The cast of Newsies at The Fredericktowne Players

Newsies at The Fredericktowne Players

Newsies on a mission; kill the competition! The
Fredericktowne Players are carrying the banner of Disney’s latest screen-to-stage
hit musical with their production of Newsies. Directed by Meg Williams,with Musical Direction by Matthew Dohm, and Choreography by Kendall Sigman,
this heartfelt production showcases some vivaciously talented individuals and
produces a quality summertime show for everyone to see during the sweltering
heat of Maryland’s 2019 indoor summer season.

The cast of Newsies at The Fredericktowne PlayersThe Fredericktowne Players The cast of Newsies at The Fredericktowne Players

With bold ambitions,

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Much Ado About Nothing at Storytellers: A Theater Arts Academy

Marry, sirs and madams and those of all genders, I shall
commit no false report; moreover, I will speak no untruths; secondly, I shall not
be a slanderer; sixth and lastly, I shall belay a jovial account; thirdly, I
shall verify only just things pertaining to this account; and to conclude, I
send ye my most polished praises to this Storytellers: A Theater Arts Academy’s
production of Much Ado About Nothing. Hopping houses,

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Absolutely Dead at Bowie Community Theatre

Absolutely Dead, by
Michael Walker, is a rather difficult play for me to review. Whereas Ken
Kienas, director of the production currently running at the Bowie Community
Theatre
, writes in his director’s note that he was floored upon reviewing the
play’s ending, I can’t say that my response was at all comparable — and, given
the overwhelming importance of the reveal to one’s impression of a
murder mystery,

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Hamlet (Free For All) at Shakespeare Theatre Company

Shakespeare Theatre Company brings its
Summer Free For All program to life for a 29th season, this year reviving its
2018 production of Hamlet, originally directed by Michael Kahn and
remounted by Artistic Associate Craig Baldwin, and starring Michael Urie as the
title role. The show is a power-packed run at over 3 hours, but a scattered
performance from the cast and an incohesive design leaves the audience feeling
every minute of it.

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The Mollusc at Quotidian Theatre Company

It is extraordinary, the amount of force and pressure a
mollusk will exert to do nothing. Surely it would be easier to do something.
Don’t be a mollusk. Do something. And by something, I mean venture out to
Quotidian Theatre Company’s production of Hubert Henry Davies’ The Mollusc directed
by Jack Sbarbori.

(L to R) Emily H. Gilson as Miss Roberts, Marnie Kanarek as Mrs. Baxter, Brendan Murray as Tom Kemp, and Craig Houk as Mr. Baxter in The Mollusc. Photo: Steve LaRocqueSteve LaRocque (L to R) Emily H. Gilson as Miss Roberts, Marnie Kanarek as Mrs. Baxter,

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The Band’s Visit at The Kennedy Center

Once, not long ago, a group of musicians came from Broadway
to The Kennedy Center— but you will hear about this as it is pretty important.
The Tony Award-winning musical The Band’s Visit comes to the Eisenhower
Theatre of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts this summer, with
Music and Lyrics by David Yazbek and Book by Itamar Moses, the poignant and
striking tale of two cultures meeting by mistake is brilliant and relevant in
today’s ever-changing,

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PUFFS or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic at Artistic Synergy of Baltimore

PUFFS! Spoiler alert— not everyone’s favorite house…but
when a hat speaks, you listen! Let’s be clear here, there will be much foolish
wand waving and silly incantations in Artistic Synergy of Baltimore’s production
of PUFFS or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic
and Magic
. Fresh from Off-Broadway, and playing a limited four-show engagement,
PUFFS is the ridiculously absurd parody play that will banish all your
boggarts back into their closets with a healthy dose of laughter.

