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“Spring Awakening” or in its original title “Frühlings Erwachen” is a somber play from the late 1800s by German playwright Frank Wedekind. Americans are becoming increasingly familiar with this drama in the form of the 2006 musical Spring Awakening. In the current production at the Round House Theatre in the heart of Bethesda, Wilhelmine Germany […]

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Go-go boots, miniskirts and bell-bottom trousers. A background of multi-colored square panels bordering on the psychedelic slapstick and one-liners. We describe not the return of “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In” from its TV Land hiatus, but the current production of the Folger Theatre’s “Merry Wives of Windsor,” 1970s style. This period update of the Shakespeare comedy, […]

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Metropolitan theatergoers will get a rare treat when James Baldwin’s “The Amen Corner” opens Feb. 11 at the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington with a new American version directed by Whitney White. Published by the literary giant in 1954, “The Amen Corner” was first produced in May 1955 on the campus of Howard University and, over […]

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Price and Son is a venerable shoe manufacturing business in Northampton, England, founded in 1890. In the 21st century, however, it is struggling as the owner passes away and leaves it to his son, Charlie Price. Fresh out of college, Charlie is conflicted about what to do, as he never particularly wanted to follow in […]

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In his book on the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm called “The Owl, the Raven and the Dove,” Georgetown University scholar G. Ronald Murphy notes that these “fables and myths express a feeling that nature is aware of us. We, in turn, are afraid of the passing of time and aging.” These exact themes […]

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A grand and lavish “My Fair Lady” is at the Kennedy Center through Jan. 19, and this touring production of Director Bartlett Sher’s recent Broadway musical will beguile you with its excellent singing and acting. Based on George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion,” with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe, the […]

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At Strathmore, “The Hip Hop Nutcracker” flipped the script on one of the holiday’s most beloved classics, presenting not your typical “The Nutcracker,” from Dec. 17-19. Directed and choreographed by Boston native Jennifer Weber, the high-energy, sizzling production stopped in Rockville as part of a 30-city tour. The show features a dozen super talented dancers […]

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J.M. Barrie’s children’s classic, “Peter Pan,” gets a feminist overhaul in the Shakespeare Theatre’s current production, “Peter Pan and Wendy,” onstage at the Sidney Harman Hall through Jan. 12. Reimagined by playwright Lauren Gunderson, this world premiere will charm both children and adults with its emphasis on females who are smart, no-nonsense, strong and fearless. […]

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“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” is a musical currently being performed by the Fauquier Community Theatre in Warrenton, Virginia. As the show begins, angelic ladies sing beatifically of “Perfect Little Town,” but is it such a perfect little town? By outer appearances, yes. It is a close-knit community in early 1960s America in an era […]

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For those looking for holiday entertainment for children, which will also be of interest to adults, the Puppet Company’s “The Nutcracker” will be of special interest. Children will delight in the story of the girl who witnesses her Christmas present of a Nutcracker soldier come to life and do battle with the King of Mice. […]

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We are accustomed to the notion of the tortured genius, but Peter Shaffer’s “Amadeus” has a very different take: it is a portrait of the artist as a “giggling, dirty-minded creature crawling on the floor,” in the words of his nemesis, Antonio Salieri, Kapellmeister at the Austrian Court. The portrayal of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart […]

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Signature Theatre has revived Michael Bennett’s groundbreaking musical, “A Chorus Line,” with a re-choreographed version, and the result is a show that still thrills 44 years after its Broadway run. The show, which is about the aspirations of Broadway dancers as they audition for dancing and singing spots in a new musical, garnered Bennett nine […]

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“Of all the high players this country ever sees, there is no doubt but that the guy they call The Sky is the highest. In fact, the reason he is called The Sky is because he goes so high when it comes to betting on any proposition whatever.” So begins “The Idyll of Miss Sarah […]

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The Puppet Co. at the former Glen Echo Amusement Park is currently performing a puppet version of “Pinocchio” which will please not just children but adults who might otherwise not give a puppet show a second glance. Following the original story of Carlo Collodi’s “Pinocchio” as well as Walt Disney’s famous animated adaptation, the show […]

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“Everybody,” currently playing the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C., is an irreverent but witty comedy about death and its exploration about how a soul progresses through life, death and the afterlife. The performance, as a whole, is entertaining from beginning to end. Written by Obie Award winner and MacArthur “Genius” grant recipient Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, the […]

