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Posted at 11:32 AM ET, 09/ 3/2009

On Stage in September

By Stephanie Merry

Familial angst and famous faces are headed our way this month when an Oscar winner and a slate of old favorites signal that the slow days of August theater are over.

Billy Crystal comes to National Theatre for "700 Sundays." (Carol Rosegg)

The first celeb to descend on Washington is Billy Crystal, who will be performing his one-man show "700 Sundays" at National Theatre. The autobiographical show follows Crystal's life from his childhood in New York to his rise to fame, and the production gives the comedian a chance to do what he does best: inhabit all kinds of roles. (Sept. 8-17)

Signature Theatre is showing its appreciation of a standout Broadway songwriting duo with "First You Dream." The performance of tunes by John Kander and Fred Ebb will include songs from "Chicago," "Cabaret" and, perhaps the pair's most famous ditty, "New York, New York." (Sept. 10-27)

Studio Theatre is paying homage to the recently departed Nobel Prize-winner Harold Pinter with a staging of "Moonlight" this month. The familiar plotline -- the dynamics of an estranged family as one parent lies on his deathbed -- has a twist: one member of the family happens to be a ghost. (Sept. 9-Oct. 18)

Another meditation on life and death comes to Round House with Oscar Wilde's classic "The Picture of Dorian Gray." The cautionary tale of a man's bargain for eternal youth and handsomeness ends up (surprise!) ruining his life. (Sept. 9-Oct. 4)

"Mad Men" fans get a chance to check out a play by one of the show's writers at Arena Stage. "Quality of Life" by Jane Anderson follows a pair of couples from very different backgrounds who learn that people from Northern California can actually get along with conservatives from the Midwest. (Sept. 11-Oct. 18)

Mozart meets Los Angeles this month with an updated version of the composer's comic opera "Cosi Fan Tutte." The setting is 1929 Hollywood and the topic is infidelity, and there's also a language change in the update: the production will be in English. (Sept. 12-26)

The other big name coming to town this month is Oscar winner Helen Mirren. The Dame will be appearing in the tragedy "Phedre," a play about a queen who takes an ill-fated liking to her stepson. Of course, you should know that tickets won't be easy to come by. The oh-so exclusive event is only open to Shakespeare Theatre Company subscribers. (Sept. 17-26)

For a show for youngsters this month, check out Imagination Stage's production of "Ferdinand the Bull." The play is based on the lovable children's book about a flower-loving bull who's not a fighter. (Sept. 26-Nov. 1)

For those who love whodunits, Olney Theatre will be bringing "Night Must Fall" to the stage. The thriller leaves the audience guessing as a mysterious stranger's arrival to a small town coincides with a murder. (Sept. 30-Oct. 25)

-- Stephanie

By Stephanie Merry  | September 3, 2009; 11:32 AM ET
Categories:  Theater  
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