Articles Tagged With: Lynn Joslin

The Bridges of Madison County at Red Branch Theatre Company

Love is always better. But what if you choose the path of love in hopes of escape? A simple girl, bereft of her fiancé from the war, desperate to escape Italy takes the first American GI that comes along and settles a life in farm-country Iowa. She tends the husband, raises two children, and cooks the dinner. They say a picture is worth 1,000 words; what then must the photographer who takes that picture be worth when he shows up like a breath of fresh air disrupting her routine,

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Dreamgirls at Toby’s Dinner Theatre

And I’m telling you— you ARE going to Toby’s Dinner Theatre this autumn to see Dreamgirls. It’s more than just a dream— it’s a fantasy come true with sparkle, energy, enthusiasm, and raw talent that will blow you away. Dreamgirls, appearing live on the Toby’s stage as the fall musical of the 2017 season, is filled with the heart and soul of the 60’s and 70’s,

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Memphis at ArtsCentric

Listen to the beat and you’ll hear what’s in their soul! Live from the center of your radio dial— just at the tippy-top end of Station North coming to you directly from The Motor House— ArtsCentric is bringing you the sensational smash hit musical Memphis. Directed by Kevin S. McAllister with Musical Direction by Cedric D. Lyles and Choreography by Torens Johnson, this stellar production is the music of your soul like you’ve never heard heart and soul and rock and roll and rhythm and blues before.

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Lysistrata Jones at Red Branch Theatre Company

Oh, citizens of Columbia! What can a theatre give but love, love, love? And what can theatergoers do but watch, watch, watch? All’s fair in love in war at Red Branch Theatre Company as they bring the zany, high-octane musical Lysistrata Jones to their stage to jumpstart the back-half of the 2017 season! Directed by Stephanie Lynn Williams with Musical Direction by Dustin Merrell, this modern musical adaptation of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata is a summer sizzler fierier than the heat of Hades!

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The company of Into the Woods at Montgomery College Summer Dinner Theatre

Into the Woods at Montgomery College Summer Dinner Theatre

Careful what you say…people will listen! Careful the things you do…people will see! I’m saying to you, go to the woods of Montgomery County…therein you will find an enchanting production of Into the Woods at Montgomery College Summer Dinner Theatre! They’re being mighty careful with this finely honed production, celebrating their 40th anniversary year of providing a quality summertime theatrical experience with talents students aplenty. Directed by Walter Ware III,

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Montgomery College Theatre Department's cast of Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night at Montgomery College

Foolery does walk about the orb like the sun; it shines everywhere and in particular a wandering fool walks about the Montgomery College Theatre Department’s production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. No ordinary walker, this rambling rover, this folk-faring peregrinator, this witty fool with foolish wit, along with his ever-playing guitar and Bob Dylan songs, becomes the focal point of this production, shifting the lens through which the audience views the world and existences of Viola,

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Nicki Elledge (center left) as Belle and Jeremy Scott Blaustein (center right) as Lumiere in Beauty & The Beast

Beauty & The Beast at Toby’s Dinner Theatre

Ma chere Mademoiselles— and monsieurs— it is with deepest pride and greatest pleasure that Toby’s the Dinner Theatre of Columbia welcomes you tonight. They invite you to relax, to pull up a chair as they proudly present Disney’s Beauty & The Beast. Be— their— guest! Be their guest! Put their service to the test! With exquisite food, a stunning show— here you’ll only get the best! They’ve got song!

