A Theatre Lover's Guide to DC/Capital Area Theatres – May 2010 Offerings

The weather is so beautiful and the dogwoods, azaleas, tulips, and magnolias are in full bloom, and as May rolls around, DC area theatres are bursting with new productions.

This month's MUST-SEES include a dip into the Jewish ritual bath - the mikveh, a get-together with a Dominican Abbess, playwright George Bernard Shaw, and a famous museum curator, a hare-raising adventure gone wrong, another loony Landless Theatre production about Perez Hilton, a composer's autobiographical musical growing up in the Big Apple, two 8-year olds who have a bone to pick with everyone and everything, and an alchemist, cheat, and magician who you wouldn't want to befriend. Come visit our nation's capital before the humidity sets in, and surround yourself with nature's gorgeous blooming colors.


(1) Mikveh, from May 5th to June 5th, at Theater J, in Washington, DC.

I would run to see any production that starred any of these incredible actresses: Sarah Marshall, Kim Schraf, Lise Bruneau, Tonya Beckman Ross, Carla Briscoe, Helen Pafumi, Rachel Olivia Condliffe, and Amal Saade. But, it's a special event when you have all them appearing together on the same stage in Hadar Galron's play Mikveh at Theater J.

I grew up in an Orthodox Jewish home in Buffalo, NYC and I knew women who faithfully and religiously went to the mikveh before every Shabbat. But when I asked them what happened at The mikveh and what motivated them to continue this old tradition in modern times, they were so secretive - like The Masons. When I saw a snippet of Mikveh at The Kennedy Center's Page-To-Stage last summer, I wanted to see more, and with this amazing cast directed by the talented Shirley Serotsky, it will be interesting to immerse myself in the stories of eight women who discuss this tradition and the role of women in Israel today. And, personally I'd like to find out why this play was such a big hit in Israel.

(2) The Best of Friends, from May 6th to May 29th, at Washington Stage Guild, at Undercroft Theatre Of the Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church, in Washington, DC.

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Washington Stage Guild production this spring and I can't wait to see their new production of Hugh Whitemore's The Best of Friends. Just the premise of Dame Laurentia McLachlan - a Dominican Abbess, playwright George Bernard Shaw and Sidney Cockerell - a famous museum curator in the same room sounds crazy - doesn't it? I'm interested in what will they talk about, and how these three famous people met and sustained a long friendship.

Alan Wade directs Catherine Flye (guess who she is playing?), David Bryan Jackson (as Cockerell), and one my favorite actors, Washington Stage Guild's artistic director Bill Largess who will portray the writer of Pygmalion. Sounds like lots of fun.

(3) Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical, from May 8th to May 23rd, at The Kennedy Center's Family Theatre, in Washington, DC.

I am a huge fan of Stephanie D'Abruzzo and I became a fan-for-life when I first saw her in Avenue Q pulling those strings and singing the wonderful "There's a Fine, Fine Line" and in I Love You Because. Now, along with local favorites Michael John Casey, who I loved as Falkor The Dragon in Imagination Stage's 2008 production of The Neverending Story, the hysterical Matthew McGloin, who made me laugh myself silly as the Croc in Imagination Stage's Lyle The Crocodile, the elegant chanteuse Gia Mora, and Erika Rose, who recently riveted Theater J audiences as Darfuri refugee Hawa in In Darfur, get to hop around the Family Theatre Stage and have some hare-raising fun.

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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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