All stories by Bob Ashby on BroadwayStars

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Rueful romance in ‘Now and Then’ by Upcounty Theatre by Bob Ashby

Sean Grennan’s Now and Then, receiving its East Coast premiere courtesy of Upcounty Theatre in Germantown, Maryland, deals in regret anticipated and recollected, and inquires about the pos…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 08:48AM
Monday, December 23, 2019

A Powerhouse Performance of Handel’s Messiah by NSO at The Kennedy Center by Bob Ashby

At the outset, I will confess a bias: I much prefer listening to baroque pieces played in the style, and on the scale, of the time in which they were composed. Handel’s 1741 oratorio Messi…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 10:42AM
Saturday, December 21, 2019

A ‘My Fair Lady’ for today at the Kennedy Center by Bob Ashby

The character arc that carries Lerner and Loewe’s classic My Fair Lady belongs to Eliza Doolittle, as she rises from flower girl at Covent Garden to the belle of the embassy ball, from fer…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 04:07PM
Sunday, December 15, 2019

Scena Theatre’s ‘The Dead’ presents quiet desperation at Christmastime by Bob Ashby

Based on a renowned short story by James Joyce, The Dead, now being presented by Scena Theatre, is a slice of the lives of polite, quiet desperation lived by genteel middle-class Dubliners i…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 09:08PM
Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Mosaic Theater’s ‘Eureka Day’ puts immunization in the hot seat by Bob Ashby

In Samoa, 68 people – mostly children – have died of measles in recent weeks, victims of an abysmally low immunization rate resulting, in significant part, from misinformation spread on …

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 12:32PM
Monday, December 9, 2019

IN Series’ ‘L’Enfance du Christ’ follows the Holy Family’s journey as refugees by Bob Ashby

Hector Berlioz’s mid-19th-century L’Enfance du Christ is not quite an oratorio in the most familiar sense of that term. Nor is it quite an opera. Written piecemeal over many years by a c…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 03:15PM
Wednesday, November 27, 2019

A well-conceived ‘Curious Incident’ at Round House Theatre by Bob Ashby

“Curious” is the operative word in the title of Simon Stephens’ The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, now playing at the Round House Theatre. The protagonist, teenager Chr…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 12:01AM
Sunday, November 24, 2019

Venus Theatre’s ‘The Powers that Be’: fighting the double bind by Bob Ashby

Venus Theatre’s staff don’t open the house until immediately before The Powers that Be begins, presenting audience members, as they take their seats, with the evening’s most arresting …

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 10:25PM
Monday, November 18, 2019

Virginia Opera’s ‘Il Postino’: No “Scary Modern Music” Here by Bob Ashby

Virginia Opera’s artistic director Adam Turner, in his program note for contemporary composer Daniel Catán’s Il Postino, hastens to assure audiences that the company is working to dispe…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 02:42PM
Monday, November 4, 2019

‘Sweat’ at Silver Spring Stage: a precise portrayal of workers caught in a rip tide by Bob Ashby

I’ve never been to Reading, PA, the location of Lynn Nottage’s searing 2015 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Sweat, now playing at Silver Spring Stage, but my life has been bracketed by livi…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 12:48PM
Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Mosaic’s ‘Theory:’ an embodiment of ‘wokeness’ besieged by Bob Ashby

Canadian playwright Norman Yeung’s Theory, in its American premiere at Mosaic Theater, seeks to be, in the words of Mosaic’s press release, “a hot button play for our digital moment.…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 09:25AM
Monday, October 28, 2019

Murder most melodic in Reston’s ‘Gentleman’s Guide’ by Bob Ashby

Getting killed multiple times in a single production can be great fun (my personal best is three). In Reston Community Players’ (RCP) A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Patrick Grah…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 11:38AM
Saturday, October 26, 2019

Thoughtful ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ at Arena Stage by Bob Ashby

How do you put a human face on a difficult, complex subject the natural habitat of which may more likely be a law review article than a stage? Such is playwright Sharyn Rothstein’s task in…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 08:08AM
Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Constellation’s “Little Shop” Puts the Horror Back in Horticulture by Bob Ashby

From its beginnings as a very low-budget 1960 Roger Corman B-picture horror flick (a young Jack Nicholson had a minor role), Little Shop of Horrors has been an irresistible salad of corrupte…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 01:20PM
Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Review: ‘Disenchanted’ at Creative Cauldron by Bob Ashby

Snow White is bossy. Cinderella is a ditzy dim bulb. Sleeping Beauty not only sleeps a lot but snores. Belle is going nuts from talking to inanimate objects. Mulan likes girls.   Just what …

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 09:50AM
Saturday, October 5, 2019

Review: ‘The Royale’ at Olney Theatre Center by Bob Ashby

Black early 20th-century celebrity heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson has had as irresistible a pull on subsequent playwrights and filmmakers as he did on the public of his day. Alrea…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 08:45PM
Monday, September 23, 2019

