All stories by John Stoltenberg on BroadwayStars

Friday, June 14, 2019

Magic Time!: ‘A Doll’s House, Part 2’ at Round House Theatre by John Stoltenberg

How do I love this play? Let me count the ways. My colleague David Siegel’s review heaps accolades on the Round House Theatre production of Lucas Hnath’s A Doll’s House, Part 2, now pl…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 04:44PM
Thursday, June 13, 2019

Review: ‘Byhalia, Mississippi’ at The Kennedy Center by John Stoltenberg

The pivotal character in this profoundly moving comedy is Laurel, a young woman who has relocated from Jackson to Byhalia, Mississippi, to make a life with the young man she plans to love fo…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 01:25PM
Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Magic Time!: ‘The Oldest Boy’ at Spooky Action Theater by John Stoltenberg

Sara Ruhl’s The Oldest Boy tells a gut-wrenching story serenely, almost gently. At the heart of it is the bond between mother and child, a tie that Ruhl knew intimately when she wrote the…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 10:51AM
Monday, June 3, 2019

Post-Play Palaver: ‘Second Body’ at Synetic Theatre by John Stoltenberg and Sophia Howes

Post-Play Palaver is an occasional series of conversations between DC Metro Theater Arts writers who saw the same performance, got really into talking about it, and decided to continue their…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 07:51AM
Monday, May 27, 2019

Review: ‘Antigonick’ and ‘The Fragments of Sappho’ by Taffety Punk Theatre Company by John Stoltenberg

Antiquity is in the house and what’s old is new again. Taffety Punk is presenting two short theater pieces featuring its signature integration of dance, drama, and music based on voices fr…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 12:21PM
Saturday, May 25, 2019

Review: ‘Klytmnestra: An Epic Slam Poem’ at Theater Alliance by John Stoltenberg

Dane Figueroa Edidi is one of DC’s most original and multitalented theater artists. A dancer, actor, poet, playwright, and choreographer, she is also a teacher, novelist, political comment…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 04:05PM
Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Review: ‘Sooner/Later’ at Mosaic Theater Company by John Stoltenberg

A rom-com about manhunting…at Mosaic? That’s probably not the sort of fare you’d expect from DC’s preeminent theatrical platform for social-justice programming. But who is to say tha…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 06:37AM
Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Review: ‘The Member of the Wedding’ at 1st Stage by John Stoltenberg

It was nearly 70 years ago that Carson McCullers adapted her beloved 1946 novel The Member of the Wedding into a prizewinning Broadway play. Set in a small Southern town, the story centers o…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 11:47AM
Sunday, May 12, 2019

Review: ‘The Tarot Reading (V)’ at Anacostia Arts Center by John Stoltenberg

The circusy-party vibe begins before showtime. The place is festooned with streamers,  furnished with comfy sofas, bedecked in colored light, and stocked with bags of popcorn to share. A fr…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 07:07AM
Friday, May 10, 2019

Magic Time!: ‘The Chibok Girls: Our Story’ at Georgetown University by John Stoltenberg

One night five years ago, a horror happened in Chibok, North Eastern Nigeria. The Boko Haram—Islamicist terrorists who believe that Western education is evil—abducted 276 girls from the …

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 04:59PM
Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Magic Time!: ‘God of Carnage’ at Keegan Theatre by John Stoltenberg

The set foreshadows the coming fracas.  There’s a fault line down the middle where this living room seems sliced in two. And something’s out of whack. The halves do not align. Like two …

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 05:04PM
Monday, May 6, 2019

Review: ‘The Children’ at Studio Theatre by John Stoltenberg

Three retired nuclear physicists meet in a quaint cottage not far from the nuclear power plant where they once worked and where a catastrophe has occurred. Earthquake, tsunami, tidal wave, r…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 12:15PM
Thursday, May 2, 2019

