Summer Arts Preview: Performance

Salvatore Antonio in 'Botticelli in the Fire' at Woolly Mammoth. Photo by Cylia von Tiedemann.

By Gary Tishler and Richard Selden


‘The Remains,’ Studio Theatre. Picture this: 10 years after their marriage made history, Kevin and Theo celebrate with a dinner for their families. Billed as a comedy about the tragedy of loving, the play, by Ken Urban, is a world-premiere production directed by Studio Artistic Director David Muse. May 18 – June 17.

‘Botticelli in the Fire,’ Woolly Mammoth. Jordan Tannahill’s play about the great Renaissance painter who, in the midst of painting “The Birth of Venus,” clashes with a conservative firebrand priest leading a populist revolution. An all-star cast for an all-star group of Renaissance characters. May 28 – June 24.

‘The Undeniable Sound of Right Now,’ Keegan Theatre. A new play by Laura Eason, who taps into the rock and pop sounds of the 1990s as one man struggles to keep his life and Kurt Cobain-era band together. Through May 27.

‘The Legend of Georgia McBride,’ Round House Theatre. In this play by Matthew Lopez, directed by Tom Story, Casey has a good job as an Elvis impersonator at a falling-down bar in the Florida panhandle. But now the owner is bringing in a full-blown drag show. June 6 – July 1.

‘The Cherry Orchard,’ Eastman Studio Theatre, Gallaudet University. Washington’s classical comedy company Faction of Fools takes on Chekhov’s classic portrait of a troubled family living on a floundering estate in a swiftly changing Czarist Russia. May 18 – June 10.

‘Switch,’ Trinidad Theatre, Logan Fringe Art Space. From the playwrights’ collective the Welders, a play by Brett Abelman in which a couple switches genders in the aftermath of sex. June 6 – 23.


‘Hamilton,’ Kennedy Center Opera House. The hip hop-flavored Broadway smash about one of our founding fathers has finally arrived at the Kennedy Center — needing no description or introduction if recent ticket lines are any indication. June 12 – September 16.

‘The Color Purple’ at the Kennedy Center.

‘The Color Purple,’ Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater. Riding alongside at the Eisenhower Theater is a blast from the past, the 2016 Tony Award winner for best revival, based on Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. July 31 –August 26.

‘Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations,’ Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater. For something new and something old all at once, there’s a new musical that traces the career of the Motown legends who racked up 42 Top 10 hits, including “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” and “Just My Imagination.” June 19 – July 22.

‘Camelot,’ Shakespeare Theatre. The company, which has added classic musicals to its menu in recent years, will wrap up the current season at Sidney Harman Hall with Lerner and Loewe’s Arthurian-themed show, directed by Alan Paul. May 22 – July 1.

The Scottsboro Boys,’ Signature Theatre. Joe Calarco directs Signature’s production of this Kander and Ebb musical centering on the fate of nine boys taken from a train in the 1931 Jim Crow South. May 22 – July 1.

‘Waitress,’ National Theatre. A baking contest may get a lonely waitress out of her small town and troubled marriage in this Broadway hit with music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles. Desi Oakley stars. May 15 – June 3.

‘Dave,’ Arena Stage. Remember the quite-some-time-ago (1993) movie about a presidential look-alike played by Kevin Kline taking over as CEO of the land? Now it’s fulfilling another destiny as a world-premiere musical directed by Tina Landau. July 13 – August 19.


The Anthem at the Wharf. Photo by Richard Selden.

The Anthem. The main live-music venue at the Wharf on the Southwest Waterfront is bringing in, among other acts: Janelle Monáe (July 20), the Arctic Monkeys (July 28) and Needtobreathe (August 17).

The Birchmere. Some highlights: An Evening with 10,000 Maniacs (May 27), Ry Cooder (rescheduled date: June 11), Gordon Lightfoot (June 18), Robert Cray Band (June 20), Tower of Power 50thAnniversary (June 22 and 23), Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes (July 6), Poco & Atlanta Rhythm Section (July 12), The Bacon Brothers (July 20, 21 and 22), Johnny Gill (July 27 and 28), Thomas Dolby (July 30), Toad the Wet Sprocket (August 9 and 10), Morris Day & the Time (August 12), Jean Luc Ponty (August 19) and Tanya Tucker (August 23).

