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Posted at 12:34 PM ET, 01/12/2007

Stage Might in 2007

By Erin

This year -- particularly the first six months of it -- holds much excitement on local stages, for the Shakespeare in Washington festival all but guarantees that quality shows will abound through June. With so many productions, it's hard to know what to see. I've chosen some of my highlights from the festival, but also some stellar shows for those looking beyond the Bard.

Cast aside any fears and hasten to get tickets to "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf." The show rages on at the Kennedy Center for a few more weeks before hitting the road for a national tour and it's a must-see. Kathleen Turner's throaty purr brings a whole new dimension to Edward Albee's play about a vindictive middle-aged couple who revel in tearing each other apart.

Also on stage now, get into Signature Theatre's dazzling new space with "Into the Woods." The company thrived with awards and accolades galore in its tiny, ill-equipped garage space. Now that it occupies a giant, state of the art two-theater complex, the possibilities for Signature are nearly limitless. New costume and set facilities give Signature the opportunity to transcend its past successes. I saw the set for this show last week and it maintains Signature's garage feel with an eerie look.

I had the privilege of catching Matthew Bourne's dance production of "Edward Scissorhands," which arrives at the Kennedy Center for a short staging next month. Set to an adaptation of Danny Elfman's cinematic score, the stage version was more evocative for me than Tim Burton's film. It has the same juxtaposition of darkness and suburbia, but the entire cast faces the challenge of telling the story without words. The dancer playing Edward, in particular, faced the challenge of becoming the character so identified with Johnny Depp. He assumed Depp's mannerisms and movements, but moved beyond them with his own beautiful interpretations.

As a lifelong fan of "Peter Pan," I hope to see "Peter and Wendy" take flight from Arena Stage this spring. With international influences including a Celtic score, it should be a magical production.

This summer, Olney Theatre Company stages "Brooklyn Boy" by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Donald Margulies. In the show, a normal writer rockets to fame and loses control of his personal life when his novel hits the bestseller list.

Aim high in July with the spoof musical "Reefer Madness" on Studio Theatre's 2ndStage. Though munchies and marijuana abound in the outlandish production, it is also a look at civil liberties and freedom.

Later this summer, the Capital Fringe Festival stages a return visit from July 19-29 with a saturation of small productions. One highlight will be Solas Nua's production of "Portia Coughlan."

Finally, Shakespeare. Audiences can partake in the family favoritism of "King Lear" at Folger Theatre right now. Royal Shakespeare Company arrives in April with "Coriolanus," the tragic, glorious tale of a prideful general and his manipulative mother. This April, the Shakespeare Theatre presents the bloody "Titus Andronicus." One of Shakespeare's more gruesome stories, the show will be led by Gale Edwards, an acclaimed director with Broadway experience and an eye for drama. The company will also reprise its popular "Love's Labors Lost" for May's Shakespeare Free For All. Also, keep an eye on a ninja "Hamlet" and a silent "Macbeth."

Suffice it to say, anyone with an interest in catching some good theater has a very full plate. So, dish it. What are you looking forward to this year? What tickets are you rushing out to buy?

--Erin

By Erin  | January 12, 2007; 12:34 PM ET
Categories:  Theater  
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