As Studio Theater wraps up its $20 million Open Studio fundraising campaign, the Theater looks forward to its first full season in its completely renovated building, marked by captivating, current new works and next-generation talent. 2022-2023 is Studio’s biggest mainline series subscription season, six productions ranging from intimate drama to riotous comedy to theatrical spectacle to celebrated musical. Split evenly between previously announced titles delayed by the pandemic and new productions, the season also marks the return to directing for Studio Artistic Director David Muse.
“Our upcoming season is intentionally eclectic, with intimate stagings that are Studio’s hallmark as well as large-scale ensemble productions that will challenge us to use our theaters in new and inventive ways,” Muse said. “I’m especially thrilled that Studio is introducing our audience to playwrights who are helping to shape the future of our field, like Sanaz Toossi, Will Arbery and James Ijames, alongside peers who continue to innovate and create groundbreaking works. “
“For the past few seasons, our Open Studio campaign has been a driving narrative of Studio Theater. After talking about it for so long and dreaming about the promise it holds, we’re thrilled to be able to show it off as we welcome the public in our finished building,” said the Executive Director of the Studio. Rebecca Ende Lichtenberg. “The plays for our 2022-2023 season are dynamic and topical, and the changes to our physical space will make the return to theater even more exciting for our patrons.”
The 2022-2023 season begins with Heroes of the Fourth Turn, Will Arbery small-group production that offers sensitive and dynamic insight into the Catholic right in America. The production grounds the characters and the conservative movement in the near present and will be on stage just in time for the midterm elections. This intimate production is followed by At Duncan Macmillan’s radical drama about addiction and recovery, People, places and things. David Muse directs this theatrical show which will utilize all the technological sophistication and versatility of Studio’s new Victor Shargai Theatre.
Studio will present two new works that caused a stir at their recent New York premieres, starting with English by a newcomer Sanaz Toossi in its early days in Washington, DC. His comedy series about language and identity follows four Iranian students as they study for the English as a Foreign Language test and wrestle with what it means to swap their native Farsi for a new language. Next, Studio will present its first production of the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Rating with Clyde’sa redemption story set in a truck stop and billed as the funniest play to hit Broadway in some time.
A highlight of the 2022-2023 season is the play commissioned by the Studio good bonesa new coin from the 2022 Pulitzer Prize winner just announced James Ijames. An exploration of gentrification, displacement and upward mobility, good bones centers on a young couple renovating a townhouse in an unnamed town that bears an uncanny resemblance to Washington, DC. good bones will be led by Psalmayene 24extending a rich collaboration with Studio that includes directing Go over and working with the theater as Doris Duke’s artist-in-residence.
The season ends with Jeanine Tesori and Lisa KronTony Award-winning musical fun houseStudio’s first mainline series musical since its acclaimed production of gray gardens (2008). David Muse is once again at the helm of this beautiful, painful story of a father-daughter relationship and the difficult path to self-acceptance. Adapted from Alison Bechdel’s pioneering graphic memoir of her childhood, Studio will adapt the Broadway hit to its intimate theaters, magnifying the power of this bittersweet musical and marking the first time a local theater company will produce fun house (the Broadway tour played at the National Theater in DC).
ABOUT THE 2022-2023 SEASON (listed in chronological order)
Tickets start at $45 for all productions
Heroes of the Fourth Turn
directed by Sivan Battat
September 21 – October 23, 2022
At the edge of the Wyoming wilderness, the latest guests linger late into the night at a celebration for the new president of their conservative Catholic college. Reunited after seven years, the friends treat each other to whiskey and check the names of Thomas Aquinas, Hannah Arendt, Steve Bannon, even Bojack Rider, following their distance from each other and who they thought they were now. Will Arbery’s portrait of conservatives trying to figure out where they – and their country – stand is an incisive but personal look at the intelligence and desperation of the Catholic right.
People, places and things
by Duncan Macmillan
directed by David Muse
November 9 – December 11, 2022
Victor Shargai Theater
Emma is an actress. She also has an addiction, and it’s trying to kill her. In rehab, but not ready for recovery, Emma just wants to escape – through drugs, through performance, through anything that allows her to create her own reality. David Muse directs its first production at the new Victor Shargai Theatre, a theatrical tour de force that evokes the vivid and disorienting world of intoxication and lies as Emma decides to fight for her recovery and the people, places and the things she’s going to deal with.
by Sanaz Toossi
director to be announced
January 11 – February 12, 2023
“Only English.” It’s 2008 in Karaj, Iran, and four adult students are studying for the English as a Foreign Language test, the key to their green card, medical school, family reunification. Playing in awkward lessons of puns and mistranslations, English is both a comedy of miscommunication and a look at how speaking a new language can expand your world and change your voice. A hit when it premiered in New York in 2021, Studio features playwright Sanaz Toossi in her Washington, DC debut.
by Lynn Rating
director to be announced
March 8 – April 9, 2023
Victor Shargai Theater
No one would accuse Clyde of having a soft heart. Sure, she hires ex-convicts for the greasy cooking of her truck stop sandwich, but she knows what they owe her and holds that power tight. His line cooks may be stuck, but their hopes have yet to fade, fueled by tentative relationships and fierce competition to create the perfect sandwich. Pulitzer Prize-winning Lynn Nottage’s sweet and salty comedy is about wonder, Wonder Bread and the healing powers of food.
by James Ijames
directed by Psalmayene 24
May 24 – June 25, 2023
Aisha has returned to the block, but the neighborhood has changed. She is an urban planner, returning to her hometown, renovating a townhouse that has seen better days. Aisha tries to convince her husband to jump for the molding and endures the noise pounding from the street all night long. But when their contractor is caught up in an act of violence a block away, Aisha’s return becomes more complex than she thought. A piece commissioned by the studio of 2022 Pulitzer Prize winner James Ijames, good bones explores gentrification and belonging, displacement and upward mobility, and being haunted by a legacy you are only just beginning to understand.
Music by Jeanine Tesori
Book and lyrics Lisa Kron
Based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel
Directed by David Muse
(2015 Tony Award for Best New Musical)
June 28 – July 30, 2023
Alison is 9 years old and begs her father to play with her. She is 19 years old, overwhelmed by the painful and joyful pain of first love. She is 43 years old, a lesbian searching for the truth about the life and death of her brilliant, unstable and closeted father. She’s all three, trying to unravel the central mystery of her childhood: how did she survive their shared hometown, when her father couldn’t? With a score that ranges from exuberant 70s pop to aching melodies and dissonant harmonies of characters yearning to be known, fun house is the Tony Award-winning story of a daughter and a father, of coming out and accepting a life
shaped by the secrets of a family.
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ABOUT STUDIO THEATER
The Studio Theater is a longstanding Washington cultural institution dedicated to producing contemporary theater. In more than 40 years and 350 productions, the theater has grown from a company that produced in a single rented theater to a company that owns a multi-theatre complex spanning half a city block, but has remained committed to its fundamental characteristics: deliberately intimate the spaces; excellence in acting and design; and seasons that feature many of the most important playwrights of our time. Studio is a values-driven organization that pursues artistry and inclusion, and brings a signature thoughtfulness and boldness to our endeavours, on and off stage. The theater serves nearly 75,000 people each year, including more than 1,000 youth and young adults through community engagement initiatives. Founded in 1978, the quality of the Studio’s work has been recognized by sustained community support, as well as 78 Helen Hayes Awards for Excellence in Professional Theatre.