Reviews

Scrooge at Scottfield Theatre Company

Christmas before Thanksgiving?
Humbug! Don’t let me see one light, hear a carol, or find Santa in a mall until
I’ve had my turkey. Unless of course you are talking about seeing Scrooge, directed by William Price, at
Scottfield Theatre Company.

Scrooge at Scottfield Theatre Company. Photo: @machpe@machpe Scrooge at Scottfield Theatre Company. Photo: @machpe

With this aversion for early
Christmas you can imagine my thoughts while driving forty minutes north to
Havre de Grace.

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Melanie Kurstin & Jon Townson in Rocky Horror Show

Rocky Horror Show at Wolf Pack Theatre Company

There’s a liiiiiiiight! Over at the Taylor Street Plaaaace!
There’s a liiiiiiiii— iiiiiiii— iiiiiiight! Burning in their fireplace, there’s
a light— in the darkness of the October-November calendar and it is blazing
rainbows, folks. That’s right, as only Wolf Pack Theatre Company can do, they’ve
but a kooky and queer-positive spin on an already zany cult classic. Are you
just dying with antici— PATION to know what we’re talking about? Cause it’s
just a jump to the left (of Bladensburg) and then a step to the right (of DC.) Put
your hands on your hips— and HOLD ON TIGHT because Wolf Pack Theatre Company is
bringing you their very own Rocky Horror Show.

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Moon Over Buffalo at Spotlighters Theatre

Ken Ludwig’sMoon Over Buffalo is the second installment from Spotlighters
Theatre’s 58th season. If you are looking for some gut chuckling, tears
down your cheeks humor, then you won’t want to miss this show. Director Brandon
Richards has mentored his cast through door slamming, side splitting hysterics that
will keep you laughing all the way home.

Moon Over Buffalo at Spotlighters Theatre. Photo: Shealyn Jae PhotographyShealyn Jae Photography Moon Over Buffalo at Spotlighters Theatre. Photo: Shealyn Jae Photography

The first thing you notice upon
entering the theatre is the very cozy and well-designed set of Sam Martin.

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Happenstance Theatre's Cabaret Macabre 2019. Photo: WAGS Media

Cabaret Macabre at Happenstance Theatre

Did the devil make the world while God was sleeping? Do you
have a little drop of poison coursing through your veins? Then come, dark
denizens of Baltimore and areas surrounding, and delight in this autumnal treat
that appears every so often on the stage of Baltimore Theatre Project. What Gorey
work am I speaking of, you ask? Why, Happenstance Theatre’s Cabaret
Macabre
, now in its most current rendition.

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Motherhood Out Loud at Greenbelt Arts Center

Motherhood: sometimes a complete joy,
sometimes an utter pain… but either way, the ladies (and gentleman) at
Greenbelt Arts Center are taking us through ALL the motions; the good, the bad,
and the ugly of being a mom in Motherhood Out Loud by Leslie
Ayvazian, Brooke Berman, David Cale, Jessica Goldberg, Beth Henley, Lameece
Issaq, Claire LaZebnik, Lisa Loomer, Michele Lowe, Marco Pennette, Theresa Rebeck,
Luanne Rice, Annie Weisman and Cheryl L.

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Carrie at Stand Up For Theatre

Sometimes you can only shake your
head and ask, “Why?” Why the need to turn everything into a musical? Shows like
Pipe Dream, Kelly, and Via Galactica top Smithsonian.com’s list
of Broadway’s Top Ten Musical Flops; also
making the list, Carrie the Musical. Carrie opened on Broadway in 1988 and
after 16 previews and 5 performances it closed. In 1991, Ken Mendelbaum wrote a
book chronicling the history of Broadway musical flops,

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Circle Mirror Transformation at Maryland Ensemble Theatre

Have you ever taken one of those intro to acting classes
where nobody’s really sure they want to be there but they all desperately want
to learn all the secrets behind good acting? Then this show might be for you.
Have you ever taken one of those acting classes where all of the exercises that
are supposed to be revealing all the secrets to good acting feel a bit like the
instructor is trying to unload some of their own personal garbage from
childhood onto the students?

