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Signature Theatre kicks off the Heidi Thomas Writers' Initiative with a complex and intriguing look at an American worldview created in the wake of September 11.
For the last 12 years — or 4,380 days — Malik Djamal Ahmad Essaid has been held without charge by the United States government at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center. As he languishes in his cell, his interactions with those on the outside are juxtaposed with historical events in a riveting exposé of the most dangerous prison of all: fear.
With a graceful poetry and a fluidity that spans time and place, Washington, D.C., playwright Annalisa Dias delivers a searing and timely critique of power, humanity, and what it means to be American.
Written by multi-Emmy Award winner David Javerbaum (The Daily Show), this exceptionally witty comedy delivers a new meaning to the phrase "divine intervention."
God is back. And he's got a lot to say. Inhabiting the body of beloved actor Tom Story (Round House Theatre's Angels in America) and flanked by his ever-faithful archangels, the Supreme Being gifts his mortals with an entirely new set of Ten Commandments in a sinfully funny whirlwind of comedy heaven.
The world may be starting to burn, but Biedermann has it all under control. He's a respected member of his community with a loving wife and a flourishing business, so surely the arsonists will spare him. As an upstanding citizen, he's even happy to do his civic duty by opening his home to two new guests…but when they start filling his attic with drums of gasoline, will he end up starting the fire himself?
Written as a reflection on the rise of both Nazism and Communism, The Arsonists has uncanny new relevance today in light of the rise of populist nationalism around the globe.
Ray leaves his job as a classically trained French chef to take care of his dying father, a Korean immigrant who never appreciated Ray's culinary accomplishments. Food, which normally unites people, painfully divides Ray from his father, even as it serves as the key to memory and identity for all the characters in this off-Broadway hit. If the language of food lets Ray down, he's even more vexed by the Korean language. Ray calls upon his estranged girlfriend, Cornelia, for translation services when his non-English-speaking uncle arrives with a sackful of strange ingredients intended for a soup to nurse Ray's father back to health. This life-affirming and perceptive drama from one of the country's most important playwrights distills the flavors of rich characters and intense relationships.
What if Shakespeare's works were lost forever? After the death of their friend and mentor, two actors are determined to compile the First Folio and preserve the words that shaped their lives. They'll just have to borrow, beg, and band together to get it done. Lauren Gunderson, playwright of the runaway hit Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, weaves a hilarious and heartfelt story inspired by the true story of Shakespeare's First Folio.
Sandro Botticelli is devoted to beauty, sensuality, and pleasure. While painting "The Birth of Venus," however, the limits of his dedication are put to the test by the arrival of a conservative priest leading a populist revolution in Lorenzo de' Medici's Florence. When his full-throttle, decadent ways catch up to him, will the famed artist sacrifice his work...or the life of his young apprentice, Leonardo da Vinci?
Botticelli in the Fire is an ambitious modern story that sets the present political moment ablaze. Woolly Mammoth Theatre's production marks the American premiere of this new work by Canadian Jordan Tannahill.
Coming of age is never easy—but it sure can be hilarious. Eugene Morris Jerome is 15, lives in Brooklyn, and thinks of little else but playing for the Yankees… and girls, of course. But he's more likely to become a short story writer than a short stop. Eugene's witty commentary about his life, his overworked father, his overbearing mother, his overconfident brother, and his overly gorgeous cousin, makes this tender journey through puberty both poignant and joyful.
A riveting psychological drama from one of America's master playwrights, Arthur Miller. Sylvia Gellburg has suddenly, mysteriously, become paralyzed from the waist down, and her husband, a self-denying Jew, can't figure out why. Set in Brooklyn throughout the rampage of Kristallnacht in 1938, this rare and gripping drama demands we confront our fears, our assumptions, and our anguish. Miller balances private and public morality in this astonishing and electrifying play about being American, being married, and coming to terms with one's own identity.
