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

Check back regularly for the most up-to-date information about workshops, readings, and short-run/single-performance events.

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.

MARCH

Following acclaimed runs in New York, London, Edinburgh, Melbourne, Boston, and Washington, DC, as well as a six-time extended Off-Broadway engagement leading into Broadway, Alex Edelman’s latest one-man show, Just for Us, returns to DC for a limited two-show engagement, March 21–22 in the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater (both performances at 8:00 PM). Just for Us is an exploration of identity and the collective capacity for empathy. In the wake of a string of anti-Semitic threats pointed in his direction online, Edelman decides to go straight to the source; specifically, Queens, where he covertly attends a meeting of White Nationalists and comes face-to-face with the people behind the keyboards. What happens next forms the backbone of the stories that comprise the award-winning show that had its early beginnings at the Kennedy Center in 2019 as part of Millennium Stage and went on to earn a New York Times Critics’ Pick in 2023. Tickets range from $45-$120 and are available here.

Following its celebrated premiere online in 2021 and in person at Gaston Hall in 2023, Here I Am will be performed outside of Georgetown University for the first time as a centerpiece of Loyola University’s Mission Week, a week-long examination addressing the university’s ties to slavery. Written & Performed by Mélisande Short-ColombHere I Am weaves narrative, music, and multimedia imagery, inviting the audience on a journey celebrating her 11 generations of maternal grandmothers and exploring her relationship with the institution that enslaved her ancestors. Short-Colomb is a direct descendant of families sold into slavery by the Society of Jesus in 1838 to keep Georgetown University solvent. Here I Am performs Tuesday, March 19 at 7:30 PM and Wednesday, March 20 at 7:00 PM at Loyola University’s McManus Theatre, 4501 N. Charles St, Baltimore, MD. Tickets are free, with donations to the Descendants Truth & Reconciliation Foundation encouraged. Register here.

Citizens Association of Georgetown partners with Alliance for New Music-Theatre for a special presentation of its work-in-development DC Emancipation & The Right to Vote, Thursday, March 14 at 7:00 PM at Mount Zion United Methodist Church, 1334 29th St NW, Washington, DC. This production celebrates key figures and events in local Black history leading up to DC’s early Emancipation, including the first votes cast by Black men in Georgetown’s Rose Park. DC Emancipation & The Right to Vote blends scenes drawn directly from local historical records with original music in an exploration of Georgetown’s rich and complex history. The March 14 presentation is free and open to the public, and followed immediately by a reception. More details here.

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company and The Washington Blade present drag legend Sherry Vine, bringing her 60th birthday Smoke and Mirrors tour to Woolly Mammoth (641 D St NW, Washington, DC) Saturday, March 9 at 8:00 PM. The star and writer of The Sherry Vine Variety Show, who describes herself as a “cougar, broken down ex-showgirl with a heart of gold,” grew up in Baltimore and started performing theater at a young age. She discovered drag performance at the University of Southern California and has since toured the world and entertained audiences for three decades with her edgy performances and hilarious song parodies. Her birthday extravaganza includes special guest stars and new parodies, including Kylie, Bruce Springsteen, ABBA, Broadway, and Britney. Tickets start at $35 and are available here.

Goethe-Institut Washington and Johns Hopkins University present two staged readings of Immanuel Kant by Thomas Bernhard, translated by Douglas Robertson and directed by Drew Lichtenberg, in honor of the 300th anniversary of Kant’s birth. Often compared to Franz Kafka, Eugen Ionesco, and Samuel Beckett, Bernhard treats a towering giant of European thought with his trademark blend of comic irreverence and acid-tongued observation. In a world where there is no firm ground, what is reality and what is philosophy? Who is acting insane, and who sees clearly? And has the Enlightenment put us all on the sinking ship of history? The readings will be held Friday, March 8 at 7:30 PM at the Merrick Barn on JHU’s Homewood Campus, 3400 N. Charles St, Baltimore, MD and Sunday, March 10 at 5:00 PM at Goethe-Institut Washington, 1377 R St NW, Washington, DC. Each reading will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Jacob Haubenreich, Katharina Kraus, Drew Lichtenberg, and Douglas Robertson. The events are free and open to the public; register online here.

The Coil Project presents live radio recordings of its WOW-D radio show, The Coil Project Variety Hour, Friday, March 8 at 8:00 PM and Saturday, March 9 at 8:00 PM at Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, 545 7th St SE, Washington, DC. Watch as your favorite voice actors transform into the zany characters of the satirical city of Granola Park. Each night will be a different radio show, to either be enjoyed back-to-back or as stand-alone experiences. The first 50 mins of our evening is the live recording, so the content will be appropriate for all audiences. The last 30 mins is adult content focused. There will be a brief intermission between the two segments. Tickets for the live recordings are pay-what-you-can on a tiered system between $5 and $20, and are available here. *Please note this show will be recorded live and aired on Takoma Radio WOWD 94.3 FM. By attending the show, you agree to have your audio response aired.

