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compiled by:  Shauna Alexander and Svetlana Legetic, editorial help by: Laura Beckner and Alyssa Moody

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)

Red Hot Patriot: The Kick Ass Wit of Molly Ivins @ Arena Stage (August 23-October 28) Academy Award and Tony Award nominee, Kathleen Turner, brings her sizzling blend of sensuality and intelligence to the bravado of newspaper columnist Molly Ivins. A dyed-in-the-wool liberal from deep in the heart of Texas, Ivins’ rapier wit made her one of America’s highest-regarded columnists, satirists and beloved rabble-rousers. The incomparable Turner “excels” (Variety) in this searing, 75-minute show that weaves personal anecdotes and a humorous look at our national pastime – politics.

The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity @ Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company (September 3-October 7) – This 2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist is a drop-kicking, body-slamming, balls-out theatrical happening set in the larger-than-life world of professional wrestling. Macedonio “Mace” Guerra plays the fall-guy for mega-successful “THE” Wrestling League, losing again and again to the impossibly charismatic champ Chad Deity. When Mace discovers a young Indian-American Brooklyn kid whose charisma rivals that of Chad’s, Mace decides to get him a job in the company. Only problem is, the boss has a very specific plan for the duo: put them onscreen as terrorists.

In Spite of Love @ Gala Theatre (September 13-October 7) A Count and Princess have vowed never to fall in love—then they meet each other! One of the most popular comedies to come out of Spain’s Golden Age.

The Government Inspector @ Shakespeare Theatre Company (September 13-October 28) (Lansburgh Theater) – The Shakespeare Theatre Company’s first Russian play! Nikolai Gogol’s outrageously funny satire of provincial bureaucracy is the perfect play at just the right time for our nation’s capital. A mischievous civil servant is mistaken for an incognito inspector, sending a small town and its corrupt officials into.

Over the Tavern @ Olney Theater (September 26-October 21) – Sometimes A Boy Just Wants To Have A Little Fun. Precocious 12-year-old Rudy believes that we were put on earth “to have fun.” He refuses to be force-fed rules and values from anyone – not from his parents and especially not from Sister Clarissa.

Holly Down in Heaven @ Round House Theatre (September 27-October 20) – When Holly, a brilliant fifteen-year-old born-again Christian, becomes pregnant, she banishes herself to the basement and confides only in her dolls — particularly a life-size psychiatrist doll who closely resembles Carol Channing. Her only human contacts are an indulgent father, a clumsy ex-boyfriend, and a new tutor … who just might be able to out-smart her. Hilarious and poignant, this world-premiere comedy explores birth, faith, and life outside of heaven.

Shear Madness @ Kennedy Center (October 2-November 1) –  Set today in the Shear Madness hairstyling salon, this record-breaking comedy is Washington’s hilarious whodunit. After nearly 11,000 performances, the show has stayed in great shape, keeping all the bounce, body, and shine of opening night.

Dirt @ Studio Theatre (October 17-November 11) – This world premiere from the author of Frozen is a stylish, sexy, and unnervingly funny exploration of the mess people make of themselves and their relationships.

Saulo Garcia in Entrada Gratis at Gala Theatre (November 7-8) – Colombian comedian Saulo García pokes fun at the little white lies that we all must learn to live with. Performances are December 7 and 8, 2012 at 8 pm.

The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart @ Shakespeare Theatre Company (November 14-December 9) – Following a hit run at the 2011 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart is embarking on an international tour to share its dream-like journey of self discovery, magical moments, devilish encounters and wittily wild karaoke. Performed in an actual pub and inspired by the Border Ballads, The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart will move and amuse as the peculiar twists in the tale unfold around you.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream @ Shakespeare Theatre Company (November 15-December 30) (Sidney Harman Hall) – Spend your holiday dreaming under the light of the Fairyland moon, with Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Mismatched lovers Hermia, Lysander, Demetrius and Helena encounter a supernatural squabble that will alter their destinies forever. Will mischievous Puck create harmony or cacophony within the forest? Love, magic and wonder fill the air as dreams blend with reality in this must-see Shakespeare classic chaos. Michael Kahn directs and a cast of STC favorites star in this masterful comedy of errors.

