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Theatre Reviews

Shakespeare, like, totally amped for the ‘80s

         The plays of William Shakespeare are often placed into more modern settings, and there couldn’t be a better match than The Merry Wives of Windsor and the 1980s. Shakespeare’s comedy stars Sir John Falstaff, who embodies the excess, greed and bombast of a decade that spawned Reaganomics, conservatism and MTV.

Making all the right moves

         With music by former ABBA band-mates Benny Anderson and Bjorn Ulvaeus and lyrics by Tim Rice of Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita fame, Chess made a hit with its 1984 concept album. Not only was the music exciting and unique, the story of two chess grandmasters playing for their countries was perfectly timed as an allegory to the then-current Cold War tensions between Russia and the U.S.
Colonial Players unleashes female star power past and present
      Playwright Lauren Gunderson’s Silent Sky is a humorous, heartwarming and thought-provoking play about ­Henrietta Leavitt, an astronomer at the Harvard Observatory in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

The Accident Bear would be your chance

       Bob Bartlett teaches playwriting, screenwriting, dramatic literature and theater theory at Bowie State University. He’s also deeply involved in the theater world in and around the Washington, D.C., area and beyond.          A few years back, Bartlett lived in historic Annapolis and found himself every Thursday lugging laundry up Maryland Avenue to the Avenue Laundromat. He’d sit near the front window and read and write while the washer churned.

Freshened 20th century classic delivers message of hope 

        Long before Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas, legendary director Frank Capra gave us It’s A Wonderful Life. The holiday perennial most of us have seen a dozen times is now being performed by Twin Beach Players.

Can glimpses of a dark future inspire change — in time?

                    Why has the U.S. Naval Academy’s Masqueraders, its drama club, chosen Endgame, an absurdist play about the futility of existence, as its major production of 2018?

An enjoyable adventure for preteens just in time for Halloween

      Twin Beach Players take us on a time-traveling adventure with an adaptation of The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, the father of science fiction. Wells’ oft-told tale is now 125 years old.       In Wells’ telling, “the time traveller,” is a scientist; Twin Beach Players playwright Mark Scharf features Wells himself as that main character, time-traveling scientist. Regan Garnett directs the production.

Everyone has a story — which makes a long play

       Don’t blame yourself if you’ve never heard of The Babylon Line, the second show of Colonial Players’ 70th season. It opened off Broadway in December 2016 and closed after just seven weeks.          Playwright Richard Greenburg chose the title from the Long Island Railroad’s line. In 1967, Aaron Port rides that line to reverse commutes from New York City to Levittown to teach an adult-education writing course. Port’s own writing career has not taken off; he needs the money.

Compass Rose Theater creates a small, intimate miracle

       Darkly comic and spookily erotic, Venus in Fur, David Ives’s play within a play, is Compass Rose Theater’s offering this October.          A storm rages outside as writer/director Thomas Novachek  (Joe Mucciolo) complains on the phone about his day to his fiancée. He has seen 35 actresses, and not one is capable of playing Vanda. “They bring props,” he rants, “whole sacks of costumes. Whatever happened to femininity?  Bring along some of that, please.”

The classic movie splashes to life

         In 1952 Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds teamed up on what was to become the top film musical ever made, according to the American Film Institute: Singin’ In the Rain. The story centers on the transition in the 1920s from silent film to talkies, and of course features that unforgettable title song, choreographed by Kelly complete with a drenching rain. The movie became a Broadway musical in 1985, lasted about a year, and has been making the rounds of local theaters since.