Theater

'Ghost the Musical' leaves mixed impression at the Hippodrome

'Ghost the Musical' leaves mixed impression at the Hippodrome

Psychic powers are not required to detect the problems with "Ghost the Musical," which haunts the Hippodrome this week as part of a national tour.   Read more ...

Arena Stage presents timely premiere of Lawrence Wright's 'Camp David'

Arena Stage presents timely premiere of Lawrence Wright's 'Camp David'

If you haven't yet felt pity for Secretary of State John Kerry, you will after seeing "Camp David," the new play by Lawrence Wright at Arena Stage about the most famous attempt to broker peace in the Middle East.  Read more ...

Single Carrot Theatre delivers an effective 'Memo'

Single Carrot Theatre delivers an effective 'Memo'

Vaclav Havel, the late poet, playwright and president (Czechoslovakia's last, the Czech Republic's first), aimed his satirical eye at bureaucracy and corporate-speak in a play called "The Memorandum." It premiered 49 years ago, way before computers, cellphones, OMG and LOL, but it has hardly lost its relevance.  Read more ...

The stars (and semi-stars) salute Doris Day on her 90th birthday

The stars (and semi-stars) salute Doris Day on her 90th birthday

Doris Day, one of the most versatile and endearing talents in all of show business and one of the most devoted and inspiring advocates for the care of animals, turns 90 today, April 3.  Read more ...

Iron Crow Theatre Company successfully conjures Poe's spirit

Iron Crow Theatre Company successfully conjures Poe's spirit

There is one more week left of "The Homo Poe Show," Iron Crow Theatre Company's daring and ever so cheeky production of four new plays and choreography inspired by Edgar Allan Poe. If you haven't caught it yet, give it a try.  Read more ...

Kneehigh troupe's clever version of 'Brief Encounter' visits Washington

Kneehigh troupe's clever version of 'Brief Encounter' visits Washington

"Brief Encounter," David Lean's 1945 movie based on a Noel Coward play about a thwarted romance, has long been spoken of with great reverence and routinely accorded four-star status.  Read more ...

Celebrating 50th anniversary of 'Funny Girl' on Broadway

Celebrating 50th anniversary of 'Funny Girl' on Broadway

For us Streisand fanatics, "Funny Girl" is an especially big deal. The musical provided an ideal platform for her talents, and she sure made the most of it. (I was too young and too far away to be there, but from the first time I heard the original cast recording, I felt as if I could envision the whole production.)   Read more ...

Musical version of 'Diner' to premiere in December at Signature Theatre

Musical version of 'Diner' to premiere in December at Signature Theatre

Signature Theatre, the ever-adventurous, Tony-winning company with a long track record of launching shows, will celebrate its 25th anniversary season with no less than three world premieres of musicals, including "Diner."  Read more ...

'Twelfth Night' gets inspired updating at Center Stage

'Twelfth Night' gets inspired updating at Center Stage

Something is delirious in the state of Illyria. This fictionalized Balkan setting in Shakespeare's antic comedy "Twelfth Night" has been given quite the makeover in a giddy, irresistible revival at Center Stage.  Read more ...

Rep Stage's 2014-2015 season includes area premieres

Rep Stage's 2014-2015 season includes area premieres

Rep Stage, the professional theater company based at Howard Community College in Columbia, has announced its 2014-2015 season, the first planned by its new co-producing artistic directors Suzanne Beal and Joseph W. Ritsch. Themes of transition and transformation are woven through the season, which includes two works new to the region.  Read more ...

Center Stage's 2014-2015 season goes from 'Amadeus' to Ali

Center Stage's 2014-2015 season goes from 'Amadeus' to Ali

Center Stage will offer a mix of new, nostalgic and musical for the 2014-2015 season.  Read more ...

'Book of Mormon' breaks house record at Hippodrome

'Book of Mormon' breaks house record at Hippodrome

"The Book of Mormon" may not be to everyone's taste (I've had pretty spirited correspondence from some folks who took offense), but the mega-musical had no trouble drawing crowds on its first visit to Baltimore. The result turned out to be historic.  Read more ...

Signature Theatre presents premiere of rocky 'Beaches'

Signature Theatre presents premiere of rocky 'Beaches'

Over the course of 24 years, Signature Theatre has given 42 premieres, 18 of them musicals. This commitment to new work cannot be praised enough, even if it's hard to summon much enthusiasm for the 18th of those musicals, "Beaches."   Read more ...

Everyman Theatre offers atmospheric revival of 'The Dresser'

Everyman Theatre offers atmospheric revival of 'The Dresser'

The well-seasoned, if unsteady, Shakespearean actor known only as "Sir" in Ronald Harwood's 1980 play "The Dresser" has an ego the size of Wales. No surprise there. But he also has enough dependency and self-esteem issues to keep an analyst busy for decades.  Read more ...

