A Theatre Lover's Guide to DC/Capital Area Theatres - October 2011 Offerings
October is packed with over 50 local productions opening on DC area stages. In fact, after the month is over, the writers of Maryland Theatre Guide, where I am the Editor and a columnist, will have reviewed over 80 shows, concerts and cabarets.
Starting this month, I am going to name five shows/performances that I am really looking forward to seeing. It's not easy picking 5 shows from this incredible list. I'm sure by the end of the month - I will have seen 20 or more shows. There is so much great theatre to see here, so if you are visiting the DC area, come see a show or two or three.
5 PERSONAL 'MUST SEE' SHOWS FOR OCTOBER 2011
(1) OCTOBER 14TH TO NOVEMBER 5TH, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE AT RESTON, COMMUNITY PLAYERS, IN RESTON, VA.
I love The Drowsy Chaperone. I saw it 8 times on Broadway, and I was so glad when McLean Community Players introduced it to DC area theatregoers this past January with their hilarious production. And now other Community Theatres in DC, VA, and MD are producing it, and I'm sure they will all have a great time performing it.
This cast at Reston Community Players is filled with great actors and singers, and I can't wait to see what they do with this very funny musical. The cast is in great hands with Joshua Redford directing and with Musical Director Mark V. Deal conducting the orchestra.
Here's the amazing cast: Main in Chair (Andrew JM. Regiec), Mrs. Tottendale ( Barbara Wilson), Richard Durkin (Underling), Robert Martin (Danny McKay), George (Mark Hidalgo), Mr. Feldzieg (Buz Gibson), Kitty (Malinda Ellerman), Gangsters (Tomas Huntley & Michael McAdoo), Aldolpho (John Loughney), Janet Van De Graaff (Colleen Arnold), The Drowsy Chaperone (Jen Lambert), Trix (KJ Jacks), and Superintendent (Kevin Gunn). The ensemble is: Blake Green, Amanda Russell, Kevin Gunn, Dean Maldonato, Michael Lynch, and Erica Clements.
"A musical comedy superstar... a forgetful (but adorable) matron... a tap-dancing leading man... and a tipsy (drowsy) chaperone head up this critically acclaimed musical-comedy that pays tribute to the Jazz-age shows of the 1920s. It boldly addresses a great unspoken desire in all of our hearts: to be entertained. The "Man-in-the-Chair," who is a die-hard musical theater fan, plays his favorite cast album for you and speaks directly to the audience as the musical literally bursts to life in his living room. Immerse yourself in the glamorous, hilarious tale of a celebrity bride and her uproarious wedding day. Complete with thrills and surprises, dancing and tons of laughs!" Don't miss it!
(2) OCTOBER 15TH TO NOVEMBER 27TH, GREEK, AT SCENA THEATRE, AT THE STREET PLAYHOUSE, IN WASHINGTON, DC.
The 1998 Scena production was really 'out of sight' and I am thrilled that they are remounting British playwright Steve Berkodff's wacky production of Greek. (of course- it's based on Sophocles' Oedipus Rex - accounting for the very unfunny 'out of sight' pun above). Robert McManara, who returns as director says, "The recent fall of the economy in Greece and the riots in London make GREEK as relevant as ever. It is something that needed to be onstage then and that must be seen now."
"Set in modern-day London, this twisted version of the well-known myth combines Shakespearean grandeur and Cockney rhyming slang to riotous effect. Greek is a modern rags-to-riches story, filled with sarcasm and scatological humor as only the "Bad Boy of British Theatre" can serve up. Join "Eddy" as he voyages beyond the confines of his home in London's East End to his date with destiny. Along the way he encounters love, wealth, and his true identity. Berkoff first conceived of GREEK in 1979, claiming it came to him "via Sophocles, trickling its way down the millennia until it reached the unimaginable wastelands of Tufnell Park." He drew from Oedipus for the central plot, borrowed from his own experiences growing up in East London for the details, and made a political statement about Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister..."Local actors Nanna Ingvarsson, Eric Lucas, David Bryan Jackson, and Danielle Davy make up the talented cast.
(3) OCTOBER 15TH TO 29TH, LOVE POTION #1 AKA L'ELISIR D'AMORE, AT THE IN SERIES, AT GALA HISPANIC THEATRE, IN WASHINGTON, DC.
