Now that all the sugarplums, Santas, and Scrooges have been stored safely away for the next 11 months, January has a diverse range of theatrical offerings, from the final installment of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Brother/Sister trilogy to Mary Zimmerman’s adaptation of The Arabian Nights at Arena Stage.
Actor/playwright Anna Deavere Smith’s one-woman show, Let Me Down Easy, is at Arena Stage’s Kreeger Theatre through February 13. The latest “documentary theater” from Smith—who garnered two Tony Award nominations for her 1994 play, Twilight: Los Angeles—deals with the timely subjects of health and human resilience, and is adapted from more than 300 interviews Smith conducted with people such as cyclist Lance Armstrong. Visit arenastage.org for tickets ($40 and up), or call Arena Stage at 202-488-3300. Our recent Q&A with Smith about the show is here.
Studio Theatre stages Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Marcus; Or the Secret of Sweet through February 13. The last play in McCraney’s acclaimed Brother/Sister trilogy is set in the New Orleans projects and explores sexuality, family, and identity, viewed through the framework of Yoruba mythology. Visit studiotheatre.org for tickets ($35 to $50), or call Studio Theatre at 202-332-3300.
Washington Stage Guild’s season continues with G.K. Chesterton’s Magic, playing until January 30. The rarely produced play by the English writer and philosopher—known for his Father Brown mysteries—deals with faith, reason, and the supernatural. Visit stageguild.org for tickets ($40 to $50), or call the Washington Stage Guild at 240-582-0050.
Writer/director Mary Zimmerman brings her production of The Arabian Nights to Arena Stage January 14 through February 20. This tale of Scheherazade was called “a celebration of the salutary powers of storytelling” by the New York Times. Visit arenastage.org for tickets ($40 and up), or call Arena Stage at 202-488-3300.
American Century Theater, the Arlington company dedicated to staging neglected masterpieces, presents Eugene O’Neill’s On the Horizon from January 14 through February 12. The 1920 play about two brothers in love with the same woman won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Visit americancentury.org for tickets ($30 to $35), or call American Century Theater at 703-998-4555.
The Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv comes to Theater J January 15 through 30 with Return to Haifa, a play the London Independent called “electric.” A young couple who survived the Holocaust returns to meet the son they were forced to leave behind. Visit theaterj.org for tickets ($30 to $60), or call Theater J at 800-494-8497.
Cymbeline, Shakespeare’s romance based on the Celtic legend of King Cunobelinus, comes to Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Lansburgh Theatre January 18 through March 6; it’s directed by Helen Hayes Award winner Rebecca Bayla Taichman. Visit shakespearetheatre.org for tickets ($48 to $88), or call Shakespeare Theatre Company at 202-547-1122.
From January 19 through 30 at Arena Stage, the #NewPlay Festival features full-length productions and readings of six works from the National Endowment for the Arts’ New Play Development Program—from Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo by Rajiv Joseph to John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven, adapted by Octavio Solis. Visit arenastage.org for tickets ($20), or call Arena Stage at 202-488-3300.
Tynan comes to Studio Theatre January 19 through February 6. Based on the diaries of the acerbic critic Kenneth Tynan—one of the 20th century’s most influential theater figures—the one-man play by Richard Nelson stars Philip Goodwin. Visit studiotheatre.org for tickets ($50), or call Studio Theatre at 202-332-3300.
From January 21 through February 13, Ford’s Theatre is staging Horton Foote’s The Carpetbagger’s Children. The play, which follows three sisters trying to maintain their Texas plantation after the Civil War, has a fantastic cast, including Nancy Robinette, Kimberly Schraf, and Holly Twyford. Buy tickets at Ticketmaster ($25 to $55), or call Ford’s Theatre at 202-347-4833.
Folger Theatre presents the Bard’s A Comedy of Errors January 25 through March 6. The Aaron Posner–directed production deals with twins, a shipwreck, and mistaken identity. Visit folger.edu for tickets ($30 to $60), or call Folger Theatre at 202-544-7077.
From January 26 through February 6 at Harman Hall, the National Theatre of Scotland presents Black Watch, a drama based on interviews with soldiers who served in Iraq. The New York Observer called it “among the most compelling theater pieces you could ever wish to see.” Visit shakespearetheatre.org for tickets ($70 to $85), or call Shakespeare Theatre at 202-547-1122.
Alexandria’s MetroStage hosts a musical about the life of Broadway star Ethel Waters. His Eye Is on the Sparrow plays January 26 through March 20, and stars Helen Hayes Award-winner Bernadine Mitchell. Visit metrostage.org for tickets ($45 to $50), or call MetroStage at 800-494-8497.
The veteran radio-theater company L.A. Theatre Works comes to George Mason University’s Center for the Arts January 28 with a live production of The Real Dr. Strangelove. Peter Goodchild’s play looks at Edward Teller, the inventor of the first H-bomb, and his conflict with government-scientist-turned-pacifist Robert Oppenheimer. Visit cfa.gmu.edu for tickets ($18 to $36), or call the GMU Center for the Arts at 888-945-2468.