Archive | Columns

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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Mikhail Svetlov and Alexandra Batsios. Photo by Steven Pisano.

Review: ‘Golden Cockerel’ at New Opera NYC

Golden Cockerel (Coq d’Or) is a musical fantasy that was popular in the first half of the twentieth century but rarely seen since. Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov composed it in 1907 with splashy orchestral colors — reminiscent of his Scheherazade — and that in itself would argue for its revival. The subject matter surprised me with its […]

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Review: ‘Gypsy’ at Arden Theatre Company

Since its debut in 1959, Gypsy, which closes out Arden Theatre Company’s 2016-17 season, has retained its popularity as one of the greatest Broadway musicals of all time, filled with such classic hits as “Everything’s Coming up Roses” and “Let Me Entertain You.” Based on the 1957 memoir of 1930s stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, the […]

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In The Moment: Interviews With the Creative Cauldron ‘Bold New Works in Intimate Space Artistic Teams: Laura Connors Hull, Matt Conner, and Stephen Gregory Smith

Creative Cauldron continues to dazzle critics and audiences with its “Bold New Works for Intimate Stages” –  a series of premier musicals. It is certainly rare when a smaller professional theater company in the DC area promises and then delivers new highly acclaimed musicals with such regularity. Most recently Creative Cauldron’s team of Matt Conner […]

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Review: ‘Can You Forgive Her?’ at Vineyard Theatre

“I’ve made bad choices. And I’ve made them . . . knowingly,” says 27-year-old Tanya – a single mom and bar waitress in a South Jersey beach town – in the opening scene of Gina Gionfriddo’s latest dark comedy at Vineyard Theatre, Can You Forgive Her? Inspired in part by the socio-economic dilemmas faced by […]

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Spine: ‘Ulysses on Bottles’ at Mosaic Theater Company of DC, Part of the 2017 Voice From a Changing Middle East Festival

Last night, Gilad Evron’s Ulysses on Bottles opened the Mosaic Theater Company’s 2017 Voices From a Changing Middle East Festival. Described as an allegory, Evron’s Ulysses challenges contemporary American and Israeli audiences to acknowledge some stark and painful national contradictions. In a nation obsessed by legal systems, how often does legality hide the grossest injustices? […]

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Review: ‘RENT’ at Gateway Playhouse

The Gateway Playhouse opened its 68th Season with the Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning musical, RENT. With book, music, and lyrics by Jonathan Larson, this artistic musical is loosely based on Giacomo Puccini’s opera La Bohème. Directed by Matt Karis and choreographed by Gerry McIntyre, RENT is a fantastic production. It’s the East Village of New York […]

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Review: ‘Building the Wall’ at New World Stages

Out of his imaginative mind comes another powerful theatre piece by Robert Shenkkan, author of 15 plays including two dealing with LBJ (All the Way and The Great Society.) This time, he proposes what might lie ahead for us if Mr. Trump prevails in his goal of deporting all illegal immigrants. Building the Wall is […]

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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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Broadway Producer Jack Viertel to Appear in Conversation with Jason Loewith at the Gaithersburg Book Festival, This Saturday, May 20th at 2:15pm

This Saturday, at 2:15pm, noted Broadway Producer Jack Viertel will appear at the Gaithersburg Book Festival in conversation with Olney Theatre Center Artistic Director Jason Loewith to discuss Viertel’s book The Secret Life of the American Musical: How Broadway Shows Are Built. As Senior Vice President of Jujamcyn Theaters, Jack Viertel has been instrumental in […]

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Review: ‘The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey’ at Philadelphia Theatre Company

It seems counter-intuitive that a play about a missing fourteen-year-old boy could be in any way funny or uplifting, but The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey, written and performed by James Lecesne, is just that. It’s also poignant and inspiring and ultimately life-affirming, with a momentous message about individuality, diversity, acceptance, and positivity, in a masterful production […]

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Review: the National Chamber Ensemble Mother’s Day Concert ‘Music of Our Time’ at the Spectrum Theatre

For their Mother’s Day theme and as a tribute to the conclusion of their 10th anniversary season at Rosslyn’s Spectrum Theatre, the National Chamber Ensemble (NCE) selected a program inspired by film scores. Led by violinist and Artistic Director Leonid Sushansky, with brilliant support from renowned clarinetist Julian Milkis, and pianist Carlos Rodriguez, the group […]

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Review: ‘The Lucky One’ at Mint Theater Company

Every now and then it’s refreshing to turn on the time travel clock and return to what we then called “civilization” circa 1920. You know, after the war to end all wars, before the jazz babies really became the rockers of their day, when “civilized” meant well-spoken, when dry humor was considered humor’s most unpolluted […]

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In the Moment: Strauss Artist Grant Bestowed on Scenic, Costume, and Puppet Designer Margaret (Margie) Jervis

The Arts Council of Fairfax County announced a $5,000 Strauss Artist Grant award to Falls Church-based theater designer Margaret (Margie) Jervis. Jervis, a Falls Church native, is the resident Scenic, Costume, and Puppet Designer for Creative Cauldron in Falls Church. She is also a Teaching Artist for their educational programs for children. “The Arts Council […]

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Akeem Davis, Alex Keiper, and Matteo Scammell: An Interview with the Stars of ‘Buzzer’ at Theatre Exile

Theatre Exile closes its 2016-17 season with Tracey Scott Wilson’s searing drama Buzzer, which examines issues of race, class, and gender through the lens of urban gentrification. Directed by Matt Pfeiffer and featuring three of Philadelphia’s busiest and most accomplished young actors – Akeem Davis, Alex Keiper, and Matteo Scammell – the play focuses on […]

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