A Theatre Lover's Guide to DC/Capital Area Theatres - August 2011 Offerings

Thank God for air-conditioning in our DC/MD/VA area theatres! In August it will be sizzling in our local theatres. Signature Theatre has its 'Sizzlin' Summer Cabaret' series with visits from Broadway favorites Marc Kudisch and Julia Murney, and Signature favorites Erin Driscoll, Sandy Bainum, and Lauren Williams. The talk of the town is Cate Blanchett visiting The Eisenhower Theatre at The Kennedy Center, where a hundred yards away Wicked is playing to SRO audiences (what else is new?).

A Look Back at the Capital Fringe Festival

Maryland Theatre Guide - where I am the Editor - reviewed all 124 shows in this year's Capital Fringe Festival, despite sweltering temperatures. Thanks to the MD Theatre Guide Fringe Team who battled the elements. And to our friends at DC Theatre Scene who also covered all the shows - congratulations!

TOP PICKS: SHOWS I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING IN AUGUST 2011

FROM AUGUST 4TH TO 21ST, THE RAMAYANA, AT CONSTELLATION THEATRE COMPANY, AT SOURCE, IN WASHINGTON, DC.

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Constellation's Artistic Director Allison Stockman has brought one of my favorite productions - The Ramayana - and what a great way to end the summer with Kendra Rai's stunning costumes, and two-time Helen Hayes Award winner Tom Teasley playing his original score onstage.

Rama must conquer The King Ravana and rescue his wife Sita in order to save the world from evil. And during this wild journey you meet goddesses and monkeys and demons and an occasional 'good guy' and watch the power of love save the universe. Hooray!

The incredible cast features Katie Atkinson (Nila/Maricha), Misty Demory (Mandodari/Bear), Megan Dominy (Soorpanaka/Monkey), Maboud Ebrahimzadeh (Vibishana/Monkey), Heather Haney (Sita), Andreu Honeycutt (Rama), Keith E. Irby (Jambavan/Mahaparshwa), Ashley Ivey (Indrajit/Bharatha/Monkey), Jim Jorgensen (Ravana), Drew Kopas (Lakshman), Matt McGloin (Hanuman), Jon Odom (Sugriva/Jatayu/Demon), and the very busy Amy Quiggins (Golden Deer/Tara/Sampati/Varuna/Demon/Mountain).

Don't miss this dazzling, visually stunning, exciting, and uplifting production. Watch a trailer here.

FROM AUGUST 4TH TO 27TH, UNCLE VANYA, AT THE KENNEDY CENTER'S EISENHOWER THEATRE, IN WASHINGTON, DC.

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Cate Blanchet wowed Kennedy Center audiences with her performance as Blanche DuBois in the sold-out Sydney Theatre Company's production of A Streetcar Named Desire in 2009, and now she returns in Sydney Theatre Company's U.S. engagement of Andrew Upton's new adaptation of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, alongside John Bell, Cate Blanchett, Sandy Gore, Hayley McElhinney, Anthony Phelan, Richard Roxburgh, Andrew Tighe, Jacki Weaver, and Hugo Weaving

"On a dilapidated, remote farm Uncle Vanya (Richard Roxburgh) and his niece Sonya (Hayley McElhinney) have worked slavishly for years to sustain an estate in decline. Now Professor Serebryakov (John Bell) and his wife Yelena (Cate Blanchett) have returned to visit, bringing with them chaos and disruption. Constant visits from the charismatic Astrov (Hugo Weaving) are not helpful. Lunch is no longer served at lunch time - now it is procrastinated until dusk - work is forgotten and the long, cool nights have become sleepless. From this hotbed of disarray grow three consuming love affairs, each of which is destined to wither in disappointment before it has reached bloom. It is in this climate of frustration and thwarted hopes that the Professor chooses to announce a shocking plan."

Uncle Vanya is directed by renowned Chekhov interpreter Tamas Ascher. Try to get a ticket to this production!

FROM AUGUST 25TH TO SEPTEMBER 25TH, HAPPY DAYS AT WASHINGTON SHAKESPEARE COMPANY AT THE ARTISPHERE, IN ARLINGTON, VA.

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Washington Shakespeare Company is returning to the work Samuel Beckett with a 50th anniversary production of Happy Days, which he wrote in late 1960, and which is filled with humor and lots of laughs, unlike many of his other plays like Krapp's Last Tape and Endgame.

