‘Broken Fantasies’ features LGBTQ actors of color
Around the same time last year, theaters were scrambling to attract audiences – mostly with streaming and outdoor shows. Like most seasons, results have been mixed, but given the challenges it was a spectacular effort overall. While the pandemic is not over, many companies are reopening their doors with in-person indoor performances. Here is a selection of offers from some theaters in the area that are re-welcoming the public, provided that customers are both masked and provided with proof of vaccination.
In Columbia Heights until October 3, Hispanic Theater GALA presents âDoÃ±a Rosita la solteraâ by Federico GarcÃa Lorca (DoÃ±a Rosita the Old Maid), performed in Spanish with English surtitles. An exploration of what the martyred gay playwright called “the grotesque treatment of women” in Spain, the 1935 work covers a decade of a woman’s life in a rapidly modernizing society before the First World War. The source material is adapted by our playwright Nando LÃ³pez and the production is directed by our director JosÃ© Luis Arellano who won a Helen Hayes Award in 2016 for directing the GALA production of “Yerma” de Lorca, the story of another woman. GalathÃ©Ã¢tre.org
On the southwestern waterfront, Arena scene kicked off a busy fall season with “Toni Stone” (through October 3). Written by Lydia R. Diamon, it is the remarkable story of the first woman to play black league baseball, also making her the first woman to play professionally in a men’s league in the 1950s. Santoya Fields plays the title role and Pam MacKinnon from Broadway is directing. Arenastage.org
In addition, until October 3, Round house theater presents âQuixote Nuevoâ, Octavio Solis’ contemporary version of the Cervantes classic directed by Lisa Portes. The playwright reimagines the knight Don Quixote as a professor whose fantasies take center stage in a Texas border town. Herbert Siguenza makes his Round House debut as Don Quixote / The Professor.
Then it’s the regional premiere of Lauren Yee’s “The Great Leap” (November 10 – December 5), a socio-political fable against basketball and Tiananmen Square. Jennifer Chang directs. Roundhousetheatre.org
TO Woolly Mammoth Theater Company, it’s Mike Lew’s “Teenage Dick” (September 22 – October 17), a modern and darkly comedic version of Shakespeare’s “Richard III”. Despite being bullied because of his cerebral palsy, Richard (Gregg Mozgala) is determined to be elected president of the senior class and – like his ruthless Shakespearean namesake – he will do whatever it takes to win. . Moritz von Stuelpnagel conducts. Woollymammoth.net
TO Olney Theater Center (OTC) Fall is âThe Thanksgiving Playâ (September 29 – October 31), Larissa FastHorse’s comedy about âAwakening Whites,â directed by Raymond O. Caldwell who is black, Asian and gay. The cast includes Parker Drown, Megan Graves, David Schlumpf and Dani Stoller.
The biggest OTC production of the year is “Disney Beauty and the Beast” (November 5, January 2, 2022). The tale is directed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge and stars actor Jade Jones as Belle and Evan Ruggiero as the Beast.
And the holiday tradition continues at the OTC with Paul Morello’s solo exhibition, âA Christmas Carolâ (November 26-December 26). For two quick and engaging hours, Morello faithfully tells the original story of Charles Dickens’ ghosts. Olneytheatre.org
Helen Hayes award-winning actress Naomi Jacobson reprizes title role in J’s Theater Mark St. Germain’s production “Becoming Dr. Ruth” (September 30 – October 24), a rather cheerful biodrama about the little and famous candid sex therapist. The solo show is again directed by our director / actress Holly Twyford. TheaterJ.org.
Historical Ford Theater is back with âMy Lord, What a Nightâ by Deborah Brevoort (October 1-24), an intriguing work based on the real friendship between famous African-American contralto Marian Anderson (Felicia Curry) and Albert Einstein (Christopher Bloch). Fords.org
Synetic Theater brings its brand of suspense / sinister / sexy to Crystal City with “The Madness of Poe” (October 11-31), a chilling 90-minute trilogy of works by Edgar Allen Poe, including a re-imagining of the Synetic’s successful 2007 adaptation of “The Fall of House Usher” and two other classic tales from the American master of mystery and the macabre. The movement-based production is directed by acclaimed duo, director Paata Tsikurishvili and choreographer Irina Tsikurishvili, and features an exceptional nine-person cast including Ryan Sellars and actors Alex Mills and Philip Fletcher. Synetictheater.org
AnaÃ¯s Mitchell’s highly anticipated âHadestownâ national tour (Oct. 13-30) opens soon at Kennedy Center Opera. A huge success on Broadway (winner of eight Tony Awards 2019), the musical “interweaves two mythical tales – that of the young dreamers Orpheus and Eurydice, and that of King Hades and his wife Persephone – because it invites you on a hellish journey The Underworld and Return The cast includes actor Levi Kreis as Hermes, the role for which our actor AndrÃ© De Shields won a Tony, and continues to star at the Walter Kerr Theater in the reopened Broadway production.
