The National Theatre
1321 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington DC 20004
Located near METRO Center, on Freedom Plaza, at 13th and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, or 13th and E Streets, NW, across from the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center.
February 21st thru March 5th, 2006
Dame Edna, the incomparable international housewife, megastar and guru, storms back to Washington in her newly-minted extravaganza - an all-new theatrical infrastructure. She will glow from the stage in a series of never-before-seen gowns. Dame Edna will sing, dance, give psychic readings to astonished audience members, offer marriage counseling, and perhaps even heal…
The evening will include Dame Edna's version of a reality show. As she herself asserts, "I don't do shows, I make history. In a spooky way, I am theater in the making. My shows are not shows at all, they are events." Joining Dame Edna onstage will be 'The Gorgeous Ednaettes', scrumptious girl dancers in stunning costumes that the men folk will really appreciate if they can ever take their eyes off the Dame, as well as 'The Equally Gorgeous TestEdnarones', a dishy duo of boy dancers."
Dame Edna: The Royal Tour, her last Broadway production, received a Special Tony Award for a Live Theatrical Event.
Dame Edna with the TestEdnarones and the Gorgeous Ednaettes
Dame Edna: Back with a Vengeance!
Rejoice, possums! Even if you haven't spent the last four and a half years mired in the doldrums from the lack of amethyst hair and diamond-studded horn-rimmed spectacles, you're about to be jolted out of your seat: You have the opportunity once again to bask in the purple and gold glow of Dame Edna Everage, now making her all-conquering return to Washington, DC.
Dame Edna's new show at the National Theatre is titled, appropriately, Dame Edna: Back With a Vengeance! From the moment Dame Edna makes her dazzling entrance, atop a stage-spanning pair of red horn-rimmed glasses that descend from the flies, she holds court over nearly two and a half hours of solid laughter. True, she has to run roughshod over her audience to do it, but that's easy to do when they're captive with glee, and in the Dame's ecstatic presence most audience members submit willingly. It's impossible to even be truly taken aback by her quips and insults; "I don't pick on people," she says, "I empower them." Is that why being made fun of and assaulted by thrown gladioli is never this much fun outside of Dame Edna shows?
Regardless, the show, written and directed by Dame Edna's longtime collaborator Barry Humphries (Andrew Ross and Robert Horn have provided "additional material"), is a triumphant tribute to the "glittering gigastar." He even helps reveal some of her lesser-known talents, encouraging her to hold a pedomancy session, telling people's fortunes by intensely examining their shoes - which she even gives back, eventually - and preside over a group-therapy marriage counseling session ("There will be pain," she informs the beleaguered couple she chooses, "but there will also be healing"). Is there anything Dame Edna can't do?
As if to prove the answer an unequivocal no, she even presents a scene from a play she's going to produce about her life, going so far as to audition audience members for various roles. Intended, Dame Edna insists, as serious drama, the brief, angst-filled kitchen-sink-drama playlet becomes fall-out-of-your-chair funny when those audience members make their smashing appearances as Edna's daughter Valmai, her leather-sporting son Kenny, her incontinent husband Norm, and her irrepressible bridesmaid Madge Allsop.
That they bring down the house almost as easily as Edna herself does reveals an important part of Edna's charm: knowing when it's okay to be upstaged by little people. Though she jokes often about her show's uplifting, caring message (usually before viciously skewering someone for reading their Playbill or making an off-hand remark in an impromptu conversation with her), the audience is an integral part of the fun. When, during her opening number, she informs the audience that "This lovely intimate show is all about you," she's only half-joking.
That song, like the others sprinkled throughout the show, is the work of Wayne Barker ("Master of the Dame's Musick"), who also provides stirring piano accompaniment. The songs (which include the first act finale, "Edna is the Nicest Show in Town," and the finale "Wave That Glad," that turns the audience into a garden of gladioli) may not be sterling examples of fine musicianship - they're functional, which in this context is to say grin-inducing - but they allow Edna and her surrounding chorus kids to strut their stuff and deliver some honest-to-goodness show-business pizzazz. The cheesy glitz (and sometimes Fosse-infused steps) of Jason Gilkison's choreography also helps, as do Brian Thompson's red-curtain-tinged production design, Jane Cox's lights, and Edna's son Kenny's sequin-heavy costumes. (For some reason, Will Goodwin and Stephen Adnitt are given Playbill credit for the costumes, but whoever's responsible, the garments are all gorgeously gaudy.)
We are proud to say that Dame Edna: Back With A Vengeance! has a unique demographic. It appeals to 112-year olds, to sophisticated 12-year olds, and to everyone in between. The show has no inappropriate language but, as with many forms of theatrical entertainment, will be less interesting to smaller children.
Devised and written by Barry Humphries. Additional material by Andrew Ross, Robert Horn. With Wayne Barker, Master of the Dame's Musick. Production design by Brian Thomson. Lighting design by Jane Cox. Sound design by Dan Scheivert. Costumes by Will Goodwin, Stephen Adnitt. Choreography by Jason Gilkison. Lyrics by Barry Humphries and Wayne Barker. Music by Wayne Barker.
TUES - THURS EVENINGS @ 8 pm
Orchestra & Mezzanine A-K $ 68.75
Mezzanine L-M & Balcony A-D $ 53.75
Balcony E-J $ 36.25
FRI & SAT EVENINGS @ 8 pm
SAT & SUN MATINEES @ 2 pm
Orchestra & Mezzanine A-K $ 71.25
Mezzanine L-M & Balcony A-D $ 56.25
Balcony E-J $ 38.75
All offers are subject to availability of seating. All show times, performers and prices are subject to change. Group discounts cannot be combined with any other offer. A $1.25 facility fee which funds maintenance of the National Theatre building and equipment is included to the prices shown for each ticket above. No retroactive discounts are given once tickets are purchased.
Tickets purchased through Telecharge by phone or via Internet are subject to a Service Charge ($6.00 per ticket) and a Handling Charge ($2.50 per order).
A Minimum of 20 tickets is required for a group discount purchase.
RUNNING TIME: 2 hours and 30 minutes, including one 15-minute pause for reflection.
AGE APROPRIATE: For ages 12 years and above.
CHILDREN: Under four are never permitted in the mainstage theatre.
LATECOMERS: May not be seated until a suitable break in the performance.
EXCHANGES & REFUNDS: Once purchased, tickets cannot be exchanged or refunded.
DISCOUNTS: Retroactive discounts are not made.
Audio Described Performance Sunday Matinee - TBA - PM
ASL Signed Performance Sunday Matinee - TBA - PM
WEATHER, TIME & TRANSPORTATION: The Show Must Go On. We virtually never cancel for inclement weather or other cause. Please plan accordingly. If in doubt call 202-628-6161. Due to parades, demonstrations and other events and activities, certain downtown Washington Streets and/or METRO stops may not be open.