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DC Metro Spotlight: January 2008

Days of Wonder

Jesse JP Johnson, Adam Halpin,
Charlie Brady, and Steven Booth
in Glory Days
2008 brings with it plenty of brand new work to debut on the stages of the nation's capital. Three years ago, Signature Theatre artistic director Eric Schaeffer was boldly approached by two young men who wanted him to listen to some music they had written. Now, composer/lyricist Nick Blaemire and writer James Gardiner, both 23, will see their very first musical, Glory Days (January 15-February 17), have its world premiere at Signature. A year after graduation, four high school friends attempt to reconnect in a poignant, coming-of-age story, which blends pop, folk, and contemporary rock music.

Music, particularly percussion, plays a significant role in Tarrell Alvin McCraney's The Brothers Size (January 2-February 10) at Studio Theatre. This tense tale of two Louisiana brothers and the mysterious man who threatens to drive them apart has already thrilled audiences in Connecticut, New York, and London.

Two legendary songbirds are represented on local stages. Cookin' at the Cookery (Metrostage, January 24-March 9) is a musical about blues and jazz singer Alberta Hunter, while Ella (Arena Stage, now through February 24) stars Tina Fabrique as the late, great Ella Fitzgerald.

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company has an unusually busy month, including the world premiere of Laura Schellhardt's "supernatural fable" The K of D, an urban legend (January 16-February 10), in which Kimberly Gilbert brings an entire town to life as a woman who seems to have received an eerie power from the dying kiss of her twin brother. A sold-out hit at last summer's Fringe Festival, Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind (January 4-13) is at the Mainstage for a brief encore. Written, directed, and performed by Chicago's Neo-Futurists, the riotous show is a constantly changing attempt to "perform 30 plays in 60 minutes." It will be followed by the national tour of award-winning solo piece No Child... (January 21-February 17), based on writer-performer Nilaja Sun's experience as a teaching artist in the New York City school system.

The Shakespeare Theatre Company offers Argonautika (January 15-March 2), a new take on the Greek myth of Jason and the Argonauts from award-winning writer/director Mary Zimmerman. STC also has a special treat for the kids, with local playwright Norman Allen's On the Eve of Friday Morning (January 12-19), a modern retelling of a classic Persian folktale. A girl spends a night awaiting word of her imprisoned father's fate in contemporary Iran; yet magically, she travels to a distant time to meet strange characters and learn the power of storytelling.

Out in Arlington, Charter Theatre debuts Keith Bridges' dark comedy F. U. -- or, Forgive Us, What Did You Think We Meant? (Theatre on the Run, January 11-February 2); Cops (January 4-January 26), a ground-breaking thriller by Terry Curtis Fox, plays Gunston Arts Center's Theater Two; and Synetic Theatre takes on Romeo and Juliet (Rosslyn Spectrum, January 26-March 8), adding Shakespeare's tragedy of young love to their wordless repertoire of adaptations based on their unique fusion of movement and music.

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