Woolly Mammoth Theatre announces 2024 summer and fall lineup

Celebrating its 45th anniversary, the company closes out the year with a new play by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, a new Second City show, and lots more.

Celebrating its 45th anniversary, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company announces its summer and fall productions closing out 2024, featuring a New York Times Critic’s Pick from Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and a new show with The Second City. The year also includes a summer production of Julia Masli’s ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, fresh from sold-out runs in Edinburgh, London, Sydney, and New York — plus a special presentation of a new piece by Waterwell exploring the testimonies of Anita Hill and Christine Blasey Ford.

“One of our guiding principles at Woolly is to pursue relentless inquiry and experimentation on behalf of the American theater,” says Maria Manuela Goyanes, Artistic Director.  “Yearslong conversations with colleagues around the country about the ‘single ticket takeover’ and its effect on patron loyalty spurred us to disrupt Woolly’s old subscription model with the Golden Ticket. Now, borrowing from the London theater playbook, we want to focus our attention (and yours) on the brilliant projects happening just in the next six months. We are not only leaning into our culture’s changing attention spans but also working to further build Woolly’s nimbleness and adaptability as a theater company. Know that there will ALWAYS be more tremendous artists coming up just around the corner, as there have been now for 45 years! It’s Woolly Mammoth where we want you to come, hang out, and experience mind- and soul-expanding theater all year round.”

“Case in point: Our summer starts off with Edinburgh breakout star Julia Masli coming to solve all our problems, and lord knows this election year, DC sure could use her help,” Goyanes continues. “Then we get to welcome back DC’s own Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, who now can add Tony nominee to his hefty list of accolades! THE COMEUPPANCE is set in PG County and features rich, suspenseful, and superbly skillful writing. It also gives us the chance to welcome Company Members Jon Hudson Odom and Erika Rose back to our stage. This is our second collaboration with our sister theatre in Philly, The Wilma, fresh from winning a Helen Hayes Award for our first one. September will also see the first of what will be a series of special presentations, starting with THE FORD/HILL PROJECT. The idea of these presentations is to connect our audiences with works that excavate our past to better explore our present. We end the year with a new show from The Second City with DANCE LIKE THERE’S BLACK PEOPLE WATCHING that will be as hilarious, biting, and perfect for the holiday season as it can be.”

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Lobby, photo courtesy of Woolly Mammoth.

Woolly Mammoth also announces two new Weissberg Commissions with Noelle Viñas and Esco Jouléy. The theater will continue to foster powerful relationships and innovative programs through its hyper-local Connectivity work, including devising projects with new Core Partners Miss Chief Rocka and Mary Phillips about the intersections of Native American cultures and hip-hop and engaging Indigenous artisans. Woolly will celebrate World Pride with Core Partner Black in Space and the return of the much-lauded Black Joy Disco, a space for Black LGBTQ+ joy and culture to reign supreme. Throughout the season, Woolly will hold a series of art markets and affinity nights, and curate other dynamic programming in conversation with each Woolly production.

SUMMER & FALL LINEUP

This summer, Julia Masli’s wild and zany ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hits the Woolly stage after successful, buzzed-about runs at Edinburgh Fringe and in Melbourne, London, and New York. As Masli states in her bio, “Julia Masli is an award-winning clown from Estonia, based in London. All she wants to do is solve people’s problems…but this plan keeps going wrong as she continually wins prizes for comedy.” This hilarious show garnered five-star reviews from publications like the Guardian, Telegraph, and Time Out,  and has been hailed as “The year’s most exciting, have-to-be-there comedy moment,” by the Guardian, “The breakout star of this year’s Edinburgh Fringe,” by The New York Times, and “A strange and beautiful masterpiece” by the Telegraph.