Capital One Arena. Here’s where the big tours land, notably: U2’s Experience + Innocence Tour (July 17 and 18), Shania Twain’s Now Tour (July 15) and Shakira’s El Dorado Tour (August 11).

Merriweather Post Pavilion. Along with the festivals at this storied Columbia, Maryland, venue, Merriweather Post is hosting such familiar names as the Foo Fighters (July 6),David Byrne (July 28),Phish (August 11 and 12),Cake and Ben Folds (August 18) andKenny Chesney (August 22).

Strathmore. Talk about variety: Boz Scaggs (June 13), Herbie Hancock (June 24), Kristin Chenoweth (June 27) and Sarah McLachlan (June 29). The Wednesday-night “Live from the Lawn” series will include the Chuck Brown Band (August 1) and the finale of Ukefest (August 15).

Wolf TrapEverybody who’s anybody is performing this late spring and summer at the Filene Center, the outdoor amphitheater at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna, Virginia. Here is a sampling: the Washington Ballet’s “Giselle” (May 25), John Fogerty and ZZ Top (May 27), Alison Krauss and David Crosby (June 6), Harry Connick Jr. (June 14), Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (June 19), Tony Bennett (June 23), Barenaked Ladies (July 2), the Indigo Girls (July 10), Queen Latifah and Common (July 20), Hanson with the National Symphony Orchestra (August 4) and Jeff Beck (August 20).

Wolf Trap Opera. The company will present four operas at three locations: Mozart’s “Idomeneo” (June 22, 24, 27 and 30) and Gounod’s “Roméo et Juliette” (July 15, 17, 19 and 21) at the Barns; Weill’s “The Seven Deadly Sins” at Union Market (June 23 and 24); and Verdi’s “Rigoletto” (August 3) at the Filene Center.


Kingman Island Bluegrass & Folk Festival. The festival began in 2010 to raise awareness of this public park on an island in the Anacostia River. The lineup includes Gangstagrass, the American Songster Revue, Dori Freeman and Crys Matthews. June 9.

Capital Jazz Fest. Held at Merriweather Post, this three-day event will feature headliners Earth, Wind & Fire, Diana Krall and Anita Baker. June 1, 2 and 3.

DC Jazz Festival. This citywide festival will feature performances at more than 40 venues in 22 neighborhoods. The lineup includes Leslie Odom Jr, Maceo Parker, Regina Carter, Frederick Yonnet, Edmar Castaneda, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra and, at the Hamilton Live Series, Terence Blanchard and the E Collective. June 8 – 17.

By The People Festival. Billed as an “epic arts and empathy festival,” this free celebration of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, brought to you by Georgetown-based Halcyon, will take place at the Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building, THEARC West, the Parks at Walter Reed, Union Market and Washington National Cathedral. June 21 to 24.

Smithsonian Folklife Festival. This year’s festival of food, craft and dance on the National Mall will focus on the cultures of Armenia and Catalonia. Also, on July 8, there will be an evening concert tribute to the Sisterfire music festivals produced in D.C. by Roadwork in the 1980s. June 27 – July 1 and July 4 – 8.

Capital Fringe Festival. The 13th annual Capital Fringe Festival is coming to the ever-hotter Southwest Waterfront neighborhood, with performances at Arena Stage, Blind Whino and several churches. A free preview will take place at Pearl Street Warehouse at the Wharf on July 8. July 7 – 29.

Summer Spirit Festival. At Merriweather Post, this soul and hip hop-flavored festival will be headlined by Erykah Badu and Nas on Saturday and by the Roots and Anderson Paak & the Free Nationals on Sunday. August 4 and 5.

Lockn’ Festival. Some big names will appear at this four-day jam-band event at Infinity Downs and Oak Ridge Farm in Arrington, Virginia: Widespread Panic, George Clinton & P-Funk, Tedeschi Trucks, Sheryl Crow and Blues Traveler, to name a few. August 23 – 26.






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