We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

Three sisters gather a year after their father’s death. The eldest, a capable, conservative teacher, is on the verge of becoming embittered because she has never married. The second, dissatisfied with her boring husband, has taken a lover. And the youngest, still believing in fairy-tale love, persists in waiting for her Prince Charming. Playwrights Janet Pryce and Thomas W. Jones II borrow this much from Three Sisters, Anton Chekhov’s story of lives put on hold, for MetroStage’s world-premiere musical Three Sistahs. From there, though, they diverge into a modern story of women who make choices. The Bradshaw sisters are gathered in their father’s house in Washington following the funeral of their brother—a soldier like their father—who’s been killed in Vietnam. They seem to get together now only when someone in their family dies—three funerals, three reunions, in three years. As responsible, successful Olive (Bernardine Mitchell), saucy middle daughter Marsha (Crystal Fox), and idealistic Irene (Desire DuBose) treat themselves to an old-fashioned pajama party, they share the secrets and disappointments of their lives, largely through the original lyrics and music of Jones and William Hubbard. The stars all have great voices (and probably didn’t need to be miked so heavily in the small MetroStage space), and several of the songs—for example, “Basement Kind of Love,” a tribute to Olive’s teen make-out session just a short flight of stairs beneath her strict father’s alert ears—and the gospel-style “There’s a Leak in This Old Building” are showstoppers. Jones, who also directed the play, moves the sisters around Milagros Ponce de Leon’s lived-in, if-these-walls-could-talk set in a way that says that though they haven’t lived here in years, this will always be home—they’ll jump on the window seats if they want to, now that Mama and Daddy have passed. Although Sistahs takes place over one night and the next morning, Adam Magazine’s lighting shifts frequently, reflecting the sisters’ acute awareness of time—the time that’s passed and the decisions they’ve made about how to spend it. All three have their pitious moments, but pragmatic Marsha provides the dramatic arc of the story. She seems at first to have settled for a life the other two consider unfulfilling, but after divulging her secrets, she leaves the house to take the biggest leap of faith of the three. Jones and Pryce incorporate a lot of ’60s window dressing into the script—when the Bradshaws buried their father, they could smell the smoke from the riots on H Street—but they return in the end to the same theme that preoccupied Chekhov: how people pass the precious days between birth and death. Unlike Chekhov’s Prozorov sisters, who wait for a magical carriage to whisk them off to Moscow, the Bradshaw girls take the reins of their own lives and head back out into the world.—Janet Hopf