Things to Do

10 Musicals and Plays to See in the DC Area This Fall

"Fat Ham," "POTUS," and more award-winning theater shows to catch in DC.

Swept Away the musical. Photograph by Kevin Berne/Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

Happy Thursday, DC!

As Theatre Week begins this weekend, here’s a preview of some of the top productions you can see in the Washington, DC, area not only during the multi-week commemoration, but through the rest of fall.



1. “Something Moving: A Meditation on Maynard”

Ford’s Theatre | September 22-October 15

This original work by playwright Pearl Cleage gives audiences a firsthand account of the election of Atlanta’s first Black mayor, Maynard Jackson. Author and activist Cleage served as Jackson’s speechwriter and press secretary during his time in office. Through Cleage’s personal storytelling, viewers get an inside look into the historic 1973 moment ($26+).


2. “The Mountaintop”

Round House Theatre | October 11-November 5

A historical reimagining of the eve of civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination takes center stage at Bethesda’s intimate Round House Theatre. The two-person production is a reflective conversation on King’s legacy and racial justice movement ($39+, pay-what-you-can tickets available).


3. “POTUS”

Arena Stage | October 13-November 12

This new comedy by playwright Selina Fillinger arrives in DC after a raved-about run on Broadway. The full title of the show, set at the White House, sums up the satirical plot full of political shenanigans: POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass Are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive ($56+).


4. “Fat Ham”

Studio Theatre | October 25-December 4

Last year, James Ijames won a Pulitzer Prize for the debut drama and comedy Fat Ham. The DC premiere, directed by Taylor Reynolds, is a modern-day southern twist on Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet. The main character in this Tony-nominated play—a suburban Black queer kid named Juicy—finds himself in the middle of a family drama after his father’s ghost appears during a backyard barbecue ($45+).


5. “Confederates”

Atlas Performing Arts Center | October 26 -November 19

History, race, and women are the leading themes of lauded playwright and actress Dominique Morisseau’s new theatrical production produced by Mosaic Theater Company. Laughs and tough conversations unite an enslaved-rebel-turned-Union-spy-and-university-professor as the story examines American history and freedom ($42+).


6. “A Christmas Carol”

Ford’s Theatre | November 17-December 31

Ring in holiday cheer at Ford’s Theatre’s seasonal tradition, A Christmas Carol. Music, joy, and a hint of misery follow the tale of grumpy Ebenezer Scrooge as he is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future. Vocalist and actor Craig Wallace is back again this year to perform the role of Scrooge ($44+).



7. “The Wiz”

National Theatre | October 24-29

Ease on down the road to the brand new revival of pop musical The Wiz before it leaves town. Adapted from the classic story The Wizard of Oz, this highly-anticipated score combines soul, gospel, and rock music with jazz and ballet choreography to aid Dorothy along her contemporary adventure to the magical world of Oz ($59+).


8. “Ragtime”

Signature Theatre | October 24-January 7, 2024

Based on the 1975 bestselling novel by E.L. Doctorow, this musical with a libretto by Terrence McNally and compositions by Stephen Flaherty tells the early 20th century epic of three American families in pursuit of the American dream in New York ($40+).


9. “Swept Away”

Arena Stage | November 25-December 30

An acclaimed cast will perform playwright/screenwriter John Logan’s musical at Arena Stage during the production’s East Coast premiere. The show’s music and lyrics are the inspiration of folk-rock group the Avett Brothers. The band’s 2004 Mignonette album parallels the musical’s plot: A shipwreck with four survivors ($66+).


10. “The Tale of the Fisherman and the Golden Fish”

Synetic Theater | December 8-January 7

All ages will enjoy this theater’s portrayal of Alexander Pushkin’s fairytale, done in Synetic’s signature expressive style. Audiences will embark on an artistic 45-minute journey about a poor fisherman and a magical fish (+$25).

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Briana A. Thomas is a local journalist, historian, and tour guide who specializes in the research of D.C. history and culture. She is the author of the Black history book, Black Broadway in Washington, D.C., a story that was first published in Washingtonian in 2016.