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Arts and Culture (Theatre Reviews)

See the miracle four young student actors achieve with the guidance of pros

Imagine for a moment that you can neither see nor hear, that you careen through life as an animal trapped in a silent, black maze.Omnipotent beings collude against your wild frustration until only your savagery can wear them down enough to earn you meager bribes and scraps of their exasperated affection. Such is the life of six-year-old Helen Keller.
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Starting over can be very funny

Chapter 2, now at Colonial Players of Annapolis, is Neil Simon’s comedy about the blossoming of a new relationship in middle age, when starting over means stepping away from your past. Since it is Neil Simon, it is very, very funny.
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Kleenex needed for this unrequited romance about the surprise of the human condition — as we all know it.

Love Letters is a simple show about a complex relationship chronicled through 50 years of letters. It needs, playwright A.R. Gurney says, “no theater, no lengthy rehearsal, no special set, no memorization of lines and no commitment from its two actors beyond the night of performance.”
    If those actors happen to be a couple? All the better.
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Anyone who is human or has ever been in love finds themselves reflected in these characters

Twin Beach Players have staged Theater at the Beaches since 1997, when the traveling nomads in search of a home debuted with A Christmas Carol.
    In 14 years, they’ve brightened life at the Beaches. All with never a home of their own. And at prices lower than you’d pay to see a movie.
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Superb casting, sumptuous costumes, stunning sets and whimsical dance can transcend even the flimsiest plot

Remember Nelson Eddie and Jeanette MacDonald singing Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life, At Last I’ve Found You in their 1935 debut film, Naughty Marietta?
    No?
    How about Madeline Kahn in Young Frankenstein?
    Ah, I thought so.
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You’ll have to think outside the apartment to solve Bowie Community Theatre’s mystery

Bowie Community Theatre takes you through so many twists and turns in Murder by Misadventure that trying to keep up could be hazardous to your health.
    With only four characters and one the police inspector, the 50-50 chance of guessing the murderer could have killed the mystery before final curtain.
    It survives — though not all the characters do.
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The dysfunctional family of this fractured fairy tale is the medieval equivalent of trailer park trash in a neighborhood populated by Grimms’ all-stars.

Ladies: Did you grow up on Cinderella dreams? How did that work out for you?
    Gentlemen: Is the prince for real?
    Parents: Which frustrates you more — the Disney princess culture or books such as the best-selling Cinderella Ate My Daughter that denigrate it?
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A new approach to winter cheer

The writing in Becky’s New Car is very funny, the Bay Theatre actors very talented. Still, it’s all in service of making adultery funny and survivable with no damage done.
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You’ve two more weekends to grab this corner of the sky.

Pippin, a deceptively complex and challenging musical, gets a strong interpretation by 2nd Star Productions. With music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (Godspell) and lyrics by Roger O. Hinson, it recounts a fantastical tale that ultimately comes home to rooted values.
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Louisa May Alcott’s classic is perfect for young romantics as well as nostalgic mature ladies

Louisa May Alcott’s classic Little Women is one of those novels you either love or love to forget. It’s sweet or cloying, buoyant or overblown, fiery or flagging — and so is the musical, Colonial Players’ last offering of 2011....