Phylicia Rashad and Anna Deavere Smith are among the thesps lined up to appear as part of the inaugural season at newly renovated D.C. regional Arena Stage.
Rashad toplines a world preem by Marcus Gardley, “Every Tongue Confess,” that will play in Arena’s new 200-seat space starting in November. John Earl Jelks (“Radio Golf”) and Eugene Lee also are among the cast of the show, a magical-realist intergenerational tale helmed by Kenny Leon (“Fences”).
Smith plays the Arena when she kicks off the national tour of her healthcare-inspired solo outing “Let Me Down Easy,” which bowed at Off Broadway’s Second Stage Theater. Run begins in late December.
Before that, the season kicks off in October in the theater’s refurbished mainstage space with a multiracial staging of “Oklahoma!” directed by Arena a.d. Molly Smith and starring local thesp E. Faye Butler as Aunt Eller. Valisia LeKae (“Ragtime”) and Nicholas Rodriguez (“Tarzan”) appear as Laurey and Curly, respectively.
Stepping up efforts to boost its national profile, Arena recently tapped the Obamas as honorary chairs of the regional’s first season in its heavily refurbished facility.