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DC Metro Spotlight: June 2007

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Jacquelyn Piro Donovan, Christiane Noll,
Marc Kudisch, and Emily Skinner
in The Witches of Eastwick
(© Joan Marcus)
The British are coming! The British are coming! Along with heat and humidity, the nation's capital is being invaded in June by two musicals that first saw stage light in London's West End and have finally crossed the pond to make their American debuts.

Arlington's Signature Theatre offers up The Witches of Eastwick (June 5-July 15), a tuneful re-telling of the John Updike novel (and Jack Nicholson movie) abut three love-starved women in a small New England town who wish for the perfect man and end up with the devilish Darryl Van Horne. Marc Kudisch, Christiane Noll, Jacquelyn Piro Donovan, and Emily Skinner star under the direction of Eric Schaeffer, who helmed the show's London premiere. Meanwhile, Landless Theatre Company camps out in the DC Arts Center for Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper, (June 7-July 1), a rock musical by Frogg Moody and Dave Taylor that puts the spotlight on one of London's most famous and most feared denizens of the night.

Also coming our way from England is a new version of August Strindberg's A Dream Play (June 14-July 8). The brand new Constellation Theatre Company has the American premiere of playwright Caryl Churchill's adaptation of the play that helped launch the expressionist movement on stage. Performed at Source Theater, it's the story of a "daughter of the gods" who experiences one of Strindberg's mysterious dream sequences and learns about the meaning of life.

The nation's capital love affair with the Bard continues unabated. Shakespeare Theatre Company takes on Hamlet (June 5-July 29), with Jeffrey Carlson in the title role, while Synetic Theatre Company takes to the Kennedy Center's Family Theater for Hamlet...the Rest is Silence (June 1-June 17), a reprise of their stunning movement-based version of the drama that won the Helen Hayes Award for Best Resident Play. Meanwhile, Washington Shakespeare Company is staging Macbeth (June 14-July 15) at the Clark Street Playhouse in Arlington.

Among the many other high-profile stagings this month are Mrs. Packard (Kennedy Center, June 16-June 24), Emily Mann's fact-based tale of a woman wrongly committed to an insane asylum in 1861. Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company has the world premiere of Sarah Ruhl's latest play, Dead Man's Cell Phone (June 4-July 1), which poses the intriguing question, "How much could someone learn about you if they found your cell phone and began answering your calls?" Gala Hispanic serves up the world premiere of Latido Negro: Peru's African Beat (June 7-July 1) featuring Afro-Peruvian dance, music, and theater performed in Spanish and English; and Theater J has the English-language premiere of Pangs of the Messiah, Motti Lerner's intense examination of the dismantling of Israeli settlements on the West Bank, (June 23-July 29).

Keegan Theatre has two very different works on the boards this month. First up is 1776 (June 1-July 1), the frequently-performed but always stirring musical about the drafting of the Declaration of Independence, at DC's Church Street Theatre. Then it's across the river to Arlington's Theatre On The Run for a revival of Oscar Wilde's sharply witty The Importance of Being Earnest (June 7-July 7).

Olney Theatre Center offers up Donald Marguilies' Brooklyn Boy (June 20-July 29) about a successful author dealing with some personal crises; The Kennedy Center Opera House presents the national tour of the hit musical The Phantom of the Opera (June 20-August 12), and Studio Theatre's Secondstage serves up Souvenir (June 13-July 1), the hilariously true tale of Florence Foster Jenkins (played by Nancy Robinette), a wealthy socialite in 1930s New York who had a loud, off-key voice but became a diva by financing her own opera concerts.

Imagination Stage in Bethesda, one of the area's premiere theaters for family fare, presents The Araboolies of Liberty Street (June 27-August 12), a fun musical showing what happens to a quiet street when a family of colorful and eccentric acrobats moves in.

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