October Theater Roundup

Arthur Miller, Steven Berkoff, rival Othellos, and a reunion of Clybourne Park actors in Washington this month

By: Sophie Gilbert

The Tony Award-winning musical Les Misérables is coming to the Kennedy Center. Photograph by Deen van Meer

Here, a little later than usual (thanks a lot, flu virus) is your October theater roundup, with details on what not to miss over the next few weeks. For a further ahead look at what’s coming this fall, check out our October issue, currently on newsstands.

NEW AND NOTEWORTHY
Continuing this month at the Kennedy Center is Cameron Mackintosh’s 25th anniversary production of Les Miserables. The new staging, which incorporates drawings by Victor Hugo into the set design, runs through October 30, and includes such classics as “I Dreamed a Dream,” better known these days as the song that catapulted Susan Boyle to stardom. Tickets ($39 to $135) available at the Kennedy Center’s Web site.

Also playing through October 30 is Parade, the collaborative musical between Ford’s Theatre and Theater J which stars Euan Morton as Leo Frank, a Jewish factory owner accused of murder in 1913 Atlanta. Read our review here, or check out our Q&A with Morton about the show here. Tickets ($28 to $60) available at Ford’s Theatre’s Web site.

Catch Studio Theatre’s acclaimed world premiere production of Lungs through October 15 in the venue’s new Studio Lab. Written by British playwright Duncan Macmillan and directed by Aaron Posner, the play deals with a couple agonizing over whether or not to have children. Tickets ($20) available at Studio Theatre’s Web site.

Through October 23, Olney Theatre Center presents Witness for the Prosecution, Agatha Christie’s 1953 play set in London’s Old Bailey courthouse. The thriller deals with a man on trial for murder whose case is complicated when his wife agrees to testify against him. Tickets ($26 to $54) available at Olney’s Web site.

Opening Friday at Arena Stage is resident playwright Karen Zacarias’s The Book Club Play, directed by Arena’s Molly Smith. The play details the life of Ana, a woman with a seemingly perfect life who is suddenly forced to reevaluate when circumstances change. Tickets ($40 and up) available at Arena Stage’s Web site.

October 10 through November 6, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company stages the local premiere of A Bright New Boise, a quirky comedy by Samuel D. Hunter about an evangelical believer who gets a job in an Idaho craft store to reconnect with the son he put up for adoption years earlier. The play debuted off-Broadway last year, where it was called a “superb little heartland heartbreaker” by New York magazine. Tickets ($35 to $68) available at Woolly Mammoth’s Web site.

Emily Ackerman and K.J. Sanchez interviewed approximately 100 servicemembers while writing ReEntry, at Round House Theatre October 18 through 30. The play, described as “provocative and powerfully resonant” by the New York Times, explores soldiers’ adjustment to civilian life after serving overseas. Sanchez also directs. Tickets ($25 to $60; $10 for the military) available at Round House’s Web site.

Shakespeare fans can compare two very different interpretations of Othello this month. October 18 through November 27 at the Folger Theatre, Owiso Odera makes his Washington debut as the moor, with Ian Merrill Peakes as Iago. Tickets ($30 to $65) available at the Folger’s Web site. And over the river in Arlington, Synetic Theater revives its wordless production of the same tragedy, October 19 through November 6. The Paata Tsikurishvili-directed play won three Helen Hayes Awards earlier this year. Tickets ($45 to $55) available at Synetic’s Web site.

The Keegan Theatre's been touring Ireland with its production of Arthur Miller’s drama, The Crucible, and this month the company brings it home to Washington. The McCarthyism allegory about witchcraft hysteria in 17th century Salem is at DC’s Church Street Theater October 22 through November 19. Tickets ($30 to $35) available at the Keegan’s Web site.

October 26 through November 27, Mitchell Hébert and Jennifer Mendenhall—who appeared in Woolly Mammoth’s sellout production of Clybourne Park—join an impressive cast at Theater J for another Arthur Miller drama: After the Fall. The plot, inspired by Miller’s marriage to Marilyn Monroe, looks into the mind of a New York intellectual, and his struggles with woman and politics. Tickets ($35 to $60) available at Theater J’s Web site.

LAST CHANCE TO SEE
Closing on Sunday are three unique productions: Sweet Tea at Signature (read our review here), Fela!, about the life of Nigerian musician and activist Fela Kuti, at Shakespeare Theatre (read our review here), and Fahrenheit 451 at Round House Theatre, which adapts the Ray Bradbury dystopian novel of the same name (read our review here).

The Habit of Art,
Alan Bennett’s newest play, closes at Studio Theatre October 23 (our review is here). And Arena Stage's production of Trouble in Mind, starring the stellar E. Faye Butler, closes the same day (read our review here). 

The Heir Apparent, directed by Michael Kahn and adapted by David Ives, also closes at Shakespeare Theatre October 23 (read our review here).

FOR KIDS
Younger audiences will appreciate Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, which runs at Adventure Theatre through October 31; Aladdin’s Luck, which continues at Imagination Stage through October 31; and the Kids Euro Festival, which kicks off October 14 and runs through November 10, featuring hundreds of performances across town. For more details, click on the links.


NOT TO FORGET
It’s a busy month, but keep an eye out for some of these exciting shows.

Eugene O’Neill’s A Moon for the Misbegotten runs at the Heritage O’Neill Theatre Company through October 22.

Canadian theatre company Lemieux Pilon 4D presents Norman, a multimedia tribute to filmmaker Norman McClaren, at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater, October 6 through 8.

Columbia’s Rep Stage presents a tribute to ’40s legend John Barrymore with Barrymore, running October 6 through 24.

DC's Rorschach Theatre stages After the Quake, a play adapted from the surreal short stories of Haruki Murakami, October 10 through November 6 at the Atlas Arts Center.

George Mason University’s professional theater company, Theater for the First Amendment, stages Can’t Scare Me, the Story of Mother Jones, a one-woman play by Kaiulani Lee, October 14 through 30 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center.

Scena Theatre presents Steven Berkoff’s Greek, October 20 through November 27 at the H Street Playhouse.

Constellation Theatre presents George Bernard Shaw’s Arms and the Man at Source, October 20 through November 20.

Tony-nominated actor Euan Morton (see the listing above for Parade) also performs in Barbara Cook’s Spotlight series at the Kennedy Center October 28.

And Signature has a two-night production of Saturday Night, one of Stephen Sondheim’s earliest musicals, October 29 and 30.