A new production of a mild-mannered, early 20th-century comedy might seem like a risky investment, but the Kennedy Center is doubling down on Eastern European theater and handing over the Eisenhower Theater to a makeover of The Guardsman, a 1910 hit by Hungarian playwright Ferenc Molnár. KenCen has billed the new adaptation as rather risqué, with two photogenic TV stars in lead roles: Finn Wittrock of Masters of Sex and Sarah Wayne Callies of The Walking Dead—who both come from respectable theater backgrounds—will portray married thespians. Wittrock also plays the titular character, who attempts, while disguised as a man in uniform, to seduce his own wife. The Kennedy Center promises Richard Nelson’s new version is a sexy exploration of art and artifice, not a madcap farce. If that’s the case, it sounds like the play could be awesome. Or it could be a case of mistaken identity.
The play runs May 25 to June 23 at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater, 2700 F St. NW. $54–$95. (202) 467-4600. kennedy-center.org.