On Stage in April
April brings with it a slew of new plays, and since here are too many to list here, these are some of my most anticipated debuts. The Shakespeare in Washington festival ambles on, most notably with a play by the Royal Shakespeare Company. In general, spunky women -- including a certain redhead from the Brat Pack -- and vicious Roman generals dominate the stage this month.
Shakespeare Theatre reaches back into Shakespeare's lexicon to stage its first production of "Titus Andronicus," thought to be the Bard's first tragedy. Director Gale Edwards takes the helm to direct this gory story of the Roman general Titus, his slaughter of a Goth princess and the loss and betrayal of war.
(April 3-May 20)
Signature Theatre gets into the Shakespearean spirit the way it knows best with "Singing Shakespeare." The cabaret-style performance showcases songs from musical adaptations of Shakespeare's works including "West Side Story" and "Kiss Me Kate." (April 4-7)
Round House Theatre shrinks a master tome into a 90-minute glimpse at evil with the adaptation of Dostoevsky's epic Crime and Punishment. Blake Robison directs this epic look at the psyche of a murderer as he explores his own actions. (April 4-29)
Arena Stage pays homage to strong women with a production by the late feminist playwright Wendy Wasserstein. "The Heidi Chronicles," which garnered the Pulitzer Prize, the Tony Award and numerous other accolades, traces the life of one feminist through the decades as she and her friends face the changing roles of women in society. (April 6-May 13)
The tribute to women continues when Signature Theatre profiles an outspoken pioneer with the world premiere of "Saving Aimee," with book and lyrics by Kathie Lee Gifford. The musical follows the story of Aimee Semple McPherson, who founded the Four Square Gospel Church and overdosed on barbiturates. Signature's artistic director Eric Schaeffer, who worked closely with Gifford during the development phases, will direct the premiere. Tony Award nominee Carolee Carmello stars as the title character. (April 10-May 13)
Brat Pack icon Molly Ringwald takes center stage to reprise her Broadway role as Charity Valentine when "Sweet Charity" prances into the Hippodrome. With songs that include "Hey, Big Spender," this whimsical show focuses on Valentine's quest for true love in the big city. (April 10-22)
The Kennedy Center goes to war to end its five-year partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company when they present Shakespeare's "Coriolanus". One of Shakespeare's most complex tragedies, the play follows the infamous Roman general through hubris, exile, dreams of vengeance, a crisis of conscience and his relationship with his domineering mother. Directed by the company's chief associate director Gregory Doran, the production is part of the Shakespeare in Washington festival. (April 13-May 6)
Signature Theatre presents the world premiere of "Nest," the story of Susanna Cox, the first woman to be hanged in Pennsylvania. The show, written by Bathsheba Doran, a Fulbright Scholar and former fellow at Juilliard, explores the culture of the early 19th century and its parallels to today. (April 24-June 24)
There's still time to catch Psalmayene24 in "Free Jujubee Brown," his energetic and powerful one-man multi-character show about hip-hop, race and societal prejudice in the black box of the D.C. Arts Center (through April 14) and "She Stoops to Comedy," Woolly Mammoth Theatre's gender-bending take on "As You Like It." (Through April 22)
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