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Theatre Reviews

Sit in on a debate with the highest stakes

      In 1943 Munich, a small group of college students calling themselves The White Rose risked their lives to distribute leaflets condemning the actions of the Nazis during World War II. In 1991, playwright Lillian Garrett-Groag wrote a dramatic play of the same name, now playing through November 16 at Colonial Players.

Staging the Bible is a big production

     Straight from the pages of the Bible’s Book of Genesis, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is a natural fit for Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church in Severna Park. The upcoming production follows on the church’s previous success of biblically themed Godspell in 2017 and Children of Eden in 2018. 

A Killer Comedy

     Joseph Kesselring’s 1939 black comedy Arsenic and Old Lace ran for 1,444 performances on Broadway. Even better known was the 1944 film adaptation starring Cary Grant. The production now appearing at Colonial Players nods to both, with director David Carter cleverly balancing the look of an old black-and-white movie with the impact of live, and in this case hilarious,  theater.

Cast of pumped teens leap with energy into newpaper’s good old days

      Back when everybody read newspapers, early morning hours brought the newsboys out, each huffing and puffing with a fresh, hot paper in their hand. Talent Machine’s teens reprise those days in the company’s newest production, Newsies, a musical that delivers.
        Amelie was a well-received 2001 movie about a young girl in Paris whose penchant for whimsy could not be stopped by a misdiagnosis of a weak heart. As she grows up, Amelie finds that orchestrating good luck for those around her is fun, but there is also that little matter of finding her own happiness.

Come (if you can) for the play, stay for the party

     For their end of summer blowout, The Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre has brought the magic of the Aegean to Maryland with Mamma Mia.       From the moment that Sophie (Karlee Allen) steps out onto the blue-lit dock and wistfully sings I Have a Dream, the audience is transported to a Greek island for an evening of dancing, singing and fun.  

Local playwrights get together for last hoorah

     Colonial Players’ latest performance, Generations, lives up to its namesake. The play marks the end of a generation.

Decisions — and life — put to music

 

     Jason Robert Brown is a Tony Award-winning composer, lyricist and playwright best known for his work on Parade, The Bridges of Madison County, and The Last Five Years. Prior to those successes, Brown in 1995 debuted the self-penned Songs for a New World, a musical revue now playing at Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre through July 20.

2nd Star Productions’ Gypsy Rose Lee is Vaudeville, baby!

 

     If it’s challenging to walk in the shadow of greatness, treading in two great shadows is daring. It’s an achievement of another order of magnitude to shine your light so brightly as to blend all three images into a moment of greatness. That’s what it was like watching Debbie Barber-Eaton play Rose, as in the mother of Gypsy Rose Lee, the hallmark, powerhouse role for both the late great film star Rosalind Russell and for stage virtuoso Ethel Merman.

Like ice cream on a hot day

 

      It takes a little chutzpah and a lot of hard work for a community theater to try to perform Crazy for You with the original Broadway choreography. With plenty of both, Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre has scored. The dancing awes, and the music and singing soars, riveting the audience for a full two and one-half hours (plus a 15-minute intermission).      Crazy for You takes us back to the 1930s with music by George and Ira Gershwin performed by a nine-piece live orchestra.