Kathleen Turner leads gritty revival of 'Mother Courage and Her Children' at Arena Stage

Kathleen Turner leads gritty revival of 'Mother Courage and Her Children' at Arena Stage

The theater scene in Washington during this frigid winter has been pretty hot. The latest example is "Mother Courage and Her Children," the classic Bertolt Brecht play in a potent revival at Arena Stage starring Kathleen Turner.  Read more ...

$25 tickets for 'Book of Mormon' to be available by lottery at Hippodrome

$25 tickets for 'Book of Mormon' to be available by lottery at Hippodrome

When the national touring production of "The Book of Mormon" hits Baltimore later this month as part of the Broadway Across America series at the Hippodrome, the multiple Tony Award-winning musical will bring a bargain ticket offer with it.  Read more ...

'Peter and the Starcatcher' works its magic at the Kennedy Center

'Peter and the Starcatcher' works its magic at the Kennedy Center

The award-winning "Peter and the Starcatcher" will reach the Hippodrome in May, when I will have more to say on this delectable play. But, having enjoyed it so much on Broadway, I couldn't wait to see it again, so I headed to the Kennedy Center, where the show is running through Feb. 16. Now I can't wait to catch it yet again in Baltimore. Yes, it's that good.  Read more ...

A dazzling 'Importance of Being Earnest' from Shakespeare Theatre Company

A dazzling 'Importance of Being Earnest' from Shakespeare Theatre Company

Not to put too fine a point on it, "The Importance of Being Earnest" is the greatest comedy in the English language.  Read more ...

Arena Stage presents Daniel Beaty's potent one-man play about Paul Robeson

Arena Stage presents Daniel Beaty's potent one-man play about Paul Robeson

Some voices are so unmistakable, so incredibly distinctive that they seem to burn into your memory, even your soul. You don't have to hear such a voice in person; a recording, however old and worn, will do the trick.  Read more ...

Single Carrot Theatre opens new venue with a 'Flu' worth catching

Single Carrot Theatre opens new venue with a 'Flu' worth catching

The good vibrations inside Single Carrot Theatre's new home in Remington are infectious — all the more apt considering that the inaugural production is called "The Flu Season." Stepping into the venue, which once housed a tire repair shop, is a lift in itself. The place is such a far cry from the tiny spot at Load of Fun on North Avenue, where the company had its longest residency. There’s even an honest-to-goodness lobby; the one at Load of Fun seemed to be about three square feet. More important, the high-ceilinged, black-box performance space promises terrific flexibility, while retaining a sense of intimacy. The theater has certainly been put to effective use for the staging of "The Flu Season," a 2003 play by Will Eno that doesn't make anything easy for performers or audiences. This is the sort of heady, elusive work that can bring out the best in Single Carrot — and does. As New York Times critic Charles Isherwood so perfectly put it, Eno "might be called a Samuel Beckett for the Jon Stewart generation." The playwright is preoccupied with the perennial questions of existence and the myriad pressures and rewards of love, but he also has a wicked sense of humor that keeps jumping out at you in unexpected ways. Consider, for example, how one character describes a scene in his head: "Sometimes I see a rickety little house with broken shutters and a tiny swimming pool and I think, 'I’d like to get married, and then get divorced and then live there.' But I never met the right person." There is no neat, linear narrative to grab on to in "The Flu Season," which takes place in "a sort of hospital," as the character identified as Prologue puts it. He tends to be verbally colorful and a bit long-winded. His counterpart, Epilogue, is more the cynical, cut-to-the-quick type. These two figures weave in and out of the play to deliver conflicting takes on the action, so there really is no one way to interpret what happens — or doesn't happen — to the folks inside an apparent mental institution. There, two patients, Man and Woman, form a relationship; two staffers, Doctor and Nurse, do the same. Or do they? To keep things even more unsettled, this is not just a play, but a play about a play. You end up considering different answers, angles and sympathies as scenes unfold. You are kept continually off balance. If there's one company in town that thrives on being off balance (in the best sense of the term, of course), it's Single Carrot. And this production, directed with an imaginative touch by Alix Fenhagen, proves to be involving from its first moments, played in darkness, to its quizzical end. Eno's artfully crafted dialogue is delivered with considerable finesse and nuance by a well-matched cast. Dustin C.T. Morris savors the often florid lines of Prologue. He is just as adept at revealing pain and confusion when things start going awry, and he is left to wonder, "Maybe someone will say something kind." Allyson Harkey does likewise effective work as Epilogue, no time more so than when delivering such chilling observations as, "People get cancer on soft summer evenings, sitting by the radio, looking up words in a dictionary." There are subtle, telling performances from Jessica Garrett (Woman) and Paul Diem (Man). Each expresses as much with their eyes as with their words, capturing the awkwardness of trying to connect with another human being and the complications of succeeding. Michael Salconi and Genevieve de Mahy tap neatly into the quirks and complications of the Doctor and Nurse, who are as much in need of analysis as the patients. The raked stage, designed by Ryan Haase, emphasizes the precipitous condition shared by everyone in this strange world. And Dan Cassin's subtle music adds effective atmosphere to this study in relationships, perceptions and fears. "The Flu Season" is an elusive play, but this staging ensures that you'll carry parts of it home with you.  Read more ...

