Menu

Shakespeare’s ‘star-crossed lovers’ appear in free STC production

Shakespeare Theatre Company’s 2016 production of ‘Romeo and Juliet.’’ COURTESY PHOTOShakespeare Theatre Company’s 2016 production of ‘Romeo and Juliet.’’ COURTESY PHOTO  Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Free For All not only offers a play by the Bard each summer free of charge, but also “revives” a production the theater had presented earlier.

This summer, it’s “Romeo and Juliet,” which appeared on the STC stage in 2016.

That means the convenience of using the same set and costumes and many of the same actors.

But when Alan Paul, director of both productions and STC’s associate artistic director, watched the archival video from the first, he saw changes he wanted to make.

Read more...

Highwood’s latest show spoofs a theater production run amok

Cast members of Highwood Theatre’s ‘Play On!’ look at scripts. COURTESY PHOTO Cast members of Highwood Theatre’s ‘Play On!’ look at scripts. COURTESY PHOTO  If there’s anything tougher than comedy, it’s pulling together the production of a comedy in two weeks.

Especially one that involves a lot of physical, as well as verbal, comedy.

That’s the task that fell to the young performers, in grades 7-12, in Highwood Theatre’s Summer Active Intensive program. They’re presenting Rick Abbot’s “Play On!” Highwod’s final production of the season and the only non-musical play the theater is producing this summer.

Rick Abbot is one of several pen names for prolific playwright Jack Sharkey (1931-1992), who published 83 plays under his own name and four others.

The conceit of “Play On!” said artistic director Matthew Nicola, is that while a theater troupe rehearses for – and later puts on – a comedy, disaster follows. Disaster that audiences can laugh at.

Read more...

Century-old play resonates with today’s immigration issues

Elenilson Ayala (second, left) and members rehearse for ‘The Melting Pot.’ COURTESY PHOTO Elenilson Ayala (second, left) and members rehearse for ‘The Melting Pot.’ COURTESY PHOTO  Sometimes a play written decades ago seems contemporary.

That’s the case with “The Melting Pot,” a play British author Israel Zangwill wrote in 1908 about anti-Semitism and the hatred of immigrants.

It’s the inaugural production of a new performing organization, the Jewish Community Theater of Montgomery County, along with the Temple Beth Ami Players.

“There’s been no dedicated Jewish theater in the County for like 30 years,” said David Fialkoff, director. “And the County has such a large Jewish population.”

Read more...

Highwood Theatre presents student productions of musicals ‘Godspell’ and ‘My Fair Lady’

Students rehearse for the iconic musical “Godspell,” one of two Highwood Theatre summer productions. COURTESY PHOTOStudents rehearse for the musical “Godspell,” one of Highwood Theatre's summer productions. COURTESY PHOTO  Summer may be overall slow, but Highwood Theatre is gearing up for two student musical productions.

First, there’s “Godspell” – this year’s Musical Theatre Intensive program for seventh through 12th graders.

The show, with concept and book by John Michael Tebelak and music and new lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, brings vaudevillian elements and diverse musical styles to a contemporary take of the Gospel of St. Matthew.

Henry Gottfried, an actor who appeared in the first national tour of “Bright Star” and the TV production of “Peter Pan Live!” is directing.

“This seemed like a stretch of the muscles,” he said.

It’s also new for Gottfried to be directing kids this age.

“But young actors are pretty gung-ho” he said. “Because this is summer camp, these kids have chosen to be there.”

Read more...

Imagination Stage’s “Charlie Brown” highlights joys and honesty of childhood

Snoopy (Joe Mallon) and title character (Christopher Michael Richardson) enjoy special friendship in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” at Imagination Stage.  COURTESY PHOTO Snoopy (Joe Mallon) and title character (Christopher Michael Richardson) enjoy special friendship in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” at Imagination Stage. COURTESY PHOTO  Television specials, feature-length movies, books, dolls and figurines, a popular line of greeting cards, not to mention a hit off-Broadway musical production that has had countless revivals. What fictional character based on a comic strip receives all those honors, even after his creator has passed away?

Charlie Brown, that’s who. He and five of his pals from the Peanuts comic strip likely will bring joy to audiences in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” the musical now at Imagination Stage.

Christopher Michael Richardson plays Charlie Brown, described as an everyman with changing moods but ultimate optimism.

“Through Charlie Brown, we learn a lot about being happy and finding the positive,” said Richardson, who recently finished a run of “The Wiz” at Ford’s Theatre as the Lion. He also appeared in “Elephant and Piggie: We are in a Play!,” a production of Kennedy Center’s Theatre for Young Audiences.

Read more...

Drama teacher searches for missing wife in Best Medicine Rep’s ‘Blue Over You’

Francis (played by John Morogiello) believes he’s found a clue in the Best Medicine Rep’s one-person mystery “Blue Over You.” COURTESY PHOTOFrancis (played by John Morogiello) believes he’s found a clue in the Best Medicine Rep’s one-person mystery “Blue Over You.” COURTESY PHOTO  On the surface, “Blue Over You” is about a high-school drama teacher who is trying to find his wife who’s gone missing.

Beneath the surface, Dan Noonan’s play, which Best Medicine Rep Theatre is presenting, is the theme of reality and what people think it is.

The fact that “Blue Over You” takes its title from the song Barbra Streisand (as Fanny Brice) sings in the movie version of “Funny Girl” is appropriate. The protagonist Francis periodically breaks into snippets of song from musicals.

These are familiar rather than obscure show tunes, Noonan said.

Since this is a one-person play, audiences will find themselves “intimately involved,” said Best Medicine Rep’s artistic director, John Morogiello, who portrays Francis.

“It’s incredible, wonderful play” he said. “I laughed, and I cried. And Francis is fun. He’s completely off the wall.”

Read more...

Protagonist in Round House Theatre show finds life lessons in drag

Zack Powell plays Elvis impersonator turned drag dancer and Yesenia Iglesias plays his wife in Round House Theatre production of “The Legend of Georgia McBride.”  COURTESY PHOTOZack Powell plays Elvis impersonator turned drag dancer and Yesenia Iglesias plays his wife in Round House Theatre production of “The Legend of Georgia McBride.” COURTESY PHOTO  For the first five years of his career, actor Zack Powell did musical theater almost exclusively – even getting a bit “burned out.” His resume of late mostly comprises the classics – Shakespeare and Chekhov, among others – although he still averages about one musical a year.

Now Powell is starring in a show he calls a cross between a straight play and a musical.

It’s “The Legend of Georgia McBride,” a play with music that is opening soon at Round House Theatre under the direction of Tom Story. Powell makes his debut as the show’s protagonist.

Casey is soon to become a father, as well as evicted. He makes his living as an Elvis impersonator but, always strapped for cash, he takes a more-lucrative job slinging drinks at a dive bar in Panama City, Florida. After the rundown bar gets a makeover, including a new stage, and one of the drag queens is unable to perform, Casey finds himself thrown into the world of stilettos and sequins.

“It’s a heartwarming, funny piece to which I felt a strong connection,” Powell said

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.”

Read more...

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.

Read more...
Subscribe to this RSS feed