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DC Metro Spotlight: October 2006

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Sally Murphy in My Fair Lady
(© Carol Pratt)
Signature Theatre has the first opening in October with the classic Lerner and Loewe musical My Fair Lady (October 1-November 19), the last show in its current garage spot. It's the ugly duckling tale of Eliza Doolittle (Sally Murphy), the cockney corker who becomes a proper English lady under the tutelage of Professor 'enry 'iggins, er, Henry Higgins (Andrew Long). Director Eric Schaeffer says he's "stripping the show down to its core [ to focus on] the human connection," by getting permission to stage a lean version with just two pianos to handle the score. There are no script changes, but with a younger-than-usual Higgins, he's hoping for some extra sparks between the Professor and Eliza. The design is all black and industrial, incorporating elements of the Signature's performing garage's existing structure. Awwww, we've grown accustomed to the place...

Speaking of sparks, they're mandatory in Twelve Angry Men (October 3 22) at the Kennedy Center's Eisenhower Theater. The revival of the classic and very intense jury-room drama comes to D.C. from the Roundabout Theatre Company and stars Richard Thomas and George Wendt under Scott Ellis' crackerjack direction. Catalyst Theatre Company looks at one angry man with The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (October 4- November 4), Bertolt Brecht's parable explaining how Hitler came to rule Germany through the tale of a down-and-out gangster who grabs power in 1930s Chicago. Brecht wrote the play while in exile from Germany, watching American gangster movies, and the play is both harrowing and hilarious.

With an eye on the upcoming elections, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company has Get Your War On (October 5-14), the stage production adapted and performed by the Rude Mechs of Austin, Texas that brings to life David Rees' biting political comic strips from the internet. We'll let them explain it: "With five actors, some mics and an overhead projector, Get Your War On represents pissed-off, stunned and outraged Americans as they react to 9/11, the Bush administration and this totally awesome War on Terror."

Theater J. kicks off the "Robert J. Brustein Residency Project" with two works from the scholar, director, and playwright. Shlemiel the First (October 8-13), Brustein's "comedic klezmer musical" will have a staged concert reading, followed by the world premiere of Spring Forward, Fall Back (October 19- November 26), a family drama focusing on fathers and sons.

Theater Alliance presents the first East Coast staging of Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye (October 12-November 5) at the H Street Playhouse. Lydia Diamond adapted the Nobel Prize winning Morrison's story about an African-American girl in 1940 Ohio who wishes she had blue eyes. In a different vein, Natural Theatricals stages the world premiere of Jocasta (October 26-November 18) at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial amphitheater in Alexandria Phillip Freund's re-working of part of the Oedipus story from ancient Greece, now set in19th-century Martinique. The wealthy heiress of a plantation fortune is engulfed in the fallout of a long ago youthful indiscretion.

Just in time for Halloween, Round House Theatre has Frankenstein (October 19- November 12) at their Silver Spring annex. Rorschach Theatre, meanwhile, has Monster (October 28-November 26), another adaptation of the Mary Shelley tale of Frankenstein and his creation. Finally, Landless Theatre Company has a stage adaptation of the cult film Night of the Living Dead (October 6-28).

For the kids, the Kennedy Center's Family Theater has the world premiere of Teddy Roosevelt and the Treasure of Ursa Major (October 13-November 2), a look at the legendary president and his family in the White House.

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