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The fireside is blazing bright, and they’re caroling through the night! This Christmas will be a very special Christmas— just so long as you head over to ArtsCentric, now residing at The Motor House in Baltimore’s Station North Arts District, and celebrate the holiday season with their production of Sincerely, Holidays. The third in the Sincerely series, Conceived and Directed by Kevin S. McAllister, this beautiful musical revue celebrates African-American holiday musical traditions and is so full of joy that you’ll be bursting at the seams with the holiday spirit before the evening is over. With Musical Direction by Cedric D. Lyles, this joyous event is cause for celebration; you’ll leave with your heart filled by the true spirit of Christmas. With a simple set by Lee Lewis to put folks in the holiday mood— a tree, some presents, a giant teddy bear— the orchestra, led by Musical Director and Arranger Cedric D. Lyles, gets set right across the back of the play space so that everyone in attendance can really see and feel the passion and intensity with which the four-piece band (Jordan Chase on guitar, Kevin Ellis on percussion, Michael Kellam on bass, and Lyles at the keys) puts forth when they play. Lighting Designer Lynn Joslin runs away with the wild illuminating tools needed to really pump up the experience when it comes to lighting this show. Using all sorts of special colors and blends, Joslin finds the right feeling for each of the chapters of the show on either side of the intermission and gets that underlying aesthetic firmly cemented in place to properly compliment the performances as they happen. Director Kevin McAllister, who also outfits the cast in fabulously fashionable threads of the season, divides the show up into six chapters, three on either side of the intermission. The logical progression of this show structure keeps the audience engaged in the total experience. There’s a good old fashioned holiday sing-off and show-down between the ladies and the gents in the opening section of the show, as well as tribute to variety show hosts that features Nat King Cole and various guest stars. Like all of the performances in the Sincerely series, McAllister includes a bit of audience interaction and improvisation to showcase the versatility of his performers. This section also includes some crooning and singing outside of the holiday scope, which is a nice way to further display the range of styles the performers can achieve. The back side of the show includes a gospel section, which McAllister uses to open up the second act. Feeling much like a true holiday service in a very spirited church, Christmas hymns flood the stage and the inspiring heartfelt sentiment behind these songs carries in waves to the audience. McAllister includes a deeply sentimental message of peace and love in the middle of the second act as well, reminding everyone about the true spirit of Christmas. Closing out the show with a lively upbeat finish, it becomes an all-inclusive sing-a-long with just the right vibe to get the house bouncing and singing along, making for the perfect conclusion to the much-needed joyful noise of the evening. McAllister presents not only music but the history of the music with carefully crafted narrative speeches to introduce each of the segments as they roll along, delivering heartfelt tributes to the artists with projections of their likeness on the screen as well. Musical Director Cedric D. Lyles, who keeps the keys rocking from the moment starts right through to the engaging and energetic finale, is a masterful leader when it comes to the energy, tonality, and overall functionality of the show’s music. Whether guiding the girls or the guys through their blended harmonies, pairing them off against one another in the musical show-down that kick-starts the show, or focusing more intently on duet harmonies like during the “Some Day at Christmas” segment of the show, Lyles gets the perfect sound echoing out of these nine performers. Adding his own delectable voice to the mix for various songs in the opening segment— like “That’s What Christmas Means to Me” where he wails away— Lyles gives a well-rounded performance as both singer and player from his spot back-center stage in the pit. Nine other performers lend their exceptionally talented voices to the performance, blending and mixing together for group sounds throughout that are filled with the joys, elations, and spirits of the holidays. Kymon George Carriker, Bryan Jeffrey Daniels, David Hammett, and Marquis James make up the gentleman’s section of the performance duos in the opening section of the show while the quintet of ladies, featuring Kelli Blackwell, Denae’ Fielder, Raquel Jennings, Shayla Lowe, and Pam Ward, hold their own against these jovial gents in the sassy and ferocious sing-out showdown. All nine of the performers are not only talented of voice but fleet of foot and exceptionally well-motivated to move to Choreographer Shalyce Hemby’s enriching dance routines. Featuring a world of two-stepping style that does a great many eras of musical styling justice, Hemby finds a great deal of choreographic movement that is custom tailored not only to the musical numbers featured in the show but also to the talented skills that each of the performers brings to the stage. A special shout-out is well deserved by Miss Jaya Cuffie, who appears just before the Whitney Houston tribute and dances a beautiful ballet while Raquel Jennings sings “Who Would Imagine a King?” Jennings, who possesses powerhouse vocals like the other eight members of the company, really sparkles when she takes the lead during “Santa Bring Me a Man for Christmas.” Falling on the floor in soul-searing desperation, Jennings brings an inferno of fire that fuels her vocal expression for this number, driving home that need and sparking up a fire that would roast everybody’s holiday chestnuts! Singing and bouncing in the background for the introduction of Nat King Cole and his variety show, Jennings blends her vocals divinely in moments when others are meant to be the leader of the scene. Pushing with enthusiasm in all of the group numbers that the girls carry in the beginning, Jennings is a radiant streamer of vocal tinsel, a shiny and illuminating addition to the Sincerely, Holidays tree. Pam Ward, who features as a wonderful fourth in the quartet— “Who Took the Mary out of Christmas?”