Reviews

The Mousetrap at The Woodbrook Players

Three blind mice…three blind mice…see how they run…to The Woodbrook Players in the Brown Memorial Woodbrook Presbyterian Church this autumn to see the infamous Agatha Christie play The Mousetrap. Critically acclaimed as The West End’s longest running live theatrical show, The Mousetrap is filled with spine-tingling chills that only Agatha Christie can pen properly for the stage. Directed by Ron Oaks, the show is making its Towson area appearance just in time to put the post-Halloween shivers in the air.

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Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Carol at St. Gabriel’s Miracle Players

Moriarty was dead to begin with.

Not exactly your average Dickensian start to A Christmas Carol is it?

But these are the facts:

  • Moriarty was dead to begin with
  • Sherlock Holmes was in a mood most foul
  • The Saint Gabriel Miracle Players are producing a most splendid holiday production right now

As luck or good holiday fortune might have it,

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Origin of the Species at The Strand Theatre

Archeology is not a science, but an art. It is the art of knowing where to look and what to look for and going to find it. Put on your Doctor Jones hat and join the archeological excursion for extraordinary women’s theatre this fall as The Strand Theatre delves into the ancient past with Bryony Lavory’s Origin of the Species. Directed by Erin Riley, this thought-provoking tale puts a new spin on history and how we as humans,

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Ashley Gerhardt (left) and Jim Gerhardt (right) in Leading Ladies at The Salem Players

Leading Ladies at The Salem Players

You are not defined by where you start but by where you end up. And if you end up like Leo Clark and Jack Gable you’re going to need an entire Webster’s dictionary to define just exactly where you’ve ended up. Or how you’ve ended up. Or as whom! The Salem Players present to audiences all over the 21228 (and beyond!) zip-code their fall production of Ken Ludwig’s zany farce, Leading Ladies.

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Two Rooms at Green Globe Theatre

This past Saturday I found myself in a church on Clinton Street, in a hall where one would expect to be voting or watching an Easter pageant rather than seeing a show. Tucked to one side of the room is a stage made of recycled flats and platforms, dressed with sustainably sourced materials; on it, four actors and a first time director mount a production of a nearly thirty-year-old play that was as moving,

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A Tuna Christmas at Bowie Community Theatre

Did you know that it’s less than 50 days until Christmas? It is. It is… And did you know that The Bowie Community Theatre is putting on their very own holiday production of A Tuna Christmas? They are! They are, yes they are. Directed bey Ken Kienas, this redneck holiday classic has some wild stereotypes that’ll give you the jingles all over your funny bone and just in time for the coming holiday season!

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Into the Woods at Heritage Players

Once upon a time at a theatre just outside Baltimore a director had a wish, to bring to life a production featuring some of the most beloved fairytale characters of our childhoods. His tale is one full of magic, woe, and cows. Does he succeed or is this just a moment better left in the woods? Well you will just have to read on as I share with you my journey at The Heritage Player’s performance of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapines’ Into the Woods Directed by TJ Lukacsina.

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The Bridges of Madison County at Kensington Arts Theatre

You spend your time seated in the audience, looking through the camera lens of your own two eyes every time you watch a show; you almost disappear into the magic that is the portrait of theatre, if the company putting the show on is doing it right. With the ephemeral beauty and ethereal magic that only musical theatre can provide, Kensington Arts Theatre produces a quality production of The Bridges of Madison County— the show’s DC Area community theatre premiere— almost as breathtaking as one of Robert Kincaid’s photographs.

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The Ravens at Venus Theatre

Beauty, truth, and rarity, grace and all simplicity; but what happens when Shakespeare is displaced in favor the sex-worker industry where beauty becomes filth, truth becomes the cold, hard reality of drugs and prostitution, and rarity is the kindness of a stranger from a world outside of unending night? In a visually poetic and evocatively moving new work, The Ravens— making its United States premiere— opens as script number 62 and the final production of Season17,

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Doctor Faustus at Brave Spirits Theatre

Charlene V. Smith bookends Doctor Faustus with two magnificent, and very different, speeches. She begins with arrogance borne of intelligence, full of both wit and ennui, seeking greener pastures beyond this world. She ends broken, despairing, hopeless, crying out to heaven and hell. Her performance as Joan Faustus is insightful and incisive, precise and passionate.