After Labor Day comes THE COMEUPPANCE, a New York Times Critic’s Pick and Lucille Lortel Award winner for Outstanding Play, penned by a Woolly-audience-favorite: Tony-nominated and MacArthur Genius winning playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (An Octoroon, Appropriate, Gloria). In THE COMEUPPANCE, the self-appointed “Multi-Ethnic Reject Group” has a pre-game porch party before its 20th class reunion in Prince George’s County, unearthing past secrets and contending with a mysterious otherworldly figure.  On THE COMEUPPANCE, Woolly collaborates again with the Wilma Theater, this year’s winners of the regional Tony award, on this co-production; the most recent collaboration between the two theatres being My Mama and the Full-Scale Invasion, winner of the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Play. Directed by Wilma co-Artistic Director Morgan Green, and with a cast will featuring members of Wilma’s HotHouse as well as two members of Woolly’s Company of Artists, Jon Hudson Odom (An OctoroonAin’t No Mo, Shipwreck, Botticelli in the Fire) and Erika Rose (An Octoroon, Mr. Burns: A Post Electric Play).

Closing out 2024, The Second City returns to Woolly with DANCE LIKE THERE’S BLACK PEOPLE WATCHING: A BLACK EXCELLENCE REVUE. The show is packed with brilliant Black Joy combined with The Second City’s award-winning improv, sketch comedy, songs, and hilarious ensemble members. Woolly’s relationship with The Second City goes back over 15 years, with hits at Woolly from the ensemble including Black Side of the MoonShe the PeopleShe the People: The Resistance Continues!, Let Them Eat Chaos, America All Better!!, Spoiler Alert: Everybody Dies, A Girl’s Guide to Washington Politics, Barack Stars, and Barack Stars: The Wrath of Rahm. This November and December, The Second City will be in residence at Woolly Mammoth for more than 7 weeks to bring big laughs to DC’s fall and early winter holiday season.

In addition to these productions, on September 30, Woolly Mammoth will hold a special presentation of THE FORD/HILL PROJECT, a Waterwell production in association with The Public Theater, created by Lee Sunday Evans (two-time Obie winner) and Elizabeth Marvel (three-time Obie winner, House of Cards, Homeland). Christine Blasey Ford and Anita Hill, 30 years apart, publicly told their stories about some of the most private moments of their lives. With an ensemble of four actors speaking from the verbatim transcripts of these pivotal hearings, these two women’s stories are shown side-by-side in this new work.

Golden Tickets and package options are available now, offering access to all three shows in 2024 and those to come in 2025, plus an exclusive ticket offer to THE FORD/HILL PROJECT. Single tickets for ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha will be available starting June 7. Single tickets for the other 2024 productions will be available later this summer.

“We are so grateful to have an audience that loves to see something new and join us on our journey to showcase the current and next great writers and works in the American Theatre,” says Kimberly E. Douglas, Managing Director. “Our summer and fall shows are so striking, so joyful, and so Woolly — as are our plans and possibilities for the winter and spring. Those that jump in now as Golden Ticket members will get access and top seating priority to the shows announced here and more to come in 2025 — plus they’ll be among the first to know what is in the works. A super-secret video will be sent to anyone who takes the leap with us. Forty-five years is no small feat for a theater company that pushes boundaries and breaks the rules! I’m so grateful for everyone who has made this milestone possible — the artists, leaders, staff, donors, funders, patrons, subscribers, and members. Our fiftieth anniversary is right around the corner, and we’ll be thinking big and looking toward the 60th, 75th, 100th, and beyond! We look forward to you showing up and experiencing the great things ahead for us in Penn Quarter. See you as we celebrate 45 years of Woolly and 20 years in our space as an artistic staple in Downtown DC!”

NEW WEISSBERG COMMISSIONS

Woolly Mammoth is proud to announce the next Weissberg Commissioned artists: Noelle Viñas and Esco Jouléy.

Noelle Viñas is receiving a finishing commission for her play Cóndor (o, no es dictadura) which centers on a Uruguayan family’s reckoning with grief and their connections to the events of the military dictatorship that took place in Uruguay in the 1970-80s. Esco Jouléy will receive a seed commission to develop their clown persona “One,” a mute character that lives in the same world as Charlie Chaplin, Burt Williams, and Harpo Marx. Esco uses this character to explore the language of movement and how one would communicate with people if one could not speak.