Theater J presents What The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds Means to Me: An Evening With Oliver Butler, Thursday, March 7 at 6:00 PM at the Edlavitch DCJCC’s Aaron and Cecile Goldman Theater, 1529 16th St NW, Washington, DC. Join Theater J for a special evening in which Oliver takes us behind the scenes of the theatrical process using excerpts from Paul Zindel’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, in which Oliver’s mother originated the starring role of Tillie. Be ready for a lively discussion – and perhaps to play a role! Tickets are $35 (with discounts available to Theater J subscribers) and can be purchased online here.

Building off of the success of last year’s Mammoth Showcase, an evening of performances and installations from Native American performers and artists, Woolly Mammoth will present Celebrating Native Performance: A Core Partner Welcome on Tuesday, March 5 at 7:30 PM. Woolly Mammoth’s new Core Partners, Miss Chief Rocka (hoop dancer and performer also known as Lunacee) and Mary Phillips (singer and performer, member of Zotigh Singers and Uptown Singerz), will give performances and speak in group discussions about their artistry. The evening also includes Phillips performing along with the Zotigh Singers and an interactive demonstration on hoop dancing from Miss Chief Rocka. Woolly Mammoth will also host its first ever Native American Art Market on Saturday, March 9 from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM. Native American artisans and craftspeople will have booths to display and sell their wares — including goods such as beadwork, jewelry, and more. The market is presented in collaboration with Native beadworker, Senajewen. The day will also include two free workshops, soon to be announced. Tickets for both events are free and can be reserved here.

Shakespeare Theatre Company presents its 35th annual Mock Trial Tuesday, March 5 at 7:30 PM at Harman Hall, 610 F St NW, Washington, DC. This beloved in-person event features U.S. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett presiding over an esteemed bench that includes Judge Patricia Millett; Judge Bradley GarciaJudge Thomas W. Thrash, United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia; and Judge Ana ReyesPamela Talkin will perform the role of the Marshal of the court. Advocates arguing the case will be former federal and state prosecutor, CNN Senior Legal Analyst, and bestselling author Elie Honig and lawyer, political commentator, MSNBC correspondent, and host of The Katie Phang Show, Katie Phang. STC Bard Association Chair Abbe Lowell is the master of ceremonies for the evening. The scenario for the trial is entitled “WHAT’S DONE CANNOT BE UNDONE” – BUT WHO MUST PAY WHAT DAMAGES?: Malcolm v. The Estates of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. This beloved annual tradition will sell out quickly; however, this year the event will be livestreamed, with online access available for $25. Find complete ticket information here.

Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and Mosaic Theater Company present a conversation with playwright Rhiana Yazzie, Saturday, March 2 at 2:00 PM at the museum’s Rasmuson Hall, Level 1. Navajo playwright Yazzie discusses her work on screen and stage, including behind-the-scenes details about developing her newest production, Nancy, which explores the little-known fact that Nancy Reagan has a direct familial connection to Pocahontas. Nancy, produced in partnership with New Native Theater, will play at Mosaic Theater Company from March 28-April 21. The March 2 conversation at the National Museum of the American Indian is free and open to the public. More details are available here.

The Coil Project presents staged readings of Erica Smith‘s A very different kind of truth, Friday, March 1 at 8:00 PM and Saturday, March 2 at 8:00 PM at Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, 545 7th St SE, Washington, DC. A very different kind of truth tells the story of Cass and his sister, Bee. Nine years ago, Cass and Bee disappeared. Cass came back. Bee didn’t. Now, Cass is a pariah and Bee is still gone. Sayer believes Cass’s crazy story… but what counts as belief? And how solid can it really be? This piece has also been selected to be part of the William Inge Theatre Festival this April in Kansas! Tickets for the staged readings are pay-what-you-can on a tiered system between $5 and $20, and available here.

FEBRUARY

IN Series presents a Director’s Salon featuring the creative minds behind its production of Las Místicas de México, Thursday, February 29 at 6:30 PM at the Mexican Cultural Institute, 2829 16th St NW, Washington, DC. Go behind the scenes of IN Series’ upcoming immersive art and music experience that surrounds audiences in a multi-sensory journey through the mystical creative expressions of four centuries of Latina artists. Tickets to the director’s salon are free and available online here.

Signature Theatre presents The Possumneck Playhouse Presents Eli Thomas Neatherwood’s Award-Winning Adaptation of The Canterbury Tales, the 2024 world premiere production of Signature Theatre’s flagship education program, Signature in the Schools. Public performances will be held Monday, February 26 at 7:30 PM and Monday, March 4 at 7:30 PM at Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave, Arlington, VA. Written by Dani Stoller, The Possumneck Playhouse is a comedy about the hilarity that ensues when a fictional community theater attempts to adapt The Canterbury Tales. Students in the 2024 Signature in the Schools production are from Yorktown High School, Washington-Liberty High School, Wakefield High School, H-B Woodlawn Secondary School, Arlington Tech and Career Center, Alexandria City High School, American School and Falls Church High School. In addition to the two public performances, there are also 5 student matinee performances on February 23, February 26, February 29, March 1 and March 4 with free tickets given to schools across the DMV, and transportation for students participating from Arlington County Public Schools provided free by Signature. Tickets to the public performances are $10 and available online here.