Musicals to dominate Hippodrome's 2014-15 season

Musicals to dominate Hippodrome's 2014-15 season

The 2014-2015 lineup presented by Broadway Across America at the Hippodrome does not boast blockbusters on the order of this season's "The Book of Mormon." But it will offer several recent Tony Award winners, a couple of dirty dancers and a famous foursome: Lucy, Ricky, Ethel and Fred (or approximations thereof).  Read more ...

Authentic Irish charm in Center Stage production of 'Stones in His Pockets'

Authentic Irish charm in Center Stage production of 'Stones in His Pockets'

No one can beat the Irish when it comes to spinning a yarn. And when they weave threads of satire and bittersweetness in between the humor, we’re talking a little bit of verbal heaven.  Read more ...

Two actors tackle multiple roles, accents for 'Stones in His Pockets' at Center Stage

Two actors tackle multiple roles, accents for 'Stones in His Pockets' at Center Stage

"Stones in His Pockets," a play about an American film company invading a community in rural Ireland, has more than a dozen characters, but only two actors. That means a lot of quick switches between genders, ages and, above all, accents.  Read more ...

'Crimes of the Heart' gets brilliant revival at Everyman Theatre

'Crimes of the Heart' gets brilliant revival at Everyman Theatre

We can’t choose our siblings. But, if we’re lucky, we never want to lose the ties that bind us, even when they hurt a little. Or a lot.  Read more ...

Everyman Theatre marks first year in new venue

Everyman Theatre marks first year in new venue

On Jan. 14, 2013, a crowd gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony on West Fayette Street at the site of what had been the Empire Theatre a century earlier. With a restored, glistening facade and entirely new interior, the venue officially opened as the Everyman Theatre, new home to one of Baltimore's finest cultural assets.  Read more ...

'Gypsy' receives impressive revival at Signature Theatre

'Gypsy' receives impressive revival at Signature Theatre

Rose, the world's scariest stage mother, is at it again — pushing her supposedly never-aging offspring into any spotlight to perform pathetic song-and-dance numbers she concocts; scrimping and conniving to hold the act together from town to under-appreciative town; and, of course, hurling that immortal exhortation, “Sing out, Louise.” If you have never encountered the schlock and awe of Momma Rose, the central force of the classic Broadway musical “Gypsy,” do not hesitate to arrange for an outing to the tucked-away urban village outside the Nation’s Capital where Signature Theatre makes its home. The company's revival makes the 1959 show, based on the memoirs of burlesque queen Gypsy Rose Lee, feel freshly galvanizing.  Read more ...

Center Stage adds Tony-winning Christopher Durang play to season, postpones one by Naomi Wallace

Center Stage adds Tony-winning Christopher Durang play to season, postpones one by Naomi Wallace

There has been a change in the spring lineup at Center Stage. Instead of "The Liquid Plain" by Naomi Wallace, the company will present the Baltimore premiere of Christopher Durang's comedy, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," which won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Play.  Read more ...

Arena Stage presents telling adaptation of 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner'

Arena Stage presents telling adaptation of 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner'

The eternally vexing issue of race in America has been examined and dissected in so many ways by now that it’s hard to say something new. So it’s all the more surprising that a playwright should have managed to generate a fresh take on this subject out of dated material — the 1967 film “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.”  Read more ...

Arena Stage hit 'Velocity of Autumn' heading to Broadway; Molly Smith to direct

Arena Stage hit 'Velocity of Autumn' heading to Broadway; Molly Smith to direct

Eric Coble's dark-funny play "The Velocity of Autumn," a popular and critical success at Arena Stage in a potent production starring Estelle Parsons and directed by Molly Smith back in the fall, is heading to Broadway next April.  Read more ...

Center Stage adds performance of record-breaking 'Civil War Christmas'

Center Stage adds performance of record-breaking 'Civil War Christmas'

"A Civil War Christmas," the extraordinary play with music by Pulitzer Prize-winning Paula Vogel at Center Stage, has broken the theater company's record for single ticket daily gross. That makes it one of the best-selling shows in the 50 years of Center Stage.  Read more ...

'Irving Berlin's White Christmas' spreads good cheer at the Hippodrome

'Irving Berlin's White Christmas' spreads good cheer at the Hippodrome

There should always be room for an old-fashioned burst of holiday entertainment, free of complicated thoughts or challenging philosophy, well stocked with song and dance. "Irving Berlin's White Christmas," now at the Hippodrome, fits the bill nicely.  Read more ...

Center Stage presents vibrant, affecting production of 'A Civil War Christmas'

Center Stage presents vibrant, affecting production of 'A Civil War Christmas'

We have never really stopped fighting the Civil War. Probably never will. But, once in a while, maybe we can all agree that the things that once split the nation apart should not keep us apart now, that there are still things that ought to bind us together.  Read more ...

