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Sleeping Beauty is a Rom Com for the Puppet Company

 

Paige O’Malley performs as Briar Rose, and Christopher Piper performs as the prince in Puppet Co.’s ‘Sleeping Beauty.’ COURTESY PHOTOPaige O’Malley performs as Briar Rose, and Christopher Piper performs as the prince in Puppet Co.’s ‘Sleeping Beauty.’ COURTESY PHOTO  The Puppet Co Playhouse’s telling of “Sleeping Beauty” is, according to Allan Stevens, by and large traditional.

Except for the frog.

“We think the storyline has been enhanced by the inclusion of some elements of ‘The Frog Prince,’” said Stevens, the puppet theater’s founding director.

While interpretations of “Sleeping Beauty” often emphasize its dark side, such as the princess pricking her finger on a spinning wheel, Stevens believes it’s really a “romantic comedy, imbued with sweetness and good humor.”

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Writing and performing are the music driving ArtStream production

Volunteer mentor Sylvia Herrada, actor Kirsten Davidson and director Madeleine Barry in ArtStream production. COURTESY PHOTOVolunteer mentor Sylvia Herrada, actor Kirsten Davidson and director Madeleine Barry in ArtStream production. COURTESY PHOTO  During rehearsals, actors may offer input about how to do a scene. But at ArtStream, Inc., they actually help write as well as perform.  

They vote on a theme, create original characters, and improvise scenes, which staff then script into original, one-act musicals.

After the script is in place, the production proceeds like any other – with the help of a professional music director and choreographer, said Heller An Shapiro, executive director.

ArtStream productions present a double-bill of two musicals, each about an hour long.

Actors with disabilities, volunteer mentors, and theater professionals work as a team, producing six inclusive musicals in the region, in addition to classes in acting and social skills.

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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.

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Clothing evokes memories in ‘Love, Loss and What I Wore’

Are you someone who associates significant events in life with specific scents, foods, or visual cues?

Ilene Beckerman connects the high and low points of her life – including motherhood, the death of a child, and three marriages – with clothing. She wrote about these in her 1995 book, “Love, Loss, and What I Wore,” which Nora and Delia Ephron later turned into a play of the same name.

“Love, Loss,” is next onstage at Montgomery Playhouse.

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Rockville Little Theatre's 'Radium Girls' revisits cover-up of days gone by

Marnie Kanarek (l., Grace, in production) and Alice Wilkinson in 'Radium Girls.'  COURTESY PHOTOMarnie Kanarek (l., Grace, in production) and Alice Wilkinson in 'Radium Girls.'       COURTESY PHOTO  Glow-in-the-dark watch dials provided a path for pilots flying in the skies over the Western Front during World War I and helped them win the war.

The paint that workers applied to the dials contained radium, which people then viewed as a miracle drug that killed cancer, but it is also poisonous a fact that took a long time for companies to admit.

The women in the factories suddenly and mysteriously started getting sick, and only later did they realize what had happened to them.

One of the workers decided to take on the corporate world to admit responsibility.

A book entitled "Radium Girls: The Dark Story of Americas Shining Women" tells their story. D.W. Gregory later adapted it into a play, the next production of Rockville Little Theatre.

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Composer of 'Iron and Coal,' to premiere at Strathmore

Jeremy Schonfeld, lyricist/composer of 'Iron and Coal,' to premiere at Strathmore Jeremy Schonfeld, lyricist/composer of 'Iron and Coal,' to premiere at Strathmore. COURTESY PHOTO  Even those individuals who were alive after the Holocaust had to come to terms with the loss of loved ones and community, lingering feelings of depression and anxiety, and survivors' guilt.

Gustav Schonfeld was one of those individuals. Later a physician and professor in the United States, he was only 10 when imprisoned at Auschwitz, the most-notorious Nazi concentration camp. He spent a year there before liberation, but by then had also survived another camp and the Warsaw Ghetto.

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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.”

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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.

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Theatrical work and panel discussion focus on MoCo’s opioid crisis

Peace Mountain Theatre Company is offering a double bill: a dramatic presentation and a panel discussion, both highlighting a dramatic and disturbing situation in Montgomery County as well as across the nation. 

The program, entitled “The Opioid Crisis: Not in My Backyard,” encompasses playwright Tom Kelly’s “The Empty Chair,” which takes place in a counseling center for recovering teens, after one of their peers has died of an overdose.

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Recluse embraces life at world’s end in Highwood Theatre’s ‘Soon’

Cast of student actors – in rep with adult pro production – of ‘Soon’ at Highwood Theatre.  COURTESY PHOTO Cast of student actors – in repertory with adult professional production – of "Soon" at Highwood Theatre. COURTESY PHOTO  It was a dream come true. When Nick Blaemire and his half-brother, James Gardiner, were only 22, they opened a play on the Great White Way.

“We wrote a show called ‘Glory Days,’ which Eric Schaeffer was kind enough to produce at Signature Theatre,” said Blaemire. “The next year the show went to Broadway.”

Although “Glory Days” closed on opening night, he called the experience “one hell of a ride.”

Since then, the theatrical jack-of-all-trades has appeared in a few Broadway shows, and in the off-Broadway revival of the musical “Tick Tock Boom!”

When Signature presented his musical “Soon” – for which Blaemire had written the book, lyrics, and music – It “was among the most joyous times of my life,” he said. “Signature has been my home away from home.”

“Soon” is now coming to The Highwood Theatre, reflecting the season’s theme of “Off Your Rocker.” The play also constitutes Highwood’s fifth annual Open Source Festival – redefining the conception of traditional nights at the theater, said Matthew Nicola, artistic director.

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