Author Archive | John Stoltenberg

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Review: ‘Burst’ at Parlor Room Theater

The sudden incapacity of their mother is the occasion for three siblings and their cousin to gather at a Boston hospital in Amy Leigh Horan’s touching and perceptive new family dramedy Burst, just opened in a lovely Parlor Room Theater production. The title refers to the mother’s burst brain aneurysm. She’s off stage in a coma. […]

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Review: ‘Iron & Coal’ at Strathmore

The sheer magnitude of the concert event was enough to inspire wonder and awe. More than 200 musicians packed the Strathmore stage and a balcony above—two orchestras, three choirs, a rock band—plus animated projections on a widescreen scrim and a stadium-scale light plot flooding the hall. For two nights only, Jeremy Schonfeld’s 2011 rock concept […]

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Review: ‘Vietgone’ at Studio Theatre

There is so much in this show to flip over, you could be dizzied by its delights. The fantastical story and kooky characters, the wicked humor and badass music, the frisky cast and musicians, the far-out design and direction—it’s a full-on fusion of fun. But it’s much, much more. In Vietgone, Vietnamese-American Playwright Qui Nguyen […]

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Review: ‘Girlfriend’ at Signature Theatre

The rock musical Girlfriend celebrates the tentativeness and exuberance of a budding romance between two gay teens in a small town Nebraska in the 1990s. Just after graduating from high school, Will, a socially awkward loner (Jimmy Mavrikes), and Mike, a popular jock (Lukas James Miller), gradually come to terms with their mutual attraction. As tenderly […]

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Review: ‘Amanuensis’ at Georgetown University

Time has not been kind to Great Dead White Male Artists, poor things. Nosey feminist historians have been poking around in these guys lives and digging up dirt about how they treated women! And now and then a cheeky feminist playwright will come along and dish up the drama on stage! Like for instance Amanuensis, […]

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Craig Wallace and Nick Fruit in Round House Theatre’s production of “MASTER HAROLD” … and the Boys. Photo by Kaley Etzkorn.

Magic Time!: ‘ “Master Harold”…and the Boys’ at Round House Theatre

One of the most quietly profound moments in Athol Fugard’s anti-apartheid play “Master Harold”…and the Boys—just opened in a powerfully moving production at Round House Theatre—happens in a simple conversation about a park bench. The exchange is between a white 17-year-old named Hally (Nick Fruit) and an older black man named Sam (the magnificent Craig Wallace), […]

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Magic Time!: Bedroom Talk with Actors Dimitri Gann and Ryan Townsend About ‘Top and Bottom’ at Rainbow Theatre Project

Top and Bottom is a new gay comedy by Kevin Michael West and directed by Christopher Janson. It’s set in a hotel room where James, a wannabe “dom,” has planned an S&M-ish hookup with Tommy, supposedly a “sub.” My DC Metro Theater Arts colleague Darby DeJarnette called the play “a comedy with brains and heart” and said the […]

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Review: ‘Luzia’ at Cirque du Soleil in Tysons

For a Cirque-head such as myself, anticipation of a new Cirque du Soleil show coming to town kicked in months ago. It had been two long years since Cirque last pitched its Big Top here, with Kurios – Cabinet of Curiosities, a show I praised to the tent top: Kurios’  marvels will not only wow one’s inner […]

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Magic Time!: ‘Roz and Ray’ at Theater J

This is an absolutely absorbing medical drama performed with full-on passion by two of DC’s top-tier actors. Susan Rome plays Roz, a hematologist dedicated to her role as healer, and Tom Story plays Ray, a single dad dedicated to keeping alive his hemophiliac twin boys. The story traverses a timeline beginning in 1975, when the […]

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Review: ‘The Beckett Trio’ at Scena Theatre

Nanna Ingvarsson is so phenomenal in these three harrowing short plays by Samuel Beckett that one can easily imagine the Nobel Prize-winning minimalist—notoriously persnickety about his stage directions—rising from the grave (center stage, a six-by-two rectangular hole, in nearly no light) and exclaiming (in a hoarse whisper): “Yes, yes, that’s precisely what I meant.” And […]

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Magic Time!: ‘Nat Turner in Jerusalem’ at Forum Theatre

By coincidence, Nat Turner in Jerusalem opened at Forum Theatre the day that The Raid closed at Theater Alliance. The two plays seen in succession are powerfully connected. Idris Goodwin’s The Raid imagines John Brown, the white Abolitionist who attempted to arm blacks for a revolt against slavery by leading a raid on Harper’s Ferry in […]

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Review: ‘Chicago’ at The Keegan Theatre

With its snappy-saucy take on Chicago, The Keegan Theatre shows it knows how to give an audience the ol’ razzle-dazzle. And Keegan has done the durable musical proud. In fact in Keegan’s mounting of the quasi-naughty musical on a bare wood set in a decommissioned church, a case can be made that Chicago’s vaudeville-based storytelling works even […]

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