This is my favorite time of year, when artistic directors lay down those cards they’ve been holding so closely, and announce their upcoming seasons. With twenty companies already reporting at least a portion of their schedules, we can already predict that theatre in the Washington DC area is far from shrinking; it will easily surpass the 302 shows reported in our last Season at a Glance. Important to note that that number was only for professional companies with a season of two or more productions, and is exclusive of festivals.
Speaking of festivals, we’ll be adding a new one, a tribute to women playwrights, the Women’s Voices Theater Festival which begins September 19th in venues around our area.
So, what do we know so far about shows opening August 1, 2015 through July 31, 2016*? Thirty of the 138 shows will be musicals, including some for children. Some will be big shows done on relatively small stages, such as Brigadoon at Compass Rose, and the jazz musical City of Angels at NextStop Theatre.
Plenty of big musicals will grace the big stages. Broadway tours are heading for the Kennedy Center and elsewhere, of course. Signature continues its mission to break in new shows, and we’re intrigued by Olney’s new Afro-Cuban version of Carmen.
Five operas have been announced so far, all by Washington National Opera. While some, like Wagner’s Ring cycle, will start a stampede for WNO’s box office, I must commend their production of Kurt Weill/Maxwell Anderson’s Lost in the Stars, based on Alan Paton’s novel to all theatrelovers. We covered its debut at Glimmerglass Festival in 2012.
The Women’s Voices Theater Festival promises more than 50 productions. We include them in our Guide.
Of the 100+ plays announced so far, one held special significance to us at DCTS: Kathleen Akerley is sharing her Longacre Lea stage with Mirandoa Rose Hall, who wrote for us in the 2012 Capital Fringe writing crew. Other highlights: We’ll be treated to eight shows in Keegan’s first season in their newly renovated theatre. Arena Stage will bring in another play about a former Washington resident, Robert Schenkkan’s All the Way, about President Lyndon Baines Johnson, which managed to snatch up a bunch of notable awards on Broadway. We can already predict there will be plays of every degree on the silly to serious scale.
So time to start your dream calendar for 2015-2016. We suggest you bookmark this Season at a Glance page, as we’ll be updating it with each new season announcement.
*When does the season begin? The tradition had been that the Labor Day Page-to-Stage New Play Festival at the Kennedy Center marked the start of the season. A few years ago, we set the start at August 1st, as the DC area became a year round theatre town.