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg @ Kennedy Center (November 17-December 9) – In a Kennedy Center commissioned production, this world premiere adaptation of acclaimed author Rodman Philbrick’s witty and poignant novel follows young Homer P. Figg, an orphan who must journey into the thick of the Civil War to save his brother. Age 8+

Night Before Christmas @ H Street Playhouse (November 23-December 29) – Late on Christmas Eve a burglar is caught breaking into a London warehouse.  He claims to work for “The International Gift Distribution Agency” as an… elf. Hiijinks ensue as they wait for the police to arrive. “ A smutty, dangerously funny, but warm-hearted cri-de-coeur against the Christmas industry.”

Young Robin Hood @ Round House Theatre (November 28-30) – Travel to Sherwood Forest for some swashbuckling fun in this rousing new version of the classic adventure story. King Richard is off on the Crusades and Nottingham is at the mercy of the evil and corrupt Sheriff, who twists the law and persecutes the poor. When his father is falsely accused of a crime and imprisoned, impetuous teenager Robin, already a skilled archer and swordsman, has to grow up fast and devise a rescue. Friendship is tested and new alliances are formed as Robin fights against tyranny and injustice, with the unexpected help of the Sheriff’s feisty daughter Marian.

The Motherfucker with the Hat @ Studio Theatre (January 30-March 10) – An unfamiliar hat in Jackie’s living room threatens his relationship, his parole, and his fledgling sobriety in this intoxicating and cheerfully vulgar look at the complicated recovery from love and other addictions.

Louie C.K. @ Kennedy Center (February 1) – Louis C.K. is one of the most honest and respected comedic voices of his generation, finding success in both television and film as well as the live stage.  Currently he serves as executive producer, writer, director, and editor of Louie, which was nominated for four 2011 Emmys. He was recently honored as 2011 “Comedy Person of the Year” from the Just For Laughs Festival, won a 2011 Comedy Award for “Best Standup Special”, and was recently nominated for five 2012 Comedy Awards.

Anna Bolena @ Kennedy Center Opera House (September 15-October 6) A queen falls from grace as her unfaithful king plots to bring his mistress to the throne. The golden age of Italian bel canto opera shines with dark reflections in Donizetti’s moving retelling of Anne Boleyn’s tragedy starring Sondra Radvanovsky.

War Horse @ Kennedy Center Opera House (October 23-November 11) Winner of 5 Tony Awards Including Best Play, War Horse is a remarkable tale of courage, loyalty and friendship. England, 1914. As World War One begins, Joey, young Albert’s beloved horse, is sold to the cavalry and shipped from England to France. He’s soon caught up in enemy fire, and fate takes him on an extraordinary journey, serving on both sides before finding himself alone in no man’s land. But Albert cannot forget Joey and, still not old enough to enlist, he embarks on a treacherous mission to find him and bring him home.

Manon Lescaut @ Kennedy Center Opera House (March 2-23) Intensely romantic and beguiling, Manon Lescaut is the first tragic heroine in a long list of Puccini favorites. Patricia Racette makes her role debut in John Pascoe’s “impassioned, sensual production” (Baltimore Sun).

Mary T. and Lizzy K. @ Arena Stage (March 15-April 28) Writer-director Tazewell Thompson (dir. M. Butterfly, Yellowman) stitches together an insider’s look at the unlikely friendship between First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln and her talented seamstress, the successful freed slave Elizabeth Keckly. As one woman’s skilled hands work overtime, creating the most beautiful garments of her career, the other’s reality continues to slip ever further from her grasp. Old wounds and new recriminations explode in this riveting drama about loss, love and the importance of promises, both kept and broken. This world premiere drama is the first commission of Arena Stage’s American President’s Project.

Invisible Man @ Studio Theatre (September 5-October 14) This savage, hypnotic, and impassioned adaptation of Ralph Ellison’s 1952 masterpiece explores bigotry and its effects on the minds of both victims and perpetrators.

Black Watch @ Shakespeare Theatre Company (September 19-October 7) Viewed through the eyes of those on the ground, Black Watch reveals what it means to be part of the legendary Scottish regiment, what it means to be part of the war on terror and what it means to make the journey home again.

