Things to Do

April Theater in Washington: Plays, Musicals, and Special Events

“Brief Encounter” at Shakespeare, Brecht at Signature, “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” at Arena, and much more this month.

See the musical Hair at Keegan Theatre, plus plenty more in town this month. Photograph by C. Stanley Photography.


At Shakespeare Theatre, Cornwall, England’s Kneehigh theater company presents Brief Encounter. The show—acclaimed in London and New York—is inspired by both Noël Coward’s play Still Life and its 1945 movie version, Brief Encounter, starring Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard. Through April 13.

At 1st Stage is Martin McDonagh’s The Cripple of Inishmaan, a black comedy about the buzz generated when a Hollywood filmmaker descends upon a sleepy Irish town. Through April 20.

Arguendo, a co-commission by Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, New York’s Public Theater, and two other institutions, depicts a 1991 Supreme Court decision on public nudity following a case filed by two Indiana strip clubs, as imagined by the New York theater company Elevator Repair Service. Arguendo “is so wittily inventive that it makes you think that the Elevator Repair Service might as well have a go at the Pittsburgh phone directory next,” the New York Times said. April 1 through 27.

Round House Theatre presents Two Trains Running, August Wilson’s drama exploring life in an African-American neighborhood in Pittsburgh. April 2 through 27.

At MetroStage, John Vreeke directs The Thousandth Night, a spin on the Scheherazade story, about an actor in 1943 France who attempts to get a stay of execution by playing 38 characters from The Arabian Nights. April 3 through May 18.

The 89-year-old actor Hal Holbrook returns with Mark Twain Tonight, his one-man show about the American writer, which he first performed 55 years ago. At National Theatre April 4 and 5.

At Round House Silver Spring, Snow Angel, David Lindsay-Abaire’s 1999 play, set in Vermont during a blizzard, is this year’s Sarah Metzger Memorial Play, staged by high-schoolers in memory of a local theater student who died in a car accident. April 4 through 12.

Local actor Tom Story makes his directorial debut at Studio Theatre with Moth, a dark play by Declan Greene about two teens who fall into despair after being bullied at school. April 9 through May 4.

Olney Theatre reprises Once on Thus Island, the 24-year-old musical by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime, Rocky) about a girl on a Caribbean island who tries to bring a community together. April 9 through May 4.

The second play in Theater Js Voices From a Changing Middle East Festival is Golda’s Balcony, William Gibson’s play about Golda Meir and her journey from immigrant to teacher to prime minister of Israel. Tovah Feldshuh, a Tony nominee for the Broadway run, stars. April 10 through 27.

Psalmayene 24 presents the final installment of his hip-hop trilogy at Imagination Stage in Cinderella: The Remix. The play reimagines Cinderella as a wannabe deejay and musician in a world where girls are shut out. April 12 through May 25.

At Folger Theatre, Fiasco Theater, a small New York company, premieres its newest production, The Two Gentlemen of Verona. “Fiasco . . . reminds us what theater, at its simplest and most powerful, is really for,” New York magazine wrote. April 17 through May 25.

At Signature Theatre, Matthew Gardiner directs The Threepenny Opera, Brecht’s satire about London beggars with music by Kurt Weill. April 22 through June 1.

Arena Stage presents Smokey Joe’s Cafe: The Songs of Lieber and Stoller, famous for being Broadway’s longest-running musical revue. April 25 through June 8.

At DC’s Source, Constellation Theatre’s Allison Arkell Stockman directs The Love of the Nightingale, Timberlake Wertenbaker’s 1989 play depicting the Greek myth of Philomela, who was transformed into a nightingale after an assault by her brother-in-law. April 27 through May 25.


The Carolina Layaway Grail closes at Atlas Performing Arts Center April 5.

The Admission closes at Theater J April 6. Read our review.

Hamlet: The Rest Is Silence closes at Synetic Theater April 6.

Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feeling So Sad closes at American Century Theater April 12.

Water By the Spoonful closes at Studio Theatre April 13. Read our review.

Hair is at Keegan Theatre through April 27.

Camp David is at Arena Stage through May 4.

Tender Napalm is at Signature Theatre through May 11. Read our review.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is at Ford’s Theatre through May 17. Read our review.

Henry IV, Part I is at Shakespeare Theatre through June 7.

Henry IV, Part II is at Shakespeare Theatre through June 8.


Faction of Fools’ fifth annual Fool for All, a festival in which four new plays are created in a single day, is April 13 at Gallaudet University’s Elstad Auditorium.

The 30th annual Helen Hayes Awards are April 21.