All stories by John Stoltenberg on BroadwayStars

Monday, March 18, 2019

Magic Time!: ‘Queen of Basel’ at Studio Theatre by John Stoltenberg

Queen of Basel by Hilary Bettis, now on the boards at Studio, is scathingly brilliant. One walks out gobsmacked. (I completely concur with my colleague Bob Ashby’s astute review.) But watc…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 04:45PM
Saturday, March 16, 2019

Review: ‘Hexagon 2019: Romp in the Swamp’ by John Stoltenberg

Hexagon has been around for 64 years and never seems to age. Since 1956 the musical comedy theater group has been turning out original political satire that’s as of-the-moment as the news.…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 04:54PM
Friday, March 15, 2019

Magic Time!: ‘Limits’ by Cirkus Cirkör at The Kennedy Center by John Stoltenberg

The circus I fell in love with as a kid is gone. It was touted at the time as the greatest show on earth: a three-ring tented extravaganza that smelled of roasted peanuts, sawdust, and manur…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 03:03PM
Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Review: ‘Hands on a Hardbody’ at the Keegan Theatre by John Stoltenberg

The title of this show, if you have never heard of it, doesn’t mean what you might think. It’s not about fitness. It’s not about sex. It’s a country-western musical about ten hard-up…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 03:08PM
Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Magic Time!: ‘Crying Hands’ by Teater Manu at George Washington University by John Stoltenberg

We like to think that the Holocaust could never happen here. We want to believe that it shouldn’t so it couldn’t. And then comes along a work of theater like Crying Hands that screams ou…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 12:16PM
Friday, March 8, 2019

Review: ‘Silent’ at Solas Nua by John Stoltenberg

When we see an unwell homeless person on the street—these days huddled in layers of rags against the cold—we can know nothing of the story of who they are and how they got there. All we …

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 11:28AM
Sunday, March 3, 2019

Review: ‘Blood at the Root’ at Theater Alliance by John Stoltenberg

Raymond O. Caldwell kicks off his new Producing Artistic Directorship at Theater Alliance with a production of Dominque Morisseau’s Blood at the Root that is bursting with youthful exubera…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 05:43PM
Monday, February 25, 2019

Review: ‘Separate Rooms’ at 4615 Theatre by John Stoltenberg

“Will I be missed?,” the young man wonders aloud as he surveys the thirtysomethings who have gathered in his Manhattan apartment for a party after his funeral. “Did it matter that I wa…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 10:47AM
Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Review: ‘Reykjavík’ by Rorschach Theatre by John Stoltenberg

The Reykjavík conjured up in Steve Yockey’s new play Reykjavík is not the family-friendly destination the Iceland tourist bureau might try to sell you. But if you’re 18 or olde…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 11:24AM
Saturday, February 9, 2019

Review: ‘BLKS’ at Woolly Mammoth Theatre by John Stoltenberg

BLKS is gonna be a blockbuster. Let’s get that out of the way. BLKS is a rapid-fire, laugh-out-loud comedy about a quartet of twenty-something black women in New York City who are room…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 10:01PM
Friday, February 8, 2019

Review: ‘SHAME 2.0 (With Comments From the Populace)’ at Mosaic Theater Company by John Stoltenberg

“You have to be a good Arab,” says Morad Hassan of the stigma he faces trying to have a career as an Arab actor in Israel—the very country where, he says, “we are the Jew…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 12:53PM
Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Magic Time!: ‘The Brothers Size’ at 1st Stage by John Stoltenberg

“You fucked up! You fucked up! You fucked up!” rails the older brother, berating the younger. “You fucked up! You fucked up! You fucked up!” he goes on, as if he cann…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 11:09AM
Thursday, January 31, 2019

Magic Time!: ‘Twelve Angry Men’ at Ford’s Theatre by John Stoltenberg

Cross-racial casting can be totally wrongheaded—as when white actors impersonate characters of color. It can also be speciously universalizing—as when actors of color play all the parts …

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 04:31PM
Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Review: ‘The Screwtape Letters’ at Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Lansburgh Theatre by John Stoltenberg

When the Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil” comes on the pre-show soundtrack, it’s a tipoff that C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters is going to be a diabol…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 01:01PM
Thursday, January 24, 2019

Magic Time!: ‘Admissions’ at Studio Theatre by John Stoltenberg

“Some of my best friends are white men,” says Sherri, the very liberal white woman who handles admissions at a small New England prep school. Avowedly antiracist, Sherri is on a …

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 10:23AM
Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Magic Time!: ‘Jeffrey’ at Rainbow Theatre Project by John Stoltenberg

