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.


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.”


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.”


Puppets share stage with people in Olney Theatre’s ‘Our Town’

Wedding of George and Emily copyGeorge (left) and Emily (right) – William Vaughan and Cindy De La Cruz – stand with Jon Hudson Odom as the Stage Manager in Olney Theatre Center’s production of "Our Town." COURTESY PHOTO  The creative mind works in unexpected ways.

When Aaron Posner was staging “Measure for Measure” at the Folger Theatre in 2004 – a production that incorporated puppets – he pointed out to their designer Aaron Cromie that his creations looked “lively and human” during rehearsals but “so dead” during a break.

Posner made a mental leap, that should he direct Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town,” puppets would represent the dead people in the third act.

From there Posner went on to the idea of using puppets more extensively, as he is currently doing as the director of the Olney Theatre Center’s production of “Our Town.” 


Rockville Little Theatre Celebrates 70 years

ROCKVILLE — Montgomery County experienced a radical change in the aftermath of World War II. The population of Rockville and surrounding areas swelled as thousands of people moved to take jobs with federal government contractors, the county schools and government and technology companies. And during that time, people from various occupations have come to Rockville Little Theatre to watch and participate in the production of a wide variety of plays.

The community theater company inaugurated its 70th season Sept. 22 through Oct. 1 with a production of the play "Almost, Maine," by John Cariani, which was featured in last week’s review by The Sentinel’s Barbara Trainin Blank. Set in a quasi-mythical Maine town, the frequently-produced play features a series of interrelated vignettes in which characters attempt, with varying degrees of success, to achieve romantic connections.


Passion for puppetry in Glen Echo company

Pinocchio Puppet Co. 1Blue Fairy helps Pinocchio in Puppet Co. production. COURTESY PHOTO  A puppeteer often must do it all.

That’s the case at the Puppet Co., a professional organization in Glen Echo that produces everything audiences see on stage.

“We make the puppets, write the scripts, design and make the costumes and sets, and sometimes compose the music when we’re not using that of classical composers,” said Christopher Piper, artistic director. “And we create the video animations used in some of our shows.”


Theater company brings physical comedy and belly laughs to BlackRock Center

Photo by ParallelExitThose seeking family fun this fall need look no further than the BlackRock Center For The Arts in Germantown next Saturday, which will feature a smorgasbord of slapstick comedy, live music and tap dancing all in one show.


Youth theater company performs Sondheim classic

Into the Woods posterThe Wildwood Summer Theatre Company performed “Into the Woods” for their 50th season. This year’s production, written by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, is a refreshingly grown-up take on fairytales such as “Cinderella”, “Jack and the Bean Stalk”, “Little Red Riding Hood” and “Rapunzel.” The fairytales become connected when a childless baker (Wesley Diener) and his wife (Katherine Worley) quest through the woods to retrieve artifacts from the other characters in order to lift a witch’s curse.