By Southwester Staff
Arena Stage announced the company’s 74th season, which will include two original musicals, an acclaimed play with music, a comedy, a new addition to the Power Play series and the return of Step Afrika!. More information is available at arenastage.org/23-24.
Cambodian Rock Band
July 18 – August 27, 2023
It’s 2008 and a father-daughter duo are heading to Phnom Penh; she to prosecute a notorious Cambodian war criminal, he 30 years after escaping then-Communist rule. In a psychedelic theatrical extravaganza set to some of the country’s most popular rock music, including from Dengue Fever, Cambodian Rock Band shines a light on the country’s vibrant ’70s rock scene and how an entire generation of musicians was purged by the Khmer Rouge, as it brings long-buried family secrets back to life.
POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass Are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive
October 13 – November 12, 2023
When the Commander-in-Chief publicly calls his wife a “See You Next Tuesday,” all H-E-Double Hockey Sticks breaks loose. In this searingly funny Broadway hit, POTUS follows how seven women of dramatically different backgrounds minimize the damage done by male arrogance and political posturing, in an endearing homage to the women who keep things running behind the scenes.
November 25 – December 30, 2023
When a violent storm sinks their whaling ship off the coast of New Bedford, Mass., the four survivors face a reckoning: how far will they go to stay alive? And can they live with the consequences? With music and lyrics from The Avett Brothers (“America’s Biggest Roots Band,” Rolling Stone), whose 2004 “Mignonette” was inspired by an 1884 shipwreck and the struggle of four men to survive, Swept Away is an electrifying, soul-stirring exploration of how facing tragedy can open the door to forgiveness… if only we’ll let it.
February 16 – March 17, 2024
Born into slavery in North Carolina, Anna Julia Cooper was a visionary Black feminist and educator in the late 19th/early 20th centuries, and only the fourth African American woman to earn a doctoral degree. Tempestuous Elements—the 11th in Arena Stage’s Power Play cycle—shines a light on Cooper’s tumultuous tenure as Principal of Washington, D.C.’s historic M Street School where she fought to keep Black education alive, despite the racism, gossip and sexism that threatened to consign her efforts to obscurity.
March 29 – May 5, 2024
Cleaning out her grandmother’s home, Ellen Rabinowitz discovers the photograph of an anonymous soldier tucked away in a box of keepsakes. And so begins Unknown Soldier, a sweeping, elegiac musical from Daniel Goldstein and the late Michael Friedman on a woman’s journey to unearth the secrets of her family’s past… and which will chart her future.
The Migration: Reflections on Jacob Lawrence
June 6 – July 14, 2024
Using its hallmark style of percussive dance-theater, Step Afrika!’s The Migration: Reflections on Jacob Lawrence tells the story of one of the largest movements of people in United States history, when millions of African American migrants moved from the rural South to the industrial North in the 1900s to escape Jim Crow, racial oppression, and lynchings. Inspired by Jacob Lawrence’s iconic 60-panel “The Migration Series” (1940-41), this signature work from the award-winning dance company uses the images, color palette, and motifs in the painting series to tell this astonishing story through pulsating rhythms and visually stunning movement.
Step Afrika!’s Magical Musical Holiday Step Show
December 8 – 17, 2023
Tickets will be available in June 2023.
*Plays, artists, and dates subject to change.