Author Archive | John Harding

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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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Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal bring ‘Love Letters’ to Baltimore’s Hippodrome Theatre

Love is breaking out in Baltimore. Or should we say the “second time around”? Nearly 50 years after starring together in Love Story, Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal have brought A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters to the Hippodrome Theatre. To mark this return of romance to Charm City, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake proclaimed this “Ali MacGraw and […]

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Review: ‘Peter Pan’ at Toby’s Dinner Theatre

Toby’s Dinner Theatre has every right to crow about its new staging of Peter Pan. The classic Broadway musical based on James M. Barrie’s 1904 evergreen is deceptively simple — after all, at heart it’s about Lost Boys who yearn for a mother to tell them stories at bedtime. But once you add in a […]

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Review: ‘Hunting and Gathering’ at Rep Stage

Nostalgia for the rigors of big-city apartment hopping is the last thing one expects to find out in the suburbs of Howard County. But Rep Stage offers up that and more with its D.C.-area premiere of Brooke Berman’s Hunting and Gathering at Howard Community College. In Ms. Berman’s 2008 vision, there is an equivalency between […]

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Review: ‘The Illusionists’ at Baltimore’s Hippodrome Theatre

Baltimore’s Hippodrome Theatre has reassurance for anyone out there asking where the magic went. Its “direct from Broadway” engagement of The Illusionists is packed full of caped conjurers, sleight-of-hand wonderment, gravity-defying wizardry and what may be the greatest feat of sorcery of all these days — the transformation of skeptical, straight-laced audience resistance into a […]

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Review: ‘South Pacific’ at Toby’s Dinner Theatre

The South Pacific of your dreams was just sighted at Toby’s Dinner Theatre in Columbia. Never mind the current debate over “New York values” versus “Iowa values” — here you will find Rodgers & Hammerstein values in all their “high as a kite” romantic splendor. Adroit casting by Director/Choreographer Mark Minnick brings us not just […]

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‘Peter Rabbit’ at Red Branch Theatre Company

The world premiere of the new musical Peter Rabbit at Red Branch Theatre Company in Columbia finally puts to rest one of life’s great riddles: Why are bunny tails so short? Answer: To keep tiny young playgoers from squirming in their seats. At only 90 minutes including intermission, Dustin Merrell’s original musical doesn’t so much run […]

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