The Washington theater season this September and October kicks off a historic first with The Women’s Voices Theater Festival. First Lady Michelle Obama will serve as honorary chair of this unprecedented two-month effort.
Arena Stage, led by artistic director Molly Smith, is one of seven originating theaters of the citywide festival, which involves more than 50 professional theater companies. Each of the participating theaters will feature a world-premiere play or musical that was written, devised, or adapted by a female playwright.
In addition, playwrights, directors, performers, artistic leaders, and collaborators will lead discussions and workshops on the local playwriting landscape, women in musical theater, gender parity, playwrights as hybrid artists, female leaders in the entertainment industry, feminist theater, training for women in stage combat, and the historical silencing of women’s voices.
At Arena Stage, these two world premieres promise to provide thoughtful fun.
WHAT: Destiny of Desire by Karen Zacarías (until Oct. 18)
WHERE: Kreeger Theater
ABOUT: Destiny of Desire is a fast-paced comedy that starts with a stormy night in Mexico  when two baby girls—one born for privilege and one into poverty—are switched at birth.
WHAT: Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End by Allison Engel and Margaret Engel (Oct. 16–Nov. 8)
WHERE: Arlene and Robert Kogod Cradle
ABOUT: Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End is the story behind the beloved award-winning humorist who captured the frustrations of her generation by asking, “If life is a bowl of cherries, what am I doing in the pits?”
SPECIAL EVENT AT ARENA: Subverting Expectations: Women’s Work in Theater
ABOUT: A discussion with playwrights Allison Engel, Margaret Engel (Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End), and Karen Zacarías (Destiny of Desire) on October 11, 2015, at 3:30 p.m.
INFORMATION: Festival and Festival-related event visit
For details on Arena’s 2015/16 Season, visit
By: Sheila Wickouski

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