Arena Stage is presenting August Wilson's Jitney, directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, thru October 20.It’s “the dramatic story of a Pittsburgh jitney station, a symbol of stability, struggling against an oppressive lack of opportunity and unnerving neighborhood gentrification that threatens the way they live and work. The drivers resist powerful forces while coming to grips with their pasts to fulfill their own hopes and dreams for the future." Arena Stage’s presentation kicks off the National Tour of one of Wilson’s masterpieces. The illustration below is by Charles Chaisson
Arena Stage will present Right to be Forgotten, written by Sharyn Rothstein & directed by Seema Sueko, October 11-November 10.The drama has been called “a striking allegory about privacy, social media and human forgiveness in the age of the internet.” It’s the story of a young man whose mistake online at 17 haunts him online a decade later. He goes to great lengths to erase his indiscretion and reclaim his right to privacy but faces resistance from big business, the tech companies, secrets, lies and political backstabbing.
Mosaic Theatre is presenting Fabulation – or, The Re-education of Undine, written by Lynn Nottage & directed by Eric Ruffin, at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, thru September 22. The satirical tale “follows successful African-American publicist Undine, as she stumbles down the social ladder after her husband steals her hard-earned fortune. Broke and now pregnant, Undine is forced to return to her childhood home in the projects, where she must face the realities of the life she left behind.”
ExPats Theatre, directed by Karin Rosnizeck, is presenting Surfacing: An Inventory of Helplessness by Russian-Austrian writer Julya Rabinowich at Atlas Performing Arts Center, thru September 29. The new company was founded this year in D.C. by Rosnizeck to connect people across cultures through theatre and the performing arts. Surfacing, with choreography by Erica Rebollar, features three characters living a life in captivity and “explores their mental states, survival strategies, and the way their minds work through cycles of hope, fear, anger, numbness, and desperation.” The cast is comprised of Nicole Chimere, Christine Jacobs, and Greg Ongao.Surfacing premiered in its German original title Auftauchenat at Vienna Volkstheater in 2010.
Rorschach Theatre will present Qui Nguyen's play titled She Kills Monsters, directed by Randy Baker, at Atlas Performing Arts Center, October 18-November 10.It’s the story of a woman who leaves her childhood home following the death of her teenage sister. When the woman finds her sister’s Dungeons & Dragons notebook, “she stumbles into a journey of discovery and action-packed adventure in the imaginary world that was her sister’s refuge.”
Mosaic Theatre Company will present Norman Yeung's play titledTheory, directed by Victoria Murray Baatin, at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, October 23-November 17.The production will feature Josh Adams, Musa Gurnis, Benairen Kane, Camilo Linares, Tony K. Nam, Andrea Harris Smith, and Tyasia Velines. The play tells the story of “a young tenure-track professor who tests the limits of free speech by encouraging her students to contribute to an unmoderated discussion group.”
Constellation Theatre Company will present the musical Little Shop of Horrors at Source theatre, October 17-November 17.With book and lyrics by Howard Ashman and music by Alan Menken, it’s a sci-fi smash hit set in the run-down neighborhood of Skid Row. A timid floral assistant becomes famous when he discovers a strange and unusual plant that brings him “cash, glory, and the girl of his dreams. But his good fortune takes a deadly turn......."
The show is said to have “tongue-in-cheek humor, toe-tapping songs, and murderous hijinks."
The Folger Theatre is presenting 1 Henry IV directed by RosaJoshi, thru October 13. The plot tells how “Prince Hal spends his days carousing in taverns with criminals and lowly commoners, much to the dismay of his father, King Henry IV. Winding from the Boar's Head Tavern to the shadows of Gad’s Hill, Hal’s path to the throne may be unusual, but it eventually leads him to the one place where questions of honor and reputation come to a head: the battlefield.” The cast features Edward Gero as the irrepressible Falstaff and Peter Crookas King Henry IV.
A joyous moment between Falstaff (Edward Gero, left) and Prince Hal (Avery Whitted) - Photo by C. Stanley Photography.
Ford's Theatre will present August Wilson's drama titled Fences, directed by Timothy Douglas, September 27-October 27.The play depicts the life of a former Negro League baseball star who is now – in the 1950s - employed as a sanitation worker in Pittsburgh. The play "explores the walls we build around ourselves and our loved ones, while also illuminating one family's struggles in a racist society." The play is part of Wilson's 10-play Century Cycle. The lead roles are played by Craig Wallace and Erika Rose.
