Things to Do

March Theater in Washington: Plays, Musicals, and Other Openings

A Pulitzer Prize winner at Studio, a world premiere at Arena Stage, two Shakespeare plays in repertory, and much more.

The musical comedy The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee comes to Ford’s Theatre this month. Photograph by Scott Suchman


March 4 through 9, Broadway and London smash Mamma Mia! returns to the National Theatre, incorporating the Swedish pop group Abba’s hits with a flimsy but warm-hearted story about a girl who doesn’t know who her father is.

March 5 through April 13, Studio Theatre stages Water by the Spoonful, Quiara Alegría Hudes’s 2012 Pulitzer Prize winner about an Iraq War veteran struggling with life back home in Philadelphia. “For a drama peopled by characters who have traveled a long way in the dark, Water by the Spoonful gives off a shimmering, sustaining warmth,” said the New York Times.

March 10 through 30, the Kennedy Center presents the theater festival World Stages, an impressive showcase of performances by theater companies from around the world. Among the events: Peter Brook’s Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord presents The Suit, Bristol Old Vic and Handspring Puppet Company (of War Horse fame) perform Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the National Theatre of China presents Green Snake.

March 12 through 30, Ambassador Theater takes up residence in the Mead Theater Lab at Flashpoint to stage Happily Ever After, a world premiere play by Cristina Colmena exploring the longevity of relationships.

March 13 at Strathmore, Olympia Dukakis performs in a “concert reading” of Rose, the play by Martin Sherman about a Holocaust survivor living in Florida. Dukakis originated the title role at the world premiere at London’s National Theatre in 1999 and has been performing it sporadically ever since.

March 13 through April 6, Arlington’s Synetic revisits Hamlet, the first play it staged in its Silent Shakespeare series. Paata Tsikurishvili directs; Irina Tsikurishvili choreographs and plays Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude.

March 14 through May 17, Ford’s Theatre stages The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Rebecca Feldman, Rachel Sheinkin, and William Finn’s musical comedy about a group of awkward tweens competing in a spelling bee was nominated for six Tony Awards in 2005 and won for Best Book of a Musical.

March 15 through April 12, Keegan Theatre presents Hair, the groovetastic 1967 musical about peace, free love, and counterculture.

March 18 through May 11, Signature Theatre presents the local premiere of Tender Napalm, Philip Ridley’s dramatic pas de deux about a man and woman revising their feelings for each other. London’s Guardian called the play “a frighteningly clear-eyed, viciously funny, and deeply sensual examination of the way love shipwrecks us on a desert island from which there can be no rescue.”

March 20 through April 5, the DC playwriting collective the Welders presents the world premiere of The Carolina Layaway Grail by Allyson Currin. At the Atlas Performing Arts Center.

March 20 through April 6 at Theater J, Sinai Peter directs The Admission, Motti Lerner’s Israeli homage to Arthur Miller’s drama All My Sons. The play is coproduced by the Cameri Theatre and the Arab-Hebrew Theatre of Jaffa.

March 21 through May 4 at Arena Stage, Molly Smith directs the world premiere of Camp David, New Yorker staff writer Lawrence Wright’s play about the Camp David Accords.

March 25 through June 7, Michael Kahn directs a repertory presentation of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part I and Henry IV, Part II. Stacy Keach—who played King Lear to acclaim at Shakespeare in 2009—stars as Falstaff, Prince Hal’s drunken companion.


Woolly Mammoth’s We Are Proud . . . closes March 9. Read our review.

Forum Theatre’s Pluto closes March 15.

The Folger’s Richard III closes March 16. Read our review.

Washington Stage Guild’s Back to Methuselah closes March 16.

Studio Theatre’s Tribes closes March 16. Read our review.

Shakespeare Theatre’s The Importance of Being Earnest closes March 16. Read our review.

MetroStage’s Ella Fitzgerald: First Lady of Song closes March 16. Read our review.

Olney Theatre’s I and You closes March 23.

WSC Avant Bard’s Orlando closes March 23. Read our review.

Signature Theatre’s Beaches closes March 30. Read our review.