The bridge between the two is Hollis Evey as Mephistopheles, who grants Faustus her every worldly wish in exchange for the immortal soul that Joan doesn’t believe she has.

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Omnium Gatherum at Silver Spring Stage

Just another boring upscale dinner party-alcohol flowing freely, chatter, strong opinions, heated debates, and an almost Stepford hostess fluttering around her guests. Right? Well, if you consider helicopter noises, explosions, and fiery lighting boring and normal then absolutely! You will want to make your way to Silver Spring Stage right now to see their latest production led by Director Bill Hurlbut, Omnium Gatherum by Alexandra Gersten-Vassilaros and Theresa Rebeck. It is a production that will make you laugh one moment,

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Shakespeare In Love at Baltimore Center Stage

If you love Shakespeare, you are likely to love SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE as a stage production even better than the movie by the same name. There’s more Shakespeare in it. In fact, it opens with a song version of a popular sonnet, just in case you don’t quite remember all 14 lines. Throughout the show, there are nods and references to a number of The Bard’s works, great swaths of quotations,

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Manifesto! at Happenstance Theatre

Dada: (noun) an avant-garde art movement of the early 20th century centered in Zurich, New York, and Paris developed in reaction to Word War I, consisting of artists who rejected logic, reason, and aestheticism of modern capitalist society, promoting instead anti-bourgeois ideals through irrationality and nonsense.

For those who the parameters of the art form seem slightly vague (or for those who just plain slept through that particular art history class),

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The Hairy Ape at Spotlighters Theatre

“I ain’t on oith and I ain’t in Heaven, get me? I’m in de middel tryin’ to seperate em, takin all de woist punches from bot’ of ’em. Maybe dat’s whay dey call Hell, huh?”

On a weekend packed with frightening diversions the most terrifying of all is surely Eugene O’Neill’s nearly century old expressionist drama, The Hairy Ape running through 19 November at Spotlighters Theatre. I was at opening night on Friday and I have been haunted ever since by the themes,

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The Bridges of Madison County at Dundalk Community Theatre

The movie-turned musical has become a prevalent trend in today’s world, but The Bridges of Madison County is unlike most musicals in the same family; it breaks the mold and offers the audience an emotional, rich story filled with phenomenal music. Based on Robert James Waller’s 1992 novel, which was adapted into the 1995 film starring Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood, The Bridges of Madison County is a rich, profound love story that transcends the page,

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The Sea Voyage at Baltimore Shakespeare Factory

It begins with a storm, a shipwreck, the rag tag crew find refuge on the shores of a strange island…sound familiar? Don’t be fooled, The Sea Voyage is far from an echo of Shakespeare’s Tempest. John Fletcher crafts a witty comedy that rivals the better remembered bards of his time. His female characters are strong willed, humorous and well, horny. The Baltimore Shakespeare Factory did an excellent job unearthing this comedic gem.

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The Book of Mormon appearing live now at The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts

The Book of Mormon at The Kennedy Center

Ding Dong! Hello! My name is Elder Gunther and I would like to share with you— the most amazing musical. Ding Dong! Hello! My name is Elder Bloom; it’s a musical about America a long, long time ago— dating all the way back to 2011! It has so many awesome parts you won’t believe how much this musical can change your life! Ding Dong! Hello— we’re all going to die someday,

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33 Variations at Colonial Players

Theme and Variations as defined by Merriam-Webster “a standard form of musical composition consisting of a simple usually harmonized melody presented first in its original unadorned form then repeated several or many times with varied treatment so based on the theme that at least some semblance of its general melodic or harmonic form is evident”. While the definition pertains to music it can also be thought that our lives are a variation on a theme or ideal of what we imagine and hope it will be.

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1984 at Maryland Ensemble Theatre

There is a show running in Frederick.

WHAT SHOW. YOU MUST BE PRECISE.

There is a production of George Orwell’s 1984 as adapted to the stage by Michael Gene Sullivan running at a theatre in Frederick.

WHERE. YOU MUST BE PRECISE.

There is a production of George Orwell’s 1984 as adapted to the stage by Michael Gene Sullivan running at The Maryland Ensemble Theatre.

