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July Theater in Washington: Plays, Musicals, and Festivals

Shakespeare’s Globe presents Hamlet, Woolly Mammoth stages Rodney King, and much more.

Roger Guenveur Smith stars in the one-man Rodney King at Woolly Mammoth. Photograph by Patti McGuire.


At Woolly Mammoth July 8 through 20 is Rodney King, a one-man show that examines America’s complicated race relationships through a combination of historical detail and improvised poetry. OBIE Award winner Roger Guenveur Smith created and stars in the work. 

Studio Theatre presents Carrie: The Musical, an adaptation of Stephen King’s 1974 novel about a lonely teenage girl who discovers she has telekinetic powers. Lawrence D. Cohen, who’s behind the book, also penned the screenplay for the 1976 Brian De Palma movie. July 9 through August 3 at Studio’s 2ndStage. 

The Tempest, Shakespeare’s comedy about the magician Prospero, his daughter, Miranda, and the mischievous sprite Ariel comes to Olney Theatre’s Root Family Stage July 19, presented by the theater’s National Players as part of their 65th season of touring. Through August 3. 

At Anacostia Playhouse is Campsite Rule, the story of a woman whose one-night fling with a much younger man becomes more involved as she tries to educate him about relationships. The play is based on sex columnist Dan Savage’s relationship rule “Leave ’em better than you found ’em.” July 23 through August 16. 

American Century Theater celebrates a beloved Broadway and Hollywood performer with An Evening With Danny Kaye, July 18 through August 16. Brian Childers—who won a Helen Hayes Award in 2002 for his portrayal of Kaye in Danny and Sylvia: A Musical Love Story—reprises his role. July 18 through August 16. 

Forum Theatre closes out its tenth season with Gidion’s Knot, Johnna Adams’s drama about a mother meeting with her son’s fifth-grade teacher to untangle the circumstances of his suspension from school. When the play premiered at the Contemporary American Theater Festival in 2012, reviewer Sophie Gilbert called it “heart-stopping.” July 19 through August 3. This is a co-production with Herndon’s NextStop Theatre, which hosts performances August 28 through September 14. 

Shakespeare’s Globe presents just three performances of Hamlet at the Folger Theatre on July 25 and 26. The company embarked on a two-year global tour this April to commemorate the Bard’s 450th birthday with the goal of performing in every country in the world. Their stop at the Folger is the tour’s only East Coast appearance. 

After massive success during its 2013 world premiere and eight Helen Hayes Award nominations, Stupid F**king Bird, Aaron Posner’s irreverent take on Chekhov’s The Seagull, returns to Woolly Mammoth July 28 through August 17. 


Round House Bethesda hosts the first One-Minute Play Festival, presenting almost 90 micro-plays by more than 50 Washington playwrights. The playwrights are selected by invitation, and there’s no restriction on theme or topic—the only stipulation is each play must be performed in 60 seconds or less. June 12 through 14. 

The annual Capital Fringe Festival returns, presenting a variety of original nontraditional work at venues around town. New this year is a “site-specific” category, which includes seven works that rely on multiple facets of performance, audience interaction, and other features beyond the typical theater setup. July 10 through 27.

Shepherd University’s Contemporary American Theater Festival also returns, offering five new plays—three of which are world premieres, including Chisa Huchinson’s Dead and Breathing, a dark comedy about an elderly woman determined to end her life on her own terms. July 11 through August 3. 

Washington Improv Theatre presents Binge, five weeks of improvised works on topics ranging from Craigslist missed connections to ’80s sitcoms to TED Talks. July 10 through August 9 at the Source Theatre

Signature’s Sizzlin’ Summer Nights series is back, offering daily performances of cabaret, Broadway, and more from Natascia Diaz, Erin Driscoll, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, and many others. July 9 through 26. 


Scena Theatre’s production of Happy Days closes at Atlas Performing Arts Center on July 5. 

Cloak and Dagger closes at Signature Theatre July 6. 

Also closing on July 6 is Freud’s Last Session at Theater J. Read our review

Grounded has extended its run at Studio Theatre until July 6. Read our review

Side Show is at the Kennedy Center until July 13. Read our review

Private Lives closes at Shakespeare Theatre on July 13. Read our review

Avenue Q has extended its run at Olney Theatre through July 20. Read our review