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DC Metro Spotlight: June 2008

Mystery Men

Brad Oscar and J. Fred Shiffman
in The Mystery of Irma Vep
(© Scott Suchman)
Brad Oscar (Broadway's The Producers and Spamalot) returns to Arena Stage, where he starred in Cabaret and Damn Yankees, as half the cast in The Mystery of Irma Vep (June 6-July 13). Charles Ludlum's riotous, quick-change comedy pairs Oscar with J. Fred Shiffman, and the two actors will play all eight parts as they lampoon Victorian melodrama, and classic suspense and horror films, by utilizing bits of old vaudeville routines, clever satire, cinematic allusions, and sight gags.

Studio Theatre hosts Obie Award-winners The Civilians with This Beautiful City (June 11-July 6). It's described as "a play with music," based on real-life interviews exploring the Evangelical Christian political movement and its effect on Colorado Springs, home to many Evangelical groups. Expect the project to examine the shifting line between church and state, and how different beliefs both coexist or conflict within a community.

DreamCity Theatre Group chronicles the last day of a veteran Metro bus driver as he navigates a bus route through neighborhoods undergoing fundamental change. The 70 (Atlas Performing Arts Center, June 19-29) weaves its way along 7th Street and Georgia Avenue from DC's SouthWest waterfront all the way to Silver Spring. A "community conversation" follows the show.

Like new plays? Lots of them? Try The Source Festival (The Old Source Theater, June 21-July 13). It's a showcase for playwrights, actors, and directors to highlight new work. The festival features ten-minute plays, a 24-hour "performance-building experience," one-act plays and "interdisciplinary" work. That last category pairs artists from different disciplines to create new performance pieces. High-profile local directors such as Eric Schaeffer, Joy Zinoman, Michael Kahn, Blake Robison, and Howard Shalwitz are guiding some of the productions.

Agustín Lara: Boleros & Blues (June 12-29) is the world premiere of a musical commissioned by GALA Theatre. It is based on the life and songs of Mexican composer Agustín Lara, who penned such tunes as "Granada" and "Solamente una vez." The show is described as "a sensual musical voyage through the lives, loves and ballads" of the legendary songwriter. All performances are in Spanish with English surtitles.

Olney Theatre Center presents the Washington area premiere of David Hare's Stuff Happens (June 18-July 20), a "fly on the wall" look at the Oval Office while George Bush, Don Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Condie Rice, and Colin Powell cooked up that little adventure in Iraq. It's dark humor and thoughtful drama, mixing facts with Hare's imagination to expose how and why we went to war.

Landless Theatre Company presents Debbie Does Dallas: The Musical (DC Arts Center, June 5-30). And, yes, it's just what it sounds like. Late nights, the troupe will also be showcasing the winner of its "So Bad, It's Good!" play competition, Deep Inside Oz, by Randy Gross (DC Arts Center, June 13-28).

The repair work at rain-damaged Bethesda Theatre is finished, just in time for World of Jewtopia (June 5-22). Comics Sam Wolfson and Bryan Fogel have transformed their stand-up act into a full-fledged theatrical presentation. It's a multimedia show poking fun at their family and friends.

There are some old faves to be seen this month, too. Shakespeare Theatre Company has The Imaginary Invalid (June 10-27) from Moliére, a witty farce that takes on medical quacks of 17th century France. Disney's The Lion King (June 26-August 24) comes roaring into the Kennedy Center's Opera House, the first time the winner of six Tony awards has visited here. Mamma Mia! (June 24-July 13) makes what seems to be an annual appearance, stopping at the National Theatre. And Spooky Action Theatre has Christopher Durang's dark farce of divorce, alcoholism, madness, and illness, The Marriage of Bette and Boo (June 5-29), at The Black Box Theatre at Montgomery College's Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus.


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