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DC Metro Spotlight: June 2009

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Stacy Keach and Edward Gero in King Lear
(© Liz Lauren)
Stacy Keach is back in DC to play the title role in King Lear (June 16-July 19) at Shakespeare Theatre Company's Sidney Harman Hall. Tony Award winner Robert Falls remounts his 2006 Chicago production, which captured the stark violence and devastating passion of Shakespeare's masterpiece. The staging will feature graphic violence, sexuality, and nudity as it explores questions of love and duty, power and loss, and good and evil.

Valerie Harper must be using some ripe language as Tallulah Bankhead in Arena Stage's production of Looped (Lincoln Theatre, June 4-28), because they're asking that no children attend. Harper (Emmy-winner and veteran of TV's Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rhoda) stars as the "original celebrity bad girl," who enters a studio to re-record one line of dialogue for her final film. A showdown between an uptight sound editor and the outrageous legend follows.

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company starts off the month with the world premiere of Sheila Callaghan's Fever/Dream (June 1-28). According to the company, this reinvention of Pedro Calderón de la Barca's Life is a Dream... "gleefully skewers corporate America with razor-sharp wit and the biggest cast ever assembled on Woolly's stage." Bethesda's Round House Theatre has the regional premiere of Melanie Marnich's comedy about "how hilarious terminal insomnia can be." In A Sleeping Country (June 1-21), a woman desperate to cure insomnia travels to Venice in search of a Countess who may be a distant relative and might hold both the remedy to her dilemma, and her heart.

More serious is Scena Theatre's production of Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children (Arlington's Clark Street Playhouse, June 1-28), the classic anti-war drama set in the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648). Helen Hayes Award Winner Nancy Robinette has the title role of Anna Fierling, who tries to survive war by trading goods for money, ultimately losing her children. Olney Theatre Center also has an oldie-but-goodie onstage, with George Bernard Shaw's comedy about class, sex, and power, The Millionairess (June 17-July 12). Theater J, too, is rocking a classic in June, staging The Seagull on 16th Street (June 17-July 19), a new adaptation of Anton Chekov's play. It explores the dynamic clash between spiritual yearning and artistic ambitions in the Russian countryside.

Keegan Theatre is occupying Arlington's Theatre on the Run this month with Lincolnesque (June 4-28), a regional premiere of a comedy set in DC. In it, a Capitol Hill speechwriter allows his brother, who believes he is the reincarnation of Abraham Lincoln, to take over his job. Soon, his boss, a mediocre Congressman, starts to seem inspirational. GALA has a world premiere musical called Momía en el closet: The Return of Eva Perón (June 4-28). GALA commissioned the dark comedy, which follows Eva Perón through her complicated after-life. It's presented in Spanish with English surtitles.

Theater Alliance opens Adam Bock's Five Flights (June 12-28) for a brief run at DC's H Street Playhouse. This lyrical play explores what happens when a family must decide what to do with a dilapidated aviary after their mother dies. A few doors down at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, In Series, which specializes in shows for the GLBT community, has Zarzuela 2009! (June 20-28). It's Spanish light opera, and this year's zarzuela is La Gran Via, from 1886, satirizing Madrid in song, plus excerpts from other zarzuelas. The book weaving it all together is in English.

Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking (June 17-July 5) is at Studio Theatre's Metheny Theatre. Joy Zinoman directs Helen Hedman in the one-hander adaptation of the memoir Didion penned after the death of her husband and daughter. Rorschach Theatre ends the month with BrainPeople (Davis Lab Theatre of Georgetown University, June 25-July 26) by José Rivera. Taking place in a not-so-distant future, in a war-torn Los Angeles, the play marks Rivera's return to the mysticism and emotional grit of such plays as References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot.

Kids out of school and driving you crazy? If you can hold on until the end of the month, Adventure Theatre at Glen Echo Park is presenting You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown (June 28-August 8), a musicalization of Charles M. Schulz's classic "Peanuts" comic strip.


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