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DC Metro Spotlight: April 2008

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Tracy Lynn Olivera, Jace Casey, and
George Dvorsky in The Happy Time
(© Scott Suchman)
The four-month-long Kander & Ebb Celebration continues at Signature Theatre, as the 1968 musical The Happy Time (April 1-June 1) gets a rare staging. It's the tale of a world-renowned photographer who returns home to revisit his childhood, and ends up inspiring a young nephew who is having a tough time growing up. John Kander has looked in on rehearsals, tweaking the lilting score he wrote four decades ago, and making this a special treat, in the intimate ARK.

American Century Theatre digs up another little-seen gem, Eccentricities of a Nightingale (Arlington's Gunston Arts Center, April 4-26). It's better known as Summer and Smoke. Tennessee Williams re-wrote his 1948 drama about a lonely minister's daughter and her relationship with a rowdy, undisciplined doctor for a Broadway revival in 1964. Continuing on the "old-but-maybe-new-to-you" theme, Quotidian Theatre Company is staging The Mollusc (The Writer's Center in Bethesda, April 4-May 4). The Hubert Henry Davies farce first hit the London stage in 1907.

The performance group rainpan 43 is at Studio Theatre for three weeks with three of their 43 comic shows combining slapstick, pratfalls, and sleight-of-hand, billed as The rainpan 43 Festival (April 1-20). Their original hit, all wear bowlers, and Amnesia Curiosa are in the Mead Theatre, while their newest show, machines, machines, machines, machines, machines, machines, machines is at Studio's Stage 4. (That last one may have something to do with machines.)

Like literary adaptations? The Screwtape Letters (April 17-May 18) is a stage version of the C.S. Lewis classic, focusing on letters sent by a "senior demon" named Screwtape to his protégé, Wormwood, on how to undermine Christian faith and promote sin. The FPA Theatre Company production was a hit in New York and is at The Lansburgh Theatre downtown. Scena Theatre presents the world premiere of a stage version of Albert Camu's novel, The Plague (April 11-May 18) at The Warehouse Theatre. And Nigel Williams' adaptation of William Golding's classic novel Lord of the Flies (April 2-27) is at Round House Theatre's Bethesda mainstage.

Fans of Spanish writer Garcia Lorca can see one of his most famous works at GALA Theatre. Bodas de Sangre (Blood Wedding) (April 3-27) promises "forbidden love, lust, and betrayal" in a show mixing song, chant, poetry, music, and visual symbolism. (It's performed in Spanish with English surtitles.) Charter Theatre presents Am I Black Enough Yet? (Arlington's Theatre on the Run, April 11-May 3), playwright Clinton Johnston's alternately funny and poignant look at America's deepest, most intractable issue.

Forum Theatre brings "modern-day Purgatory" to The H Street Playhouse for the DC premiere of The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (April 13-May 4). The Bible's great villain is on trial, and everyone from Mother Teresa to Satan is called to testify. Elsewhere around town, MetroStage presents The Stephen Schwartz Project (April 10-May 25), a new revue based on the work of Broadway and Hollywood composer/lyricist Stephen Schwartz . Hairspray (April 15-20) is at the Warner Theatre, and Smokey Joe's Café (April 3-May 11) settles in for a stay at the grand, new Bethesda Theatre.

African Continuum Theatre takes us back to early 20th century New York and the story of a lonely African-American spinster who finds her dreams of love and prosperity "almost come true." Intimate Apparel (April 24-May 18) is from playwright Lynn Nottage. Shakespeare Theatre Company presents the Bard's Roman plays onstage in rep at Sidney Harman Hall this month as Antony & Cleopatra (April 26-June 6) alternates with Julius Caesar (April 27-June 6).

Children have a world premiere at the Kennedy Center this month. Kite on the Wind: A Tale of Pakistan (April 4-12), produced in cooperation with Pakistani National Council on the Arts, introduces legendary characters from Pakistani mythology and literature.

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