— with Kelli Blackwell, Cedric D. Lyles, and Denae’ Fielder, is a fierce vocal talent to have in the mix of the holiday production. Riffing and wailing away in duet with Shayla Lowe for their solo features during one of the gospel hymns, Ward showcases her vocal prowess with ease. Lowe, who gives the narrative introduction to the variety show segment, does her finest character work when appearing on the Nat King Cole show as Pearl Bailey. Complete with the intoxicated personality and physicality to match, Lowe pays fine homage to the larger than life personality with her song and stumble routine in this moment. But her crowning moment of vocal glory is the duet that she shares with Kymon George Carriker. Bringing the house to tears— even choking up their fellow performers on stage— Carriker and Lowe sing a blended rendition of “Someday at Christmas/My Grown Up Christmas List”, which calls to the forefront of everyone’s mind all of the strife we face in the world and how peace and love is what we really need. Carriker, who is an adorably cherubic addition to the cast, showcases a great deal of character work in both the improv section of the show—near the end of the first act— as well as at the top of the second act when the gospel portion of the program gets underway. Getting to put his vocal talents on display in the non-holiday section of the show, where he takes turns with other performers crooning and serenading various audience members on stage— Carriker proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that he’s got the vocal chops to run with the big kids when it comes to this holiday revue. David Hammett, who catches the eye frequently throughout the program but especially with his dancing during the “Little Drummer Boy” call and response portion of the first chapter, is another crooner who takes his moment in the spotlight outside of the holiday numbers. Much like Carriker, Hammett really puts his skills on display when it comes to putting the moves on the audience members, both during the interactive portion and the dance party near the show’s end. Denae’ Fielder is a sassy vixen whose rendition of Eartha Kitt is purrrfect! Sidling into the role during the variety show segment, her version of “Santa Baby” does the legendary singer a great deal of justice. Performing with even greater justice in her tribute to Whitney Houston, Fielder’s voice shines during “I Miss You Most at Christmastime.” A delight as both a soloist and ensemble singer, Fielder fits perfectly into the quintet of girls featured in the show. As does the boisterous and vocally proud Kelli Blackwell. With a soulful voice belting to the heavens— particularly during the finale of “Joy to the World” where she sings along and invites the audience to sing into her microphone with her (an ultimate and thrilling experience if you’re fortunate enough to have it!)— Blackwell is a singing sensation all throughout the show. But it’s her wild and wicked rendition of the worm as ‘grandma Kelli’ in the improv section that is most memorable. Or her shenanigans with her flute and then later with her angel wings; Blackwell has such a blast of a good time that her jubilant spirit is simply contagious! Marquis James and Bryan Jeffrey Daniels are in mini competition all their own for show-stealer when it comes to the performances they are laying down. James and Daniels are both exceptionally gifted of voice and with emotional expression when it comes to singing. Their character work in this production is what has them really standing out. James rocks onto the scene during the variety act as Louis Armstrong, delivering a sensational rendition of “’Zat You, Santa Claus?” and really gets that smooth verve going in that number with his highly stylized delivery. Second only to his Prince tribute near the end of the performance— where Daniels gives a stunning rendition of “Purple Rain”— his homages are aces all throughout the show. But Daniels squeaks ahead by just a hair when it comes to show-stopping, scene-stealing moments. With Nat King Cole being the mildest of his over-the-top performances, Daniels is well recognized for his vocal ability in this character as well as his wailing falsetto as Michael Jackson in the Jackson 5 cover of “I Saw Mommy Kissin’ Santa Claus.” Daniels’ wild attitude informs a great many of his numbers and characterizations, keeping the show full of holiday hilarity. It’s the feel-good show of the season. There is love, joy, happiness, and heartwarming sentiment that just cannot be beat. It’s what the world needs, especially this time of year, and you’ll leave feeling relieved and full of the grace of the holidays! It’s a show that must be seen, it’s the show that the holidays are begging for. Don’t miss Sincerely, Holidays this Christmas at ArtsCentric, you’ll find yourself more in the true spirit of Christmas if you do. Running Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes with one intermission Sincerely, Holidays plays through January 1, 2017 at ArtsCentric on the main stage of The Motor House— 120 W. North Avenue in the Station North Arts District of Baltimore, MD. Tickets are available for purchase at the door or in advance online.