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Hand to God at Wolf Pack Theatre Company

There are certain works that, for
all of their other merits, really demand to be seen for one specific scene.
Fans of obscure cinema know this well. In an age where sharing spoilers was not
a capital offense, amateur critics would often open reviews by describing these
climactic scenes in exhaustive detail, and readers were not deterred. Rather
than complaining that the work had been ruined for them, they signed into their
eBay accounts and searched for used VHS copies of the films in question because
it was incredibly important that,

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Intimate Apparel at Silver Spring Stage

Lynn Nottage’s play, Intimate
Apparel
, tells the story of one woman desperately reaching out for real,
unguarded, intimate human connection, and it is fitting that Silver Spring
Stage
, with its intimate and engaging black box and overall style, should
select this piece to conclude its 2018-2019 season. Directed by SSS Board Chair
Seth Ghitelman, this emotion-driven production provided an entertaining and
thoughtful experience.

Amanda N. Gunther | TheatreBloom

The play,

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Steel Magnolias at Spotlighters Theatre

I wasn’t sure what to think about
seeing a play I had only ever heard of as an acclaimed movie.  Director Fuzz Roark assuaged those fears by
allowing us to experience the story in a setting not only made more intimate by
being kept in the same room as Alan Zemla’s set designs, but also brought to
our senses by virtue of Spotlighters Theater being a cozy space.  Being so very close to the action made you
not an audience member at a play,

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Sylvia at Cockpit in Court

It’s a dog-eat-dog summer at Cockpit in Court this year,
with a Disaster! downstairs on the
main stage and Sylvia upstairs in the
cabaret space. A.R. Gurney’s strange comedy about a dog originally set in the
80’s is meandering into modernity this 2019 summer season under the direction
of Robert W. Oppel. It’s definitely an intriguing show and the titular
character is by far best in show!

The show is a bit of a struggle on multiple levels;

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King James: Pulitzer Prize Finalist Rajiv Joseph’s Play to Star LeBron James

King James: Pulitzer Prize Finalist Rajiv Joseph’s Play to Star LeBron James

Few things are more riveting than a good old-fashioned sports story, and few athletes are more prominent than NBA superstar Lebron James. For Rajiv Joseph, then, it’s a simple act of putting two and two together: Joseph’s play, King James, is inspired by LeBron James’s life and career, which is set to premiere in 2020. 

Amanda N.

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Disaster! at Cockpit in Court

This
review can practically write itself. Let’s face it, there is nothing disastrous
about Cockpit in Court’s current production. Of course, I am talking about Disaster! the 70’s disaster movie
musical written by Seth Rudetsky and Jack Plotnick and directed by Todd
Pearthree. Pearthree and his production team (Music Director Michael DeVito,
Technical Director Jason Randolph, Set Designer Michael Rasinski, Lighting
Designer Thomas Gardner, Costumer Designer Will Crowther, Sound Designer Corey
Sekulow, and Stage Manager John Chrzanowski) have put together THE smash hit of
the summer.

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Gwen & Ida at Nu Sass and Uncle Funsy Productions

If you won’t tell your story, then who will? More
importantly, will they tell it correctly? Or will they romanticize it through
the lens of B-grade Hollywood celluloid and be creative with your very
existence? Such might have been the ill-fated path of infamy for Gwen John if
Ida Lupino had had her way when it came to telling her story on the big screen.
Only it didn’t happen; Ida Lupino never made that film all about the life of
Gwen John,

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Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at The Rude Mechanicals

Mendacity is the system we live in. Death is one way out.
Liquor is the other. Unless of course the crystal decanter top fuses into the
bottle-neck and prevents you from your liquor. (Try the screw-top.) Feeling a
little uncomfortable yet? A little like a Cat
on a Hot Tin Roof
? Then you’ve found your way to The Rude Mechanical’s
production of Tennessee Williams’ other play, or his other, other play. Not the
one with the street-screaming for Stella or the one with all the little glass
animals and the jonquils and gentlemen callers,

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Princess Ida at Victorian Lyric Opera Company

“If you give me your attention, I
will tell you what I am. I’m a genuine philanthropist, all other kinds are
sham. Each little fault of temper and each social defect in my erring fellow
creatures, I endeavor to correct.”