Magic Time!: ‘Oslo’ by Round House Theatre by John Stoltenberg

It is rare that theater seriously asks us to believe something far beyond itself. Typically we are asked to suspend disbelief about let’s-pretend that happens on stage. The gripping and in…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 01:06PM
Sunday, April 28, 2019

Magic Time!: 10 Questions for the Brains Behind ‘The Tarot Reading’ by John Stoltenberg

Even in this theater town abounding in innovation, The Tarot Reading stands out as an original. I can’t think of anything it’s quite like. After I saw an iteration last year (The Tarot R…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 11:17AM
Friday, April 26, 2019

Review: Broadway Center Stage: ‘The Who’s Tommy’ at Kennedy Center by John Stoltenberg

Fifty years ago Rolling Stone reported completion of a new album by Pete Townshend and called it “probably the most important milestone in pop since Beatlemania. For the first time, a rock…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 02:13PM
Monday, April 22, 2019

Magic Time!: Disrupting the White Comfort Zone: A Q&A about ‘P.Y.G.’ at Studio Theatre by John Stoltenberg

I have an ongoing interest in how theaters in DC with predominantly white audiences raise and represent the issue of race. And one of the things I’ve been noticing is how the white comfort…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 12:56PM
Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Magic Time: ‘Les Deux Noirs: Notes on Notes of a Native Son’ at Mosaic Theater Company by John Stoltenberg

The splashy opening is spectacularly preconception-smashing. We know we’re about to see a play premised on a 1953 meeting in a Paris café between the literary lion Richard Wright and Jame…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 05:11PM
Sunday, April 14, 2019

Magic Time!: Inside the DC Jail with Liza Jessie Peterson and ‘The Peculiar Patriot’ by John Stoltenberg

Actor and Playwright Liza Jessie Peterson is an extraordinary artist/activist. Tucked inside her uproarious one-woman show, The Peculiar Patriot—which she performs through April 20, 2019, …

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 07:52PM
Saturday, April 13, 2019

Review: ‘Junk’ at Arena Stage by John Stoltenberg

“When did money become the thing — the only thing?” asks an ambitious young financial journalist in her opening monologue. She then answers her own question: “The mid-eighties. 1985 …

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 02:08PM
Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Review: ‘Pinter Rep’ by Scena Theatre by John Stoltenberg

When Pinter is performed with precision, with exacting attention to the text—as is the case with Scena Theatre’s razor-sharp Pinter Rep—the effect can be both unnerving and exhilaratin…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 06:41PM
Thursday, April 4, 2019

Review: ‘Siwayul (Heart of a Womxn)’ by Nelwat Ishkamewe Two-Spirit Theatre by John Stoltenberg

American theater blows off a lot of folx. Leaves out their voices. Doesn’t cast them. Isn’t interested in their stories. Two-Spirit indigenous transpeople, for conspicuous instance, are …

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 01:58PM
Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Magic Time!: ‘Native Son’ at Mosaic Theater Company by John Stoltenberg

When one has an overwhelming experience in the theater—as I did watching Native Son at Mosaic—it can take some time to process. This is especially so if the work is unlike anything one t…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 03:13PM
Monday, April 1, 2019

Review: ‘columbinus’ at 1st Stage by John Stoltenberg

There’s a lot that’s shocking and disturbing in this show, as well there should be—it’s based on the April 20, 1999, shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. That ma…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 06:07PM
Saturday, March 23, 2019

Review: ‘Dead Dog’s Bone: A Birthday Play’ by Nu Sass Productions by John Stoltenberg

There is indeed a dog in this play, aptly named Dog, wryly performed by Karen Lange wearing a plaid shirt, jeans, and neck bandana. At the top of Act One, Dog sings a country-westernish song…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 09:35PM
Friday, March 22, 2019

Review: ‘Spills’ by Who What Where Theater Collective by John Stoltenberg

We are seated on folding chairs in the living room of an actual house where two women and a man in their mid-twenties have agreed to meet up for a three-way. There’s a modest playing area …

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 05:13PM
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