Category Archives: Theatre

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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On Stage: Dickens with an Irish Twist

Humbug’s my usual reaction when there’s yet another variation of “A Christmas Carol” on local stages this time of year. Can’t someone come up with an original idea for a Christmas play? No such complaints at The Keegan Theatre, where their response is a sublime one, written so deftly it hits the touchstones of the [...]

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‘Anastasia’ Musical at the Kennedy Center

So many Romanovs these days! There’s Matthew Weiner’s Amazon series in which various supposed survivors of the doomed royal line emerges in modern day, with a new episode every Friday. And now there’s “Anastasia,” the popular musical that was just installed for a month-long run at the Kennedy Center. It’s based on the 1997 animated [...]

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‘How I Learned to Drive’ in the #MeToo Era

What was it like 21 years ago when Paula Vogel’s “How I Learned to Drive” premiered off Broadway? It was more shocking, maybe; probably more balanced with laughs; and perhaps challenging in presenting audiences with a story of ongoing, predatory pedophilia from a family member. The D.C.-born playwright had developed it with another D.C. theater [...]

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Way Too Timely ‘Measure for Measure’

The innocent woman who had just been groped by a powerful man intent on defiling her turns to the audience and asks plaintively, “To whom should I complain?” and even more starkly: “Who would believe me?” The powerful man underscores her dilemma. “Who will believe you?” he says. “My unsoiled name, the austereness of my [...]

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Here’s a Terrible Idea for A Play

The new “How to Win a Race War,” at the DC Arts Center, is awful. But The Klunch, the insurrectionist theater group putting it on, wouldn’t have it any other way. The painful endurance test is the work of Ian Allen, a writer, director and Klunch artistic director who has become something of an expert [...]

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What I Saw at Capital Fringe

Once more, there were dozens and dozens of shows this year at Capital Fringe, this time in churches in and around Southwest D.C., already being overrun by All-Star Game activities and the opening of a new soccer stadium. I wrote about a few of them for The Washington Post. Among them were opera and dance, [...]

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