Home Columns Magic Time!

Magic Time!

This column is named after that magical moment between life and art just before a show begins. In it John Stoltenberg explores how art makes sense of life—and vice versa—as he reflects on meanings that matter in the theater he sees.

Whitney White on directing James Baldwin’s classic ‘The Amen Corner’ at...

A frank, in-depth interview about activating the actor, performance for the white gaze, the play's queer narrative, and much more.

Mike Daisey mansplains

The master monologist takes an unblinking look at Scott Rudin, Andrew Cuomo, and himself.

Trans Lives and Theater as Change Agent: A Q&A with Dane...

In observance of the the 12th annual International Transgender Day of Visibility (March 31, 2021), we republish this in-depth conversation with two leading lights...

Tennessee Williams’s ‘Lady from the Village of Falling Flowers’ returns

Spooky Action Theater’s utterly charming production of The Lady from the Village of Falling Flowers—a recently discovered early work by Tennessee Williams directed for...

A critic at play

During the past seven-odd years that I've contributed to DC Metro Theater Arts, I've written about upwards of 600 shows—sometimes as the designated reviewer...

Theatermakers of color call white theater to account for systemic racism

The cultural momentum powering protests that followed the May 25 murder of George Floyd has galvanized a national and local movement for transformational change...

Another lost female genius found, in ‘Einstein’s Wife’ at ExPats Theatre

The history of science is studded with female geniuses snubbed by sexism. There's biophysicist Rosalind Franklin, geneticist Nettie Stevens, chemist Alice Ball— And several...

“I want to make space for women who make mistakes”: A...

Dani Stoller's world-premiere comedy Easy Women Smoking Loose Cigarettes is funny and witty and in its own quirky way quite deep. Plus it puts...

‘Boys Don’t Cry’ at Dance Place rejoices in macho detox

Boys Don't Cry made this boy cry. It happened near the end. I had been watching a performance by the French dance company Cie Hervé...

Actor Mikéah Jennings unpacks his powerful performance in ‘Shipwreck’ at Woolly...

Anne Washburn's Shipwreck: A History Play About 2017 is an epic, scorching, and surreal satire of white liberalism in the era of Trump. It...

Who is Black? Signature Theatre’s ‘Gun & Powder’ hits a national...

It may surprise you (as it did me) that the title of this melodic world-premiere musical does not refer to gunpowder. The word gun...

‘The Royale’ at 1st Stage bares a Black brother’s big heart

This play about a boxer packs so many emotional punches into its compact six rounds, you might not know what hit you. As fists...

Mosaic goes rom-com with ‘Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New...

This thoroughly delightful offering from Mosaic Theater Company has all the makings of a lighthearted rom-com. Boy picks up girl. He invites her to...

In the ‘Pipeline’ at Studio Theatre, a Black son’s legacy of...

The set for Dominique Morisseau's Pipeline at Studio Theatre could not be any whiter. Its white walls of freshly painted concrete blocks span the...

‘Sheltered’ at Theater J hits home in America right now

A gathering stormcloud looms over this exquisitely wrought play by Alix Sobler. "How bad is it going to get?" a character wonders aloud. No...

Isabella Star LaBlanc, who plays Tiger Lily in ‘Peter Pan and...

When Playwright Lauren Gunderson took on the challenge of adapting J. M. Barrie's 1904 Peter Pan, she knew she had to fix what she...

At Mosaic’s ‘Eureka Day,’ a class in laughs and spats is...

The five adults seated onstage in a children's classroom each have a kid enrolled in this  private day school, which like the play we're...

5 reasons Christopher Boone liked ‘Curious Incident’ at Round House better...

My name is Christopher Boone and I am 15 and I am brave and I can do anything. I know that because I traveled...

The bad romance at the heart of Studio Theatre’s ‘White Pearl’

Anchuli Felicia King’s White Pearl is a hilarious, fast-paced satire set in the Singapore office of a cosmetics startup called Clearday that sells skin-whitening...

On tour in DC with ‘What to Send Up When It...

Editor's note: Woolly Mammoth Theatre, in conjunction with its staging of Jackie Sibblies Drury’s Fairview, has brought to DC a show produced by the...