Broadway-bound musical 'If/Then' features Idina Menzel and problematic plot

Broadway-bound musical 'If/Then' features Idina Menzel and problematic plot

If you like musicals packed with songs delivered by a vibrant cast boasting a certified star at the helm, all surrounded by cool stagecraft, then hasten to the National Theatre for the pre-Broadway tryout of “If/Then.”  Read more ...

'Elf the Musical' comes to the Lyric

'Elf the Musical' comes to the Lyric

Few holiday movies give such cinematic chestnuts as "It's a Wonderful Live" and "White Christmas" a real run for their money, but, every now and then, one takes off. In 1983, it was the wry, nostalgic "A Christmas Story." Twenty years later, it was the cute, disarming "Elf" with Will Ferrell.  Read more ...

'Jersey Boys' is back at the Hippodrome in sturdy form

'Jersey Boys' is back at the Hippodrome in sturdy form

"Jersey Boys," the durable jukebox musical about the Four Seasons, has worked its way back to Baltimore, hanging on to what it's got — a whole bunch of popular songs interspersed with tales of triumph, tribulation and more triumph.  Read more ...

Seeing 'Red': Absorbing play about Mark Rothko

Seeing 'Red': Absorbing play about Mark Rothko

It's talky, contrived and a little creaky, but John Logan's "Red," the two-actor play on the boards at Everyman Theatre, is also remarkably absorbing, even uplifting. Who knew art history could be so much fun?  Read more ...

Folger Theatre opens season with dynamic staging of 'Romeo and Juliet'

Folger Theatre opens season with dynamic staging of 'Romeo and Juliet'

Updated stagings of "Romeo and Juliet" are neither new nor necessarily revelatory, but an imaginative one can make you see and feel the tragedy in a fresh, stronger light, can sweep you up into that fateful vortex where young love collides with stubborn pride and absurd grudges.  Read more ...

Center Stage presents Marcus Gardley's 'dance of the holy ghosts'

Center Stage presents Marcus Gardley's 'dance of the holy ghosts'

The past nips at 72-year-old blues singer Oscar Clifton day and night, especially night, when Viola, the woman he loved and lost 20 years earlier, seems to float back into his life on beams of moonlight. On such occasions, Oscar becomes a willing partner in what might be described as a “dance of the holy ghosts” — the no-caps title of an earnest, if not entirely satisfying, work by Marcus Gardley now on the boards at Center Stage. Gardley calls this “a play on memory,” and it’s partially autobiographical. Much of the piece is set in an African-American community in Oakland, Calif., where Gardley grew up. The character of Oscar is inspired by the poet-playwright’s grandfather; the estranged grandson in the play is named Marcus. Out of things he experienced and stories he heard from others, Gardley has crafted a drama that seeks the roots of family bonds and wounds, of dreams and illusions. Oscar, portrayed with terrific fire by Michael Genet, spent a long time in jail. Now, in a way, he imprisons himself. An outstretched hand looks to him like a menacing knife; the idea of offering his own hand doesn’t easily occur to him. He’s a ferociously proud man (“I was a player long before there even was a game”). He’s also very tense and angry, conflicted about things he did and didn’t do. If there’s one thing Oscar has learned — the hard way — it’s that you “can’t trust the heart. Fails you every time,” he tells Marcus. You can’t trust your recollections, either, but they at least give you something to hold on to when the ground starts to shift. And shift it does, repeatedly, in “dance of the holy ghosts,” right from the moment Marcus arrives with news of a death in the family. Oscar is thrown off balance but is determined not to fall or change his ornery ways and snarky views about almost everyone. Through all the brittleness, it’s clear there’s a heart in this guy, big enough to yearn constantly for Viola, whose own flaws Oscar would willingly forget. He still has music inside him, though his gift for the blues, which once earned him a living, also cost him a bit of his soul. There is meaty stuff in all of this, but a fair amount of fat, too, which weighs down “dance of the holy ghosts” without really adding much scope to the principal characters. Some revelations along the way seem forced or lack emotional pull; not all of the secondary characters or incidents seem crucial (a scene involving a harried priest dealing with unruly kids is especially clunky). And while Gardley weaves some vivid poetry through his punchy, streetwise dialogue (the N- and F-words get a workout), the combination doesn’t always convince. You end up too aware of the process, not fully involved in what the writer is trying to reveal and must surely want the audience to feel. The play’s overly complicated structure is another drawback, involving continual time-travel back and forth through six decades of events and reminiscences. All that shifting could use clearer, tighter focus from director Kwame Kwei-Armah, a little more atmosphere from the staging (Neil Patel designed the two-story set, Michelle Habeck the lighting). Still, the best portions of the piece deliver insights and surprises as Oscar and Marcus slowly battle through their issues, ending up at a point where the notion of reconnecting just might make some kind of sense. The cast gives the play a good lift. Genet’s Oscar is a crackling mix of the edgy, insufferable, sentimental and vulnerable. The actor spits out the spiciest dialogue with gusto (a funny diatribe about black weddings and funerals is a great example), and he can get the more poetic lines to register naturally. He also handles the periodic blues singing convincingly. Sheldon Best does impressive work as Marcus, bringing a distinctive nuance to each of the character’s ages depicted in the play. He deftly conveys the adult Marcus’ self-confidence in such things as filial responsibility and sexual orientation, and he doesn’t hesitate to lecture Oscar on how “lateness is the plight of the Black race.” Best is even better as schoolboy Marcus, awkwardly visiting his grandfather in jail, or fretting over letting a girl borrow his prized possession — a 64-count box of Crayolas, “each strategically placed in its proper place according to color and personality.” Denise Burse, as the spirited Viola, and chandra thomas, as Oscar’s valiant daughter and Marcus’ doting mother, offer sensitive performances that often reveal a kind of music in the text. Doug Eskew takes on several assignments, most tellingly as the genial neighbor Willie, who seems to sense, like Oscar, the haunting possibilities in the moonlight.  Read more ...

