Performing Arts: Top Theatre Picks This Week

by Editorial

This week in theatre features family favorites, artistic workshops and captivating, new dramas
By Candice Norwood

Kristin Chenoweth as Glinda and Idina Menzel as Elphaba in the original Broadway production of Wicked (Photo by Joan Marcus)


The recipient of more than 35 awards and the 17th longest-running show in Broadway history, Wicked returns to Washington DC on June 15. After breaking box office records in DC in 2005, the show is back by “popular” demand. The novel turned musical shares “the untold story of the witches of oz.” When the smart, green-skinned Elphaba, played by Dee Roscioli, meets the beautiful Glinda played by Amanda Jane Cooper, the two form an unlikely friendship that grows into the infamous rivalry between Glinda the Good Witch and the Wicked Witch of the West.

Over the years Wicked had accumulated outstanding reviews with its vibrant scenery and upbeat music. Don’t miss the production Entertainment Weekly described as “the best musical of the decade.” It runs all summer until August 21 at the Kennedy Center Opera House.

I Wish You Love

In the 1950s, jazz pianist Nat King Cole captivated America with his soft, baritone voice and entertaining television presence. Despite the smiles that Cole brought to faces every week, the racial tensions of the time period continued to build. I Wish You Love, presented by the Penumbra Theater Company, shows Cole’s struggles to break free of the limitations he faced due to racism. Through Cole’s influential life and music, the production examines the harsh realities of the African-American community of 1957.

I Wish You Love runs through June 19 at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater.

Don Quixote

Continuing its tradition of presenting classic stories to the Washington DC and Virginia areas, the Synetic Theater in Crystal City will showcase a text-based adaption of Miguel de Cervantes’ The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha. The adaptation offers satirical comedy as the unusual protagonist, Don Quixote, travels through the Spanish countryside, attempting to live out his dream of becoming a knight. The eccentric nature of the middle-age dreamer compels the audience to question modern standards of normalcy.

Written by Roland Reed, the award-winning playwright of The Master and MargaritaDon Quixote features bold costumes and set pieces. It stars Dan Istrate in the title role and features others actors Ryan Sellers and Alex Mills. The play runs through July 3 at the Synetic Theater.

Ryan Sellers as Sancho Panza and Dan Istrate as Don Quixote in Don Quixote (Photo by Graeme B. Shaw)


In 2007 Finnish-Estonian writer Sofi Oksanen introduced her evocative, award-winning play Puhdistus “Purge.” The story takes place in 1992 Estonia, three years following the fall of the Berlin Wall. As the play weaves through the effects of a post Soviet world, two women come together and battle their dark pasts. This month the SCENA Theatre showcases the regional premiere of the novel’s play adaptation. Purge debuted this February in New York City; artistic director Robert McNamara is now excited about it’s release to the Washington DC area.

Purge is a story, quite simply, of love and betrayal,” McNamara said. “A fable of war, passion and finally a woman’s journey to redemption in a seemingly hopeless world.”

Purge runs until July 3 at the H Street Playhouse and features veteran DC actors including Kerry Waters and Colleen Delany.

Colleen Delany as "Zara" and Kerry Waters as "Old Aliide" in Purge (Photo by Don Summers, Jr.)

2011 Source Festival

The fourth annual Source Festival is currently underway at the Source Theatre. The festival was created by the Cultural Development Corporation to present new, original work that includes a talent show, 10-minute and full-length plays as well as several “artistic blind dates,” which allow artists from different creative disciplines to work together. The productions range in topic from historical dramas to quirky romances.

The Washington Post’s Going Out Guide lists Source Festival as one of the week’s highlights. The event ends July 3 so be sure to take advantage of this unique showcase of DC’s talented artists.

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