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Time for 'One Man, Two Guvnors’ and lots of mayhem

“One Man, Two Guvnors” proves that there are no truly original plots.

The work, written by British playwright Richard Bean, is an adaptation of “Servant of Two Masters,” a Commedia Dell’arte style comedy dating to 1743. That, in turn, derives from ancient Greek comedies.

The adaptation, which played on Broadway after the original British run under the direction of Nicholas Hytner, takes place in 1963 Brighton, an English seaside resort.

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Discovering some of MoCo's lesser-known theatrical venues

01 OBLIVION by Unexpected Stage Company PhotoCredit Rachel Ellis copyJonathan Frye and Ruthie Rado star in Unexpected Stage's production of "Oblivion." COURTESY PHOTO BY RACHEL ELLIS  Theater lovers all know the Round House Theatre, the professional theater company that produces performances at its 400-seat location on East-West Highway in Bethesda.

Theater enthusiasts may be less familiar with some of the other theater venues in the area.

One is the Unexpected Stage Company, which is based in Bethesda, at least for now.

The “unexpected” in its title doesn’t refer to the fare offered by the professional regional theater, but rather to the fact that husband-and-wife team Christopher Goodrich and Rachel Stroud-Goodrich, co-artistic directors, came across an abandoned stage while driving around Seneca Creek State Park.

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Local station celebrates a year of local passionate programs

Marika Partridge first became passionate about radio when she stumbled upon a community radio station in Alaska while working as a cartographer. Now 32 years later and after 16 years as the director of NPR’s All Things Considered, Partridge, on the 16th, is celebrating the one-year anniversary of WOWD-LP Takoma Park 94.3FM, the radio station she founded.

“I can walk over to a radio station, open the door and get on the air," Said Partridge. "It’s as if some angel designed my retirement plan for me.”

Partridge, who retired from NPR to take care of her autistic child, first had the idea for local DC radio after hearing about the Prometheus Project, a non-profit organization focused on building low-powered radio stations.

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That rabbit is dynamite! - Nevermind the unladen swallow

If you’re looking for light entertainment, catch the last show (July 23) of “Spamalot,” the current offering of the Rockville Musical Theatre.

The show earned 14 Tony nominations when it came to Broadway in 2005, staged by gifted theater and film director Mike Nichols, who started his career as a comic. “Spamalot” won the Tony for Best Musical of the Year.

The show is based on the 1975 cult classic — “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” -- or, as the theater program for “Spamalot” declares, it was “ripped off from the motion picture.”

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Fringe festival has enough for everyone to find a niche of pure fun

Only five more days remain in the vast, multifaceted, and overwhelming (in a good sense) Capital Fringe Festival 2017.

Though only in its 12th year, the annual event founded by artist and community organizer Julianne Brienza seems to have been around forever.

Its goal according to the web site, is “expanding audiences’ appetites for independent, Fringe theatre, music, art, dance, and unclassifiable forms of live performance and visual art – and serving as a catalyst for cultural and community development.”

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Imagination Stage offers fun for those serious about the arts

Elyon Topolosky has been in the area only about four years, but he’s already performed in four productions at Imagination Stage.

Most recently, he appeared in “Bye, Bye Birdie” in one of the summer camps run by the community arts organization, whose mission is to integrate the arts into the lives of children.

“I love Imagination Stage,” said Topolosky, 13. “It’s not just a month of auditioning, learning your part, and putting on a performance. It’s a whole process – of learning different techniques, like drama, music, makeup, puppetry, dialects, and stage combat.”

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Plath and Dietrich take a new turn in the limelight

Marlene DietrichMarlene Dietrich. COURTESY PHOTO  The two women couldn’t have been more different.

Marlene Dietrich was an internationally known movie star who radiated sexual magnetism. She was also unapologetically androgynous and bisexual, at a time neither was openly accepted. A married woman whose list of lovers seemed endless, Dietrich was defeated only by aging, which made a dent in her prodigious selfconfidence.

Sylvia Plath was a shy but influential poet and novelist. While she captured the public imagination of other artists and lovers of her art forms and won a Pulitzer Prize, she never became the household name Dietrich was. Plath is also known for her turbulent relationship with husband and fellow poet Ted Hughes. After several bouts of depression and suicide attempts (possibly due to bipolar disorder), Plath took her own life at the age of 30.

Dietrich and Plath are now posthumously “sharing the same space,” in exhibitions dedicated to them at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.

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One-act plays dominate community theater festivals

Two Montgomery County community theaters will offer multi-week festivals of one-act plays this summer, featuring characters such as a lonely woman at a bar and a former U.S. president (in separate works).

The Montgomery Playhouse, which describes itself as “Montgomery County’s Oldest Community Theater,” will present its festival consisting of seven plays at Commotion Fitness Studios in Germantown, a new venue for the company. The plays will take place on the last two weekends of July.

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A Renaissance man turns 83

As a child, Mike Ritter was drawn to the sound of classic big bands. Now at the age of 83, the Oscar-winning filmmaker leads The Not So Modern Jazz Quartet, a band dedicated to preserving the big-band music he first fell in love with.

Ritter first achieved fame when he placed second in the 1957 National All-Army talent competition. Ritter’s act for the initial round was a one-band act to show off his command of different instruments.

“What I did was, I played piano, then called a friend to take over on piano. Then I played bass and called a friend out to play bass, then played horn and asked a friend to play the horn,” Ritter said.

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Local artist Raul Midón captures all that jazz

Raul MidonBlind musician Rául Mídon performs at Bethesda Blues and Jazz. PHOTO BY MATT HOOKE  BETHESDA — Raul Midón, midway through his concert Thursday night at Bethesda Blues and Jazz, showed off his ability to play bongos, guitar, and sing at the same time.  The crowd erupted in applause, and people grabbed their phones to record the feat.  Raul, however, didn’t see the flashing of cameras, or the cheering faces of his audience, because he is blind.  

Midón has been blind since birth. However, despite this he picked up music at a young age, playing drums at age four, guitar at age six.

“It gives me a different perspective,” Midón said when asked about his blindness, “People look at a crowd and think it’s this type of crowd or that type of crowd, but I just feel it.”

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