Author Archive | Terry Byrne

broadway

Review: ‘Broadway Bound’ at 1st Stage

As self-conscious plays go, Neil Simon’s Broadway Bound is both a self-fulfilling prophesy and a cross-examination of the creative process. The play, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award in 1987, is the final and lesser-known installment of Simon’s quasi-autobiographical Eugene trilogy, following Brighton Beach Memoirs and Biloxi Blues. Across the series, Eugene Morris Jerome, […]

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Review: ‘Godspell’ at W.T. Woodson High School

Stephen Schwartz’s often treacly Godspell, conceived by book writer John-Michael Tebelak, is a parade of parables borrowed from the New Testament’s Matthew and Luke set to a hippie-chic Seventies vibe. In the masterful hands of W.T. Woodson High School Artistic Director Terri J. Hobson, though, it is a heartwarming kaleidoscope of teachable moments. It is […]

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Review: ‘Cirque Spooktacular’ at The Kennedy Center

Like The Nutcracker at Christmastime, Cirque Spooktacular, the NSO Pops’ Cirque de la Symphonie Halloween Extravaganza, is bound to become a seasonal tradition at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. It’s plenty scary, as daredevils dangle from serpentine ropes or blood-red scarves 40 feet above the stage with no apparent safety plan.Costumes […]

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2016 Capital Fringe Review: ’22 Boom!’

Think commissioned plays are a thing of the Elizabethan past? Nu Sass Productions’ 22 Boom! is concierge theater at its nimblest. Written by Miranda Rose Hall and directed by Renana Fox, this imaginative exercise is “an avalanche of manic, miniature plays” – 23, the magic number, each about three minutes long. Eight energetic actors zig […]

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2016 Capital Fringe Review: ‘Too Close’

What better setting for black-box theater than a figurative black box — a stalled elevator — with two discordant strangers trapped inside? Luigi Laraia’s Too Close is definitely too close for comfort. One can’t resist the situational analogy: life’s random encounters, not-so-random ups and downs (we program our own fates by pushing each other’s buttons?). “And […]

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Review: ‘A Little Night Music’ at GWU

A Little Night Music might be classified as a gateway drug to Stephen Sondheim. Whether a fan or a skeptic, once you get a whiff of this vigorous (and tuneful!) exposé on humankind’s mating follies, you’ll crave a whole lot more. Inspired by Ingmar Berman’s lighthearted romance Smiles of a Summer Night (1955), Sondheim borrows […]

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Review: ‘American Idiot’ at The Keegan Theatre

The Keegan Theatre’s American Idiot speaks to collective genius. Hardly a no-brainer to mount this explosive, war-weary work, weaned in the Bush II era, at the height of today’s media-hijacked, cock-eyed presidential campaign. (Careful, now, no name-calling or naming names. Hand gestures should suffice.) But the payload of mixing Ritalin-wracked choreography, transcendent stagecraft and megaphonic […]

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Review: ‘Robin Hood’ at Victorian Lyric Opera Company

Rob from the rich, give to the poor ̶  a theme with universal and enduring appeal, at least among 99% of us. The centuries-old legend of benevolent British outlaw Robin Hood has pranced across diverse art forms from traveling minstrel show to video games. But there’s more to it than wealth transfer and ambition. Only in […]

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Review: ‘Cyrano’ at Mask and Bauble Dramatic Society at Georgetown University

Long before singles misrepresented themselves in their Tinder profiles or cribbed others’ memes online, there was Cyrano de Bergerac— the man who would be Romeo, if not for that monstrous appendage. You know the guy: Musketeer type, profuse poet, besotted of Roxane, big honkin’ nose. Comedian Steve Martin popularized him for mainstream America with 1987’s […]

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2015 Capital Fringe Review: ‘How to Quit Your Day Job’

Memo to Star Johnson, mastermind of OpenStage’s How to Quit Your Day Job: Quit your day job. It’ll be OK. Johnson’s merry musical comedy — staged bohemian-style in the Eastern Market home of sculptor Kris Swanson and husband Roy Mustelier (Corner Store Arts, seating capacity: 60) – underscores the vital role of the modern-day artist […]

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2015 Capital Fringe Review: ‘BellyFunkShun’

A critic is not supposed to be part of the show. A critic is not supposed to get up on the stage and “get down,” wiggling her fat belly/butt under the bright lights. But BellyFunkShun calls for it. “Chief Creative Mind” Shadiyah asked for it. And nearly the entire scant (not entirely skanky) audience at […]

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Kelly Hannessa and son Caron Powell. Photo credit: Facebook.

‘I Think I Love You’ Cabaret to Benefit Playwright’s Family on Saturday, June 27, 2015 at 7:30 PM at Clifton Town Hall

Area performers will be performing a good deed on June 27th to help a theater family in need. On June 1, Kelly Hennessa, a social studies teacher for children with special needs at Centreville High School, was taking son Carson, 12, out for Effee’s ice cream. Hennessa’s husband, Greg Powell, a local playwright, says their […]

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‘Weird Al’ Yankovic at Wolf Trap

Who knew metro Washington was also the nation’s nerd capital? A sold-out crowd — many ectomorphs in geeky garb, monk/Jedi robes, foil caps, riotous colors, vintage tour shirts, and even one randy fellow in a banana suit — boarded the “Weird Al” Yankovic mothership Friday night for some mandatory fun. And man, did they “eat […]

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‘The Glass Mendacity” at Providence Players of Fairfax

For a good time, call (703) 425-6782. That gets you the Providence Players of Fairfax’s reservations line, and this bedrock company of major-league players never disappoints. The Glass Mendacity, written and conceived by Maureen Morley and Tom Willmorth of Chicago’s Illegitimate Players circa 1989, is a mash-up of three of Tennessee Williams’ most enduring plays: […]

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‘The Secret Garden’ at NextStop Theatre Company

Weary of winter, Washingtonians? NextStop Theatre Company has your antidote. Instead of a resurrection-vague Jesus Christ Superstar timed to Easter, this praiseworthy playhouse subbed in Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon’s lush, soul-searching The Secret Garden, an operatic and dark but uplifting musical of reawakening. Based on an Edwardian-era children’s novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, it follows orphaned Mary who, having escaped […]

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‘Doubt’ at 1st Stage

No doubt you’ll recall Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Viola Davis, and Amy Adams in the Hollywood 2008 adaptation of John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt, a Parable — simply titled Doubt and directed and adapted by the playwright himself. Perhaps that piquant memory is what gives you incentive to catch 1st Stage’s production of the 2005 […]

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‘Be My Baby’ at Vienna Theatre Company

Playwright Ken Ludwig is famous for farce, fevered dialogue, and throwing his characters’ worlds off-kilter. Vienna Theatre Company’s endearing take on 2005’s Be My Baby — which Ludwig is alleged to have created in a fit of fatherly fawning — plays the kilt to the hilt! But Director Suzanne Maloney’s tender touch is thankfully less […]

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