Off-beat fare from Single Carrot Theatre, Acme Corporation

Off-beat fare from Single Carrot Theatre, Acme Corporation

The outside-the-mainstream segment of Baltimore's theater world is churning up provocative activity these days. Among the latest examples is "A Beginner’s Guide to Deicide," the opening salvo in Single Carrot Theatre's seventh season. It gives you an opportunity to challenge your long-held religious beliefs, or congratulate yourself anew for not having any. "Skeleton Hearts," a production of three one-act plays from the Acme Corporation, confronts issues of life and death in ways that alternate between poetic, frantic, static and nutty. The audience also gets a good physical workout with this one. "Deicide," a 2005 work by Qui Nguyen and Robert Ross Parker, is basically an overly extended skit fueled by a lot of college-level humor. When, in the second act, the playwrights pile on the philosophy and morals to the story, the effect is not entirely persuasive. But a cheeky, quality holds things together neatly enough. The center of attention is Lucy (who knew Lucifer had such a cute nickname?). She reveals something of Buffy the Vampire Slayer's wryness and drive, in this case directed at wiping out the entity she describes as "God. The Creator, a.k.a. the world's biggest, baddest mofo." Lucy, initially armed with a hatchet and later with a Ninja-worthy sword, proceeds to time-travel backward on her murderous quest. She has a sidekick she calls Skeeter (real name Mary — gee, where have I heard that name before in a religious context?), and the two women experience quite the little history lesson during their journey. Darwin and Joan of Arc are among the colorful characters that pop up. After presenting a couple of plays last season in need of more editing and/or stronger stagings, it's good to find Single Carrot back in the groove with this one. Directed with generally firm momentum by Elliott Rauh, the cast reveals abundant faith in the material. Decked out like a porn vision of a Catholic school girl (costumes by Heather C. Jackson), Lauren Saunders has a helluva romp as Lucy. Britt Olsen-Ecker is funny and sweet as Mary. Chris Dews takes on multiple roles, including two-thirds of the Holy Trinity, with admirable flair. The production provides some droll visual kicks, including a crazy puppet and a street sign marked "Yah Way." There's cool animation, too; an off-the-wall video about a "blue Ninja" is a highlight. Attending the Acme Corporation's triple bill requires climbing a lot of stairs to get to and from the separate performance spaces inside St. Mark's Lutheran Church, which the company calls home. Some patience is needed, too, to absorb the one premiere in the mix, Lola B. Pierson's "Heart Happens.' This slice of theater of the absurd, directed by Ida Daniel, presents three characters that seek or dispense wisdom ("Cleaning is just hiding things from other people"), while dealing with their various needs and fears. The main event is an organ transplant involving plastic sheeting and an electric drill; it made me think of a vintage Supremes song: "Love Is Like an Itching in My Heart." (There is original music by Todor Stoyanov at other points, seeming to parody the Russian "Trololo" song that went viral on YouTube.)  Read more ...

Center Stage inaugurates 'Third Space(s)' project with 'The Container'

Center Stage inaugurates 'Third Space(s)' project with 'The Container'

When Center Stage recently announced its "Third Space(s)" project, designed to introduce fresh works in unconventional venues, the company wasn't kidding.  Read more ...

Estelle Parsons soars in 'The Velocity of Autumn' at Arena Stage

Estelle Parsons soars in 'The Velocity of Autumn' at Arena Stage

Alexandra, who has been feeling all of her 79 years, sits in her Brooklyn brownstone surrounded by bottles filled with flammable liquid. She keeps a Zippo lighter ever at the ready.   Read more ...

'Miss Saigon' gets full-throated revival by Signature Theatre

'Miss Saigon' gets full-throated revival by Signature Theatre

Theater-goers who have been pining for a revival of "Miss Saigon," the musical that gave the creators of "Les Miserables" a follow-up hit that ran for a decade in London and New York, will be happy to know that Signature Theatre has obliged.  Read more ...

