Update: GALA Hispanic Theatre
Any planning for live theatre, in this time of pandemic, calls for faith and flexibility. And a search for answers to the unknowable. What will audiences want to see? When can rehearsals start safely? Are we looking at darkened theatres for the next 3 months? or 8 months? If they open, will they have to close mid-run as in March of this year?
Our companies have turned filmmakers, and web series producers. They’ve held virtual discussions and parties. But the time is coming when attention will return to live performances with audiences. Here’s what the companies have announced so far.
Anyone who saw Elaine May on Broadway, or Lee McKenna in Didactic Theatre’s production here in 2007, knows how Kenneth Lonnergan’s The Waverly Gallery can both open your heart and break it in the same night. 1st Stage starts its next season with it, presumably in February, then moves on to Douglas Carter Beene’s The Nance, Lynn Nottage’s Mlima’s Tale, before ending with The Logan Festival of Solo Performance in July. Subscriptions.
American Shakespeare Center
Nestled in the town of Staunton, VA which is managing to keep its covid rate low, is producing both in person and virtual performances. It’s acclaimed rep of Twelfth Night and Othello continues through Oct 18. A Christmas Carol (in person only) starts December 2nd. Tickets.
In addition to just releasing its third docu-drama style film, The 51st State, Arena Stage announced plans to produce five plays starting this winter: Celia and Fidel by Eduardo Machado, Lydia R. Diamond’s Toni Stone, August Wilson’s Seven Guitars, the play with music already getting lots of buzz, American Prophet: Frederick Douglass In His Own Words, and the musical, aptly titled in these times, Life After. Details.
Baltimore Center Stage
The company is planning to start its in person season in January with a comedy (always a good idea, IMHO), The Swindlers, a True-ish Tall Tale, followed by three plays sure to resonate deeply for 20201 audiences, Miranda Rose Hall’s A Play for the Living in a Time of Extinction, Our Town by Thornton Wilder, and The Garden by Charlayne Woodard. Details.
Best Medicine Rep
John Morogiello’s Gaithersburg company is dedicated to getting laughs. Morogiello starts the season digitally with two of his own comedies, both solo shows, Stories I May Not Tell and a star vehicle for Kira Burri of the 1920’s set Roaring. The digital holiday show is An Independent Clause, as in Mrs. Clause. Best Medicine hopes to be back in its Gaithersburg Mall location for Prepping for Widowhood and the searching-for-love bad date comedy The Fifth Date. Details.
Contemporary American Theater Festival
Many area theatregoers missed their yearly trek to Shepherdstown, WV this past July. CATF staff plans to be on hand to greet everyone July, 2021 with six plays: Whitelisted by Chisa Hutchinson, The Fifth Domain by Victor Lesniewski, Babel by Jacqueline Goldfinger, Ushuaia Bue by Caridad Svitch, The House of the Negro Insane by Terence Anthony. Details .
The company anticipates presenting in person performances of six plays. Three were previously scheduled: Felicia Curry will resume her solo performance of Queens Girl: Black in the Green Mountains, Cry It Out, a comedy of stressed-out motherhood, and Berta, Berta, a stand-out play from the 2018 Contemporary American Theater Festival. Dominique Morisseau’s Pipeline, Kate Hamill’s adaptation of Sense and Sensibility and Steel Magnolias will round out the year. Details.
Folger Theatre company is out of house this year while major renovations continue to the Folger Shakespeare Library. Find Folger at Theater J for Nathan the Wise in February, at Round House Theatre for a magician (Teller)-assisted The Tempest and on stage in the Folger Shakespeare Playhouse at The Building Museum for A Midsummer Night’s Dream midsummer, 2021. Subscriptions.
A Christmas Carol, long a holiday tradition at Ford’s Theatre, will be presented this year as a radio drama with Craig Wallace returning in the role of Scrooge. Plays, all dramas, scheduled for 2021 are My Lord, What a Night by Deborah Brevoort; The Mountaintop by Katori Hall; and Necessary Sacrifices by Richard Hellesen. Guys and Dolls has been postponed. Details.
