Reviews

Once On This Island Jr. at Children’s Playhouse of Maryland

Life! Pain! Love! Grief! Hope! Faith! You! THAT is why they
tell the story! What story, you ask? Once
On This Island Jr.
! Who’s telling it, you ask? Children’s Playhouse of
Maryland! Their incredibly talented cast of young performers presents a
whimsical tale of two worlds that were never meant to meet, joined together by
the island they share. Directed by Liz Boyer Hunnicutt, with musical Direction
by Charlotte Evans,

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The Women of Lockerbie at Bowie Community Theatre

Bowie
Community Theatre
is concluding its year of the woman with Deborah Brevoort’s The Women of Lockerbie Directed by
Estelle Miller, a fitting end to a season celebrating women. The play itself is
a nod to ancient Greek drama and a requiem for all the innocent lives lost on
PanAm Flight 103 and on the ground in Lockerbie, Scotland.  The production currently on stage at the
Bowie Playhouse is a tour-de-force performance of five spectacular female
thespians.

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Urinetown at Phoenix Festival Theatre

It was a
cold and rainy night. Ironic, since I was on my way to see a play about a drought.
I was driving to Harford County. A place that has been in the news recently
because one of its politicians apologized for making a racial remark that she
didn’t recall making. Fitting since this show also features nasty politicians.
Finally, I arrived at Harford Community College and Urinetown. Wow! What an unexpected surprise!

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The Company of ASoB's 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Artistic Synergy of Baltimore

Miraculous— (adjective.)
“performed by or involving a supernatural power or agency. Of the nature of a
miracle; marvelous. Having or seeming to have the power to work miracles.” This
current production of The 25th
Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
is a miraculous show put forth by
Artistic Synergy. M-I-R-A-C-U-L-O-U-S. Produced
by Melissa Broy Fortson, with Direction by Atticus Cooper Boidy, and Musical
Direction by Rachel Sandler, the astonishing talent, the heartfelt
performances,

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Sojourners at The Strand Theatre

I first became involved with
theatre in 1982. So, you can imagine that in 37 years I have seen and
experienced quit a few things in the theatrical world; and then came Sojourners. Sojourners is a play written by first generation Nigerian-American
playwright Mfoniso Udofia. It is currently showing at The Strand Theatre and is
directed by Cheryl J. Williams. It is well written, has a powerfully amazing
cast,

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Heathers at Tidewater Players

Freak,
slut, burn out, bug eyes, poser, lard ass, loser, short bus, bull dyke, stuck
up, hunchback, white trash! Names. Labels. Words used to describe people who
are different or don’t fit our image of what we consider the “norm.” Words that
one might associate with high school, but all to often are used far more common
in our everyday speech. In fact, if I am being honest, although I didn’t speak
the words,

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The Gondoliers at Victorian Lyric Opera Company

The Gondoliers,
currently being presented by The Victorian Lyric Opera Company at the F. Scott
Fitzgerald Theatre in Rockville, Maryland, is a valiant interpretation of
Gilbert and Sullivan’s last great success. Directed by Catherine Huntress-Reeve
and music directed by Joseph Sorge the cast and musicians keep up with the
beautiful score both in appropriate action and full-bodied sound that you would
expect from a Gilbert & Sullivan opera.

Amanda N.

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Pygmalion at Spotlighters Theatre

In
ancient Greek mythology, the shy artist Pygmalion expressed no interest in
women, but when he created a statue of Galatea so fair he fell in love with it,
he made sacrifices to the goddess Aphrodite to give him a woman as beautiful as
his sculpture. She does him one better by bringing the marble Galatea to life
as his reward. In 1912, master Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw used that metaphor
of taking the basest elements of the earth and sculpting them into a real lady
in a very literal sense in his masterpiece Pygmalion.

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Finding Neverland at The National Theatre

Amanda N. Gunther | TheatreBloom
Jeff Sullivan and Conor McGiffin in Finding Neverland
Photo: Jeremy Daniel

Literally finding Neverland
entails locating the second star to the right and continuing straight till
morning. Fortunately, a significantly easier path to Finding Neverland entails only a brief 75-minute jaunt to the
National Theatre in Washington, DC where the current NETworks national tour is
camped out for a swashbuckling week of family friendly entertainment.

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In The Next Room or The Vibrator Play at Silver Spring Stage

What thing can put a man to death and bring him back to life
again? Why the cure for women’s hysteria, naturally, or better known as
electricity. Thank you, Mr. Edison, for the focal point of Sarah Ruhl’s play
with two titles, In The Next Room or The Vibrator Play. While electricity
does run as a strong alternating and direct current throughout the script,
there are so many more deeply layered,

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A Year with Frog and Toad at Dundalk Community Theatre

Tweet, tweet! Let’s greet the spring! So what if it’s only
the end of February? Spring is almost here! You know how you can tell? Because A Year with Frog and Toad is on the
stage at Dundalk Community Theatre! Directed by Tom Colonna, with Musical
Direction by Michael Clark, and Choreography by Angelique “Gigi” Cause, this
delightful family-friendly show is perfect for young audiences and audiences
young at heart!