If there’s such a thing as gay wit, Paul Rudnick’s got a load of it. Imagine Oscar Wilde and Noël Coward if they could be out about it. Yeah, Rudnick ranks with them and then so…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 09:27AM
Sunday, January 13, 2019

Magic Time!: ‘ 19: The Musical’ by John Stoltenberg

It was “a century of struggle” before women in the United States won the right to vote in 1920, and the centenary of the amendment that cinched it, the nineteenth, is just around…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 02:52PM
Sunday, December 23, 2018

News: Ford’s and Kennedy Center Shows to Go On During Federal Shutdown by John Stoltenberg

DC’s two major federally funded theater venues have both announced that performances will be uninterrupted by the federal shutdown. According to the website of Ford’s Theatre, …

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 08:11PM
Friday, December 21, 2018

Magic Time!: ‘Washington Magic’ at the Arts Club of Washington by John Stoltenberg

When I was a kid, magic tricks and puppet shows were forerunners to my love of theater. They were like my gateway drug. I got hooked on the wonder and live storytelling. And to this day I as…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 03:05PM
Thursday, December 20, 2018

Magic Time!: ‘Kings’ at Studio Theatre by John Stoltenberg

“Laws are like sausages,” goes the adage. “It’s better not to see them being made.” As it happens, I have a good mental picture of how sausages are made, because fo…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 01:21PM
Monday, December 17, 2018

Review: ‘Oh, God’ at Mosaic Theater Company by John Stoltenberg

Theater and theology have been boon companions for eons. Ever since religion was invented, humans have wanted divinities with drama. Way back in polytheistic antiquity, playgoers imagined go…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 01:53PM
Thursday, December 6, 2018

Review: ‘Crystal’ by Cirque du Soleil at Capital One Arena by John Stoltenberg

Cirque du Soleil’s Crystal is staged on a slick sheet of ice where acrobats and skaters combine to create an amazing entertainment. A spectacular array of chills and charms to thrill a…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 12:19PM
Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Review: ‘Gem of the Ocean’ at Round House Theatre by John Stoltenberg

There are only ever seven characters onstage in this majestic production—three of them former slaves—but it is as if multitudes of Africans lost crossing the ocean or sold in chains are …

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 01:25PM
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Magic Time!: On Acting with a Conscience: A Q&A with Lianne Harvey, now appearing in ‘An Inspector Calls’ by John Stoltenberg

The character Lianne Harvey plays in J.B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls, Sheila Birling, really fascinated me. Sheila stands out as no ordinary ingenue. During the course of the play…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 04:46PM

Magic Time!: ‘How to Keep an Alien’ by Solas Nua by John Stoltenberg

I can’t recall seeing another play by someone who came to playwrighting from standup, but I’ll not soon forget how I laughed my feckin head off at Sonya Kelly’s How to Keep…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 07:37AM
Saturday, December 1, 2018

Review: ‘Watergate…with Puppets’ by AnyStage Theater by John Stoltenberg

Fans of zany humor might remember when AnyStage Theater popped up in the Capital Fringe Festival with its ridiculous (and mostly fact-free) takes on Margaret Thatcher and Amelia Earhart. The…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 09:38AM
Friday, November 30, 2018

Review: ‘Indecent’ at Arena Stage by John Stoltenberg

The controversial scene that ends this “true story of a little Jewish play” has been foretold at length throughout the show and mentioned in much publicity, so it’s no spoi…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 02:02PM
Thursday, November 29, 2018

Review: ‘Barber Shop Chronicles’ at The Kennedy Center by John Stoltenberg

“To let one’s hair down” is to open up, be freer than usual, be willing to share. The idiom is apt for what transpires in Barber Shop Chronicles, an extraordinary explorati…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 11:46AM
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Magic Time!: ‘An Inspector Calls’ at Shakespeare Theatre Company by John Stoltenberg

J. B. Priestley’s classic An Inspector Calls—a drawing-room drama set in England in 1912 and written there in 1944—has landed in DC with uncanny currency. Now at Sidney Harmon Hall…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 11:59AM
Monday, November 26, 2018

Magic Time!: Mike Daisey’s 18-Part, 30-Hour ‘A People’s History’ at Seattle Repertory Theatre by John Stoltenberg

I remember being so bored by my high school American history class that I got a D in it. This was not normal. My report cards always had A’s and B’s. So the kindly elderly woman …

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 10:22AM
Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Review: ‘The Choir of Men’ at The Kennedy Center by John Stoltenberg

If you’re in a mood for some boisterous joy this holiday weekend—some soul-rousing solos and heartbreaking harmonies in the tenor/bass range—nab a ticket to The Choir of Man. The t…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 08:33PM

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