Author Archive | John Harding

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Review: ‘Mad Libs Live!’ at Red Branch Theatre Company

Mad Libs Live! sounds like a political gathering many would want to avoid. But happily it turns out to be a (Fill-in-the-Blank) musical providing peppy songs, millennial-rich humor, and random word-play based on audience input. This 2015 Off-Broadway work is getting its first staging outside of New York at the tiny, always-up-for-a-challenge Red Branch Theatre […]

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Review: ‘The Hot New Deal’ at Glenelg Country School

The Great Depression sure had a great soundtrack. That’s one take-away from the debut of a new “jukebox musical” named The Hot New Deal, now through February 25th at Glenelg Country School. Carole Graham Lehan’s original book is a celebration of America’s musical melting pot, and its playlist is filled to bursting with all manner […]

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News: Howard County to See Two New Musicals: ‘The Hot New Deal’ at Glenelg Country School and ‘Dorian’s Closet’ at Rep Stage

Howard County is about to enjoy the debuts of no less than two original musicals in the coming weeks. First up this week is The Hot New Deal at Glenelg Country School’s Mulitz Theater, this Wednesday, February 22nd through Saturday, February 25, 2017. This is a remarkable effort on the part of Glenelg performing Arts Chair […]

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Review: ‘H20’ at Rep Stage

Not everyone who attends Jane Martin’s H20 at Rep Stage will necessarily agree, but the case could be made for its taking place in one of Dante’s outer circles of Hell. As the play opens, a cynical male actor slashes his wrists and spends the rest of the play in a sort of spiritual limbo […]

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Review: ‘Titanic The Musical’ at Signature Theatre

There’s something fundamentally spiritual about the legend of RMS Titanic. Just as there are no atheists in a foxhole there are few to be found aboard an ocean liner going down fast in icy waters but coming up short on lifeboats. While Maury Yeston’s 1997 musical Titanic may never be seen as a seasonal alternative […]

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Review: ‘The Happy Elf’ at Red Branch Theatre Company

Red Branch Theatre in Columbia has an early present for young audiences this season. On opening night of Harry Connick Jr.’s The Happy Elf, many of those in the next generation of theater-lovers came clad in dress-rehearsal costumes for Christmas morning — footed pajamas, long-sleeved pull-overs, or comfy woolen pants with slippers. Mingling in the […]

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Review: ‘A Christmas Carol’ at Toby’s Dinner Theatre

Ebenezer Scrooge would be a terror on Facebook. He’s just not your social media type of guy. Bahhumbug would be his Twitter log-on. And if he’s your boss, like poor Bob Cratchit, don’t even think about asking him for a livable wage this coming year. A Christmas Carol is all about the profound soul journey […]

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Review: ‘American Hero’ at Rep Stage

In its area premiere of American Hero, Rep Stage has sent out a likable little David to do battle with the soulless Goliath of modern corporate culture. While playwright Bess Wohl accomplishes no miracles with her 2014 off-Broadway comedy, she has managed to craft an enjoyable, minimalist play about life at the minimum-wage end of […]

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Review: ‘Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella’ at the Hippodrome Theatre at the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center

It’s anyone’s guess what the late Oscar Hammerstein would make of it, but we are now getting our first close look at Oscar’s modest Eisenhower-era TV musical Cinderella all buffed up and retooled for millennials. This 2013 hybrid stage adaptation, known as Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, had a trial run on Broadway and is now […]

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Review: ‘Jersey Boys’ at The Hippodrome Theatre

In the bright and tuneful world of jukebox musicals there are your basic pizza joints that sell by the slice and the hot-diggity neighborhood kitchens that dish up the whole pie. Jersey Boys belongs among the latter, especially in an all-pro presentation like the one playing now at Baltimore’s Hippodrome Theatre. The song list here […]

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Review: ‘The Other Place’ at Rep Stage

Today’s playgoers are used to solving puzzles in the theater. So perhaps Playwright Sharr White spends a bit longer than necessary to get us to The Other Place promised by the title of his 2011 drama. But don’t unfasten your seatbelt yet. We haven’t reached the end of the runway. There is more to this […]

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Film Review: ‘Ben-Hur’

If ever our world needed a story of uplift, peace and redemption as told by a repentant old war general, it’s now. But this time around at the movies, sorry to say, General Lew Wallace’s classic tale of Ben-Hur delivers more letdown than uplift. Maybe some viewers will find this third time a charm for […]

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Review: ‘Heathers’ at Red Branch Theatre Company

High school can be rough on anyone, but in Heathers it’s murder. The well-mounted area premiere at Red Branch Theatre Company shows that the 1989 movie, which poked fun at making the grade in grade school, has lost none of its darkness in the long transition to stage musical. If its adolescent rage comes off […]

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