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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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Rockville Little Theatre Celebrates 70 years

IMG 6627 copy other actorsNik Henly and Krisyn Lue rehearse a scene from Rockville Little Theatre's recent production of "Almost, Maine." COURTESY PHOTO  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.

For the 70th anniversary, Anne Cary, an active member of Rockville Little Theatre, compiled a history of the company, which played an integral part in the development of Montgomery County's cultural scene.

"Sometime in 1947, six friends decided that Rockville needed its own little theater troupe," Cary said. "The founders were Miss Pamela Bairsto, Miss Betty Sherman, Miss Murray Hamilton, Mrs. Margaret Eddy, Mrs. Madeline Davis and Rev. Raymond Black of Christ Episcopal Parish, which was the site of the first production, Noel Coward’s ‘Hay Fever’ in the Parish Hall on Nov. 26, 1948. Rockville Little Theatre was launched."

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