Calendar: Play Readings and Workshops in the DMV


Play readings and workshops offer a chance to see exciting new work at various stages of development. Want to see the next big thing while it’s still being crafted? Get in on the ground level and see the creative process in action. Featuring new plays and musicals by local and national artists, here are the upcoming play readings and workshops in the DMV.

January 29-February 4
Ford’s Theatre: Legacy Commissions is described as a new artistic initiative for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) playwrights that will broaden the American theatre canon. The Ford’s Theatre Legacy Commissions are designed to serve as an artistic incubator for stories about social justice and racial history and explore the varied experiences of underrepresented characters and lesser-known historical figures and their contributions to American life. This year’s commissions will receive the following initial readings. All events are free. To register, go online. ($0)

  • Something Moving: A Meditation on Maynard by Pearl Cleaves with direction by Seema Sueko (Feb 2 and Feb 4 at 7:30 pm)
  • Blackbox by Rickerby Hinds; Directed by Thomas F. DeFrantz (Feb 4 at 2:30 pm)
  • Young and Just by Dominic Taylor; Directed by Donald Douglass (Feb 3 at 7:30 pm)

January 22-28
Flying V will present a workshop performance of Vanishing Girl, a new musical with music and lyrics by William Yaneth and book by Hope Villanueva. Vanishing Girl tells the story of Luciana, a bright college student with electricity-related superpowers. The workshop will be presented at the Silver Spring Black Box Theater. For tickets and more information, go online. (from $5)

Walking Shadows Readers Theater hosts a monthly virtual staged play reading via zoom. January’s reading will be Truth Be Told by Playwright Bill Cameron, streaming one night only on Friday, January 27th at 8 PM EST. To register, go online. ($10)

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company: Part of Woolly Mammoth’s “Mammoth Showcase: An Interdisciplinary Gathering of Native Artists,” a reading of Ady by Rhiana Yazzie who will be joined by Regina Victor to present her two-person play that explores the collision of Navajo life and sexuality in this play about real-life muse, Ady Fidelin, a Caribbean dancer and only Black woman living in amongst the artists of the surrealist movement in France. For more information, go online. (Free)

January 15-21
Folger Theatre: The Reading Room is a new play festival inspired by and in conversation with Shakespeare. This year’s inaugural festival includes four premiere plays and six conversations:

  • Hamlet: This radical bilingual reimagining of Shakespeare’s Hamlet created by Reynaldo Piniella and Emily Lyon, with translation by Christin Eve Cato, takes us to the streets of El Barrio as Shakespeare’s text is infused with the Spanish spoken in the streets of present-day New York City. (Jan 19 at 7:30 pm)
  • Our Verse in Time to Come: by Malik Work and Karen Ann Daniels, in collaboration with and directed by Devin E. Haqq. An aging emcee, affectionately known as SOS, gets out of prison after 25 years only to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia. (Jan 20, 7:30 pm)
  • Julius X: by Al Letson, directed by Nicole Brewer. Set in 1965, Julius X amalgamates the lives of Julius Caesar and slain civil rights leader Malcolm X, weaving the text of Shakespeare with bits of African mythology and performance poetry. (Jan 21, 2:00 pm)
  • A Room in the Castle: by Lauren Gunderson, directed by Eddie DeHais. A Room in the Castle finds Ophelia, her handmaid, and her Queen Gertrude on the other end of a wild prince’s antics and realizing just how dangerous life in this castle has become. (Jan 21, 7:30 pm)For more information, go online ($25 for all four readings, $50 all-access pass)

Mosaic Theater‘s ongoing Catalyst Festival returns in January with a two-night presentation of Max and Willy’s Last Laugh by Jake Broder and Conor Duffy, with direction by Tony Award nominee Sheryl Kaller. When German cabaret stars Max Ehrlich and Willy Rosen arrived at the Westerbork Transit Camp in 1942, the star-struck commandant said, “A train leaves here for Auschwitz every Tuesday morning. If you do a cabaret performance on Monday nights, it will lift morale. And if you’re funny, you won’t have to get on the train!” So they were funny. For more information or to buy tickets, go online. (Jan 19-20, $15)