Theater Shorts 1.11.12

‘Red,' a play about the life and trials of painter Mark Rothko, will be opening at Arena Stage on Jan. 20
‘Red,' a play about the life and trials of painter Mark Rothko, will be opening at Arena Stage on Jan. 20

More at Shakespeare Theatre Company

The Shakespeare Theatre Company continues its Bard’s Broadway series Jan. 27 – 29 at Sidney Harman Hall with a concert version of the Tony Award-winning musical ‘Two Gentlemen of Verona,’ subtitled a rock opera. Created by noted playwright John Guare, along with Galt MacDermot (of ‘Hair’ fame) and Mel Shapiro. Amanda Dehnert is directing with choreography by Terence Archie and a cast that includes Robin de Jesus, Javier Munoz, Danny Rutigliano and DC star Eleasha Gamble.

If that weren’t enough for a busy time, there’s the third installment of the STC’s and artistic director Michael Kahn’s Classic Conversations with noted theater and film actor James Earl Jones this Thursday at Sidney Harman Hall. Classic Conversations with Michael Kahn is a series of discussions with classically trained actors presented as part of the group’s 25th Anniversary Season and has already featured Patrick Stewart and Kevin Kline. Jones became a big star with his starring role in both the theatrical and film version of “The Great White Hope” and has been a powerful presence in the performing arts in America ever since.

For more information visit ShakespeareTheatre.org

‘Red’ and ‘Elephant Room’ at Arena Stage

One of the more anticipated productions in Washington theatre is the mounting of ‘Red,’ the Tony-Award winning play by John Logan, which focuses on the brilliant, troubled American artist Mark Rothko at the height of his career, engaged in executing a monumental commission of paintings for the Four Seasons restaurant in New York.

The play was a big hit on Broadway, and now features Ed Gero, a four-time Helen Hayes Award winner who keeps getting bigger and better with age, as Rothko, and Patrick Andrews as Ken, a fictional assistant of Rothko’s who challenges the great artist. It is a battle of wills—not just Rothko VS a changing art world, but also the famous bouts of Rothko VS Rothko.

The production, which opens Jan. 20 and runs through March 4 in Arena’s Kreeger Theater, is much anticipated and has already engendered a weeklong extension. It’s directed by Robert Falls, the artistic director of the famed Goodman Theater in Chicago.

Not so famous, and quite a change of pace is ‘Elephant Room,’ which features magicians and semi-pro conjurers Dennis Diamond, Daryl Hannah and Louie Magic. (A magician named Magic, which should bode well). It’s coming to Arena’s Kogod Cradle Theater Jan. 20 – Feb. 26.

Billed as an absurdist magic show, ‘Elephant Room’ comes from the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival. What’s it all about? The press description goes like this:

“Combine the glory of a Styx reunion tour with the transcendental power of a 200-year-old Zuni shaman and add a dash of trailer park ennui, and you come close to describing the mystical pull of ‘Elephant Room.’”

I can get down with that.

For more information visit ArenaStage.org

Holly Twyford and Donald Margulies’ ‘Time Stands Still’ at Studio

Holly Twyford, one of Washington’s most gifted actresses, stars as a globetrotting photojournalist who returns home from the wars in Iraq after being injured. At home the journalist, still missing the heat and thrill of covering a war, must choose between a real life and a professional one. Also featured are Laura C. Harris, Dan Illian and Greg McFadden. Susan Fenichell directs.

‘Time Stands Still’ is written by Donald Margulies and will run at the Studio Theatre.

For more information visit StudioTheatre.org

Scena, Carrie Waters, Brian Frield, Henrik Ibsen and Hedda Gabbler

That’s the mix as Scena Theatre Artistic Director Robert McNamara directs noted Irish Playwright Brian Friel’s translation of Ibsen’s ‘Hedda Gabbler,’ featuring one of the most challenging roles for an actress ever written. Carrie Waters, a long-time veteran of Washington, and a mightily underrated talent, is likely to handle the challenge with great power if her track record in such productions as ‘Happy Days’ and ‘The Persians’ are any indication.

Also starring are Eric Lucas (Waters’ husband), Rena Cherry Brown and Danielle Davy.

‘Hedda Gabler’ runs Jan. 12 – Jan. 29 at the H Street Playhouse at 1365 H Street, NE.

For more information visit HStreetPlayhouse.com

Lincoln and Douglass Meet at Ford’s Theatre

Continuing its successful exploration of theater about Abraham Lincoln, Ford’s Theatre will present ‘Necessary Sacrifices,’ by Richard Hellesen, about the two documented encounters between Lincoln and the great African American abolitionist Frederick Douglass in the middle years of the Civil War.

‘Necessary Sacrifices,’ in which Douglass challenges Lincoln’s views on slavery and African Americans, will once again feature David Selby as Lincoln, a role he performed with astonishing power in Ford’s production of ‘The Heavens Are Hung in Black,’ a play about Lincoln’s White House years. David Emerson Toney stars as Douglass and Jennifer Nelson directs.

‘Necessary Sacrifices’ coincides with Ford’s opening of its Center for Education and Leadership, which will explore the lasting effect Lincoln’s presidency has had on our country. The show will run Jan. 20 – Feb. 12.

For more information visit FordsTheatre.org

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