Stillpointe Theatre Initiative gets into the swing of 'Hair'

Stillpointe Theatre Initiative gets into the swing of 'Hair'

“Hair,” the counterculture musical that stirred the pot, so to speak, in 1968, is very much a product of its time — Vietnam, dropping out, dropping acid, free love, Hare Krishna. Dated it may be, but it’s got something timeless going on, too, as the enjoyable revival by the Stillpointe Theatre Initiative reiterates.  Read more ...

Center Stage to participate in play project addressing issues of Trayvon Martin case

Center Stage to participate in play project addressing issues of Trayvon Martin case

A set of plays reacting to issues raised by the Trayvon Martin case will be created by seven playwrights with the support of theater companies around the country, including Baltimore's Center Stage.  Read more ...

Midweek Madness gets a kick out of French and Saunders' 'Chorus Line' spoof

Midweek Madness gets a kick out of French and Saunders' 'Chorus Line' spoof

You can "kiss the day goodbye," because Midweek Madness is still in "A Chorus Line" mood after the opening of the revival at Olney Theatre Center. So enjoy this spoof by the fabulous team of Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders.  Read more ...

Olney Theatre Center revives hit musical 'A Chorus Line'

Olney Theatre Center revives hit musical 'A Chorus Line'

UPDATE: The run has just been extended through Sept. 8.  Read more ...

ArtsCentric delivers fiery staging of 'For Colored Girls'

ArtsCentric delivers fiery staging of 'For Colored Girls'

Ntozake Shange shook up the theater world in the mid-1970s with what she termed a "choreopoem," performed by seven women, identified solely by the color they wore. The title of the work was, in itself, theatrical -- "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf” -- and the subject matter almost incendiary for its time.    Read more ...

Single Carrot Theatre names interim artistic director

Single Carrot Theatre names interim artistic director

Single Carrot Theatre, one of Baltimore's most successful out-of-the-mainstream companies, has named Kellie Mecleary as interim artistic director, effective Aug. 1 and continuing through July 2014. She succeeds longtime Carrot member Nathan Cooper, who is heading off to start a theater career in Bulgaria.  Read more ...

Young Victorian Theatre Company breaks in new venue with 'Pinafore'

Young Victorian Theatre Company breaks in new venue with 'Pinafore'

For the last 23 of its 43 years, the Young Victorian Theatre Company made its home each summer on the campus of Bryn Mawr in what was, at best, an adequate performance facility. It had a cramped, low-ceilinged stage, dry acoustics and no orchestra pit.  Read more ...

Elissa Goetschius succeeds Rain Pryor at Strand Theater Company

Elissa Goetschius succeeds Rain Pryor at Strand Theater Company

Last year, the Strand Theater Company, "dedicated to providing opportunities for women actors, designers, directors, and writers," scored quite a coup with the appointment of noted writer and performer Rain Pryor as artistic director in time for its fifth season.  Read more ...

Another musical offering for the Fourth of July

Another musical offering for the Fourth of July

I couldn't resist one more musical blast from the past for the Fourth of July -- this one not quite on the exalted artistic plane of Rosa Ponselle singing the national anthem.  Read more ...

 Rep Stage names Suzanne Beal, Joseph Ritsch co-producing artistic directors

Rep Stage names Suzanne Beal, Joseph Ritsch co-producing artistic directors

Rep Stage, the two-decade-old Equity theater company based at Howard Community College, has named two Marylanders to succeed Michael Stebbins as artistic director. Suzanne E. Beal and Joseph W. Ritsch will serve as co-producing artistic directors.  Read more ...

Olney Theatre Center revives 1930s thriller 'Angel Street'

Olney Theatre Center revives 1930s thriller 'Angel Street'

Even in our LED age, there is still something deliciously spooky about the sight of gas jets getting fainter, for no apparent reason, inside the glass lamps of a lush Victorian parlor.  Read more ...

Sterling revival of 'Anything Goes' lights up Kennedy Center

Sterling revival of 'Anything Goes' lights up Kennedy Center

You may subscribe to the notion that American musicals prior to the arrival of Rodgers and Hammerstein in the 1940s are hardly worth putting back on the stage, since they're just gussied-up revues, heavy on song, dance and stale vaudeville jokes, short on artistic substance.  Read more ...

Kennedy Center unveils new version of 1910 play 'The Guardsman'

Kennedy Center unveils new version of 1910 play 'The Guardsman'

In theater history, the names Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne still register strongly -- the husband-and-wife team enjoyed enormous popularity on the American stage from the 1920s into the '50s. (Some of us, quite wickedly, get a very different image of Lunt and Fontanne, thanks to the duo of "Funt and Mundane" portrayed in terrific skits by Carol Burnett and Harvey Korman.)   Read more ...