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Sherlock Holmes The Final Adventures at Kensington Arts Theatre

Amanda N. Gunther | TheatreBloom

It takes enormous planning to create a random event! Such
elaborate schemes and diabolical deductions can only mean one thing—
elementary, my dear Watson! Oh, not Watson, you say? Just someone looking for a
night out supporting local theatre? Well, that is no coincidence, I’m sure! You’ve
come to the right place— 221 Baker’s Street! Well, actually 3710 Mitchell
Street but we won’t look too closely at the particulars!

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Radium Girls at Maryland Ensemble Theatre

Amanda N. Gunther | TheatreBloom

There is so much light in the world. Light from the sun,
light from inside that glows out from the human spirit, there’s all kinds of
light. But what about artificial light that’s natural? The disturbing glow the
illuminates from a diabolically dangerous substance? Radium. Playwright D.W.
Gregory historically fantasizes a dark spot on American history, shining an
incandescent beam of harrowing truth, with dramatic flair, onto historical
events of the shadowy 20th century.

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Rock of Ages at The Hippodrome

Amanda N. Gunther | TheatreBloom

First and foremost, there is
no freaking monkey. It is important to know right off the top that this
national tour of the 2009 Broadway smash hit, written by Chris D’Arienzo,
paying homage to the big hair bands of 80’s pop/rock radio is nothing like
the horrendous, bloated travesty of a movie by Adam Shankman that was more
offensive than his previous ruination of cult classic Hairspray.

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Uncle Vanya at The Rude Mechanicals

Amanda N. Gunther | TheatreBloom

Uncle Vanya, written by Anton Chekhov, is the story of a group of people embittered by loss, disappointment, disillusionment, and hardship, and the power of faith through adversity.  A retired professor, Alexandre (Bill Bodie), and his glamorous young wife Yelena (Erin Nealer) visit the rural estate that funds their city lifestyle.  The estate is run by Vanya, (Nathan Rosen) Alexandre’s deceased former wife’s brother,

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Newsies at Third Wall Productions

Amanda N. Gunther | TheatreBloom

Now is the time to seize the day! Third Wall Productions are
staring down the odds— and everyone else who wants to tackle this bear of a
musical production— and seizing the day! Proudly carrying the banner of their
first major children’s inclusive production since 13: The Musical (their second-ever production as a company, almost
three full years ago!), TWP is thrilled to present Disney’s Newsies.

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The Music Man at The Kennedy Center

Amanda N. Gunther | TheatreBloom

What started out as a bold new
idea last year has realized itself as an exciting new staple of the
Baltimore/DC theatrical scene. The Kennedy Center’s Broadway Center Stage
concert series, which features top notch Broadway and Hollywood talent in
quickly-assembled one week runs to add special event variety to their already
busy tour and concert seasons, once again strikes gold (or perhaps more
accurately, brass—an entire marching band’s worth) in their jubilant current
production of Meredith Willson’s Tony winning classic The Music Man.

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Nell Gwynn at The Folger Theatre

Amanda N. Gunther | TheatreBloom

“Just think,” says our heroine to the
playwright John Dryden. “You can write about real women, real emotion, real
feminine feelings and they will all be played by a real woman!!” The men glance
at one another in quizzical, wide-eyed shock: who on earth would want to see
that?

Well, our Nellie knows. We all do. After all, wink, it’s the year
of the woman: 1665.

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A Perfect Arrangement at Greenbelt Arts Center

Amanda N. Gunther | TheatreBloom

In the post-modern age, people
have the right to express who they are unabashedly and the freedom to
experience connections with a wide variety of people – without judgment. A
person may identify as cis- or transgender, non-binary, or agender – gay,
straight, or bisexual – single or married – monogamous or polyamorous – or any
combination of these – and this diversity is tolerated (for the most part.)
It’s a brave new world we live in,

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El Viaje de Beatriz at MET’s FUN Company

Amanda N. Gunther | TheatreBloom

You may not understand every word, but if you listen deeply,
you will understand what they’re trying to see. This is a critical component to
the extraordinary and brilliant piece of children’s theatre being performed on
the Maryland Ensemble Theatre’s FUN Company stage this winter. El Viaje de Beatriz, written by Andrea
Moon, and Directed by Daniel Valentin-Morales, is a bilingual fairytale about
little Beatriz,

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Gypsy at Toby’s Dinner Theatre

Amanda N. Gunther | TheatreBloom

Everything’s coming up Toby’s! Everything’s coming up— TOBY’S!
Let them entertain you with their stunning, thrilling, exciting, and magical
production of Gypsy. Directed by Mark
Minnick and Toby Orenstein with Musical Direction by Ross Scott Rawlings, the
truth of a brilliant story is told in earnest, with the heart of that gripping
tale at the forefront of the show creating honest theatrical magic for everyone
who comes to the table and lets the cast and crew of Gypsy entertain them.

