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Posted at 11:50 AM ET, 03/26/2009

On Stage in April

By Stephanie Merry

Spring may be here with all its new beginnings, but the economy continues to tank and the weather is still cold. Luckily we're bringing some spring cheer in the form of cheap theater with a rundown of plays that offer pay-what-you-can nights. First though, check out the list of what not to miss, from Lynn Redgrave's one-woman show to back-to-back openings of Tom Stoppard plays.


Captain Hook puts on his dancing shoes for the Washington Ballet's "Peter Pan." (Tony Powell)

The young and young at heart will appreciate the Washington Ballet's performance this month. Septime Webre's crew will be bringing a dancing Captain Hook and Smee to the stage for a performance of Peter Pan at the Kennedy Center. (April 1-5).

Signature Theatre hosts the Washington area debut of "See What I Wanna See," a play in the same vein as ensemble movies like "Crash" or "Babel." It consists of a series of stories that take the audience from medieval Japan to 1950s New York to the modern day, all in the quest of understanding what defines truth. (April 7-May 31)

While things aren't exactly warm outside today, a visit to the frigid North via "Call of the Wild -- The Musical" might help you appreciate what warmth we do have. This melodic restaging of Jack London's classic about men and their dogs during the gold rush in northwestern Canada will have its world premiere at Olney Theatre. (April 8-May 3)

The biggest celeb appearance on stage this month is Lynn Redgrave, who brings her solo performance "Rachel and Juliet" to Folger Theatre. Redgrave wrote the play and uses the show as a way to explore her mother's obsession with the Shakespearean role of Juliet. (April 10-12)

For a decidedly less serious show, but one that features another celebrity, head to Warner Theatre to check out Demetri Martin's comic stylings. The bowl-cut sporting comedian was a Daily Show correspondent and guest star on Flight of the Conchords before landing his own Comedy Central gig. (8, 10:30 p.m. April 11)

The Kennedy Center continues its celebration of Broadway hits with a brand new production of "Ragtime" this month. The musical follows three families living in New York City in the early 1900s with songs about contemporaries like Henry Ford and Harry Houdini. (April 18-May 17)

The first installment of this month's Tom Stoppard plays will be "Rock 'N' Roll" at Studio Theatre. Imagination meets autobiography in this Pink Floyd-infused show as the playwright conjectures how his life might have turned out if he'd left England for his native Czechoslovakia. (April 22-May 31)

The next day, "Heroes" premieres at MetroStage. The slightly less sentimental show combines Stoppard's fortes -- wit and poignancy -- to tell the story of three war veterans who pass the time telling recounting their personal histories. (April 23-May 24)

Watch for these pay-what-you-can performances, including a few over the next week:

- "Faithkiller" offers up a protagonist willing to take on religion and media with PWYC nights on Friday and Saturday, March 27-28. (March 27-April 18)

- "Antebellum" at Woolly Mammoth takes the audience from the "Gone With the Wind" movie premiere in Atlanta in 1939 to a Nazi concentration camp and shows the surprising links between characters in the disparate locations. Pay-what-you-can previews are Monday-Tuesday, March 30-31. (March 30-April 26)

- Flashpoint hosts "Deep Belly Beautiful," in which a man and his estranged wife celebrate a bittersweet anniversary. Pay what you can Tuesday-Wednesday, March 31-April 1. (March 31-April 26)

- Washington Shakespeare Company takes on Tennessee Williams with "Small Craft Warnings." Pay what you can Thursday-Saturday, April 9-11, Tuesday, April 14 and all 2 p.m. performances on Saturdays. (April 9-May 10)

- A staging of Richard Wright's "Native Son," a story dealing with race relations, has pay-what-you-can nights on Wednesdays, April 15, 22 and 29. (April 14-May 9)

- Woody Allen fans rejoice! Theater J is putting on "The Rise and Fall of Annie Hall," which follows a man who alienates his family in the quest to obtain the rights to Allen's famous flick. Pay what you can Wednesday-Thursday, April 15-16. (April 15-May 24)

-- Stephanie

By Stephanie Merry  | March 26, 2009; 11:50 AM ET
Categories:  Theater  
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