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Port Authority at Quotidian Theatre Company

If you long for a simpler time, you’re not alone. In that
simpler time— in those days— you just spoke to people. Nowadays it’s all
digital, no one really knows how to connect. If you’re longing to connect with
nostalgia, or traipse lazily down memory lane— not your own, of course, but one
perhaps like it? Then Quotidian Theatre Company offers up a fine ghost of a
different past for this haunting autumnal season. Putting Conor McPherson’s Port
Authority
on their stage as the final production of the 2019 calendar year,

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A Gentleman’s Guide To Love and Murder at Dundalk Community Theatre

I am standing here with poison in my pocket…one eye on the
target, one eye on the clock— which is running out— only three more chances to fancify
your theatrical endeavors with this refined production of gruesome murder and
grisly mayhem. Why, it’s A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, a
serious undertaking for Dundalk Community Theatre this autumnal season. Directed
and Choreographed by Todd Pearthree with Musical Direction by Catina McLagan,

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A Shayna Maidel at The Strand Theatre

A Shayna
Maidel
is a play I had never heard of, and that’s really a shame,
because it was a powerful experience that left me thinking, for days.  I’ve seen favorite plays performed in an
underwhelming way, and also saw a play I didn’t anticipate liking performed by
such talented thespians that I was converted to a fan, but the real treat with
this particular production of A Shayna Maidel,

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Ruthless! at The Heritage Players

Talent. Either you’ve got it. Or you don’t. Luck for you,
The Heritage Players production of Ruthless! has got it. And they’ve got
it pouring out of their wazoos in spades. Directed & Choreographed by
Ashley Gerhardt with Musical Direction by Michael Clark, this zany and
uproarious musical send-up will have your gut aching with laughs. Nobody’s in
the mud, nobody’s in distress in this production— except the characters
themselves— and it’s a madcap scream from simple start to diabolical finish.

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Jekyll & Hyde at Free Range Humans

This is the moment! This is the time! When their momentum
and their moment is in rhyme. Free Range Humans is bringing you a deliciously
devious rendering of Jekyll & Hyde, unlike you’ve ever seen, felt,
heard, or experienced it before. Remarkably transcendent into the emotional
core of Leslie Bricusse (book & lyrics) and Frank Wildhorn (music)’s staged
conceptualization (with Steve Cuden) based on the gothic novella— Strange
Case of Dr.

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Thoughts of a Colored Man at Baltimore Center Stage

“Who is the colored man? Is he a king or is he a slave?” Profound
question contained within Kennan Scott II’s Thoughts of a Colored Man,
now playing at Baltimore Center Stage in the Pearlstone Theatre. Directed by
Steve H. Broadnax III (as a co-production with Syracuse Stage in association
with Brian Moreland and Ron Simons), this evocative dramatic theatrical
experience presents the inner monologues of men of color to the audience in a
series of loosely interconnected vignettes,

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Radio Golf at Everyman Theatre

Right is right and right don’t wrong nobody. A strong decry
of truth and justice in a time when its sorely needed; to think such words
originated from August Wilson just 14 years ago (taking place a mere decade
before that) in Radio Golf, the last in Wilson’s Century Cycle play
series. Now appearing on the main stage of Everyman Theatre as the second dramatic
offering in their 2019/2020 season,

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Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Just Off Broadway

17th
century poet Francis Quarles wrote, “Judge not the play before the play is
done.” Great advice for anyone seeing their umpteenth version of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,
especially if you are seeing Just Off Broadway’s latest offering.  I don’t care how many times you’ve seen Joseph…, Director Tammy Oppel will show
you that you don’t know Joe! Oppel brings us a delightfully staged version of
the show unlike any that I have seen.

