Studio Theatre is turning 40 and we want you at the party. For the last four decades we’ve produced relevant, moving, and daring work on 14th Street.
We’re celebrating our legacy with a season that is especially now: Stories about 14th Street real estate and the mechanics of American politics, the latest audacious comedy from the writer of Bad Jews, and a boundary-breaking summer performance series.
It’s a season with the characteristic thoughtfulness and style of Studio work—and a little more sense of event for this year of celebration.
Studio Theatre’s Main Series is the core of our programming, offering a diverse repertoire that emphasizes extraordinary new and contemporary writing from around the world in productions marked by their elegant design and indelible performance.
BY STEVEN LEVENSON
DIRECTED BY MATT TORNEY
“Passionate and provoking… the Fischers come vibrantly alive in [Levenson’s] funny, bruising, searching voice…If I Forget speaks to both the head and the heart.” —The New York Times
It’s July 2000—the Camp David Summit is falling apart, and in Tenleytown, a modern Jewish family is fracturing over what to do with their 14th Street real estate. Their mother has died, their father will need full-time care, and as their adult children debate what do to next, no topic is off limits: American Jews and their relationship to Israel, who’s already given enough to this family, a sibling’s parenting choices. A political and deeply personal play about history, responsibility, and what we’re willing to sacrifice for a new beginning, told with vicious humor and unflinching honesty by Bethesda native Steven Levenson.
Studio’s 40th season starts with a play about our neighborhood—turning on the value of a 14th Street property two blocks from Studio Theatre. Set just before 9/11, Steven Levenson’s Bush-era play is a provocative examination of modern Jewish life—what the Fischer family might need to forget to move forward, and what they’ll lose if they do.
BY MOLLY SMITH METZLER
DIRECTED BY JOANIE SCHULTZ
“A funny story that weaves together very different but highly meaningful stories from three new mothers.” —USA Today
Jessie is a corporate lawyer in a Manhattan firm. Lina is a community-college dropout and born-and-bred Long Islander. They don’t seem to have anything in common, but marooned at home with infants, they strike up a fast friendship. In the yard between their houses—as far as their baby monitors will reach—they bond over sleep deprivation, unreliable childcare, and “having it all.” A candid comedy about who gets to make which hard choices in the tinderbox of parenthood and class in the United States.
Molly Smith Metzler has an eye for absurdity and the tough places that parenthood puts people. Her comedy takes a hard look at balancing professional ambitions and a sense of self with parenthood—especially as her characters discover that hard choices can look very different from one family to the next.
BY HILARY BETTIS
DIRECTED BY JOSÉ ZAYAS
SUPPORTED BY STUDIO R&D, STUDIO THEATRE’S NEW WORKS INITIATIVE
“Bettis a writer to keep an eye on.” —NYTheater.com (about American Girls)
t’s Art Basel, Miami’s weeklong party for the rich and famous, where socialite darling Julie reigns over the blowout her real-estate mogul father is throwing at his South Beach hotel. But when her fiancé dumps her in front of the crowd, Julie hides from her humiliation—and her father—in the hotel’s barely used storage kitchen. Her companions are Christine, a cocktail waitress who recently fled violence in Venezuela, and Christine’s fiancé John, an Uber driver from the Miami slums. This explosive elixir of power, class, and immigration status is a bold and contemporary take on Strindberg’s Miss Julie by vibrant rising voice Hilary Bettis (TV’s The Americans).
Studio will premiere Queen of Basel, Hilary Bettis’s unapologetically contemporary adaption of Miss Julie. Bettis takes August Strindberg’s iconic play about class and sex and adds race, language, skin color, and immigration status to its volatile mix.
BY JOSHUA HARMON
DIRECTED BY MIKE DONAHUE
“Astonishing and daring. An extraordinarily useful and excruciating satire—of the left, by the left, for the left—for today.” —The New York Times
Bill and Sherri are the white, progressive-and-proud headmaster and dean of admissions at Hillcrest, a mid-tier New Hampshire boarding school. Over the last fifteen years, they’ve worked tirelessly to diversify the school’s mostly white population. But when their high-achieving son’s Ivy League dreams are deferred, his reaction blasts open a deep rift between the family’s public values and private actions. A no-holds-barred look at privilege, power, and the perils of whiteness from the author of Bad Jews, the best-selling play in Studio Theatre history.
This is the follow-up to Joshua Harmon’s Bad Jews, which shattered Studio box office records at Studio in 2014, and was remounted in the 2015-2016 season. In his latest scathing comedy, Admissions, Harmon takes aim at affirmative action and the two-facedness of well-meaning white liberals at a New England prep school.