Arthur Miller's classic 1953 play about the true Salem witch trials spoke truth to power and lit a blazing candle against the "Red Scare" rather than cursing its darkness. Sixty-five years later, it comes to the Olney stage. In Salem of 1692, unseen and unseeable evil stalks the town, threatening to destroy the lives and eternal souls of the God-fearing colonists. An ad hoc group of young girls are the only ones capable of unmasking the terror allegedly caused by hidden witches and devils' consorts. Embraced by ecclesiastical and political powers, the girls' reign of terror settles old scores, uncovers ugly truths, and leaves a trail of American carnage. The Crucible maintains its power today for its masterful language, its flawed heroes and its timeless reminder of what can happen when truth is bent to political convenience.
Could you name a hundred things that make life wonderful? A thousand? How about a million? A seven-year-old child confronted by his mother's attempted suicide makes a list of things to live for that grows from childhood to adolescence to adulthood. From "ice cream" (No. 1 on the list) to "the alphabet" (No. 999,997), Every Brilliant Thing elicits as much laughter as it does tears in creating its catalogue of gratitude with a unique theatrical style. In this remarkable one-person show, those watching become custodians of the list, co-conspirators in the child's plot to hold back the darkness, and members of an ensemble that creates the evening's story.
It's winter in Minnesota, and an immigrant Zimbabwean family is preparing for the wedding of their eldest daughter, a first-generation American. But when the bride insists on observing roora, a traditional bride-price ceremony, it opens a deep rift in the household. Rowdy and affectionate, Familiar pitches tradition against assimilation among the members of one devoted family. Which will prove stronger: the customs they keep…or the secrets they've kept buried?
Familiar — the third Woolly Mammoth Theatre production of playwright Danai Gurira's (Eclipsed) work — is the company's entry in the Women's Voices Theatre Festival.
André is 80 and a man of his own mind. He's quick with a joke, especially one with an edge, and used to dominating conversations and relationships. But things are getting strange: His trusted watch goes missing, reappears, and is lost again. His daughter's stories don't quite add up. His furniture is disappearing and there are strangers at his table. The incomparable Ted van Griethuysen stars in Florian Zeller's internationally acclaimed and theatrically thrilling exploration of who we are to ourselves when our signposts disappear.
In Fred's American Diner on a busy English motorway, people dream of better lives. Chloe wants to emigrate, Melissa dreams of university, Heather wants to rebuild her life, Sunny wants Heather. And someone is going to kill Fred. You'll find friendly staff and get service with a smile, but not far beneath lies a deadly secret in this dark comedy.
Robert Schenkkan's Tony Award-winning play All the Way set the stage for President Lyndon Baines Johnson's sudden ascent to the White House. In its Washington, D.C., premiere, The Great Society brings the second half of Schenkkan's epic story to its harrowing conclusion. As America is divided by civil rights protests and the anguish of the Vietnam War, LBJ struggles to maintain his relationship with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., keep his political opponents in check, and complete a raft of impossibly ambitious social policy projects. This political thrill ride explodes the America of our past to better understand the America of today.
Isaac, a veteran, returns to his childhood home and discovers that his family's been transformed. His timid mother, freed from the constraints of her marriage, has begun a crusade to subvert the patriarchy, and his sister has become a trans male anarchist who uses the pronouns ze and hir. Meanwhile, his abusive father now wears clown makeup and downs estrogen pills…against his will.
Obie Award-winner Taylor Mac's black comedy flips the script on gender power dynamics and asks a key question: does destroying the past really free you from it? It's a sly kitchen-sink drama covered in glitter, and you'll laugh your way through to an answer.
There is a Japanese proverb that says, "The nail that sticks out is the one that gets hit." In 1941, one American, the son of Japanese immigrants, was the nail threatened by the hammer of the United States government. Reeling from the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and driven by fear and prejudice, America placed its own citizens of Japanese ancestry in internment camps. A play for our times, Hold These Truths tells the true story of Gordon Hirabayashi, the American who defied an unjust court order to uphold the values on which America was founded. Filled with hope and buoyed by unquenchable patriotism, Hirabayashi's unflinching defiance will leave audiences cheering the strength of the individual and his dedication to his own unalienable rights.