Image below: Erika Rose and Craig Wallace - Photo by ScottSuchman
Keegan Theatre will present the world premiere of Brandon McCoy's play titled West by God, directed by Jeremy Skidmore, September 27-October 20.The story is set in a small town in the Appalachia region of West Virginia, where “two different families grapple with issues of grief and love, memory and identity, and with the distance and time that both unite and divide generations.” The play has been called a “heartwarming, and gut-wrenchingly honest examination of the divide between urban and rural America, and the kinds of prejudice and intolerance too often left unchallenged in our society.
The Kennedy Center is presenting Andrew Lloyd Webber’s record-breaking musical Cats in the Opera House, thru October 6.The beloved musical includes one of the most-treasured songs in musical theater - "Memory.” The winner of 7 Tony Awards® including Best Musical, Cats tells the story of one magical night when an extraordinary tribe of cats gathers for its annual ball to rejoice and decide which cat will be reborn. The production features direction by Trevor Nunn.
The Kennedy Center will present Lebanese/American stand-up comedian NEMR in the Terrace Theater on October 5.He “is credited with establishing and pioneering the stand-up comedy scene throughout the Middle East, where he performs in English. NEMR grew up in San Diego and later moved back with his family to Lebanon.
Broadway Center Stage will present Footloose in the Eisenhower Theater, October 9-13.The show is “set to the rockin' rhythm of the film Footloose’s Oscar®- and Tony®-nominated top 40 score and augmented with dynamic new songs for the stage musical.” The show “celebrates the wisdom of listening to young people and guiding them with a warm heart and an open mind.” Broadway Center Stage productions celebrate favorite musicals and are presented in a semi-staged concert format featuring starry casts direct from Broadway.”The presenter notes that “The actors may carry scripts in hands for various scenes of their performance.”
The Kennedy Center will present Marc Maronin the Concert Hall on October 11. Maron is best known for his hit landmark podcast, WTF with Marc Maron. He has interviewed iconic personalities such as Conan O’Brien, Robin Williams, Keith Richards, Ben Stiller, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Lorne Michaels, and former U.S. President Barack Obama.
The Kennedy Center will present award-winning humor writer and master of satire David Sedaris in the Concert Hall on October 15.His latest collection of essays, titled Calypso, is a New York Times best-seller, and a Washington Post Best Book of the Year.
The Kennedy Center will present the world premiere of a commission for young audiences titled Kid Prince and Pablo in the Family Theater, October 19-November 3. Mark Twain’s classic story titled The Prince and the Pauper is “reimagined as a digital age American Hip Hop story. By standing in one another’s shoes, Kid Prince and Pablo unearth discoveries that could start a whole new revolution.” The show, written by Brian Quijada, with music by Marvin Quijada, is directed by Pirronne Yousefzadeh.
The Kennedy Center will present stand-up comedian and actor Dave Chappelle with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in the Concert Hall on October 27. Chappell crafted his standup comedy as a 14-year-old student at D.C.'s Duke Ellington School of the Arts. His act was inspired by “the realities of his life growing up Black in the nation's capital.” The Prize, which is named to honor one of the world’s greatest humorists, will be given at a gala performance featuring some of the biggest names in comedy. The program will be broadcast on PBS stations on January 6, 2020.
The Improvised Shakespeare Company will present an evening of off-the-cuff comedy in the Family Theater, October 1-6. The Chicago-based ensemble “creates a fully improvised Shakespearean masterpiece right before your eyes, based on a single audience member's suggestion for the title of a show that's never been written before... until now.” Using the language and themes of William Shakespeare, all of the dialogue is said for the first time, and nothing has been planned out, rehearsed, or written. The characters are created as you watch, “and if ever you're wondering where the story is going...so are they! The night could reveal a tragedy, comedy, or history."
The National Theatre will present American standup comedian Mike Birbiglia in his one-man show direct from Broadway titled The New One, September 24-29.In addition to his stand-up work, Mike is a director, producer and writer.
The National Theatre will present Jimmy Buffett's Escape to Margaritaville, October 8-13.The musical comedy features both original songs and most-loved Jimmy Buffett classics, including “Fins,” “Volcano,” “Cheeseburger in Paradise” and many more.
