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Theatre Reviews

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.
Enjoy an evening full of laughs in memory of Neil Simon
      Rumors was the first attempt at a laugh-out-loud farce from fabulously famous playwright Neil Simon, who died last month. It opened on Broadway in 1988 to decidedly mixed reviews. The comic master of character-driven classics — from The Odd Couple to the semi-autobiographical trilogy Brighton Beach Memoirs, Biloxi Blues and Broadway Bound — pulled out every gag in his file drawer for the more plot-driven Rumors. Critics weren’t all friendly.

Follow these young actors through sadness and joy to the fever pitch of the climax

          The Talent Machine Company has done it again. The teens behind The Hunchback of Notre Dame are actors, dancers and singers as impressive as their juniors, who captivated me in 42nd Street.

Come to see not one but three terrific leading ladies 

          Based on the 1980 musical of the same name and featuring music and lyrics by the multi-talented Dolly Parton, 9 to 5 The Musical had a solid pedigree but lasted only five short months on Broadway. Critics blamed the show’s sparse story line wrapped in big budget choreography and musical numbers. Still, the three female leads drew praise.

These kids invite you to both laugh and listen

Theater nourishes many aspects of creativity. Actors, directors, musicians, choreographers, costumers, make-up artists, set designers, tech operators and playwrights all make up every show.

You’re never too young to fall for the magic of theater

 

When I went to see 42nd Street on opening night, I remembered my days as a young actress. When the school play was announced, I would race to the audition. I adored the chance to sing, dance and act as someone that I was not. I became a chorus member, a munchkin, a princess, a sailor and a wardrobe. The stage transported me to fairytale lands and long-past eras. Now I love going to youth theater productions to see where and when these children are transported today.

Irresistible ’90s’ choreography with five singing and dancing guys

Altar Boyz is the This is Spinal Tap of boy bands. As that classic 1980s’ movie mocked heavy metal bands, so does Altar Boyz mock the marketed maleness of the Backstreet Boys, New Kids on the Block and Menudo. But it does so gently, with an affection that softens the satire and allows the audience to appreciate the characters and their story.

2nd Star’s production has it all: unique characters, intertwining stories and beautiful music

       Ragtime began as a novel. Next, E. L. Doctorow’s historical novel published in 1975, was made into a movie.  In 1998, it opened as a Broadway musical with a book by Terrence McNally, music by Stephen Flaherty and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. Set at the turn of the century, it follows the lives of three sets of people: an upper-class white family represented by Mother (Heather McMunigal); an African-American community represented by Coalhouse Walker (Carl Williams); and Jewish immigrant Tateh (Stephen Yednock).

These creative cross-dressers would just like to have fun. But can they? 

      "Men’s clothing is the fashion equivalent of Mexican food: eight ingredients served 75 ways." –Albert/Bessie          Harvey Fierstein’s 2014 Tony-nominated play Casa Valentina, brought to Annapolis by The Colonial Players, invites you to step back to a June weekend in 1962 at the Casa Valentina, a rustic bungalow community in the Catskills.