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Summer Stages: BWW's Top Summer Theatre Picks - Washington, DC!


Washington, DC is a prime destination for history, culture, food, and, of course, theatre and summer time is the perfect time to take in some fabulous shows of all shapes and sizes. If you are a tourist, commute into the city or actually live in the metro area, you have plenty of options for some great summer theatre.

It's tough to pinpoint a handful of top choices, but here are my five picks.


Signature Theatre - May 21 - June 30, 2013

Website for Signature

Having just seen Signature's brand new production of Sondheim and Furth's groundbreaking musical, here's my quick assessment of the show: COMPANY at Signature Theatre is electrifying and brilliant. Eric Schaeffer has assembled a first class cast, lead by Matthew Scott in the pivotal role of Robert. The talent on hand practically leaps off of the stage and the show has a stylish look and feel that only enhances the brilliant score by Mr. Sondheim. Yes, the show is smart, but it also has heart, and you will hear "Being Alive," "Side By Side," "Another Hundred People," and "The Ladies Who Lunch." Playing only through June 30, I suggest you order your tickets right now.


Adventure Theatre MTC - June 21 - September 2, 2013

Adventure Theatre MTC's website and THE CAT IN THE HAT information

Located in the picturesque and historic Glen Echo Park, Adventure Theatre MTC has been delighting audiences of all ages with family friendly plays and musicals for many years. For this summer, one of Dr. Seuss' most memorable characters pays a visit to two board kids on a rainy day to wreak havoc with all sorts of tricks. Adventure Theatre MTC brings THE CAT IN THE HAT to the stage using the critically acclaimed adaptation originally presented by The National Theatre of Great Britain.

For kids with summer birthdays that fall during the run of THE CAT IN THE HAT, ATMTC has a special deal for birthday parties. Check out their website for more details.


Arena Stage - June 21 - August 11, 2013

Arena Stage and ONE NIGHT WITH Janis Joplin

If you think summer nights are perfect for classic tunes like "Mercedes Benz," "Spirit in the Dark," "Me and Bobby McGee," and "Summertime," you are in luck. Arena Stage is bringing back this musical tribute to the late, great Joplin for a summer run that is sure to have audiences on their feet. Mary Bridget Davies will be back as Janis for this revival, which is welcome news indeed. The show also features Sabrina Elayne Carten as the singers who influenced Joplin, including Bessie Smith, Etta James, and Aretha Franklin. Their rendition of Franklin's "Spirit in the Dark" is a stunner. I was lucky enough to see it for DC-BWW during the initial run. Here's an excerpt from my review:

ONE NIGHT WITH Janis Joplin, skillfully created and directed by Randy Johnson, is a living, breathing collage of musical theatre melded with reunion concert where the late Janis Joplin is front and center. Performer Mary Bridget Davies was born to play Janis Joplin and Johnson has given her the perfect vehicle for her talents. Complete with a kick-ass band and back-up singers, Joplin (Davis) arrives to perform a no-holds-barred concert. The show gets personal when Janis takes the time to relate bits of her life, while sharing her many musical influences. Bond, as Janis, and her band can rock out like nobody's business, offering a full-tilt boogie blast of her greatest hits.

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Jeffrey Walker Jeff Walker teaches theatre arts in Northern Virginia. He is also an award-winning theatre critic. Currently he is a regular contributor to DC Theatre Scene and Broadway World's DC region. He also writes Stage Views, a regular column for the theatre reviews and views for the Culpeper Times. Jeff is also an experienced director and actor and has performed in musicals, Shakespeare, classics, operettas, and contemporary works.

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