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Sleeping Beauty is a Rom Com for the Puppet Company

 

Paige O’Malley performs as Briar Rose, and Christopher Piper performs as the prince in Puppet Co.’s ‘Sleeping Beauty.’ COURTESY PHOTOPaige O’Malley performs as Briar Rose, and Christopher Piper performs as the prince in Puppet Co.’s ‘Sleeping Beauty.’ COURTESY PHOTO  The Puppet Co Playhouse’s telling of “Sleeping Beauty” is, according to Allan Stevens, by and large traditional.

Except for the frog.

“We think the storyline has been enhanced by the inclusion of some elements of ‘The Frog Prince,’” said Stevens, the puppet theater’s founding director.

While interpretations of “Sleeping Beauty” often emphasize its dark side, such as the princess pricking her finger on a spinning wheel, Stevens believes it’s really a “romantic comedy, imbued with sweetness and good humor.”

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Singer/songwriter produces for love of music, not money

  • Published in Music

Jim Kennedy’s latest CD reflects multiple sources of inspiration. COURTESY PHOTOJim Kennedy’s latest CD reflects multiple sources of inspiration. COURTESY PHOTO  Asking Jim Kennedy how he intends to market his new album, “The Mischief of Life,” elicits an unexpected response.

“The point is not to sell the album; the point is to make it,” said Kennedy. “Music can be produced as a consumer product with sales as the goal, or it can be [artistic] expression and craftwork. My ‘marketing strategy’ is to share the CD with people. and hope they like it. I’m not trying to become a rock star or get rich.”

If they do like it, he’ll try to put together a “good group of musicians” and perform it to attentive audiences. If that doesn’t happen, he says he’s “still perfectly satisfied” having made the CD.

Kennedy wrote all 12 songs on “The Mischief of Life.” He plays all the instruments, and did the engineering and producing. He recorded the songs in his “home studio” – a laptop on his kitchen table and a cluttered corner of his band-rehearsal room.

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Silhouettes are an outline of an ancient art form renewed

Partially three-dimensional maypole dance by a contemporary artist is a part of an exhibit on silhouettes currently featured at the National Portrait Gallery. COURTESY PHOTOPartially three-dimensional maypole dance by a contemporary artist is a part of an exhibit on silhouettes currently featured at the National Portrait Gallery. COURTESY PHOTO  Silhouettes have been around since ancient times – think of those shadowy figures on Grecian urns.

But it was in the 19th century that the art form of cut-paper profiles took on new life. “They were a hugely popular and democratizing form of portraiture, offering virtually instantaneous likenesses of everyone,” said Asma Naeem, curator of an exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery devoted to silhouettes.

“Black Out: Silhouettes Then and Now” reveals the complexities of an art form that was once ubiquitous but is little known today, Naeem added.

The exhibit explores the historical roots of silhouettes and contemporary iterations.

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Bethesda-based art gallery celebrates 25th anniversary

Carol Leadbetter (left) and Grace Peterson, chair Waverly Street Gallery’s silver anniversary celebration.  COURTESY PHOTOCarol Leadbetter (left) and Grace Peterson, chair Waverly Street Gallery’s silver anniversary celebration. COURTESY PHOTO  Though she was always interested in taking pictures, Carol Leadbetter became a professional photographer later in life. That was after a formal course in photography motivated her to earn an associates’ degree at Montgomery College, specializing in portrait photography. Now she does a great deal of what’s called “photographic transfer,” or alternative printing.

“With transfer, each piece is done individually and looks different,” Leadbetter said. “It’s not making 100 copies of the same thing.”

Grace Peterson always loved art; first she became a self-taught oil painter and later worked in stained glass until arthritis kicked in. She then returned to oils, also obtaining a degree from Montgomery College.

Peterson exhibited and entered competitions, but felt the lack of an artist’s “home base.” After Strathmore sent her a list of area art galleries, she found Creative Partners, a precursor of the Waverly Street Gallery.

Leadbetter also found her home base at the Gallery.

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Diverse performances featured in Maryland Youth Ballet’s Spring Concert

Corps de Ballet achieves perfect synchronization in Maryland Youth Ballet’s “La Bayadere.”  COURTESY PHOTOCorps de Ballet achieves perfect synchronization in Maryland Youth Ballet’s “La Bayadere.” COURTESY PHOTO  Dancing a lead role in a classical ballet is something Elena Remez dreamed of ever since she was a girl. It’s also something she “worked up to” during her 12 years of study at Maryland Youth Ballet.

Now Remez is living the dream: she’s dancing the title role in “La Bayadere” (which translated from French means “The Temple Dancer”), one of the three pieces comprising the Spring Concert of the school. It’s only a portion of the long ballet – set in India, with music by Ludwig Minkus, and the 1877 original choreography by Marius Petipa – entitled “Kingdom of the Shades.”

“It’s an honor to dance the lead in ‘Bayadere,’” said Remez, a senior at Woodrow Wilson High School.

The ballet is also challenging. “The two leads come on and off constantly ... There’s not much of a break,” she said. “Usually as soon as I stop breathing heavily after one part, I have to go right back to another.”

