Things to Do

May Theater Preview

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

Matt Dougherty, Sam O’Brien, Hyla Matthews, Maya Brettell, Chris Genebach, and Annie Houston in The Big Meal. Photograph by Carol Pratt.


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

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

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

, 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

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 Hébert 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

closes May 13. Read our review

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

Faction of Fools

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