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The Heidi Chronicles at The Salem Players

Do you ever feel like what makes you a person is what keeps
you from being a person? Poignant question from Wendy Wasserstein’s s The Heidi
Chronicles
, which just so happens to be on the stage of The Salem Players
this fall under the direction of Kate Leisner. What if what makes you who you
are is what keeps you from being who you are? The show itself, while a Pulitzer
Prize-winning piece of theatrical drama from the late 80’s,

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She Loves Me at Silhouette Stages

Thank you, Madam (and gents and everyone), do come again, do
come again— to Silhouette Stages to see a rather invigorating production of She
Loves Me
, Directed by Stephan Foreman with Musical Direction by Andrew
Zile. The dated and somewhat stale musical finds a vivacious new life under
Foreman’s magical direction; his attention to detail, precision casting choices,
and overall approach to the performance gives it a bubbly exuberance that makes
for a thoroughly enjoyable evening of musical theatre (even if they are
tricking you into your first Christmas show of the 2019 calendar season— in
mid-October.)

Angelica Peaco (left) as Ilona Ritter and Kelly Rardon (right) as Amalia Balash in She Loves Me at Silhouette StagesAmanda N.

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Guys & Dolls at Artistic Synergy of Baltimore

The Biltmore Garage wants a
grand, but we ain’t got a grand on hand. And they now got a lock on the door to
the gym at Public School 84. There’s a stock room behind McKlosky’s Bar, but
Mrs. McKlosky ain’t a good scout. And things being how they are, the back of
the police station is out! So, come on down to Artistic Synergy of
Baltimore ‘cause that’s where the action is. Shhhhh!

The cast of Artistic Synergy's Guys & Dolls. ASoB The cast of Artistic Synergy’s Guys &

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The Last Night of Ballyhoo at Bowie Community Theatre

As I
watched The Last Night of Ballyhoo, written by Alfred Uhry and directed
by Ilene Chalmers, at the Bowie Community Theatre, I had a thought somewhere during
Act I, Scene 4: “This play really is about something.” This is
not to say that I disliked the production before that; even before coming to
that revelation I would have acknowledged the stellar set and the faultless
performances from the cast.

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Footloose at The Kennedy Center

In the
summer of 1984, a little movie with a big soundtrack took the world by storm
and launched a young up-and-coming leading man for whom at the time you’d be
pressed to find movie connections of two degrees into the stratosphere as the
ubiquitous megastar Kevin Bacon. Filling out the cast with veteran actors like
John Lithgow and Dianne Weist along with breakout performances from young
actors like Lori Singer, Chris Penn, and Sarah Jessica Parker,

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The Phantom of the Opera at The Hippodrome

Night time sharpens, heightens each sensation…darkness wakes
and stirs imagination…open up your mind…let your fantasies unwind…because it’s
here— The Phantom of the Opera! The much-awaited, long anticipated
return of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical masterpiece, wearing its new-age millennial
skin, The New Production of The Phantom of The Opera tells Broadway’s
most haunting love-adjacent story with much more smoke and whistles for the new
age of theatergoers. Directed by Laurence Connor with Choreography by Scott Ambler,

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Proxy at Rapid Lemon Productions

They say try and remember the good times, or think about the
good memories, when doling out advice for how to cope with the loss of a loved
ones. But good memories get ruined by grief; they make you wish you could
forget entirely. What if there was no more need for forgetting? What if loss
was no longer necessary? Enter Proxy, the last show on the Rapid Lemon stage
for their 2019 calendar season.

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Escape to Margaritaville at The National Theater

You may not know where you’re gonna go when the volcano
blows but three chords is all it takes to find yourself wasting away with a
cheeseburger in paradise. If you want a license to chill, The National Theatre
in Washington DC has just the thing for you (and all your Parrotheads out
there!) Escape to Margaritaville, the Jimmy Buffet Musical, is making a
one-week vacation in the nation’s capital and has 25 different songs on the
Buffet buffet for all your relaxation needs.

