Author Archive | Em Skow


Review: ‘Madeline’s Christmas’ at Creative Cauldron

The twelve little girls in two straight lines of Ludwig Bemelmans’ beloved children’s series have taken the stage this holiday season in Creative Cauldron’s Madeline’s Christmas. With book and lyrics by Jennifer Kirkeby and music by Shirley Mier, this playful musical brings to life a timeless Madeline adventure thanks to twelve cases of the flu, […]

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Review: ‘A Short Series of Disagreements Presented Here in Chronological Order by Daniel Kitson’ at Studio Theatre

Living in the modern world, we are constantly the bystander to, or observer of, the life events of others. Be they consequential and indelible, or fleeting and forgettable, these seemingly disconnected series of events serve as context to our community’s larger story. The more we notice and choose to connect, the better we understand the […]

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Review: ‘Shining Brow’ at UrbanArias

Can an artist be true to his art as well as to his promises? Is destruction the price of creation? These are the questions at the heart of Shining Brow—music by Daron Hagen; liberetto by Paul Muldoon—and at the heart of the life of Frank Lloyd Wright on whom the story centers. Spanning 1903 to […]

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Review: The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma at Wolf Trap

A high school teacher of mine used to say that there are two universal languages in the world. One is math; the other is music. Simply stated at the time, its message has echoed through my life in wonderful, often surprising ways, and I’m delighted to say the most recent of which was on a […]

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2016 Capital Fringe Review: ‘Medieval Story Man’

In an ambitious undertaking by Red Knight Productions, Medieval Story Man takes you on a quest with elf-boy Todd and his rag-tag group of companions to save Medieval Story Land from the Dark Wizards of Dark Wizard City and the terrible Black Dark Blackness; all, if you can imagine it, as performed by one man. […]

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2016 Capital Fringe Review: ‘Perfect Liars Club’

If you’ve never been to a storytelling show before, hold on to your hats. Perfect Liars Club—directed loosely and hilariously by Cara Foran & Pierce McManus for the 2016 Capital Fringe Festival—is the perfect combination of a murder ‘whodunit’ mystery game and stand-up comedy. With little more than a school-like spelling bee set up, the […]

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Review: ‘Ragtime: The Musical’ at Wolf Trap

Easily one of most under-rated musicals to come out of Broadway in the last 20 years, Ragtime: The Musical—with book by Terrence McNally, music by Stephen Flaherty, and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens—follows the lives of three families and their communities through the tumultuous and promise filled early 20th century. For each member of the African American, upper-class […]

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Review: ‘Some Enchanted Evening: The Music of Rodgers and Hammerstein and the American Songbook’ with Renée Fleming and Norm Lewis With The Choral Arts Society of Washington

Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II pioneered a flair that was all their own in the golden age of musical theater. From 1940 to Hammerstein’s death in 1960, this musical duo dominated the musical stage and big screen with hits such as South Pacific and Cinderella, and their mastery of creating stories through music that […]

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Review: Il Volo at The Kennedy Center

  I’ve always known that the mix of pop music and classical singing is one of the most popular music styles in Italy. What I didn’t know until last night’s Il Volo concert was that it is “Fan Girl” (Fan Woman, Fan Grown Man…) levels of popular. Numerous standing ovations, countless screaming fans, and more […]

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Review: Joshua Bell Plays Tchaikovsky at The BSO at Strathmore

Having the privilege to witness Joshua Bell play is an honor, but to see him play in celebration of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s (BSO’s) centennial is a once in a lifetime experience. Growing up as an orchestra kid, Joshua Bell’s was a name that we heard frequently. Releasing his first LP at the age of […]

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Review: ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ at Folger Theatre

What continually impresses me about the Folger Theatre is that it takes on Shakespeare plays and that nothing is off limits from experimentation or adaptation. They are masters at unlocking new levels of meaning and focusing on often overlooked details within the text. In my opinion A Midsummer Night’s Dream, under the direction of Aaron […]

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National Symphony Orchestra: Handel’s Messiah at The Kennedy Center

There is a reason Handel’s Messiah has been performed for hundreds of years. It’s a masterpiece and its intricacies, depth, and sheer mass make continually new interpretations both possible and, for me, expected. The National Symphony Orchestra’s (NSO’s) take on it last night at the Kennedy Center certainly lived up to the challenge and found […]

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‘An Acoustic Evening with Over the Rhine’ at The Barns at Wolf Trap

An Acoustic Evening with Over the Rhine is the equivalent of a big, warm musical hug. Everything, from their chords to their consonants, was soft and rounded with nothing even resembling a pointed sound. Experimenting with what I would call a bluesy folk, and what they would dub “post-nuclear, pseudo-alternative, folk-tinged art-pop,” the night’s simple set […]

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