From political struggle to family infighting to celebrations of drag, this spring promises a good mix of theater on local stages. The roster includes both Broadway hits and some new works. Many are of interest to LGBT audiences. Here are a few.
At Olney Theatre Center, out artistic director Jason Loewith is staging the regional premiere production of playwright Jordan Harrison’s “Marjorie Prime” (March 10-April 10). The Pulitzer Prize-nominated comedy tells the story of an elderly widow who lives with the hologram of her dead husband.
Later at Olney is Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s rock opera “Evita” (June 23-July 24) staged by director Will Davis, who is transgender. Last year Davis directed Olney’s hit and Helen Hayes Award-winner, “Colossal.” “Evita” tells the story of Argentina’s controversial, mega ambitious first lady Eva Perón, who combined a love for the working class with a passion for fame and high living. The sensational score includes “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,” “Buenos Aires” and a dozen other memorable tunes.
Out storyteller Kevin Allison is bringing his award winning show “Risk” (March 26) to the Howard Theatre for a night of stories told by Allison and local talent. According to the show’s press release, the show “takes a walk on the wilder side with its uncensored, compelling, personal tales which can range from hilarious to provocative to highly emotional.”
At Round House Theatre, out actor Sarah Marshall is playing Big Momma opposite Rick Foucheux’s Big Daddy in gay playwright Tennessee Williams’ classic southern family drama “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” (March 30-April 24). The consistently excellent Alyssa Wilmoth Keegan plays Maggie, the work’s sexually frustrated titular cat, and handsome Gregory Woodell plays her disinterested, brooding husband Brick.
Arena Stage is offering the Tony Award-winning political thriller “All the Way” (April 1-May 28). The cast includes out actors Cameron Folmar as racist Alabama Gov. George Wallace, who challenged President Lyndon B. Johnson for the Democratic nomination during the 1964 primaries, and Desmond Bing as civil rights activist Bob Moses. Penned by Robert Schenkkan, the play follows LBJ’s tumultuous first year in the White House following the assassination of JFK, and his presidential election campaign when he risked losing votes by supporting the Civil Rights Act.
Signature Theatre is premiering lesbian playwright Bathsheba “Bash” Doran’s play “The Mystery of Love & Sex” (April 5-May 8). The plot focuses on opposites Charlotte and Jonny who have been best friends since childhood. As sexually confused young adults, they ponder taking their friendship to the next level.
Also at Signature is the Tony Award-winning musical “La Cage aux Folles” (May 31-July 10), a gay-affirming comedy with a score (“I Am What I Am”) by gay composer Jerry Herman and book by gay actor/writer Harvey Fierstein. “La Cage” is the story of a longtime gay couple who hilariously try to conceal their relationship when their son’s conservative future in-laws come for dinner. Triple threat out actor Bobby Smith is slated to play Albin, a family minded drag performer. Out Signature veteran Matthew Gardiner is directing.
At GALA Hispanic Theatre, out actor Carlos Castillo is part of a large cast in “Chronicle of a Death Foretold” (April 7-May 8), a family drama adapted from a novella by famous Columbian writer Gabriel García Márquez.
Bethesda’s Strathmore is presenting Broadway star and LGBT ally Kristen Chenowith and Andrew Lippa in companion musical pieces celebrating the lives of two civil rights heavyweights: “I Am Anne Hutchison” and “I Am Harvey Milk” (April 23-24). The pieces weave together the lives of 17th century women’s rights activist Anne Hutchinson and 1970s’ gay rights leader Harvey Milk.
“The Wizard of Oz” (May 3-15) is coming to the National Theatre. This new production of the beloved tale is derived from both the original book and the MGM screenplay. It contains songs from the Oscar-winning movie score, as well as new songs by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
The Shakespeare Theatre Company is mounting an all-male production of “The Taming of the Shrew” (May 17-June 26) directed by Ed Sylvanus Iskandar, who is gay. This take on the Bard’s battle of the sexes promises to be an exciting, gender-blurring experience. The cast features popular local out actors Rick Hammerly and Tom Story.
Rainbow Theatre Project is presenting out songwriter Tom Wilson Weinberg’s “Get Used To It! A Musical Revue” (June 10-July 2). Staged by out director H. Lee Gable, the show covers the LGBT’s community’s search for love. In the course of 18 songs, says Rainbow’s press release, Weinberg offers up the romantic (“Who Did Langston Love?”), the intense (“Bat Boy”), the whimsical (“Three-Letter Word”), the outrageous (“Flaunting It!”), and the political (“Means To A End”).