My Fair Lady at Third Wall Productions

You only have one weekend left to see My Fair Lady at Third Wall Productions and I recommend that you do! It is no secret that I dig this company of families, friends, and volunteers who gather out of love to perform three shows a season in the sanctuary of St. Thomas on Providence Road. One of the many ways that their stalwart leader, Mike Zellhofer, shows his generosity is by giving fresh directors an opportunity to work on dream shows.

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Side Show at Dundalk Community Theatre

Come look at the freaks! Come gape at the geeks! Come examine Dundalk Community Theatre’s aberrations, their malformations— grotesque physiques…only pennies* for peeks…come look at the freaks! Come look inside the John E. Ravekes Theatre and have your curiosity satisfied with this gloriously haunting production of Side Show. Directed by Robert W. Oppel with Musical Direction by Rebecca Rossello, and Choreography by Vincent Musgrave, this breathtaking story is a circus marvel that twists and turns your mind and heart inside out and upside down all along its treacherous trail.

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Winter Wonderettes at Tidewater Players

You’ll shoot your— wait. No. That’s later. Before you shoot your eye out with your Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time, have your turkey gobbled up by the Bumpuses hellhound dogs, and do the leg-lamp kick-line for your Major Award, settle into 1968 at the Harper’s Hardware Store annual Christmas Party! And guess what? There’s a wintery surprise— because this year?

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A Christmas Story at St. Gabriel Miracle Players

You’ll shoot your eye out! You’ll shoot your eye out! You’ll shoot your eye out when you hear just how many different theatres are all doing A Christmas Story this Christmas season!! BUT— fear not! St. Gabriel Miracle Players are the first AND they are the only ones to be doing the non-musical version! So you won’t find any leg-lamp kick-lines at St. Gabriel’s this November, but you will find a talented bunch of youngsters and youngsters at heart doing their seasonal magic on the Miracle Players’ stage to bring you that timeless— since 1983— tale of little Ralphie,

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Detroit ’67 at The Strand Theatre

A little scratch gives you character, unless you’re a 45-vinyl, in which case it just causes you to skip a lot. The Strand Theatre has a whole lot of character and more importantly they have the message. They have the message of love with their production of Dominique Morisseau’s Detroit ’67, directed by Erin Riley. Powerful, evocative, visceral— this stunning drama set in the heart of the “colored district in downtown Detroit in the midst of the race riots” is poignant and disturbing in its relevance to the modern day.

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Songs For a New World at Spotlighters Theatre

A new world calls across Charm City! A new world calls across street. A new world whispers through Mt. Vernon— time to see— time to see…it is time to see Songs For a New World at The Audrey Herman Spotlighters Theatre. Co-Directed by Andrea Bush and Michael Tan, and Musical Direction by Michael Tan, four talented voices come together on the stage to sing songs of love and hope.

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Sweeney Todd at Kensington Arts Theatre

God, that’s good! Yum…is that a pie fit for a king? A wondrous sweet— a most delectable thing! Well, I am no king (nor have I shaved the faces of any) but the pies in Kensington Arts Theatre’s production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street are to die for. Sit yourself at one of the rustically ill-sanded picnic tables just at the foot of the stage and if you dare (and are very lucky) you might just sneak a snack during the opening of Act II!

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Beauty & The Beast at Damascus Theatre Company

“Tale as old as time” perfectly describes this musical and I can’t think of one person that hasn’t watched this classic Disney movie, or most recently the remake in 2017.  Beauty and the Beast at Damascus Theatre Company under the direction of Lee Michele Rosenthal and musical direction by Marci Shegogue will leave you feeling magical and uplifted, however there are a few bumps along the path.  I must admit,

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A Piece of My Heart at Bowie Community Theatre

Women are strong. When most people think of war, the first image that comes to their mind is that of a man charging into battle. It wasn’t until last year that our military opened the doors for women to serve in combat roles. In spite of this, women serving in and alongside the military have faced the horrors of war just as valiantly men have, and they too have suffered the consequences of such violence.

