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January Theater Preview

“La Cage aux Folles,” “Red,” “Two Gentlemen of Verona,” and more open in Washington this month.

George Hamilton as Georges in La Cage aux Folles, at the Kennedy Center January 17. Photograph by Paul Kolnik.


Time Stands StillDonald Margulies’s drama about a journalist couple scarred by their experiences in Iraq, comes to Studio Theatre January 4 through February 12. A New York Times review of the Broadway production called it “Margulies’s finest play since the Pulitzer Prize–winning Dinner with Friends.” The production stars Holly Twyford, as well as Greg McFadden, Dan Illian, and Laura C. Harris, who are all making their Studio debuts.

January 4 through 29, Theater J presents the world premiere of The Religion Thing by Renee Calarco. The comedy, about a Washington couple whose relationship is disturbed when a friend discovers Jesus, is directed by the playwright’s brother, Joe Calarco.

The recent Broadway revival of La Cage aux Folles, Harvey Fierstein and Jerry Herman’s musical about Georges, the gay manager of a Saint Tropez nightclub, and his drag-performer partner, Albin, won three Tony Awards in 2010. It comes to the Kennedy Center January 17 through February 12, with the perma-tanned George Hamilton as Georges; Christopher Sieber, who took over from Kelsey Grammar as Georges on Broadway, switches to Albin for the tour.

Shakespeare Theatre Company stages The Two Gentlemen of Verona January 17 through March 4 at the Lansburgh Theatre. Directed by PJ Paparelli, the comedy is about friends who travel to Milan and fall in love with the same woman.

To coincide with that production, the company’s Sidney Harman Hall presents Two Gentlemen of Verona (A Rock Opera), the 1971 musical by John Guare, Mel Shapiro, and Galt MacDermot, January 27 through 29.

Necessary Sacrifices, commissioned by Ford’s Theatre, runs January 20 through February 12. Richard Hellesen’s drama portrays two meetings between Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass and their effect on Lincoln’s commitment to end slavery.

Arena Stage joins with Chicago’s Goodman Theatre to present Red, John Logan’s Tony-winning play about painter Mark Rothko. Edward Gero plays Rothko and Patrick Andrews his assistant; the director is another Tony winner, Robert Falls. January 20 through March 4.

Also arriving at Arena January 20 is Elephant Room, a theatrical event fusing theater, magic, and (from what we can glean from the Philly Fringe reviews) ’80s music, presented by Steve Cuiffo, Trey Lyford, and Geoff Sobelle.

The Keegan Theatre presents Neil Simon’s comedy Laughter on the 23rd Floor at the Church Street Theatre, January 21 through February 18. The comedy about the stars and writers at a weekly NBC comedy show starred Nathan Lane when it opened on Broadway in 1993; Lane also appeared in the 2001 TV adaptation with Victor Garber and Dan Castellaneta.

January 24 through March 4, the Folger Theatre stages The Gaming Table, an 18th-century comedy of manners by Susanna Centlivre. The play, about a wealthy woman who loves to gamble, was originally titled The Basset Table, and includes additional material by David Grimm.

January 26 through March 18, MetroStage presents Josephine Tonight!, a musical about singer/actress Josephine Baker. It’s directed and choreographed by Maurice Hines, who choreographed and starred in Arena Stage’s popular production of Sophisticated Ladies in 2010.

January 26 through 29, Fela! which kicked off its national tour at Sidney Harman Hall last year, returns to DC for a quick stint at the Warner Theatre. The vibrant musical is based on the life of Nigerian musician and activist Fela Kuti, and features choreography by Bill T. Jones.



Woolly Mammoth’s production of Second City’s Spoiler Alert: Everybody Dies closes January 8; our review is here.

Billy Elliot the Musical closes at the Kennedy Center January 15; read our review here.

AnnHolland Taylor’s one-woman play about former Texas governor Ann Richards, also closes January 15 at the Kennedy Center; our review is here.

Signature Theatre’s holiday production of Hairspray closes January 29; our review is here.



Washington Stage Guild presents Alex Webb’s Amelia January 5 through 29.

Scena Theatre stages Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler January 7 through 29.

Washington’s commedia dell’arte company, Faction of Fools, presents Romeo and Juliet January 12 through February 4.

American Century Theatre stages Jules Feiffer’s dark satire Little Murders January 13 through February 11.

And January 23 through February 19, Rorschach Theatre presents the world premiere of The Gallerist by Fengar Gael.



January 13 through February 19, the Puppet Co. has an adaptation of Peter and the Wolf, the Russian fairy tale.

Opening January 20 at Adventure Theatre is A Snowy Day, a world premiere adaptation of the classic by Ezra Jack Keats, staged to commemorate the book’s 50th anniversary.

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical closes January 8 at the Kennedy Center.

And Imagination Stage’s production of Dr. Doolittle also closes January 8.

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