Burned-out screenwriter Herb Tucker's life is turned upside down when the daughter he abandoned 16 years earlier suddenly appears at his doorstep. A quirky Brooklyn girl, Libby demands that Herb "pay up" for the lost years by launching her career in the movies. Yet it's clear from the start that Libby's real dream is to have a relationship with the father she never knew. The commitment-shy Herb is reluctant at first but, inspired by Libby's spirit and determination, decides to give fatherhood another shot. With playwright Neil Simon's signature blend of warmth and humor, I Ought to Be in Pictures is a poignant comedy reminding people that when it comes to family, it's never too late to start again.
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of Disgraced comes a thriller about Nick, an American options trader and Citibank executive held hostage by a fringe radical group in Pakistan. In an ingenious twist on the Stockholm syndrome, the American captive offers to earn his own ransom by investing a multimillion-dollar portfolio on behalf of his Islamic captors. Assisted by his guard Bashir, he begins to harness the power of free markets to accumulate a fortune on behalf of the group's leader, Imam Saleem. Amid violence, corruption, and inequality, Bashir proves to be not just a sharp critic of Western materialism but also an apt pupil of Nick's trading strategies as they form an uneasy alliance.
In the midst of the holiday bustle, young Brooklyn couple Elias and Jenny escape on a much needed getaway to a cozy bed-and-breakfast in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. However, under the watchful eye of the cheery, if slightly off, innkeeper, a ghost seems to haunt their crumbling relationship.
With her trademark rough-edged humanity, observant humor, and lyrical beauty, playwright Annie Baker (The Flick) blends the hyper-real with flickers of the supernatural in a quietly suspenseful and transfixing work.
He's young, he's broke, and his wife is going to have a baby. To make matters even more desperate, Casey is fired from his gig as an Elvis impersonator in a run-down, small town Florida bar. When the bar owner brings in a drag show to replace his act, Casey finds that he has a whole lot to learn about show business — and himself. Featuring a fierce and fabulous cast of queens, The Legend of Georgia McBride celebrates finding your voice and singing your own song.
Provocative director Liesl Tommy brings Broadway savvy, storytelling flair and a revolutionary sensibility to "The Scottish Play," Shakespeare's exploration of murderous ambition, fiendish equivocation and a love of terrifying intimacy. In a world beset by civil war and invasion, Macbeth and his artful lady begin a series of murders, plunging us into the darkest night of the soul. Storms rage, fires burn and night blankets the earth in this tale of sound and fury, accompanied by Shakespeare's richest poetry.
Playwright Andrew Hinderaker weaves a thrilling and theatrical story about a talented magician who has risen to the top of his profession by maintaining absolute control over his performances – as well as his love life. But when his lover forces him to confront his fears, along with his washed up magician father, his act might never be the same. Watch card houses fall apart and reassemble, and be prepared to be amazed again as Hinderaker and actor Brett Schneider weave a magical spell that ends in a secret and powerful testament to the profundity of performance and hope.
In a small South African tea shop in 1950, two black men and a white boy joke and dance together, defying the brutalities of apartheid through their joyous love. But festering issues of family, race, and power are not so easy to ignore, and a single phone call can trigger catastrophe.
Winner of the Drama Desk and London Evening Standard Awards for Best Play, "Master Harold"…and the Boys reveals the profound personal consequences of oppression.
Good fences make good neighbors…right? From the outrageous mind of playwright Karen Zacarías (Destiny of Desire) comes this hot new comedy about the clash of class and culture that pushes well-meaning neighbors over the edge. Tania, a very pregnant Ph.D. candidate, and Pablo, her rising attorney husband, move next door to Virginia and Frank, a deep-rooted D.C. couple with an impeccably trimmed backyard. But when a questionable fence line puts a prize-worthy garden in jeopardy, neighborly rivalry escalates into an all-out border dispute, challenging everyone's notions of race, privilege, and where to draw the line on good taste.