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Emilie at Avant Bard

A life lived fully can still change the universe. Surely that must mean your life has meaning, if it’s changing the universe. Of course, it’s not what we mean but that we mean. And your life too can mean something if you live it fully by going to see the area premier of Lauren Gunderson’s Emilie La Marquise Du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight currently playing at Avant Bard. Directed by Rick Hammerly,

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Antony and Cleopatra at Folger Theatre

Not a minute of our lives should stretch without some pleasure in it. The Folger Theatre is stretching nearly two and a half very deliberate minutes of theatrical pleasure into their current production of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. One of the Bard’s tragic histories, or historical tragedies as it straddles both categories soundly, this alluring and tempting production is an enticing start for the 2017/2018 theatrical season at The Folger. Directed by Robert Richmond,

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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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Heathers at How Do You Like Me Now Productions

The extreme always seems to make an impression, so color me impressed that How Do You Like Me Now Productions, as the theatrical producing entity of Erase Hate Through Art, is producing Heathers: The Musical this Halloween season! It’s a real scream! And totally an extreme example of what both HDYLMN and EHTA stand for, when it comes to creating a world that’s free of hate and bullying. Produced by Grant Meyers and Directed by Ed Higgins with Musical Direction by Andrew Zile and Choreography by Kristin Rigsby,

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Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at The Highwood Theatre

Beware of thinking too much; enjoy the little things. Beware of missing your opportunity to see Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike; enjoy the little theatre in Silver Spring that’s putting it on. Beware of Christopher Durang’s deranged approach to Chekhov; enjoy The Highwood Theatre’s interpretation of this edgy new dark comedy. Beware critics who spend too long opening their review; enjoy instead the actual production at The Highwood Theatre.

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Company at Just Off Broadway

Phone rings, door chimes, and in comes a charming and comical production of Company, Sondheim’s musical comedy, presented by Just-Off Broadway in Baltimore! Company, one of the first successful Broadway musicals written about adult themes and relationships, was the winner of 1971 Tony Awards for Best Book, Best Score, Best Lyrics, and Best Musical. The themes of bachelorhood, marriage, and how to form and maintain relationships are enduringly relevant more than three decades later.

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Lindsey Litka (left) as Allison and Michael Nugent (right) as Wade "Cry Baby" Walker

Cry Baby at Silhouette Stages

It’s a beautiful day for an anti-polio picnic! It’s a beautiful day to get a polio shot! And if you’re in for all that plus an insanely good production, well then at Silhouette Stage, you’ve come to the right spot! Watch your a$$ and do take care because there’s talent lurking everywhere all throughout Silhouette Stage’s production of Cry Baby: The Musical. Directed and Choreographed by Tommy Malek with Musical Direction by John Keister and Nathan Scavilla,

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Tom Story (God), Jamie Smithson (Gabriel) and Evan Casey (Michael) in An Act of God at Signature Theatre.

An Act of God at Signature Theatre

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And somewhere between days two and six he created Signature Theatre way down in Shirlington, Virginia. And now, after thousands of years of watching the world filled with stupid humans do their worst, the almighty has deigned us meager mortals worthy of a visit— inside the Ark Theatre (because even God isn’t big enough to beat out A Little Night Music starring Bobby Smith next door in The Max)— because he’s come to set the record straight.

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Hamlet at Susquehanna Shakespeare Ensemble

Suit the action to the word and the word to the action! The word is shows without intermission are the new trend and the action is to apply it Shakespeare. Susquehanna Shakespeare Ensemble is boldly running an endurance test— for both audience and ensemble— with the Bard’s most renowned tragedy, Hamlet. Directed by company founder and Artistic Head Marshall B. Garrett, this DIY-Fringe style production of the Danish Prince’s woe is surprisingly accurate in both delivery and conceptualization,

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Evil Dead: The Musical at Deer in the Spotlight Productions

There are five college students jammed in a car— on spring break vacation and they’re going really far! join them. They are five college students on their way to an old abandoned cottage in the woods! Join Them. What could possibly go wrong? JOOOOIIIN THEEEEM!!! Deer in the Spotlight Productions is striking up its annual tradition of Evil Dead: The Musical, this year appearing in the black box stage space of Street Lamp Productions.

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Tuck Everlasting at Scottfield Theatre Company

Today is the day you’ve been waiting for forever. Are you ready to let this be the day that something happens? Then hello, Havre de Grace, Maryland! This year— 2017— this day— in the month of October— is going to be the day where everything you’ve ever waited for finally happens! Making its national community theatre debut, Tuck Everlasting, the musical, soars superbly into the main stage of The Historic Havre de Grace Opera House as the inaugural production of Scottfield Theatre Company.

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