March 1, 2018 at 6:35 am EDT | by Patrick Folliard
SPRING ARTS 2018 THEATER: ‘Ease on Down the Road’
local theater, gay news, Washington Blade

Lukas James Miller, left, and Jimmy Mavrikes play boyfriends in ‘Girlfriend’ at Signature Theatre. Miller is straight in ‘real’ life; Mavrikes is gay. (Photo courtesy Signature)

This spring, local theater is a mix of familiar and less known. Expected and quirky. Lulling and provocative. Here’s a peep of what’s coming.

Ford’s Theatre (511 10th St., N.W.) presents “The Wiz,” the Tony Award-winning stage musical adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s children’s classic “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” March 9-May 12. The production features Ines Nassara as Dorothy, the star-making role created by Stephanie Mills on Broadway and played by Diana Ross on the screen. Kent Gash directs. Full details at fords.org.

Forum Theatre (8641 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, Md.) presents “Nat Turner in Jerusalem” staged by out director José Carrasquio and featuring out actor Jon Hudson Odom in the title role March 15-April 17. Written by Nathan Alan Davis, the play visits Turner, leader of the eponymous slave revolt, in a Virginia jail cell on his last night alive. Full details at forum-theatre.org.

Mosaic Theater Company  (1333 H St., N.E.) presents the American premiere of Philip Himberg’s “Paper Dolls” directed Mark Brokaw March 23-April 22. Adapted from the same-titled Israeli documentary, it’s the story of Filipino guest workers in Tel Aviv who care for elderly Jewish men and headline a karaoke drag show by night. Full details at mosaictheater.org.

At Theater J (1529 16th St., N.W.) it’s Karen Hartman’s “Roz and Ray,” a drama about a doctor in the early years of the AIDS crisis who offers a new miracle drug to save the lives of hemophiliac twins, April 3-29. Directed by Theater J’s out artistic director Adam Immerwahr, the production’s cast includes Susan Rome and out actor Tom Story. Full details at theaterj.org.

Arena Stage (1101 6th St., S.W.) presents “Snow Child,” a premier musical staged by Arena’s out artistic director and former Alaska resident Molly Smith April 13-May 20.

Eowyn Ivey’s debut novel “The Snow Child,” a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, has been adapted for the stage by John Strand with a score by Bob Banghart and Georgia Stitt that combines Alaskan backcountry string-band traditions and contemporary musical theater. Set against the 1920 Alaskan wilderness, Mabel and Jack struggle to save their seemingly hopeless marriage. Things take a turn for the better when they’re visited by a mysterious girl from the dark, snowy forest. Full details at arenastage.org.

At Signature Theatre (4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington, Va.) two young actors play boyfriends in “Girlfriend,” a coming-of-age musical duet from the time when “mix tapes were the language of love.” It runs April 17-June 10.

Set in small-town Nebraska over the summer following high school, the melodic young love story follows the nascent romance of college-bound jock Mike (Lukas James Miller) and cocky but directionless Will (out actor Jimmy Mavrikes). The excitement surrounding the pair’s first big passion is captured in singer/songwriter Matthew Sweet’s alternative rock score. “Girlfriend” is staged by Helen Hayes Award-winning out director Matthew Gardiner. Full details at sigtheatre.org.

With “Titus Andronicus,” Synetic Theater (1800 South Bell Street, Crystal City, Va.) mounts its 13th installment in the movement-based company’s legendary “Wordless Shakespeare” series. It runs April 25-May 27. Out actor Philip Fletcher plays the title military general character in this bloody, revenge-driven tragedy. Irina Tsikurishvili plays Tamora, queen of the Goths turned Roman empress, and she also choreographs. Synetic’s artistic director Paata Tsikurishvili directs. Full details at synetictheater.org.

Kensington Arts Theatre (3710 Mitchell St., Kensington, Md.) presents “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” May 11-26 at the Kensington Town Hall/Armory Building. Details at katonline.org.

Venus Theatre (21 C St., Laurel) tackles Maureen Chadwick’s dark comedy “The Speed Twins,” intriguingly set in the Gateways, the famed London lesbian bar featured in the film “The Killing of Sister George,” May 3-27. Full details at venustheatre.org.

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