Midweek Madness snaps into 'West Side Story' mood

Midweek Madness snaps into 'West Side Story' mood

Fresh on the heels of performing 'Carmina Burana,' which inspired one of the drollest entries yet in Midweek Madness, if Midweek Madness does say so itself, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is about to play a live soundtrack for screenings of the 1961 film 'West Side Story.' So, naturally, that got Midweek Madness thinking about Sharks, Jets, Maria, Tony, feeling pretty -- and "Somewhere" to find a "Cool" way of having fun with all of it. (Yes, this video gets ever so sophomoric in places, but MM is willing to overlook the questionable bits, given the clever stuff in between.)  Read more ...

A worthy revival of 'Private Lives' from Vagabond Players

A worthy revival of 'Private Lives' from Vagabond Players

In terms of enthusiasm for the art form, there is really no difference between community theater groups, with their mostly volunteer corps, and professional companies, with their Actors’ Equity card-carrying cast members.  Read more ...

Iron Crow Theatre closes season amusingly with 'Act a Lady'

Iron Crow Theatre closes season amusingly with 'Act a Lady'

Is there a cross-dresser in every man just dying to leap out and into some lacy outfit: Maybe so.  Read more ...

Baltimore Annex Theater breaks in new home with 'Macbeth'

Baltimore Annex Theater breaks in new home with 'Macbeth'

The city's eclectic theater scene includes DIY-style troupes that cleverly carve out spaces for themselves, sometimes in unlikely spots. Consider the case of Baltimore Annex Theater.  Read more ...

Plays by Pinter, Mamet get vibrant stagings

Plays by Pinter, Mamet get vibrant stagings

In Harold Pinter’s “The Caretaker,” men who seem to have empty centers where their hearts should be engage in a strange dance involving intimidation and entitlement.  Read more ...

Rep Stage sets 2013-2014 season

Rep Stage sets 2013-2014 season

Rep Stage, the fine professional company in residence at Howard Community College (the emphasis is on Equity, not college), will explore vintage and contemporary works during its 21st season.  Read more ...

National tour of 'American Idiot' hits Baltimore

National tour of 'American Idiot' hits Baltimore

“American Idiot,” the 2010 Broadway hit musical — the first punk rock opera, really — now at the Hippodrome, paints a searing portrait of restless, reckless youth, with all the sex, drugs and violence you’d expect from a disaffected generation.  Read more ...

Everyman Theatre offers local premiere of gritty 'Topdog/Underdog'

Everyman Theatre offers local premiere of gritty 'Topdog/Underdog'

Booth, the younger of two brothers in Suzan-Lori Parks' cauterizing play “Topdog/Underdog,” being given a trenchant Baltimore premiere by Everyman Theatre, is determined to perfect the old con game, three-card monte.  Read more ...

Rep Stage revives '60s farce 'Boeing-Boeing'

Rep Stage revives '60s farce 'Boeing-Boeing'

The only thing missing from “Boeing-Boeing,” the 1960s farce about a man practicing polygamy-before-marriage with three flight attendants from three different countries, is a disembodied voice announcing “severe turbulence ahead.”  Read more ...

Center Stage gives Baltimore premiere of  'Clybourne Park'

Center Stage gives Baltimore premiere of 'Clybourne Park'

In Act 1 of “Clybourne Park,” the Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning play by Bruce Norris receiving a potent Baltimore premiere at Center Stage, civility breaks down as white and black characters in a modest Chicago house start talking about the one thing they’d all rather avoid — race.  Read more ...

Vagabond Players revives 1930s farce 'Room Service'

Vagabond Players revives 1930s farce 'Room Service'

According to an old song, there’s a broken heart for every light on Broadway.  Read more ...

Michael Stebbins steps down as Rep Stage artistic director

Michael Stebbins steps down as Rep Stage artistic director

Michael Stebbins, who has guided Rep Stage since 2005, has resigned as producing artistic director, effective May 5.  Read more ...

'50 Shades! The Musical' to play Hippodrome in May

'50 Shades! The Musical' to play Hippodrome in May

The racy, mega-selling novel "Fifty Shades of Grey," by E. L. James, has spawned a stage parody that is heading to Baltimore.   Read more ...

Iron Crow Theatre Company gives Baltimore premiere of Daniel Talbott's 'Slipping'

Iron Crow Theatre Company gives Baltimore premiere of Daniel Talbott's 'Slipping'

With a confrontational streak of fire-red in his hair, Eli cannot help but be noticed when he shows up in an Iowa high school, an unwilling transplant from San Francisco, where his father recently died. Even as he draws attention to himself, Eli does not let people in easily, using a defense mechanism of glibness, mixed with snark, to keep them at bay -- starting with his mother.  Read more ...

'Hello, Dolly!' gets lean and lively revival at Ford's Theatre

'Hello, Dolly!' gets lean and lively revival at Ford's Theatre

Mrs. Dolly Gallagher Levi, widowed too soon and left to her own devices in 1890s New York, turns meddling into a sly, lucrative art. She “arranges things, like furniture and daffodils and lives,” all the while looking out discreetly for No. 1.  Read more ...

Arena Stage premieres Tazewell Thompson's 'Mary T. & Lizzy K.'

