Comedy to Tragedy: A Guide to Spring Theater

Posted March 2, 2011 at 5:51pm

Political corruption, forbidden love and witty banter barely cover what the D.C. theater has to offer this spring. Whether you love William Shakespeare or Apple products, there’s a play for theatergoers of all kinds. While there isn’t enough room for every play to be listed, here’s a few that you’ll find on stage.

Folger Shakespeare Library

Right in the middle of Capitol Hill, the library has a shorter season than most theaters around town, but that doesn’t detract from its quality.

Closing this weekend is Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors.” The play features Antipholus and his servant Dromio searching for their long-lost, identically named twin brothers. Of course, chaos ensues.

Later in April, the theater will start showing Edmond Rostand’s “Cyrano.” In the play, Cyrano loves Roxanne, but he thinks she won’t love him because of his nose. He guides his tongue-tied friend, Christian, to woo her, resulting in a love triangle. Tickets for both plays range from $30 to $60.

Woolly Mammoth Theatre

The Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company presents provocative plays, which often challenge theater convention.

The latest, “Oedipus El Rey” by Luis Alfaro, closes this weekend. An adaptation of “Oedipus Rex,” the play follows a juvenile delinquent who becomes the king of a Los Angeles barrio. What will hold him back from greatness is a forbidden love. Ticket prices range from $40 to $65.

Opening at the end of March is “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” by Mike Daisey. The one-man show features Daisey exploring his love for Apple products and his reverence for the company’s CEO, while also examining technology’s problems. Ticket prices range from $25 to $65.

Shakespeare Theatre Company

Known as one of the top Shakespeare theaters in the country, the Shakespeare Theatre Company offers not only reinterpretations of the Bard’s works, but also takes on other classics, including works from George Bernard Shaw and Henrik Ibsen.

Shakespeare’s “Cymbeline,” showing in the company’s Lansburgh Theatre (450 Seventh St. NW), closes Sunday. For those who can make it to one of the last five performances, the play tells the story of King Cymbeline of Britain. It includes secret marriages, lies about infidelity and a treacherous queen — all the makings of classic Shakespeare. The play, one of the last Shakespeare wrote, combines airs of both the comic and the tragic to create something different from his better-known works. Ticket prices range from $10 to $88.

Opening Tuesday is Oscar Wilde’s “An Ideal Husband” in the company’s Sidney Harman Hall (610 F St. NW). The comedy may hit close to home for those who work on Capitol Hill, since it tells of Sir Robert Chiltern, a popular politician, as he deals with blackmail and corruption. He fears his wife will no longer love him and he’ll lose his high station in life if a past indiscretion is revealed. The show runs through April 10. Tickets prices range from $20 to $85.

Arena Stage

The Arena Stage is in the midst of its 60th season this year, with a new space at the new Mead Center for American Theater (1101 Sixth St. SW). The theater specializes in showing new and classic American plays.

The theater is celebrating the works of Edward Albee through the end of April. The controversial and renowned comedy of the 1960s, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” comes to the stage to delight with its wordplay and its characters and runs through April 10. Albee’s latest, “At Home at the Zoo,” expands on his first play, “The Zoo Story,” and takes a look at the everyday lives of three New Yorkers. Tickets for both plays range from $70 to $85.

The theater is also hosting the Edward Albee Festival, with staged readings of all of Albee’s plays. The festival starts Monday and runs through April 25. The readings are free, but tickets are required. More details about when the plays will be read can be found at