Author Archive | Amy Kotkin


Review: ‘The Great Society’ at Arena Stage

Lyndon Johnson’s 1964 margin of victory – nearly 16 million popular votes and a lopsided total of 486 electoral votes – is almost unimaginable today. Armed as well with a 68-32 majority in the Senate, and a House dominated by Democrats, 295-140, his lofty legislative goals seemed well within reach. How, then, did LBJ’s support […]

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Report: ‘Yoga Play’ at Mosaic Theater Company Workshop Series

Yoga Play, a new work by Dipika Guha, was presented as part of Mosaic Theater Company’s 2018 Workshop Series at the Atlas Performing Arts Center on Monday, January 29th. The play was commissioned and first produced by South Coast Repertory (California) in 2017. Mosaic’s reading of Yoga Play was directed by Jennifer L. Nelson, an […]

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Review: ‘An Irish Carol’ at Keegan Theatre

Now in its seventh year, the Keegan Theatre’s annual production of Matthew J. Keenan’s An Irish Carol has become a favorite Washington DC holiday tradition. It’s easy to see why. A quintessentially Irish take on Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol, Keenan’s play offers a holiday-perfect tale of redemption and the power of love. Of course, […]

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Review: ‘Twist Your Dickens’ at Second City

If you’re yearning to kick off your holiday season with goodnatured hilarity, get thee to the Kennedy Center and grab a seat at the Theater Lab, where The Second City’s Twist Your Dickens is holding court throughout December. It is the perfect antidote to a year of woeful drama in the nation’s capital. A talented […]

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Review: André Watts with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra at Strathmore Music Center

André Watts brought an ecstatic audience to its feet after his magnificent performance of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s beloved Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor. Playing with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra at the Music Center at Strathmore under the baton of Robert Spano, Watts demonstrated both blazing romanticism and tempered delicacy, hallmarks of this former prodigy […]

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Review: ‘Little Women’ at American Univeristy

Louisa May Alcott’s evergreen tale of female fortitude and family virtues beams its inspiring message once again at American University’s lovely new production of Little Women, the musical. A talented cast, framed by a gorgeous set, excellent lighting, and a fine musical ensemble, provides local audiences with a charming and thoroughly professional performance of an […]

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Review: ‘Respect! A Tribute to Aretha Franklin’ at the American Pops Orchestra

Five fabulous divas joined the innovative new American Pops Orchestra to celebrate the music of Aretha Franklin at the Arena Stage’s Fichandler Stage on September 16. An energized audience sang, swayed – and, at times – nearly levitated above their seats as this breathtaking tour through Franklin’s years with Atlantic Records (1967-1979) called up vibrant […]

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2017 Capital Fringe Review: ‘The Words She Gave Me’

The Words She Gave Me, Solia Bickersteth’s ambitious multimedia project, is a bighearted and moving exploration of how African-American women have shaped one another’s concept of womanhood. Sisterhood is powerful, she tells us. It is also intensely spiritual. As a DC-based singer-songwriter, actress and entrepreneur, Bickersteth not only wrote and directed the production, but also […]

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Review: ‘Jean and Dinah – The Play’ at The Essential Theatre

A disheveled bedroom in Port of Spain, Trinidad — home to the nearly incapacitated Dinah – is playwright Tony Hall’s incubator for an important and wide-ranging drama about the destructive effects of colonization and misogyny. His searing piece, Jean and Dinah – The Play, is a generation old, but a splendid new production by The […]

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Review: ‘The Magic Play’ at Olney Theatre Center

In the art of magic, Andrew Hinderaker has found a vivid metaphor for the dynamics of honesty, trust and control that underpin our most important relationships. His immensely entertaining and profound new work, The Magic Play, combines a jaw-dropping performance of classic card tricks with a compelling backstory of tender love. The result is breathtaking. […]

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Review: ‘Coolatully’ at Solas Nua

In the fictional village of Coolatully, a quartet of characters grapple with the effects of Ireland’s newest mass emigration. The brief and heady era of the Celtic Tiger was over; a mass exodus was triggered by the global financial crisis of 2007. The town is drying up and all who can leave are departing for […]

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Review: ‘The River’ at Spooky Action Theater

Jez Butterworth’s The River does not yield itself to easy interpretations. Uncertainty flows through the story, jostling us repeatedly. Its questions about truth and morality are specific and seismic at the same time. Under the sensitive direction of Rebecca Holderness, Spooky Action Theater’s new production of this 2012 play coaxes out its universal themes which Holderness […]

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Review: ‘The Hard Problem’ at The Studio Theatre

No shrinking violet when it comes to exploring humanity’s most complex questions, playwright Tom Stoppard takes a deep dive into the frontiers of neuroscience, human nature, and the existence of God in his newest play, The Hard Problem. Fortunately for all of us, Studio Theatre’s production of this fascinating drama sparkles with fresh insights into […]

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In Context: ‘Six Degrees of Separation’ at The Keegan Theatre

John Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation was widely admired as an ingenious, penetrating look at contemporary society when it premiered in New York back in 1990. Based on a true story, it concerns a young, black, gay grifter who insinuates himself into some of Manhattan’s most sophisticated homes, posing as Sidney Poitier’s son. Ultimately, this drama […]

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Review #2: ‘Straight White Men’ at The Studio Theatre

If your empathy for straight white men was strained by last week’s elections, go see Young Jean Lee’s 2014 play at The Studio Theatre. You’ll be privy to a rare, funny and poignant look under the fig leaf of male dominance, where men struggle uncomfortably with their privileged status and fear of failing. Straight White […]

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Review: ‘The Night Alive’ at Quotidian Theatre Company

Conor McPherson spins an intricate web of interdependence, horror, and hope among the five damaged, yet intensely human characters in his masterful play, The Night Alive. It takes a hugely talented cast and superb direction to fully reveal the multiple layers of McPherson’s beautifully written saga. Fortunately, Quotidian Theatre Company’s production leads us expertly across […]

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Review: ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ at St. Mark’s Players

When the cast of St. Mark‘s Players’ new production, Peter and the Starcatcher, charges out from behind deep red curtains for their opening scene, that is your cue. Stop right here and suspend your disbelief. Let these talented actors lead you through the next hours of broad music hall farce, merriment, anguish, and mayhem. You’ll […]

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