“Developing new work and collaborating with adventurous artists is essential to Woolly.” says Sonia Fernandez, Director of New Work. “We are so pleased to be working with Noelle on her ambitious, theatrical and beautifully personal Cóndor with this finishing commission. Noelle’s work fearlessly delves into the political, familial, and cultural, with imagination and humor. Woolly’s values of provocation and innovation shine brightly through Noelle’s work, as well as the work of Esco Jouléy, who is receiving a seed commission to create a piece around their non-verbal clown character, One. We first came to know Esco as a charismatic and dynamic performer who embodies their characters fully and can’t wait to see them take the leap as a generative artist. We continue to have such gratitude for the Weissberg Foundation for their commitment to artists from the DMV.”

Noelle Viñas is a playwright, TV writer, and educator from Springfield, Virginia and Montevideo, Uruguay. Her play Derecho (2019 John Gassner Award, 2020 Bay Area Playwrights Festival) has an upcoming world premiere at La Jolla Playhouse. Her work has been developed or in residence as a member of the Working Farm at SPACE on Ryder Farm, New York Stage and Film, Tofte Lake Center, Playwrights Foundation, NYC Latinx Playwrights Circle, Djerassi Resident Artists Program, and the Civilians R&D Group. Since the pandemic, she’s been commissioned by IAMA Theatre, Shotgun Players, Weston Playhouse, Imagination Stage, and Westtown School. Viñas resides between Brooklyn and LA, where she most recently worked as a staff writer on MRS. DAVIS for Peacock and is learning to take herself less seriously all the time.

Esco Jouléy is an actor, singer, dancer, clown, movement artist, and creator. Recent credits: Dying For Sex (FX), State of the Union (Sundance), Blindspotting (Starz), High Maintenance (HBO), Inventing Anna (Netflix), Monsterland (Hulu), movement coach on In a Man’s World (Bravo). Theatre credits: Merry MeTwelfth NightWolf Play, As You Like It, InterstateRunawaysGalatea, Magic Theatre Player in The DemiseBeowulf. Other: resident actor at the historic Barter Theatre for three and a half years, alum of the ABC Discovers Talent Showcase. Recipient of the 2023 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Ensemble.

In April 2022, the Weissberg Foundation chose Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company for a grant to honor the late Marvin Weissberg, a tremendous philanthropist and theater lover. The Weissberg Commissions are opportunities for Woolly to support artists born, raised, or based in Washington, DC and surrounding areas and/or writing about topics that resonate with the DMV that center racial justice. Woolly provides the developmental support to bring these innovative new works into the world.

Previous Weissberg Commissioned artists were Vivian J. O. Barnes, Gethsemane Herron, Jenn Kidwell, and Justin Weaks. Work on Weaks’ A FINE MADNESS continues. A beloved award-winning actor in the DC community, Weaks tells this personal story about his HIV status.

CONNECTIVITY HIGHLIGHTS
Connectivity at Woolly Mammoth is integral to all of the theatre’s work, linking its artistic mission to its social, civic, and political mission. The work of Connectivity rests on four pillars: community engagement, audience engagement, audience development, and learning.

The Core Partners program identifies key individuals or organizations that share Woolly’s values with whom it can have reciprocal, deep, longstanding, and transformational relationships. Current Core Partners include Spit Dat, Black in Space, StrathmoreTheatre Lab /AICAMiss Chief Rocka (hoop dancer and performer also known as Lunacee), and Mary Phillips (singer and performer, member of the Zotigh Singers and Uptown Singers). Core Partner highlights include:

  • Spit Dat – The longest-running open mic in the nation’s capital, Spit Dat in residence at Woolly Mammoth includes monthly free performances featuring a rotating line-up of dynamic guest performers. Thanks to Mayor Bowser and the Mayor’s Office on African American Affairs for their support of Spit Dat. Woolly x Spit Dat Academy also continues, empowering others to create their spoken word and poetic works, with See Forever Foundation/Maya Angelou Academy at Youth Services Center.
  • Black in Space – Woolly will collaborate with Black in Space and Leigh Crenshaw Player on Unforgiveable Blackness 5, a revue of Black LGBTQ+ performers in DC. World Pride will also mark the return of Black Joy Disco, an Afrofuturist zero-proof micro-festival celebrating Black LGBTQ+ culture and joy.
  • Strathmore – As a result of a multiyear collaboration between Woolly and Strathmore, the Arts and Social Justice Fellowship — which supports youth leadership and vision at the intersection of arts and social change — will launch applications for Cohort 4 in 2024.