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The Victorian Lyric Opera Company (VLOC), which calls Montgomery County home, is a vibrant company keeping alive the tradition of operetta, for example, its recent “concert production” of “The Queen’s Lace Handkerchief,” a little-known operetta by Johann Strauss Jr. The company currently surprises audiences at the Gaithersburg Arts Barn (in a production running through Nov. […]

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When Laura Andruski, founder of A Taste for Murder Productions/Murder at the Mansion Dessert Theater, wanted to solicit an original script for a murder mystery, she turned to local writer Dean Fiala.  Since then, he has penned a few, including “The Wedding to Die For” and “A Room with a Clue.” When Fiala is looking […]

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Who says kids do not relate to opera? The Victorian Lyric Opera Company (VLOC) is sure they will when it pairs a popular fairy tale with music by popular opera composers. “Little Red’s Most Unusual Day,” a variation of the Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale with an extra dose of humor, has been set to music […]

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It is uncommon for a theater to present two works by the same author in one season, unless it is a festival. This year, however, Silver Spring Stage showed “Intimate Apparel” by Lynn Nottage and is about to present “Sweat.” “Sweat,” which won a 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and a Tony Award, premiered at […]

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Music is an articulate form of communication. Drawing on that idea is the Conversation Concert, a device that ChorSymphonica, a classical music ensemble consisting of a professional chorus and orchestra, uses to explain the music audiences will be hearing. “A Conversation Concert is an elaborate musical and educational event,” said Richard Allen Roe, the artistic […]

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What should have been a joyous occasion, the opening of another production at the Puppet Co., was tinged with sorrow. Len Piper, creator of the current production of “Pinocchio” and its first Gepetto, passed away at age 90 on Oct. 4. He was the father of Christopher Piper, the co-founder, president and artistic director of […]

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What can be more challenging for an actor than playing God? But at least he is coming home, so to speak, to do it. That actor is Yonatan Gebeyehu, currently living in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, but was born in Silver Spring and raised from the age of 10 in Potomac. He joins the Shakespeare Theatre […]

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Opera companies today often present a mix of different genres and themes. After presenting a program about women composers with a small scale of four singers, a trio of players and a handful of dancers and focusing on art songs, Bel Cantanti is presenting a fully staged opera. And it is one of the more […]

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How do you take the dazzling colors and simple, yet profound, messages of Eric Carle’s books and transfer them to the stage? Imagination Stage took a tried-and-true approach: a production approved by the Eric Carle Foundation, established by the beloved children’s author and illustrator. The foundation owns the touring rights and gives the seal of […]

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When the sanest person in a family is a theater critic who thinks he is crazy, what do you have? Joseph Kesselring’s 1941 “Arsenic and Old Lace” was one of the most popular comedies in the American canon; make that black comedy. Mortimer Brewster, the critic, has one brother who believes he is Teddy Roosevelt […]

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Known for edgy, non-traditional plays, Silver Spring Stage opens their 2019-2020 season with “The Book Club Play” which fits the description.  Director Karen Fleming saw the play – written by local playwright Karen Zacarías, one of the inaugural Resident Playwrights at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. – a decade or so ago at Round House […]

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Opposites attract in the friendship of Gerald the Elephant and Piggie. Gerald is the introspective worrier, whereas Piggie is a carefree, happy-go-lucky explorer who is open to new adventures. They are also the stars in “We Are In A Play!,” a musical based on the award-winning Elephant and Piggie book series by children’s author and […]

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Popular assumptions are that people mellow as they age and that women are more ladylike in general. That is hardly the case with Helen, a grandmother in Oklahoma who keeps getting in trouble with the law and, to his chagrin, outsmarting the sheriff. When her son urges her to leave the town she has lived […]

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When a young composer who had never had an opera of his own performed became a finalist in a competition through a work entitled “Cavalleria Rusticana,” he probably never expected the wild success his tale of marital betrayal and lush music would receive.  Pietro Mascagni probably also never anticipated that his short opera would frequently […]

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It was a season that almost did not happen. But now, the National Philharmonic is back in business as they kick off the 2019-2020 season with their opening concert, called “Eroica + Beethoven,” combining Ludwig van Beethoven’s Eroica (Symphony No. 3), played by the orchestra, and his Triple Concerto in C Major, performed by guest […]

