Welcome to all things theater during the hottest, stickiest part of the year. Some of these thespian pursuits are outdoors, so you can enjoy a little culture with your bugs and humidity, but most of it is indoors, in the dark and the air conditioning. After all the outdoorsiness of summer, sitting in a theater for a couple of hours will give your deodorant a much-needed break.
Single Carrot Theatre (120 W. North Ave.,  844-9253, singlecarrot.com) takes on a play about a family struggling to come together while their apartment tries to kill them called Crumble (Lay Me Down Justin Timberlake). It runs through May 23. After that Tragedy: A Tragedy's title speaks for itself June 16-July 11.
Get your stampers out for Bingo! at the Audrey Herman Spotlighters Theatre (817 St. Paul St.,  752-1225, spotlighters.org) through May 23. Local actor/playwright Richard Espey's one-act "Sapiens" teams up with Robert Moulthrops's "Lecture with Cello" in Think Twice June 4-27 and George Bernard Shaw's romantic comedy Arms and the Man woos July 9-Aug. 1.
Fells Point Corner Theatre (251 S. Ann St.,  276-7837, fpct.org) tackles Journey's End based on playwright R.C. Sherriff's experience in the trenches during World War I through June 6. Dark drama Blackbird runs through June 13 at Everyman Theatre (1727 N. Charles St.,  752-2208, everymantheatre.org), followed a few days later by A Passion for Justice: An Encounter with Clarence Darrow , a one-man show about the lawyer who defended teacher John Scopes in the infamous "monkey trials," June 18-26. The Vagabond Players (806 S. Broadway,  563-9135, vagabondplayers.org) deliver a comedy about a dying patriarch, The Waiting Room, June 4-27. And the Strand Theater (1823 N. Charles St.,  874-4917, strandtheatercompany.org) hosts the Friends and Neighbors Festival: Works by Women May 28-June 27.
Stoop Storytelling puts on another one of its live radio shows June 3-5 at CenterStage (700 N. Calvert St.,  332-0033, stoopstorytelling.com). Cool. Cruel. High School should take you back, for better or worse. And the Hippodrome (12 N. Eutaw St.,  547-7328, francemerrickpac.com) pays homage to Hitchcock June 1-13 with 39 Steps.
Baltimore has a Gilbert and Sullivan repertoire theater (Young Victorian Theatre Company, Bryn Mawr, 109 W. Melrose Ave.,  323-3077, yvtc.org), and it's been around for 40 years. This summer it's putting on Iolanthe July 9-18. Theatre Hopkins (Johns Hopkins University, Mattin Center, 3400 N. Charles St.,  516-7159, jhu.edu/theatre) does Glorious Ones , a musical ode to commedia dell'arte, June 11-July 4. And Factory Edge Theatre Works bring a musical revue with a mouthful of a title, Jacques Brel is alive and well and living in Paris , to Theatre Project (45 W. Preston St.,  752-8558, theatreproject.org.) through May 29.
Opera is alive and well in Baltimore with Mozart's The Magic Flute through May 22, courtesy of Opera Vivente (Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 811 Cathedral St.,  547-7997, operavivente.org) and a Baltimore Concert Opera (Engineer's Club, 11 W. Mount Vernon Place,  844-3496, baltimoreconcertopera.com production) of A Flight of Verdi May 21-23.
Creative Alliance at the Patterson (3134 Eastern Ave.,  276-1651, creativealliance.org) does its usual a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Gilded Lily Burlesque is joined on stage by Philadelphia's Hellcat Girls May 21. Paco Fish masters the ceremonies for Vie La Decadence, a burlesque-heavy variety show that's not for the hoi polloi June 12. Heather Mayes performs Broadway tunes that reference Baltimore June 26 and while we can't name one that's not from Hairspray we're sure--or at least sure hope--she can.
Speaking of Tracy Turnblad and co., Toby's Dinner Theatre's Columbia location (5900 Symphony Woods Road, Columbia,  730-8311, tobysdinnertheatre.com) hair hops live with Hairspray through Aug. 1 followed by Nunsense Aug. 5-Sept. 19. At the Baltimore location (Best Western Hotel and Conference Center, 5625 O'Donnell St.,  649-1660) Oliver wants more through June 6, Always Patsy Cline, a tribute to the legendary country singer, may inspire some walkin' after midnight June 12-July 25, and Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story raves on July 30-Sept. 12.
The annual Baltimore Playwrights Festival (baltimoreplaywrightsfestival.org) fills the summer months with works by local writers. Kathleen Barber's In the Shadow of Lushan kicks the festivities off at Fells Point Corner Theater June 25-July 18 followed by Mark Scharf's Scorpions Aug. 6-29. Vagabond gets into the act July 16-25 with David Allyn's Commencement, and Spotlighters puts on the nearly unpronounceable (for us) Hammarskjold by Ronald McKinney Aug. 12-29. The Theatrical Mining Company (Copeland Theater, Le Clerc Hall, College of Notre Dame, 4701 N. Charles St.,  982-6979, tmc.originalplays.com) is also BSFing--though it was unclear at press time where--with Susan Middaugh's Black Widows July 8-25 and Ken Greller's This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things Aug. 12-29.
