Author Archive | John Stoltenberg

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Magic Time!: “Never Fear Your Own Radical Ideas”: A Q&A with Malic White, Who Plays Max in ‘Hir’ at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company

The young performer, playwright, and self-described gender warrior Malic White is in town from Chicago making a singularly significant debut on a DC stage playing Max, a whip-smart radical queer resister to heteronormativity. The play—Taylor Mac’s Hir—is a seditious celebration of gender liberation. It is also, as I wrote in my column, one of the funniest and profoundest farces I’ve […]

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Magic Time!: ‘Hir’ at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company

The absurdity and grim reality of gender get a scathing going-over in this extraordinary play by Taylor Mac. Inside the hilarity of Hir (pronounced “here”) is a tragedy howling to get out. Taylor Mac, author of Hir, has a reputation for outrageous originality as a playwright, actor, singer-songwriter, performance artist, director, and producer. I’ve been […]

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Nicholas Edwards (Jesus) and Natascia Diaz (Mary) 
in Jesus Christ Superstar at Signature Theatre. Photo by C. Stanley Photography.jpg

Magic Time!: ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ at Signature Theatre

There’s an extraordinarily tender and touching moment in Signature Theatre’s ebullient Jesus Christ Superstar when Mary Magdalene (Natascia Diaz), after singing her gorgeous ballad “I Don’t Know How to Love Him,” snuggles alongside the sleeping body of Jesus (Nicholas Edwards), her backside to his front, and wraps his arm around her shoulders. OMG Mary and […]

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Sioux Falls by Megan Dominy at 10th Muse Productions

Review: ‘Sioux Falls’ at 10th Muse Productions at Mead Theatre Lab at Flashpoint

10th Muse Productions’ The Wedding Party was a huge hit in Capital Fringe 2015 (the DCMetroTheater Arts review called it a “delightful comedic romp”). It was a show that Maegan Dominy co-wrote (with Mimsi Janis).  Now in her own full-length play Sioux Falls, just premiered at Mead Theatre Lab at Flashpoint, Dominy weighs in with both levity and gravity on the hot-button topic of […]

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Magic Time!: ‘The Father’ at The Studio Theatre

There are reasons aplenty not to miss The Father now playing at The Studio Theatre, and Ted van Griethuysen’s performance in the title role is foremost among them. Recently the recipient of a Helen Hayes Tribute award, van Griethuysen commands the stage with incomparable expressivity of body and voice and presence of mind—even as the […]

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Review: ‘The Man Who’ at Spooky Action Theater

Curious questions tease the brain during this peculiarly provocative production. One is: Is this theater? Another is: What are we to make of it? The Man Who, just opened at the estimably idiosyncratic Spooky Action Theater, is about how the mind can be glitchy. It takes the form of a succession of 17 scenes depicting […]

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Magic Time!: ‘Outside Mullingar’ at The Keegan Theatre

How does a play that starts out about real estate for gosh sake—adjacent farms in rural Ireland—become a heart-wrenching story of adjacent lost souls who fall in love late in life? How does a play that starts out prosaically about inheritance rights of all things—who gets one of those two farms after its paterfamilias passes—become […]

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Review: ‘Protest’ at Alliance for New Music-Theatre

DC site-specific theater of resistance reached a new height last night—also a new low—as Alliance for New Music-Theatre’s arresting staging of Václav Havel’s Protest became the first play performed before a live audience in the District’s “new Subterranean Arts & Cultural Center,” the abandoned trolley roundabout now redone as Dupont Underground. The convergence of place, […]

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Magic Time!: ‘Laura Bush Killed a Guy’ at The Klunch

Who’da thunk that our current administration’s dysfunction would prompt nostalgia for our eight years worth of W.? But that indeed is the curious takeaway from watching Lisa Hodsoll’s poignant impersonation of Laura Bush in a surprisingly touching comedy by Ian Allen, now playing in a world premiere production by The Klunch at Caos on F. […]

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Jaysen Wright. Photo by Kristina Sherk.

Magic Time!: On Being Seen as “Angry Black Man”: A Q&A with Jaysen Wright About His Role in ‘Smart People’ at Arena Stage

I remember thinking after I first saw Lydia R. Diamond’s Smart People at Arena that the character Jaysen Wright plays, Jackson Moore, has an important and particular role in how whole the play plays, especially as Wright interpreted him. Despite being a very funny comedy, Smart People is built on a serious subject: how human brains are […]

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Review: ‘Building the Wall’ at Forum Theatre

The dystopia delineated in Building the Wall is predicted by the playwright, Robert Schenkkan, to happen in America very soon.  By the time the play is set, in the year 2019, the two characters are already looking back at it, a fait accompli, the barbaric consequence of an anti-immigrant animus fueled by a president who […]

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Review: ‘Forgotten Kingdoms’ at Rorschach Theatre

There are mysteries of belief and faith beneath this fascinating parable of a play, roiling like the seawater that churns below the wooden house where its action takes place. This house is built on stilts on the coast of a small island in Indonesia. The sounds of water lapping and surf breaking and the liquid […]

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Nate Shelton and Jane Petkofsky

Review: ‘The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington’ at Ally Theatre Company

“I do believe you darkies are trying to kill me,” says Martha Washington to her house slaves in this fantastical-historical play, just opened in a sensationally cheeky production at the new Ally Theatre Company. Martha has reason to be concerned. Philadelphia Playwright James Ijames, a 2017 Whiting Award recipient, made up the script’s surreal story: […]

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Holly Twyford as Aphra Behn. Photo by Grace Toulotte.

Magic Time!: ‘Or,’ at Round House Theatre

As play titles go, Or, is one of the most ungoogleable. It is a search engine dead end. And as an original mashup of past and present, prose and poetry, and performative purposes, Liz Duffy Adams’s  Or, is also one of the most unpeggable. My colleague David Siegel, in his rave review, called the production […]

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Off the Leash

Magic Time!: ‘Off the Leash: A Journey Into Reality One Black Life at a Time’ at Woolly Mammoth Rehearsal Hall

After I watched eleven B.F.A. candidates in Howard University’s Class of 2017 perform a program of self-scripted audition pieces—character-rich monodramas, actually—I had one overwhelming urge: I wanted to see every next play these actors get cast in after they graduate. Because they each knocked my socks off. Off the Leash: A Journey Into Reality One […]

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News Release: DCMetroTheaterArts Is Here to Stay!

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  DCMetroTheaterArts Squelches Rumors of Closing, Announces Plan for Future Leadership and Growth Staff Rallies in Response to Founding Editor’s Diagnosis, Thanks Local Theater Community for Its Continuing Support, and Vows to Keep Covering More Local Performing Arts Than Any Other Media Outlet Metro DC (April 11, 2017)—Joel Markowitz, publisher and founding editor of […]

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