Arena Stage premieres Tazewell Thompson's 'Mary T. & Lizzy K.'

Tragedy seemed to stalk Mary Todd Lincoln as surely as it did her husband.  Read more ...

Fells Point Corner Theatre Baltimore-izes 'Les Belles Soeurs'

Fells Point Corner Theatre Baltimore-izes 'Les Belles Soeurs'

In 1936, Clare Booth Luce surprised theatergoers with “The Women,” a snappy — and snapping — play about catty New York socialities and wannabes, performed by an all-female cast. Three decades later, Canadian playwright Michel Tremblay delivered a kind of flip side.  Read more ...

Everyman Theatre stages Tony Award-winning 'God of Carnage'

Everyman Theatre stages Tony Award-winning 'God of Carnage'

We have all seen adults acting — to borrow a song lyric — more like children than children. But, if you’re lucky, you’ve never met anyone quite like the people who spout, spar and spew in “God of Carnage,” the Tony Award-winning Yasmina Reza play currently getting an effective workout at Everyman Theatre.  Read more ...

Acme Corporation presents marathon performances of Beckett's 'Play'

Acme Corporation presents marathon performances of Beckett's 'Play'

The final stage direction in Samuel Beckett's “Play” is “repeat.” The Acme Corporation, one of Baltimore's experimental theater companies, is taking that instruction very seriously.  Read more ...

Center Stage gives world premiere of 'Mud Blue Sky'

Center Stage gives world premiere of 'Mud Blue Sky'

Center Stage seems to have a thing for public accommodations these days. The company’s last play was set in a nondescript motel room. The current one is set in a nondescript hotel room.  Read more ...

Rep Stage presents Samm-Art Williams' 'Home'

Rep Stage presents Samm-Art Williams' 'Home'

For some people, home means wherever they happen to be; one place is as good as another, so long as basic needs are met.  Read more ...

Stefanie Powers brings Tallulah Bankhead to life in 'Looped' at the Hippodrome

Stefanie Powers brings Tallulah Bankhead to life in 'Looped' at the Hippodrome

In the second and best installment of “The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour,” the follow-up to “I Love Lucy,” the guest star is Tallulah Bankhead, playing herself as a new neighbor of the Ricardos and Mertzes.  Read more ...

Chesapeake Shakespeare Company gets boost from Abell Foundation

Chesapeake Shakespeare Company gets boost from Abell Foundation

The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company's future move to downtown Baltimore got a sizable financial boost from the Abell Foundation, which gave the organization $250,000.  Read more ...

Stefanie Powers plays Tallulah Bankhead at Hippodrome

Stefanie Powers plays Tallulah Bankhead at Hippodrome

Here's a cool example of what-goes-around-comes-around:  Read more ...

Everyman Theatre announces replacement for injured actor Bruce Nelson

Everyman Theatre announces replacement for injured actor Bruce Nelson

There has been a change in the lineup for the second production in Everyman Theatre's new home -- Yasmina Reza's bitingly funny "God of Carnage."  Read more ...

Kennedy Center's 2013-14 season showcases hip-hop, international theater

Kennedy Center's 2013-14 season showcases hip-hop, international theater

The Kennedy Center plans to shake up the Foggy Bottom hood next season. As part of its 2013-2014 lineup, the center will showcase a global pop music phenomenon. Really? Shizzle, man.  Read more ...

Arena Stage presents Mary Zimmerman's brilliant 'Metamorphoses'

Arena Stage presents Mary Zimmerman's brilliant 'Metamorphoses'

About 2000 years ago, the Roman poet Ovid completed “Metamorphoses,” his chronicle of ancient gods and goddesses, the mortals who worshiped or dared them, and the transformations they experienced. In this epic work, Ovid delivered a simple, comforting message: “All things change, but nothing dies.”  Read more ...

Single Carrot Theatre breaks in new digs with 'Tropic of X'

Single Carrot Theatre breaks in new digs with 'Tropic of X'

People anxious about seismic demographic shifts already under way in the Western Hemisphere may be a bit unnerved by Caridad Svich’s futuristic drama “The Tropic of X,” receiving its English-language premiere from Single Carrot Theatre — the company’s first venture in its temporary headquarters in the former home of Everyman Theatre.  Read more ...

'Flashdance -- The Musical' has flash, dance, little substance

'Flashdance -- The Musical' has flash, dance, little substance

Somewhere, a halfway decent adaptation of the 1983 hit movie “Flashdance” is fighting to break away from the amiable, strongly performed mess of a show that has arrived at the Hippodrome. Instead, we get an everything-plus-the-kitchen-sink mishmash.  Read more ...

Signature Theatre stages brilliant, bracing 'Shakespeare's R&J'

Signature Theatre stages brilliant, bracing 'Shakespeare's R&J'

In its nearly two dozen years, Signature Theatre has presented a rich variety of works, but none by the Bard -- not that there's anything wrong with that. The Tony Award-winning company has now taken the plunge in a terrific way.  Read more ...