‘Take A Bow’ Part 5: The Staff of DCMetroTheaterArts’ Favorite Spring/Summer 2016 Performances

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Here’s Part 5 of the staff of DCMetroTheaterArts’ favorite Spring/Summer 2016 performances. To our honorees: TAKE A BOW!

Paula Arcila in Miss Cuarenta at GALA Hispanic Theatre.

Paula Arcila in ‘Miss Cuarenta.’ Photo courtesy of GALA Hispanic Theatre.
Paula Arcila in ‘Miss Cuarenta.’ Photo courtesy of GALA Hispanic Theatre.

Paula Arcila, a Colombian sexpot now living and working at a Spanish radio station in Miami, gives a dazzling solo performance in this comic memoir about what it means to be Latin and 40. Arcila recalls the men in her life while she revels in her own sexuality, strutting about the stage in a skin-tight outfit and seven-inch platform heels. Despite the heels, she glides easily across the stage, dancing, as she talks, to some of the greatest Latin American music of the last 25 years. Arcila is one of the most talented writers and comedians to appear in DC this year.-Ravelle Brickman.

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Iyona Blake as Caroline in Caroline, or Change at Creative Cauldron.

Iyona Blake (Caroline Thibodeaux). Photo by Keith Waters, Kx Photography.
Iyona Blake (Caroline Thibodeaux). Photo by Keith Waters, Kx Photography.

Caroline Thibodeaux is noted as one of the most potent and moving female roles ever written in musical theater. Caroline is an ambitious and demanding role, and in the hands of Iyona Blake, this production is a must-see. What you will remember from this production is the music, specifically Caroline’s agonizing number “Lot’s Wife,” after which Iyona Blake moved the majority of the audience to awed, silent tears. Her stage presence is one of the most commanding that I have seen, and it should be savored. This production belongs to her.-Julia L. Exline.

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Nicolás Carrá as Santiago in Chronicle of a Death Foretold at GALA Hispanic Theatre.

As retribution, her brothers murder the man who supposedly defiled her (Nicolás Carrá). Photo by Stan Weinstein.
As retribution, her brothers murder the man who supposedly defiled her (Nicolás Carrá). Photo by Stan Weinstein.

Originally from Argentina, Nicolás Carrá is a New York-based actor who plays Santiago in this classically simple tale by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Carrá delivers a spell-binding performance as the doomed hero. Adored by his mother and most of the townsfolk, he is a playboy who radiates innocence and charm, despite all the warnings of his death to come. In fact, his sense of entitlement is so strong that he refuses to flee from the avengers ordered to kill him. In the end, his swagger and smile make his murder more like a suicide.-Ravelle Brickman.

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Paul Davis as Ryan in KinK at Greenbelt Arts Center.

Paul Davis as Ryan in Wolf Pack Theatre Company's 'kinK.' Photo by Rob Wanenchak.
Paul Davis as Ryan in Wolf Pack Theatre Company’s ‘kinK.’
Photo by Rob Wanenchak.

Paul Davis was superb as the smug, haughty and somewhat sadistic Ryan in local playwright William Dean Leary’s kinK. Ryan, accused of being a killer by friends of his deceased lover, was definitely a character that the audience loved to loathe. Though he only appeared in the closing scenes of the play, Davis was able to bring a depth of malevolence and defiance as he faced his accusers. Look for Davis in playwright Stephen Geddes’ musical Memories & Legends, directed by Leary, opening this September 23rd at Greenbelt Arts Center.-William Powell.

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Kari Ginsburg as Diana Goodman in Next to Normal at The Keegan Theatre.

Kari Ginsburg (Diana) and Chad Wheeler (Dan Goodman). Photo by C. Stanley Photography.

Kari Ginsburg (Diana Goodman) and Chad Wheeler (Dan Goodman). Photo by C. Stanley Photography.

“Played with exquisite talent by Kari Ginsburg.”-William Powell.

“Significantly, and maybe not coincidentally, both Next to Normal andIf/Then center on a female character who is complex and credible and whose inner emotional life grounds the authenticity of the whole show. At Keegan that comes through movingly in Ginsburg’s amazing performance as Diana. She never belts it or plays it broad, the way one would expect with more typical, razz-ma-tazz, and less authentic central female characters in male-conceived and written musicals (like Mame or Gypsy). Ginsburg’s nuanced performance always stays loyal to Diana’s truth, which the creators never betray either…The caliber of the whole cast is terrific; their voices are gorgeously well-matched; the direction (Mark A. Rhea and Colin Smith) and musical direction (Jake Null) are superb. And so the compelling honesty that Ginsburg delivers as Diana comes through in the performances of all the other characters as well.”-John Stoltenberg

“The beauty of Kari Ginsburg’s performance as bipolar wife and mother Diana Goodman is that she herself almost seems gifted with extrasensory perception. “What am I doing with all these crazy people?” she appears to wonder, as she stares despairingly at her therapist, or her husband, or her daughter. She is too big a personality for the tiny box she has been placed in.”-Sophia Howes.