Kristen Jackson, Associate Artistic Director & Director of Connectivity says, “Our Connectivity program continues to highlight the importance of hyperlocal connections. We celebrate the rich and diverse communities that call Washington, DC home, centering radical joy. We care deeply about serving as a home for DMV-based makers, artists, and creatives of all kinds, and are committed to building mutually beneficial, long-term relationships with them. These powerful connections make our communities stronger, bring greater relevance to our art, and enrich and enliven the experiences of all who encounter the work.”

Building off the success of Woolly’s Native American Art Market earlier this year, a series of Art Markets will be held throughout 2024-25, providing space and community for local artists, artisans, and vendors to sell their creations. The first of these will be a vintage art market, Mammoth Retrograde, on July 13.

Woolly is also planning to pilot a childcare matinee program for select productions, providing more accessible theatergoing options for parents and guardians of young children.

Other Connectivity work includes: engaging interactive lobby displays that connect to the work onstage, art exhibits with local talent, panel discussions and talkbacks with experts and artists, affinity nights such as Black Out performances (intentionally all-Black performances to create a healing space and community for Black-identifying folks), community conversations, arts collaborations with community organizations and partners, and additional free artistic experiences and showcases.

JOIN WOOLLY – GOLDEN TICKETS, EARLY LOOK, & QUADS
GOLDEN TICKET
Golden Tickets are the Woolly way to see the lineup for the big 45th anniversary celebration. Golden Ticket holders have access to nearly every project through June 2025 (ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, THE COMEUPPANCE, DANCE LIKE THERE’S BLACK PEOPLE WATCHING, at least two more full productions and plenty of performances yet to be announced) — on any date, in any seat, as many times as desired (subject to availability). Golden Ticket holders additionally receive an exclusive ticket offer for a special presentation reading of THE FORD/HILL PROJECT.

Golden Tickets are designed to fit every need, whether that’s more flexibility, more discounts, or just more Woolly. They can be used:

  • Like a traditional subscription — with all seats and dates decided, set, and booked before single tickets are available for public sale
  • With full flexibility — knowing that you can add, change, or exchange tickets at no additional cost up to 48 hours before your scheduled performance.

Golden Ticket members also receive an additional 20% off companion seats for friends and family, or have the option to add on a Quads pack for a flexible 4-pack of tickets that may be used for additional seats for guests.

More benefits include:

  • Invitations to exclusive events with the Mammoth fam
  • A very Woolly gift
  • Special Golden Ticket night events, including a pre-show mixer and goodies to match the theme of the show.
  • Early access to ticket sales (including priority booking for everything coming up in 2025)
  • A concierge e-mail address to support all your Box Office needs: goldentickets@woollymammoth.net

The Golden Ticket is priced at $375, with a limited number available at the more accessible price of $250. Golden Tickets may be purchased online at woollymammoth.net, by phone at (202) 393-3939, or via e-mail at [email protected]

EARLY LOOK
Committed to access and community-building, Woolly Mammoth now offers a new Early Look Membership package. For one flat rate of $95, members and up to three guests can see nearly everything through June 2025 at only $20 per ticket, including ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, during the “early look” performance period (roughly the first week of every run, no fewer than five performances).

Early Look members should log into their woollymammoth.net account to unlock up to four $20 seats per show during the first week of all 2024-25 performances. These packages are a great way to be among the first to catch every performance at Woolly, in any available seat, with preferred early access to booking tickets. Early Look membership also grants an additional 20% off seats for the remainder of performances following the “early look” period.

QUADS
Quads are a flexible four pack of tickets, which are bundled together at a discount and priced affordably at $175 or just $43.75 a ticket. Members can use their Quads by logging into their woollymammoth.net accounts or by contacting the Ticket Office via phone or email. With upcoming new work from Woolly favorites like Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and The Second City, Quads secure a guaranteed low price in any section of the theatre.

