The majority of the local theaters have released their 2014-15 line up and after careful perusal I’ve come up with a list of, I won’t call it “must see” shows, let’s call them “shows of interest”. Don’t be fooled into thinking these 15 shows are the only ones I’m going to see, oh no, there are plenty more I will go see and others that will remain on my radar but having given myself the task of whittling the season down to a group of shows that I think have great potential this is what I’ve come up with. I pick the shows based on a variety of factors including of course personal taste, the actors, writers or directors attached to the project, or subject matter. Sometimes purely on a whim, so you can see it’s a very scientific quantitative process.
The shows are NOT in any order of preference, besides chronological, and if you want to see their full season offering for any of the theaters just click on their name, trust me there’s A LOT I’m leaving out and quite a bit more probably worth seeing so you should explore a little on your own as well.
** means it’s a World Premier, we have more than a few.
- Sunday in the Park with George – Signature Theatre
August 5 – September 21, 2014 – Okay, this is one of those shows I’m going to go see because I feel I should. I have at best a rocky relationship with Mr. Sondheim, really his shows aren’t for everyone. Sometimes I like them, sometime I hate them, sometimes I just don’t get them. But Sondheim is kind of Signature’s groove and it’s kicking off their 25th anniversary season, so I’m betting they’re pulling out all the stops.
- Little Dancer** – Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater
October 25, 2014 – November 30, 2014 – Written by the Ton Award winning team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (think Ragtime, among many others) and directed and choreographed Susan Strohman. Yeah, I’m going to go see that. It’s a fictionalized account of the girl who posed for the iconic “Dancer” sculpture by Degas.
3. A Festival of Radical New Theatre From Moscow – Woolly Mammoth
October 25–November 9, 2014. Over 75 Russian artists will descend on Woolly Mammoth to present four new works from distinct companies representing the cutting edge of Moscow’s theatre scene.Sadly, just as I was getting ready to upload this post I learned that due to the current tensions between the US and Russia this production has been canceled. It does not look like the Moscow Theater companies are going to be able to get funding and permission to travel here. I’m terribly disappointed as this sounded like a unique opportunity.
- The Tempest – Shakespeare Theatre Company
December 2014 – This show wasn’t part of my original list simply because I’ve seen The Tempest more than a few times (as I am a STC subscriber I am seeing it regardless) but I am recommending it quite simply on the strength of the director Ethan McSweeny. His production of Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2012 is at damn near (if not at) the top of the list of all-time favorite shows at STC.
- Famous Puppet Death Scenes – Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
December 9, 2014–January 4, 2015 – A collection of twenty-two scenes of famous puppet deaths; that is the description. I have no idea what’s it’s going to be like but the title is enough to tweak my interest.
- Diner** – Signature Theatre
December 9, 2014 – January 25, 2014 – Apparently Cheryl Crow has finally gotten the news that it’s cool for popular musicians to score musicals (if it’s good enough for Bono…) Yes, it’s based on a movie, which I generally revile but you throw in Barry Levinson and top it off with Kathleen Marshall directing. Yeah, I’m going to see that. Actually, that directors the caliber of Strohman and Marshall are here in DC for pre-Broadway tryouts is just plain cool.
- GiGi – Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater
January 17, 2015 – February 15, 2015
Apparently in its 1973 Broadway run it ran for a disappointing 103 performance. I’m excited to see if the “reimagined” show can do better. Directed by our own Eric Shaffer, yet another pre-Broadway bow here in DC.
- King Hedley II – Arena Stage
February 6 – March 8, 2015
I have not seen a play by August Wilson and I feel that is a major gap in my Theater CV, thankfully Arena Stage is allowing me correct that over site. I believe it’s part of his Pittsburgh cycle of plays. About a man trying to re-establish his life after being in prison.
- Kid Victory** – Signature Theatre
February 17 – March 22, 2015
See, a lot of World Premiers and I assume this is also a pre-NYC try out. The now Ebb-less John Kander partners again with Greg Pierce. The premise of the show sounds a little bit odd, a boy who turns up after disappearing for a year and the drama that follows. For me if it’s a brand new never seen before show, I’m going to go see it, out of curiosity if nothing less.
- The Metromaniacs – Shakespeare Theatre Company
Spring 2015 – This is the third and sadly last in the series plays that David Ives has translated for STC and I have yet to see anything with his name on it that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed. And last year’s Heir Apparent, ‘bout made me pee my pants it was so funny.
- Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike – Arena Stage
April 3 – May 3, 201 – This is one of those shows that got away, I missed it on Broadway and was so excited when I heard Arena was producing it. It is a satire of several of Chekovs work, the most obvious is Uncle Vanaya which I saw a few years ago so now I feel I would “get it;” plus it got great reviews and scored a small boat full of awards including a Tony.
- Zombie: The American** – Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
May 25–June 21, 2015 – It’s safe to say the WMT is doing its fair share in keeping the fringe alive. This play includes, a gay President, civil war, African invasion and Zombies in the white house. Who wouldn’t want to see that?!?
- Silence! The Musical – Studio Theatre
It’s a satirical musical about the movie Silence of the Lambs. A satire about movies being turned into musicals. It’s practically tailor made for me.
- The Book of Mormon – Tour – Kennedy Center Opera House
Jun. 16 – Aug. 16, 2015 – If you didn’t get tickets last year it should be easier now that the blush a bit off the bloom. This is still a huge seller on Broadway and tickets must be purchased way in advance. The show is hilarious and funny and sweet and did I mention funny and under it all, kind of has a point to boot. Well worth the cost of the ticket. Go see it.
- Once – Tour – Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater
Jul. 7 – Aug. 16, 2015 – This is a very grown up musical, no jazz hands, no 11 o’clock number, just some very good acting, singing and kind of grown-up story line. It’s sweet and funny and poignant and doesn’t at all have the ending you expect of a Tony Award winning musical. And the music beautiful.
- Synetic Theater –’14-15 Season
I’m cheating here, I’m seeing all of their shows this year and I think you should too. If I had to pick I would say Much Ado About Nothing and Beauty and the Beat (non-Disney version I’m sure), but I’m kind of dying to see what Hunting Cockroaches is all about.
Bonus Show – Cabaret – Signature Theater
This is one of those shows I’m always likely to go see, even though no production will ever measure up to the 1998 Revival starring Alan Cumming. But I’m curious to see what signature does with it.