As plans for the new Washington theater season take shape, the lineup across the region is looking ever nervier. Although an occasional company is going for the tried-and-true — witness the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s scheduling revivals of “Private Lives” and “The Importance of Being Earnest” — the prevailing trend for 2013-14 seems to be in the more exhilarating vein of go-for-broke.
Or, if not quite that extreme, the seasons being unveiled suggest that the fever for giving theatergoers rich menus has not come close to breaking. It shows up in the lists of nonprofit troupes as varied as Round House Theatre, Forum Theatre and Arena Stage, as well as in the enticing announcement of a world premiere commercial venture, “If/Then,” starring Idina Menzel at the National Theatre this fall.
And now, Signature Theatre — which took a bit of a breather this season, with a schedule heavy on musical revivals — is bouncing back at what looks like full force. In an extraordinarily ambitious rollout of nine productions, the company says it will produce three world-premiere musicals, one world-premiere play, the regional debut of a new British play, a developmental run of yet another world-premiere musical and revivals of, gulp, “Miss Saigon,” “Gypsy” and “The Threepenny Opera.” Among the new musicals will be “Beaches,” based on the novel that also spawned the 1988 Bette Midler-Barbara Hershey movie weepie of that title, and other musicals by Signature composer Matt Conner and Signature actor Ed Dixon.