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“School of Rock” gets local run while on Broadway

schoolofrockcast copy photoWill Valdes, lead in ‘School of Rock,’ surrounded by his students.   COURTESY PHOTO  Sometimes you get an offer you can't refuse.

When the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation approved The Highwood Theatre's request to license "The School of Rock," even though it is still playing on the Great White Way, moving forward was a no-brainer.

"It was a unique opportunity to do a Broadway show," said Kevin Kearney, the theater's executive director who is co-directing the show with Dylan Kaufman. "We're part of a select group of youth theaters and schools who received the licensing."

But aside from the opportunity, "School of Rock" is also "the perfect show for Highwood," said Kearney, who saw the musical four times on Broadway and "loved" it.

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“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” is now part of the Silver Spring Stage

20171108 204947 copy 2 Best ChristmasCast members rehearse for Silver Spring Stage’s “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.” COURTESY PHOTOAndrea Spitz has staged such as plays “Proof” and “Rabbit hole,” with serious or even, in her words, “depressing” themes.

Now Spitz – a board member of Silver Spring Stage since 2007 – is directing much-lighter fare: the community theater's production of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.”

The play derives from the bestselling children’s holiday classic by Barbara Robinson, and, like the book and the 1983 TV special based on it, concerns the shenanigans of the Herdman siblings. Robinson has described them as “the most awful kids in history.”

That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but they're probably not the most well-behaved kids either.

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The One Man Christmas Carol shines in Olney

DSC 7167 copy christmas carolPaul Morella as all the characters in Olney Theatre’s one-man show of “A Christmas Carol.” COURTESY PHOTO “A Christmas Carol” – dramatic versions of Charles Dickens's beloved holiday novella – abound this time of year. But one may be unique in the County.

In Olney Theatre Center's production of “A Christmas Carol,” Paul Morella portrays the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, as well as 49 other characters in a one-person show, including the three Christmas ghosts, the Fezziwig family and Tiny Tim.

He even portrays three or four characters at once, with a mere turn of the head.

This “Christmas Carol” grew out of an earlier one-man show in which Morella played defense attorney Clarence Darrow at the Arts Barn. A staff member asked him to return the following year and give the same treatment to “A Christmas Carol.”

At first, Morella thought “it wouldn't work.” Later, he changed his mind.

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Going for the classics - in play and staged reading - at Lumina

Barnaby Rudge Lumina Studio Theatre copyLumina Studio Theatre’s spring 2017 production of Dickens's “Barnaby Rudge.” This season, Lumina will present productions of “Much Ado About Nothing” and “Great Expectations.” COURTESY PHOTO  Shakespeare aficionados know he wrote a comedy called “Love's Labor Lost.” What they may not know of is that the Bard apparently wrote a sequel entitled “Love's Labor Won.”

“The play itself was probably lost, sitting on a dusty shelf somewhere,” said David Minton, artistic director of the Lumina Studio Theatre. “But we do have his ‘Much Ado About Nothing,’ which is pretty much a sequel to ‘Love's Labor Lost.’”

Lumina is presenting “Much Ado About Nothing” in the first two weekends of December in a blended production. Part of the first act will be a play within a play, of “Love's Labor Lost.”

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A snow day turns special when "Frosty the Snow Man" comes to life at Adventure Theatre

FROSTY 2 copyDallas Tolentino plays the title character of “Frosty the Snow Man” at Adventure Theatre. COURTESY PHOTO You can’t escape the wildly popular Christmas song when you enter stores during the holiday season.

“Frosty the Snow Man,” written by Steve "Jack" Rollins and Steve Nelson, and first recorded by Gene Autry, has taken on a life of its own. The story of the magical snowman has been sung by various artists since its inception, including Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby and Jimmy Durante, and been adapted in other mediums, including animated television specials and children’s books.

Now “Frosty the Snow Man” is commanding the stage at Adventure Theatre. Dallas Tolentino plays Frosty in a white suit and vest, with LED lights.

