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Theatre Reviews

Is the theft of your story a crime?

In Dignity Players’ long list of morality plays, Collected Stories is the crowning achievement. When a writing student mines her teacher’s private life for material, artistic license crosses the line from inspiration to confiscation. So says acclaimed author Ruth Steiner (played by Carol Cohen) of the transgression of heretofore-beloved student Lisa Morrison (Sarah Wade). Lisa claims she did only what her mentor taught her.

Bad Dates is a good night out

In theater terms, when an actor talks directly to the audience, it’s known as breaking the fourth wall. When Janet Luby does it in Bay Theatre Company’s latest, she’s not so much breaking a wall as she is opening a door. Through that door we join her as she shares her life, her attempts at love and a lot of laughs.

Don’t miss this gem of the American stage

Thomas Wolfe famously said, “You can’t go home again.” A decade before coining that phrase, he showed us why in his 1929 debut novel Look Homeward Angel. This thinly veiled memoir of a tumultuous youth in his mother’s Dixieland Boardinghouse made him a pariah in his hometown of Asheville, North Carolina, and a literary star to the rest of the nation. The 1958 stage adaptation by Ketti Frings won every major prize for American drama that year, and it still rings true and relevant.

Come to feel, think and applaud

Many theater companies are neither willing nor able to move from a bubbly musical directly into a disturbing death-row drama based on real life. Colonial Players is the exception, following November’s Annie with Coyote on a Fence.     Coyote on a Fence is what Colonial calls an “arc” show, more challenging than usual and typically appealing to a smaller arc of patrons. Opening night proved that this production is deserving of larger, not smaller, audiences.

Grunge, hip-hop and Gen Y angst color this whimsical romance where mortals meet magic

The Annapolis Shakespeare Company has shaken up the Bard to magical effect with a 1990s’ setting of A Midsummer Night’s Dream that is da bomb! Grunge, hip hop and Gen Y angst color this whimsical story of romance, mischief and enchantment in Fairyland, where mortals meet magic and are none the wiser for it.

Everybody gets into the spirit

Mayhem meets knee-slapping ­comedy when the Herdmans collide head-on with the Christmas story.     Barbara Robinson’s Christmas alternative — it’s no Christmas Carol — is a good choice for Twin Beach Players: Both have to do with a small town where everybody has a part to play in making Christmas.

A perfect orphan for the holidays

Leapin’ lizards, Annie, how do you still break hearts after 35 years, even when we know what’s coming? It’s not just your heart-warming premise or sweet songs, your adorable mutt or Vaudevillian villains. It’s the magic of a cast so sincere and invested that two hankies are not enough for Colonial Players’ family holiday classic.

Nothing here but wit, and that aplenty

Of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest 1895 premiere, critic William Archer wrote in The World newspaper, “What can a poor critic do with a play which raises no principle, whether of art or morals, creates its own canons and conventions and is nothing but an absolutely willful expression of an irrepressibly witty personality?”     Wilde’s irrepressible wit lives on, irresistible to even the tradition-revering United States Naval Academy’s oldest club, the Masqueraders.

A moving Veterans Day tribute to World War II wives

Mid-20th century, the weekly magazine was the premier delivery of news, culture, values, information and all things current. Photo-laden Life Magazine was one of the stalwarts. The Cover of LIFE — written by Louisiana native R. T. Robinson in 1992 — recalls that era.

Not up to Twain’s standard

Good theater, like good fiction, convinces the audience to suspend its disbelief, and Mark Twain’s genius was his ability to convey place and personality with such unblinking realism that we embrace his story no matter how far-fetched. In The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, that meant accepting that Tom (John Patterson), a kid from a good home, could be best friends with the town delinquent, Huck Finn (Erik W.