The National Theatre will present Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live: The Great Cheesy Movie Circus Tour, October 18 & 19. Creator and original host Joel Hodgson will bring his movie-riffing robots, Tom Servo, Crow, and Gypsy, “on an exhilarating roller coaster ride through some of the cheesiest films ever made.“
The Shakespeare Theatre Company will present Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s EVERYBODY, directed by Will Davis, with D.C. comedic legend Nancy Robinett, October 15–November 17.An Obie Award-winner and MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipient, Jacobs-Jenkins “shines his light on the 15th century play Everyman with startling results."
Studio Theatre is presenting John Patrick Shanley's drama titled Doubt, directed by Matt Torney, thru October 6. The play won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and a 2005 Tony for Best New Play. Set in The Bronx in 1964, the play centers on suspicions at a parochial school about a charismatic young priest’s interest in a Catholic school’s first and only Black student.
Doubt addresses “questions of how to handle unprovable suspicions—and how the most vulnerable usually bear the brunt of unequal justice.”
Image below: Sarah Marshall in Doubt: A Parable. Photo: Teresa Wood.
Theater J will present the new musical Love Sick, written and adapted by Israeli actress/writer Ofra Daniel with music by Ofra Daniel and Lior Ben-Hur, September 4-29.Directed by Christopher Renshaw, the musical “fuses a thrilling original score, Middle-Eastern harmonics, dazzling choreography, and an inspired story of passion and awakening. Based on the Song of Songs, Love Sick tells the story of a young wife in a lifeless marriage who discovers she has a secret admirer. Intrigued, she begins a mysterious and dizzying journey of sexual and personal empowerment.”
The Anacostia Playhouse is presenting A Nite at the Dew Drop Inn, a show devised and directed by Stephawn Stephens with music direction by William Knowles, thru September 21. The cabaret-style show is a musical celebration and tribute to “the Juke Joint- those iconic nightspots known for good food, music and maybe a little trouble (if you weren’t careful).” The themes are love found, love lost, and love renewed on “those unforgettable moments of that first date, first kiss, the one that got away, or maybe the one you kicked to the curb!” The show features songs made famous by Big Mama Thorton, Fats Waller, Etta James, and Dinah Washington and others.It’s “a raunchy, raucous night of song filled with laughter, high jinks, and tears of joy."
Theater Alliance will present Douglas Turner Ward’s Day of Absence, directed by Raymond O. Caldwell and Angelisa Gillyard, at Anacostia Playhouse, October 5-November 3. It’s about a shocking discovery that “sends a town topsy turvy.”
The play is said to “reclaim the complexity and depth of the African-American population.” “Ward’s 1965 script and this imaginative retelling is a comedic and pointed commentary on systemic racism that still bears relevance today.”
The Washington Stage Guild will present Candida, by George Bernard Shaw, directed by Laura Giannarelli, at The Undercroft Theatre of Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church, September 26-October 20. It's the classic tale of a preacher and a poet who are both in love with the same woman. "The former is her husband, the latter wants to woo her away and both are shocked by her ultimate choice and the reasons for it…”
Washington Stage Guild will present Charles Dickens's Hard Times, adapted for the stage by Stephen Jeffreys, November 14-December 8.Dickens’s tale of love, loss, and circus folk is set against the backdrop of the Industrial Revolution in England. This version, in which four actors play dozens of characters, has not been seen in Washington for over two decades.
Woolly Mammoth Theatre is presenting Fairview, written by Jackie Sibblies Drury and directed by Stevie Walker-Webb, thru October 6. It's about a woman "who insists the celebration for her Grandma’s birthday be perfect. But her husband is useless, her sister is into the wine, and her daughter’s secrets are threatening to derail the day. Meanwhile a group of spectators has put them all under surveillance. Soon the voyeurs launch an invasion on the festivities, forcing the family to battle for their very identities." The cast features work by Woolly company members Shannon Dorsey, Kimberly Gilbert, Cody Nickell, Colin K. Bills, Misha Kachman, and Ivania Stack.
The Movement Theatre Company will present Aleshea Harris's play titled What to Send Up When It Goes Down, directed by Whitney White, at Woolly Mammoth, October 30-November 10. "Meant to disrupt the pervasiveness of anti-blackness and acknowledge the resilience of Black people throughout history, this theatrical work uses parody, song, and movement in a series of vignettes to create a space for catharsis, reflection, cleansing and healing. Boundaries blur as the audience is asked to not only observe the performance, but participate in the ritual as well."