Review: Sincerely Holidays at ArtsCentric

The fireside is blazing bright, and they’re caroling through the night! This Christmas will be a very special Christmas— just so long as you head over to ArtsCentric, now residing at The Motor House in Baltimore’s Station North Arts District, and celebrate the holiday season with their production of Sincerely, Holidays. The third in the Sincerely series, Conceived and Directed by Kevin S. McAllister, this beautiful musical revue celebrates African-American holiday musical traditions and is so full of joy that you’ll be bursting at the seams with the holiday spirit before the evening is over.

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Review: Heathers The Musical at Red Branch Theatre Company

Color me stoked, Heathers The Musical has turned up on the stage at Red Branch Theatre Company this summer. The second show in their season entitled “Paint it Red” and makings its area debut and regional premiere, Heathers is based on the iconic 80’s cult film by Daniel Waters. With Book, Music, and Lyrics by Kevin Murphy & Laurence O’Keefe, this biting dark comedy will worm its way into your heart— if not your funny bone— before the ending,

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Spring Awakening at ArtsCentric Summer Institute

All shall know the wonder of purple summer who are lucky enough to have attended the ArtsCentric Summer Institute’s production of Spring Awakening. Presented as a final showcasing of the Summer Institute’s hard-working students under the Direction of Artistic Director Kevin McAllister and Musical Director Cedric D. Lyles, this stellar production of young performers brings their radiant vocal talents to light in a show that rings true for adolescents of today despite being set in a time long ago.

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Review: Hairspray at Toby’s Dinner Theatre

Styles keep a changing, the world’s rearranging, but Toby’s Dinner Theatre is timeless as can be! Welcoming in the 60’s with their superior production of Hairspray, the summer stage-blockbuster is marching in through the front door in Columbia and is ready to shimmy and shake-up all of the theatergoers in the area. Directed and Choreographed by Mark Minnick with Musical Direction by Ross Scott Rawlings, this sensational production is the must-see musical of Baltimore’s hot season!

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Review: Parade at TYA Senior Teen Company at Drama Learning Center

Set in Atlanta in 1913, a Brooklyn-raised Jewish man by the name of Leo Frank is put on trial for the murder of 13-year-old Mary Phagan. Already guilty in the eyes of everyone around him, a sensationalist publisher and a janitor’s false testimony seal Leo’s fate. His only defenders are a governor with a conscience, and, eventually, his assimilated Southern wife who finds the strength and love to become his greatest champion.  Based on true historical events and adapted for the stage by an acclaimed playwright (Alfred Uhry – Driving Miss Daisy) and composer/lyricist (Jason Robert Brown – Songs For A New World,

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Review: Peter Pan at Toby’s Dinner Theatre

There’s no happier thought than magic and wonder and enchantment, especially not when it comes to the theatre! A place beholden of wondrous talent, magical moments, and enchanted evenings, Toby’s the Dinner Theatre of Columbia is now proudly presenting a timeless family classic with their production of Peter Pan. Directed by Toby Orenstein and Mark Minnick, with Musical Direction by Brandon Fullenkamp, this lively time-honored treasure will spark fond memories of childhood for the young and young at heart.

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Review: Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street at Red Branch Theatre Company

Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention paah-leeeease? Are your bones all aquiver and tingling as well with the prospect of seeing some Sondheim done well? Yes, they are, I can tell! Well, ladies and gentleman, that sensational musical show, with a cast full of talent and musical force, is here in Columbia nat’rally of course, well it’s ready to go, and trust me I know. Ladies and gentleman, you can’t imagine the rapture and rage on the Red Branch Theatre Company Stage!

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Review: Dogfight at Red Branch Theatre Company

You’re going to have some kinda time at Red Branch Theatre Company this fall as they swing their way into the season with Dogfight, a musical with Book by Peter Duchan and Music and Lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Directed by Stephanie Lynn Williams, with Musical Direction by Dustin Merrell, this evocatively haunting and tragically beautiful musical shows the caliber of talent that RBTC possesses when mounting a show.

