DCMTA Scene Stealers-January and February 2015-Part 1

Here is Part One of our Scene Stealers of January and February 2015. Congrats to our honorees.

Maggie Erwin as Avery in the Seminar Scene in Rapture, Blister, Burn at Round House Theatre

Maggie Erwin as Avery Willard in Round House Theatre’s 'Rapture, Blister, Burn.' Photo by Danisha Crosby.
Maggie Erwin as Avery Willard in Round House Theatre’s ‘Rapture, Blister, Burn.’ Photo by Danisha Crosby.
 “Maggie Erwin as the millennial Avery pretty much steals every scene she’s in. Her nasal deadpan delivery makes every line she has hilarious. But in the scene where Catherine the self-important and renowned feminist author holds a living room seminar to teach academic second-wave theorizing, Erwin lobs Avery’s generational rejoinders with an unimpressed WTF flatness that keeps the audience so cracked up she pretty much walks away with the play.”-John Stoltenberg
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Kimberly Gilbert as Pickles Delivering Her Monologue in Life Sucks (Or the Present Ridiculous) at Theater J
Kimberly Gilbert as Pickles in 'Life Sucks' at Theatre J. Photo by  C. Stanley Photography.
Kimberly Gilbert as Pickles in ‘Life Sucks’ at Theatre J. Photo by C. Stanley Photography.
 “Throughout Life Sucks, the character nicknamed Pickles is played touchingly by Kimberly Gilbert, who manages to combine morose with hopeful. Pickles is the character who most fervently avers that life doesn’t suck. She opens the play strumming a ukelele and singing the Beatles’ “Octopus’s Garden.” Later in the first act Pickles has a  monologue about how she never stops loving all the people she has ever loved—in particular Iris, a woman who left her. So moving is Gilbert’s delivery of this amazing speech that if it were a musical number it would stop the show. And Gilbert’s deeply felt performance serves to signal that all the play’s light ‘n’ quirky comedy up to that point is grounded in some serious human heartache.”-John Stoltenberg
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 Jason Grasl as Josh When He Shifts Voices in Cherokee at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Jason Grasl as Josh in 'Cherokee.' Photo by Stan Barouh.
Jason Grasl as Josh in ‘Cherokee.’ Photo by Stan Barouh.
Jason Grasl plays Josh, a strapping 25-year-old of Cherokee descent who performs in a pageant-for-tourists. At the beginning of the play we see him at a locker getting into Indian garb. When eventually he appears in the story, something about him seems stiff and forced, as if the actor is having an off night and giving a wooden performance. But we think nothing of it; we accept this as the portrayal of an authentic Native American character. Then comes a remarkable scene in which Josh discloses that all along he has been talking in his “Indian” voice—in a stagey persona he uses in the pageant. The transformation is a hoot as Grasl slips into street vernacular like an urban homeboy and slings slang with abandon. But the effect is also deeply thought provoking, because it catches us having fallen for what turns out to have been an animatronic stereotype.”-John Stoltenberg
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Kyle Kelley as Dromio of Syracuse and Arrington Foster as Dromio of Ephesus in the Opening of The Comedy of Errors at the Laurel Mill Playhouse

Dromio (Arrington Foster) comes face to face with his long lost twin also named Dromio (Kyle Kelley). Photo by Joshua McKerrow.
Dromio (Arrington Foster) comes face to face with his long lost twin also named Dromio (Kyle Kelley). Photo by Joshua McKerrow.