Jose Carrasquillo returns to WSC and is playing double-duty as director and playing the role of Willie, alongside Delia Taylor, who is playing Winnie. The design team includes Set Designer Tony Cisek, Lighting Designer Cory Ryan Frank, Costume/Props Designer Marie Schneggenbuger, and Sound Designer Elisheba Ittoop. I can't wait to see this production in the intimate BlackBox Theatre.

FROM AUGUST 23RD TO SEPTEMBER 10TH, THE HOLLOW, AND FROM AUGUST 25TH TO SEPTEMBER 10TH, THE BOY DETECTIVE FAILS, AT SIGNATURE THEATRE, IN ARLINGTON, VA. 

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It's so exciting that for the first time in its 22 year history, Signature Theatre is presenting its "American Musical Voices Project: Next Generation World Premiere Repertory Series" -the first time that two world premiere musicals - The Boy Detective Fails and The Hollow - will be presented in rotating repertory, in full production in an eight-week run.

The Boy Detective Fails is based on the popular Joe Meno novel, who has written the book for the musical. "In the twilight of a childhood full of wonder, Billy Argo, "boy detective," is brokenhearted to discover his young sister and crime-solving partner, Caroline, has committed suicide. Ten years later, Billy, age thirty, returns from an extended stay at St. Vitus' Hospital for the Mentally Ill to discover a world full of unimaginable strangeness."

Adam Gwon (Ordinary Days) has composed the score and written the lyrics, and the production is directed by one of my favorite directors - Joe Calarco. I saw a concert preview of the show and it's a blast. I am so glad that Stephen Gregory Smith is once again plating Billy. He will be brilliant!

The Hollow is a new reinterpretation of Washington Irving's Sleep Hollow, with book by Hunter Foster (Summer of '42) , and music and lyrics by Matt Conner (Nevermore). Sam Ludwig plays the infamous Ichabod Cran, with Whitney Bashor playing Katrina. Matthew Gardiner directs.

The Repertory cast starring in both musicals includes Signature favorites Helen Hayes Award winners Sherri Edelen and Harry Winter, James Gardiner, Tracy Lynn Olivera, Evan Casey, Margo Seibert, Thomas Adrian Simpson, and Russell Sunday. And I am so happy that young Noah Chiet will be playing Pieter Claassen. The kid's got talent!

FROM AUGUST 31ST TO SEPTEMBER 25TH, IMAGINING MADOFF, AT THEATER J, IN WASHINGTON, DC.

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They almost produced Imagining Madoff last year, but luckily the new and improved Imagining Madoff opens Theater J's new season. Written by Deb Margolin, the production is directed by Alexandra Aron. The cast members are Multi-Helen Hayes Award winner Rick Foucheux, Jennifer Mendenhall & Mike Nussbaum (As Bernie Madoff).

"Unrepentant Ponzi-schemer Bernard Madoff ( Rick Foucheux) sets the record straight from his prison cell, recounting an all-night study session with Holocaust survivor, poet and investment client, Solomon Galkin (Mike Nussbaum). With testimony from Madoff's personal secretary (Jennifer Mendenhall) before the Securities and Exchange Commission, we delve into the minds of two towering men, as their mutual will to confide and confess accelerates through the night.

I'll be 'investing' my time running to see this much-anticipated production and with this superb cast - it will be an amazing time in the theatre.

ALSO OPENING IN AUGUST 2011:

From August 4th to 13th, DHS Pinafore, at Capital Hill Arts Workshop, in Washington, DC.

From August 4th to 21st, Unraveled in the Gravel, at the Audrey Herman Spotlighters Theater, in Baltimore, MD.

From August 10th to September 4th, Something Past in Front of the Light, at Longacre Lea, in the Catholic University Drama Complex, in Washington, DC.

From August 11th to 14th, Guys and Dolls, at Wolf Trap, in Vienna, VA.

From August 12th to 19th, The West Side Story Project, at Maryland Ensemble Theatre, at Frederick Community College, in Frederick, MD.

OPENED AND PLAYING THROUGH SEPTEMBER 2011

Through August 6th, City of Angels, at Wildwood Theatre Company, at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, in Bethesda, MD.

