in partnership
fords born yesterday.jpg
Cody Nikell, Kimberly Gilbert and Edward Gero in Ford Theatre's BORN YESTERDAY. (Image: Carol Rosegg)

Theater Tuesday: 5 must-see October shows

Theater is a good way to learn a new song, or hum a familiar tune, as you see different points of view in a relaxed setting for a few hours. This month's list includes two musicals and three plays that deal with politics in some way, form or fashion. From a world premiere heading to Broadway soon, a timeless musical from the amazing duo of Elton John and Tim Rice, and plays helping us learn to laugh about politics, we've got something for all audiences.


  • Written by Garson Kanin and directed by Aaron Posner
  • Ford's Theatre, 511 Tenth St. NW
  • Now - October 21
  • Tickets: $17-$64

In this sharp-edged satire, opportunistic tycoon Harry Brock arrives in Washington with his naive girlfriend Billie Dawn to game the political system. With the help of an idealistic reporter, Billie wisens up and fights back to end the corruption. Helen Hayes Award winner Kimberly Gilbert stars as Billie Dawn.


  • Written by (Bethesda naive) Steven Levenson and directed by Matt Torney
  • Studio Theatre, 1501 14th St. NW
  • Now - October 21
  • Tickets: $20-$114

It’s July 2000, the Oslo Accords are falling apart and in Tenleytown, a modern Jewish family is fracturing over what to do with their 14th Street real estate. Mother has died, father will need full-time care, and as their adult children debate what to do 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. This deeply personal, political play about history, responsibility and what we’re willing to sacrifice for a new beginning is told with vicious humor and unflinching honesty.


  • Music by Elton John; Lyrics by Tim Rice; Book by Linda Woolverton, Robert Falls and David Henry Hwang; Directed by Michael J. Bobbitt
  • Constellation Theater Company, 1835 14th St. NW
  • October 11 - November 18
  • Tickets: $25 - $55

Based on Giuseppe Verdi's opera, this epic musical chronicles a star-crossed love affair between Aida, a Nubian princess kidnapped from her country, and Radames, an Egyptian captain who enslaved her people. As their forbidden love blossoms, Aida must choose between her heart’s desire and her royal responsibility to lead her people to freedom.


  • Book by Scott Brown and Anthony King and directed by Alex Timbers
  • The National Theatre, 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
  • October 14 - November 18
  • Tickets: $54 - $114

Beetlejuice is ruder, raunchier and more repellent than ever in this musical based on Tim Burton’s wonderfully demented film. BEETLEJUICE tells the story of Lydia Deetz, an unusual teenager obsessed with the whole “being dead thing.” Lucky for Lydia, her new house is haunted by a recently deceased couple and a degenerate demon who has a thing for stripes. When she calls on this ghost-with-the-most to scare away her insufferable parents, Beetlejuice comes up with the perfect plan, which includes exorcism and arranged marriages. Be one of the first to see this show during its World Premiere in D.C. before it heads to Broadway.

PARENTAL DISCRETION IS ADVISED. Contains strong language, mature references, and a lot of the crazy, inappropriate stuff you would expect from a deranged demon.


  • Written by Anna Ziegler and directed by Johanna Gruenhut
  • Presented by Theater J at Arena Stage, 101 6th St. SW
  • October 17 – November 18
  • Tickets: $39-$69

Tom and Amber, freshmen at Princeton University, seem to be on the same page about where their relationship is heading, until suddenly they aren’t. What begins as a casual hook up turns into a Title IX hearing in which both students have everything to lose. Tackling the highly charged topic of sexual consent, this provocative new play investigates the intersection of gender and race in campus politics today, offering a nuanced and psychologically rich portrait of a generation.