A roundup of some of this week’s theatrical news and notes from Solas Nua, Mosaic Theater, City Kids Theatre, Arena Stage, Constellation Theatre Company, and noted critic John Lahr.
At the opening of Kathleen Akerley’s Night Falls on the Blue Planet, directed by Rex Daugherty, we had the chance to congratulate the actor/director on his appointment as Theatre Artistic Director of Solas Nua.
Daugherty’s work with Solas Nua includes an Off-Broadway run at 59E59 Theatres of Enda Walsh’s play Disco Pigs, praised by N.Y. Times critic Charles Isherwood as “exciting” and “talented” with “Mr. Daugherty in particular finding all sorts of robust comedy…”
During the past two seasons, Daugherty has produced play-development workshops and a play- reading series for Solas Nua, most recently partnering with Fishamble: The New Play Company of Dublin, Ireland, to introduce emerging Irish playwrights to Washington audiences. Daugherty told DCTS he will be headed back to Ireland in preparing for the 2016 season, which will include a full theater production, development workshops of new plays and a play reading series. Much of the work this year will focus on the centennial of the 1916 Easter Uprising.
Solas Nua, meaning new light in Irish, was founded in 2005. Solas Nua presents theater, music, visual arts, film, and literary events, including the Capital Irish Film Festival and Irish Book Day. The company has received the Mayor’s Arts Award for Innovation in the Arts.
On the occasion of the publication of his second book in the past year, noted writer/theatre critic John Lahr will make two appearances in Washington:
Both appearances are free.
Last week, Mr. Lahr sat down with DCTS critic Jonathan Mandell in New York. We will be bringing you that discussion on this site on September 21st.
For 20 years, Mr. Lahr was the senior drama critic for The New Yorker. According to British director Richard Eyre, “John Lahr writes better about the theatre than anybody in the English language.” Playwright Tony Kushner agrees: “There’s never been an American critic like John Lahr. His writing exalts, honors, and dignifies the profession and, more importantly, the art.” Best known to many as the son of Bert Lahr, of whom he wrote in “Notes on a Cowardly Lion,” his touching memoir about what it was like to grow up in a show-business family.
In addition to theatre criticism, Mr. Lahr has written memorable profiles of stars such as Judi Dench, Mike Nichols, Harold Pinter, and Frank Sinatra. Many of these profiles have been published in enthusiastically welcomed collections, and Mr. Lahr will be introducing his latest volume in that distinguished series, “Joy Ride: Show People and Their Shows.” He’ll also be discussing the paperback edition of “Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh,” his long-awaited 2014 biography of Tennessee Williams, which won the National Critics Circle Award and several other prizes. Helen Mirren describes it as “a masterpiece about a genius,” and J. D. McClatchy says that it is “by far the best book ever written about America’s greatest playwright.” Copies of both “Mad Pilgrimage” and “Joy Ride” will be available for purchase at the events. Joining Mr. Lahr on September 23rd in what promises to be a wide-ranging dialogue will be a former editor of Shakespeare Quarterly who spent ten years on Capitol Hill as Director of Academic Programs at the Folger Shakespeare Library.
Mosaic Theater invites you to join them at the H Street Festival, Saturday, September 19th from noon to 7pm.
Mosaic staff and board members will be on hand to celebrate the life and vibrancy of the H Street Corridor. And don’t miss Mosaic artists Bill Grimmette and Baakari Wilder performing an original story with percussive tap at 5:40 pm on the Marquee Stage.
City Kids Theater brings professional theater for young audiences, and theater and arts classes for youngsters to historic Georgetown. The Story Thief and the Prince of Dreams is an exciting world premiere play written by Sean Fri, co-author of last season’s success The Princess and the Pea, and directed by Angela K. Pirko.
The Story Thief and the Prince of Dreams, best for ages 4+, runs Saturday, September 19 & 26 at 11:00am & 1:30pm and Sunday, September 20 & 27 at 1:00pm & 3:30pm at City Kids Theater’s Georgetown Lutheran Church location. Tickets are $15 per person and can be purchased online at www.citykidstheater.org, or on the day of the show at the City Kids Theater box office at Georgetown Lutheran Church.
Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater announces the cast of their reimagined version of the musical Oliver (Oct 30 – Jan 3):
Jeff McCarthy (The Pirate Queen, Urinetown, Side Show, seen previously in Arena’s You, Nero) as Fagin, Kyle Coffman (The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Newsies, West Side Story) as Artful Dodger, Ian Lassiter (War Horse) as Bill Sykes and Paul Vogt (Hairspray, Chicago, three seasons on MADtv) as Mr. Bumble, and Eleasha Gamble (Arena Stage’s Oklahoma!) as Nancy.
Ian Anthony Coleman as Long Song Seller, Catherine Flye as Rose Seller/Old Sally, Rayanne Gonzales as Widow Corney/Strawberry Seller, Jesse Palmer as Bet, Dorea Schmidt as Mrs. Sowerberry/Mrs. Bedwin, Kyle Schliefer as Noah Claypole, Thomas Adrian Simpson as Mr. Brownlow, Stephen Gregory Smith as Dr. Grimwig, Tom Story as Mr. Sowerberry, Lara Zinn as Charlotte and swings Jane Bunting and Jimmy Mavrikes, Lauren Gemelli as Milk Maid/Old Lady, Chaz Jackson as Charley Bates and Kyle Vaughn as Knife Grinder. Local youth Mohammed Badawi, Arena Stage camper Sebastian Gervase, Henry Niepoetter and Ethan Van Slyke round out the company as workhouse boys and members of Fagin’s gang.
And playing Oliver: 9-year-old Jake Miller and 10-year-old Aidan Pritchard will rotate in the role.
Constellation Theatre Company announces the cast of Mary Zimmerman’s epic Journey to the West (April 21 – May 22):
Natalie Briggs Cutcher, Michael Kevin Darnall, Cori Dioquino, Marquis D. Gibson, Ashley Ivey, Megan Dominy,
David Mavricos, Rafael Sebastian Medina, Justine “Icy” Moral, Lillian Oben, Matthew Pauli, Dallas Tolentino,
Ryan Tumulty and Jacob Yeh.