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‘Take A Bow’ Part 3: The Staff of DCMetroTheaterArts’ Favorite Spring/Summer 2016 Performances

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Here’s Part 3 of the staff of DCMetroTheaterArts’ favorite Spring/Summer 2016 performances. To our honorees: TAKE A BOW!

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Christopher Broughton, DeMoya Watson Brown, DeWitt Fleming, Jr., V. Savoy McIlwain, Olivia Russell, Joseph Monroe Webb, and Stephen Scott Wormley: Ensemble and Dancers in Jelly’s Last Jam at Signature Theatre.

Christopher Broughton, DeWitt Fleming Jr, DeMoya Watson Brown, Joseph Monroe Webb, Olivia Russell. Photo by Christopher Mueller.

Christopher Broughton, DeWitt Fleming Jr, DeMoya Watson Brown, Joseph Monroe Webb, Olivia Russell. Photo by Christopher Mueller.

The ensemble and incredible dancers rocked the house with let-the-good-times-roll energy, sizzling shim sham shimmy, flying Lindy Hop swing-outs and dazzling rhythm tap solos in several big dance production numbers in Jelly’s Last Jam. Tap dance and jazz with their simpatico improvisational and syncopated beat merged brilliantly to tell the compelling story of Jelly Roll Morton – thanks to these talented tap dancers in the crowd ensemble of this exciting production.-Ramona Harper.

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Julia Coffey as Hedda Gabler in Hedda Gabler at The Studio Theatre.

Shane Kenyon and Julia Coffey. Theatre. Photo by Allie Dearie.

Shane Kenyon and Julia Coffey. Theatre. Photo by Allie Dearie.

Watching Julia Coffey’s feline and feral performance in the title role of Studio Theatre’s sleek and stark staging of Hedda Gabler is to witness the trainwreck that is Ibsen’s enigmatic character in a blazing new light. Such is her gracefully seductive presence that one cannot take one’s eyes off her—nor, with credible good reason, can the men in the play, whose heartstrings she manipulates as if plucking idly at harp strings. Would Ibsen, if he witnessed Coffey’s thoroughly modern Hedda, be rolling in his grave or offering a prone ovation? It matters not. The Coffey’s phenomenal performance creates an indelible Hedda as ravishing as she is self-absorbed and a character absolutely revelatory for right now.-John Stoltenberg.

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Andy De as Lieutenant J.G. Daniel Kaffee in A Few Good Men at Off The Quill. 

Peter Orvetti (Capt. Whitaker), Andy De (Lt. JG Daniel Kaffee), Adrian Vigil (Lt. JG Sam Weinberg). Photo by Katie Wanschura.

Peter Orvetti (Capt. Whitaker), Andy De (Lt. JG Daniel Kaffee), Adrian Vigil (Lt. JG Sam Weinberg). Photo by Katie Wanschura.

Throughout Off the Quill’s production of Aaron Sorkin’s modern classic, Andy De delivers a performance that can make you tear up just as easily as he can make you crack up. He shines in a way that feels authentic, deftly showing a wave of emotions as his character struggles with his own personal feelings about this divisive case. On his own he’s outstanding and as a lead he’s supportive, allowing his costars to make the most out of their scenes together. As Daniel Kaffee, De carries this show in the best way possible.-Vanessa Berben.

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Michael J. Dombroski as Lieutenant Colonel Nathan Jessup in A Few Good Men at Off the Quill.

(standing) Michael J. Dombroski as Lt. Col. Nathan Jessup, and (sitting) Donald R. Cook (Capt. Matthew Markinson). Photo by Katie Wanschura.

(standing) Michael J. Dombroski as Lt. Col. Nathan Jessup, and (sitting) Donald R. Cook (Capt. Matthew Markinson). Photo by Katie Wanschura.

As the frightening villain in Off the Quill’s production of the Aaron Sorkin classic, Dromboski chews up every scene he’s in as the Colonel who may or may not have ordered one of his soldiers to be hazed. He conveys a ferocious logic that is not to be questioned and his rapid-fire back-and-forth during courtroom scenes is exhilarating to watch. Dromboski delivers a masterful performance that needs to be seen.-Vanessa Berben.

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Liam Forde as Jason (and the puppet Tyrone) in Hand to God at The Studio Theatre.

Liam Forde in ‘Hand to God’ at Studio Theatre. Photo by Amy Horan.

Liam Forde in ‘Hand to God’ at Studio Theatre. Photo by Amy Horan.

Liam Forde plays a troubled teen whose left hand is possessed by a demonic puppet. It is a dual role requiring split-second switching between a puppeteer character and a puppet character who behave like Jekyll and Hyde as conjoined twins. One character is a young man aching with longing and loneliness; the other is a growling, goading rogue. By some breath-taking bifurcation of his prodigiously focused acting instrument, Forde delivers a performance that is utterly transfixing—by turns tender and crude, anguished and hilarious.-John Stoltenberg.

