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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.

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...

Mosaic’s brazenly brainy ‘Theory’ is both a treatise and a treat...

Academia has inspired several thematically penetrating plays featuring female protagonists—the two teachers falsely accused of being lesbian lovers, for instance, in Lillian Hellman's 1934...

Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Simon Godwin on conscience in ‘Everybody’ and himself

On the day after opening night of Everybody, the first show in Simon Godwin’s much-heralded first season as artistic director of Shakespeare Theatre Company,...

What’s magnificent and what’s muddled in ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ at...

Right to Be Forgotten is a play written from the outside in. By that I mean, its intention is to illustrate a legal issue:...

A theater buff auditions the GalaPro app (updated)

How does that new GalaPro app work? How well does it work? And what’s it like to watch a show with it? This inquiring...

The power of subversive design in ‘Day of Absence’ at Theater...

To realize how much white America loved minstrelsy is a reckoning painful or shameful, depending on one's ancestry. Minstrel shows were never meant for...

Magic Time!: A #MeToo Memory Animates ‘I Am Her’

Midway through this taut, fraught drama about sexual trauma, a woman named Ana, a wife and young mother, is suddenly triggered. We are not...

Magic Time!: The Sorrow Beneath the Surface of ‘School Girls’ at...

Can one laugh heartily at a satirical comedy—be thoroughly engaged by the entertaining characters, story, and performances—and then after it's over mourn what it...

Magic Time!: Natsu Onoda Power crafts a Tennessee Williams puppet show

Sitting in the front row in a child-size chair, I watched a puppet show based improbably on a play by Tennessee Williams. The occasion...

Magic Time!: Maria Manuela Goyanes on ‘Fairview,’ race, and what’s next...

I saw Jackie Sibblies Drury's Fairview opening night at Woolly, and I cannot stop thinking about its originality—not only in form but in intent....

Magic Time!: ‘Blank’ at Theater Alliance

"There are holes in the script!" would be the deathblow for any more conventional work of theater, but in Nassim Soleimanpour's Blank, the gaps...

Magic Time!: A Love Letter to ‘Dear Evan Hansen’

When Dear Evan Hansen debuted at Arena Stage four years ago, I was so moved by the show I wrote it a love letter,...

Magic Time!: Why ‘A People’s History’ Is “Painful”: A Q&A With...

John: Before you brought A People’s History to DC, you performed all 18 parts three times—once through in Minneapolis and twice through in Seattle....

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