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Special theater integrates talents of disabled and able-bodied performers

IMG 0204 2 copy Open Circle rehearsalCast members rehearse for the Open Circle Theatre Retrospective. COURTESY PHOTO  Rob McQuay’s formal theater experience began in junior high.

He acted through high school and college, then trained at Studio Theatre. He performed in area dinner theaters and several professional ones, including Montgomery County’s Olney Theatre Center, Round House Theatre, and Imagination Stage.

“It’s a full-time thing,” said McQuay.

Next, he is headlining “To Reach the Unreachable Star: an Open Circle Theatre Retrospective,” a 90-minute stage performance filled with song, dance, and humor to familiarize audiences with its work and raise funds to support it.

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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 Austin Blackie Radio Series of the 1940s and ‘50s.

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

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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.

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S.S. plays are one-act but definitely not one note

Silver Spring Stage Marilyn Millstone Headshot Playwright Marilyn Millstone’s “Compos Mentis” will be staged during the second weekend of the Silver Spring Stage One-Act Festival. COURTESY PHOTO      Irwin and Anna Leder had been Marilyn Millstone’s next-door neighbors and surrogate parents for 14 years. So, it was not surprising that their departure for a senior facility impacted her.

But it also inspired the news-and-feature journalist and essayist turned dramatist to write another play.

In “Compos Mentis,” (which is Latin, meaning “of sound mind”) Millstone has added the child of an elderly couple, who pressures them to go to an assisted living facility while the couple resists and wants to retain independence.

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On stage in Downtown Silver Spring with Black Box and Highwood Theatres

IMG 8458 copy highwoodThe cast of the Highwood Theatre production of “Into the Woods.” COURTESY PHOTO BY HIGHWOOD THEATRE   Downtown Silver Spring has become a hub of activity, featuring stores, restaurants, and various forms of entertainment, ranging from a skating rink to movie theaters to outdoor concerts.

It’s also the home of two live theatres.

The 140-seat Silver Spring Black Box Theatre, located at 8641 Colesville Road, is home to four theatre groups, which perform there regularly as part of the Theatre Consortium of Silver Spring. But the community-owned building also rents out space for one-night engagements and limited runs, giving the opportunity to new artists and arts organizations to put on fare as varied as plays, set lists, improv comedy, open-mic and dance concerts, said Jonathan Ezra Rubin, managing director of the Consortium. There’s even a pole-dance competition on August 12, produced by the Titans of Pole.

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It’s a Free for All . . .

Shakespeare company makes "Othello" a free for the summer fest

OTHELLO 121 1 copy photoFaran Tahir stars in the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Free For All production of “Othello.” COURTESY PHOTO BY SCOTT SUCHMAN  

It’s a long-established practice for theater companies to present the plays of William Shakespeare to the public at no charge during the summer months.

Locally, the Shakespeare Theatre Company in D.C. has been doing that since 1991 – presenting one production during the hot months (although indoors) in what it calls “Free For All.” Shakespeare’s comedy “The Merry Wives of Windsor” was the first Free For All production. Michael Kahn, STC’s artistic director, found inspiration in the pioneering achievements of Joseph Papp. Kahn had worked with the legendary producer and director who established almost 60 years ago New York City’s famed Shakespeare in the Park.

“Michael Kahn wanted to make sure Shakespeare was accessible to as many people as possible,” said Joy Johnson, director of audience services at STC who organizes and manages Free For All. “The best way to do that is through free performances.”

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Area Resident Remembers Homeland Through Art

  • Published in Local

This is part of an ongoing series devoted to the stories of Montgomery County’s immigrant population

GAITHERSBURG – In 1977, Farid Bozorgmehr left his native Iran to pursue his love of theater in the United States.

He enrolled in American University’s master’s program in Theatre, having completed his undergraduate studies in Iran.

Two years after his arrival, the government of the Shah, which had been supported by the United States, was overthrown in the Iranian Revolution.

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Time for 'One Man, Two Guvnors’ and lots of mayhem

“One Man, Two Guvnors” proves that there are no truly original plots.

The work, written by British playwright Richard Bean, is an adaptation of “Servant of Two Masters,” a Commedia Dell’arte style comedy dating to 1743. That, in turn, derives from ancient Greek comedies.

The adaptation, which played on Broadway after the original British run under the direction of Nicholas Hytner, takes place in 1963 Brighton, an English seaside resort.

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Discovering some of MoCo's lesser-known theatrical venues

01 OBLIVION by Unexpected Stage Company PhotoCredit Rachel Ellis copyJonathan Frye and Ruthie Rado star in Unexpected Stage's production of "Oblivion." COURTESY PHOTO BY RACHEL ELLIS  Theater lovers all know the Round House Theatre, the professional theater company that produces performances at its 400-seat location on East-West Highway in Bethesda.

Theater enthusiasts may be less familiar with some of the other theater venues in the area.

One is the Unexpected Stage Company, which is based in Bethesda, at least for now.

The “unexpected” in its title doesn’t refer to the fare offered by the professional regional theater, but rather to the fact that husband-and-wife team Christopher Goodrich and Rachel Stroud-Goodrich, co-artistic directors, came across an abandoned stage while driving around Seneca Creek State Park.

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That rabbit is dynamite! - Nevermind the unladen swallow

If you’re looking for light entertainment, catch the last show (July 23) of “Spamalot,” the current offering of the Rockville Musical Theatre.

The show earned 14 Tony nominations when it came to Broadway in 2005, staged by gifted theater and film director Mike Nichols, who started his career as a comic. “Spamalot” won the Tony for Best Musical of the Year.

The show is based on the 1975 cult classic — “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” -- or, as the theater program for “Spamalot” declares, it was “ripped off from the motion picture.”

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