Thus ironically, in more ways than
one, proclaims The royal Gama, King and delightful foil in Gilbert and
Sullivan’s Princess Ida (or) Castle Adamant, now in its second and
final week with The Victorian Lyric Opera Company in Rockville,

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Betty Buckley and the National Touring Company of Hello, Dolly! Photo: Julieta Cervantes

Hello, Dolly! at The Kennedy Center

When the whistles blow and the cymbals crash and the
sparklers light the sky— it’s time to call on The John F. Kennedy Center!
Because this summer they’re raising the roof; they’re carrying on; and you’ll
want to have an old trombone and an old baton before the parade of Hello, Dolly! starring Betty Buckley
passes by! Appearing live for one sizzling summer month on the Kennedy Center’s
Opera House Stage,

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Grease at Toby’s Dinner Theatre of Columbia

I got chills! They’re multiplying! And I’m telling you to go—
‘cause the show that they’re supplying— it’s electrifying! Why, it’s more than electrifying,
it’s Grease lightning! You’re gonna
need to meditate in Toby’s Dinner Theatre of Columbia’s direction for some real
summer lovin’ this 2019 summer season because Grease is the word and Toby’s production is the one that you want.
Directed and Choreographed by Mark Minnick with Musical Direction by Ross Scott
Rawlings,

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A Few Good Men at Stand Up For… Theatre

Whenever
I am assigned to review a show presented by Stand Up For… Theatre, I know for
sure that I am going to be challenged to examine my conscience. For years now SUFT,
the theatrical division of Erase Hate Through Art, has been giving us
productions that challenge us to not only look at the world around us and the
role we play in it, but our perception of the madness that surrounds us.

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Vinegar Tom at Spotlighters Theatre

Sometimes, it’s all in the
timing. When the circles of life coincide with your best efforts, everyone
wins. There is a history of shows that premiered to little or no hoopla, but
when revived later in a different political or social climate, felt way more
relevant and meaningful. The most popular example is Kander & Ebb’s classic
musical Chicago. Opening in 1975
under the direction of Bob Fosse and starring dual leading legends Gwen Verdon
and Chita Rivera,

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Torn Kid at Baltimore Asian Pasifika Arts Collective & Cohesion Theatre

Something
I wasn’t prepared for when I walked into the theater to see Tornkid was
that I would slowly become a part of the play. 
The first scene seemed to have more characters on set than I’m used to
seeing in the introduction to a story, as a series of people sitting on pillows
at the edge of the audience played silent ancestor spirits of the main
characters, clapping their hands to send signs to our hero and narrator,

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Oliver! at St. Gabriel Miracle Players

There’s a little ditty they’re singing in the city— right
here in the city of Windsor Mill!

And if you’ve got the patience, then your imagination will
tell you what you want to hear!

Oliver! Oliver!
Ol-li-ver!
That’s the ditty they’re singing in the city— Oliver! at The St. Gabriel Miracle
Players
, who have produced another miracle by keeping their theatre alive and
thriving in the building that their audiences know and love.

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The Importance of Being Earnest at Silver Spring Stage

During
the late 1800s in London, England – in a climate of prudishness and classism – especially
among the aristocratic elite – playwright Oscar Wilde turned social convention
on its ear by penning his farcical tour de force, The Importance of Being Earnest – subtitled, “A Trivial Play for
Serious People.” Director Bill Hurlbut is currently taking on this scandalous comedy
of manners at the highly lauded Silver Spring Stage,

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Cabaret at Silhouette Stages

The sun on Columbia is summery warm. It’s shining on a
theatre gem. So gather together and see their show. Tomorrow belongs— to them.
Silhouette Stages mounts the production of the season— Kander & Ebb’s Cabaret as Directed by Stephen Foreman,
with Musical Direction by Michael Tan and Choreography by Aime Bell. Truly not
your momma’s Cabaret, this heady and
intoxicating production doesn’t just showcase the darkness burbling readily
beneath the surface of the iconic Kander &

