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Posted at 11:11 AM ET, 11/ 3/2010

On stage in November

By Stephanie Merry

Phylicia Rashad, a k a Clair Huxtable, comes to Arena Stage. (Helayne Seidman - For The Washington Post)

This month, area theaters are putting inventive spins on old classics. A Tony winner tries her hand at "Candide" and two renditions of "Romeo and Juliet" take the stage.

The Washington Ballet has begun its season, but there are still a few of days left to catch its first production. The troupe will be taking on "Romeo + Juliet," blending Septime Webre's choreography with music by Sergei Prokofiev.

For those who missed the standout shows of last summer's Capital Fringe Festival, here's another chance to catch the promising up-and-comers. Among the 10 offerings that are part of FallFringe is the uproarious Pick of the Fringe winner "Ridgefield Middle School Talent Nite" and another innovative take on the Bard with "Romeo & Juliet: Choose Your Own Ending."

Woolly Mammoth Theatre's new play, "House of Gold" by Gregory Moss, sounds like a mix of "The Lovely Bones" and the sensationalized JonBenet Ramsey case, except . . . funny. Edgy or tasteless? It's hard to say, but a play about a child beauty pageant queen's return to earth sounds compelling.

Arena Stage is getting a famous face to inaugurate its Kogod Cradle theater. Phylicia Rashad, also known as brassy TV mother Clair Huxtable from the "Cosby Show," will star in "Every Tongue Confess," Marcus Gardley's gospel-tinged play about an Alabama church.

Those who had the chance to see the award-winning "August: Osage County" at the Kennedy Center last year may be interested in another offering from playwright Tracy Letts, this time at Studio Theatre. Another meditation on relationships, "Superior Donuts" follows the unlikely friendship between a white doughnut-shop owner and his employee -- a black teenager -- set against an evolving Chicago landscape.

Leonard Bernstein's musical rendition of Voltaire's "Candide" has had as many ups and downs as the title character himself, with revivals worth celebrating and sidestepping. But that isn't stopping Tony-winning director Mary Zimmerman from putting her own spin on the satire about a man whose misfortunes seem never-ending.

-- Stephanie Merry

By Stephanie Merry  | November 3, 2010; 11:11 AM ET
Categories:  Theater  
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