BY LUCY KIRKWOOD
DIRECTED BY DAVID MUSE
“A richly suggestive and beautifully written piece of work, provoking questions that will continue to nag and expand in your mind.” ―Independent
In their remote cottage on the British coast, a long-married pair of retired nuclear physicists live a modest life in the aftermath of a natural disaster, giving scrupulous care to energy rationing, their garden, their yoga practice. When former colleague Rose reappears after 38 years, her presence upends the couple’s equilibrium and trust. As the fallout from long-ago decisions comes hurtling into view, Rose unveils a proposal that threatens more than their marriage. A hit in London and New York, Lucy Kirkwood’s latest is a taut and disquieting thriller about responsibility and reparation—what one generation owes the next.
Home for work that breaks new ground in its style or staging, Studio X represents the unknown—an opportunity to connect Washington DC audiences with work unlike any they’ve seen before.
Studio presents The Baxter Theatre Centre at the University of Cape Town’s
CREATED BY THANDO MANGCU, KGOMOTSO KHUNOANE, AMEERA CONRAD, CLEO RAATUS, OARABILE DITSELE, SIHLE MNQWAZANA, SIZWESANDILE MNISI, TANKISO MAMABOLO, AND ZANDILE MADLIWA
“A funny, humane piece…rooted in a passion, bravery, and determination that will have you on your feet and clapping until your hands hurt.” —Time Out London
As the statue of imperialist Cecil Rhodes was dismantled at the University of Cape Town, seven students wrote The Fall, charting their experiences as activists who brought down a statue and then grappled with decolonizing what was left standing in its wake: the legacies of race, class, gender, history, and power 24 years after the official end of Apartheid. Political and deeply personal, vibrating with song, dance, and the energy of youth, The Fall comes to DC with the urgency of history being told as it’s created, resonating with America's debates about falling monuments, rising tuition, and “appropriate” ways to fight for long-promised equality.
This vibrant, music-filled piece was written by University of Cape Town student activists who helped topple a statue of imperialist Cecil Rhodes on their campus—and then tried to build a movement for real change after a symbolic victory. The Fall presents provocative parallels to America’s struggles with its own monuments to racist systems and heroes.
WRITTEN BY SARAH BURGESS
DIRECTED BY MARTI LYONS
“A tautly intelligent drama...nuanced and accomplished.” —The Washington Post
Representative Sydney Millsap rode a Blue Wave into DC. She arrives armed with her ideals and sense of duty, and refuses to play by the rules of special interests—or her own party. Kate’s a lobbyist who backs winners. So when she crosses paths with Representative Millsap, she dismisses her as a one-term neophyte... but ends up hearing a call to conscience she thought she’d left outside of the Beltway. A lacerating comedy about money, power, and what democracy actually looks like.
Alexandria native Sarah Burgess dives deep into the weeds of DC politics with this razor-sharp comedy about lobbyists, lawmakers, and the destructive web of money, power, and influence in government. We rarely do Beltway plays at Studio—the bar is set pretty high. But this one is a treat for politicos and outsiders alike.
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY TEARRANCE ARVELLE CHISHOLM
SUPPORTED BY STUDIO R&D, STUDIO THEATRE’S NEW WORKS INITIATIVE
“[Chisholm’s writing] is bold, brave and very, very funny.” —The Guardian (about Br’er Cotton)
Dorian Belle is a big deal. He’s a Canadian pop sweetheart, and he’s ready to be taken seriously. So his people hire his favorite hip-hop artists—Black and Alexand, the ‘bad boy’ rappers of Petty Young Goons—to help him toughen up his image. They’re black, he’s white. They’re from Chicago, he’s from Canada. It’s all on reality TV. What could go wrong? Inspired by Shaw’s Pygmalion, this world premiere is a blistering and entertaining look at cultural and racial appropriation in a fictionalized exchange of ideologies, vernacular, and alleged street cred.
Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm is a scathing and hilarious voice already known to DC for Hooded, or Being Black for Dummies (Mosaic Theater). This timely satire takes aim at the pleasures and problematics of cultural exchange across lines of money, power, and control.
A NEW SUMMERTIME SERIES
A new curated performance series in the summertime spirit—with spirits. SHOWROOM will transform Studio’s Milton Theatre into a tricked-out, laidback hangout for the summer, serving up entertainments from the US and beyond, with snacks and specialty drinks. Artists to be revealed throughout the 40th anniversary season.
Become a Studio season ticket holder to get all the best perks: maximum savings, free companion passes, and unlimited ticket exchanges.
1501 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20005
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