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The Changeling at Brave Spirits Theatre

Who, precisely, is the title character in Brave Spirits Theatre’s production of The Changeling, by Thomas Middleton and William Rowley, is left open to interpretation. The text of the play speculates on the question but does not provide a definitive answer. Director Charlene V. Smith takes that tone of ambiguity and plays with it brilliantly in her approach to the script. She takes a late-Renaissance play that features violence, misogyny, and sexual assault as major plot elements,

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The Toxic Avenger at Greenbelt Arts Center

The Toxic Avenger, directed by Jeffery Lesniak, is a musical based on the movie of the same name and both a playful parody of the superhero genre and of conventional musical theatre sensibilities.  The plot revolves around a toxic dump of a fictional New Jersey town called Tromaville and its dark knight—Melvin Ferd the Third, a sweet, stereotypical nerd with a crush on his pretty (and blind—beware there are a lot of blind jokes that get old quickly) librarian friend Sarah and deep-seated convictions about cleaning up the town and calling out the corrupt mayor Babs Belgoody. 

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A Midnight Dreary at We Happy Few

Hear the loud theatrical bells— brazen bells! What tale of terror now, their turbulency tells! In the startled ear of night—  amid a Horror Rep of fright— how they scream out with delight— of We Happy Few’s A Midnight Dreary. They clearly keep on ringing, much do the praises that I’m singing, of their Horror Rep’s production of Edgar Allan Poe and his various death knells, and storms that quell,

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Sweat at Everyman Theatre

A couple of minutes is all it takes; your life can change just like that. In these unsettling and disturbing times of political unrest and social unease with humanity caught dangling in the balance between civility and annihilation, it is no surprise that Everyman Theatre is once more producing two time Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist Lynn Nottage. This time it’s her core-shaking production of Sweat, Directed by the company’s Artistic Director,

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King John at Folger Theatre

The real King John of England has a murky reputation. We know him for the Magna Carta. We know him as a villain from the tales of Robin Hood. And, at a stretch, we know him as Shakespeare’s earliest monarch, chronologically. Folger Theatre capitalizes on a chance to tell the rarely-told tale of this questionable king in its current production of Shakespeare’s King John, directed by Aaron Posner.

As the Folger describes,

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I Hate Shakespeare! at Children’s Playhouse of Maryland

Oh, God! I Hate Shakespeare! That’s right! I said it! I do! I really hate Shakespeare! I just don’t get it! How a mediocre actor from a measly little town is suddenly the brightest jewel in England’s royal crown! Oh, God, I HATE SHAKESPEARE! His plays are wordy— ooh. Wait. Maybe I shouldn’t sing all about it. Something is rotten in the state of— Essex!? Actually that’s sort of funny (Essex is in Shakespeare somewhere…isn’t it?) No,

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The Duchess of Malfi at Brave Spirits Theatre

John Webster is, perhaps, an even better patron saint for Brave Spirits than William Shakespeare: he brings both the verse, and the violence with The Duchess of Malfi. Katie Culligan brings the Duchess’ power from her first silent moments on stage. She is strong and self-possessed, charming and beautiful, grounded and passionate. Her performance is closely nuanced at every moment.

The villain of the piece is Ferdinand, her brother,

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Beauty & The Beast at MAD

Fun fact: The story of Beauty and the Beast was originally published in 1740 as “La Belle et La Bête,” a French tale written by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Gallon de Villeneuve (now, that’s a mouthful!) Oddly enough, there weren’t any talking clocks or candelabras involved in that iteration. Two and a half centuries later, Disney turned it into the animated classic most modern audiences are familiar with. It has also been adapted for the stage,

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The Crucible at Silver Spring Stage

Silver Spring Stage’s production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, directed by Craig Allen Mummey, tells the story of a fictionalized Salem, Massachusetts in 1692 as a stark fear of witchcraft spreads through the town. Miller’s story, famously an allegory for 1950’s McCarthyism, steps audiences through the dark pervasiveness of paranoia.

