Theater Round-up: Great Summer Re-Mixes
Juke joints and cabaret. Kander and Ebb show tunes. Bachelorettes and Falstaff. Artful comedy and noir fatales. Think Tony Kushner and Kramer and a post-electric play. In other words, theater never takes a vacation.
Here are some random offerings of different kinds of theater, coming (or already there) to a venue near you.
COMEDY IN TWOS — At the Shakespeare Theatre Company, Falstaff will vie with a great big hit already in place — the company’s 25th ‘Anniversary season ending with “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” in which the overweight knight figures as a foil for scheming wives. Stephen Rayne directs. (June 12-15)
Already lined up for the company at the Lansburg is “The Servant of Two Masters,” proving that everything old is new again. This is a prime example of stylized, highly physical and funny commedia dell‘Arte, by Carlo Goldoni and adapted by Constance Congdon, is a big hit, and runs through July 8. NOIR IN THE THEATER—“Double Indemnity,” a classic novel by James Cain, turned into an even more classic black-and-white noir thriller (starring Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck), directed by Billy Wilder, hits the Round House Theater as play adapted for the stage by R. Hamilton Wright and David Bichette. Insurance agent Walter Huff runs into femme fatale Phyllis Nirlinger in 1930s Los Angeles and together they plot to kill her husband. Where is that insurance duck when you need him? May 30-June 24.
BACHELORETTES—David Muse, now in his second year as Studio Theater artistic director, takes the helm for “Bachelorette”. In this new play by Leslye Headland, three girlfriends ten years out of high school celebrate a classmate’s weddings. Probably not quite like the film, “Bridesmaids,” but more provoking. June 8-July 1.
MUSIC, MUSIC MUSIC AT THE KENNEDY CENTER—All kinds of popular music will hit the stage at the Kennedy Center. The first of the spotlight series of cabaret-style vocals initiated by Broadway legend Barbara Cook will conclude its season with Barbara Cook. For two nights only at the center’s Terrace Theater, June 15-16.
Speaking of Broadway legends, the music of two of the Great White Way’s most prolific creators of hit shows—composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb—gets a great treatment at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater with “First You Dream” directed by Eric Schaeffer of Signature Theater, where the show had its beginnings. Think “Zorba,” “Cabaret,” “Chicago,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “The Rink,” “Funny Lady” and “Woman of the Year”. June 8-July 1.
Next, there’s the Tony Award-winning “Memphis,” which takes you into the heart of the underground dance clubs of Memphis circa the 1950s. Gotta dance, gotta get bluesy, gotta sing, boogie, dance and more. June 12-July 1 at the Kennedy Center’s Opera House.
POST-ELECTRIC—What is post-electric? Well, it’s a world without electricity, the post-Armageddon of terrible times imagined by many and re-imaged by playwright Anne Washburn and directed by Steven Cosson at the Wooly Mammoth in “Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play.” There’s nothing: no radio, no TV, no Internet, no computers, no apps -- except to stay alive. For survivors, the best bet is to remember the glories of the past, like “The Simpsons” and Lady Ga Ga. So, they try to recreate the joys of the tech age without tech. Part of Woolly’s end-of-the-world-themed season, it’s really about the end of the world. They say it’s a brilliant work of cultural anthropology. We say it might be a lot of fun. Through July 1.
AIDS, LARRY KRAMER, THE NORMAL HEART—“The Normal Heart” is a revival of Larry Kramer’s classic about characters struggling to respond to the AIDS epidemic which ravaged New York’s gay community in the 1980s. The play is a landmark, and so was this recent revival which won a Tony Award in 2011. George Wolfe directs this first professional production of the revival in Washington. June 6-July 29.