Menu

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...

Morality argued against the backdrop of slavery in “Nat Turner”

Cast members Jon Hudson Odom and Joseph Carlson (in front) relax with playwright Nathan Alan Davis and director Jose Carrasquillo (standing behind) during rehearsal of The Forum Theatre production of “Nat Turner in Jerusalem.”  COURTESY PHOTOCast members Jon Hudson Odom and Joseph Carlson (in front) relax with playwright Nathan Alan Davis and director Jose Carrasquillo during rehearsal of The Forum Theatre production of “Nat Turner in Jerusalem.” COURTESY PHOTO  When is behavior so egregious that violence is a justifiable response?  

That’s one of the pressing questions in “Nat Turner in Jerusalem,” a new play by Nathan Alan Davis that workshopped at the New Theatre Workshop in New York City and is about to have its second production at The Forum Theatre.

The charismatic leader of an insurrection of slaves and free blacks in 1831 Virginia, Turner was highly intelligent and educated, with a strong sense of conviction in the rightness of his cause and the belief God spoke to him in visions.

Some 55 whites died during the revolt, which he viewed as just, because of the evils of slavery.  

In the play Turner sits in jail, 12 hours before his execution. He debates his actions and their repercussions with Thomas Gray, the local attorney who had earlier published Turner’s recollections.

Read more...

Theater troupe with British flair offers play about retired opera singers

Duke Madalenna 4 copy QuartetAngela Cannon (left) and Peter Harrold (right) rehearse opera in British Players’ “Quartet.” COURTESY PHOTO  It’s probably not often a foreign embassy launches and, for a time, houses a theatrical group. But such were the origins of The British Players, a community theater that started at the British Embassy.

“There are a large number of British ex-pats here who were looking for a niche,” said Matthew Ratz, director of “Quartet,” the Players’ upcoming production. “But after 9/11, security considerations made it impossible to have open-attendance events.”

After moving to a few locations, The British Players settled at Kensington Town Hall.

The troupe stages several productions a year – a pantomime around Christmastime; a music-hall show; and a traditional play that could be a farce, comedy, drama, or murder mystery.

Read more...

Olney Theatre shows life is worth living with “Every Brilliant Thing”

Alexander Strait (left) takes direction from Jason Loewith in Olney Theatre rehearsal of “Every Brilliant Thing.” COURTESY PHOTO BY TIMOTHY HUTHAlexander Strait (left) takes direction from Jason Loewith in Olney Theatre rehearsal of “Every Brilliant Thing.”   COURTESY PHOTO BY TIMOTHY HUTH  There are bucket lists everywhere, even in the popular song “My Favorite Things” from “The Sound of Music.”

Then there’s “Every Brilliant Thing,” an ever-changing list of objects and experiences that make life worth living. In a play of the same name, a young boy compiles such a list, in an effort to persuade his mother, who had attempted suicide, not to do it again.

“Every Brilliant Thing” is the next production at Olney Theatre Center, opening Feb. 28. It marks the premiere of the one-person play, which Duncan Macmillan wrote with the cooperation of Jonny Donahoe, the original performer.

Jason Loewith, Olney’s artistic director, is staging the production.

It was serendipitous that “Every Brilliant Thing” came to Olney. Loewith happened to see the script in a London bookstore, bought it, and read it on the plane ride back.

“I burst into tears on the second page, and then into laughter,” he said. “The play is poignant and wonderful.”

Read more...

Six gems of witty wordplay inhabit Silver Spring in “All in the Timing”

Rebecca Shoer, David Dieudonne, and Matthew Bannister in one segment of "All in the Timing."  COURTESY PHOTO BY HARVEY LEVINE Rebecca Shoer, David Dieudonne, and Matthew Bannister in one segment of "All in the Timing." COURTESY PHOTO BY HARVEY LEVINE  What’s better than one funny, witty, clever play?

Six at a time.  

David Ives’s award-winning “All in the Timing,” now playing at Silver Spring Stage, brings together six short plays that focus on language, relationships, music, and more.

The number used to go as high as 14, and the composition of the plays under the “All in the Timing” rubric varied with a director’s wishes.

“Now Ives has basically an official script, which we’re using, consisting of six specific plays,” he said.

Read more...
Subscribe to this RSS feed