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Theatre Guide: Winter 2011-12
December 13, 2011 | 12:45PM

If you’re anything like us, you’ll want to go to the theatre and throw yourself into the vortex of emotions only a live performance can provoke in you. So, to paraphrase that old theatre reviewer stand-by line “YOU’LL LAUGH, YOU’LL CRY…” we figured we’d walk you through some choice offerings this season of DC has to offer (and blessedly, no CATS in sight)

THEATRE.Laugh

  • BUST @ Studio Theatre (Now – Through December 23) – Prison isn’t really a place that elicits comedy. But writer/performer Laura Weedman sources out laughs from the penal system with the potency of a standup comic riffing on airports or the difference between men and women. Weedman transforms her real life experience volunteering in a women’s prison into the one-woman show, a hilarious, occasionally touching story peopled by a bounty of personas and impersonations channeled exclusively through Weedman.
  • David Sedaris’ HOLIDAYS ON ICE @ Rep Stage (December 16-19) – Rep Stage’s producing artistic director, Michael Stebbins, brings Sedaris’ caustic holiday essays to life and adds a dash(er) of pessimism to the season.
  • You, Nero @ Arena Stage (November 25-January 1) – Arena’s resident playwright Amy Freed takes us on a journey in which, another playwright tries to save Rome as it crumbles under Nero’s rule. And yes, it is a comedy.
  • Spoiler Alert: Everybody Dies @ Woolly Mammoth (December 6 – January 8) – Second City is back @ Woolly with a comedy which promises “a staggering body count”. Just in time for the holidays.
  • The Two Gentlemen of Verona @ Shakespeare Theatre Company (January 17-March 4, 2012) – Possibly Shakespeare’s earliest romantic comedy, The Two Gentlemen of Verona centers on Valentine and Proteus, loyal friends who are transformed into enemies thanks to their fickle hearts. This adventurous, romantic story has it all—hidden identities, comedy, a gang of gentlemen outlaws—even a double wedding.

(Photo from YOU, NERO)

THEATRE.Cry_

  • Romeo and Juliet (without words) @ SYNETIC Theatre (now through December 23) – Synetic’s SHAKESPEARE WITHOUT WORDS festival finishes it’s triumphant run with the best known tragedy of all. Sure there are no words but, from what we understand means that EVERYTHING ELSE in the play is bigger, bolder and WAY MORE PHYSICAL than you could expect. WHERE DO WE SIGN UP?
  • Time Stands Still @ Studio Theatre (January 4-February 12 2012) This searing drama from Pulitzer-Prize winner Donald Margulies follows an injured photojournalist who returns home from the battlefields of Iraq only to learn that some images can never be erased.

(photo from Romeo and Juliet)

THEATRE.Think_

  • ANN, An affectionate Portrait of Ann Richards @ Kennedy Center (December 17- January 15, 2012) – In a show custom made for a politico town like DC, Emmy Award–winning stage and screen actress Holland Taylor (Two and a Half Men) brings audiences a hilarious, inspiring, and no-holds-barred look at Ann Richards, the unforgettable and formidable Governor of the Lone Star State.
  • SCENA THEATER’S HEDDA GABLER @ H Street Playhouse (January 6-29, 2012) – Ibsen’s classic of love and ennui featuring one of stage’s most controversial female protagonist gets yet another retelling. Is Hedda a feminist heroine, a victim of circumstance, or a manipulative villain? You be the judge.
  • NECESSARY SACRIFICES @ FORD’s (January 20- February 12, 2012) – playwright Richard Hellesen explores the two documented encounters between Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln during a period of national crisis. As Lincoln searches for a way to end slavery in the summers of 1863 and 1864, Douglass’s rhetoric and conviction challenges the president to envision a post-emancipation world. Together, the men imagine not only a unified nation but a society that brings truth to the Declaration of Independence assertion that “all men are created equal.”
  • CIVILIZATION-ALL YOU CAN EAT @ Woolly Mammoth (February 13-March 11, 2012) -Does humanity have an expiration date? Six hungry city-dwellers scramble for sustenance in this scathing satire of American enterprise and ingenuity. But while they’re busy cooking up schemes for love and success, the beasts of agribusiness are closing in…

(photo from ANN)

