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Posted at 9:28 AM ET, 02/ 1/2011

On stage in February

By Stephanie Merry

Martin McDonagh's "The Cripple of Inishmaan" comes to the Kennedy Center. (Robert Day)

Although Arena Stage and the Kennedy Center are unveiling big productions this month, don't lose sight of the smaller companies. Constellation Theatre, Forum and Factory 449 are just a few touting promising offerings. Here are our picks, big and small:

After the well-received "Women Beware Women," Constellation Theatre continues its season with something more lighthearted: Tom Stoppard's "On the Razzle." (Thursday through March 6)

Centuries later, Sophocles's "Oedipus Rex" still takes the cake when it comes to painful dramatic irony. The classic tale of a man destined to bed his mother gets an update courtesy of MacArthur Genius Grant winner Luis Alfaro, who sets "Oedipus El Rey" in Los Angeles, both inside the city's prison system and on the tough streets of the barrio. While Oedipus may be required reading for most high school freshmen, this rendition contains nudity and isn't recommended for kids younger than 16. (Monday through March 6)

Make way for Martin McDonagh, the Irish writer behind gritty movies including "In Bruges" and the Tony-nominated black comedy "The Lieutenant of Inishmore." Irish theater company DRUID presents "The Cripple of Inishmaan" about the effects of a Hollywood film crew on a rural Irish town. (Feb. 8-12)

Known for staging discussion-worthy productions, Forum Theatre turns to "One Flea Spare" by Naomi Wallace. Set in plague-ridden 17th-century London, it looks at class and morality when a sailor and a 12-year-old girl end up quarantined in the home of a well-to-do couple. (Feb. 17-March 12)

Arena Stage is paying tribute to Edward Albee in a most comprehensive way. This season the theater will stage performances or readings of all 30 of the playwright's works. The festival kicks off with one of Albee's best-known plays, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf," about a cocktail party gone awry when the hosts launch biting, booze-fueled remarks at each other and their guests. Albee's "At Home at the Zoo" also starts its run that day. (Feb. 24-April 10 for "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf; Feb. 24-April 24 for "At Home at the Zoo")

Intersections, a three-week festival of theater, music, dance and art at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, offers an overwhelming number of performances. Just one of the many highlights is "WAM 2," the follow-up to the ballet about Mozart presented by InSeries and the Washington Ballet. Also on tap: Scena Theatre unveils "The Blue Angel," and Factory 449, the group behind 2009's "4.48 Psychosis," stages its new show, "Our Wide, Wide Sea." (Feb. 25-March 13)

By Stephanie Merry  | February 1, 2011; 9:28 AM ET
Categories:  Theater  
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