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Quotidian alternates two plays by its favorite authors

Quotidian Theatre Company has long embraced the works of the late American playwright Horton Foote and Irish playwright Conor McPherson. Artistic director Jack Sbarbori developed not only a working relationship but a friendship with both men.

Now Quotidian is offering one work each by Foote and McPherson in repertory for the final productions of 2017-2018.

“St. Nicholas,” which McPherson wrote at the age of 26 and helped to establish his reputation, concerns a Dubliner who may have encountered vampires.

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The tale of two staged readings - one a comedy

9BMRJeterOct2017 copyLiz Galuardi and Paul Reisman in Best Medicine Rep’s reading of “Derek Jeter Makes the Play.” COURTESY PHOTO BY MARY ROBERDSThe historical farce “Philosophus,” by contemporary playwright Colin Speer Crowley, is billed as “clever and funny,” making it perfect fare for Best Medicine Repertory Theater.

The Gaithersburg-based theater began its programming earlier this year, focusing on new works and specifically on comedies, according to John Morogiello, artistic director.

“The Shadow of a Doubt,” on the other hand, was written by Edith Wharton, the author of such classic novels as “The Age of Innocence” and “The House of Mirth,” who passed away in 1937. It is her only known play – planned for a Broadway run that never happened.

“Two scholars working at the University of Texas found the manuscript, which Wharton wrote in 1901, right before she started writing novels,” said Drew Lichtenberg, Literary Manager of Shakespeare Theatre Company, where the play will have a reading. “Like many people, she wanted to write for the stage.”

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Doomed romance at the heart of Kensington play

Bridges of Madison County at KATElizabeth Hester and Jonathan Rizzardi star in Kensington Arts Theatre s production of “The Bridges of Madison County." COURTESY PHOTO BY ENELISON AYALASome have labeled Robert James Waller’s 1992 novel “The Bridges of Madison County” oversentimental. But it inspired a well-received film three years later in which Clint Eastwood, who also directed, demonstrated his romantic chops and for which Meryl Streep garnered yet another Oscar nomination.

Nearly 20 years later, a show by the same name opened on Broadway – with a book by Marsha Norman and music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown.

Despite numerous nominations and some awards, as well as star power – including Kelli O’Hara as the female lead and director Bartlett Sher – the musical lasted only weeks on Broadway.

Now, “The Bridges of Madison County” is coming to Kensington Arts Theatre, the first community theater in the area to present it, said the show’s director Craig Pettinati.

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Irving Berlin’s favorite holiday play visits Rockville

DSC 0286 0360 copy white christmasMichael Page and Sirena Dib star in Rockville Musical Theatre’s stage production of "White Christmas."    COURTESY PHOTO BY BRUCE ROSENBERGIn 2000, David Ives and Paul Blake created a show based on the popular 1954 Paramount Pictures movie musical “White Christmas,” which starred Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen. The stage musical, like the film, features the songs of composer and lyricist Irving Berlin, best known for “Annie Get Your Gun.”

Now, “White Christmas” is coming to Rockville Musical Theatre, closing its 2017 season.

“The (stage) musical and the movie are very similar – same characters, same music, same story – even some of the same dialogue,” said Marci Shegogue, the production’s music director. “There are a few differences in how it is presented, of course, but that’s mainly due to the limits of film and stage. If you loved the movie, we think you will love the stage production even more.”

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Peace Mountain Theatre Company stages Neil Simon’s “Lost in Yonkers”

20171002 201109 001 copy Lost in YonkersDavid Dieudonne directs Elyon Topolosky and Leah Mazade in Neil Simon's "Lost in Yonkers." COURTESY PHOTO Those who only know Neil Simon as the comic playwright of such works as “Barefoot in the Park,” and “The Odd Couple” may be underselling him.

“Lost in Yonkers,” for example, won both a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award, and many consider it his finest play.

That’s the prevalent attitude at Peace Mountain Theatre Company. The Potomac-based theater company is gearing up for a production of the play, after having previously produced such “heavier” fare as Edward Albee’s “A Delicate Balance” and Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons.”

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