DC Theater Friday: Second City satire and Olney’s ‘My Fair Lady’

Friday, 30 June 2017, 04:45:03 AM. The Sizzlin’ Summer Nights cabaret series returns to Signature Theatre.

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Benjamin Lurye (Freddy Eynsford-Hill) and Brittany Campbell (Eliza Doolittle) in “My Fair Lady.” (Stan Barouh)

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

New shows are scant this holiday week, but stepping into the breach: a flurry of filmed performances from London on the big screen at the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Harman Hall, and Signature Theatre’s annual Sizzlin’ Summer Nights. See the ETC. category.

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“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 .

“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 .

“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 .

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‘The School for Lies,” at the Shakespeare Theatre Company. (Scott Suchman)

“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 .

“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.

“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.

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Euan Morton in "Hedwig and The Angry Inch." (Joan Marcus)

“Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” The national tour of the 2014 Broadway revival of the 1998 rock cult classic (also a nifty 2001 movie, aptly labeled “a glam headbanging transsexual German American rock opera” by Stephen Hunter). “Euan Morton is every inch a Hedwig. The band has a gritty edge, and Morton’s a flat-out great singer. He struts through the defiant opener, ‘Tear Me Down,’ snarls and growls through the punk ‘Angry Inch,’ and hauntingly croons the melancholy ‘Wicked Little Town.’ The range is impressively masculine-feminine, and the assured style is pure pop.” (Nelson Pressley) Through July 2 at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater. Tickets $59-$159. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.

“How I Learned What I Learned.” “This 80-minute show, acted with Wilsonian authority by Eugene Lee, will please August Wilson fans detecting in these character-rich stories the roots of his great plays. The stories portray the artist as a combative young man — for instance, Wilson gets a job and quits before he even starts, because the boss insultingly says he’d better not steal anything. The young man’s salty goodbye is delicious.” (Nelson Pressley) Through July 3 at Round House Theatre, 4545 East-West Hwy., Bethesda. Tickets $36-$65. Call 240-644-1100 or visit roundhousetheatre.org.

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Eugene Lee as August Wilson in “How I Learned What I Learned.” (Grace Toulotte)

“The Little Mermaid.” The Disney musical, from Pittsburgh CLO and Kansas City Starlight, with Diana Huey (of Signature Theatre’s “Miss Saigon” several seasons ago) in the title role. Through July 2 at Wolf Trap’s Filene Center, 1551 Trap Rd., Vienna. Tickets $25-$85. Call 703-255-1900 or visit wolftrap.org.

“The Return.” “The two-character drama is by Palestinian American actor-writer Hanna Eady and U.S. writer Edward Mast, and the taut 75-minute performance slowly teases out the fraught relationship between an Israeli woman and an Arab Palestinian auto mechanic in Israel. She thinks they have a shared history; he politely insists she’s mistaken. John Vreeke’s production captures how cautiously, even fearfully they speak together. Sentences are gingerly stated, as if any given word might land on a mine.” (Nelson Pressley) Part of Mosaic Theater’s Voices From a Changing Middle East Festival. Through July 2 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets $15-$60. Call 202-399-7993 or visit mosaictheater.org .

“The Secret History of the Unknown World.” “Flying V’s high-spirited production exploits fighting for its sheer entertainment value. The third in a series of combat-focused shows, ‘The Secret History’ fires off vignettes inspired by genre fiction from the late 1800s (think Sherlock Holmes) to modern times (think ‘Twilight’). Directed by Jason Schlafstein and Jonathan Ezra Rubin, this slightly overlong production displays a delightfully goofy sense of humor.” (Celia Wren) Through July 2 at the Writer’s Center, 4508 Walsh St., Bethesda. Tickets: $20-$40. Visit flyingvtheatre.com.

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Annie Houston, Justin Weaks, Jared Shamberger, Theresa Spencer and Ben Gunderson in "Still Life with Rocket.” (C. Stanley)

“Still Life With Rocket.” “Conceived and directed by Mollye Maxner (of Theater Alliance’s 2015 ‘Occupied Territories’), the play conjures an uneasy meeting of the adult children of Etta Fisk (Annie Houston), a former boxer now in the grips of dementia. Profiting from the full layout of the Anacostia Playhouse, including its hallways and loading dock, ‘Still Life’ uses immersive installations to plunge audiences into its fictional world. But it also gets terrific mileage from its cast.” (Celia Wren) Through July 2 at Anacostia Playhouse, 2020 Shannon Pl. SE. Tickets $30-$40. Call 202-290-2328 or visit theateralliance.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.


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.

National Theatre Live. Filmed performances from London. This week: Ruth Wilson in Ivo van Hove’s staging of “Hedda Gabler,” adapted by Patrick Marber (July 1); the National Theatre-Bristol Old Vic “Peter Pan” (July 1); the National’s productions of “Amadeus” and of Terence Rattigan’s “The Deep Blue Sea” (both July 2); George Bernard Shaw’s “St. Joan” (July 5); and Imelda Staunton and Conleth Hill in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” (July 6). At the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Harman Hall, 610 F St. NW. Tickets $20. Call 202-547-1122 or visit shakespearetheatre.org.

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Chucho Perez, Ross Taylor, Tyler Davis, Angela Alise 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 (July 5), plus Driscoll, Bayla Whitten and Rachel Zampelli with songs of motherhood and pregnancy in “Me and My Baby, My Baby and Me” (July 6 and 7). At Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Tickets $35. Call 703-820-9771 or visit sigtheatre.org .

Source Festival. “Dependable attractions are much in evidence. The lineup includes a new production of Topher Payne’s ‘Perfect Arrangement’; set in a Georgetown duplex in 1950, it tells of two gay couples who have worked out marriages of convenience with each other to pass as straight. Of the two 10-minute play showcases, one revives some of the best short scripts from the past decade. The other showcase: an enjoyable group of six playlets with the umbrella title ‘Covert Catalyst.’” (Celia Wren) Through July 2 at Source, 1835 14th St. NW. Tickets $12-$20. Call 202-204-7800 or visit sourcefestival.org .

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