Velvet-throated songstress Nina Simone hypnotized audiences with her signature renditions of standards from the American songbook. But on September 15, 1963, a devastating explosion in Birmingham, Alabama, rocked our entire nation to the core, and from the memory of the four little girls killed in that tragedy came "Four Women" — along with Simone's other activist anthems like "Mississippi Goddam," "Old Jim Crow," and "To Be Young, Gifted, and Black." Through storytelling and song, Nina Simone: Four Women reveals how this iconic chanteuse found her true voice — and how the "High Priestess of Soul" defined the sound of the civil rights movement.
Aaron Posner has crafted his latest re-imagined Chekhov to radically intersect with its Russian progenitor. While Three Sisters plays out in one theatre, half the cast is also performing upstairs in another: Same building, different theatre... No Sisters! While Olga, Masha, and Irina yearn for Moscow, the rest of the household and its hangers-on grapple with their own heartache and longing, bit players in a world whose focus is elsewhere. No Sisters explores the screwed up, endlessly fascinating psyches of Chekhov's lovelorn, world-weary misfits and broken dreamers in a wildly funny play about wildly unhappy people. Commissioned as a part of Studio R&D, Studio Theatre's new works initiative.
A plantation on the brink of foreclosure...a young gentleman falling for the part-black daughter of the estate's owner...an evil swindler plotting to buy her for himself. Meanwhile, the slaves are trying to keep things drama-free because everybody else is acting crazy.
An Octoroon, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' Obie-winning riff on a 19th-century melodrama that helped shape the debate about the abolition of slavery, is an incendiary adaptation. Part period satire, part meta-theatrical middle finger, it's a provocative challenge to the racial pigeonholing of 1859 — and of today.
Multi-Helen Hayes Award winner Edward Gero is Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in The Originalist. This smash-hit show from 2015 returns for a special limited engagement. When a bright, liberal Harvard Law School graduate embarks on a nerve-wracking clerkship with Justice Scalia, she discovers him to be both an infuriating sparring partner and an unexpected mentor. How will their relationship affect one of the most incendiary cases ever to reach the nation's highest court?
This seminal American classic gets a new look from the acclaimed director and adapter Aaron Posner (The Chosen). In this new production, faithful to the script and sanctioned by the Wilder family estate, seven actors portray the key characters in this intergenerational story of two young lovers, George and Emily, and their quintessential American neighborhood of Grover's Corners, New Hampshire...where the townspeople are animated by traditional Japanese Bunraku-style puppets. Helen Hayes Award winner Jon Hudson Odom (Angels in America) plays the Stage Manager, who guides audiences through this beloved and stirring story.
Everything has a price — even our dreams. Victor Franz has returned home to settle his late father's estate. In an attic overflowing with memories and furniture, he meets the enigmatic Gregory Solomon (Hal Linden), a professional appraiser committed to wringing a profit from Victor's past. But before a bargain can be struck, an estranged brother enters the scene to reframe Victor's memories and force them both to reconsider the true cost of personal sacrifices. One of the most personal plays by an American theater giant, Arthur Miller's The Price is a fascinating study of the struggle to make peace with the past and create hope for the future.
Lorraine Hansberry's groundbreaking masterpiece follows the Younger family, who yearn for a better life far from the cramped confines of their Chicago tenement. Hope arrives in the form of an unexpected financial windfall, but relationships are strained when family members realize they have different definitions of the American dream. Whose dreams will be realized and whose deferred? A Raisin in the Sun paints the African-American experience in brilliant and powerful strokes. This portrait of life remains as vibrant and vital today as it was at the play's premiere in 1959.
Seen by over ten million people worldwide, this wildly popular comedy keeps every audience laughing as they try to outwit the suspects and catch the killer. New clues and up to the minute improvisation deliver a different show every night.