Shape @ Atlas Theatre (September 27-October 6) (Force/Collision) Imagistic and defyingly theatrical, Shape begins in 1900 Ambrose Park, Brooklyn at the end days of “Black America”. “Black America” was a historically documented, vast spectacle of vaudeville dances, variety acts, folklore and songs with a cast of 500 African-Americans. Based loosely on the biographies of African-American vaudevillians Billy and Cordelia McClain, Shape concerns the life and labors of vaudevillian fairies exploited for their historical songs and dances, used by the dominant culture and abandoned at times of great need. Shape is the final play in a series of 17 exploring themes of genocide and reconciliation.  Beginning in Rwanda with the Tutsi genocide, moving through Central America and then to the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, Soulographie- as the series is known is the culmination of the past two decades of Ehn’s work on the subject.

I Love to Eat @ Roundhouse Theatre (October 2-November 4) This delightful, affectionate portrait of America’s first foodie gives an intimate look at someone who exuberantly embraced every aspect of life – but may have wanted too much. Nick Olcott portrays the culinary maestro described as “the face and belly of American gastronomy,” a man who loved both food and life.

Dying City @ Signature Theatre (October 2-November 25) One year after his identical twin brother, Craig’s, suspicious death in Iraq, Peter shows up unannounced at his sister-in-law Kelly’s apartment. Having not spoken since the funeral, Peter and Kelly face-off in a passive-aggressive battle rooted in half-truths and betrayal. The two’s emotionally brutal skirmish intersperses with flashbacks of Craig’s final night home before deployment.

The Post-Secret Play @ Roundhouse Theatre (October 5) This stage adaptation presents a kaleidoscopic view of PostSecret, featuring real life stories of how the project has impacted the lives of people around the world, and features dozens of never-before-seen postcards. It incorporates music, animation, and live actors to bring these moving (and occasionally controversial) stories to the stage with a life-affirming message: “you are not alone.”

Druid Murphy: Conversations on a Homecoming @ Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater (October 17-20) It’s the 1970s and Michael, after a ten-year absence, suddenly returns to County Galway from New York. Presented by Tony-winning Druid Theatre Company as part of a three-play cycle of works by renowned Irish dramatist Tom Murphy.

Druid Murphy: A Whistle in the Dark @ Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater (October 18-20) The uprooted Carney family tries to adapt aggressively to life in an English city in 1960. Presented by Tony-winning Druid Theatre Company as part of a three-play cycle of works by renowned Irish dramatist Tom Murphy.

Duid Murphy: Famine @ Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater (October 19) The villagers of Glanconnor face the real prospect of starvation as the second crop of potatoes fails in 1846. Presented by Tony-winning Druid Theatre Company as part of a three-play cycle of works by renowned Irish dramatist Tom Murphy.

Atheist’s Paradise @ Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company (November 3-25) Edge of the Universe Players 2 stages a play in which several people at a small college unwillingly go through identity crises.

You for Me for You @ Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company (November 5-December 2) Two North Korean sisters—facing starvation at the hands of a dizzyingly corrupt regime—make a bargain with a smuggler to flee to the United States. When one of the sisters is denied passage because she is too weak to make the treacherous trans-Pacific crossing, the other sister makes a promise to race across time and space to save her.

Anne & Emmett @ Atlas Theatre (November 8-November 20) (Langhart Communications) Anne & Emmett is an imaginary conversation between Anne Frank and Emmett Till, both victims of racial intolerance and hatred. Frank is the 13-year-old Jewish girl whose diary provided a gripping perspective of the Holocaust. Till is the 14-year old African-American boy whose brutal murder in Mississippi sparked the American Civil Rights Movement.The beyond-the-grave encounter draws the startling similarities between the two youths’ harrowing experience and the atrocities against their respective race.

The Aliens @ Studio Theatre (November 14-December 23) An artful and indelible drama about two young, affable slackers behind a Vermont coffee shop and the teenager they take under their wing.