“Two youthful actors with lots of energy -Arrington Foster and Kyle Kelley -brought this Shakespearean comedy to life. Their diction was flawless, their pantomiming to help us understand the Elizabethan English was effortless and they seemed to enjoy for their parts as much as the audience. They were so much fun to watch you forgot they did not look alike at all. They stole the opening scene as they mimed their roles while the merchant, Aegeon, tells the story of how his infant sons and their also very young attendants were lost at sea. Their energy and comedic timing were obvious from that point, and their broad humor was established at that point.”-Susan Brall 

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Richelle Lacewell as Sister Chantelle singing “God Don’t Make No Trash” in Bare: A Pop Opera at Clandestine Arts 
Rikki Howie Lacewell (Sister Chantelle). Photo by Traci Medlock.
Rikki Howie Lacewell (Sister Chantelle). Photo by Traci Medlock.
“In the Catholic boarding school where Bare takes place, Richelle Lacewell’s Sister Chantelle is a nun like none other, hilariously sharp-tongued and wickedly funny. She commands the stage and her student charges like hellzapoppin’. She’s got a singing voice to raise the rafters. Her performance surpasses what’s on the original cast recording.  And in the musical number  “God Don’t Make No Trash” she pretty much stops the show.”-John Stoltenberg
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Jon Hudson Odom as the Financial Adviser in “Checks & Balances” in Out of Silence: Abortion Stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign
Shayna Blass and Jon Hudson Odomin 'Out of Silence: Abortion Stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign.' Photo by Lloyd Wolf.
Shayna Blass and Jon Hudson Odomin ‘Out of Silence: Abortion Stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign.’ Photo by Lloyd Wolf.
“Given that the cast included four very talented female actors performing a one-night-only evening of short plays based on women’s true stories about their choice to have abortions, it may seem un-PC to single out the sole male actor. But really, it must be said: Odom stole every playlet he was in. His range of characterizations was riveting. In Karen Zacarias’ Checks & Balances, Odom was paired with the formidable Shayna Blass, who played an earnest young woman consulting a financial adviser to see if she could  afford to have a baby. Odom played the financial advisor with a bumbling awkwardness, precise timing, and sketch-comedy skill that had the audience in stitches. And in the context of an otherwise generally serious evening, it worked amazingly.”-John Stoltenberg
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Jack Posey and Alex Stone Singing ‘What’s Next’ in Big Fish at McLean Theatre Company
Will (Jack Posey) (RIGHT) helps his father, Edward (Alex Stone), imagine what’s next. Photo by Isabel Zapata.
Will (Jack Posey) (RIGHT) helps his father, Edward (Alex Stone), imagine what’s next. Photo by Isabel Zapata.
“Jack Posey is perfection as their frustrated son, Will. Posey is also both a fine actor and a terrific singer and his rendition of “Stranger” is delivered with great emotion, as is “What’s Next” with Alex Stone in the Second Act. These two talented singers reach deep down inside their souls and it’s the first time that father and son really understand each other and find the love and hope and legacy that will be passed on as well as the wonderful stories his father has told him all his life Will’s son will hear these stories after his father is gone and his Dad will live in him. Beautiful vocals by two exceptional singers and actors.”-Joel Markowitz
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Lyndsay Rini as Maureen, Singing “Over the Moon” at Rent at Montgomery College
Lyndsay Rini (Maureen). Photo by David Andrest of Zio Photo.
Lyndsay Rini (Maureen). Photo by David Andrest of Zio Photo.
 “Truly, the audience was a gracious host to the excellent production, hooting and hollering for specific performers in the many showcase moments of the piece, such as Lyndsay Rini (Maureen’s) delivery of the ever-popular “Over the Moon” protest performance.”-Ben Fisler
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 Lyndsay Rini, as Maureen, and Awa Sal Secka, as Joanne, Singing “Take Me or Leave Me” in Rent at Montgomery College