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The Deer in the Spotlight Productions company of Evil Dead: The Musical (2019) Photo: Matthew Peterson

Evil Dead: The Musical at Deer in the Spotlight Productions

Deadites always like to get their freak on! And when they
get together, they do the NECRONOMICON!!! It’s that time of year— that’s right,
fellow S-Mart shoppers! Time to pick up your BOOM Stick, lend good ol’ Ash a
hand, and— what the f*ck was that!? OH. It was Deer in the Spotlight Productions
bringing their sold-out sensational annual production of Evil Dead: The
Musical
to Baltimore for just two weekends this October.

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(L to R) JacQuan Knox as Alice Russell, Parker Bailey Steven as Lizzie Borden, Caitlin Weaver as Emma Borden, and Siobhan Beckett as Bridget Sullivan in Lizzie. Photo: Shealyn Jae Photography

Lizzie at Guerrilla Theatre Front

In the house of Borden, there’s a lock on every door. And a
story with those 40 whacks— here’s your chance to learn much more! About Lizzie
Borden— more than just the creepy nursery rhyme about the girl who gave her folks
40-ish whacks with an axe to do them in. Guerrilla Theatre Front is putting up Lizzie
as their fall offering to the musical theatre community and it’s a stellar
show. Directed by Greg Bell with Musical Direction by Megann Baldwin,

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Jekyll & Hyde at Wolf Pack Theatre Company

Before we plunge into the guts of
this review, let me offer an admission: I am not generally a fan of musicals.
That said, I am incredibly fond of Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case
of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
. I even reread it in preparation for reviewing
Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical, with book and lyrics by Leslie Briscusse
and music by Frank Wildhorn. I imagined that my affection for the source
material would,

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The Addams Family at Street Lamp Community Theatre

The
little black box theatre that could, Street Lamp Productions in Rising Sun, closes
out their 4th season with a fan-favorite show that had a short life on Broadway
but has quickly become a modern classic staple of community and regional
seasons, The Addams Family, directed by Jamie and Andrew DiMaio.

Amanda N. Gunther | TheatreBloom

Marshall
Brickman and Rick Elice’s book may be short on Addams’ culture (with 80 years’
history of rich Addams pop culture to draw upon—the original New Yorker comic
panels,

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A Few Good Men at Tidewater Players

Aaron
Sorkin’s A Few Good Men, directed by Todd Starkey, opens up to
one of our only moments watching Greg Stiffler give us a reason to care about
the tragedy the play is built around, by making him a vulnerable guy.  A man is dead and Lance Cpl. Harold W. Dawson
(played by Lamar Leonard) and Pfc. Louden Downey (played by Jordan Baumiller)
stand accused of murder.  Moises
Estrada’s lighting and sound design built atmosphere as Eva Grove’s costume
coordination lent an air of authenticity to these characters,

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Mike Birbiglia’s The New One at The National Theatre

It’s a shocking revelation when you’re evicted from your own
life. As it turns out the well-traded promise of “a baby won’t change the way
we live” is in fact, as many have suspected for years, a lie. Popping into The
National Theatre of DC for just six performances, Mike Birbiglia’s The New
One
is a poignant and hilariously engaging telling of his experience of becoming
a new father. The one-man comic show is a bit like narrative stand-up only with
deeper meandering trails that dance all around the core of the story.

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The Book Club Play at Silver Spring Stage

There is something delightfully universal about a book club
that almost anyone can relate to. So believe the characters of Karen Zacarías’s
The Book Club Play when their perfectly ordinary book club has been
selected to be featured in a documentary about the phenomenon. As the cameras
roll, and the club members find their lives under scrutiny, their perfect
social circle begins to unravel. Silver Spring Stage’s production, as directed
by Karen Fleming,

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