July 7, 2016 at 2:10 pm EDT | by Patrick Folliard
Loosey-goosey summer theater
summer theater, gay news, Washington Blade

Matt Conner, left, and Stephen Gregory Smith will perform ‘Dreamland’ as part of their Creative Cauldron summer cabaret series. (Photo courtesy Smith)

Let theater be a part of your summer staycation. All the adventure of a getaway but without the sunburn, bug bites and travel costs. Here are 10 things to experience, and all are just a taxi ride away.

For good cabaret this summer you don’t need to hop the Acela to Manhattan. Out actor/singer Will Gartshore and Alyssa Wilmoth Keegan are joining forces with “Fear No More: A Courageous Cabaret” (July 14) part of Signature Theatre’s Sizzlin’ Summer Nights series. Cabaret is a bit of a departure for Wilmoth Keegan who’s known mainly known for her formidable acting prowess, Gartshore says. But she wanted to do this for a while so they’re making it happen.

“The cabaret’s theme is courage and things that scare you. It’s kind of inspired by Alyssa’s wanting to throw caution to the wind and so something she’d never really done,” Gartshore says. And like all of his cabarets, this one will also be an eclectic evening of humor and cheekiness along with an earnest deep dive into some thematic variations. The evening’s eclectic pop/rock/show tune roster includes Sondheim, Gershwin, Kander & Ebb, Guettel, the Beatles, Sia, Kate Bush, Death Cab for Cutie, Gilbert & Sullivan, Shakespeare and Donna Summer.

Husbands Matt Conner and Stephen Gregory Smith are combining their musical talents with “Dreamland” (Aug. 19-20) part of Creative Cauldron’s exciting summer cabaret series. The pair promise a revue of music from 10 years of Creative Cauldron shows including “Turn of the Screw,” “Monsters of the Villa Diodati,” “Sleepy Hollow,” “Night of the Living Dead” and the company’s youth productions “Peter Pan,” “The Wind in the Willows” and “The jungle Book.”

For those seeking summer thrills, Taffety Punk if offering “Bootleg Shakespeare Henry VI, part 1” (July 18). I say thrills because the company will stage the entire play, battles and all, in a single day. Helen Hayes Award-winning cast member Kimberly Gilbert, a “Bootleg” vet, describes the experience as “terrifying but incredibly exhilarating.” Also, six of the seven women in the show are playing male characters.

This summer Studio Theatre presents Robert Askin’s Broadway hit “Hand to God” (through Aug. 7), the story of a Christian ministry in Texas that spreads the good word using sock puppets. Things go hilariously awry when one of the puppets takes on a “demonic foul-mouthed life of its own.”

There are quality offerings for young audiences too. Adventure Theatre MTC, located in historic and fun Glen Echo Park, Md., is presenting the world premiere play “Jumanji” (through Aug. 28) based on the book by Chris Van Allsburg. It’s about two kinds who become trapped in a board game and find themselves up close and involved with lions, monkeys and volcanoes. Staged by out director and parent Serge Seiden, the production is intended for ages 4 and up.

“Because of the beloved 1996 movie, parents and kids will enjoy this classic story together,” says Adventure’s Artistic Director Michael J. Bobbitt, also a parent. “Not to mention the 4-D immersive experience. Seeing this hilarious show with your child will be a ‘forever” memory.’”

In addition to theater, Glen Echo features lots of family fun attractions including a gorgeous vintage carousel and a newly opened hands-on aquarium with a Chesapeake Bay focus.

Bethesda’s Imagination Stage in collaboration with the Washington Ballet presents Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid” (through Aug. 14). Staged by Kathryn Chase Bryer, the production uses dance, puppets, music and singing to faithfully retell the classic fairytale in which a young mermaid trades her voice for legs.

Washington Improv Theatre’s Summer Camp is offering a romp of unscripted summer fun skits as well as their own improvised slasher movie “Die! Die! Die!” Summer just wouldn’t summer without a slasher flick.

Round House Theatre’s production of “The Who & The What” (through June 19) tells the story  Pakistani-American novelist Zarina who after meeting intriguing convert Eli, is forced to reexamine her relationships. This 2014 work comes from Ayad Akhtar, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer of “Disgraced.”

Synetic Theater is reprising its 1920s-set, silent screen inspired take on “Twelfth Night” (through Aug. 8). The movement-based company’s wordless and delightful production stars co-founder and resident choreographer Irina Tsikurishvili as Viola and out actor Philip Fletcher as Orsino.

And what’s summer without a big top circus? Or in this case “Cirque du Soleil: Kurios” (July 21- Sept. 18) housed in its grand chapiteau. This addition to the legendary franchise is a Victorian carnival with a steampunk vibe brought to life by the usual hard bodied cast of mind-blowing contortionists. It’s staged by out director Michel Laprise.

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