A musical interpretation of prejudice, sexism, identity struggle and adolescent conflict can truly blend together in a raw, poignant batch of emotion, as the performers of "City at Peace" show. The problems that plague the teens in the show could not be any more different, yet somehow these teens are able to relate to one another on multiple levels. This adaptation of authenticity clearly plays out on the stage, as the group's performance "Disguise the Limits" shows the remarkable ability of youth to organize and cooperate.
For every little girl who ever watched Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" and promptly dragged her mother to the Disney Store in search of a yellow sparkling dress identical to that of her princess idol, reliving the beloved childhood classic on stage years later is a dream come true. Too much pressure for a high school production? Apparently not for directors Kelly O'Connor and Miriam Plotinsky who captained the Blair production of the stage adaptation of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast." Opening with an attendance-office blowing sold-out show, the cast and crew gave the audience a true happily ever after.
In his time, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would have been analogous to the writers of the hit TV series CSI. Perhaps that is why a sold-out crowd filled Round House Theatre for the Lumina production of Doyle's "The Hound of the Baskervilles." The adult cast took on the widely known persona of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in their first story, and the result is something surely even Doyle would have enjoyed.
As the curtains unfurled to reveal Magnet Arts Night (MAN) 2008 on Feb. 1, a strange sense of déjà vu seemed to permeate the Blair auditorium.
The Verizon Center is filled with uncontrollable anticipation on Nov. 16 as fans jostle for room to sit, security guards sweat in the heat of the crowd and cameramen scurry to set up for perfect shots. The lights slowly dim and one man exuberantly takes the circular stage that is plastered with his popular "Sufi" symbol. This man automatically becomes the center of attention in the sold-out venue. He is one of extraordinary talent, multifaceted jokes and the charisma of a young and goofy child. This man can only be Dane Cook.
"A Comedy of Errors," one of Shakespeare's earlier plays, is a farcical tale of mistaken identities that requires utmost excellence in physical comedy. Given this tall order, the Montgomery Blair Players did not fail to entertain their audience throughout the night.
The Bard. For many theater-goers, this name evokes images of delightful comedies of error and mistaken identity. We owe the cross dressing star-crossed lovers and half-assed actors (literally) to the guy. But thanks to the Shakespeare Theater's sanguine rendition of "Titus Andronicus," Shakespeare's bloody Roman vengeance plot, audiences will now surely associate The Bard with severed limbs pie and deathly circles of revenge.
The stage is dark, the tension in the audience high. A loud thwack echoes across the stage, the lights flashing on, revealing a prominent figure dressed in rich robes, smiling triumphantly. So goes Robert Bolt's classic tale of faith, God and honor, "A Man For All Seasons," recently performed at the Church Street Theater by The Keegan Theater production group.
Think the big bad wolf, Cruella DeVille, and the two ugly stepsisters for a minute. All these characters have gone down in the history of storybooks and animation as the image of inherent evil. But is it fair to agree with this assessment without hearing their side of the story? The musical "Wicked" gives The Wicked Witch of the Witch from the classic book and movie "The Wizard of Oz" an opportunity to redeem name. Hitch a ride on a flying house and take a trip down the yellow brick road of Oz to learn the truth about the infamous Wicked Witch of the West in the magical musical "Wicked."
It is a timeless story, one that audiences can envision occurring just as easily today as four centuries ago. It is one of the most renowned tales of our time, told by the most famous playwright the world has known. It is a play ripe with all the ingredients of the perfect tragedy; betrayal, revenge and murder shape Shakespeare's "King Lear", one of the prolific playwright's eminent dramas. The Folger Theatre, in collaboration with the Classical Theatre of Harlem, demonstrates just how eternal "Lear" is in its powerfully charged take on the classic, and director Alfred Preisser offers a fresh perspective by setting the story in the mystic culture of ancient Mesopotamia.
John Kerry tells a joke that actually gets laughs. George Bush retells the chicken-crosses-the-road story as a metaphor for "cutting and running." A "joke-off" between these two political figureheads hosted by a Barbara Walters look-alike might seem unusual, but never on the stage with The Capitol Steps, a performance group of 30 actors and musicians that thrives on comic satire of, as the actors put it, "vicious scandals" in the political arena.