Wonderful Life @ H Street Playhouse (November 29-December 30) George Bailey’s struggle to grasp why life is worth living finds fresh life in this enchanting one-person retelling of Frank Capra’s classic film, It’s a Wonderful Life.

Ballet 360: Nuts over the Nutcracker @ Kennedy Center (December 1) Dance critic Alexandra Tomalonis uses video of well-known ballets to take us beyond the steps and into the fine craft of making a ballet.

The Screwtape Letters @ Shakespeare Theatre Company (December 19-December 30) C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, reveals spiritual warfare from a demon’s point of view. This funny, provocative and wickedly-witty theatrical adaptation, starring Max McLean as Screwtape, will change the way you think about how demons influence your everyday life.

An Iliad @ Studio Theatre (December 21-January 13) First sung around a campfire 2,800 years ago, The Iliad remains a soaring ode about humanity’s seemingly timeless attraction to violence and destruction. In this theatrical telling, a storyteller grapples with the mythology, brutality, and humanity of Homer’s epic poem. An intimate and immediate look at rage, grief, and the heroism and horror of a seemingly endless war.

Contractions @ Studio Theatre (January 2-January 27) Emma’s boss is concerned that she is in breach of contract. An office romance is dissected over a series of increasingly bizarre meetings in this ink-black satire from one of Britain’s most provocative writers.

Henry V @ Folger Theatre’s Elizabethan Theater (January 22-March 3) A young king’s ambition reaches beyond the English court to the fields of France. “The character of Henry needs to be someone so charismatic that you yearn to be in his company. … The play needs to leave you with something and provoke some new thought. It cannot be just a history play, but it must be full of humanity,” says director Robert Richmond.

Hughie @ Shakespeare Theatre Company (January 31-March 17) The Shakespeare Theatre Company is proud to announce that Emmy Award-winning actor, Richard Schiff, (The West Wing) will play the title role in Eugene O’Neill’s powerfully focused play, Hughie. One of O’Neill’s later works, Hughie is a commanding study of Erie Smith, a man whose illusions of a grand lifestyle are wavering after the death of the stranger who quietly validated his larger-than-life confidence. Erie is searching for a new person to affirm his transparent fantasies or else be forced to face his own crushing self-pity. Hughie stands to transfix its audience with the raw force wrought by one of O’Neill’s most stirring characters.

Good People @ Arena Stage’s Kreeger Theatre (February 1-March 10) Enter South Boston’s Lower End, where minimum wage is the maximum wage and hard work and sacrifice don’t ensure success. Facing eviction, single mother and mouthy “Southie” native Margaret Walsh reunites with an old flame who “made good,” hoping that his fortune can somehow improve her own. But not every man wants to relive his past, and with each surprising twist of their meeting they discover the dire costs the truth can hold. From Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire (Rabbit Hole) and named the Best Play by the New York Drama Critics’ Circle during its Broadway run, Good People is a “poignant, brave and almost subversive” (New York Post) drama about life in a broke and broken American town.

Glengarry Glen Ross @ Round House Theatre (February 6-March 3) Mamet’s searing comedy looks at a group of desperate Chicago real estate salesmen who grind out a living by pushing plots of land on reluctant buyers in a never-ending scramble for their share of the American dream. These cutthroats are prepared to engage in any number of unethical, illegal acts  from lies, flattery, and threats to bribery, intimidation, and burglary  to get a piece of the action. While closing a sale can mean a new Cadillac, losing one can mean losing it all.

9 Circles @ Round House Theatre (February 7-March 2) In spring 2006, Private Reeves receives an honorable discharge from the army, returns home to Texas, and wakes up in a prison cell. On trial for brutal war crimes committed in Iraq, Reeves will not (or cannot) explain his motives. And everyone, from his lawyer to his pastor to the public, latch on to a different story. Mirroring Dante’s Inferno, this fierce psychological drama ventures into the darkest corners of both the war and the mind — in hopes of light on the other side.

The House of the Spirits @ Gala Theatre (February 7-March 10) The compelling saga of the Trueba family traces the post-colonial social and political upheavals of Chile. An engrossing tale of magical realism that speaks to passion, human rights, and reconciliation.

