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.”


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.”


Chekhov-inspired comedy opens Highwood Theatre’s season

Vanya Pub 11 1 copyThe cast of Christopher Durang's comedy “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” now playing at Highwood Theatre. COURTESY PHOTO  Richard Fiske admits to being an adrenaline junkie.

He fulfilled that need in the past by serving as a U.S. Navy officer for 27 years, then as an engineer and diving and salvage engineer, also for the Navy.

Now he gets that fix onstage.

For over six years, he’s performed as an actor in the D.C. area. “I get to do fun stuff and be different people,” Fiske said.

His current role is Vanya in Christopher Durang’s comedy “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” the production launching Highwood Theatre’s 2017-2018 season. The play also stars Margaret Condon as Sonia, Rachel Varley as Masha, Thomas Shuman as Spike, Kecia Campbell as Cassandra, and Amber James as Nina.


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."


Love comes in many forms on Rockville stage

IMG 6470 copy guyker almost maineAlexandra Guyker rehearses one of her roles in the play "Almost, Maine" at Rockville Little Theatre. COURTESY PHOTO  Sabine is a woman at an exciting point in her current relationship when she bumps into her ex at a bar. The meeting provokes a juggling act between past feelings and guilt, and the ways people deal with moving on.

Gayle has been in an 11-year relationship that’s apparently going nowhere. She finally brings it all to her boyfriend’s door, literally.

After many years away from her high-school sweetheart, Hope is looking to find her place in the world – with him.

These are some of the various characters in John Carian’s oft-performed play “Almost, Maine,” now on stage at Rockville Little Theatre. The play comprises nine two-character short plays that explore love and loss in the titular, mythical town.

Alexandra Guyker portrays Sabine, Gayle and Hope.

“All three characters have experiences I myself have dealt with, so it is easy to connect to each one when I look back on those times in my life,” Guyker said. “Because they’re different people, it’s important I take some time before each scene and really think about where I was before. But I rely on the author’s words to show the differences in their thought processes, pace, and emotions.”


Two local theaters launch seasons with “The Canterville Ghost” and “Deathtrap”

IMG 7405 copy deathtrapJ. McAndrew Breen stars as scheming playwright Sidney Bruhl in Ira Levin’s Broadway hit "Deathtrap" at Silver Spring Stage. COURTESY PHOTO  

Montgomery Playhouse, an all-volunteer theater, has a varied season ahead.

First up in 2017-2018 is “The Canterville Ghost,” a play Marisha Chamberlain adapted from the short story by Oscar Wilde.

In January, the Playhouse presents “The Reluctant Dragon,” a comedy for young audiences, and, in March, a Live Radio Show recreates the Boston Blackie radio series of the 1940s and ‘50s.

“Our mandate is to entertain and educate audiences,” said Loretto McNally, board president.


Learning to overdose on the theater in a perfectly good way

greek tragedy and comedy masksIf you like “theater writ large,” the place to be over the Labor Day Weekend is the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, which is hosting the 16th annual Page-to-Stage New Play Festival.

More than 60 theaters from the metropolitan area will present open rehearsals, concert readings, and workshops of new plays often still in the development phase.

Montgomery County is well represented, with at least eight of its theaters participating.


Center Stage: An in-depth talk with Watkins Mill's Scott Tarzwell

GAITHERSBURG – Watkins Mill High School Theater’s “The Laramie Project” closed Saturday after a run in which students portrayed the stories about a tragic, real-life murder in Wyoming.

They told the dramatic story of a gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard, who was beaten and killed in the small town of Laramie, Wyo. in 1998, before most of the Watkins Mill students were born.

The play is a series of vignettes based on hundreds of interviews following the murder, exploring the culture of the town and the nature of the murder, which was denounced as a hate crime.

Scott Tarzwell, one of the two theater directors at Watkins Mill offered his perspective on directing high school students for a play with mature themes.

“I like this play because it’s a true story, it’s about real people, and I like that it’s not a simple plot: it’s little vignettes,” said Tarzwell.


Center Stage: "Mary Poppins" at Olney Theatre Center is 'practically perfect'

Mary PoppinsPatricia Hurley stars as the iconic magical nanny in "Mary Poppins," playing at the Olney Theatre Center through Jan. 1. COURTESY PHOTO  

OLNEY – At the Olney Theatre Center, a practically perfect production of “Mary Poppins” is running throughout the holiday season.

“Mary Poppins,” the heartwarming story about a magic nanny who appears out of nowhere to raise two troublesome children, is quite possibly the best ‘feel-good’ play of the year at the Olney Theatre Center.

The colorful and vibrant sets and the excellent acting, complete with quaint English accents, makes this play feel truly like a slice of Disney has been put on stage.

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