye Birdie — Elvis-style heartthrob Conrad Birdie is being drafted into the army and his PR machine plans one heck of a farewell for him and a lucky teenage fan in this lighthearted 1960 Broadway mainstay (6/6-16, Eisenhower)
  • Funny Girl — Boasting one of the most iconic scores of all time by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill, an updated book from Harvey Fierstein, and direction by Michael Mayer, the Broadway revival makes its way to the Kennedy Center (6/25-7/14, Opera House)
  • The Kite Runner — Matthew Spangler adapted Khaled Hosseini’s best-selling novel about a man’s journey to confront his past and find redemption (6/25-30, Eisenhower)
  • Back to the Future: The Musical — Well,thatdidn’t take long to tour‚Ķ (7/23-8/11, Opera House)
  • Broadway Center Stage: Nine — Suffused with a haunting score, the Tony Award‚Äďwinning musical blends genres and styles and asks audiences: Can a great artist also be a great lover? Based on Fellini’s groundbreaking film (8/2-11, Eisenhower)
  • Mamma Mia! — A tale of love, friendship, and identity is told through the timeless hits of ABBA (8/13-9/1, Opera House)
Mexodus at Mosaic Theater

MOSAIC THEATER

Atlas Arts Center
1333 H St. NE
202-399-7993, x501
www.mosaictheater.org

  • Nancy — In 1985 two Washington, D.C. women are trying to steer their futures — Nancy Reagan from the White House, orchestrating her husband “Ronnie’s” political career according to daily astrological trends, and Esmeralda, a Navajo mother advocating for her community. Their worlds converge in Rhiana Yazzie’s play about ancestry and ambition (3/28-4/21)
  • MeXodus — History meets hip-hop in a groundbreaking theatrical experience that explores the often-untold stories of enslaved people in the United States who sought freedom in Mexico, rather than looking north. Created by Brian Quijada and Nygel D. Robinson and directed by David Mendiz√°bal (5/16-6/9)

NATIONAL THEATRE

1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
202-628-6161
www.thenationaldc.org

  • Peter Pan — A new production of the classic directed by Emmy Award-winner Lonny Price with additions to the book by celebrated playwright Larissa FastHorse (4/9-21)
  • MJ — The unparalleled artistry of Michael Jackson comes to life in a musical centered around the making of the 1992 Dangerous World Tour. Created by Christopher Wheeldon and Lynn Nottage (8/13-9/8)

OLNEY THEATRE CENTER

2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Rd.
Olney, Md.
301-924-3400
www.olneytheatre.org

  • Avaaz — Beginning in Iran as part of that country’s small but ancient Jewish community, Roya’s epic journey out of Tehran after the revolution, and the challenges she faces as an immigrant and the single mother of a queer son in “Tehran-geles.” Roya is portrayed by her adult son and the author ofAvaaz, Michael Shayan, in a breathtaking solo performance (Now-4/7, Theatre Lab)
  • Islander — Winner of Best New Musical at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, this modern myth features two actors who use live mixing and looping technology to create a sonic landscape as dramatic as the Scottish coastline (4/11-4/28, Mainstage)
  • Long Way Down — An emotional hip-hop journey through the cycles of violence, this Rolling World Premiere musical is based on the Newberry Medal Honor-winning Young Adult novel by local author Jason Reynolds (5/22-6/23, Theatre Lab)
  • Beautiful: The Carole King Musical — The life of the great songwriter told through her songs. Directed by Amy Anders Corcoran (7/3-8/25, Mainstage)

PROLOGUE THEATRE

www.prologuetheatre.org

  • Marjorie Prime — An octogenarian battles dementia as her daughter and son-in-law introduce cutting-edge technology to their household called a Prime which resembles her late husband. Starring Rosemary Regan, Gabriel Alejandro, Kimberly Gilbert, and Sam Lunay (4/26-5/19, Atlas Performing Arts Center)

RICHMOND TRIANGLE PLAYERS

1300 Altamont Ave.
Richmond, Va.
804-346-8113
www.rtriangle.org

  • Airswimming — Set in 1920’s England, Charlotte Jones’ play is based on the true story of two women who have been incarcerated in a hospital for the “criminally insane” for having borne illegitimate children (4/10-5/4)
  • Xanadu — The whacked-out, extravagantly campy musical featuring music by ELO’s Jeff Lynne and Oliva Newton John hitmaker John Farrar and featuring a book by Douglas Carter Beane (6/5-7/13)

RORSCHACH THEATRE

202-399-7993 x180
www.rorschachtheatre.com

  • Human Museum — Set in a future where humans have gone extinct, Miyoko Conley’s play follows a group of robots on Earth that run a museum dedicated to organizing the physical and digital artifacts of human life. Directed by Randy Baker (4/12-5/5, Source Theatre)
  • Sleeping Giant — When a firework-filled marriage proposal goes very wrong, the accompanying explosions wake up something very old that has been sleeping in the nearby lake for thousands of years (July, Location TBD)

ROUND HOUSE THEATRE

4545 East-West Highway
Bethesda, Md.
240-644-1100
www.roundhousetheatre.org

  • A Jumping Off Point — A promising Black writer has just landed her first deal with HBO, but her celebration is cut short when she gets a surprise visit from a white man who accuses her of plagiarizing his script. The world premiere of Inda Craig-Galv√°n’s new drama (4/10-5/5)
  • Topdog/Underdog — In this Pulitzer Prize-winner by playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, two brothers, abandoned by their parents as teenagers, are locked in a cycle of love and resentment, foretold by the names they were given by their father as jokes and compounded by the challenges of poverty and racism. Directed by Jamil Jude (5/29-6/23)
Macbeth at The Shakespeare Theatre

