DC Theater Friday: Capital Fringe time

Friday, 07 July 2017, 05:06:27 AM. The annual summer festival kicks in downtown.

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Charlotte Maltby, as Maria, with the von Trapp kids in “The Sound of Music.” (Matthew Murphy)

The weekly feature of what’s happening on Washington stages.

Now revving up: not only the Capital Fringe Festival, D.C.’s ultimate summer grab-bag of nearly 100 events over two weeks, but also the Contemporary American Theater Festival’s six new plays in Shepherdstown, W.Va.

If you missed Yaël Farber’s acclaimed “Salome” at the Shakespeare Theatre Company during the first Women’s Voices Theater Festival, you can catch a screening of her National Theatre staging at the Shakespeare’s Harman Hall this weekend. Also perchance of interest to theater fans: Idina Menzel at the Theater at MGM National Harbor July 9.

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“Cabaret.” The Roundabout Theatre Company’s 2014-15 Broadway production, co-directed by Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall (and inspired by Mendes’s 1993 staging for London’s Donmar Warehouse). With Jon Peterson as the Emcee and Leigh Ann Larkin as Sally Bowles. July 11-Aug. 6 at the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater. Tickets $59-$149. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.

“The Contemporary American Theater Festival.” Six new plays, fully produced, in the annual summer showcase. July 7-30 at Shepherd University, Shepherdstown, W.Va. Tickets $30-$65. Call 304-876-3473 or visit catf.org.

“The Happiest Place on Earth.” Tia Shearer takes on the lone role in the ironically titled drama about grief and a 1953 visit to Disneyland, by Chicago writer-performer Philip Dawkins (“Charm”). July 7-30 at the Hub Theatre, 9431 Silver King Court, Fairfax. Tickets $22-$32. Visit thehubtheatre.org.

“Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill.” An Anacostia Playhouse production of the late-career Billie Holiday concert drama, featuring Anya Randall Nebel. July 13-Aug. 6 at the Anacostia Playhouse, 2020 Shannon Pl. SE. Tickets $30-$40. Call 202-290-2328 or visit anacostiaplayhouse.com.

“Oblivion.” Liberal parents dealing with their 16 year old daughter’s sudden Christianity, in a drama from Carly Mensch (“Orange is the New Black,” “GLOW”). Produced by Unexpected Stage Company. July 13-Aug. 6 at the River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 6301 River Rd., Bethesda. Tickets $10. Call 301-229-0400 or visit unexpectedstage.org.

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Edward Gero plays Antonin Scalia in “The Originalist.” (C. Stanley)

“The Originalist.” Edward Gero dons Antonin Scalia’s robes again in John Strand’s 2015 hit drama. July 7-30 at Arena Stage, 1101 Sixth St. SW. Tickets $41-$101. Call 202-488-3300 or visit arenastage.org.

“Wig Out.” An early work on drag and gender from Tarell Alvin McCraney, screenwriter of this year’s Best Picture winner, “Moonlight.” July 12-Aug. 6 at Studio Theatre, 1501 14th St. NW. Tickets $20-$62. Call 202-332-3300 or visit studiotheatre.org.


“Broken Glass.” Aaron Posner directs Arthur Miller’s 1994 drama, set in 1938, about a New York woman paralyzed as she reads news of Kristallnacht. “Kristallnacht is the immediate backdrop, but Miller’s psycho-political mystery gives its characters lots to unravel. Posner’s staging astutely makes clear that Phillip, played like a man on the verge of a stroke by a tightly wound Paul Morella, is every bit as sick as his wife, Sylvia (a magnificently impassioned and sympathetic Lise Bruneau). The play labors hard over its wasted marriage, but Posner trusts its powerful flickers as Miller the moralist draws his stern civic map.” (Nelson Pressley) Through July 16 at Theater J, 1529 16th St. NW. Tickets $13-$64. Call 202-777-3210 or visit theaterj.org .

dc-theater-friday-capital-fringe-time photo 3 Paul Morella and Lise Bruneau in Arthur Miller’s “Broken Glass” at Theater J. (Teresa Wood)

“My Fair Lady.” “In the lean, generally fetching, mildly nontraditional ‘My Fair Lady,’ the power struggle between Higgins and Eliza occasionally displays a startling erotic edge. That’s the case in part because director Alan Souza has given us a Higgins with the looks, and often the presence, of a matinee idol. This production benefits from the dynamism and singing prowess of Brittany Campbell as Eliza, the Covent Garden flower seller who learns elite pronunciation under Higgins’s tutelage. Program notes proclaim that Souza has set the story in 1921, a few years after the passage of a law that enabled some British women to vote. Postdating the story seems almost redundant, given Eliza’s resolve, iconoclasm, daring and ultimate self-reliance.” (Celia Wren) Through July 23 at the Olney Theatre Center, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Rd., Olney. Tickets $33-$80. Call 301-924-3400 or visit olneytheatre.org .

“The Sound of Music.” A national tour of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, directed by Tony Winner Jack O’Brien (“Hairspray”). “Reverent is the word, even if O’Brien breaks a bit with how he sees the plucky postulant-turned-governess Maria and the forbidding Captain Georg von Trapp. Charlotte Maltby’s Maria oozes robust health; at a glance you suspect she could scamper across the Alps, yodeling over the peaks. Nicholas Rodriguez is a gentle von Trapp, naturally radiant, and the kids are the soul of the show. It’s not a put-it-in-the-pantheon ‘Sound of Music,’ but fans and newcomers alike should find themselves settling in comfortably.” (Nelson Pressley) Through July 16 at the Kennedy Center’s Opera House. Tickets $39-$149. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.


