By Sheila Wickouski

Almost three dozen books will be mentioned in Karen Zacarias’ comedy, The Book Club Play. They range from masterpieces
by Miguel de Cervantes, Leo Tolstoy and James Joyce to recent bestsellers by Dan Brown and J.K. Rowling. Women writers are well represented: Emily and Charlotte Bronte, Edith Wharton, Margaret Mitchell, Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou.

Adventure stories and self-help books, crime and children’s classics all get tossed in to the mix of books, too. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t read any of them or even for that matter if you haven’t read a book in awhile. This play is not called The Reading List. This is a play about life which is what the books in the play, each in their own way, are about. Kate Eastwood Norris stars as

The ensemble of The Book Club Play by Karen Zacarías at Arena Stage stars (from left to right) Tom Story as Will, Rachael Holmes as Lily, Fred Arsenault as Alex, Kate Eastwood Norris as Ana, Ashlie Atkinson as Jen and Eric Messner as Rob. Photo by Scotty Beland courtesy of Arena Stage.
Ana, a type-A woman with an adoring husband, a perfect job and a great passion for books. Those who have seen Norris at the Folger Theater and Woolly Mammoth, know that she gets A’s for her acting every time.

Nothing is more fun then when circumstances upset such a perfect life. Or in the case of a book club, when people start reading between the lines. The ensemble cast includes Fred Arsenault, Ashlie Atkinson, Rachael Holmes, Eric Messner and Tom Story. Together they cover 14 roles from the book-related like literary agent and librarian to the bizarre characters of sky diver, shark bite survivor and secret service agent. Director Molly Smith described The Book Club Play as a “‘Chinese box’ of a play within a piece of literature, within a documentary, within people’s lives.” She added,“in some ways the theater is just one big book club.” The Book Club Play is certainly a wonderful chance to go to both in one evening.

What: Karen Zacarias’ The Book Club Play Kogold Cradle at Arena Stage from Oct. 9 to Nov. 6.
Tickets: $55 to $85, subject to change and based on availability, plus applicable fees. Tickets may be purchased online at, by phone at 202-488-3300, or at the Sales Office at 1101 Sixth St., SW, D.C. For information on savings programs such as student discounts, Southwest Nights, Pay-Your-Age tickets, Family Fun Packs, HOTTIX and Hero’s Discounts, visit
When: Southwest Night will be Friday, Oct. 21, at 8 p.m. Regular performances are Tuesday, Wednesday
and Sunday at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.; And weekday matinee at noon on Tuesday, Nov. 1.

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