Richmond-area theaters will be brightening the dark days of winter with exciting and fresh productions on stage. From a new take on the Henrik Ibsen play “A Doll’s House, Part 2” at Virginia Rep to “Come From Away,” an inspiring musical based on the Sept. 11 attacks, here’s what we’re looking forward to this season:
‘Murder For Two’
Swift Creek Mill Theatre
Local audiences who love a bit of mystery might already know that Swift Creek Mill is always the place to find a great whodunit. But this winter, with “Murder for Two,” Swift Creek is taking the whodunit in a new direction. With only two actors and one piano, this musical mystery sounds as if it will offer up comedy and intrigue in equal doses.
Director Tom Width says that “the joy in producing and directing ‘Murder for Two’ is that the authors give us lots of latitude as to how it can be done — the characters, the setting, the props can all be interpreted from many points of view. The music is great, and the show is a crazy romp on both sides of the footlights. Oh … and the four-handed piano playing … !”
“Murder for Two” runs Jan. 28 through Feb. 26 at Swift Creek Mill Theatre, 17401 U.S. Route 1, South Chesterfield. For more information, visit swiftcreekmill.com or call (804) 748-5203.
‘Come From Away’
Broadway in Richmond
“Come From Away” dramatizes the true story of the residents of Gander, a small Newfoundland town that suddenly found its population doubled when 38 planes were diverted to Gander International Airport in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. Writing team Irene Sankoff and David Hein based their characters on interviews with Gander residents and returning travelers about their experiences as this small town opened its homes and hearts to 7,000 displaced strangers. Part musical, part docudrama, “Come From Away” celebrates the human capacity for acceptance, tolerance and love.
Broadway in Richmond brings “Come From Away” to the Altria Theater, 6 N. Laurel St., on Feb. 1-6. For more information, visit altriatheater.com or call (804) 592-3368.
‘A Doll’s House, Part 2’
Virginia Repertory Theatre
Richmond-area audiences might remember the 2018 TheatreLAB production of Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House,” in which actress Katrinah Carol Lewis portrayed Nora, the woman who famously slams the door on her family life, leaving audiences to wonder what will become of her and the family she abandons. Lewis reprises her role in the Virginia Rep production of “A Doll’s House, Part 2,” in which playwright Lucas Hnath explores that very question.
“It is fitting that Hnath’s play begins with a door knock,” says director Sharon Ott. “Ibsen’s play is all about personal freedom and the need to know oneself. Hnath is interested in looking at the cost of Nora’s quest for freedom on those she left behind.” Ott adds that Hnath’s script is “crisp and contemporary and contains surprising and refreshing humor — something even people who love Ibsen would have to say is lacking in the original.”
Although this Nora is fueled by the version Lewis played in 2018, she agrees with Ott: “Ibsen’s piece is a drama, while Hnath’s is a comedy, so this allows for the opportunity to explore a different tone in the saga of Nora.”
Virginia Rep’s “A Doll’s House, Part 2” runs Feb. 4-27 at the November Theatre, 114 W. Broad St. For more information, visit va-rep.org or call (804) 282-2620.
Richmond Triangle Players
Kari Barclay’s “Stonewallin’,” winner of the inaugural So.Queer Playwriting Festival, tells a queer coming-of-age story set in the American South. Barclay’s work was chosen by RTP from over 90 original works to be developed and produced at the Robert B. Moss Theatre. The play enjoyed a live staged reading in December, but starting in February, audiences can buy tickets to see the full production, finally coming to fruition under the thoughtful direction of Raja Benz, who recently directed “The Pink Unicorn” at RTP as well.
Richmond Triangle Players’ “Stonewallin’” runs Feb. 9 through March 5 at the Robert B. Moss Theatre. For more information, visit rtriangle.org or call (804) 346-8113.
More upcoming shows:
- Chamberlayne Actors Theatre’s “A Hotel on Marvin Gardens,” Feb. 4-12 at Dogtown Dance Theatre
- Richmond Ballet’s “Romeo & Juliet,” Feb. 18-20 at the Dominion Energy Center
- Henrico Theatre Company’s “Forever Ella W/ Desiree Roots and Friends,” Feb. 23 at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen.
Claire Boswell is a writer and teacher living in Richmond.