All stories by John Harding on BroadwayStars

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Review: ‘The 39 Steps’ at Rep Stage Co. by John Harding

For Rep Stage Co.’s The 39 Steps, disaster is never more than one step away. With only four actors re-enacting an entire vintage spy movie right before our eyes and assuming some 140 diffe…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 02:59PM
Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Review: ‘Come From Away’ at Baltimore’s Hippodrome Theatre by John Harding

Ideally, Come From Away should be seen in the round, with the audience gathered so close by that it can share the claustrophobia, fear and love of all those grounded passengers. It’s a pit…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 11:24AM
Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Review: ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ at Toby’s Dinner Theatre by John Harding

Tucked inside the new live musical retelling of Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame at Toby’s Dinner Theatre is an altogether wonderful concert staging that should not be missed. T…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 12:48PM
Thursday, April 4, 2019

Review: ‘The Book of Mormon’ at the Hippodrome Theatre by John Harding

Ticket holders for The Book of Mormon national tour had better be prepared to exercise a muscle that doesn’t get much of a workout these days — the one that controls the “personally of…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 11:33AM
Saturday, March 2, 2019

Review: ‘Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992’ at Rep Stage by John Harding

Thanks to some first-rate shape-shifting at Rep Stage, Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 is almost as much a work of animation as it is a documentary. Oh, and let’s not forget magic act. Daniell…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 03:46PM
Saturday, February 2, 2019

Review: ‘Gypsy’ at Toby’s Dinner Theatre by John Harding

We can hold our breath but we’re never likely to get another musical as perfect as Gypsy. Sixty Broadway seasons ago it caught the unique charms and pathology of show business in a magic b…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 03:45PM
Thursday, January 24, 2019

‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ at Baltimore’s Hippodrome Theatre by John Harding

With a winning young actor in the lead role, any ticket to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is good as gold. Eleven-year-old Rueby Wood made the perfect Charlie Bucket the night we attended…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 10:23AM
Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Review: ‘Anastasia’ at The Hippodrome Theatre by John Harding

There’s nothing wrong with Anastasia: The New Broadway Musical that a little modern relevance wouldn’t cure. It certainly looks sensational inside the grand proscenium framing of Baltimo…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 04:11PM
Friday, November 30, 2018

Review: ‘The Little Mermaid’ at Toby’s Dinner Theatre by John Harding

The Little Mermaid is bringing big waves of happy little faces to Toby’s Dinner Theatre. Whether they come adorned in magical gowns with sparkling tiaras or sneakers that light up with…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 04:03PM
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Review: ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ at The Hippodrome Theatre by John Harding

The spirits of displacement and change hang heavily over Fiddler on the Roof these days. What keeps it all from becoming, well, dispiriting is the heartfelt humanity evident in every timeles…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 02:20PM
Sunday, November 4, 2018

Review: ‘Things That Are Round’ at Rep Stage by John Harding

The mental province that stretches from magical thinking to ordinary self-delusion is given a new survey in Callie Kimball’s Things That Are Round, now having its world premiere via the Eq…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 11:54AM
Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Review: ‘Les Misérables’ at the Hippodrome Theatre by John Harding

The Hippodrome Theatre has bookended its 2018 season with a pair of heavy-lifting musicals about democracy and revolution. For openers, it has that 30th-anniversary touring production of Les…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 07:10PM
Sunday, July 8, 2018

Review: ‘Mamma Mia!’ at Toby’s Dinner Theatre by John Harding

Just months after finishing its final pro tour, Mamma Mia! has hit us closer to home at Toby’s Dinner Theatre. In the hands of Director-Choreographer Mark Minnick, the pro caliber of this …

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 01:53PM
Thursday, June 7, 2018

Review: ‘On Your Feet!’ at the Hippodrome Theatre by John Harding

Politics may have played a key role in driving the future Gloria Estefan from her home in Cuba and positioning her for eventual world acclaim in Miami. But politics hardly merit an “air gu…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 01:19PM
Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Review: ‘An American in Paris’ at the Hippodrome Theatre by John Harding

Think of the latest “new” Gershwin touring show up at the Hippodrome Theatre — An American in Paris — as a G.I. “jukebox musical” with legs. About a hundred of them, it seems. An…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 01:26PM
Sunday, April 29, 2018

Review: ‘True West’ by Rep Stage by John Harding

America lost its most distinctive theater voice of the 1980s with the passing of Sam Shepard. But that voice still resonates through works like True West, getting a welcome return by Rep Sta…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 02:43PM
Saturday, April 14, 2018