Review: ‘The Finger’ at Venus Theater by Bob Ashby

Ambiguous loss that binds two people together while pushing them apart. Incompatible paths of grief that alienate each other’s only source of connection. The dominating presence of someone…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 01:58PM
Sunday, September 22, 2019

Review: ‘Cats’ at The Kennedy Center Opera House by Bob Ashby

Andrew Lloyd Webber catapulted to unprecedented West End and Broadway success with his musical extravaganza Cats, based on a 1939 collection of light verse by the otherwise modernist poet, T…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 11:42AM
Sunday, September 15, 2019

Review: ‘Beauty and the Beast’ by The Arlington Players by Bob Ashby

After a highly successful animated film, a long-running Broadway show, a live-action movie version, various spin-offs, and innumerable theme park, cruise ship, and school productions, the Di…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 08:41PM
Saturday, September 14, 2019

Review: ‘Helen on Wheels’ at Best Medicine Rep by Bob Ashby

The central character in Best Medicine Rep’s (BMR) DC-area premiere of Cricket Daniel’s Helen on Wheels, Helen Wheeler (Liz Weber), is a 74-year old Oklahoma widow full of vim, vigor, an…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 02:36PM
Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Review: ‘Legally Blonde’ at the Keegan Theatre by Bob Ashby

In this summer of our discontent – what with unchecked climate change, racist politics, and mass murders – a bit of cheer in the form of a frothy tale of a privileged white girl who, thr…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 10:08PM
Sunday, July 28, 2019

Review: ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’ by Baltimore Shakespeare Factory by Bob Ashby

Baltimore Shakespeare Factory’s (BSF) production of The Merry Wives of Windsor, directed by Tom Delise, delivers the “merry” promised in the title. The wives – Alice Ford (Emily Clas…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 10:04PM
Monday, July 15, 2019

Review: ‘The Few’ by Unexpected Stage Company by Bob Ashby

The American interior West has long been a favored setting for stories about loneliness. The visual emptiness of vast open spaces – think of your favorite John Ford film – and the emotio…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 11:16AM
Sunday, July 14, 2019

Review: ‘American Spies and Other Homegrown Fables’ by The Hub Theatre by Bob Ashby

Playwright Sam Hamashima is described in his program bio as working in the “collision  between his queer identity and his Japanese-American identity.” In American Spies and Other Homegr…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 09:28PM
Monday, July 8, 2019

Review: ‘A Welcome Guest: A Psychotic Fairy Tale’ by Michael Weller at Contemporary American Theater Festival by Bob Ashby

Eat your heart out, Christmas Carol. Hang up your dancing shoes, Nutcracker. Change the channel on reruns of It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s Christmas in July in Shepherdstown, as the Contem…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 02:41PM

Review: ‘Antonio’s Song/I Was Dreaming of a Son’ by Dael Orlandersmith and Antonio Edwards Suarez at Contemporary American Theater Festival by Bob Ashby

The Antonio in question is Antonio Edwards Suarez, the writer (with Dael Orlandersmith) and actor in this one-man autobiographical piece, part of the Contemporary American Theater Festival i…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 02:11PM

Review: ‘My Lord, What a Night’ by Deborah Brevoort at Contemporary American Theater Festival by Bob Ashby

My Lord, What a Night, a new play by Deborah Brevoort at the Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, explores the relationship between two 20th-century greats…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 01:52PM
Sunday, June 30, 2019

Review: ‘Matilda’ at Olney Theatre Center by Bob Ashby

A young hero in her own story who redeems the lives of others around her, the title character in the musical adaptation by Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin of Roald Dahl’s novel Matilda uses h…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 07:45PM
Monday, June 17, 2019

‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ by the Rude Mechanicals at the Greenbelt Arts Center by Bob Ashby

Tennessee Williams famously wrote fragile female leads: Laura, delicate and easily shattered; Blanche, already defeated before she is forced to rely upon the kindness of strangers. Not so wi…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 11:14PM
Sunday, June 9, 2019

Review: ‘Princess Ida’ by The Victorian Lyric Opera Company by Bob Ashby

Princess Ida, now being presented by The Victorian Lyric Opera Company (VLOC), is something of an odd duck in the Gilbert and Sullivan repertory. It has three acts, the dialogue is in blank …

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 03:21PM
Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Review: ‘A Misanthrope’ at WSC Avant Bard by Bob Ashby

The audience didn’t stop laughing all night. Between Matt Minnicino’s rhyming couplet- filled, witty, knowing, sometimes bawdy adaptation (or, as he would have it, “distillation”) of…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 01:51PM

All that Chat

2019-2020 BROADWAY SEASON
Oct 06: Slave Play
Feb 01: The Minutes
TBA: Blue