Five very different women sit it front a window, each wearing a strikingly similar, hideously ugly salmon and azure dress. Each shoots a different glare at the unseen Tommy Valentine, a known womanizer and dreadful scoundrel. Although ability and drive is required to pull off this multifarious play and do it justice, the Pine Players acting troupe achieves just that in their production of Alan Ball's "Five Women Wearing the Same Dress."
High school Christmas plays at Blair can be hit or miss propositions. Yet this year — as was confirmed by the audience's enthusiastic reception — the winter's play is definitely a hit. From the heartwarming opening scene to the dramatic closing(s) of the curtain, Blair's rendition of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" steals our hearts and tucks us comfortably into that cozy place we reserve for holiday memories and traditions.
Holding a performance outside is always a risky idea; between the biting bugs, unpredictable weather and complicated acoustics, audiences are usually scarce. For Shakespeare Theatre Company's "Pericles," though, open-aired Carter Baron in Rock Creek Park provides the perfect setting. Instead of detracting from the performance, the mystique of the woods adds to the sense of intimacy the humorous play conveys. Skillfully acted and creatively directed, "Pericles" is a wonderful experience and, best of all, it is free.
Just as Laurence Olivier was born to be on the big screen and Ginger Rogers was born to dance, Blair senior Joe Lorenz was born to light up the stage. He did just that in the Pine Players' production of Robert Bolt's "A Man For All Seasons" with the help of other talented Blair students. Although the entire cast of the Pine Players' production was fabulous, Lorenz, who played the lead role, Sir Thomas More, carries the play from ordinary to extraordinary.
When Blazers think about musicals, usually "cheesy," "Disney" and "singing animals" come to mind. Any thoughts concerning plays evoke an intense loathing for some and blissful joy for others. This year's spring musical, "Crazy for You," manages to combine exciting musical numbers with an enjoyable plot, while tactfully avoiding the use of petite forest animals.
There have been countless Jewish plays written; some great, some mediocre. Very few, however, have been able to define the struggles of an entire time period while, at the same time, appealing to a universal audience. Zelda Fichandler, Founding Director of Arena Stage, achieves this goal with Clifford Odets' "Awake and Sing" in her return to Arena Stage in over a decade.
New York City, the Great Depression: people are out on the street, money is impossible to come by and everyone is struggling to make ends meet. This grim setting is the embodiment of Clifford Odets's surprisingly life-affirming classic "Awake and Sing." Though the play's cast of characters, a down-on-their-luck Jewish family, face the same hardships of everyone else in their crashing city, their story is one of perseverance and will—a story which D.C.'s Arena Stage captures masterfully in their new production.
For true devotees of the national pastime, the season is never long enough. Washington fans are no different — after a 33-year drought of strikeouts, home runs, and stolen bases finally lifted from the nation's capital, a six-month season played in a relic of a stadium was not nearly enough to quench their thirst, especially since the Nats finished last in their division.
Very few plays have the ability to captivate an audience for three hours. Even fewer plays can claim having a fantastic cast as well as beautiful sets. There is only one play that can make Victor Hugo's 1000 plus pages of "Les Misérables" seem like only a half hour of pure bliss.
The SGR Spectacular, featuring over 20 different original Blair acts ranging from Step team and Middle Eastern dancers to Kiltics and Fashion Club, took place in the SAC on Friday, Nov 16. The event, which began around 6:50, aimed to raise money for the Invisible Children's Fund (ICF), which helps Ugandan children who are abducted by the nation's resistance army.
As far as "the Scottish Play" is concerned, there have been so many different interpretations that it is hard to keep any production original. Regardless, Lumina Studio's production of "Macbeth" managed to shed light on a unique perspective of the play with a talented and barefooted cast.
William Shakespeare's comedies are simple; few plays could be easier to comprehend. Almost all contain the basic elements of misdirected love, mistaken identity and a set of twins, and the combination usually leads to an amazing show. The Montgomery Blair Players did just that, turning out yet another Shakespeare classic in a delightful and interesting performance.
There was a distinct feeling of anticipation on Friday, May 13 in the Warner Theatre as people packed into their seats to wait for comedian Margaret Cho to take the stage. The audience's expectations weren't let down either. Cho engaged viewers with the hysterical, smart and outrageous performance everyone had hoped for.
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