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"Consider Yourself" from Oliver! at Kensington Arts Theatre. Photo: Mark McLaughlin Photography

Oliver! at Kensington Arts Theatre

I’d do anything— for a good show— anything! And despite all
the connotations the come alongside Oliver!
(that it’s dated, that it’s a child’s musical, that it’s a bit rubbish in
music and book, etc.) Kensington Arts Theatre is producing what is arguably
their best show of the 2018-2019 season. Practically perfect, with a few minor
exceptions, this well-heeled production of Lionel Bart’s musical adaptation of
Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist is surprisingly
endearing and loaded with an extraordinarily talented cast.

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(L to R) Anya Lengberye as Jemima, Andrew Wilson as Caractacus Potts, Mackenzie Currie as Truly Scrumptious, and Pilot Earle-Smith as Jeremy in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Jr.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Jr. at Children’s Theatre of Annapolis

They’re more than spectacular! To use the vernacular? They’re
wizard! They’re smashing! They’re keen! Why, The Children’s Theatre of
Annapolis, of course! And their wonderful, phantasmagorical production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Jr. Directed by
Atticus Boidy, with Musical Direction by Trevor Greenfield, and Choreography by
Kristin Rigsby, this fun-filled junior version of the iconic movie-turned-stage-musical
is fun for families, children of all ages, and of course for those forever
young at heart!

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Mamma Mia at Dundalk Community Theatre

“My, my… how can I resist ya!”—Dundalk Community Theatre ends their superb season with a
vibrant and visually stunning presentation of Mamma Mia! “the smash hit musical featuring the songs of ABBA!”
With Direction by John Desmone, Music Direction by Nathan Scavilla, and
Choreography by Gary Dieter, this show is sure to leave you singing &
dancing your way out of the theatre!

Rachel Weir (left) as Tanya, Tatiana Dalton (center) as Donna, and Andrea Wildason (right) as Rosie in Mamma Mia!Amanda N. Gunther | TheatreBloom Rachel Weir (left) as Tanya,

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Love’s Labors Lost at The Folger Theater

For fans of Shakespeare’s comedies, Love’s
Labour’s Lost
should not be overlooked. Often brushed off as a draft for
Shakespeare’s later hits, there is joy and humor in this play that would be
criminal to dismiss. The performers in the Folger Theatre’s current production,
directed by Vivienne Benesch, rise to the challenge at every turn and carry the
audience along for a raucous and heartfelt ride.

The men of Navarre (l to r: Matt Dallal, Jack Schmitt, Joshua David Robinson, Zachary Fine) celebrate a momentous decision in Folger Theatre’s Love’s Labor’s Lost. On stage April 30 – June 9, 2019. Photo by Brittany Diliberto.Amanda N.

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Variations on Myth at Rapid Lemon

In Rapid Lemon’s Variations on
Myth
, director T. P. Huth takes advantage of the emotional ride a series of
ten-minute plays can create if presented in an order that allows them to
strengthen one another. It is too often that a series of smaller plays is
presented as hors d’oeuvres, being consumed individually without thought to if
the first appetizes the audience for the second, whereas this collection of ten-minute
plays formed a cohesive experience.

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1776 at The Woodbrook Players. Photo: Amanda Gunther

1776 at The Woodbrook Players

Somebody ought to open up a window! So that they can hear
the bellowing cries of the second continental congress as they piddle, twiddle,
and resolve over whether or not to start a revolution and declare independence
from Great Britain. Ready for America’s spirited beginnings? The Woodbrook
Players, successfully settled into their new home at Govans Presbyterian Church
on York Road right near Belvedere Square, are pleased to presenting to the
masses their spring musical: 1776!

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