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Posted at 1:44 PM ET, 11/ 4/2008

On Stage in November

By Stephanie Merry

November is going to be a busy month for theater, and it appears there will be something for everyone, whether you're interested in irreverent stand-up, cult musicals or classical ballet.


"underground," inspired by the Weather Underground, makes its D.C. debut this month. (Gary Noel)

First up is the irreverent, most evident in the comic stylings of "The Soup" host Joel McHale. McHale got his start in sketch comedy and improv and brings his pop culture-based witticisms to the Warner Theatre on Friday.

For a slightly more questionable view of comedy, "Punch -- That's the Way We Do It" (which technically started in October -- on Halloween night) is playing at Flashpoint. The bloodbath of a live-action puppet show follows the titular character as he throws down against his wife, his dog and, ultimately, the devil. Apparently, the bloodiness of the show cannot be understated -- those seated in the first few rows will receive garbage bags to protect their clothes from the spatter.

The offbeat continues with "Boom," which started Monday at Woolly Mammoth. This show is a little difficult to summarize, but let's just say it involves a grad student who studies the sleep cycles of fish, a journalism student looking for love and the possibility of another big bang (both literally and figuratively).

Meanwhile, Studio Theatre brings a Tony-winning musical to the stage with "Grey Gardens." The play follows the cousin and aunt of Jacqueline Kennedy from their reign over high society in the 1940s to their transformation into cat lady recluses in the 1970s.

Also inspired by true events, "underground" at Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center is based on the radical leftist group of the 1960s and '70s, the Weather Underground. While the performance isn't really a narrative of events, David Dorfman Dance uses the militant group's history to examine the line between terrorism and activism.

For a more traditional dance, head to the Kennedy Center around Thanksgiving for a view of the San Francisco Ballet. Celebrating its 75th anniversary, the company will be performing a mixed repertory program for two nights of its stay; the other three nights will feature an updated version of the 1841 classic "Giselle."

Another Kennedy Center offering this month is Frost/Nixon starring Stacy Keach as Richard Nixon. The play, written by Peter Morgan, who also penned "The Queen" and "Last King of Scotland," focuses on the famous interview in which British talk show host David Frost interviewed the disgraced former president.

And for a different kind of nostalgia (at least if you grew up on the Harry Allard classic), "Miss Nelson is Missing" is playing at Imagination Stage. I've carefully crafted an excuse to see evil substitute teacher Viola Swamp in action by offering to take my two-year-old niece.

Any other performances you're looking forward to? Let us know in the comments.

-- Stephanie

By Stephanie Merry  | November 4, 2008; 1:44 PM ET
Categories:  Theater  
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