Review: ‘Motown the Musical’ at the Hippodrome Theatre by John Harding

The fun of seeing Motown the Musical starts a few hours before leaving for the theater. Just the promise of that glorious oldies playlist is like inner ear foreplay. There isn’t much that …

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 03:22PM
Sunday, March 25, 2018

Review: ‘Newsies’ at Toby’s Dinner Theatre by John Harding

There’s nothing fake about the news out of Toby’s Dinner Theatre. Its homegrown production of Newsies gathers such a concentration of explosive male talent under one roof that Columbia m…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 10:35AM
Saturday, February 10, 2018

Review: ‘All She Must Possess’ at Rep Stage (Women’s Voices Theater Festival) by John Harding

An evening of wordplay on the meanings and messages of Modern art awaits audiences at All She Must Possess. This is another worthy world premiere from the venturesome Rep Stage Company at Ho…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 09:03PM
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Review: ‘Waitress’ at the Hippodrome by John Harding

You will want to leave a more-than-generous tip for the national tour of Waitress, especially if you appreciate top-notch service. It is currently bringing all the spicy baked sweetness of t…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 06:16PM
Friday, January 26, 2018

Review: ‘Young Frankenstein’ at Toby’s Dinner Theatre by John Harding

It did not turn out well for Dr. Frankenstein or his monster, but receiving an abnormal brain was a blessing for Mel Brooks. After eight decades in show business, he is still using that gift…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 04:52PM
Sunday, December 10, 2017

Review: ‘Madagascar—A Musical Adventure’ at Red Branch Theatre Company by John Harding

Chalk up one more cartoon feature making a dash for freedom under the footlights. Madagascar—A Musical Adventure is now filling the intimate Red Branch Theatre with a veritable Noah’s Ar…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 10:19PM
Thursday, November 30, 2017

Review: ‘Miracle on 34th Street: The Musical’ at Toby’s Dinner Theatre by John Harding

It doesn’t exactly live up to its billing as a miracle, but Miracle on 34th Street: The Musical at Toby’s Dinner Theatre has its heart in the right place. It is a lovely way to gather th…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 01:33PM
Sunday, November 19, 2017

Review: ‘The Lion King’ at the Hippodrome Theatre by John Harding

The Lion King is epic. It is so full of throat-tightening spectacle and aural splendor that Baltimore’s grand Hippodrome Theatre can appear at times like a modest host. With Julie Taymor…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 03:35PM
Saturday, November 4, 2017

Review: ‘Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill’ at Rep Stage by John Harding

It took way too long for Baltimore gal Billie Holiday to make the 20-odd mile trip out to Howard County for a live performance. It was a hard trip, too, judging from the bruised and fragile …

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 02:56PM
Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Review: ‘The Color Purple: The Musical’ at Baltimore’s Hippodrome Theatre by John Harding

Timing could not be better for a professionally mounted, national tour of The Color Purple: The Musical. Call this a reminder-on-wheels that sexual exploitation is not a Hollywood invention.…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 04:44PM
Saturday, September 23, 2017

Review: ‘Bridges of Madison County’ at Red Branch Theatre Company by John Harding

The Bridges of Madison County turns out to be an ideal musical for an ambitious youth theater looking to build bridges to a wider audience of grown-up fans. A sensitive, artfully realized pr…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 05:16PM
Monday, September 11, 2017

Review: ‘The Heidi Chronicles’ at Rep Stage by John Harding

Even successful plays get retired from the workforce after a few seasons. A select few, however, may go on to a new phase of wizened seniority. That is the case with The Heidi Chronicles, no…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 01:01AM
Sunday, September 10, 2017

Review: ‘Dreamgirls’ at Toby’s Dinner Theatre by John Harding

Dreamgirls has followed the summer’s closet full of Dreamcoats into Toby’s Dinner Theatre of Columbia. That’s a lot of dreams, providing plenty of rich musical memories for theater fan…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 01:57AM
Saturday, August 5, 2017

Review: ‘Lysistrata Jones’ at Red Branch Theatre Company by John Harding

Red Branch Theatre Company continues to amaze with its 2017 season premiere of the perky and impertinent Lysistrata Jones. Thanks to savvy staging and choreography, this short-lived 2011 Bro…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 12:40PM
Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Review: ‘Finding Neverland’ at the Hippodrome Theatre by John Harding

Those who’ve forgotten Peter Pan are destined to repeat it in Finding Neverland. The U.S. national tour now at Baltimore’s Hippodrome Theatre until July 2 makes for a dreamy midsummer ni…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 02:49PM

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