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The Addams Family at Stand Up For…Theatre

Amanda N. Gunther | TheatreBloom

Right and wrong— who’s to say, which we should refuse? All
we know, love survives either way we choose. Where, you ask, do we go when the
world’s not right? The answer here won’t rhyme, because it’s really hard to
rhyme things with “Chesapeake Arts Center’s Black Box Theatre.” But when the
world’s not right— and there is so much not right in the world right now,

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In The Closet at Third Wall Productions

Amanda N. Gunther | TheatreBloom

It’s a
subject that has been explored since the dawn of written language. From sources
as disparate as the Sphinx’s riddle to Oedipus in Ancient Greek mythology, to
Shakespeare’s classic Seven Ages of Man speech, all the way to Albee, and even The Cher Show, man has expounded on the
concept that any situation in life is filtered through the age and experience
of the character passing through.

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Stonefish at Greenbelt Arts Center

Amanda N. Gunther | TheatreBloom

Stonefish is an original play by
Erica Smith and directed by David Dieudonne. 
Without wishing to spoil, Stonefish
revolves around fraternal twins Mason and Dixon (both played by Amanda Zeitler)
their younger brother Lewis, (Ren Stone) their father Stan, (Sean Butler) and
their piano teacher, Christopher (Matt Baughman.)  The play itself deals heavily with grief and
trauma.

There is
little one can say about the plot without spoiling the thread of the story
except in that while it is a clever concept,

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Thank You, Dad at Rapid Lemon Productions

Amanda N. Gunther | TheatreBloom

In a world exploding with fake news, the facts often get
lost in the chaotic flurry of excitement fluttering all around the story. And
even when the facts are straight forward, they don’t tell the whole story. The
facts here are straight forward. On November 18, 1978 over 900 people died in
the Jonestown agricultural commune in Guyana; over 300 of them were aged 17 and
under.

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Blythe Spirit at Spotlighters Theatre

Amanda N. Gunther | TheatreBloom

Looking for an evening out? Like something a little more
1940’s than 1840’s? Tired of the trifecta ghosts of Christmas? Spotlighters
offers a more blithe spirit this holiday, Noel Coward’s Blythe Spirit, a witty little farce to bridge the transition from
2018 to 2019.

The cast of Blythe Spirit at Spotlighters TheatreShaelyn Jae Photography The cast of Blythe Spirit at Spotlighters Theatre. Photo courtesy of Shealyn Jae Photography

The neighborhood of Mount Vernon,

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The Importance of Being Earnest at Everyman Theatre

 

When one is in town, one amuses oneself. And if one is in Baltimore, one can amuse oneself by getting tickets to see an uproarious and smart production of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest now appearing at Everyman Theatre for the holidays. Directed by Joseph W. Ritsch, this high-brow, tongue-in-cheek, comedy chestnut is a delightful romp through town, country, and all sorts of shenanigans. A pleasingly pleasant alternative to all of the elves,

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Who’s Holiday at Maryland Ensemble Theatre

Every Who out in Frederick liked Christmas a lot

So much that they rented Matthew Lombardo’s new plot

See, now the MET— they LOVE Christmas! The whole Christmas season!

So they’ve picked this irreverent comic gem, I can guess at the reason

To festively light up their holiday stage slot

Who’s Holiday, Directed by Gené Fouché, is the show that they got!

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Season of Light: A Winter Fairytale at Silver Spring Stage

The winter woods are ripe with snow; there’s a crisp clear moonlight glow and the world is ready for winter’s end. The solstice! December 21st this year, but don’t wait until then to celebrate. Silver Spring Stage has a fabulous story all about hope in the bleakest darkness of winter right now upon their stage in the spirit of the season. Season of Light: A Winter Fairytale by Steph DeFerie makes its debut as the seasonal,

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A Christmas Carol at Wolf Pack Theatre Company

For those unfamiliar with the tale, A Christmas Carol is a sci-fi story of outer worldly spirits and time travel overlaid with a profitable Christmas theme. You know,like in It’s A Wonderful Life. If you find that an interesting way to think of it, Director Bill Leary’s adaptation is just as intriguing in how it updates this classic. The relationships that Ebeneezer Scrooge shuns are heightened by tying every character closer to him through family and business.Old boss Fezziwig is replaced with Scrooge’s father Andrew,

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