INDIVIDUAL TICKETS – ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
Golden Ticket, Early Look, and Quads members may book tickets using those packages for ha ha ha ha ha ha ha before single tickets go on sale. They may book on woollymammoth.net, by phone at (202) 393-3939, or by e-mailing goldentickets@woollymammoth.net.

Single tickets for ha ha ha ha ha ha ha will be available for sale to the public starting June 7, with prices starting at $34. Tickets to the Pay-What-You-Will Previews, and a select number of PWYW tickets to every performance, will be available two weeks before the first preview.

Single tickets for THE COMEUPPANCE and DANCE LIKE THERE’S BLACK PEOPLE WATCHING will go on sale in the coming months.

SUMMER/FALL LISTING
Artists, titles, and dates subject to change

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha  
by Julia Masli
Co-directed by Julia Masli and Kim Noble
July 17-August 4, 2024

The Comeuppance  
by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
Directed by Morgan Green
A co-production with The Wilma Theater
September-October 2024

Welcome Back Class of 2003.

On the night of their 20th high school reunion, the self-proclaimed “Multi-Ethnic Reject Group” reconnects while they pregame in Prince George’s County, Maryland. But amid the flow of reminiscing, an otherworldly presence forces these former classmates to face the past head-on and reckon with an unknowable future. The latest from MacArthur Genius Award- winner Branden Jacobs-Jenkins(An Octoroon, Appropriate, Gloria), this “mesmerizing” (The Wrap) new play garnered a New York Times Critic’s Pick and Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play. Featuring members of Woolly Mammoth’s Company of Artists, Jon Hudson Odom and Erika Rose, in collaboration with The Wilma’s HotHouse.

The Second City’s Dance Like There’s Black People Watching
A Black Excellence Revue
Directed by Rob Wilson
November-December 2024

The Second City is back!

From the creators of Black Side of the Moon and She the People, The Second City returns to Woolly Mammoth, now delivering a dose of brilliant Black Joy. The hilarious brand-new show, created exclusively for Woolly Mammoth, features the troupe’s world-renowned improv, an ensemble of rising comedy stars, songs, and sketches. The Black Excellence Revue is here to help you blow off steam at the end of this year with razor-sharp wit, a fresh look at the ridiculous things in life, and non-stop laughs.

Special presentation 
THE FORD / HILL PROJECT
created by Lee Sunday Evans and Elizabeth Marvel
directed by Lee Sunday Evans
a Waterwell production, presented by Woolly Mammoth in association with The Public Theater
September 30

This excavation of the testimonies of Anita Hill and Christine Blasey Ford is revisited in the nation’s capital in a special debut presentation of a new play. Ford and Hill, 30 years apart, stood in front of one of the highest bodies of power in our country to publicly tell their stories about some of the most private moments of their lives. With an ensemble of four actors speaking from the verbatim transcripts of these pivotal hearings, these two women’s stories are seen in a new light when side-by-side in Waterwell’s illuminating new work.

Show titles and dates for January-June 2025 to be announced.  

ABOUT WOOLLY MAMMOTH THEATRE COMPANY

The Tony Award-winning Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company creates badass theater that highlights the stunning, challenging, and tremendous complexity of our world. For over 40 years, Woolly has maintained a high standard of artistic rigor while simultaneously daring to take risks, innovate, and push beyond perceived boundaries. One of the few remaining theaters in the country to maintain a company of artists, Woolly serves an essential research and development role within the American theater. Plays premiered here have gone on to productions at hundreds of theaters all over the world and have had lasting impacts on the field. Currently co-led by Artistic Director Maria Manuela Goyanes and Managing Director Kimberly E. Douglas, Woolly is located in Washington, DC, equidistant from the Capitol and the White House. This unique location influences Woolly’s investment in actively working towards an equitable, participatory, and creative democracy.

Woolly Mammoth stands upon occupied, unceded territory: the ancestral homeland of the Nacotchtank whose descendants belong to the Piscataway peoples. Furthermore, the foundation of this city, and most of the original buildings in Washington, DC, were funded by the sale of enslaved people of African descent and built by their hands.

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