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.

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...

Magic Time!: ‘The Birds and the Bees: Unabridged’ at Mosaic Theater...

"Let's rethink sex" has suddenly become a thing. Well, not suddenly maybe. But it certainly has new pertinence in this era of full-frontal disclosure....

Magic Time!: Life Lessons of ‘The Real Americans’: A Q&A with...

Dan Hoyle’s extraordinary solo show The Real Americans is based on his travels through small-town America and the folks he met, many of them...

Magic Time!: ‘The Last Night of Ballyhoo’ at Theater J

The production is lushly beautiful; the pacing, impeccable; the music between scenes, splendid; the acting, a delight in every detail. And the warm, piquant...

Magic Time!: “My Job Is to Crack Open My Soul”: A...

Justin Weaks was recently named by the Washington Post one of DMV’s 12 “stage dynamos,” one of “the best of an emerging cadre of younger regional talent.” He...

Magic Time!: ‘Republic For Which We Stand’ at United States Capitol...

For anyone who is more than a little unnerved that President Trump might go off half-cocked and trigger a war—which he could do with...

REMEMBERING JOEL MARKOWITZ