Metamorphoses @ Arena Stage’s Fichandler Stage (February 8-March 17) Back in D.C. for the first time since her smash hit productions of The Arabian Nights and Candide, and ten years after this exquisite production stormed Broadway and earned her the Tony Award for Best Director, MacArthur “Genius” Mary Zimmerman returns with Metamorphoses. Zimmerman’s magical interpretation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses proves myths about romance, family, loss and redemption never go out of style. Through lyrical storytelling and stunning imagery, Zimmerman constructs a wondrous world where gods and mortals interact in a giant pool on our famous in-the-round stage.

The Convert @ Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company (February 11-March 2) OBIE Award-winner Danai Gurira returns to Woolly with her rich, unflinching, and compassionate new play. Set amid the colonial scramble for Southern Africa in 1895, the play follows Jekesai, a young girl who escapes a forced marriage in her native village and lands in a Westernized household where Africans are pitted against each other over the arrival of Christianity.

Norway National Theater: The Wild Duck @ Kennedy Center (February 26-27) Norway’s National Theatre performs Henrik Ibsen’s The Wild Duck, which unfolds around a scandalous lie driving its way between two old friends, Gregers and Hjalmar.

Fanny and Alexander @ Kennedy Center (March 7-9) Stockholm’s Royal Dramatic Theatre presents the U.S. premiere of Fanny and Alexander, its brilliant stage adaptation of Ingmar Bergman’s Oscar-winning feature film.

American Utopias @ Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company (March 19-April 14) Mike Daisey shows us a distinctly American vision of utopia—how we create civic spaces for ourselves in which we act out our dreams of a better world. Daisey takes us everywhere to pursue the story: from Disney World and its theme park perfection, to the drug-fueled anarchic excesses of Burning Man, from the Masonic underpinnings of our nation’s capitol, to Zuccotti Park, where in the unlikeliest place a new movement gets born. Gunplay, giant glittery dildos, police actions, and secret Freemason underwear come together to tell the history of our American dream.

4000 Miles @ Studio Theatre (March 20-April 28) This gentle, well-observed drama explores the relationship between a grandson who can’t face his life and a grandmother who is starting to forget hers.

Jason Invisible @ Kennedy Center (March 23-April 7) Everything in Jason’s world is crazy. He’s a loner, he can’t concentrate in school and, hardest of all, his mom recently passed away leaving him as sole caregiver for his beloved dad, who is trying to cope with mental illness. Age 11+

Coriolanus @ Shakespeare Theatre Company (March 28-June 2) A mighty hero, Caius Martius, earns the new name of “Coriolanus” for his triumphs. However his inflexible self-belief and contempt for popular rule cause him to be condemned as a traitor and sent into exile. Desiring revenge against the Romans who banished him, he befriends his blood enemy, Aufidius, to launch an assault on his beloved city. Rome, in its terror, pleads with Coriolanus to end his crusade for vengeance.

Wallenstein @ Shakespeare Theatre Company (March 28-June 2) STC is proud to announce a newly commissioned adaptation and translation of Friedrich Schiller’s Wallenstein by former poet laureate Robert Pinsky. Wallenstein, one of Germany’s greatest dramatic works, follows the famous general Albrecht von Wallenstein at the height of his influence and power during the Thirty Years’ War. Leading Europe’s most powerful army, Wallenstein is caught between his ambition and his Emperor’s growing distrust. He must decide either to stay loyal to his king and lose his power or to betray his country for greater gain.

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas @ Signature Theater (August 14-October 7) Miss Mona’s Chicken Ranch brothel comes to life in this rollicking new production of the award-winning musical. When crusading television watchdog Melvin P. Thorpe ogles the whorehouse as his next moral target, Miss Mona, her bevy of working girls and Sherriff Ed Earl Dodd must buck the muckraker to keep the ranch open. A gritty satire about moral hypocrisy and media sensationalism, this musical is the perfect election-year event!