Do our belief systems stem from our environment, or are some prejudices hardwired into us? With barbed wit, Lydia R. Diamond (Stick Fly) explores the unavoidable nature of racism and other sticky subjects in the controversial and fiercely funny new play Smart People. Four intellectuals — a doctor, an actress, a psychologist, and a neurobiologist studying the human brain's response to race — search for love, acceptance, and identity in a complex world where political correctness comes face-to-face with cold hard data.
Some wounds refuse to heal. Mary Kathryn Nagle's daring new work, which debuts as the fourth production in Arena Stage's Power Plays initiative, travels the intersections of personal and political truths as well as historic and present struggles. Sarah Ridge Polson, a young Cherokee lawyer fighting to restore her Nation's jurisdiction, must confront the ever-present ghosts of her grandfathers. With shadows stretching from 1830s Cherokee Nation (present-day Georgia) through Andrew Jackson's Oval Office to today's Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, Sovereignty asks how high the flames of anger can rise before they ultimately consume the truth.
Stuck in a backwater town, three sisters and their brother search for meaning amidst missed opportunities and misplaced dreams in the everyday clutter of lackluster birthday presents, pushy in-laws, and underwhelming suitors. Three Sisters pitches the sublime against the ridiculous, the romanticized past against an idealized future, and the individual against the unknowability of life itself in Chekhov's tragicomic masterpiece about life's heartbreak and absurdity.
"You do what you think is right and let the law catch up." So said Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, who – long before Antonin Scalia – changed the face of American jurisprudence. He argued and won the Brown v. Board decision, ending racial segregation in the schools, after a long and strategic journey that began with ending the "separate but equal" mandate in Maryland law schools. Spend an evening with the late Justice at this one-man show, and consider just how far we've come… or have we?
Fortune strains the bonds of friendship. Timon is a wealthy and popular aristocrat with but one flaw—an excess of generosity. Sparing no expense on lavish parties, expensive gifts, and charity, Timon later suffers a downturn of fortune and friendship. Robert Richmond directs Shakespeare's tragic satire about the fickleness of prosperity, with Ian Merrill Peakes in the title role.
Suzan-Lori Parks won the Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for Topdog/Underdog, a thrilling and intimate drama about two African-American brothers – Lincoln and Booth – who, in their struggle to gain a foothold in 21st century America end up turning on each other as they fight for scraps from the table of joy. For this 15th anniversary production, Suzan-Lori has given us permission to cast the show, for the first time, with two actresses of extraordinary talent: Obie™ Award-winner Jessica Frances Dukes and Helen Hayes Award-winner Dawn Ursula.
It's 1969, and the civil rights movement is sending tremors through Pittsburgh's Hill District. At the center of the community is Memphis Lee's diner, slated to be demolished — a casualty of the city's renovation project. Confronted with a rapidly changing world, Memphis and his regular customers struggle to maintain their solidarity and sense of pride. From Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson comes this masterpiece about everyday lives in the shadow of great events, and of unsung citizens who are anything but ordinary.
At Hanover Middle School, two teachers get shockingly down and dirty with a lesson about race, sex, and power. The quick-witted duo goes round after round on the mat of our nation's history in an R-rated, far-reaching, and absolutely unflinching comedy. Underground Railroad Game is a fourth-wall-breaking, audience-implicating experience. Viewers will never forget which side of history they were on.
"This play is not about my mother and me," begins the character of Lisa. Of course, it is about her mother — and her mother's extraordinary ability to heal a changing neighborhood despite her inability to heal herself. In this "solo show with people in it," Kron asks the provocative question "Do we create our own illness?" The answers she gets are much more complicated than she bargained for.
When Eric falls for the handsome Wilson on the subway, he doesn't know what he's in for. Because Wilson is also Nina, a rising drag star in The House of Light, and when a competing house calls a ball for midnight, Eric is drawn into battle. Part turf war, part pageant, all conquest, Wig Out! is a mesmerizing trip into the heart of African-American drag ball culture by way of Ovid, Jay-Z, and Destiny's Child. From the acclaimed author of The Brother/Sister Trilogy and Choir Boy comes a dazzling spectacle about the timeless desires to be desired, find your home, and dominate anyone who throws you shade.