All posts by Rachel Zirkin Duda

Frankenstein at Off The Quill

It is true, we shall be monsters, cut off from all the world; but on that account we shall be more attached to one another.” – Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

If there were a conceivable method to resuscitate the dead, would you want to use it? How far would you go to achieve this goal? What if it all went horribly awry? Fictional character Victor Frankenstein attempts to do just that in an infamous novel published in 1818 by author Mary Shelley.

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Anything Goes at Rockville Musical Theatre

It’s the 1930’s, and love and trickery are in the air, but that’s okay, because times have changed. In olden days a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking. Now heaven knows, Anything Goes!

This classic campy Cole Porter production, currently being performed by Rockville Musical Theatre at the F. Scott Fitzgerald, is set aboard a luxury liner, the S.S. American. Nightclub singer Reno Sweeney is en route from New York to England,

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Patience at The Victorian Lyric Opera Company

What happens when you combine beauty, love, poetry, song, and satire? You get Patience – an operetta poking fun at the European Aesthetic Movement of the late 19th century – written by the famous composing duo Gilbert and Sullivan. This witty production is now being performed at the F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre in Rockville, MD by the Victorian Lyric Opera Company, directed by Felicity Ann Brown, with musical direction by Joseph Sorge.

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Return to the Forbidden Planet at Greenbelt Arts Center

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there was a young man named William Shakespeare who was a huge science fiction playwright. No, wait. That’s not right. Let’s try that again. There was once a man named Bob Carlton, who penned a science fiction play called Return to the Forbidden Planet, an homage to the classic works of William Shakespeare – and of course the classic 1956 film,

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Weird Romance at MAD

What happens when you mix love and science fiction? You get Weird Romance, a show described as two one-act musicals of Speculative Fiction, which is now being performed by the Music and Drama Club (a.k.a., MAD) at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Glenn Dale, MD. The production, Directed by Randy Barth and Produced by Eliot Malumuth, is based on a book by Alan Brennert, with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by David Spencer.

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Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at Prince George’s Little Theatre

Who is going to believe a con artist? Everyone, if she [he] is good.  – Andy Griffith

In the 18th century, a grifter named Samuel Thompson tried to swindle people out of their money and watches by attempting to gain their confidence. Though in the end he was not highly successful, the New York Herald publicized the story, dubbing him the “Confidence Man.” The term took off and was eventually shortened to simply – “con man.” In 1988,

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Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery at Greenbelt Arts Center

Back in 1887, Scottish writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle introduced the world to the now-infamous sleuthing mastermind, Sherlock Holmes.  More than a century later, playwright Ken Ludwig adapted Doyle’s third crime novel, the well-known Hound of the Baskervilles, as a madcap, sometimes dizzyingly fast-paced farcical comedy, called simply – Baskerville. Directed by Ann Lowe-Barrett and produced by William Powell, this adaptation is currently being performed at the Greenbelt Arts Center to raving audiences.

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Almost, Maine at Greenbelt Arts Center

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”

– Maya Angelou

What is love? Why does it happen? How does it grow? When does it end? The residents of a little area way up north – Almost, Maine – have the same questions, and Director Bob Kleinberg brings their stories to the Greenbelt Arts Center just in time for Valentine’s Day.

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The Wizard of Oz at Greenbelts Arts Center

Ordinarily, the day after Thanksgiving consists of folks sitting around the house with still-loosened belts, eating delicious leftovers, perhaps catching up on missed episodes of favorite TV shows, and/or attempting to recover from the tryptophan-induced comas still plaguing them from the night before. But this year – at least for some – things unfolded a little differently. Instead of relaxing in their living rooms, dozens and dozens of people filled the seats at the Greenbelt Arts Center to watch a visually stunning,

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Beau Jest as Greenbelt Arts Center

Introducing a significant other to Mom and Dad is a ubiquitous rite of passage that can be simultaneously exciting and terrifying. You want that first meeting to go perfectly. You hope your partner will like your parents. You pray your parents will return the feeling and give you both their blessing. But, what do you do when your family DOESN’T approve of your relationship? If you are Sarah Goldman, the main character in the Greenbelt Arts Center production of Beau Jest (written by James Sherman and Directed by GAC staple Norma Ozur) the answer is clear– you conjure up a more “suitable” suitor to introduce to your parents– and then hire an actor to bring the character to life.

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Review: Seussical the Musical at Greenbelt Arts Center

“Think and wonder, wonder and think.” Infamous children’s book author Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) seemed to be a big fan of a good think. All throughout his books, he encouraged kids to think for themselves, find out and become who they are and fight for what they believe in. So, it’s no small wonder that a musical based on his books is all about characters trying to do just that. Seussical, The Musical,

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Review: A Few Good Men at Greenbelt Arts Center

The core values of the United States Marine Corps (according to their website) are “honor, courage, and commitment.” The best Marines respect the chain of command and obey orders without question. But what if an order involves an immoral or even illegal act? Should a Marine have the honor, courage, and commitment to challenge that order? Or should he blindly follow military protocol – even if it could have dire consequences, including possible arrest and court-martial?

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Review: Bad Jews at Greenbelt Arts Center

2016 Templeton Prize Winner Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks once said, “If Jewish survival is problematic, it is because Jewish identity itself is problematic.” What does it mean to be Jewish? How much should a person’s cultural identity define them? Has Judaism gotten so watered down that is becoming obsolete? These are some of the themes that course through Bad Jews, the Greenbelt Arts Center’s latest production, Directed by Bob Kleinberg. This is not to say that Bad Jews is a gripping and searing moral drama.

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Review: God, The One-Man Show at Greenbelt Arts Center

What if God was one of us? Or at least close enough to talk to us and tell us what it’s like to be Him? What existed before The Beginning? God supposedly created the universe, but who created God? These are concepts former Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus clown Rich Potter explores in the Greenbelt Arts Center production of God, The One-Man Show.

In this fast-paced,

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Review: A Cactus Christmas at Off the Quill

What if Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol had a modern-day spinoff featuring Jacob Marley – only this time, Marley was a gumshoe? Okay, a “dead as a doornail” gumshoe? It might be called A Christmas Cactus, an Off The Quill production written by Eliot Byerrum and Directed by Leanne Dinverno at the Greenbelt Arts Center.

In this holiday comedy, it is not Ebenezer Scrooge,

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Review: Any Given Monday at Greenbelt Arts Center

Football can be violent at times. Relationships can be too. Mix them together, add some beer and a little bit of Jewish humor, and you will get a taste of the Greenbelt Arts Center’s Any Given Monday, by Bruce Graham. Directed by Ann Lowe-Barrett, this extremely dark comedy vacillates between amusing moments, surprising plot twists, and deep, philosophical ponderings.

The play takes place almost entirely in the den of a house in Philadelphia.

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