Onstage, Alexandria: June 2024

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Onstage, Alexandria: June 2024
Some of the cast members from the ‘Magic Flute’ production. (Photo/Liz Lauren)
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By Mark Edelman

Now that summer’s here, why not enjoy these DMV plays and musicals in air-conditioned comfort?

“IS HE DEAD?,” Little Theatre of Alexandria, until June 8

In this comedy by Mark Twain, adapted by Tony Award-winning playwright David Ives, a young painter in debt discovers – to his chagrin – that only dead artists achieve fame and fortune. Not surprisingly, mischief ensues. 

“MEXODUS,” Mosaic Theater, until June 15

History meets hip-hop in this musical about Southern slaves who sought freedom in Mexico instead of heading north, a different and surprising route on the Underground Railroad. 

“METAMORPHOSES,” Folger Theater, until June 16

Mary Zimmerman transforms Ovid’s mythological tales of joy and heartbreak among Aphrodite, Midas, Cupid and other gods into a thrilling theatrical event.

“PROBLEMS BETWEEN SISTERS,” Studio Theatre, until June 16

Two pregnant sisters – one a visual artist, the other an artist of the con variety – converge on a remote family cabin in Vermont. Trouble ensues in this funny and savage take on domestication, creativity and the elusive demands of the female. 

“THE MATCHBOX MAGIC FLUTE,” Klein Theatre, until June 16

Adapted from Mozart’s comic opera by Mary Zimmerman, Prince Tamino and Princess Pamina consort with dragons, a man who is a bird, trials by fire and water and a battle between Day and Night. 

“TOPDOG/UNDERDOG,” Round House Theatre, until June 23

Suzan-Lori Parks writes this Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning tragedy about two brothers locked in a cycle of love and resentment compounded by the challenges of poverty and racism. In a devastating climax, the brothers’ lifelong tug-of-war raises an age-old question: Can we ever really change the cards we’re dealt? 

“LONG WAY DOWN,” Olney Theatre, until June 23

Based on the award-winning young adult novel by DMV native Jason Reynolds, this powerful story of family honor turns a sharp and deadly light on gun violence. It’s an emotional hip-hop journey that brings our hero face-to-face with the ghosts of his past as he tries to make the biggest decision of his life. 

“THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM,” Keegan Theatre, June 1 to June 23

What happens when your typical Indian software engineer defies her family, quits her job and moves to the United States to pursue an acting career? Things don’t turn out quite like she imagined in Priyanka Shetty’s autobiographical production about conflicting cultures, unforgettable love and the desperation of not belonging anywhere. 

“THE HATMAKER’S WIFE,” Theater J, June 5 to June 25

Magic and realism collide in this modern fable about learning to love. A cross between ghost story and a Yiddish fable, this moving and whimsical new play redefines home, family and love. All this plus talking walls and a golem with a taste for Cheetos. 

“BYE BYE BIRDIE,” The Kennedy Center, June 7 to June 15

In this light-hearted satire of the music industry, teen idol Conrad Birdie is drafted into the army, much to the chagrin of his songwriter, Albert. In one last money-making effort, Albert and his long-suffering girlfriend Rosey arrange for Birdie to perform Albert’s song on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and give one last kiss to a lucky fan. Once again, Jeffrey Finn and his team have conscripted an all-star cast from Tony Award winner Christian Borle as Albert and firecracker Krysta Rodriguez as Rosey to scene grabbers Caroline Aaron and Broadway vet Richard Kind to pilot this fun-filled flight. 

“LETTERS TO KAMALA/DANDELION PEACE,” Universalist National Memorial Church, June 8 to June 30

Ari Roth’s Voices Festival Productions presents this double bill by Yale playwright Rachel Lynett, a spiritual visitation from three trailblazing women lost to history in act one and the ridiculous turf warfare of a community garden in act two. Should audiences leave feeling both inspired and infuriated, that’s the point. 

“IS GOD IS,” Constellation Theatre Co., June 13 to July 14

In this fierce and funny drama, twin sisters embark on a journey across America to exact righteous revenge on the man who betrayed their family. Constellation concludes its 17th season with this epic Afropunk adventure. 

“THE KITE RUNNER,” The Kennedy Center, June 25 to June 30

Based on the international best-selling novel, this powerful play follows one man’s journey to confront his past and find redemption after a childhood torn apart in Afghanistan. Told across two decades and two continents, “The Kite Runner” shows us all that, against all odds, we can be good again.

“FUNNY GIRL,” The Kennedy Center, June 25 to July 14

The bittersweet story of the indomitable Fanny Brice, a plain-looking Jewish girl from the Lower East Side who became one of the funniest and most beloved performers in Broadway history. Her love life didn’t go quite as well as her routines for the legendary Florenz Ziegfeld: therein lies the pathos in this Broadway hit. 

“BROADWAY IN THE PARK,” Filene Center at Wolf Trap, June 29

Signature Theatre’s fourth annual alfresco tribute to musical theater stars Tony Award winner Laura Benanti and Jordan Fisher – the latter from the Broadway casts of “Sweeney Todd” and “Hadestown” – along with a whole host of the DMV’s best and brightest talent. Tickets at wolftrap.org.

The writer is a playwright who loves writing about theater. He is a lifetime member of the Broadway League and a Tony voter.

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