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Arts and Culture (Theatre Reviews)

Big entertainment with 17 singers and dancers, 30 songs and dances and 100 costumes

Swing! was a gusty and lusty blast from the past on Friday night at Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre. At 53 degrees with gale-force winds, it felt like Winter Garden Theatre. President Carolyn Kirby said she hadn’t seen the like since the cast were babes. But as the program notes, “Swing was never a time or place — it has always been a state of mind.” In the end, mind triumphed over season.
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This cabaret of pop, Broadway and opera tunes is a fun potpourri

Theater 11 is the 2003 creation of 11 artists from the Anne Arundel County theater and music scene, devised to bring new or rare works to local audiences. They began with a seldom seen Wendy Wasserstein play, followed by two original works by local authors. Their stage went dark after two seasons while its members focused on life’s larger needs. But their vision never died....

See for yourself in three days of Compass Rose Theater’s New Play Festival

A three-ring circus excites us with more than we can possibly take in with only two eyes.
    A three-act play relies on incitement, complication and resolution.
    Compass Rose Theater’s New Play Festival promises three days of ambition, achievement and aspiration.

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Interesting. Very interesting.

In stereotype, the Victorian era is dark and overbearing, peopled with prudish and stodgy citizens. That stereotype gives the required context for Sarah Ruhl’s In The Next Room or The Vibrator Play....

A brilliant staging of Arthur Miller’s moving tribute to bonds that bind

Sometimes you want a simple beach novel to bide away the time, and sometimes you want to be in the presence of a master who can control language, inflection and develop great profound meanings. If you are in the latter mood, Bay Theatre’s production of Arthur Miller’s The Price is the show to see.  In The Price, Miller revisits the family dynamics he explored in Death of a Salesman....

Unspoken passion simmers behind courtly manners in this gem of pop culture from a bygone era

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.
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Three surprising sources combine to make comedy

Theater starts with the written word, comes to life in the voices of actors and endures in the memory of its audiences. Sometimes, as with Carl Sternheim’s The Underpants, written in 1910, it gets forgotten until someone rediscovers it, reimagines it and breathes life into it — as comedian Steve Martin did for The Underpants in 2002.
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Playing thru Mother’s Day, this study in maternal dysfunction should be required viewing for everyone but childless orphans

Can an estranged grandmother, mother and daughter find grace in time to rebuild their family? This is the question Compass Rose Theater poses in their promotion for Lee Blessing’s Eleemosynary, an award-winning play that takes its name from an obscure word in a spelling bee dictionary. Appearing now through Mother’s Day, this study in maternal dysfunction should be required viewing for everyone but childless orphans....

You’ll laugh until you ache, then laugh some more

Four affluent couples gathered in a posh suburban residence for a dinner party to honor friends’ 10th anniversary celebration find mischief surrounding the event.
    There are no servants: How can the party continue? The hostess is missing. So is the host — the deputy mayor of New York City — who has reportedly shot himself through the earlobe.
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See a Congress of courage and passion, theater of vision and great musical entertainment

In 1969, Peter Stone and Sherman Edwards created 1776, a compelling historical musical. (Have those three descriptive words ever before been used together?) Their play depicts the debates, passions and courage it took to craft the Declaration of Independence and start along the path to creating this new country, the United States of America.
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