December Theater Preview

Chicago’s Second City, “Billy Elliot,” TV’s Holland Taylor, and Broadway’s Ellen Greene come to Washington this month.

By: Sophie Gilbert

Leah Hocking (Mrs. Wilkinson) and the company of Billy Elliot the Musical. Photograph by Kyle Froman.

DON’T MISS:

Former Daily Show correspondent Lauren Weedman comes to Studio Theatre December 1 through 18 with Bust, her solo show about incarceration in the United States. Weedman based the comedic work on her experiences volunteering at a women’s prison in Los Angeles. (She’s also on movie screens next year in Judd Apatow’s Five Year Engagement.)

December 2 through 11 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, GALA Hispanic Theatre’s Abel López directs an In Series cabaret show dedicated to the songs of Irving Berlin and Harold Arlen. Angelisa Gillyard choreographs singers and dancers in songs such as “White Christmas,” “Stormy Weather,” and “Come Rain or Come Shine.”

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company continues this season’s end-of-the-world theme with Spoiler Alert: Everybody Dies, a comedy show from Chicago’s legendary Second City troupe. Billed as a “gleeful antiholiday celebration of doom,” it also features Woolly company members Jessica Frances Dukes and Aaron Bliden. December 6 through January 8.

Billy Elliot the Musical comes to the Kennedy Center December 13 through January 15. An adaptation of the 2000 film about a working-class English boy who discovers a talent for ballet features music by Elton John and book and lyrics by Lee Hall (who also wrote the original movie screenplay). The Tony-winning Broadway production is closing in early January after more than three years.

Ellen Greene—who originated the role of Audrey in the musical Little Shop of Horrors off-Broadway as well as in the 1986 film—joins the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC at Lisner Auditorium December 16 through 18 for the holiday production Red & Greene.

Holland Taylor (who plays the mother of Jon Cryer’s character on Two and a Half Men) makes her playwriting debut with ANN, a one-woman show about late Texas governor Ann Richards, at the Kennedy Center December 17 through January 15. Taylor also stars.

Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Sidney Harman Hall hosts two broadcasts from the National Theatre in London this month: Arnold Wesker’s The Kitchen (December 6), set in a 1950s London restaurant, and Collaborators (December 19) by Trainspotting and Shallow Grave screenwriter John Hodge, about an imagined encounter between Joseph Stalin and playwright Mikhail Bulgakov.

The Kinsey Sicks, a drag “beautyshop quartet,” return to Theater J with Oy Vey in a Manger, their adult-themed holiday show, December 24 through 26. The cabaret, which received raves last year, features songs such as “Jingle Bells, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and “’Tis the Season to Drink Stoli.”


LAST CHANCE TO SEE/ONGOING:

British actor John Hurt, perhaps better known for his Oscar-nominated role in The Elephant Man (and his malevolent character in V for Vendetta) is at Shakespeare’s Lansburgh Theatre through December 4 in Krapp’s Last Tape by Samuel Beckett. The minimalist play, presented by Ireland’s Gate Theatre, depicts an old man confronting the end of his life amid evidence from his past.

Also closing December 4 is WSC Avant Bard’s The Mistorical Hystery of Henry (I)V, which riffs on two of Shakespeare’s great history plays. Read our review here.

And the Folger’s production of Othello also closes December 4. Read our review here.

Studio Theatre’s production of The Golden Dragon, Roland Schimmelpfennig’s dark, original look at the realities of immigrant life, closes December 11. Our review is here.

A Second Chance, Ted Shen’s two-person musical about finding love late in life, closes December 11 at Signature Theatre. Read our review here.

Quotidian Theatre Company’s production of Conor McPherson’s Shining City closes December 11.

Synetic Theater’s wordless production of Romeo and Juliet closes December 23. Our review is here.

Running through December 31 are Round House Theatre’s production of Pride and Prejudice, an adaptation of the novel by Jane Austen; Ford’s Theatre’s production of A Christmas Carol; and Metrostage’s annual revival of A Broadway Christmas Carol.

Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Cuban-inspired production of Much Ado About Nothing closes January 1.

Also closing January 1: Equivocation and You, Nero at Arena Stage. Our review of Equivocation is here.

And finally, the ever-popular Jersey Boys is at the National Theatre through January 7. Read our review of the show here.

 

ALSO NOTEWORTHY:

The Hub Theatre has the world premiere of a new one-man show based on a holiday classic. Wonderful Life runs December 2 through 27.

The Keegan Theatre’s An Irish Carol plays December 3 through 31, in another world premiere holiday show by Matthew Keenan.

Olney Theatre Center has The Sound of Music through January 8.

 

FOR KIDS:

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical returns to the Kennedy Center’s Family Theater through January 8 after a well-received premiere last year. Adapated by Mo Willems from his Caldecott-winning picture book about a stuffed animal’s first trip to the laundry, the show has music by Michael Silversher.

Adventure Theatre continues with its run of ’Twas the Night Before Christmas, the world premiere holiday play by Ken Ludwig, through January 2.

And Imagination Stage’s production of Dr. Doolittle runs through January 8.