A new play by MacArthur “Genius” Fellow Tarell Alvin McCraney, author of “The Brother/Sister Triology.” Directed by Kent Gash, it’s a story of coming of age at Charles R. Drew Prep, famed for its tradition of preparing young black men to lead. At the center of the drama is Pharus, a talented student about to take over the school’s prominent gospel choir. At Studio Theatre through Feb. 22.
The T Party
The return of Forum Theatre’s world-premiere production of Natsu Onoda Power’s play, an “immersive theatrical event which transgresses, transforms, and transcends gender norms.” Directed by Power, a member of the Forum Ensemble, which developed the play based on stories told by local residents about their experiences. At Forum Theatre (Silver Spring) through Jan. 17.
Ethan McSweeny returns to STC to helm the Bard’s autumnal play about the revenge-minded Prospero (the dashing Welsh actor Geraint Wyn Davies) and his daughter Miranda (Rachel Mewbron), stranded on a stormy, magical island. An emotionally stirring production and a delight for the eyes. At the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Sidney Harman Hall through Jan. 18.
Pop-rock chanteuse Sheryl Crow and film director Barry Levinson provide the sound and feel of this world-premiere musical based on Levinson’s classic movie about a group of Baltimore friends preparing for a wedding. Directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall. At Signature Theatre (Arlington) through Jan. 25.
A world premiere based on Kathryn Erskine’s National Book Award-winning novel about an 11-year-old girl on the autism spectrum who is helped by her brother to think beyond black and white. Commissioned by the Kennedy Center and Very Special Arts and adapted by Julie Jensen. At the Kennedy Center’s Family Theater, Jan. 17–Feb. 1.
Two of the best actresses on the Washington theater scene square off in the Folger’s production of Friedrich Schiller’s classic historical play, a battle of wills between the Scottish Queen Mary Stuart (Kate Eastwood Norris) and Elizabeth I of England (Holly Twyford). The play begins after Mary has been imprisoned by Elizabeth, who is trying to decide whether to have her executed. Richard Clifford directs. At the Folger Elizabethan Theatre, Jan. 27–March 8.
The latest from stirring, finger-on-the-pulse-of-the-way-we-live-now playwright Lisa D’Amour (“Detroit”). Directed by John Vreeke, “Cherokee” is about two couples – one white, one black – who flee the burbs to reconnect with nature on a camping trip in Cherokee, N.C. At Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Feb. 9–March 8.
Life Sucks (or the Present Ridiculous)
The very busy Aaron Posner is the author and director of this new play, a world premiere said to be loosely based on Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya” – presumably in the same way that Posner’s “Stupid F—— Bird” was loosely based on Chekhov’s “The Seagull.” At Theater J, Jan. 14–Feb. 15.
Rapture, Blister, Burn
An area premiere of Gina Gionfriddo’s new comedy about modern gender politics (much in the news of late and in the future), a Pulitzer Prize finalist. Catherine the academic and Gwen the mom focus on one other’s very different lives with dramatic and funny results. Directed by Shirley Serotsy. At Round House Theatre (Bethesda), Jan. 28–Feb. 22.
Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery
Tony Award-winning playwright Ken Ludwig (“Crazy For You,” “Lend Me a Tenor”) has written a sharp comedy featuring the Victorian criminologist with more staying power than most empires. Five actors play 25 parts in this fast-paced foray into Holmesland. Directed by Amanda Dehnert. At Arena Stage’s Kreeger Theater, Jan. 16–-Feb. 22.
This brand new, pre-Broadway limited engagement dusts off a trunkful of sources: a story by French novelist Colette, a straight play featuring the then unknown Audrey Hepburn, a Lerner and Loewe movie musical and a Tony Award-winning Broadway musical. Vanessa Hudgens stars and Broadway veteran Eric Schaeffer, Signature Theatre’s founder and artistic director, directs. At the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater, Jan. 16–Feb. 12.
The Widow Lincoln
Veteran stage, screen and television actress Mary Bacon embodies the life and spirit of a grieving Mary Todd Lincoln in a new play by James Still, who wrote the dazzling “The Heavens Hung in Black” (which re-opened the renovated Ford’s in 2009). Directed by Stephen Rayne with an all-female cast. At Ford’s Theatre, Jan. 23–Feb. 22.