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Author Archive | Derek Mong

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Review: ‘See Jane Sing’ at The Kennedy Center

It’s hard to imagine what to expect at a cabaret debut from a television actor turned Broadway performer turned television game host. Jane Lynch—who some know as Sue Sylvester from the hit-television show Glee, as Miss Hannigan in the Broadway revival of Annie, or as the host of Hollywood Game Night—delivered a performance as varied […]

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‘Dear Evan Hansen’ at Arena Stage

There are a lot of great shows in town this month. There’s the fan-favorite The Book of Mormon, the charming and captivating Once, the grassroots Capital Fringe Festival (which just ended)—even Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett are joining in with their jazz performance this weekend at The Kennedy Center. With a crowded theatre scene this […]

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‘NEWSIES’ at The National Theatre

Disney’s high-octane Newsies of New York have pirouetted their way to Pennsylvania Avenue in the Washington, DC, premiere engagement of the Tony Award-winning smash hit musical Disney’s NEWSIES. With incredible choreography by Christopher Gattelli—who won a Tony Award for his work in NEWSIES—the all-star cast twirled and tapped their way in the heart of the […]

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2015 Kennedy Center Spring Gala: ‘It Don’t Mean a Thing… A Celebration of Swing’ at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts rolled out the red carpet on Sunday evening with a star-studded salute to the swing era of the 1930s and ‘40s. Under the direction of Grammy-winning jazz producer John Clayton, television sensation Megan Hilty, Broadway star Cheyenne Jackson, Tony Award winner Jennifer Holliday, Grammy Award winner […]

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‘Memphis’ at The Warner Theatre

Hockadoo! After a few toe-tapping hours at The Warner Theatre with the cast of Memphis and their inspired singing and dancing, I still have no idea what “Hockadoo” means, but I know—without a doubt—that it’s absolutely infectious. With music and lyrics by David Bryan and lyrics and book by Joe DiPietro, Memphis is a riotous […]

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Jay Leno at The Kennedy Center

A magnificent stage usually filled with a full orchestra and a hundred-person chorus might feel empty with just a stool, a microphone, and a lone person, but not when Jay Leno is in control. With the magnificent Rubenstein Organ as the backdrop of Jay Leno’s one-night-only performance at the Concert Hall of The John F. […]

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‘Simply Sondheim’ at Signature Theatre

Including everything from Sunday in the Park with George to Company to Into the Woods and everything in between, the work of  has graced the stages of Signature Theatre an astounding twenty-four times; given Sondheim’s partnership with Signature Theatre for more than the past two decades, it seems clear that there’s no better way to […]

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‘Kid Victory’ at Signature Theatre (Review) by Derek Mong

Haunting, chilling, and totally mesmerizing are just a few words that you could use to describe the second collaboration between legendary composer John Kander (Chicago and Cabaret) and acclaimed playwright Greg Pierce (Slowgirl). After their production of The Landing, which premiered at The Vineyard Theatre in 2013, Kander and Pierce are back at it again […]

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‘Spring Awakening’ at American University

There’s no show quite like Spring Awakening, and the students at American University, directed by Amber Jackson, delivered a rousing performance of the beloved musical Thursday night at the Greenberg Theatre in a style that made it all their own. With music by Duncan Sheik and a book and lyrics by Steven Sater, Spring Awakening […]

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‘Nice Work If You Can Get It’ at The Warner Theatre

Set during the Roaring Twenties in the heyday of prohibition, the Tony-winning musical Nice Work If You Can Get It is a celebration of the best of the iconic music of George and Ira Gershwin. A musical comedy, Nice Work If You Can Get It tells the tale of a wealthy, charming playboy Jimmy Winter […]

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‘Holiday Follies’ at Signature Theatre

Many of the greatest things in life just better with time, and Signature Theatre’s annual celebration of the holidays—Holiday Follies—is certainly no exception.  Under the direction of Walter Ware III, the fifth annual Holiday Follies is a quirky, choose-your-own holiday adventure that will invigorate the soft gingerbread-loving, egg-nog-slurping, Santa-Clause-anticipating caroler in you. This popular holiday […]

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A Report on ‘Summer Hummer: Ménage à Trois’ at Signature Theatre

Summer Hummer: Ménage à Trois at Signature Theatre Benefits theatreWashington’s Taking Care of Our Own   Summer Hummer: Ménage à Trois at Signature Theatre on Monday evening made Cabaret and Chicago look as G-rated as Sesame Street. Billed as “The Bawdy Burlesque to Benefit Taking Care of Our Own,” the third-annual Summer Hummer featured many of Washington’s […]

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Matt Nathanson and Gavin DeGraw at Wolf Trap

Matt Nathanson made it very clear Sunday night at The Filene Center at the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts that he was not the opening act for Gavin DeGraw. Telling a story about he and DeGraw wanted to do a tour together for over five years, Nathanson told the crowd about a deal […]

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Straight No Chaser at Wolf Trap

There’s something magical that happens when you take ten talented male vocalists, put them in matching slim-fitting blazers, and get them to sing out loud in perfect harmony and a synchronous two-step. We’ve seen it on popular television shows like Glee and even on a capella reality television competitions like The Sing Off, but nobody […]

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The Fray, Barcelona, and Oh Honey at Wolf Trap

Wolf Trap bills them as a “piano-driven pop rock quartet with impassioned smash hits.” Blurt magazine praises them for “the way they seek out views of the world—and not just about their own lives—and share their observations through music.” But, you might just know them as the relatable pop rock band that’s responsible for a […]

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Karen Mason at NextStop Theatre Company

They say a truly great performer has the power to transform a song that you might have heard a million times before into a new experience—to take a classic and make it his or her own while still doing justice to the original artist. Karen Moss did just that at the series premiere of NextStop […]

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Tom Goss at Signature Theatre’s Sizzlin’ Summer Nights Series

From the first downbeat of his powerhouse opening song, “It Only Takes One” off of his fourth album Wait, Tom Goss delivered a powerhouse performance to the very last note on Thursday night at Signature Theatre. Despite the rainy and gloomy evening, the acoustic-pop singer/songwriter Goss, dancing about the stage with an ankleboot and his […]

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The Midtown Men with NSO Pops at The Kennedy Center

“Oh, What a Night!” There’s something special that happens when you bring together four supremely talented men on a single stage, couple them with one of the nation’s finest orchestras and conductors, and arm them with the songbook from one of the greatest eras in Rock ‘n’ Roll history. Add to that a Tony Award-winning […]

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‘Children of Eden in Concert’ at The Kennedy Center

Nothing quite gets my juices going quite like a Stephen Schwartz musical. Wicked. Godspell. Pippin. But, combine a Stephen Schwartz musical with some of the top talent on Broadway, along with the brilliant Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra conducted by Musical Director Brad Haak and pitch-perfect National Broadway Chorus? Now that’s a recipe for a […]

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