And in December, the Kennedy Center hosts national tours of two successful musicals: “Beautiful – The Carole King Musical” (December 14-January 2); and âAin’t Too Proudâ (December 15-January 16), the story of Motown superstar R&B group, the Temptations. Kennedy-center.org
As part of its 25e anniversary season, Keegan Theater presents the regional premiere of Adrienne Earle Pender’s “N” (23 Oct-20 Nov). The well-documented work is inspired by the success surrounding Eugene O’Neill’s groundbreaking 1921 play, “Emperor Jones,” which starred Charles S. Gilpin, the first African-American actor to perform at Broadway. The hit play propelled the two men to stardom; However, within five years, O’Neill was world famous and Gilpin forgotten. According to notes from Keegan’s website, “Pender’s ‘N’ explores the difficult relationship between Gilpin and O’Neill and how it ultimately rests on one word – a word that raised one of them to the top of American theater and destroy the other. ” Keegantheatre.com
Constellation Theater Company the upcoming production is an original piece with a seductive title, “Mysticism & Music” (October 23 – November 21). Longtime collaborators Tom Teasley, AJ Guban and Constellation Artistic Director Allison Stockman are joined by Chao Tian to create this new exploration of ancient spiritual literature, poetry and folklore from around the world. Constellationtheatre.org
TO Mosaic Theater Company, the talented director Serge Seiden directs âBirds of North Americaâ by playwright Anna Ouyang Moench (Oct. 27-Nov. 21). For a dozen years, the strained relationship between bird watchers’ father and daughter calmed down as they watched birds in the backyard of their suburban Maryland home. Mosaictheater.org
Signature Theater reopens with âRentâ (Nov 2, Jan 2), Jonathan Larson’s iconic rock musical based loosely on Puccini’s 1896 opera âLa bohÃ¨meâ. Set in New York’s East Village in the early 1990s, the award-winning Tony and Pulitzer show tells the story of struggling artists in the face of love, life, gentrification and AIDS. No other musical captures the place and time better. Signature’s newly appointed artistic director, Matthew Gardiner, is directing. Sigtheatre.org
While the pop icon experience sometimes reads like a Greek tragedy, it’s not the usual classic fare. Shakespeare Theater Company presents “Once Upon a One More Time” (November 30-January 2, 2022), a new musical inspired by the music of Britney Spears (including “Oops! … I Did It Again”, “Lucky,” “Stronger” and “Toxic”).
Written by our writer Jon Hartmere, the libretto turns the happy princess fairy tale forever on her ear – in the best possible way. At the helm of the show, married couple Keone and Mari Madrid, an award-winning choreographer / director team. Shakespeare.org Theater
And from the beginning of December, Studio Theater presents âFlightâ (December 2, February 20, 2022), an immersive installation created by Scottish innovators Vox Motus and designed by Jamie Harrison (creator of âHarry Potter and the Cursed Childâ magical effects and illusions).
Described as “an invitation to witness the personal stories of two of the 300,000 displaced children who make unaccompanied journeys each year”, “Flight” is the story of orphaned brothers who embark on an arduous journey across Europe to the search for freedom and security.
There are no live actors in this production. Viewers experience the play from individual booths wearing headphones and watch a handcrafted diorama in which the story unfolds in intimate miniature. Studiotheatre.org
Also, for December, Washington Gay Men’s Choir returns to the Lincoln Theater, the historic center of the U Street corridor, with âThe Holiday Showâ (December 4, 11 and 12). In addition to the usual suite of tap dance elves and drag queens, the program features favorite numbers from past holiday shows and features performances by the full choir, soloists and GMCW ensembles (Potomac Fever, Rock Creek Singers , Seasons of Love and GenOUT Youth Refrain). Gmcw.org
There are more holiday rates at National theater, including “Dr. How the Grinch Stole Christmas from Seuss!” The Musical â(23 November-5 December). Also at National, the musical âTootsieâ, from December 7 to 12.