Category Archives: Theatre

Wisdom from Terrence McNally, 1938-2020

Theater suffered a loss this week when the playwright Terrence McNally died at 81, of complications of our current plague, the coronavirus. It was a sad irony since many of McNally’s plays dealt with the effects of a previous plague, AIDS, in the 1980s. His plays, musicals and screenplays, which included “Frankie and Johnny in [...]

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The Last New Play in Washington for Now

It may have been unrealistic to open a new play amid the coronavirus pandemic, but “The Realistic Joneses” did just that on Saturday at Spooky Action Theatre, a group whose name inspires no further confidence (it’s named after Einstein’s term for quantum entanglement – the ability of separate objects to share a condition at a [...]

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When the Riches Ran Out for ‘Timon’

The week the stock market erases its year’s gains may be just the right time to open a not-often produced play about swift changes in fortune. “Timon of Athens” has a home at the Shakespeare Theatre Company if only because it’s one of his lesser-known plays. Long suspected to have been co-written, the splashy production imported [...]

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The Touring ‘Simon & Garfunkel Story’

There is certainly a dramatic story to be told behind the highly successful 60s duo Simon & Garfunkel from a brief high school success that got them on “American Bandstand” to their later 1960s stardom, love/hate relationship and mutual artistic dependence. All of that is barely mentioned, though, in the nationally touring “The Simon & [...]

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A Soulful ‘Motown Christmas’ at Signature

Because Christmas is mandatory on entertainment stages all month, it’s no surprise that a cabaret at Signature Theatre is again devoted to the Yuletide songbook. But in a clever and very welcome variation, they’ve approached the holiday through the classic interpretations of one of America’s favorite labels. “A Motown Christmas” brings together enduring holiday originals [...]

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Dave Chappelle Snares Mark Twain Prize

The 22nd recipient of the Kennedy Center’s Mark Twain Prize for American Humor Sunday was a hometown hero, comedian Dave Chappelle — a perfect pairing, said comic Sarah Silverman, since “you both love using the n-word.” The marching band of his Washington D.C. alma mater, the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, joined in on [...]

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Reviving ‘Merce Cunningham at 100′

Merce Cunningham’s legacy lingers in contemporary dance,  and avant-garde collaboration. He eliminated storylines in dance pieces, concentrated on movement as pointed as abstract art and vaulted modernist music (particularly that of his partner John Cage) to wide popularity. His 50 year presence in the dance world guaranteed his influence continue long after his death a [...]

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‘The Juliet Letters’ Live Again

Running a small opera company requires innovation enough, but Washington’s Urban Arias goes further, by commissioning new works, or finding pieces that are little known or rarely performed and infusing them with reliable company talent that can electrify their purposely small audiences. They’re doing that now by closing their latest season with a performance of [...]

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Channeling Troubled Donny Hathaway

There’s a transcendent moment in “Twisted Melodies,” the one-man Donny Hathaway show by Kelvin Roston Jr. at Mosaic Theater Company, in which the audience and performer are one, singing and clapping to “The Ghetto,” under his direction, and getting a groove on. Already Roston’s Hathaway has broken the fourth wall and recognized the audience surrounding him [...]

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New York City Ballet Forges Ahead

The new artistic director and co-director of the New York City Ballet looked a little nervous Tuesday as they awkwardly welcomed the Kennedy Center audience to their annual week-long residency. Jonathan Stafford and former company star Wendy Whelan, who had been in their new roles less than five weeks, are the first to lead the [...]

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