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DC Metro Spotlight: December 2010

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Florence Lacey in Sunset Boulevard
(© Chris Mueller)
The Tony award-winning musical Sunset Boulevard is finally ready for its DC close-up, at Signature Theatre, December 7 - January 13. Eric Schaeffer directs Andrew Lloyd Webber's lush version of the legendary Hollywood story, based on the classic Billy Wilder film. Florence Lacey stars as the faded star of silent movies Norma Desmond. Webber's score features "With One Look," "As If We Never Said Goodbye" and "Perfect Year."

Another visitor from the North is due in town this month, and we're not talking Santa Claus this time. It's the national tour of the smash Broadway revival of South Pacific (December 14 - January 16) at the Kennedy Center. The production recently closed in New York after winning seven 2008 Tony Awards, including Best Musical Revival, and playing to sold-out houses for two and a half years. Based on James Michener's Pulitzer Prize winning book Tales of the South Pacific, the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic is set on a tropical island during World War II and tells the sweeping romantic story of two couples whose happiness is threatened by war and prejudice. The score includes some of Broadway's biggest-ever hits, including "Some Enchanted Evening," "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair," "Younger Than Springtime," "Bali Ha'i," and "There is Nothin' Like A Dame."

Tunes from the 1940s are also featured as we experience the transformation of American swing music into new forms, ranging from be-bop to rock-and-roll, in Swingtime! (December 3 -12). It's part of the In Series at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. Showbiz, war, and discrimination make up the story as six iconic entertainers reunite in New York where one of them headlines a popular radio show.

Studio Theatre's 2ndStage has a very different energy flow with their production of Mojo (December 1 -26). The raucous comedy features Underground music and put British playwright Jez Butterworth on the map 15 years ago, winning the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy. Just as a hot club in London's SoHo is reaching its pinnacle, its headliner is kidnapped and the owner is found sawed in two behind the club. Studio promises the music is loud, the comedy intense.

Elsewhere around town, it's mostly mistletoe and holly. But the mistletoe has some sharp edges over at Theater J, where they're preparing for the arrival of The Kinsey Sicks. The group, describing itself as America's favorite Dragapella Beauty-Shop Quartet, stars in Oy Vey in a Manger (December 18 - January 2). Combining campy parodies and raucous comic schtick, the Sicks perform such numbers as "I Had a Little Facial," "Harried Little Christmas," and " 'Tis the Season to Drink Stoli." Just as pointed but focusing more on current events is A Girl's Guide to Washington Politics (December 8 - January 9) at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. Second City Theatricals visits from Chicago for the show, bringing with them an original revue all about Washington politics.

1st Stage in Tysons Corner presents The Mousetrap (December 10 - January 9), Agatha Christie's landmark murder mystery. The place: a country inn stocked with an array of whimsical guests. As a terrible blizzard bears down, a murder is committed and everyone's a suspect. A tempestuous night also features prominently in this month's offering from Bethesda's Round House Theatre. It's the area premiere of a stage adaptation of Madeleine L'Engle's sci-fi kid classic A Wrinkle in Time (December 1 -26). On a dark and stormy night, the eccentric Mrs. Whatsit arrives at the home of Meg Murry, a tomboy whose scientist father vanished over two years ago under mysterious circumstances. Mrs. Whatsit, Meg, and others are transported through time and space to rescue Meg's father from evil forces holding him prisoner on another planet.

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