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Review: Ragtime at Toby’s Dinner Theatre

Giving the nation a new syncopation, Toby’s the Dinner Theatre of Columbia proudly presents a masterful production of the treasured Ahrens and Flaherty musical Ragtime. Rolling on the wheels of a dream, the production is Directed by house Artistic Director Toby Orenstein and Co-Artistic Director Lawrence B. Munsey. With Musical Direction by Ross Scott Rawlings, this evocative, soul-searing musical brings forth a hunger for justice and presents to theatergoers all across the Columbia and greater Baltimore and Washington Metropolitan areas a sensationally talented cast with earnest heart and emotional depth.

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Review: Legally Blonde at Montgomery College Summer Dinner Theatre

What you want! What you want! What you want— is right in front of you— at Montgomery College Summer Dinner Theatre with their production of Legally Blonde. A sizzling summer sensation, this peppy energetic movie-based musical is the perfect way to round out the 2015 summer season. With lively musical numbers, enthusiastic performances across the board, and a touching and humorous story that will leave your heart glowing pink,

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The Company of Into the Woods at Toby's Dinner Theatre

Review: Into the Woods at Toby’s Dinner Theatre

Opportunity is not a lengthy visitor and the opportunity to catch one of Stephen Sondheim’s most popular musicals is equally brief at Toby’s the Dinner Theatre of Columbia this summer. With magic that defies description, Into the Woods tumbles fairytale classics onto their ear in this thrilling and adventurous family-friendly musical. Co-Directed by Toby Orenstein and Mark Minnick, with Musical Direction by Ross Scott Rawlings, this heartfelt Sondheim classic grants wishes and proves that right and wrong don’t matter in the woods.

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Review: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum at Montgomery College Summer Dinner Theatre

Comedy, at last! Having lost their opening night to a power failure, the students of Montgomery College Summer Dinner Theatre came roaring back with energy, style, and verve. A Funny Thingis a very, very funny thing. Directed by Walter Ware III with Musical Direction by John Henderson, this modern reimagining of Roman farces features songs by Steven Sondheim. The opening number, “Comedy Tonight” gets off to a roaring and hilarious start,

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Review: Eat the Runt at HCC Arts Collective

Outrageously delicious satire is being served hot as the main course over at the Howard Community College Arts Collective this spring as they present Avery Crozier’s Eat The Runt. Directed by S. G. Kramer, this zany upended play without pronouns is a brand new breed of comedic chaos that features a different cast every night! You read correctly: eight actors, eight characters but no two shows are quite the same! With a scintillating whirlwind script this installation of theatrical insanity ensures a night of rip-roaring comic displacement that will have you wriggling to the edge of your seat.

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(L to R) Shaun Mykals, Jhermaine Drakeford, Joseph Eldridge, Bryan Jeffrey, Cedric D. Lyles, and Tavonne Hasty

Review: Sincerely, Men at ArtsCentric

Music is our saving grace; we can save the world through music. Though it’s said that the sequel is never as good as the original, ArtsCentric is defying that logic with their new musical revue Sincerely, Men. Following the smashing success of last summer’s production of Sincerely, Me, the all female version of African-American artists who have had a strong influence in shaping music through the decades,

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Review: It’s A Wonderful Life at Howard Community College Arts Collective

No man is a failure who has friends. At this festive time of year it is easy to lose sight of such a simple message among all the decorations and holiday events. Howard Community College’s Arts Collective reminds us of the true joys of Christmas with their resplendent production of It’s A Wonderful Life. Directed by Gareth Kelly and Anthony Scimonelli, this heartwarming classic is reimagined to the stage in a most spectacular fashion.

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Les Misérables at Montgomery College Summer Dinner Theatre

One show more! Another theatre another production of the epic musical Les Misérables. It is the summer of revolution and no theatre wishes to be left behind in this magnificent pursuit of the musical theatre dream show. The Montgomery College Summer Dinner Theatre is no exception to that dream as they mount their barricade in the month of July. Directed and Choreographed by Pauline S. Grossman with Musical Direction by N.

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‘Shrek’ at Toby’s Dinner Theatre

Once upon a time there was a little place called Toby’s Dinner Theatre that was nestled in the wooded highlands of Columbia, Maryland. And during their 35th year they decided to mount a little musical called Shrek. It was a pretty impressive musical, with Music by Jeanine Tesori and Book and Lyrics by David Lindsay Abaire. Fairytales, well you’ve never heard or seen one quite like this, but there’s a freak flag to wave for everyone at this up-tempo,

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