Calendar: Play Readings, Workshops, and Theater Events in the DMV

Prologue Theatre presents a reading of Monsters by Michael Mobley on Friday, May 19 and Saturday, May 20 as part of its FOREWORD New Works Series. Selected playwrights are paired with a creative team of artists, including a director, performers, and dramaturg, to work together for two weeks on their script and then present a reading to our community. More information can be found here.

Prologue Theatre presents a reading of A Wake At Singh’s by Aeneas Hemphill on Friday, May 5 and Saturday, May 6 as part of its FOREWORD New Works Series. Selected playwrights are paired with a creative team of artists, including a director, performers, and dramaturg, to work together for two weeks on their script and then present a reading to our community. More information can be found here.

UrbanArias presents a staged reading of the new musical Inbox Zero by the acclaimed composer and librettist team Peter Hilliard and Matt Boresi. Inbox Zero will be performed on May 4, 2023, at 8 PM at Keegan Theatre in Washington, D.C. (1742 Church St NW). Inbox Zero is the story of Jackie, a man whose desire for monetary gain supersedes his understanding of human nature. As he struggles to provide for his wife and child, an internet scam captures his imagination and attention, and he is soon embroiled in an imagined international intrigue that convinces him to drain the family bank account in hopes of a million-dollar get-rich-quick scheme. The monodrama features baritone Keith Phares, with members of the Inscape Orchestra conducted by UrbanArias Artistic Director Robert Wood. Dennis Whitehead Darling directs. Tickets are available here ($25).

Fickle Theatre Company, (a new company to the DMV) is producing a workshop production of Joan at Woolly Mammoth’s Rehearsal Hall on April 24th at 7:30 PM. Joan is a musical with a book, music, and lyrics by Al Carmines. Carmines was a five-time Obie Award winner and a huge figure of the Off-off-Broadway movement of the ’60s and ’70s. This will be the first production of the rarely produced work since 1975. Ticket details coming shortly.

Prologue Theatre presents a reading of The Brehon by Eoin Carney on Friday, April 21 and Saturday, April 22 as part of its FOREWORD New Works Series. Selected playwrights are paired with a creative team of artists, including a director, performers, and dramaturg, to work together for two weeks on their script and then present a reading to our community. More information can be found here.

Arena Stage, Angels in America Part Two: Perestroika, a reading. In addition to its fully staged production of Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches, Arena Stage will also host a one-night-only reading of Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika, on Monday, April 17, at 7:00 p.m. in its Arlene and Robert Kogod Cradle, that will be free and open to the public. More information, including how to RSVP, will be shared at a later date.

Rorschach Theatre announces staged readings of three new plays for the 2023 Magic in Rough Spaces New Play Lab. American Dream by Trish Cole directed by Rebecca Rovezzi on April 1, 2023, at 2:30 PM; Even When the World Burns I Am Still With You by Elizabeth Shannon, directed by Madeleine Regina on April 2, 2023, at 2:30 PM; and Human Museum by Miyoko Conley, directed by Randy Baker on April 2, 2023, at 7:30 PM. Each public staged reading, will include a designer’s presentation of a theoretical design and a post-show discussion with the playwright, director, and performers. The staged readings return to the Atlas Performing Arts Center for the first time since 2019, and take place on the set of Rorschach’s upcoming production, Sometimes the Rain, Sometimes the Sea, which itself was workshopped in 2022’s Magic in Rough Spaces. Launched in 2018, Magic in Rough Spaces develops new plays that utilize magic realism or otherwise present “impossible” theatre. The readings are free and tickets can be purchased here.

Woolly Mammoth Theatre presents “The Jungle VR Experience,” a free, VR experience of the Calais refugee camp, the community that inspired the production of The Jungle which is playing at Shakespeare Theatre Company (March 28-April 16 in a joint production with Woolly Mammoth). Oculus headsets available at Woolly Mammoth offer a 360-degree VR experience of the short film: Home: Aamir. Home: Aamir is a collaboration between the National Theatre, Surround Vision, and Room One. Directed by Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre, Toby Coffey, Head of Digital Development for the National Theatre, and Erfan Saadati of Surround Vision, the film follows 22-year-old Aamir, who begins a journey across Sudan, Libya, the Mediterranean, Italy, and France whilst escaping the threat of murder in Sudan. Advanced reservations for a 30-minute time slot (5 spaces open at each time) are highly recommended. The VR Experience is available on April 1, 2, 8, and 15 from 2:30-6:30. Further information can be found here.