Theater of War Productions presents An Enemy of the People: A Public Health Project, Saturday, February 24 at 7:00 PM at the National Academy of Sciences, 2101 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC. The event will present acclaimed actors, public health leaders, scientists, journalists, elected officials, and local community members performing dramatic readings of scenes from Henrik Ibsen’s 1882 play An Enemy of the People to help frame powerful, guided audience discussions aimed at generating connection, understanding, compassion, moral repair, and much-needed healing. An Enemy of the People was first performed in Norway in 1882, and yet it speaks to the present moment as if it were written for our times — to the corrosive influence of power and money in politics, the distortions of the media, and the the many other challenges to public health in our culture today, especially during times of crisis. This hybrid presentation will be presented in person and livestreamed on Zoom. For more information or to reserve free tickets, visit the Eventbrite link here.

Annapolis Opera presents “Donizetti and His Intoxicating Elixir of Love,” part of its Opera Insight Series, Saturday, February 24 at 3:00 PM at Maryland Hall, Room 205, 801 Chase St, Annapolis, MD. Created by bel canto’s foremost composer of the first half of the 19th century, Gaetano Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love has captivated audiences since its 1832 premiere. Maestro Craig Kier, Annapolis Opera’s Artistic and Music Director, explores the music behind this infectious masterpiece that continues to bubble with delight and amusement! This event is free to attend, but space is limited and registration is required. Registration will close 24 hours prior to the event. Register online here.

Young Playwrights’ Theater presents its first Ovation Showcase, my.self, Friday, February 23 at 7:30 PM and Saturday, February 24 at 2:00 PM and 7:30 PM at the Prince George’s County Community College Center for Performing Arts, 301 Largo Rd, Largo, MD. The pieces featured in the showcase were written by YPT students, collected throughout the first half of the school year, and composed into a singular script by YPT Education Director Jared Shamberger. Performed on stage by professional actors, this performance will focus on accepting, living, and loving our bodies and the realization of what “my.self” truly means. Tickets are $25 in-person and $15 livestream, and may be purchased online here.

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company and Philadelphia’s Wilma Theater present on-demand online viewing of their co-production of My Mama and the Full-Scale Invasion. Ukrainian playwright Sasha Denisova was inspired to write this darkly funny and deeply heartfelt new play by her conversations with her octogenarian mother, living through Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. A limited number of virtual seats are available for single-viewing, on-demand access between February 19-March 17 and can be purchased for $29 here. Additionally, The League of Live Stream Theater presents livestream tickets for the February 11 performance, which provide access either for livestreaming starting at curtain time (2:00 PM) or for 24 hours on demand starting 2 hours from the end of the show. Livestream tickets can be purchased for $49 here.

Arts on the Horizon presents its New Works Festival Saturday, February 17 and Sunday, February 18 at Theatre on the Run, 3700 S. Four Mile Run Dr, Arlington, VA. Join Arts on the Horizon for a weekend of new shows and fun activities for the entire family! The festival will feature sneak peeks of two new works in development for a future season: Deep Sea Melody by Ellie Levine (best for ages 0-3) and The Laundromat Show by Joshua Rashon Streeter (best for ages 2-6). Arts on the Horizon will also offer creative play stations, themed crafts, and sensory stations to accompany the two shows. Tickets are $10 per person for one hour timed admission (entry times are 10:00 AM and 11:30 AM on Saturday and 11:00 AM on Sunday) and are available here.

Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington presents Exhibitions, a guided tour of multiple performances by GMCW and its ensembles, including Seasons of Love, Potomac Fever, Rock Creek Singers, GenOUT Youth Chorus, and 17th Street Dance, Saturday, February 17 at Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St NE, Washington, DC. Each tour group is limited to 50 people, and timed-entry tickets (ranging from $20-$45) are required, with multiple entry times available between 4:30 PM and 8:00 PM. ASL interpretation is available for the 7:00 PM tour. More information and tickets are available here.

Live Garra Theatre presents A Thirst for Freedom by C.G. Gardiner, Friday, February 16 at 8:00 PM, Saturday, February 17 at 3:00 PM and 8:00 PM, and Sunday, February 18 at 3:00 PM at the Silver Spring Black Box, 8641 Colesville Rd, Silver Spring, MD. This centerpiece event of Live Garra’s Black History week celebration is a new play that tells the story of what life was like for Black Americans from the end of slavery as an American institution to the beginning of the great migration out of the South. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online here.

Atlas Performing Arts Center presents its 15th annual Atlas Intersections Festival, February 3-April 27 at 1333 H St NE, Washington, DC. The festival will explore critical issues of our time through 34 performances encompassing story (theater), movement (dance), and sound (music). For the full festival lineup and to purchase tickets ($27-$32), visit Atlas’ website here.

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