Out in Baltimore County, Cockpit-in-Court Theatre (Essex campus, Community College of Baltimore County, 7201 Rossville Blvd.,  840-1369, ccbcmd.edu/cockpit) offers a varied summer season with Singin' in the Rain June 18-July 4, Daddy's Dyin', Who's Got the Will? June 25-July 4, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs July 9-18, Curtains: The Musical Murder Mystery July 23-Aug. 8, and Angel Street (Gaslight) July 30-Aug. 8. In Howard County, Rep Stage (10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia,  772-4900, repstage.org) tackles Edward Albee's The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?, a play that looks at sexuality in an unconventional way, June 2-27.
The state capital is alive with music this summer. Forever Plaid May 27-June 13, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee June 24-July 25, and Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story Aug. 5-Sept. 5 all break into song at the Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre (143 Compromise St., Annapolis,  268-9212, summergarden.com).
The Colonial Players (108 East St., Annapolis,  268-7373, cplayers.com) presents Mrs. California, a play about a homemaker pageant that looks at how women who joined the war effort in the World War II dealt with being returned to more traditional females roles when the soldiers came home, through May 29. The company follows that up with Dog Logic, a comedy about a man running a pet cemetery, June 11-26.
Washington is lousy with theater. There are four plays to see this summer just at Studio Theatre (1501 14th St. NW, Washington,  332-3300, studiotheatre.org). Reasons to be Pretty has been extended a couple times and is now running through May 23. David Mamet's American Buffalo talks tough through June 13. Two drag queens playing fading silver screen divas in Legends! June 16-July 4. And Passing Strange, a musical about racial identity written by rock musicians, shreds July 14-Aug. 8. The Kennedy Center (2700 F St. NW, Washington,  444-1324, kennedy-center.org) keeps rolling out hair salon whodunnit Shear Madness through Aug. 29. The hallowed halls are also hosting Reduced Shakespeare Company: Completely Hollywood (abridged), one of those plays where they do a bunch of different works really fast and hilarity supposedly ensues, June 22-July 11. In substantially more interesting news, Laurence Fishburne inhabits the first African-American nominated to the Supreme Court in Thurgood June 1-20. Mary Poppins makes kids clean their rooms in a cute way July 1-Aug. 22. Note to parents: This will only work on your kids for one week post-show. Meanwhile, Woolly Mammoth (641 D St. NW, Washington,  289-2443, woollymammoth.net) plays around with coming of age tale Gruesome Playground Injuries through June 13. As Tolkien nerds, we're not even going to try to hide our excitement for Charles Ross' One-Man Lord of the Rings July 5-Aug. 1. Sarah Ruhl takes on treatments for hysteria during the Victorian age in In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play Aug. 23-Oct. 3.
Over in the D.C. suburbs, Laurel Mill Playhouse (508 Main St., Laurel,  617-9906, laurelmillplayhouse.org) brings a musical about a man, his married friends, and his three girlfriends to the stage May 21-June 13 in Company and Disco Inferno, with 30 seventies booty-shaking, love-making songs July 30-Aug. 22. Five actors bring Around the World in 80 Days to the Round House Theatre in Bethesda (4545 E. West Highway, Bethesda,  644-1100, roundhousetheatre.org) through May 30. But most of Round House's summer shenanigans take place at the Silver Spring location (8641 Colesville Road) starting with Comedy of Errors . . . At Colonus?, a mash up of Shakespeare and Sophocles, through May 23. Next up is Hotel Cassiopeia, about modern artist Joseph Cornell June 5-13. Then try to pronounce Prufbox, a play that takes its inspiration from Cornell's work and T.S. Eliot's poem "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," June 18-20. Two one-woman shows round out the line up with Cream Soda and Crème de Menthe June 24-25 and Frida Vice Versa June 26-27.
It's not clear why summer and Shakespeare are inextricably linked, but the Bard is as flip flops this May through August. In Washington, the Folger Shakespeare Library (201 E. Capitol St. SE, Washington,  547-7077, folger.edu) depicts Hamlet's waffling between life and death through June 6. The Washington National Opera sings its way through Hamlet's ordeals at the Kennedy Center (New Hampshire Avenue and F Street NW, Washington,  444-1324, kennedy-center.org) through June 4. And the Synetic Theater puts a hush over the Kennedy Center with their wordless Othello June 3-July 3.
In Maryland--the 301 area code part--A Midsummer Night's Dream makes an ass out of Bottom June 25-July 18 at Laurel Mill Playhouse (508 Main St., Laurel, (301) 617-9906, laurelmillplayhouse.org). The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company (Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park, 3691 Sarah's Lane, Ellicott City,  313-8874, chesapeakeshakespeare.com) performs Much Ado About Nothing June 11-July 11 and, what do you know, Hamlet June 25-July 25.
Back in town, Theatre Project is swept away by Touchstone Theatre Project's production of The Tempest June 3-13. The Mobtown Players (3600 Clipper Mill Road, mobtownplayers.com) faux-cuckold Othello June 4-26. The Baltimore Shakespeare Festival (Meadow at Evergreen Museum and Library, 4545 N. Charles St.,  366-8596, baltimoreshakespeare.org) does The Comedy of Errors in repertoire with Moliere's Scapin June 23-Aug. 1.
Oddly, the Shakespeare Theatre (450 7th St. NW, Washington, (202) 547-1122, shakespearedc.org) isn't doing a lick of Shakespeare this summer. The Liar by David Ives runs through May 30 followed by George Bernard Shaw's play Mrs. Warren's Profession June 8-July 11.
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