Editor’s Pick: Theater Openings and Closings in September

Plays by Amy Herzog, Lisa D’Amour, and Jim Lehrer open this month, along with an ode to Harry Potter and the return of “Million Dollar Quartet.”

By: Sophie Gilbert


Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Michael Kahn directs Torch Song Trilogy, Harvey Fierstein’s three short plays about a Jewish drag queen in New York City. The show won the 1983 Tony Award for best play. September 4 through October 13 at Studio Theatre.

New York’s Bedlam Theater stages Hamlet and George Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan in repertory at Olney Theatre Center, cross-referencing Shakespeare’s tragedy with Shaw’s account of Joan of Arc’s life. September 4 through October 20.

In Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience, J.K. Rowling’s seven books about a plucky young wizard get condensed by actors Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner into just over an hour of family-friendly songs, sketches, and an onstage Quidditch match. The comedic show received an Olivier nomination in Britain last year. September 5 through 15 at Sidney Harman Hall.

Forum Theatre artistic director Michael Dove directs the local premiere of Agnes Under the Big Top, Aditi Brennan Kapil’s play exploring the immigrant experience. The New York Times wrote: “This lovely, brooding new play bodes well for the future of the theater.” September 5 through 28.

Estelle Parsons and Stephen Spinella star in The Velocity of Autumn, Eric Coble’s new play about an elderly woman who is intent on going out with a bang and the son who tries to intervene, at Arena Stage. Molly Smith directs the show in advance of its Broadway engagement. Read our interview with Parsons here. September 6 through October 20. 

Amy Herzog’s After the Revolution was praised as a “smart, engrossing play” by the New York Times when it opened in 2010. The local premiere, at Theater J, stars Nancy Robinette as the matriarch of a politically active family mired in conflict. September 7 through October 6.

Lisa D’Amour’s Detroit, a Pulitzer finalist in 2011, comes to Woolly Mammoth following a hit off-Broadway run. The play features two couples in an unspecified US city who collide in a way that shakes their foundations. September 9 through October 6.

National Geographic Live hosts a short run of Bell, a new play written by PBS’s Jim Lehrer about Alexander Graham Bell. It stars Rick Foucheux as the pioneering inventor. September 12 through 21.

American Century Theater presents Come Blow Your Horn, Neil Simon’s first play, about a sheltered 21-year-old who goes to stay with his brother in New York City in the swinging ’60s. September 12 through October 12.

Jonathan Munby directs Measure for Measure, Shakespeare’s drama about a nun torn between giving up her chastity and saving her brother’s life. September 12 through October 27 at Shakespeare Theatre Company.

Tony winner and Cosby Show mom Phylicia Rashad directs a staged reading of Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963, a play by Christina Ham about the bombing at the Alabama city’s 16th Street Baptist Church. The free performance at the Kennedy Center Family Theater is presented with DC’s Duke Ellington School of the Arts and the local African Continuum Theatre Company. September 15.

Million Dollar Quartet , the musical based on a real-life recording session featuring Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins, returns to the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater following its recent holiday run, which a Washingtonian reviewer called “vibrantly animated.” September 24 through October 6.

Moisés Kaufman and the Tectonic Theater Project present The Laramie Project, 15 years after a young gay man, Matthew Shepard, was murdered. The documentary-theater production—comprising actual reactions to Shepard’s death in the small community of Laramie, Wyoming—has been performed more than 2,000 times since its debut in 2000. September 27 through October 27 at Ford’s Theatre.


Keegan Theatre’s A Few Good Men closes September 7.

Theater Alliance’s Broke-ology closes September 8.

Rorschach Theatre’s Neverwhere closes September 15.

Round House Theatre’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane closes September 15. Read our review.

Signature Theatre’s Miss Saigon closes September 29. Stay tuned for our review, coming soon.