Author Archive | Ramona Harper

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Review: ‘Two Trains Running’ at Arena Stage

There’s simplicity in truth. Arena Stage’s Two Trains Running is August Wilson’s simple truth about the African American experience during the 1960s urban renewal of inner-city Pittsburgh. But simple conversations among the working class blacks of Two Trains Running belie a profound depth of truth in the African American quest for personal freedom, self-determination and […]

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Review: ‘Nat Turner in Jerusalem’ at Forum Theatre

The unsettling sight of a young man in shackles sitting on a bare, plank-wood floor; a glimmer of night sky piercing the darkness through the barred window of a simple jail cell; and the tense, disturbing sounds of an angry mob in the distance immediately grip the senses upon entering Nathan Alan Davis’ Nat Turner […]

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Review: PostClassical Ensemble’s ‘Deep River: The Art of the Spiritual’ at the Washington National Cathedral

When is art an intentional expression of respectful cultural appreciation and when is it an unconscious foray into cultural misappropriation? These were some of the deep questions raised in Deep River: The Art of the Spiritual, a classical sacred concert at the Washington National Cathedral in tribute to Harry Burleigh, African American classical composer, arranger […]

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Review: NSO Pops and Kenny ‘Babyface’ Edmonds at the Kennedy Center

The NSO Pops presented its first-ever collaboration with superstar Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds on Friday night for a two-night run in the Concert Hall of the Kennedy Center. Under the musical direction of Tim Davies, eclectic orchestrator extraordinaire, the evening was “surreal” in Edmonds’s own words, in listening pleasure and feel-good enjoyment. Presenting a unique fusion […]

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Review: ‘A Night with Janis Joplin’ at the Strathmore

If any singer from the hippie era could take a little piece of your heart, it was the legendary Janis Joplin. In A Night with Janis Joplin, the story of the iconic rock star emblazoned the stage of the Music Center at Strathmore with electrifying performances celebrating the flamboyant white girl from Port Arthur, Texas […]

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Review: ‘Fabulation or the Re-education of Undine’ at Port City Playhouse

Lynn Nottage’s Fabulation or the Re-education of Undine is an outrageously hilarious romp into the fabulated life of Undine Barnes Callas, a feisty, successful African American woman whose comeuppance to a new awareness about identity, rediscovering one’s roots, and keeping it real turn expected outcomes into unexpected moments of entertaining, but bittersweet, lessons learned. According […]

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Review: The 22nd Annual Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival: Abbey Lincoln Tribute at The Kennedy Center

The music of Abbey Lincoln was The Kennedy Center’s choice for its 22nd Annual Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival. Showcasing the best in old and new jazz artistry, this year’s tribute presented Jazz Masters Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dianne Reeves, and Esperanza Spalding as channels for the creative force of nature that was Abbey Lincoln, consummate […]

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Review: ‘Tribute’ at Greenbelt Arts Center

Scottie Templeton is dying. And with that deadly diagnosis, Tribute, by Bernard Slade, now playing at the Greenbelt Arts Center, poignantly considers what’s really important in life and the relationships that make it all matter. Directed by Gayle Negri and produced by her better half, Andy Negri, Tribute touches the heart as it heals the relationship between […]

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Review: ‘NSO Pops: Sophisticated Ladies: 100 Years of Ella & Company’ at The Kennedy Center 

Acclaimed vocalists Capathia Jenkins, Sy Smith and Montego Glover joyously hopped the A train to Harlem along with the NSO Pops in tribute to the Queen of Jazz in Sophisticated Ladies: 100 Years of Ella & Company. This year marks Ella Fitzgerald’s 100th birthday and conductor Steven Reineke’s brilliant creation to honor the First Lady […]

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Review: ‘Paper Dreams’ at Imagination Stage

One of the wonders of children is their capacity to take the simplest object and create a whole new world filled with curiosity and excitement. Paper Dreams, a new children’s dance theatre production of the Imagination Stage, is a beautiful fantasy that explores the stories that may lie within the secret life of simple pieces […]

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Review: NSO Pops: An Evening with Ledisi at The Kennedy Center

“Peaches” was in the house. Inspired by the spirit of Nina Simone, acclaimed American R&B and jazz recording artist, songwriter and actress, Ledisi performed an eclectic program of blues, jazz and R&B in concert performance of NSO Pops: An Evening with Ledisi. Under the musical direction of guest conductor Darin Atwater, the NSO Pops added contemporary […]

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Review: ‘Luther Re-Lives’ at the Publick Playhouse

The velvet voice and beautiful love ballads of one of the greatest R &B crooners of all time, Luther Vandross, lives on through the magnetic stage presence of William “Smooth” Wardlaw’s  Luther Re-Lives. As if channeling the body, soul and spirit of the man, Luther Re-Lives, which played Saturday night at the Prince George’s Publick […]

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Review #1: ‘Caroline, Or Change’ at Round House Theatre

Round House Theatre continues to shine a spotlight on the works of Tony Kushner (Angels in America) as it explores life’s complexity through its seeming simplicity in Kushner’s autobiographical Caroline, Or Change. Childhood memories have a way of evoking and magnifying just about every human emotion. Kushner’s memories of growing up in a middle-class Jewish […]

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Review: Estampas Porteñas Tango Company’s ‘Deseos’ at the Music Center at Strathmore

Images of the people of Buenos Aires, estampas porteñas, created nostalgic dreams of longing and desire in distant lands and rich cultures as the Estampas Porteñas Tango Company presented Deseos, a panorama or Argentinian music and dance at the Music Center at Strathmore. Tango is the national dance of Argentina and the distinctive folkloric musical […]

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