One Night with Janis Joplin @ Arena Stage (September 28-November 4) With a voice like whiskey and a laugh like pure joy, Janis Joplin took the music scene by storm. Simultaneously rough and vulnerable, Joplin was dubbed the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll, proving music wasn’t just a man’s world anymore. Packed with classic songs (“Piece of My Heart, “Summertime,” “Mercedes Benz”), the show also shines the spotlight on trailblazers who influenced Janis – like Bessie Smith, Etta James and Aretha Franklin. Now, in a new musical event featuring more than a dozen singers and band members, playwright-director Randy Johnson creates “a compelling portrait of an artist” (Culturemob) through the words, inspiration and music of one of America’s greatest rock ’n’ roll originals.

My Fair Lady @ Arena Stage (November 2-January 6) Just as Molly Smith’s record-breaking production of Oklahoma! was enthralling audiences at Arena, her fresh reinterpretation of My Fair Lady set the all-time box office record at the prestigious Shaw Festival in Canada. And now Molly is reassembling her creative team to bring this breathtaking musical to Arena Stage. When Professor Henry Higgins wagers he can transform a Cockney flower girl into an aristocratic lady, he never guesses that Eliza Doolittle will in turn transform him. Lerner and Loewe’s sparkling score includes such enduring favorites as “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly,” “The Rain in Spain,” “On the Street Where You Live,” and “Get Me to the Church on Time.” Based on Shaw’s most incisive social satire, My Fair Lady is a joyful, crowd-pleasing celebration for the entire family.

Dreamgirls @ Signature Theatre (November 13-January 6) First a smash Broadway musical then an award-winning motion picture, Dreamgirls captures the spirit and hope of Motown when a girl group from Chicago makes it big. In a business controlled by men, the female trio fights for recognition, fellowship and love as superstardom challenges their musical and cultural identity. A rich, glowing spectacle about the price of show-biz success, Dreamgirls sizzles with sparkling dance and R&B soul.

Cinderella @ Olney Theatre (November 14-December 30) Cinderella dreams of adventure and romance and unwittingly calls upon her fairy godmother with a wish to attend the Prince’s Ball. Through this enchanting fairytale we learn that the impossible is possible and dreams truly can come true.

Pullman Porter Blues @ Arena Stage (November 23-January 6) Jam-packed with 14 classic blues songs, including “Sweet Home Chicago,” Pullman Porter Blues is the world-premiere production that reveals the true heroes hidden within every man. It’s June 1937 and the Panama Limited, bound from Chicago to New Orleans, is bouncing to the beat of the rollicking Midwest blues. Most folks are tuned in to the Joe Louis/James Braddock championship bout, but the men of the Sykes family – three generations of porters – know there’s more at stake than just a boxing title, as they battle each other, racial tensions and an uncertain future. Will the hope they get from the Brown Bomber be the fuel this family needs to make a better life or will progress tear them apart?

Black Nativity @ Atlas Theatre (November 27-January 5) (Theater Alliance) Theater Alliance’s popular holiday show comes to the Atlas Performing Arts Center. Black Nativity, a vibrant retelling of the Christmas story filled with gospel music, storytelling, and dance.

Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington presents Winter Nights @ Lisner Auditorium (November 30-December 1) Welcome the holiday season in style with family and friends. Winter Nights features 250 men who are certain to delight with a colorful, bright and GAY array of warm winter songs and fun.

White Christmas @ Kennedy Center (December 11-January 6) Direct from Broadway, the classic holiday movie White Christmas comes to the stage at last! This brand new musical shines with classic Irving Berlin hits like “Blue Skies,” “How Deep is the Ocean?,” and, of course, the unforgettable title song.

Million Dollar Quartet @ Kennedy Center (December 18-January 6) Million Dollar Quartet is the smash hit Broadway musical, inspired by the true story of the famed recording session where Sam Phillips, the “Father of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” brought together Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins.

Schoolhouse Rock! 40th Anniversary Sing-along @ Kennedy Center Millenium Stage (January 6) Schoolhouse Rock! has helped generations learn the fundamentals of the world around them, from interjections and electricity to the legislative process and multiplication. With its fun cartoons and catchy songs, this series has a firm place in the cultural and educational landscape. Bring your friends and family to celebrate the 40th anniversary of this classic.

Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington presents My Big Fat Gay Wedding @ Lisner Auditorium (February 16) Here come the grooms! You are cordially invited to celebrate love and a real on-stage wedding with the Chorus and 1300 of our closest friends! Love songs, party favors and cake in the lobby.

Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington presents Xanadu @ Lisner Auditorium (March 15-17) Follow your dreams… on roller skates with GMCW’s all-male cast of the Broadway musical Xanadu, based on the movie starring Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly.

Hello, Dolly @ Signature Theatre (March 15-May 18) One of the greatest musicals ever written, Hello, Dolly! brings to life the tale of Dolly Levi and celebrates the search for love.  In a bold new production, Signature Theatre joins forces with Ford’s Theatre to reinterpret this glorious classic tale. Playing matchmaker for herself this time, Dolly woos the impervious Mr. Horace Vandergelder, while also finding mates for two bumbling shopkeepers and persuading Horace to approve his niece’s marriage—all in a day’s work!  Hello, Dolly! is a delectable treat for the whole family.

The Conference of the Birds @ Folger Theatre (October 23-November 25) “The Conference of the Birds is equal parts hero’s quest, moral fable, tall tale, adventure story, religious parable, buddy movie, and poetic flight of fancy,” says director Aaron Posner. “It is an astonishing work, and, hopefully, unlike anything you have likely ever seen before.”

Amarillo @ Gala Theatre (November 2-3) A man departs for the U.S.–Mexican border and vanishes. A powerful dance-theater show that weaves together real and imagined landscapes of geography and cultural identity.

Flamenco: Territorio Demente @ Gala Theatre (November 16-18) Accompanied by cantaores, flute, saxophone, guitar, and harmonica, the mesmerizing Karen Lugo fuses traditional flamenco and modern dance.

World Premiere by Flamenco Aparicio Dance Company @ Gala Theatre (November 30-December 2) Edwin Aparicio, curator of GALA’s Fuego Flamenco since its inception, leads his dazzling troupe of dancers, cantaores, and guitarists from Spain, New York, and Los Angeles.

Les Liaisons Dangereuses @ Shakespeare Theatre Company (December 6-December 9) Acclaimed actor and director John Malkovich (Dangerous Liaisons, Places in the Heart) directs a new French-language revival of Les Liaisons Dangereuses direct from the Théâtre de l’Atelier in Paris. Playing to praise from both critics and audiences in Paris, this version of Les Liaisons Dangereuses incorporates several modern twists in this classic story of sex, revenge and the decadence of the French aristocracy.

Shakespeare’s R&J @ Signature Theatre (February 5-March 3) Four young men. One scarf. Shakespeare’s transcendent saga of forbidden love reimagined in a brave and bold in-the-round setting.  A repressive all-male Catholic boarding school bans Romeo and Juliet in favor of Latin conjugations and the Ten Commandments. Four students unearth a secret copy and steal into the night to recite the prohibited tale of adolescent passion. While it begins as a lark, the story gradually draws the boys into a discovery of universal truth that parallels their own coming-of-age. A riveting drama within a drama, Shakespeare’s R&J transcends the boundaries between play and player.

The Grand Parade of the 20th Century @ Arena Stage (February 6-10) Immerse yourself in the “unpredictable and imaginative” (American Theatre) world of acclaimed theater troupe Double Edge Theatre. Inspired by the multi-layered paintings of Marc Chagall, The Grand Parade is an original world premiere event that fuses physically daring spectacle with evocative music to create a thrilling, kaleidoscopic exploration of the 20th century.

Don Giovanni @ Kennedy Center (September 20-October 13) Regarded as one of the greatest operas ever composed, Mozart weaves the tale of the legendary rake Don Juan into a comically lighthearted (yet deadly serious) musical masterpiece. “A dark Giovanni of depth, beauty” (The Washington Times).

Mariinsky Ballet @ Kennedy Center (October 16-October 21) St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Ballet, boasting an artistic legacy that spans more than 200 years, returns with Alexei Ratmansky’s “superbly conceived and superbly danced” (The New York Times) Cinderella.