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Claire Iverson as The Mistress in Evita at Spotlighters Theatre.

Claire Iverson (Mistress). Photo by Chris Aldridge, CMAldridgePhotograph.
Claire Iverson (Mistress). Photo by Chris Aldridge, CMAldridgePhotograph.

Claire Iverson gave a memorable performance as The Mistress. Having been abruptly replaced and sent packing by Eva, Juan Perón’s ex suddenly found herself on the street. In her plaintive song, “Another Suitcase in Another Hall,” Iverson showcased not only her lovely voice, but also her acting skills. With touching vulnerability, she made a character only seen briefly in the play really stand out. It’s exciting to see someone exhibit this much talent and aptitude at a young age (Iverson is a high school senior); I look forward to seeing what she brings to future roles.-Patricia Mitchell.

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Anya Randall Nebel as Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill at Spotlighters Theatre.

Anya Randall Nebel (Billie Holiday). Photo by Chris Aldridge, CMAldridge Photography.
Anya Randall Nebel (Billie Holiday). Photo by Chris Aldridge, CMAldridge Photography.

Anya Randall Nebel, who plays Billie Holiday, IS Billie Holiday. Her performance is nothing less than brilliant. She is so believable – from her slightly tipsy entrance onto the stage, to when she is so drunk that she loses touch with where she is and why she’s there. She takes her audience on a excursion that makes them feel like they were really there at that very time and place. From her vocal rendition of “Pig Foot” by her personal hero Bessie Smith, to the haunting “God Bless the Child,” which she wrote for her mother, Ms. Nebel takes us with her on this icon’s musical journey. She almost broke my heart at the end of the show when she sang “Deep Song.” Ms. Nebel certainly deserved her spontaneous standing ovation at the end of the performance.-Ilene Chalmers.

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Susan Rome as Margery (Jason’s mother) in Hand to God at The Studio Theatre.

Tim Getman and Susan Rome in 'Hand to God.' Photo by Tina Revazi.
Tim Getman and Susan Rome in ‘Hand to God.’ Photo by Tina Revazi.

Susan Rome delivers an astonishing portrayal of Jason’s mother, the woman whose comic preachiness puts the play into motion, in The Studio Theatre’s hilarious Hand to God. Rome is wickedly funny as a teacher of puppet-making at a Texas church who is trying–not altogether successfully–to fend off advances from a couple of suitors.-Ravelle Brickman.

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Bradley Foster Smith as Feste in Twelfth Night at Prince George’s Shakespeare in the Parks. 

The Musicians. Bradley Foster Smith: accordion/ Musical Director; Phillip Webster: Flute; Carol Spring: violin/ guitar; Madeline Burrows: Drum; and Michael Miller: Bass. Photo courtesy of Christopher Dwyer.
The Musicians. Bradley Foster Smith: accordion/ Musical Director; Phillip Webster: Flute; Carol Spring: violin/ guitar; Madeline Burrows: Drum; and Michael Miller: Bass. Photo courtesy of Christopher Dwyer.

Standout actor, musician and emcee, Bradley Foster Smith, as Feste – the churlish and charming clown of Prince George’s Shakespeare in the Parks production of Twelfth Night – set the tone with a lively pre-show concert that often encouraged audience participation. Foster Smith set Shakespeare’s lyrics to his own musical compositions, and throughout the show his tuneful melodies and lively comedic performance added much to the overall production.-Laura Andruski.

LINKS:
‘Take A Bow’ Part 1: The Staff of DCMetroTheaterArts’ Favorite Spring/Summer 2016 Performances.

‘Take A Bow’ Part 2: The Staff of DCMetroTheaterArts’ Favorite Spring/Summer 2016 Performances.

‘Take A Bow’ Part 3: The Staff of DCMetroTheaterArts’ Favorite Spring/Summer 2016 Performances.

‘Take A Bow’ Part 4: The Staff of DCMetroTheaterArts’ Favorite Spring/Summer 2016 Performances. (Coming).

‘Take A Bow’ Part 5: The Staff of DCMetroTheaterArts’ Favorite Spring/Summer 2016 Performances.