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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.

“The Queerest Role I’ve Played”: A Q&A with Jon Hudson Odom...

Jon Hudson Odom's performance in Jordan Tannahill's new play Botticelli in the Fire just blew me away. And it wasn't the first time that had happened....

Magic Time!: ‘The Scottsboro Boys’ at Signature Theatre

The musical The Scottsboro Boys tells a true story of heinous injustice driven by race hate, and the theatrical form is a minstrel show—bouyant...

Magic Time!: ‘The Small Room at the Top of the Stairs’...

The mystery at the center of this adroit drama keeps getting mysteriouser and mysteriouser: What's in the small room at the top of the...

Magic Time!: ‘Republic Undone’ at The Metropolitan Club

Going back to Ancient Greece, theater has functioned as a forum for informed public debate—about war, religion, politics, all the issues relevant to the...

Magic Time!: ’10 Million’ and ‘The Bitter Tears of Petra von...

Among the rich offerings in The Kennedy Center's Artes de Cuba festival were two extraordinary works of theater, each performed but twice: The Bitter...

Magic Time!: ‘The Frederick Douglass Project’ by Solas Nua

In a tent pitched on a pier overlooking the Anacostia River, there is a powerfully important work of theater being performed. The work is...

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...

Magic Time!: Bedroom Talk with Actors Dimitri Gann and Ryan Townsend...

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...

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...

Magic Time!: ‘Underground Railroad Game’ at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company

"What the fuck was that?" a friend asked me at the opening night reception for this show at Woolly. To which, still reeling, I...

Magic Time!: ‘Paper Dolls’ at Mosaic Theater Company of DC

Paper Dolls has such an open heart and such largesse of spirit that you might well leave the theater verklempt with hope. The play with...

Magic Time!: The Birth and Revelation of ‘Mom Baby God’: A...

Mom Baby God—a solo show written and performed by Madeline Joey Rose about the right’s attack on abortion rights—is as playful as it is...

Magic Time!: Michael Urie Opens Up About His Hamlet at Shakespeare...

When I had a chance to ask Michael Urie some questions about his performance as Hamlet, I learned he can hold forth as insightfully...

Magic Time!: Katie Kleiger on Bonding and Being a Warrior in...

The reason I asked to interview Katie Kleiger is that after I saw her in Sarah DeLappe's The Wolves at Studio Theatre, I realized I...

Magic Time!: Gloria Steinem Talks About ‘Sovereignty’ at Arena Stage (Women’s...

“What Mary Kathryn Nagle has given us on stage tonight is the history we don’t learn,” said renowned feminist author and activist Gloria Steinem...

Magic Time!: ‘Jefferson’s Garden’ at Ford’s Theatre (Women’s Voices Theater Festival)

A portrait of George Washington hangs in Ford's Theatre on the presidential box where Abraham Lincoln was shot. When you stop to think about...

Magic Time!: ‘The Trial’ at Synetic Theater

Kafka's nightmare novel about a man named Joseph K—who is arrested, detained, and tried but never told what he has done wrong—would seem perfect...

Magic Time!: ‘Guilt’ at Scena Theatre

Sex and guilt were linked in superstition before institutional Christianity came on the scene, but thanks to the medieval Catholic Church they got hooked...

Magic Time!: “Claim All of Your Selves”: Caleen Sinnette Jennings on...

Erika Rose’s performance in Queens Girl in Africa is awesome to behold. She plays the playwright’s teenage self, named Jackie, plus her parents, school friends,...

Magic Time!: Inside ‘Amazing Grace’ at the Museum of the Bible:...

When I saw the musical Amazing Grace I praised it to the skies. A blurb being used to promote the show is lifted from my...

REMEMBERING JOEL MARKOWITZ