Carolee Carmello in Saving Aimee
(© Joan Marcus)
Carolee Carmello in Saving Aimee
(© Joan Marcus)
The month's most anticipated offering is at Virginia's Signature Theatre, where the busy Eric Schaeffer directs Tony Award nominee Carolee Carmello in Saving Aimee (April 10-May 13), a new musical with book and lyrics by Kathie Lee Gifford and music by David Pomeranz and David Friedman, about the famed evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson.

In the theater's smaller space, Schaeffer is simultaneously directing the world premiere of the Signature-commissioned Nest (April 24-June 24), which is based on the real-life story of the first woman executed in Pennsylvania, a Mennonite accused of infanticide in 1809.

There's royalty on the way to the Kennedy Center, which is offering one of the most anticipated events of the ongoing Shakespeare in Washington festival. England's Royal Shakespeare Company will present the Bard's Coriolanus (April 13 - May 6), with William Houston, Janet Suzman, and Timothy West starring in the tale of a brilliant general whose pride and isolation become his downfall.

Downtown, Shakespeare Theatre Company tackles the master's bloody tale of revenge, Titus Andronicus (April 3 -May 20). Across the river in Arlington, Washington Shakespeare Company counters with Edward III (through April 29), about the English King who led his army through France.

Its authorship may be more shaky than it is Shakespearean, but Taffety Punk Theatre Company notes that their world premiere show Cardenio Found (Woolly Mammoth's Melton Rehearsal Hall, April 11-22) should be a rocking good time. At Woolly's mainstage, there's the area premiere of She Stoops to Comedy (thru April 29), David Greenspan's riff on the multiple layers of cross-dressing in Shakespeare's As You Like It.

Over at Arena Stage, there's a new production of Wendy Wasserstein's Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Heidi Chronicles (April 6-May 13), starring Ellen Karas, at the Fichandler, while the Kreeger hosts the Mabou Mines' production of Peter and Wendy (April 27-June 24), in which the story of Peter Pan is reimagined with East-Asian puppetry and a Celtic musical score.

Round House Theatre also has offerings on its two stages: Dostoevsky's masterpiece Crime and Punishment (April 4-29) is on the Bethesda mainstage, while local stage stalwart Rick Foucheux takes over the Silver Spring blackbox annex for The Director: The Life and Times of Elia Kazan (April 19 -May 13).

Ever wondered how different musical geniuses, such as Stephen Sondheim, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Andrew Lloyd Webber, or Kander and Ebb might handle the same simple storyline? You can sorta find out in Arlington at MetroStage's production of The Musical of Musicals: The Musical! (April 12-June 3), the spoofy show that shows us how top writers might put their stamp on the same material.

Landless Theatre Company stages the world premiere of Renaissance (DC Arts Center, April 20-May 19), as survivors of the Jewish Nazi Holocaust struggle with forgiveness and retribution. Rorschach Theatre has the area debut of Jose Rivera's References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot (April 11-May 13), at Sanctuary Theatre of the Casa del Pueblo Methodist Church. The Washington Stage Guild has the DC premiere of Opus (April 19-May 20), an offbeat look at the tensions within a string quartet, at Arena Stage's 14th and T Street annex. For something a bit older, the American Century Theater is presenting Jason Miller's 1973 Tony winning drama That Championship Season (through April 28) at Arlington's Gunston Arts Center.

In a class all its own, Synetic Theatre works their magic movement and stagecraft on a new adaptation of Animal Farm (April 26-May 20) at the Rosslyn Spectrum. Paata and Irina Tsikurishvili's personal experiences living under Soviet communism inform their take on the famous commentary on Soviet Russia.

And if you still have energy, consider taking the youngsters to Debbie Allen's latest show at the Kennedy Center's Family Theatre, Alex in Wonderland (April 6 -April 15), in which a boy interacts with characters from famous books.