 Awa Sal-Secka (Joanne) and Lyndsay Rini (Maureen). Photo courtesy of Montgomery College.
Awa Sal-Secka (Joanne) and Lyndsay Rini (Maureen). Photo by R. Scott Hengen.
“Interestingly, in a generally strong cast, the standout performances come from the two smallest featured roles, with Rini (Maureen) and Awa Sal Secka’s (Joanne) “Take me or Leave Me” achieving borderline perfection, with deeply felt, subtle connections between the two performers complimenting a flawless execution of the music.”-Ben Fisler 
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Rafael Sebastian as Rafaela in the restaurant scene in The T Party at Forum Theatre
Rafael Sebastian as Rafaela. Photo byNoe Todorovich Photography-
Rafael Sebastian as Rafaela. Photo by Noe Todorovich Photography-
“This delightfully devised show portrays and plays with gender in diverse and fascinating ways (the T in the title stands for transformation). One of the characters is a young transwoman named Rafaela, who is based, like others in T Party,  on a real person’s story. In stylish hair and makeup and a dress that hugs her sleek body, Rafaela appears in a scene in a restaurant where she has been invited to meet two other characters. Rafaela, we learn, has transitioned with the support of her family, would be considered to be “passing,” is attracted to men now as she was before transitioning, and works as an escort. Rafael Sebastian’s performance in the role immediately becomes the focus of the scene, seemingly all that it’s about. He (Sebastian) plays her (Rafaela) with a lithe, blithe, uncannily convincing candor, her attention to the conversation at the table constantly diverted as she scopes out hot guys. In Sebastian’s artfully understated acting turn, the complex dimensions of Rafaela’s persona are both transparent and masked—and we can’t take our eyes off her/him.”-John Stoltenberg
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Harrison Smith Singing “Out There”at Unlimited: The Music and Lyrics of Stephen Schwartz at No Rules Theatre Company and the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music at The Catholic University.
Harrison Smith (3rd from the left in the back row) with the cast of ‘Unlimited’  at No Rules Theatre Company and The Catholic University’ with Stephen Schwartz (center back-next to Harrison). Photo by Corey Sentz.
Harrison Smith (3rd from the left in the back row with glasses) with the cast of ‘Unlimited’ at No Rules Theatre Company and The Catholic University’ with Stephen Schwartz (center back-next to Harrison). Photo by Corey Sentz.
“Harrison Smith’s heartfelt rendition of “Out There,” from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I am a big fan of Harrison’s work because he understands what a song is all about-he always knows that each lyric was carefully written and that each word tells the story, and here, he sold the anguish and enthusiasm of the character who yearns to be ‘normal’ and ‘out there’ living a normal life like everyone else. And he didn’t have to ‘American Idolize’ the song and shout it out; he alternated between soft and enthusiastic, and we saw the whole character whose life has has its ups and downs filled with so many different emotions.One of the reasons I love Stephen Schwartz’s music is because he has written so  many ballads and songs that can be sung softly –  whose messages and lessons speak loud and clear. And Harrison accomplished this so well.”-Joel Markowitz
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 Alex Stone Singing “How it Ends” in Big Fish at Mclean Theatre Company
Time stops for Sandra (Rachel Lawhead) and Edward (Alex Stone) as their story begins. Photo by Isabel Zapata.
Time stops for Sandra (Rachel Lawhead) and Edward (Alex Stone) as their story begins. Photo by Isabel Zapata.
“From the moment Alex Stone’s Edward walks on the stage he grabs the audience in the palms of his hands and never lets go. His rousing rendition of ‘Be the Hero” sets the stage ablaze for his energetic ‘Harold Hill-ian’ performance, and the amount of energy Stone exudes throughout the show is Herculean. His rendition of “How it Ends” at the end of the Second Act is heartbreaking and displays Stone’s exceptional vocal skills. Alex Stone is a rare singer who knows how to ‘sell’ each and every lyric and the all-time greatest’ lyric seller’ – Frank Sinatra – I bet – would have loved watching Stone’s sell Andrew Lippa’s lyrics.”-Joel Markowitz

