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Theatre Reviews

People of all ages and great talent bring the Bible to life

       A Broadway-style show with choreography, live music, costumes and professional-grade theatrical lighting may seem a bit ambitious for a church production. Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church in Severn pulls it off beautifully in Children of Eden.

This wonderful production gives us deep emotions and high elation 

        A Chorus Line debuted on Broadway in 1975 and set records by running for more than 6,000 performances. The production now running at Compass Rose Theater, scheduled to close May 20, deserves to set records of its own.

Join Neil Simon and local talent for this lovely and ­nostalgic stroll

 Spring has been dragging its feet across the region, but it’s sprung in Twin Beach Players’ production of Barefoot in the Park. Neil Simon’s lighthearted 1960s’ comedy about the first days of marriage between a free spirited bride and a buttoned-up groom is charming and full of laughs. This smart and masterfully written script sets up silly and wonderful situations fueled by lots of love — and too much Ouzo. 

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? — but because Hufford and his multi-talented, multi-character cast of 12 bring the story to life in sidesplitting ways large and small.

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.”
This theater tells its stories in dance, music and fashion
      It’s a Friday afternoon and opening night for Ballet Theatre of Maryland’s Aladdin is just a week away. Artistic Director Dianna Cuatto is working the company, Maryland’s sole professional ballet, on Act II and tweaking little things — the kinds of gestures, head positions and facial expressions — that will make the performance sing.

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. 

The Colonial Players’ Quartet

        January has its own distinctive doldrums, and above a certain latitude (not everyone retires to the sunny south) and beyond a certain age, these doldrums can feel especially bleak. Talents diminish, good friends move away or pass over, and if those talents and friends were an integral part of your life purpose — especially if they were more of a goad — you can feel quite lost.

A beautiful fairy tale for fish out of water 

     Orphan Elisa Esposito (Sally Hawkins: Maudie) knows hard times. Mute since a childhood throat slashing, she works as an unnoticed janitor at a secret government facility in Baltimore.       Her life ticks by in lonely minutes until agent Strickland (Michael Shannon: Nocturnal Animals) introduces an amphibious humanoid called the Asset. Worshiped as a god in South America, the Asset was captured to add to America’s Cold War arsenal.