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Maryland Youth Ballet’s unique production of The Nutcracker

MYB 2998 copy sugar plumA past production of Maryland Youth Ballet’s “The Nutcracker,” with Justin Metcalf-Burton and Maya Beeman. COURTESY PHOTOMaryland Youth Ballet can boast of many illustrious alumni.

Walk along the hallways of the ballet school, headquartered in downtown Silver Spring since 2006 (after a long sojourn in Bethesda), and you’ll see photographs of some notable faces.

Michelle Lees, the school’s artistic director, points them out: Julie Kent, a longtime principal of American Ballet Theatre, who was recently appointed the artistic director of the Washington Ballet; Susan Jaffe, a former dancer and ballet mistress at ABT and now Dean of the School of Dance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem; and Garen Price Scribner and Allison Walsh, who both appeared in the Broadway musical “An American in Paris.”

However, at Maryland Youth Ballet, the emphasis is on both the present and future.

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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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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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How can you hate me?

 

10580230 10203559949373959 2236915944904062630 nHow can you hate me when you don’t even know me? That question, asked by local musician and civil rights activist Daryl Davis rings hard in the ears this Holiday season.
Which holiday season? Hanukkah and Christmas run concurrently this year. Ramadan was back in June and July while Mawlid is celebrated in December. Kwanzaa is also celebrated this month. And the big daddy Christmas is neigh upon us.

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A little Cornerstone of the holiday season

PencilPaperSo this Christmas season my wife and I found ourselves in possession of an extra Christmas tree and rather than put two up in the house – thereby giving our cats and dogs the ultimate solid and liquid waste depository – we decided to donate the tree to someone who didn’t have one.

I tried a variety of venues to give away the tree before running across Cornerstone Montgomery in Bethesda. Their mission statement: “Cornerstone Montgomery empowers people living with mental health and co-occurring substance use disorders to live, work, and integrate successfully within the community.”

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