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Anne Vandercook as Bertie in Boeing Boeing Being Frustrated that Another Guest – Robert – is Staying for a While in Boeing, Boeing at Montgomery Playhouse and Arts on the Green
L to R:J. McAndrew Breen (Robert), Anne Vandercook (Bertha), and Jason Damaso (Bernard) in 'Boeing Boeing.' Photo by  Scott D’Vileskis.
L to R:J. McAndrew Breen (Robert), Anne Vandercook (Bertha), and Jason Damaso (Bernard) in ‘Boeing Boeing.’ Photo by Scott D’Vileskis.

“Anne Vandercook is a hoot as Bernard’s loyal and sassy maid and confidante Bertha. Talk about perfect comic timing and delivery! Vandercook delivered so many laughs and (some moans) and lit up the stage every time she appeared. She is endearing, loveable, assertive, and hysterical. She’s Hazel with attitude. It’s a tour de force performance, and worth the price of admission.”

My favorite Scene Stealing moment came when her boss’s friend, Robert, makes an unexpected visit and is then invited to stay for a while, ot the frustration of this overworked maid. Their encounter is hilarious because of Vandercook’s frustration of having to make another one of Bernard’s friends happy. After bntering with Robert and trying to not totally ‘spill the beans’ on what is going on in that crazy apartment, she says to Robert, “Look Monsieur, I’m a cheerful soul at heart. I like a bit of fun, but this place goes too far. But what can you expect if you’re in domestic service? I mean there’s no dignity in being a maid.

The audience, especially me, roared – not only at the funny lines – but at Vandercook’s rolling of her eyes, her staring Robert down, and her perfectly outrageous delivery of her lines. She was like Hazel on steroids. You just wanted to hug her and tell it was going to be alright. But you know she would have wagged her finger at you, and looked at you like you were absolutely insane.-Joel Markowitz

LINKS

Meet the Cast of ‘Boeing, Boeing’ at Montgomery Playhouse: Part 3: Anne Vandercook.

Top Scene Stealers of the Week Ending 11/27/14-Part 1.

Top Scene Stealers of the Week Ending 11/27/14-Part 2.

Top Scene Stealers of the Week Ending 11/7/14.

Top Scene Stealers of the Week Ending 10/24/14.

Top Scene Stealers of the Week Ending 10/12/14.

Top Scene Stealers of the Week-Week Ending 9/28/14.

Top Scene Stealers of the Week-Week Ending 9/18/14.

Top Scene Stealers of the Week-Week Ending 9/11/14.

Top Scene Stealers of the Week-Week Ending 9/1/14.

Top Scene Stealers of the Week-Week Ending 8/24/14.

Top Scene Stealers of the Week-Week Ending 8/17/14.

Top Scene Stealers of the Week-Week Ending 8/9/14.

Top Scene Stealers of the Week-Week Ending 8/2/14.

Top Scene Stealers of the Week-Week Ending 7/5/14.

Top Scene Stealers of the Week- Week Ending 6/28/14.

Top Scene Stealers of the Week-Week Ending 6/21/14.

Top Scene Stealers of the Week-Week Ending 6/13/14.

Top Scene Stealers of the Week-Week Ending 6/06/14.

Top Scene Stealers of the Week-Week Ending 5/29/14.

Top Scene Stealers of the Week-Week Ending 5/22/14.

Capital Fringe Scene Stealers Part 1 and Part 2.

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Joel Markowitz
Joel Markowitz is the Publisher and Editor of DCMetroTheaterArts. He founded the site with his brother Bruce to help promote the vast riches of theatre and the arts in the DC Metro area that includes Maryland, Virginia, and DC theater and music venues, universities, schools, Children's theaters, professional, and community theatres. Joel is an advocate for promoting the 'stars of the future' in his popular 'Scene Stealers' articles. He wrote a column for 5 years called ‘Theatre Schmooze’ and recorded podcast interviews for DC Theatre Scene. His work can also be seen and read on BroadwayStars. Joel also wrote a monthly preview of what was about to open in DC area theatres for BroadwayWorld. He is an avid film and theater goer, and a suffering Buffalo Bills and Sabres fan. Joel was a regular guest on 'The Lunch and Judy Show' radio program starring Judy Stadt in NYC. Joel founded The Ushers Theatre Going Group in the DC area in 1990, which had a 25-year run when it took its final curtain call last year. Joel is a proud member of The American Critics Association.