Articles by Jim Reiter

If you need a few laughs — and who doesn’t — grab your ticket 

         Colonial Players’ Lucky Stiff, a musical and comic charmer, is organized chaos. It takes precision to do comedy right. Director Eric Hufford’s production is laugh-out-loud funny not just because of the material — c’mon, if you read a story about a dead guy being shown around Monaco in a wheelchair, would you have laughed?...

How much of ourselves must we give up to coexist?

         It’s unusual for a play to have more relevance today than when it was written, but Ayad Akhtar’s Disgraced, which won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for drama, resonates powerfully in the context of current events that have awakened a deep-seated fear of dark-skinned, mustachioed people in many Americans....

Is it real … or just virtual?

       First, the elephant in the room: Sex with Strangers is not about sex with strangers. Rather, it is about the author of a book, Sex with Strangers, created from a blog written by young millennial Ethan, then bedding a different woman each week for a year, on a dare. The play is about Ethan, his attitudes, his trustworthiness and his generation’s seeming inability to connect without being “connected.”

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The acting is tight, the pace is fast, the one-liners fly and people die

      Take some Neil Simon-like one liners, add a dash of the door-slamming slapstick of Noises Off, mix with some World War II political intrigue, a bunch of mistaken identities and hidden passages in a dark mansion, and what do you get? The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940, running through February 24 at the Bowie Playhouse. 
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The grand classic turns intimate 

      Fiddler on the Roof, which hit Broadway in 1964, set longevity records, won nine Tony Awards and has been performed thousands of times by high school and community theaters across the country. It’s usually a big musical with big casts. This month, Compass Rose Theater gives Tevye and his family a more intimate treatment that, in the hands of director Lucinda Merry-Browne, gives us a nice new perspective.

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The Colonial Players’ fresh take on this classic offers laughs, emotion and good doses of nostalgia

       What’s Christmas season without nostalgia? What’s nostalgia except a look back at how things were? Or, for George Bailey of Bedford Falls, a look back at how things might have been?

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What’s old is new again

     In 1925, the so-called Scopes Monkey trial adjudicated creationism versus evolution in a battle of legal titans. John Scopes, a substitute teacher in Tennessee, had been charged with breaking a local law that banned the teaching of evolution. Allowing himself to be used as a test case, he became the subject of one of the most closely followed trials in American history, broadcast across the country by radio....

Hear those old spectacular songs sung by strong new voices

     When Annie Get Your Gun opened on Broadway in 1946, it was a star vehicle for the brassy, trumpet-voiced Ethel Merman. Irving Berlin’s songs became legendary, from the lively There’s No Business Like Show Business and Anything You Can Do to the romantic They Say It’s Wonderful and I Got Lost in His Arms.
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Fake News, 1644 Style

       Mistaken identities, a hero’s fondness for unashamed exaggeration and the quest for love permeate The Liar, Richard Wilbur’s modern interpretation of Pierre Corneille’s 1644 farce, his most famous comedy. Under the deft guidance of director Steve Tobin, Compass Rose Theater’s production is not only well acted and well staged but also an ageless play you want to watch.

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Still playing after all these years? That’s relevance

   There are many reasons that theater classics are classics. In most cases, the reason can be described with one word: relevance. No matter how long ago a work of art was created, its relevance to the human condition makes it timeless. Such is the case with George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, in a funny yet sobering revival at Compass Rose Theater.

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