“Jesus Christ Superstar.” “What you really want to know: Can they sing it? Director Joe Calarco hasn’t quite lucked out with mind-blowing vocalists. Still, Jason Lyons’s lights gorgeously carve the rock show haze, and music director William Yanesh’s seven musicians so expertly drive this score that you’ll find yourself nodding along. Choreographer Karma Camp gets her ensemble artfully raving and hopping up and down the movable white benches on Luciana Stecconi’s set (with the audience surrounding the stage). The groove is deep, and if the vinyl’s worn thin on your LP, this musical performance will kick-start your memory but good.” (Nelson Pressley) Through July 9 at Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Tickets $40-$114, subject to change. Call 703-820-9771 or visit sigtheatre.org .

“The School for Lies.” David Ives, the adaptations whiz (most recently at the Shakespeare Theatre Company with the jubilant “Metromaniacs”), applies his quill to Moliere’s “The Misanthrope.” “Prime-time rhyme time yet again with uber-clever playwright David Ives, director Michael Kahn and a cast evincing absolutely zero shame at the outrageous comic calumnies that can be perpetrated on a bygone verse-writing community. It’s an irreverent tribute to Molière, who, you’d like to think, would have attended this offering and declared: Vive la franchise!” (Peter Marks) Through July 9 at the Lansburgh Theater, 450 Seventh St. NW. Tickets $44-$118. Call 202-547-1122 or visit shakespearetheatre.org .

“When We Were Young and Unafraid.” The D.C. premiere of a 1970s-set drama by Sarah Treem (“The How and the Why”), about a bed-and-breakfast that also shelters women in distress. “Treem unwinds a story you can’t shake, especially once the small cast in the Keegan Theatre production starts working the angles and attitudes of Treem’s increasingly interesting characters. (This takes a while.) Marie Byrd Sproul directs the show without undue fuss, and there’s a twist near the end and a tone shift that makes you feel better than you would have guessed.” (Nelson Pressley) Through July 8 at Keegan Theatre, 1742 Church St. NW. Tickets $35-$45. Call 202-265-3767 or visit keegantheatre.com.

TYA (Theater for Young Audiences)

“Junie B. Jones Is Not a Crook.” Allison Gregory’s adaptation of the Barbara Park series. For all ages. Through Aug. 14 at Adventure Theatre MTC, 7300 MacArthur Blvd. (Glen Echo Park), Glen Echo. Call 301-634-2270 or visit adventuretheatre-mtc.org.

“Wonderland: Alice’s Rock and Roll Adventure.” The versatile Erin Weaver is Alice in this rock telling of Lewis Carroll’s fantasy, for age 5 and older. Through Aug. 13 at Imagination Stage, 4908 Auburn Avenue, Bethesda. Tickets $10-$30. Call 301-280-1660 or visit imaginationstage.org.

READ MORE: Jane Horwitz rounds up this summer’s family-friendly fare.

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Idina Menzel in 2013, as the musical “If/Then” debuted at the National Theatre. (Jesse Dittmar)

Capital Fringe Festival. Nearly a hundred acts — theater, movement, music, you-name-it — in two action-packed weeks, with a third week for selected shows. Venues are clustered downtown and around the Capital Fringe Logan Arts Space at 1438 Florida Ave. NE. July 6-30. Tickets $17, plus a one-time $7 purchase of a Fringe button. Call 866-811-4111 or visit capitalfringe.org.

The Capitol Steps. The longtime political satirists, tearing laughs from the headlines. Fridays and Saturdays in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center Amphitheater, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Tickets $36. Call 202-397-7328 or visit www.capsteps.com.

Idina Menzel. The Tony winner, on tour with pop and Broadway hits. July 9 at the Theater at MGM National Harbor, Tickets $84-$150. Call 800.745.3000 or visit mgmnationalharbor.com.

National Theatre Live. Filmed performances from London. This week: director-adapter Yaël Farber’s “Salome” (July 7, 8 & 9); “Peter Pan” (July 8); Harold Pinter’s “No Man’s Land,” with Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart (July 9). At the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Harman Hall, 610 F St. NW. Tickets $20. Call 202-547-1122 or visit shakespearetheatre.org.

dc-theater-friday-capital-fringe-time photo 5 Ryan Asher in The Second City's “Almost Accurate Guide to America.” (Teresa Castracane)

“The Second City’s Almost Accurate Guide to America: Divided We Stand.” The Chicago-based comedy troupe returns with an update of last summer’s political satire. “A running joke is that North Korea’s missiles have launched and caught us off-guard; we have 15 minutes ’til doomsday. This cast seems to have an especially good time playing together, and they blend well embodying a bunch of stereotypes at a pre-protest meetup. ‘Okay, guys,’ someone says, only to be greeted by a protest: ‘Please don’t gender the group.’ This isn’t electric material; it’s genial. But the summery spirit is a balm.” (Nelson Pressley) Through Aug. 13 at the Kennedy Center Theater Lab. Tickets $49-$69. Call Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.

Sizzlin’ Summer Nights. Signature Theatre performers in the annual cabaret series, through July 22. This week: Erin Driscoll, Bayla Whitten and Rachel Zampelli with songs of motherhood and pregnancy in “Me and My Baby, My Baby and Me” (July 7); Will Gartshore’s “Cole, Noël and Steve” (that’s Porter, Coward and Sondheim, July 7 & 8); Roz White in “Resist: A Revolutionary Cabaret” (July 8); Delores King Williams’s “Mancini, Mercer and Manilow — Oh My!” (July 11); Kevin McAllister’s “Songs I Never Get to Sing,” from Joni Mitchell to Kanye West (July 12); and from UrbanArias, “Scenes, Not Screens” (July 13). At Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Tickets $35. Call 703-820-9771 or visit sigtheatre.org .

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