Menu

A dark ‘Macbeth’ is lit at Blackfriars Playhouse

Macbeth StauntonSTAUNTON – Though we “write men’s virtues in water,” according to Shakespeare, performing plays as ever “more water glideth by” is quite another matter. The topic this week is performing Shakespeare as it was meant to be enacted, for the Hard Bargain Players of Prince George’s County in May performed Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” from May 10 to 19. It was performed in “a space where it was always meant to be played: right under our beautiful canopy of trees and starlight!” Although the Hard Bargain Players’ website waxed in this way lyrical on its Theatre in the Woods productions in Accokeek, the outdoor performance I had hoped to attend was not possible due to the heavy daily rains of last week. “To the water side, I must conduct your grace” indeed! (Shakespeare).    

Read more...

A delightfully looney ‘Barber of Seville’

Barber of SevilleWASHINGTON, D.C. – Readers may remember Bugs Bunny, in “The Rabbit of Seville” posing as a barber on the operatic stage, rubbing the hair tonic “Figaro Fertilizer” on Elmer Fudd’s bald head, only to have Fudd react angrily to the “wascally wabbit” when his head grows flowers instead of hair. Tom and Jerry also had an episode in which cat and mouse undermine each other’s efforts to sing Figaro’s famous aria. Cartoon antics testify to the enduring appeal of Rossini’s opera. They also inform the Washington National Opera’s delightful production of “The Barber of Seville,” now appearing at the Kennedy Center through May 19.

Read more...

Visiting Joseph in Laurel, Kate in Annapolis

Kiss Me Kate Kate and PetruchioLAUREL – “Take you the lute, and you the set of books,” writes Shakespeare in his raucous comedy “The Taming of the Shrew.” Two area shows take up both classic books and, if not the lute, then indeed a variety of instruments to bring vividly to life two classic stories which are so universal that they continue to speak to us today.

Read more...

Thoroughly modern retro musicals

SEABROOK – Two very different musical theater productions are in our midst – productions that have little in common at first other than being written early in the 2000s. At a closer view, however, both “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” performed by the Prince George’s Little Theatre and “Thoroughly Modern Millie” enacted by the Reston Community Players are – to adopt the title of the latter – “thoroughly retro modern musicals,” blending venerable broadway traditions with a dose of modern cynicism. 

Read more...

Circus with a heart at National Harbor

Ringmaster Ty c Maike Schulz previewOXON HILL – “The dust of distant travel, exotic animals, peanuts and popcorns, and acrobats and clowns in flashy costumes. Such are flip-card views of the world of the circus, a staple of Americana.” So I wrote a week ago in these pages, anticipating my visit to Big Apple Circus at National Harbor. Big Apple, which hails as its name suggests from New York and is celebrating its 40th year, a circus with a heart.

Read more...

STEM needs STEAM

In recent years, the focus on technology in our society has led to new priorities in education, culminating in a focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, widely known by the acronym “STEM.” STEM is well-intentioned in that the goal is to prepare children for lucrative careers in the twenty-first century. There is a negative side to this agenda if the study of the classics is neglected. While many may view a program of education based on the study of great literature, philosophy and music of the past as irrelevant, even passé, there are some positive elements to be embraced by supplementing the STEM emphasis with the arts, especially the classics.  

Read more...

Sea surges and swells in ‘Sadko’ opera

Sadko 2SILVER SPRING – “The ocean foamed, and from the white billows rose the visage of the great King of the Sea, crowned in weeds of his watery kingdom,” writes the poet Heine. England, Greece, and even Germany (home to Heine) all have their great poetry of the sea. Such art of the maritime is presented in Russian music in Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera “Sadko,” performed at Silver Spring’s Randolph Road Theatre during performances in March.

Read more...
Subscribe to this RSS feed