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Writing and performing are the music driving ArtStream production

Volunteer mentor Sylvia Herrada, actor Kirsten Davidson and director Madeleine Barry in ArtStream production. COURTESY PHOTOVolunteer mentor Sylvia Herrada, actor Kirsten Davidson and director Madeleine Barry in ArtStream production. COURTESY PHOTO  During rehearsals, actors may offer input about how to do a scene. But at ArtStream, Inc., they actually help write as well as perform.  

They vote on a theme, create original characters, and improvise scenes, which staff then script into original, one-act musicals.

After the script is in place, the production proceeds like any other – with the help of a professional music director and choreographer, said Heller An Shapiro, executive director.

ArtStream productions present a double-bill of two musicals, each about an hour long.

Actors with disabilities, volunteer mentors, and theater professionals work as a team, producing six inclusive musicals in the region, in addition to classes in acting and social skills.

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Olney’s “Crucible” finds new life in Miller’s classic drama

Choreographer Kelly Crandall d’Amboise with Dani Stoller, other cast members, rehearsing ‘The Crucible.’ COURTESY PHOTOChoreographer Kelly Crandall d’Amboise with Dani Stoller, other cast members, rehearsing ‘The Crucible.’ COURTESY PHOTO  As literally written and usually played, Abigail Williams is the antagonist of “The Crucible,” Arthur Miller’s 1953 dramatized and fictionalized play about the Salem Witch Trials.

The seductive 17-year-old has had an affair with her married 35-year-old employer, John Proctor, and subsequently lost her job. Still in love with him, she takes advantage of the mass hysteria to accuse his wife, Elizabeth, of witchcraft in the hope of replacing her.

But Dani Stoller, the Abigail in the Olney Theatre Center production, sees her as more complex, with more justification for her actions.

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Intersection of art and religion in a complex passion play

Sophia Varnai, Jay Griffith, and Sophie Falvey in Lumina’s “Passion Play.” COURTESY PHOTOSophia Varnai, Jay Griffith, and Sophie Falvey in Lumina Studio Theatre’s “Passion Play.” COURTESY PHOTO  David Minton grew up a fervent Southern Baptist.

“I’ve gone through a lot of changes since then,” admitted the artistic director of Lumina Studio Theatre. “But I have a great respect for people of faith.”

Religious belief is a strong component of “Passion Play,” the theater company’s next offering.

Playwright Sarah Ruhl dramatizes a community of players rehearing their annual staging of the Easter Passion in three different periods: 1575 England, just before Queen Elizabeth outlaws the ritual; 1934 Oberammergua, Bavaria, when Hitler is rising to power and using the ritual toward his own ends; and the Vietnam era through Reagan’s presidency in Spearfish, South Dakota.

We never get to see the actual Passion Play.

“It’s a piece of theater about theater,” said Minton, who is directing. “Ruhl is intrigued by the intersection of faith and art – with politics not far in the background.”

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Living life according to a Bronx Bomber at Best Medicine Rep

Liz Galuardi, Paul Reisman, and Rebecca A. Herron performed "Derek Jeter Makes the Play" in a October 2017 reading at Best Medicine Rep.  COURTESY PHOTOLiz Galuardi, Paul Reisman, and Rebecca A. Herron performed "Derek Jeter Makes the Play" in a October 2017 reading at Best Medicine Rep. COURTESY PHOTO  Who wouldn’t want to be Derek Jeter?

The retired player for the New York Yankees was a five-time World Series champion, noted for his hitting, base-running, fielding, and leadership.

He’s also a business owner, philanthropist – and good-looking.

Constantly asking what the famed shortstop would do is another matter. But that’s the conceit of “Derek Jeter Makes the Play” by Robin Rothstein. After first featuring the comedy in a reading last October, Best Medicine Rep is now showcasing the play in a full stage production later this month, directed by Linda Lombardi.

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Recluse embraces life at world’s end in Highwood Theatre’s ‘Soon’

Cast of student actors – in rep with adult pro production – of ‘Soon’ at Highwood Theatre.  COURTESY PHOTO Cast of student actors – in repertory with adult professional production – of "Soon" at Highwood Theatre. COURTESY PHOTO  It was a dream come true. When Nick Blaemire and his half-brother, James Gardiner, were only 22, they opened a play on the Great White Way.

“We wrote a show called ‘Glory Days,’ which Eric Schaeffer was kind enough to produce at Signature Theatre,” said Blaemire. “The next year the show went to Broadway.”

Although “Glory Days” closed on opening night, he called the experience “one hell of a ride.”

Since then, the theatrical jack-of-all-trades has appeared in a few Broadway shows, and in the off-Broadway revival of the musical “Tick Tock Boom!”

When Signature presented his musical “Soon” – for which Blaemire had written the book, lyrics, and music – It “was among the most joyous times of my life,” he said. “Signature has been my home away from home.”

“Soon” is now coming to The Highwood Theatre, reflecting the season’s theme of “Off Your Rocker.” The play also constitutes Highwood’s fifth annual Open Source Festival – redefining the conception of traditional nights at the theater, said Matthew Nicola, artistic director.

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