Performing Arts

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.
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.

Annapolis hears two powerful local African American choruses in one weekend

     The civil rights movement raised its courage and renewed its hope on the music of faith that sustained black America through slavery, Jim Crow and oppression. The national Martin Luther King Jr. holiday makes this a weekend to hear that music loud and clear.       Two local African American choruses sing in Annapolis this weekend, both at St. John’s College.  

The grand classic turns intimate 

      Fiddler on the Roof, which hit Broadway in 1964, set longevity records, won nine Tony Awards and has been performed thousands of times by high school and community theaters across the country. It’s usually a big musical with big casts. This month, Compass Rose Theater gives Tevye and his family a more intimate treatment that, in the hands of director Lucinda Merry-Browne, gives us a nice new perspective.

The Colonial Players’ fresh take on this classic offers laughs, emotion and good doses of nostalgia

       What’s Christmas season without nostalgia? What’s nostalgia except a look back at how things were? Or, for George Bailey of Bedford Falls, a look back at how things might have been?

We add another family favorite to our holiday list

      The ghosts of Christmas haunt the Twin Beaches this time of year. One is angelic, one is joyful and one is downright frightening. Yet their messages penetrate to the heart of the season.       The three spirits, characters in Charles Dickens’ classic tale A Christmas Carol, made quite an impression on my family last weekend, as we attended the opening of the final production in Twin Beach Players’ 20th season.

How to sing Messiah for St. James’ sing-along

     On key, according to Michael Ryan, the mighty voice retired from the President’s Own U.S. Marine Band and, later, St. Mary’s College to lead Chesapeake Country in a unique opportunity to sing George Frideric Handel’s most beloved and “accessible” oratorio.

Theater like you’ve never seen it 

     The U.S. Naval Academy’s Masqueraders chose a daring format for their fall play, The Infinite Wrench: USNA Style.       The Infinite Wrench, according to its creators, the Chicago-based Neo-Futurists troupe, “is a mechanism that unleashes a barrage of two-minute plays for a live audience.” In each theatrical experience, 30 plays delve into the topics of the day as the performers have experienced them.