Washinton theatre troupes' coming attractions

March 28, 2010|By Mary Carole McCauley | mary.mccauley@baltsun.com

So many shows, so little time.

Washington theater troupes have begun releasing their schedules for next season, and they contain the usual tantalizing mix of old favorites and promising new shows. Not all troupes have announced their 2010-2011 seasons yet, but the highly idiosyncratic list of highlights below is intended to help jump-start the planning process.

For more details, go to arenastage.org, kennedy-center.org, shakespearetheatre.org and signature-theatre.org.

Touring Broadway shows Once again, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has nabbed the traveling versions of the biggest hits on the Broadway stage of the past few seasons, with "Hair" (Oct. 26-Nov. 21), and "South Pacific" (Dec. 14, 2010-Jan. 16, 2011), both of which won multiple Tony Awards. If you want to see these shows, you'll have to make the trek; neither is slated to come to the Hippodrome this year.

Big, splashy revivals Signature Theatre brings back Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Sunset Boulevard," with Broadway star Florence Lacey performing the role of fading grande dame Norma Desmond (Dec. 7, 2010-Feb. 13, 2011). In addition, the Kennedy Center will launch a major revival of "Follies" (May 7-June 2, 2011), one of Stephen Sondheim's most beloved shows.

Baltimore roots Arena Stage will mount two shows by acclaimed female playwrights with Baltimore ties: Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer Prize-winning "Ruined" (April 22-June 5, 2011) and Anna Deavere Smith's "Let Me Down Easy" (Dec. 31, 2010-Feb. 13, 2011). Nottage got her big career break at Center Stage with the 2003 debut of her "Intimate Apparel." Smith is a Baltimore native, and "Easy," her one-woman tour de force, recently enjoyed a long run off-Broadway.

World premieres Playwright Ken Ludwig's farce "I Hate Hamlet" is a staple of community theater and school productions. His new comedy, "A Fox on the Fairway" (Oct 12-Nov. 14 at Signature) takes on country clubs and, gasp, golfers. In addition, Rupert Holmes' adaptation of John Grisham's best-selling crime novel, "A Time to Kill" (May 6-June 19), is headed for Broadway after it leaves Arena Stage.

Classics The Shakespeare Theatre Company can always be relied upon to stage at least a few rarely produced gems for theater fanatics tired of seeing the same 30 plays over and over and again. Next season's roster will include the Bard's "Cymbeline" (Jan. 18-March 6, 2011) and Luigi Pirandello's "Enrico IV" (May 17-July 3, 2011.)

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