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This year, more than 65 Metropolitan area theater companies are gathering at the Kennedy Center to present a series of free readings and open rehearsals of plays and musicals in development. The occasion is the 18th annual Page-to-Stage New Play Festival, always coinciding with the Labor Day weekend. Some performances are done with scripts in […]

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It is surprising that a composer as well known and beloved as Johann Strauss II, called “the Waltz King,” could have written an operetta many people have not heard of. Joseph Sorge, music director of Victorian Lyric Opera Company (VLOC), is an exception. To say productions of “The Queen’s Lace Handkerchief” have been few and […]

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Playwrights can put words on paper all they want but it is always a challenge for them to stage their works, let alone win full productions.    One vehicle to help them gain visibility is through the Page-to-Stage New Play Festival, now in its 18th year. The festival takes place over Labor Day Weekend from Saturday, […]

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The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.  There is disagreement about who said this, but that complicity with evil is at the heart of “Cabaret,” the mega-hit musical opening Olney Theatre Center’s 2019-2020 season. It is about what happens when Berliners turn a blind eye to the […]

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One of Dr. Seuss’ most iconic stories is “Horton Hears a Who!” which is also the primary basis of “Seussical the Musical,” the on-the-road version of the earlier musical just called “Seussical.” A sung-through show, it was written by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. It was not, however, the original show Adventure Theatre was going […]

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Sometimes plays performed in repertory seem to be chosen randomly. But the two productions alternating now at 4615 Theatre Company are well matched. “Enron,” named after the Houston-based energy company, is about the betrayal of public trust. “Betrayal” concerns marital infidelity. But the connection did not seem obvious at first to Jordan Friend, artistic director […]

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The Puppet Co. offers performances for different age groups. Its 30-minute Tiny Tots shows are generally targeted for kids 2-4, but what happens when children are in the upper part of that range and ready for something longer and more sophisticated? One answer is a transitional show like “Three Billy Goats Gruff,” which is 40 […]

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At Lumina Stage Company, young actors happily move up through the ranks. Sophia Varnai and Catherine Horowitz started out performing as young kids. Now they are co-directing their second summer production, a play by Lumina’s artistic director, David Minton. “It’s really crazy, cause I did the show when I was 11, and here I’m co-directing,” […]

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The Highwood Theatre’s Summer Series this year is a walk on the dark side.  With a production of “Sweeney Todd” underway, the theater’s two-week Active Intensive Company is now presenting “And Then There Were None” for a two-day run from Aug. 2-3. The musical and play are bound together by the cyclical nature of revenge […]

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The challenge of being different but eventually finding one’s place is a common theme in literature, especially children’s literature. It is at the center of Lumina Studio Theatre’s production of “The Point,” a fable about a boy named Oblio, the only round-headed person in the Pointed Village. By law, everyone and everything in the village […]

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“The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” published in 2011, sparked debate about Western (more-indulgent) versus Eastern (strict) parenting styles, and what the book was really about. Many readers took it seriously, while the author claimed it was satire. The book also inspired a play by Chinese-American writer Mike Lew, who said he experienced the […]

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Give the people what they want, and an entire theater company might emerge. That was the reasoning behind A Taste of Murder Productions, founded by Laura W. Andruski, who is now its producing artistic director. There is a local desire for mystery drama productions. “I didn’t see anything like it happening here, though it was […]

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“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” is a complicated mix: funny, dark, mysterious, gory and ultimately tragic, with multi-faceted lead characters. In other words, it is not a musical easily brought to the stage, but it is the one that is about to open at The Highwood Theatre. “You have to manage a […]

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Instead of a comedy of manners, which often satirizes a society’s affectations, “The Mollusc” has been described as a “comedy of ill manners.” This Edwardian farce by English author Hubert Henry Davies concerns Dulcie Baxter and her rare affliction: though she is not lazy, she takes her time doing things to the point that somebody […]

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Two very different productions are representing Montgomery County in this year’s Capital Fringe Festival, which begins on July 9.  First, “Passing,” a play by John Sowalsky, is about two sisters, Gretchen and Emma, who recently lost their mother who was a Holocaust survivor. The sisters have a mixed relationship with each other, with loving and […]

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Despite living in New York City, Samuel D. Hunter writes plays that are centered in Idaho, where he was born and raised. He wants to represent a world formerly unknown to many audience members. In “The Few” specifically, Hunter sheds light on a counterculture that audiences may also not know that of truckers. Christopher Goodrich, […]