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DC Metro Spotlight: October 2009

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Cate Blanchett in A Streetcar Named Desire
(© Lisa Tomasetti)
Cate Blanchett and her Sydney Theatre Company are headed to DC for the American premiere of their production of A Streetcar Named Desire (Kennedy Center's Eisenhower Theatre, October 29-November 21), Tennessee Williams' sizzling 1947 drama. Liv Ullman directs, while Blanchett, co-artistic director of the company along with husband Andrew Upton, will star as Blanche Dubois. Streetcar's intense story pits the false gentility of pretentious southern belle Blanche against the earthiness of her working class sister Stella and her short-tempered brother-in-law Stanley Kowalski.

The national tour of Jersey Boys finally comes to DC, settling in for a run at the National Theatre, October 1-December 12. The 2006 Tony Award winner for Best Musical tells the story of four blue collar guys who went on to become one of the top-selling acts in the age of Top 40 radio, The Four Seasons. Fronted by high-pitched singer Frankie Valli, the group sold 175 million records in their heyday, including such hits as "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Rag Doll," "Oh What a Night" and "Can't Take My Eyes Off You."

Forum Theatre is staging a full-scale production of Tony Kushner's epic Angels in America (October 5-November 22). Set in 1980's New York, it's a two-part examination of the AIDS crisis, and spiritual and political morality, with both plays -- Part I, Millennium Approaches and Part 2, Perestroika -- presented at Round House Theatre's annex in Silver Spring. Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company is planning a creative staging of Full Circle (October 26-November 29) from Charles L. Mee. This adaptation of the "chalk circle" stories from ancient China and, more recently, German writers including Bertolt Brecht, is set at the fall of the Berlin Wall and will be performed throughout Woolly's facility, with the audience moving with the action.

Ben Jonson's The Alchemist (October 6-November 22) mixes things up at Shakespeare Theatre Company's Lansburgh Theatre. Considered Jonson's best comedy, the play follows the antics of three con-artists who expose the social ills of their fellow Londoners. Studio Theatre has a new musical version of Elmer Rice's expressionistic masterpiece in a "special event" short run. Adding Machine: A Musical (October 14-November 1) mixes music from early 20th century modernists with Tin Pan Alley and gospel to conjure a glimpse of America in the 1920s that contrasts with the popular images of the time. Constellation Theatre is also doing some updating, staging David Ives' adaptation of the Georges Feydeau farce A Flea in Her Ear (October 8-November 8) at Source Theatre.

Landless Theatre Company is telling patrons to dress so as to be prepared for "a splash" at their new show. They don't say what the splash entails, but one clue is that Evil Dead the Musical (October 8-November 1) is based on film-maker Sam Raimi's 80s cult bloodfests. Five college kids travel to the woods and accidentally unleash an evil force in this Washington premiere. Theater J is presenting Neil Simon's Lost in Yonkers (October 21-November 29), a comic and poignant coming-of-age story set in the 1940s.

Washington Stage Guild continues presenting a pair of one-acts by George Bernard Shaw they're collectively calling Strange Bedfellows (October 1-18). Press Cuttings is about the challenges public figures face during a struggle for women's emancipation, and Augustus Does His Bit is Shaw's satiric look at bureaucrats who support war without fighting themselves. It's at Callan Theatre at Catholic University. And there's Much Ado About Nothing (October 21-November 29) at the Folger Elizabethan Theatre on Capitol Hill. Reluctant lovers Beatrice and Benedick are transported to the Caribbean in this update of Shakespeare's romantic comedy.

Moving around the suburbs, Olney Theatre Center has the murder mystery thriller Night Must Fall (October 1-25) on its mainstage. Spanish language (with English surtitles) Teatro de la Luna has its annual Festival of Hispanic Theater (October 13- November 21), celebrating "the best of the Americas and Spain," at Gunston Arts Center's Theater 2 in Arlington. Quotidian Theatre Company fills the Bethesda Writer's Center stage with the area premiere of Conor McPherson's Port Authority (October 23-November 22). It's a tale of the lost loves and missed opportunities of three generations of Dublin men. And at Arlington's intimate Theatre on the Run, Charter Theatre has the world premiere of local writer/director Keith Bridges' Lie With Me (October 23-November 22), in which family members confront each other and their pasts at their mother's deathbed.

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