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Ari Goldbloom-Helzner as Billy Bigelow in Carousel at The Theatre Lab of the Dramatic Arts.

Billy Bigelow (Ari Goldbloom-Helzner) woos Julie Jordan (Sarah Goleman-Mercer.) Photo by Ryan Maxwell.

Billy Bigelow (Ari Goldbloom-Helzner) woos Julie Jordan (Sarah Goleman-Mercer.) Photo by Ryan Maxwell.

What marks Carousel is the performances. Billy Bigelow is remarkably portrayed by Ari Goldbloom-Helzner who sings “Soliloquy” with a powerful voice and impeccable dynamics. He even gets some comedy into the act when he realizes that his “son” could be a girl. And, when he joins in to sing “If I Loved You” with Sarah Goleman-Mercer – it is pure romance.-Barbara Braswell and Paul Bessel.

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Randy Graff in Barbara Cook’s Spotlight:  Randy Graff at The Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater.

Randy Graff. Photo courtesy of The Kennedy Center.

Randy Graff. Photo courtesy of The Kennedy Center.

Randy Graff is utterly unique and surprising in her fresh and spontaneous delivery of the most well-known standards.  As she cascaded through a set of twelve songs, the sheer range of her resonant and piercingly vibrant voice was a pleasure to hear. They should be writing original musicals for this prodigious talent!-David Friscic.

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Karen Lange, James Finley, Rebecca Speas, Brittany Alyse Willis, and Rebecca Phillips Accompanied by Dead Men’s Hollow (Amy Nazarov, Belinda Hardesty, Caryn Fox, Jared Creason, Marcy Cochran, and Mike Clayberg), in Over Her Dead Body at Pinky Swear Productions at The 2016 Capital Fringe Festival.

 Belinda Hardesty, Brittany Alyse Willis, Rebecca Speas, Karen Lange, Rebecca Phillips, and Jared Creason. Photo by Ryan Maxwell Photography.

Belinda Hardesty, Brittany Alyse Willis, Rebecca Speas, Karen Lange, Rebecca Phillips, and Jared Creason. Photo by Ryan Maxwell Photography.

Pinky Swear Productions’ performance of Over Her Dead Body walked away from this year’s Capital Fringe Festival receiving both the Best Musical Theatre or Opera award and the coveted Best Overall Show. Through rip-roaring numbers and haunting renditions this “Bluegrass Benediction” makes each of us question how we have personally responded to violence against women in our own lives. From the moment the cast hits the stage you feel strangely exhilarated, knowing you’ve discovered a work that manages to be fun and electrifying while at the same time chillingly thought provoking.-Vanessa Berben.

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Siobhan O’Loughlin in Broken Bone Bathtub at Submersive Productions.
Siobhan O'Loughlin. Photo by Jason Speakman.

Siobhan O’Loughlin. Photo by Jason Speakman.

Siobhan O’Loughlin‘s strange, comforting and magical solo show that she performs in a bathtub for an audience of 12 in a bathroom in a private home is unlike anything you have ever experienced. This dynamic performer has the ability to make the mundane extraordinary and make strangers bare their souls (and wash her hair). But the setting is no gimmick and her story about a bike accident and a broken arm and finding compassion and connection in a world that spins too fast left me tremendously moved and deliriously hopeful.-David Gersten.

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Kiandra Richardson as Whitney Houston in Born for This: The BeBe Winans Story at Arena Stage.

Juan Winans (from left) (BeBe), Kiandra Richardson (Whitney Houston), and Deborah Joy Winans (CeCe). Photo by Greg Mooney.

Lto R: Juan Winans (BeBe), Kiandra Richardson (Whitney Houston), and Deborah Joy Winans (CeCe). Photo by Greg Mooney.

In a cameo role as Whitney Houston, Kiandra Richardson gives a star-power performance with astounding vocals as she warns BeBe and CeCe Winan not to live for the applause of fame. When Kiandra belts out “Applause” center stage, she brings the house down, eerily looking and sounding a lot like the beautiful superstar.-Ramona Harper.

LINKS:
‘Take A Bow’ Part 1: The Staff of DCMetroTheaterArts’ Favorite Spring/Summer 2016 Performances.

‘Take A Bow’ Part 2: The Staff of DCMetroTheaterArts’ Favorite Spring/Summer 2016 Performances.

‘Take A Bow’ Part 3: The Staff of DCMetroTheaterArts’ Favorite Spring/Summer 2016 Performances.

‘Take A Bow’ Part 4: The Staff of DCMetroTheaterArts’ Favorite Spring/Summer 2016 Performances.

‘Take A Bow’ Part 5: The Staff of DCMetroTheaterArts’ Favorite Spring/Summer 2016 Performances.

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