Walking Shadows Readers Theatre presents Spittles, a new play by Maximilian Gill, streaming Friday, March 31 at 8 PM. Plot summary: Tracy has one dream: Make it big playing country music. She is all set for an important audition at Spittles, her local country and western bar in southern Maine. Unfortunately, the venue has been remade into a heavy metal bar overnight. Now Tracy has a potential disaster on her hands as her brand of acoustic string music will not go over well with an audience expecting head-banging metal. Tickets can be purchases here ($10-$50).

Molly’s Salon: Tazewell Thompson, Monday, March 13, 7-8 PM. During her final months as Arena Stage artistic director, Molly Smith will sit down – live and in person – with the industry’s brightest thinkers, creators, and doers for intimate conversations about theater’s past, present, and future. While the conversations are free and open to the public, tickets must be reserved in advance here.

Psalm’s Salon at Studio Theatre will feature Ben’s Chili Bowl and the artists behind Clyde’s on Monday, March 13th at 7:30 PM. Psalm’s Salons highlight the work of Black creatives, signal boost local and Black-owned businesses, kick back to live music, and promote a sense of community. At this Salon, Psalmayene 24 will be talking with some of the cast and crew of Studio’s current production, Lynn Nottage’s Clyde’s, including director Candis C. Jones, costume designer Danielle Preston, and cast members Dee Dee Batteast (Clyde) and Kashayna Johnson (Letitia). This event is free and no registration is required. More details are here.

Rorschach Theatre invites the public to an online salon with John Fenn from the American Folklife Center on Monday, March 13 from 7-8 PM on Zoom. The event is part of Rorschach’s Psychogeographies Project: Dissonant City which digs into the history of music in DC. Chapter 3 takes us into the world of ethnomusicologist Alice C. Fletcher and the occasion on which she made the first recording of an Arirang (Korean Folksong) performed by a group of young Korean men causing quite a stir at Howard University in 1896. Join the talk on zoom here.

Walking Shadow Readers Theatre presents is this all there is by Dave Osmundsen on Friday, February 24th at 8 pm. Synopsis: Jamie, a non-binary Autistic lesbian, shows up at their aunt Theresa’s apartment one night after a contentious fight with their mother Barb. Over the next few days, these three, along with Theresa’s Autistic boyfriend Tyson, confront where they’ve been, where they are, and where they’re going. This is a virtual event. For tickets ($10-$50) or information, go online.

Spooky Action Theatre presents The Magician’s Daughter by Lila Rose Kaplan on February 13th at 7:00 PM. Synopsis: The Magician Prospero and his daughter Miranda dazzle their audiences until the day Miranda quits. A magical, fantastical, shape-shifting, Shakespeare-meets-Kafka approach to the hero(ine)’s journey, where the line between reality and illusion is fluid and a true metamorphosis lies at its heart: the arc of a parent-child relationship, and all the shifting identities that come during that journey. Directed by Acadia Barrengos. For more information, go online.

Signature Theatre presents Trouble (at the Vista View Mobile Home Estates) written and directed by Audrey Cefaly on Monday, February 6, 2023, at 7 PM
In small-town Alabama, ex-Mill worker Euba desperately does not want the birthday party her mother insists on throwing for her. On the eve of the celebration with their mutual friends, underlying tensions erupt to the surface in this surprising and compassionate dramedy of generational scars and the complicated relationship between mothers and daughters. Admission is free. For more information, go online.

Spooky Action Theatre presents Dawn by Tuyết Thị Phạm, directed by Raymond Caldwell on February 6 at 7:00 PM.
Against the scarring trauma of historical violence, a mother and daughter navigate their own legacy of love and loss. Mary, a first-generation Cambodian American, struggles with guilt, anger, and grief as she wrestles with her parents’ experiences—and contrasting faiths—as survivors of the Khmer Rouge. She ultimately must find a way to reconcile her own beliefs with theirs to find a path to healing.  (Artistic Director of Theater Alliance) Admission is free. For more information, go online.

Best Medicine Rep: February 5, 2023 at 2:30 PM.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day comes eight short plays about love – between lovers, friends, neighbors, and livestock. This is part of our free play reading series sponsored by the Nora Roberts Foundation. Admission is free. No tickets required. written by Mark Harvey Levine and directed by Mia Amado. For more information, go online. ($0)

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 Cleage 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)