Josh Kornbluth in Citizen Josh
Josh Kornbluth in Citizen Josh
As election day nears, a number of DC area theater companies are offering work focusing on the responsibilities of citizens in society. Writer/performer Josh Kornbluth thinks that just voting is not enough to keep democracy alive. His new autobiographical show, self-described as "smart and funny," is called Citizen Josh (October 9-26). It's at Arena Stage's temporary home in Crystal City, staged in collaboration with director David Dower.

Journeymen Theater Ensemble looks at what constitutes "ethical behavior" in war time, as well as the responsibility citizens have to ensure that a nation's shared standards are upheld by the government, in the world premiere of As American As (Church Street Theater, October 22-November 15). Ken Prestininzi's thesis plays out in a drama in which a man is held and interrogated in his own basement.

Constellation Theater Company stages the dark comedy, Temptation (Clark Street Playhouse, October 9-November 9), an updated version of the tale of Faust from Václav Havel, anti-Communist revolutionary and former president of the Czech Republic. Havel has re-imagined the story of a man who sells his soul to the devil as a political satire exposing ambition, desire, and political deception. Theater J has the world premiere of Stefanie Zadravec's Honey Brown Eyes (October 22-November 30), about two soldiers, one Serbian and the other a member of the Bosnian resistance.

No one has delved into power politics quite like Shakespeare, and Folger Theatre has a prime example with Henry IV (October 8-November 16). Themes of honor and obligation play out against an unstable political landscape as Henry's rule is threatened by rebellion. And if you like your Shakespeare "Simpsonized," Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company's MacHomer (October 8-12) brings us original Shakespearean text in the voices of characters from The Simpsons. Rick Miller created and performs the off-beat, multi-media show.

There will be plenty of music onstage at the Kennedy Center's Eisenhower Theater, however briefly, with Broadway: Three Generations (October 2-5). As the name suggests, three generations of Broadway classics are represented in abridged concert versions of Girl Crazy, Bye Bye Birdie, and Side Show. The star-studded cast includes Brooks Ashmanskas, Lisa Brescia, Jenn Colella, Ned Eisenberg, Randy Graff, Leslie Kritzer, Michael McElroy, Michael Mulheren, Laura Osnes, James Snyder, Bobby Steggert, and Max von Essen. Alexandria's MetroStage presents a musical biography of a jazz legend with the world premiere of Pearl Bailey...by Request (October 16-December 9). MetroStage regular Roz White stars as the late songbird, performing her most famous hits.

Playwright Daniel MacIvor directs his play, A Beautiful View (October 8-November 2) for Studio Theatre's 2ndStage. It's the story of a thirty-year relationship between two women, combining comedy and drama. Meanwhile, Dublin writer/actor Gerald Murphy's black comedy Take Me Away (Flashpoint, October 2-26) focuses on an increasingly dysfunctional family in the production from Solas Nua.

Did you know there are as many as 1,500 versions of the Cinderella story from various cultures around the globe? Olney Theatre Center has three of them for the kids in Cinderella and Her Sisters (October 9-19). From Iraq is The Little Red Fish and the Golden Clog. From Native Americans is Little Burnt Face, and from Chile, it's Maria La Cenicienta.