Washington Ballet, Dracula @ Kennedy Center (October 24-November 4) The Washington Ballet presents Michael Pink’s chilling blockbuster Dracula. This wildly theatrical and voluptuous ballet is a breathtaking story of passion, yearning, cruelty, and sacrifice. Dracula stakes its claim as this Halloween’s most thrilling adventure. Pink’s Count is a mesmerizing seducer of the darkest order, providing a fresh interpretation of one of Western culture’s most haunting stories.

The Suzanne Farrell Ballet @ Kennedy Center (November 7-11) The Kennedy Center’s own The Suzanne Farrell Ballet presents two mixed programs, including four company premieres by Balanchine, Valse-Fantaisie, Danses Concertantes, Prodigal Son, and Intermezzo from Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet.

San Francisco Ballet @ Kennedy Center (November 13-18) The first professional ballet company in the United States, San Francisco Ballet, headed by artistic director Helgi Tomasson, is “one of the world’s top ballet companies” (London’s Sunday Times)

Jekyll & Hyde @ Kennedy Center (November 20-25) American Idol finalist and Tony nominee Constantine Maroulis (Rock of Ages) joins with Grammy Award nominee and R&B superstar Deborah Cox in this thrilling revival of Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse’s musical.

Ballet West: The Nutcracker @ Kennedy Center (December 5-9) Utah’s preeminent ballet company, Ballet West, brings America’s oldest complete Nutcracker, called by the New York Times “one of the best productions I’ve ever seen.”

National Ballet of Canada: Alice in Wonderland @ Kennedy Center (January 18-27)The National Ballet of Canada brings an outrageous, eye-popping theatrical production of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, that is “certain to impress, delight, and amuse” (Toronto Sun).

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater @ Kennedy Center (February 5-10) America’s cultural ambassador to the world, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returns to the Kennedy Center for its annual engagement with its winning combination of captivating new work and enduring classics.

Iceland Dance Company @ Kennedy Center (February 27) A world-class contemporary dance company, Iceland Dance Company brings a mixed repertory program that includes Norwegian choreographer Jo Strömgren’s Großstadtsafari and artistic director Lára Stefánsdóttir’s The Swan.

Norma @ Kennedy Center (March 9-24) Rising star Angela Meade is the Druid priestess Norma, who secretly carries on a love affair with the enemy’s proconsul in the midst of the Gallic-Roman wars. When her lover’s affections shift, the mystic Norma turns warrior, prepared to seek revenge.

Washington Ballet’s Cinderella @ Kennedy Center (March 20-24) A spectacle for all ages, Septime Webre’s Cinderella combines magnificent beauty, ravishing costumes, and Prokofiev’s ultra-lush score in the retelling of this popular romance of a poor girl whose fairy godmother helps her win the love of a Prince. Storytelling at its finest–magic pumpkins, evil step-sisters, and handsome courtiers in a swirling mirrored ballroom scene from Versailles. Crackling with wit, lavish costumes, and dazzling dancing, Cinderella will sweep you off your feet.

New York City Ballet @ Kennedy Center (March 26-31) One of the world’s foremost dance companies, New York City Ballet performs two signature mixed repertory programs accompanied by the New York City Ballet Orchestra. George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein shaped the history of 20th-century dance when they co-founded the company, and under the direction of Peter Martins, New York City Ballet remains dedicated to the preservation of Balanchine’s ideals. Renowned for its linear purity, speed, and musicality, the company’s unparalleled repertory reflects a perfect unity of musical inspirations and celebrated history.

  • 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.

    • Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Gala After Hours on October 15th at The National Building Museum. After last year’s completely sold-out Gala After Hours, don’t miss what promises to be another unforgettable night with the who’s who of Washington celebrating the Shakespeare Theatre Company!
    • The Washington Ballet Dracula Soirée on October 5, 2012, at The National Museum of Women in the Arts. Our annual Soirée is a highlight of Washington’s fall social season and attracts many influential dignitaries and arts patrons. Guests will be treated to cocktails, a buffet supper, live and silent auctions, and performances by The Washington Ballet.

    Let us know in the comments if you feel we missed anything unmissable and keep and eye out for more SPRING/SUMMER GUIDES TO COME! (FILM+MUSIC+FOOD have already been published)