THEATRE.Sing_

  • BILLY ELIOTT @ KENNEDY CENTER (Now through January 15, 2012 ) – Finally, it’s in DC! “the best show you’ll ever see” (New York Post) earned the 2009 Tony Award for Best Musical lands in Kennedy Center. Billy just wants to dance, and we dare you to not love every second if it.
  • HAIRSPRAY @ Signature Theatre (Now through January 29,  2012) – John Waters’ style-setting, anti-segregation trailblazing teen queen Tracy Turnblad gets another chance on the DC stage. You know the story, and you know the songs: when she wins a coveted spot on “The Corny Collins Show,” Baltimore’s most popular teen dance program, the high school loser with the big heart, big personality and big hair proves everyone wrong and becomes a local TV celebrity. It seems like Tracy will have it all – the eye of heartthrob Link Larkin, the Miss Teenage Hairspray crown, even a modeling gig with Mr. Pinky’s Hefty Hideaway.
  • BLACK NATIVITY @ H Street Playhouse (now through December 31)  – Langston Hughes’ retelling of the Christmas story from an Afro-centric perspective, infused with rich gospel, blues, funk, jazz music and dance with griot style story telling from an ensemble cast.
  • LA CAGE AUX FOLLES @ KENNEDY CENTER (starts January 17 2012) – No explanation needed. Just go.

(photo from HAIRSPRAY)

THEATRE.Dazzle

  • Washington Ballet’s THE NUTCRACKER @ Warner Theatre (Now through December 24)- For 50 years, generations of Washingtonians have grown up loving—and introducing loved ones to—TWB’s The Nutcracker. This one-of-a-kind Nutcracker, set in 1882 Georgetown, stars George Washington as the heroic Nutcracker, King George III as the villainous Rat King, Anacostia Indians, frontiersmen, and many other all-American delights

  • MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING @ Shakespeare Theatre Company (now through January 7th 2012) – The Shakespeare Theatre’s current production of Much Ado About Nothing is big and ambitious. Director Ethan McSweeny uses his setting – Cuba in the 1930s – as an opportunity to fill the stage with gorgeous sets and production numbers. Shakespeare’s dialogue, full of delicious deceit, is an opportunity for the cast to go for broke with terrific physical comedy. But when a production goes big like this, not every idea sticks, and there are times where broad, unlikable caricatures derail the entire play. Weaker stretches do not completely undermine Much Ado, as its strengths are too infectiously fun.
  • JOSEPHINE TONIGHT @ METRO STAGE (January 26-March 18, 2012) – all Josephine Baker, all night long.
  • ASTRO BOY & THE GOD OF COMICS @ Studio Theatre(February 15- March 11, 2012) – Onstage drawing meets the ’60s dream of the future in this story of Japanese cartoonist Osamu Tezuka and his most famous creation: Astro Boy, a crime-fighting robot.

(photo from ASTRO BOY)

THEATRE.Identify

  • Pride & Prejudice @ Round House Theatre Bethesda (now through December 31) – Jane Austen’s story of the Bennett sisters and their suitors is a classic for a reason. Which one are you?
  • REALLY REALLY @ Signature Theatre (January 31-March 25 2012) – At an elite university, when the party of the year results in the regret of a lifetime, one person will stop at nothing to salvage a future that is suddenly slipping away. In this quick-witted and gripping comic tragedy about “Generation Me,” it’s every man for himself.
  • NEXT FALL @ Round House Theatre Bethesda (February 1-26 2012) – Adam and Luke are an example of opposites attract ‑ Adam is older, neurotic, and an atheist; Luke is impulsive, a struggling actor, and devoutly religious. After Luke is involved in a serious accident, family and friends descend upon them and these longtime differences collide, forcing opposing views on faith and family into a stand-off. Hilarious and heartbreaking, it exposes the fundamental truth that we love people both because of – and in spite of – who they are.

(photo from Pride & Prejudice)

THEATRE.HotTips

  • Check out the League of Washington Theatres website for updates on specials.
  • If You Are Under 35 and have a valid ID to prove it, tickets to Shakespeare Theatre Company are only $15 for you. Start using and abusing that fact NOW.
  • Before each show in DC opens, there is inevitably one or two of pay-what-you-can nights. Tickets are usually only available for in-person purchase but just keep an eye out (the calendar on top should come in handy here).
  • Studio Theatre, one of our favorites in town offers all sorts of useful discounts: Student Rush: $15 tickets day of show, must present Student ID when picking up.  or just plain Rush Tickets: $30 tickets on sale 30 minutes before curtain time as available. or Nov 2, Dec 1, Feb 29, May 23, Jun 13. Ticket Price: $20 for patrons who live or work in the Studio District, with proof of address. Tickets only available day of event. What is the Studio District? The area between 11th and 17th Streets NW, and from N ST NW to Florida Ave NW.

Let us know in the comments if you feel we missed anything unmissable and keep and eye out for more FALL GUIDES TO COME!

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  • Becky says:

    I would say you missed two great upcoming winter shows and a Locally Grown Festival at Theater J. The Dec show is KINSEY SICKS in OY VEY IN A MANGER running Dec 24 – 26 and running JAN 4 -29 we are opening THE RELIGION THING. The festival (running Jan and Feb) we are featuring 5 local playwrights and their new plays! Love to have you guys in the house. More on it all at theaterj.org or email me for press info.