Every time I got to an In Series performance or cabaret - I have a blast! Here, Director Nick Olcott sets his English adaptation in a DC high school in the 50s. "Donizetti's comic opera sparkles, dressed in bobby sox, poodle skirts and leather jackets... Will math nerd Nemorino win his beloved Adina over dangerous competition from 'bad-boy' Belcore? The battle is on when school entrepreneur Dulcamara cooks a love potion in the chemistry lab!" Doesn't that sound like a lot of fun?
Conductor/Pianist Frank Conlon conducts the chamber ensemble. The cast includes Alex Alburqueque, Laura Choi Stuart, Pablo Henrich Lobo, Jarrod Lee, Laura Wehrmeyer & Fabiola Echazabal, Kate Keeler, Noah Mitchel, Jase Parker, RaMond Thomas, and Leslie Vincent.
(4) OCTOBER 16TH TO 30TH, NEVERMORE AT CREATIVE CAULDRON IN ARTSPACE, IN FALLS CHURCH, VA.
I have seen two productions of Nevermore by Matt Conner (Music) and Grace Barnes (Book) - the original production at Signature Theatre in 2006, and a smaller and more intimate production at Kensington Arts Theatre in 2007. Now, composer Matt Conner has a chance to direct it at Creative Cauldron in Artspace, and that's what will be very interesting to see. What changes and new 'touches' will he make? My interview with Matt will be online at MD Theatre Guide next week so check back here to read it.
Matt's cast includes Sean Thompson as Edgar Allan Poe, Priscilla Cuellar as Poe's Mother Karissa Lynn Swanigan-Upchurch as Elmira, Katie Culligan as Virginia, Dani Danger Stoller as Whore, and Mary Payne Omohundro as Muddy. It's a great cast, and I know they will see Matt's hauntingly lush score beautifully.
"Take a dark and mysterious journey into the life of Edgar Allan Poe. This imaginative musical uses Poe's poetry and short stories as its base and his shifting obsession with the women in his life as its catalyst. With hauntingly beautiful melodies, Nevermore breathes new life into Poe's work and explores a twisted true-life tale that is as bizarre as his classic stories of the macabre."
It's the Stephen Sondheim musical that nobody really knows about. Saturday Night has music and lyrics Sondheim, and a book by brothers Julius J. Epstein and Philip G. Epstein, and it's based on a play they wrote: Front Porch in Flatbush. The musical was supposed to be Sondheim's musical debut on Broadway in 1955, but the lead producer died and the show met its death too.
But in 2000, I saw an Off-Broadway production at Second Stage and I fell in love with the score and especially the song, "So Many People." How could you not fall in love with the show when it was sung by this amazing Broadway cast: David Campbell (Gene), Lauren Ward (Helen), Natascia Diaz (Florence), Christopher Fitzgerald (Bobby), and Andrea Burns (Celeste)?
Now Signature Theatre is performing the show for two nights only and it will give DC theatregoers and Sondheim fans a chance to experience what I experienced in 2000 - that Saturday Night is a lost and rediscovered Sondheim gem. The cast has not been announced yet. When it is, I will put it right here.
ALSO OPENING IN OCTOBER 2011
October 4th to 9th, South Pacific, at The Hippodrome, in Baltimore, MD.
October 7th to November 6th, The Book Club Play, at Arena Stage, in The Kogod Cradle, in Washington, DC.
October 10th to November 6th, After the Quake, at Rorschach Theatre, at Atlas Performing Arts Center, in Washington, DC.
October 10th to November 6th, A Bright New Boise, at Woolly Mammoth Theatre, in Washington, DC.
October 13th to 22nd, Hellspawn, Plays the Devil Made Us Write, at Active Cultures Theatre, in Riverdale, MD. The show plays from 10/27th-30th at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, in Washington, DC.
October 13th to November 19th, The 3 Billy Goats Gruff, at The Puppet Co., at the Puppet Co., in Glen Echo, MD.
October 13th to November 19th, 14th International Festival of Hispanic Theater at Teatro de la Luna, at Gunston Arts Center Theatre 2, in Arlington, VA.
October 18th to 30th, ReEntry, at Round House Theatre, in Bethesda, MD.
October 19th to November 6th, Othello, at Synetic Theater, in Crystal City, in Arlington, VA.
October 21st to 22nd, RAIN (Beatles Tribute,) at The Hippodrome, in Baltimore, MD.