Standout performances include Melanie A. Lawrence as Tituba, Sophia Stringer as Mary Warren, Lennie Magida as Rebecca Nurse, Omar LaTiri as Reverend Hale,

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Little Shop of Horrors at The Kennedy Center

After their inaugural season struck gold with the latest reworking of Chess, a jubilant celebration of In the Heights, and a megawatt production of Pulitzer Prize winner How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, all of which rivaled or improved upon their latest Broadway incarnations, The Broadway Center Stage concert series at the Kennedy Center has set a high standard with their ambitious and impressive pop-up musicals.

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Rocky Horror Show at Haute Patooties

Haute Patooties! Bless my soul! Haute Patooties! They’ve got rock-n-roll! The Haute Patooties— your very own Baltimore-based Guerilla Theatre Group— are rocking-and-rolling with their very own Rocky Horror Show and its wild, simply put. Think you know Rocky Horror? Think again; come rediscover it, see it in a new light, and experience the collaborative effort that is a cult-classic musical done up right-n-different with Haute Patooties this Halloween season.

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Brigadoon at Rockville Musical Theatre

Fall is the perfect season for love, magic, and hopeless romantics.  The magical possibilities and enduring love story of Brigadoon at Rockville Musical Theatre under the direction of Laura W. Andruski and musical direction of Joseph Sorge unfortunately left me feeling flat.  In a world that is full of hate, disregard, and conflict there was so much excitement as I drove down 270 to get whisked away to the magical land of Brigadoon,

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Let The Right One In at Maryland Ensemble Theatre

While the autumn breezes finally rush in, bringing all the productions of Rocky Horror Show and Deathtrap along with them, The Maryland Ensemble Theatre defies the more conventional approach to the spooky season and instead invites a uniquely chilling entity onto its stage for the month of Halloween and beyond. Let the Right One In, a stage adaptation by Jack Thorne from the Swedish novel &

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The Babylon Line at Colonial Players

How would you write your story? Would you tell the truth or a lie? Can your story change someone else or even yourself? Do you truly remember your past or is your memory altered by your perspective? So many questions to ask, a multitude of outcomes, and for a show that last 2 hours and 20 minutes plus an intermission, too much time spent unnecessarily exploring how to transmit answers. The Babylon Line by Richard Greenburg and currently being produced by The Colonial Players of Annapolis has a strong cast that does the best that they can with a show that cannot find its voice and struggles to find a conclusion to the problems proposed.

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Poe’s Last Stanza at Do or Die Productions

Believe only half of what you see and nothing of what you hear…unless of course you’re coming to see Poe’s Last Stanza with Do or Die Productions this ominous October month. Set forth as Do or Die Productions’ annual Halloween tradition, writer and director Ceej Crowe lays down her own thrilling and chilling take on the master of the macabre, bringing him to life with more than just his morose melancholy. This particular performance was hosted at the Elkridge Furnace Inn,

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Frankenstein at We Happy Few

All that I should say seems inadequate and feeble in regards to this glorious production of Frankenstein that We Happy Few have set down to kick-start their Horror Rep in this 2018/2019 season. With spirited ensemble nature driving the life-force of the performance, this hour-long bulleted intensive of Mary Shelley’s masterwork is an engaging thriller that submerges you right in the midst of Dr. Frankenstein’s crisis. Directed by Robert Pike &

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Aida at Constellation Theatre Company

Every story, new or ancient, bagatelle or work of art…all are tales of human failing…all are tales of love at heart. The Gods love Constellation Theatre Company for spinning their storyteller’s thread into a musical theatre masterpiece production of Elton John & Tim Rice’s Aida. A staggeringly powerful and stunningly beautiful production Directed by Michael J. Bobbitt with Musical Direction by Walter “Bobby” McCoy and Choreography by Tony Thomas II, Constellation’s Aida possesses the grandeur and potency of Broadway’s timeless love story and the daring familiarity of telling such a tremendous story in such an intimate space.

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Dirty Pictures at Rapid Lemon Productions

When you force the eye to see something in a whole new light; that’s true beauty. A pile of junk is just a pile of junk until it isn’t anymore; looking differently upon something broken, disregarded, or damaged can transform trash into treasure. In the world premiere of D. W. Gregory’s Dirty Pictures, art, beauty, and truth find new lights and the backwoods yokels of wilderness-nowhere Colorado absorb new perspective on what those things mean to their lives.

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