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Posted at 12:57 PM ET, 04/30/2009

On Stage in May

By Stephanie Merry

This month promises a slew of wallet-friendly performances, another fascinating Stoppard play and one man who dares to steal the Louvre's most famous painting.

Yet another Stoppard play comes to D.C. with "Arcadia" at Folger Theatre. (James Kegley)

On the heels of Tom Stoppard's outstanding "Rock 'n' Roll" at Studio Theatre, the Folger is bringing another of his plays to the stage. "Arcadia" tells the story of two sets of people -- the late '80s inhabitants of an English manor, and the people who lived in the same house nearly 200 years earlier. The play also adds in a little mystery as modern-day scholars unravel events that occurred in the house during the time of the earlier residents. (May 5-June 14)

"Legacy of Light" at Arena Stage also deals with the parallel lives of characters from different eras. The story follows an 18th-century physicist who learns that she's pregnant; she serves as a foil for a modern-day scientist who is unable to conceive. (May 8-June 14)

The Washington Ballet is wrapping up its season with "PastForward" at Harman Hall. The performance in three parts includes a work by Balanchine, the Septime Webre-choreographed "Juanita y Alicia" and accompaniment by a live Cuban band. (May 13-17)

The premiere of Victor Lodato's "Bread of Winter" has gotten rave reviews, and the Theater Alliance is wasting no time staging another of the playwright's works. "The Woman Who Amuses Herself" tells the story of a man who steals the Mona Lisa from the Louvre -- with the intention of returning the painting to Italy -- but then has a hard time parting with the work. (May 16-June 6)

The final installment of August Wilson's ambitious 10-play series comes to Studio Theatre this month. Each of the plays deals with a different decade of the 20th century, "Radio Golf," follows an African American man vying for public office in the late '90s and the backroom deals and politics he goes through to redevelop a neighborhood in Pittsburgh. (May 20-June 28)

Apologies in advance for putting "Seasons of Love" into your head for the rest of the day, but "Rent" is coming back to D.C. The rock opera about artists trying to make it in New York will be at the Warner Theatre with original cast members Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal. (May 26-31)

Synetic Theatre just finished a run of "Lysistrata," and the company is back on the stage quickly, this time performing "A Midsummer Night's Dream." The troupe will also be trading up in terms of venues, performing at the Kennedy Center rather than its usual locale of Spectrum Theater in Rosslyn. (May 28-June 14)

There are also more options for free and pay-what-you-can theater beyond the free rehearsals of Design for Living this weekend:

- Olney Theatre is bringing back its annual free outdoor Shakespeare performances. First up is the always entertaining "As You Like It" on Friday-Saturday, May 8-9. And for those with fond memories of the annual Shakespeare Free for All at Carter Barron in May and June, you'll have to wait a couple of months for this year's installment. The performances have been pushed back until September 3 and will move to a new location this year -- Harman Hall.

- If 17th century French comedy is your thing, check out Journeymen Theater's staging of Moliere's "Tartuffe." The once-censored play that lambasted religious hypocrites will have pay-what-you-can nights on Wednesday-Thursday, May 20-21. (May 20-June 13)

- Constellation Theatre brings CrazyFace to Source. The fantasy involves a man trying to escape from the angel, who has become his constant companion, while navigating spies, the pope and, scariest of all, clowns. Pay-what-you-can previews take place on Thursday-Friday, May 21-22. (May 21-June 14)

-- Stephanie

By Stephanie Merry  | April 30, 2009; 12:57 PM ET
Categories:  Theater  
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