October 26th to November 13th, Barrymore, at Rep Stage, in Columbia, MD.
October 28th to November 20th, Sex and Education, at Doorway Arts Ensemble, Theatre 2 in the Cultural Art Center at Montgomery College, in Silver Spring, MD.
October 28th to November 13th, 2nd Annual Cabaret Macabre, at Happenstance Theater, at Round House Theatre, in Silver Spring, MD.
October 29th to November 20th, The How and the Why, at 1st Stage, in Tyson's Corner, in McLean, VA.
OPENED AND PLAYING THROUGH NOVEMBER 2011
Through October 1st, Social Security, at McLean Community Players, in McLean, VA.
Through October 1st, Stop Kiss, at No Rules Theatre Company, at H Street Playhouse, in Washington, DC.
Through October 2nd, Don't Dress For Dinner, at 1st Stage, in McLean, Va.
Through October 2nd, Love Brothers Serenade, at African Continuum, in Washington, DC.
Through October 2nd, Macbeth, At Synetic Theater, At The Crystal City Metro, In Arlington, Va.
Through October 2nd, Why Torture Is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them, at MET (Maryland Ensemble Theatre), in Frederick , MD.
Through October 8th, Based on a Totally True Story, at Silver Spring Stage, in Silver Spring, MD.
Through October 8th, The Mandrake, At Faction Of Fools Theatre Company, Inc., At Gallaudet University, In Washington, DC.
Through October 9th, !Ay Carmela!, at GALA Hispanic Theatre, in Washington, DC.
Through October 9th, Fahrenheit 451, at Round House Theatre in Bethesda, MD.
Through October 9th, Fela! At Sidney Harman Hall At Shakespeare Theatre Company, In Washington, DC.
Through October 16th, Savage In Limbo, At Metrostage In Alexandria, VA.
Through October 9th, Tales of Beatrix Potter, at The Puppet Co., in Glen Echo, MD.
Through October 15th, Mad Forest, at Forum Theatre, at Round House Theatre, in Silver Spring, MD.
Through October 22nd, A Moon for the Misbegotten, at Heritage-O'Neill, in Silver Spring, MD.
Through October 23rd, Witness for the Prosecution, at Olney Theatre Company, in Olney, MD.
Through October 30th, Aladdin's Luck, at Imagination Stage, in Bethesda, MD.
Through October 30th, Les Miserables, at The Kennedy Center, in Washington, DC.
Through October 31st, Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, at Adventure Theatre, in Glen Echo, MD.
Through November 5th, Chicago at Way Off Broadway, in Frederick, MD.
Through November 6th, Chicago, At Toby's Dinner Theatre, In Columbia, Md.
Through November 6th, Wit, at Bay Theatre Company, Inc., in Annapolis, MD.
Through November 13th, Dreamgirls, At Toby's Dinner Theatre, in Baltimore, MD
Through November 20th, Dreamgirls, at Riverside Center Dinner Theater, in Fredericksburg, VA.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED CHILDREN'S/FAMILY PRODUCTIONS
Monday, October 3rd, The Fight for Family - New Writers Now at Young at Playwrights' Theatre at Gala Hispanic Theatre, in Washington, DC.
October 15th to 29th, The Amazing Adventures of Dr. Wonderful & Her Dog! at The Kennedy Center's Family Theater, in Washington, DC.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED COMMUNITY THEATRE PRODUCTIONS
October 7th to 22nd, Nine at The Arlington Players, in Arlington, VA.
October 7th to 22nd, Take Me Out, at Dominion Stage at Gunston Arts Center Theatre One, in Arlington, VA.
October 28th to November 19th, Hair, at Kensington Arts Theatre, in Kensington, MD.
October 28th to November 13th, Kiss Me Kate at Rockville Musical Theatre, in Rockville, MD.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED UNIVERSITY PRODUCTIONS
From October 5th to 9th, A Grand Night for Singing at Montgomery College's at Parilla Performing Arts Center, in Rockville, MD.
From October 5th to 9th, Miss Evers' Boys, at Howard University's Aldridge Theatre, in Washington, DC.
October 20th to 28th, The Who's Tommy at American University's Greenberg Theatre, in Washington, DC.
October 28th to October 30th, On the Town at Catholic University's Hartke Theatre, in Washington, DC
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 this 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.