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!: ‘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...

Magic Time!: ‘A Short Series of Disagreements Presented Here in Chronological...

He might have had an interesting idea for a solo show. He hadn't written it yet. but he told Studio Theatre, which had booked...

Magic Time!: ‘Vicuña & The American Epilogue’ at Mosaic Theater Company

"Even monsters need clothing," says the bespoke tailor Anselm, an Arab Jew and immigrant, defending why he will sew a vicuña suit for a...

Magic Time!: ‘Hello, My Name Is…’ at The Welders

Having heralded five* Welders productions, I approached Deb Sivigny's Hello, My Name Is... with both eagerness and wariness. Knowing that Sivigny had chosen as...

Magic Time!: ‘Judge Me Not’ at DC Arts Center

Strong writing, passionate acting, and a meaningful purpose combined to make Judge Me Not a gem of a show. An assemblage of monologues around a...

Magic Time!: ‘Sotto Voce’ at Theater J

Among the revelatory dimensions of this lyrical play is one that caught my attention by surprise. I knew going in that Sotto Voce, by Pulitzer...

Magic Time!: ‘An Act of God’ at Signature Theatre

Rarely have I enjoyed such a perfect union of comic writing, acting, and staging with such non-stop hilarity. Just opened in the intimate Ark...

Magic Time!: ‘The Lover’ and ‘The Collection’ at Shakespeare Theatre Company

The great Irish actor Lisa Dwan is in town doing something with the playwright Harold Pinter right now at the Lansburgh Theatre that is...

Magic Time!: ‘Love and Information’ at Forum Theatre

This is a most peculiar play, but in a very good way. It's more about its form than its content. And that's what makes...

Magic Time!: ‘The Arsonists’ at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company

In a recent satire published on Medium, the San Francisco writer/actor/comedian Alison Page listed five dozen "Honest Theatre Awards." Among them was one that...

Magic Time!: Refinding the Soul of ‘Word Becomes Flesh’ at Theater...

Winner of five Helen Hayes Awards last season, Theater Alliance's production of Word Becomes Flesh is now playing at Anacostia Playhouse in an encore...

News: ‘Olityelwe (The Forgotten)’ Returns to DC in Full Production for...

I reported on this extraordinary play when it was a staged reading at Theater J last June and said at the end: "Somebody needs...

Magic Time!: ‘Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train’ at 1st Stage

There are times in the theater when the particulars of a play—its people, place, and poetics—pull you in as only an arresting, well-told story...

Magic Time!: ‘The Devil’s Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie...

In what is surely the most badass, take-no-prisoners performance by a musical artist on a DC stage in recent memory, Miche Braden brings her...

Magic Time!: ‘Big Fish’ at The Keegan Theatre

The musical Big Fish is by any measure a feel-good show for the whole family, as evidenced by the buoyant and beautiful production now...

Magic Time!: Sweet Spot Aerial Productions’ ‘Smoky Mirrors’ at Atlas Performing...

No sooner did some aerial apparatus drop from the fly space—ropes, straps, silks, hoops, trapezes—but what some artist-athletes would take hold of it and...

Magic Time!: Report on a Staged Reading of ‘Olityelwe (The Forgotten)’...

When Jonathan David Martin came from New York to DC to be Theater J's new associate producer in March of last year,  he brought...

Magic Time!: ‘When We Were Young and Unafraid’ at The Keegan...

On the top floor of The Keegan Theatre is a cork board labeled "What Does Feminism Mean to You?" Pushpins, pens, and slips of...

Magic Time!: ‘The Return’ at Mosaic Theater Company of DC

Inside this taut and provocative two-character play—which vividly evokes the political tension between the Israeli state and its Palestinian citizens—there is a startling sex...

Magic Time!: ‘Still Life with Rocket’ at Theater Alliance as Voyage...

Still Life With Rocket is greater than the sum of its arts. The diverse forms of installation, choreography, and character-driven drama come together in...

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