May Theater Preview

Foul-mouthed bachelorettes, smooth-talking music men, and 5,000 gallons of water hit Washington stages this month.

By: Sophie Gilbert


At Studio Theatre, playwright Dan LeFranc's The Big Meal uses the family dinner as a prism through which to view one couple, from their early courtship through old age. Read our review here. Through May 20.

Two freed slaves and their former master's son unite for a seder in The Whipping Man, a post-Civil War drama by Matthew Lopez at Theater J. Time Out New York described it as "an old-fashioned exploration of race, faith, and brotherhood" when it debuted off-Broadway last year. Through May 20.

Constellation Theatre, performing at DC's Source, presents Metamorphoses, Mary Zimmerman's adaptation of myths by Ovid. The show imported roughly 5,000 gallons of water to create a pool for the actors to perform in, and features an original score composed by Helen Hayes Award-winning sound designer Tom Teasley. Through June 3.

The Folger's final production of the season, Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, stars real-life husband-and-wife Cody Nickell and Kate Eastwood Norris as the sparring couple Petruchio and Katherina. Through June 10.

Tony-nominated actress Kate Baldwin stars in Arena Stage's production of The Music Man, Meredith Willson's 1957 hit about a smooth-talking con man who comes to a small Iowa town. Baldwin plays Marian Paroo, a librarian who eventually succumbs to Harold Hill's charms. May 11 through July 22.

Signature Theatre associate artistic director Matthew Gardiner directs Xanadu, a musical based on the 1980 cult movie starring Olivia Newton-John. When the show opened on Broadway in 2007, the New York Times called it "simultaneously indefensible and irresistible." May 8 through July 1.

Shakespeare Theatre presents The Servant of Two Masters, Carlo Goldoni's 1743 commedia dell'arte work, about a servant trying to profit by holding down two jobs. The show runs May 15 through July 1 in the Lansburgh Theatre. May 20, catch a broadcast of the London production of One Man, Two Guvnors, a huge hit there and on Broadway, and inspired by the Goldoni play.

Also at Studio is Bachelorette, Leslye Headland's black comedy about a group of foul-mouthed, pill-popping young women on the eve of a friend's wedding. The play was made into a film starring Kirsten Dunst and Isla Fisher, to be released next month. May 23 through July 1.

Actor and recent Helen Hayes Award winner Mitchell H├ębert directs Tony Kushner's The Illusion at Forum Theatre. The show is "freely adapted" by Kushner from the 17th-century Pierre Corneille comedy L'Illusion Comique. May 24 through June 16.


Lonely Planet opens at Metrostage May 10.

WSC Avant Bard has two shows in repertory this month: The Bacchae (May 10 through July 1) and The Tooth of Crime (May 17 through July 1).

Heritage O'Neill Theatre Company presents Desire Under the Elms, May 17 through June 9.

Synetic Theater's Home of the Soldier runs May 23 through July 7.

American Ensemble Theatre presents David Mamet's Bobby Gould in Hell, May 24 through June 9.


The Keegan Theatre's Working closes May 13. Read our review here.

The 39 Steps also closes May 13 at Olney Theatre. Read our review here.

Faction of Fools' Hamlecchino closes May 19.

Scena Theatre's production of The Seafarer closes May 20.

Washington Stage Guild's production of Wives and Wits closes May 20. Read our review here.