SHAKESPEARE THEATRE COMPANY

Sidney Harman Hall
610 F Street NW
202-547-1122
www.shakespearetheatre.org

  • Macbeth — When three witches tell Macbeth that he will become King of Scotland, he plots with his wife to attain the title through an assassination, a bloody act that gives him his crown and sends him careening down the path of his own undoing. Artistic Director Simon Godwin directs Tony and BAFTA Award-winner Ralph Fiennes and Olivier Award-winner Indira Varma in one of Shakespeare’s crowning achievements (4/9-5/5, Off-site)
  • The Matchbox Magic Flute — Theater legend Mary Zimmerman conceives a fantastical new theatrical adaptation of Mozart’s beloved opera,The Magic Flute(5/21-6/16, Klein)

SIGNATURE THEATRE

4200 Campbell Ave.
Arlington, Va.
703-820-9771
www.sigtheatre.org

  • Penelope — The wife of Odysseus is fed up and has some things she wants to say. With glass of bourbon in hand, she takes the microphone to chronicle those twenty years waiting on the small island kingdom of Ithaca. Based on the writings of Homer and featuring music and lyrics by Alex Bechtel. Directed by Eva Steinmetz (Now-4/21, Ark)
  • Hair — A tribe of long-haired bohemian hippies on the cusp of adulthood champion freedom, pacifism, and joy in the face of the Vietnam War. One of history’s most groundbreaking musicals, with hits like “Aquarius,” “Let the Sunshine In,” “Good Morning, Starshine,”and “Hair.” Will there be a full-cast nude scene? Only director Matthew Gardiner knows for sure at the moment (4/16-7/7, Max)
  • Where the Mountain Meets the Sea — After he learns of his estranged father’s death, a son recreates the cross-country trip his Haitian immigrant parents took before he was born. As he traces their journey across America, and bonds with the music his father adored in this lyrical and evocative musical written by Jeff Augustin (The Morning Show), with music by The Bengsons. Timothy Douglas directs (5/21-7/7, Ark)

SPOOKY ACTION

1810 16th St. NW
202-248-0301
www.spookyaction.org

  • Fronti√©res Sans Fronti√©res — Three stateless youth have cobbled together a scrappy living at a landfill. A whirlwind of tourists, social media influencers, foreign investors, and do-gooders invade their home with promises of assistance and civilization (4/25-5/19)

STUDIO THEATRE

1501 14th St. NW
202-332-3300
www.studiotheatre.org

  • At the Wedding — Tom Story directs Bryna Turner’s comedy about a lesbian who crashes her ex’s wedding (Now-4/28, Milton)
  • Problems Between Sisters — “Family baggage, personal morality, and artistic taste” are on the menu in this female response to Sam Shepard’sTrue West(5/8-6/16, Mead)
  • The Colored Museum — George C. Wolfe’s provocative and satirical tour of eleven “exhibits” about Black American experiences. Directed by Psalmayene 24 (7/3-8/11, Victor Shargai)

SYNETIC THEATER

1800 South Bell St.
Crystal City, Va.
800-494-8497
www.synetictheater.org

  • Cyrano de Bergerac — A brilliant poet and soldier with a massive nose courts the object of his affection, Roxanne, through a handsome emissary. Choreographed by Irina Tsikurishvili and directed by Vato Tsikurishvili (7/27-8/13)

THEATER J

1529 16th St. NW
202-777-3210
www.theaterj.org

  • Hester Street — The world premiere of the theatrical adaptation by Sharyn Rothstein of the beloved 1975 film by Joan Micklin Silver. Awash in the humor, heartbreak, and hope essential to the Jewish immigrant experience in New York’s Lower East Side in the late 19th century. Featuring original music by Joel Waggoner (3/27-4/21)
  • The Hatmaker’s Wife — A young woman moves in with her boyfriend, and when she has trouble getting comfortable, her strange new home seems determined to help out, literally. The walls start to talk, words magically appear, and a golem with a taste for Cheetos gets into the action. Directed by Dan Rothenberg of Philadelphia’s renowned Pig Iron Theatre Company (6/5-6/30)

WASHINGTON STAGE GUILD

900 Massachusetts Ave. NW
240-582-0050
www.stageguild.org

  • An Unbuilt Life — When a woman discovers a mystery painting in her deceased husband’s art collection, she engages an energetic graduate student to research it for her and disturbing crimes of the past are unearthed (4/11-5/5)

WOOLLY MAMMOTH

641 D St. NW
202-393-3939
www.woollymammoth.net

  • Amm(i)gone — Creator and performer Adil Mansoor invites his Pakistani mother to translate Antigone into Urdu as means of exploring the tensions between family and faith but should he keep his queerness buried from his devout Muslim mother? (4/20-5/12)
  • Rose: You Are Who You Eat — John Jarboe not only had a twin sister in the womb, but consumed her. A one-person tour de force about gender through song, storytelling, and a full plate of wordplay (6/3-6/23)

Be sure to read Andr√© Hereford and Kate Wingfield’s stage reviews throughout the season. Subscribe to Metro Weekly’s free online magazine and newsletter. Visit¬†www.metroweekly.com/subscribe.

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