The Best Theater to See in October

See the Broadway hit “War Horse,” a play inspired by James Beard, and POTUS-inspired standup on Washington stages this month.
See the world premiere of Jekyll and Hyde at Synetic Theatre, playing through October 21. Photograph by Johnny Shryock.
See the world premiere of Jekyll and Hyde at Synetic Theatre, playing through October 21. Photograph by Johnny Shryock.


Signature Theatre presents the local premiere of Christopher Shinn’s 2006 play,

Dying City
, about a man whose twin brother has died in Iraq and who shows up at the apartment
of his brother’s widow. The
New York Times called it “a quiet, transfixing tale of grief and violence.” October 2 through November

October 6 through November 18,
Scena Theatre presents an adaptation of Anthony Burgess’s

A Clockwork Orange
. The play was written by Burgess himself after the release of Stanley Kubrick’s movie,
and includes the book’s original ending.

Theater J stages
Our Class, Tadeusz Słobodzianek’s play about the relationship between Catholic and Jewish classmates
growing up in Poland. The drama, which spans 1926 to 2006, was described as “riveting”
by the
Guardian when it ran at London’s National Theatre in 2009. October 10 through November 4.

October 11 through November 5, Washington Improv Theater presents

POTUS Among Us
, an election-themed improv show at

Ireland’s Druid Theater Company returns to the
Kennedy Center following last year’s acclaimed
The Cripple of Inishmaan. This time it presents three works by contemporary playwright Tom Murphy—

Conversations on a Homecoming
October 17,

A Whistle in the Dark
October 18, and

October 19. They’re also performed consecutively on October 20.

James Still’s

I Love to Eat
has its area premiere at
Round House. The play focuses on the life of food writer/chef James Beard, played by Nick Olcott.

Opening October 17 at
Studio Theatre is

, a play by Bryony Lavery about five interconnected lives and the literal and metaphorical
significance of dirt in all their existences.

War Horse
, the Broadway and London hit about an English boy’s loyalty to his childhood companion—a
thoroughbred conscripted to serve in the cavalry during World War I—won five Tony
Awards and praise for the remarkably lifelike horses created by South Africa’s Handspring
Puppet Company. It arrives at the
Kennedy Center October 23 through November 11.

At the
Folger Theatre, Aaron Posner directs

The Conference of the Birds
, British director Peter Brook and Jean-Claude Carrière’s adaptation of a Persian
spiritual fable. It features original music by Helen Hayes Award winner Tom Teasley.
October 23 through November 25.

Opening October 25 at
Washington Stage Guild is George Bernard Shaw’s

. The show offers the chance to see the original play that inspired
My Fair Lady, coming to Arena Stage next month. Through November 18.

Happenstance Theater presents an all-new

Cabaret Macabre
at Round House Silver Spring, October 26 through November 11. The show—inspired by
Edward Gorey, melodrama, and “dangerous croquet”—stars Mark Jaster, Sabrina Mandell,
and Gwen Grastorf.


One Night With Janis Joplin
—written and directed by Randy Johnson with collaboration from Joplin’s siblings—celebrates
the ’60s blues rocker at
Arena Stage. Through November 4.

Forum presents the world premiere of Kara Lee Corthron’s

Holly Down in Heaven
. Corthron received the 2010 Paula Vogel Playwriting Award for “an emerging playwright
of exceptional promise.” Through October 20.

Ford’s Theatre, the local premiere of

, Trey Ellis and Ricardo Khan’s drama about four World
War II Tuskegee Airmen, mixes
theater, dance, and video and is directed by Khan. Read our

Through October 21.

The first of four world premieres at
Synetic Theater this season is

Jekyll and Hyde
, starring Alex Mills as the alter egos created by
Robert Louis Stevenson. The show,
like most Synetic productions, is wordless. Read our
review. Through

October 21.


Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris
runs through October 21. Helen Hayes Award winner Natascia Diaz stars.

Also running through October 21 is
Olney Theatre’s

Over the Tavern
, Tom Dudzick’s comedy about a rebellious 12-year-old.

The Government Inspector
, Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation of the Nikolai Gogol satire about a corrupt civil servant,
continues at
Shakespeare Theatre. Tony-nominated actor
Derek Smith stars. Read our

Through October 28.

Arena Stage’s

Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins
continues through October 28. Kathleen Turner stars.
Read our


Taffety Punk’s

The Rape of Lucrece
closes at
Capitol Hill Arts Workshop October 6.

Archibald MacLeish’s

, a theatrical adaptation of the story of Job that won the Pulitzer Prize, closes
American Century Theater October 6.

Constellation Theatre’s production of Alan Ayckbourn’s

Taking Steps
closes October 7.

Gala Hispanic Theatre’s

El desdén con el desdén
(In Spite of Love) also runs through October 7. The show is a romantic comedy set in Spain’s Golden

The National Theatre of Scotland’s production of

Black Watch
—a drama about a Scottish regiment deployed in Iraq—closes October 7 at
Shakespeare Theatre. Read our

Your last chance to see Signature Theatre’s

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
is also October 7. Read our

Studio Theatre’s

Invisible Man
, Oren Jacoby’s take on the Ralph Ellison novel about
African-American identity, closes
October 14. Read our

A Couple of Blaguards
closes at
Keegan Theatre October 14.


Imagination Stage’s production of

P.Nokio: A Hip-Hop Musical
closes October 14.

Through October 28,
Adventure Theatre has the world premiere of

Big, the Musical
, based on the 1987 Tom Hanks hit.

Puppet Co. presents

Beauty and the Beast
, October 12 through November 16.


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