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Posted at 10:03 AM ET, 07/ 1/2009

On Stage in July

By Stephanie Merry

When it comes to theater, Fringe Festival dominates the scene this month with 100+ performances across the city. But if you're looking for something a little more mainstream (and possibly more of a sure deal), we're serving up a preview of all of the non-Fringe theater July has to offer.


The Tony-winning rock musical "Spring Awakening" comes to the Kennedy Center this month. (Paul Kolnik)

But before we move on from Fringe, it's worth mentioning the festival's free preview tonight at RFD. Open to the public, the sneak peek features a taste of about 20 performances. (July 1)

On the heels of its big Fantasia-headlining production of "The Color Purple" (June 30-Aug. 9), the Kennedy Center is mounting another big summer performance. The coming-of-age story of "Spring Awakening" took the Tonys by storm in 2007, and you can get your chance to see why this show, with a score by Duncan Sheik earned the honor of best musical. (July 7-Aug. 2)

Speaking of flashbacks, head over to Olney Theatre and get transported to the Harlem Renaissance with another Tony-winner for best musical, "Ain't Misbehavin'." Expect a jazzy night with scenes set in the legendary Cotton Club and music by Fats Waller. (July 8-Aug. 2)

Fringe isn't the only festival this month. The annual Contemporary American Theater Festival is also going on in July. True, it's a bit of a drive to Shepherdstown, W.V., but the performances are worth the trip. Besides a peek at Beau Willimon's "Farragut North" (which was staged in New York with Chris Noth last year), there's also a surreal Victor Lodato production about a woman waiting for her husband to return home from war. (July 8-Aug. 2)

Chicago's legendary comedy troupe Second City is coming to town, and you don't want to miss seeing the theater company that churned out comedians such as Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert and Tina Fey. In "Barack Stars," the troupe lampoons the president, Rahm Emanuel and swine flu, among other national obsessions. (July 14-Aug. 2)

Rorschach Theatre premieres two plays this month, and the first riffs on James Joyce's "Ulysses." "Dead City" follows a woman's descent into the seedy side of Manhattan after she comes across a letter from her husband's lover. (July 16-Aug. 16) At the end of the month, the theater company with a knack for making the strange totally unforgettable is mounting "Living Dead in Denmark," which blends Shakespeare with zombie flicks when Ophelia and Lady Macbeth take on the undead king of Elsinore. (July 30-Aug. 23)

In addition to offering free admission on Saturdays, the Corcoran is hosting some free performances. Among the options is "Tour Starts Here," by Liz Lerman Dance Exchange. The site-specific production gives a fresh perspective on sightseeing and Washington's landmarks. (July 18)

-- Stephanie

By Stephanie Merry  | July 1, 2009; 10:03 AM ET
Categories:  Theater  
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