Through August 6th, Language of Angels, at Bowie Community Theatre, in Bowie, MD.

Through August 7th, Birds of a Feather, at Hub Theatre, in Fairfax, VA.

Through August 7th, Little Shop of Horrors, at Infinity Theatre, in Annapolis, MD.

Through August 7th , POP!, at Studio Theatre's 2ndStage, in Washington, DC.

Through August 7th, The Cherry Orchard, at Quotidian Theatre Company, at The Writer's Center, in Bethesda, MD.

Through August 13th, Hairspray, at The Little theatre of Alexandria, in Alexandria, VA.

Through August 14th, Clybourne Park, at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, in Washington, DC.

Through August 14th, Rumple Who?, at Bay Theatre Company, in Annapolis, MD.

Through August 14th, The Importance of Being Earnest, at Scena Theatre, at H Street Playhouse, in Washington, DC.

Through August 14th, The Wind in the Willows, At Imagination stage, in Bethesda, MD.

Through August 20th, Ain't Misbehavin' at Elden Street Players, in Herndon, VA.

Through August 21st, Wicked, in the Opera House, at The Kennedy Center, in Washington, DC.

Through August 24th, Steel Magnolias, at Keegan Theatre at Church Street Theater, in Washington, DC.

Through August 28th, Anything Goes, at Toby's Dinner Theatre, in Columbia, MD.

Through August 28th, Charlotte's Web, at Adventure Theatre, in Glen Echo, MD.

Through August 28th, Grease, at Olney Theatre Center, in Olney, MD.

Through September 3rd, Xanadu, At Toby's Dinner Theatre, in Baltimore, MD.

Through September 4th, The Wizard of Oz, at the Puppet Co. Playhouse, in Glen Echo, MD.

Through September 25th, Nunsense, at Lazy Susan Dinner Theatre, in Lorton, VA.

Through October 2nd, Oklahoma! in the Fichandler at Arena Stage, in Washington, DC.

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Photo Credit:

Richard Roxburgh as Vanya and Cate Blanchett as Yelena, in Sydney Theatre Company’s Uncle Vanya. Photo by Lisa Tomasetti.

The Ramayana at Constellation Theatre Company. Photo by Daniel Schwartz.

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Joel Markowitz writes about theatre in Washington, DC, Philadelphia, and New York for Maryland Theatre Guide, where he is The Editor and Senior Columnist. He is a regular guest on The Lunch and Judy Show radio program starring Judy Stadt on Positive World Radio Network and can be heard on WTBQ 1110 AM in NYC. Joel founded The Ushers Theatre Going Group in the DC area in 1990, and co-organizes Broadway Bound Meetup. For five years. he wrote a column called Theatre Schmooze and recorded podcast interviews for DC Theatre Scene. Joel also writes a monthly preview of what's about to open in DC area theatres for BroadwayWorld. His work can also be seen and heard in "Columns" and "Podcast" on BroadwayStars.

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Joel Markowitz Joel Markowitz grew up in Buffalo, NY. At a young age, between shoveling snow and eating hot Buffalo wings, he fell in love with theatre, particularly musical theatre. Moving to the DC area after graduating from Syracuse University, Joel founded The Ushers Theatre Going Social Group, where he leads groups to performances in the DC area, and theatre weekends in NYC and Philadelphia. This year, The Ushers is celebrating its 21st anniversary. Joel also coordinates Broadway Bound Meetup groups in the DC, Baltimore, and VA areas.

In May 2011, Joel became the Editor and Senior Columnist for Maryland Theatre Guide, after writing his popular column Theatre Schmooze, and recording interviews with DC, Philadelphia, and New York actors, directors, and composers for DC Theatre Scene for 5 years. Joel is also a regular contributor on the weekly NYC radio program ‘The Lunch and Judy Show’ where he talks with host Judy Stadt about theatre in NYC and the DC area. Joel is a fan of Stephen Sondheim, William Finn, Jason Robert Brown and Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. His favorite musicals include Ragtime, The Secret Garden, Spring Awakening, Gypsy, The Light in the Piazza, Sweeney Todd, The Last Five Years, and In The Heights. He is a huge supporter of children's theatre. Joel is also a Buffalo Sabres fan, so you may see him at hockey rinks, as well as at stage doors, where he schmoozes with the stars.


 
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