August Theater Guide

See Kathleen Turner as Molly Ivins, Benedict Cumberbatch as Frankenstein, and Cirque du Soleil’s take on evolution this month.

By: Sophie Gilbert


Someone should invent a word for NT Live’s fusion of theater and cinema. Ceater? Thinema? Either way, the program stages two screened performances of Frankenstein at London’s National Theatre at Sidney Harman Hall. Directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire, the brilliantly bonkers Olympic opening ceremonies), the show stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller in alternating roles as the doctor and his undead monster. August 7 and 12.

The original Broadway production of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (which ran for nearly 1,600 performances) and the 1982 film starring Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds are hard acts to follow, but Eric Schaeffer is game. Signature Theatre’s artistic director helms the musical about a group of cheerful prostitutes threatened by a conservative reporter. August 14 through October 7.

Kathleen Turner stars in Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins, at Arena Stage from August 23 through October 28. The one-woman show is written by Bethesda journalist Margaret Engel and her twin sister, Allison Engel.

August 23 through September 5, Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Free for All returns with All’s Well That Ends Well, first staged by Michael Kahn in 2010. The show tells the story of a poor orphan who tricks a wealthy count into marrying her. Two free tickets per person are available in a daily online lottery (for performances the next day) and in person two hours before showtime (it’s recommended you get there early).

Theater J kicks off its new season with Body Awareness, a comedy by Annie Baker (whose Circle Mirror Transformation was a hit at Signature Theatre). Eleanor Holdridge directs the gently satirical story of a college in Vermont disrupted by a visiting photographer who likes to take pictures of nude women. August 25 through September 23.


Olney Theatre stages Little Shop of Horrors, a musical about a carnivorous plant from outer space featuring songs by Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin) and lyricist Howard Ashman. August 1 through 26.

Keegan Theatre tackles Tracy Lett’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, August: Osage County, about an Oklahoma family forced to interact when its pill-popping matriarch is diagnosed with cancer. August 3 through 26.

Continuing at Gunston Arts Center through August 25 is American Century Theater’s production of Marathon ’33. The experimental play by the real-life Baby June—immortalized in the Sondheim musical Gypsy—explores playwright June Havoc’s experiences as a dancer during the Great Depression.

For one night only at the Folger, Taffety Punk puts on a free production of Hamlet: The Bad-Ass Quarto, using the play’s little-known first edition rather than the more familiar version. August 6.

Rorschach Theatre stages A Maze by Rob Handel at Atlas Performing Arts Center. The show has three threads featuring a graphic novelist, a drug-addicted musician, and a young girl. August 10 through September 9.

It isn’t strictly theater, but Cirque du Soleil pitches its tent at National Harbor for a six-week run of Totem, the company’s take on evolution in the natural world. August 15 through September 30.

August 27 through September 16, Theater Alliance presents Reals by Gwydion Suilebhan. The show at the H Street Playhouse explores the darkly comic world of real-life superheroes.

Rep Stage has a production of Jon Marans’s The Temperamentals, which looks at the love affair between two gay-rights activists in the early 1950s.


Mike Daisey’s controversy-fueled The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs closes August 5. Our review is here.

Also closing August 5 is Studio Theatre’s Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. Read our review here.

The Hub Theatre’s production of Big Love also closes August 5. Read our review here.