GALA Hispanic Theatre
This company becomes the first to open its stately domed theatre for in person performances. The company begins its 45th season with the comedy El Perro del Hortelano (The Dog in the Manger) by Lope de Vega. DCTS writer Rosalind Lacy wrote: “That weightless, out-of-body feeling of lovers transcending class differences is dizzying. The master story teller and poet makes a familiar story unique with a dagger-sharp twist of cynicism beneath his eloquent verse.” This winter, look for dance, and events for young audiences. Four productions this spring/summer include Agua por Cucharadas (Water by the Spoonful) by Quiara Alegría Hudes (In the Heights, book) and an original musical revue.
Olney Theatre Center
The Humans, Olney’s made-for-digital production shows how well suited Stephen Karam’s drama of a family on the brink, is for up close intimate viewing. More announcements to follow. Tickets.
Round House Theatre
The company has announced three virtual events for 2020, starting in October with American Dreams, which imagines a government-run game show where contestants compete for the ultimate prize: instant citizenship to the United States. Round House dedicates a month to exploring the works of playwright Adrienne Kennedy with The Work of Adrienne Kennedy: Inspiration & Influence. Writing for the Village Voice, Michael Feingold said, “with [Samuel] Beckett gone, Adrienne Kennedy is probably the boldest artist now writing for the theater.” Lauren Gunderson, one of the most frequently produced living American playwrights, has based this World Premiere play, The Catastrophist on the life and work of her husband, Nathan Wolfe, a virologist,whose warnings of a pandemic went ignored. “An interactive deep dive into the profundities of scientific exploration and the harrowing realities of facing your own mortality.” Subscriptions.
All we have to report at this time is that Signature Theatre plans to rock The Anthem with their performances of Mamma Mia! summer, 2021. Tickets.
Surely, there’s more coming.
This emoji-centered play (even the title eschews English for emojis) is best viewed with a laptop and cell phone handy. October 2020. Details.
The company opens this fall with Joy, an interactive, digital performance. Synetic, perhaps buoyed by their summer film series The Decameron, has started a film company, Motion Pictures. Three releases are promised throughout the season. Anticipating a return to in house performances this summer, Synetic will put their own twist to the commedia comedy The Servant of Two Masters. Details.
The Kennedy Center
For now, the Kennedy Center is streaming events – exception: their just announced concert with Renee Fleming and Vanessa Williams On Stage at the Opera House both streams and will admit 40 ticket holders into the Opera House. In person theatrical performances begin in January when Shear Madness reopens. In May, musical touring companies start loading in. Jesus Christ Superstar is first. Then Freestyle Love Supreme, Oklahoma!, Dear Evan Hansen, Disney’s Frozen, The Band’s Visit, and finally the hot hot Hadestown arrives in August and leaves in September. The schedule looks tight, but KC producers promise a slot for Hamilton when that tour’s schedule permits. Details.
The company thinks they have just what we will need this January – “an edgy, new klezmer-inspired musical” Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story, opening in January. Nathan the Wise, co-produced with Folger Theatre, opens in February. In April, it’s The Red Beads, the second play to make it to full production from Theater J’s Yiddish Theatre Lab “explores the beauty – and the pain – of letting love triumph over logic.” Anna Deavere Smith’s Fires in the Mirror wraps the season in June. Details.
We Happy Few
The company is going all in for radio dramas this fall and winter, starting with Poe stories in October, then on to two mysteries in the fall: Loveday Brooke and Sherlock Holmes. In house performances, when that becomes possible, will be Homer’s Odyssey and, sensing we’ll be ready for some swashbuckling adventure by summer, The Count of Monte Cristo. Details.
Woolly Mammoth Theatre
Woolly starts the season digitally with a call-in – as in over the phone – production of Telephonic Literary Union’s Human Resources, a compendium of mini-plays. Woolly may be starting small, but their season surely won’t end that way. The steady stream of shows starts with solo shows Hi, Are You Single? and Black Is Beautiful, But Is It Pretty?, followed by a “concert cabaret requiem” Animal Wisdom, Mike Lew’s Teenage Dick, Madeline Sayet’s Where We Belong, and ending with Michael R. Jackson’s Pulitzer winning musical A Strange Loop. Details.