All stories by John Stoltenberg on BroadwayStars

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Post-Play Palaver: ‘Lela & Co.’ by Factory 449 at The Anacostia Arts Center by John Stoltenberg

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…

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Friday, September 22, 2017

Magic Time!: ‘The Arsonists’ at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company by John Stoltenberg

In a recent satire published on Medium, the San Francisco writer/actor/comedian Alison Page listed five dozen “Honest Theatre Awards.” Among them was one that struck me as an apt…

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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Magic Time!: Refinding the Soul of ‘Word Becomes Flesh’ at Theater Alliance: A Q&A With Director Psalmayene 24 by John Stoltenberg

Winner of five Helen Hayes Awards last season, Theater Alliance’s production of Word Becomes Flesh is now playing at Anacostia Playhouse in an encore presentation that is garnering eve…

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

News: ‘Olityelwe (The Forgotten)’ Returns to DC in Full Production for Two Performances Only at Theater Alliance by John Stoltenberg

I reported on this extraordinary play when it was a staged reading at Theater J last June and said at the end: “Somebody needs to pick this one up and bring it back.” Well, that&…

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Magic Time!: ‘Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train’ at 1st Stage by John Stoltenberg

There are times in the theater when the particulars of a play—its people, place, and poetics—pull you in as only an arresting, well-told story can. But then something even more interesti…

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Magic Time!: ‘The Devil’s Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith’ at Mosaic Theater Company by John Stoltenberg

In what is surely the most badass, take-no-prisoners performance by a musical artist on a DC stage in recent memory, Miche Braden brings her sensational star turn as Bessie Smith to H Street…

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Review: Free For All ‘Othello’ at the Shakespeare Theatre Company by John Stoltenberg

Every great play by Shakespeare takes on altered shades of meanings depending on a production’s directing, design, and acting. That’s a theater truism. Also well-known to practit…

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Magic Time!: ‘Big Fish’ at The Keegan Theatre by John Stoltenberg

The musical Big Fish is by any measure a feel-good show for the whole family, as evidenced by the buoyant and beautiful production now playing at The Keegan Theatre. But the main narrative a…

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Magic Time!: Sweet Spot Aerial Productions’ ‘Smoky Mirrors’ at Atlas Performing Arts Center by John Stoltenberg

No sooner did some aerial apparatus drop from the fly space—ropes, straps, silks, hoops, trapezes—but what some artist-athletes would take hold of it and make acts of suspended animation…

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Review: ‘The Mark of Cain’ at Synetic Theater by John Stoltenberg

Fans of Synetic Theater’s music-and movement-based works derived from classic texts will find a surprise twist in the company’s latest offering. Typically, s Synetic extravaganza…

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Review: ‘Wig Out!’ at Studio Theatre by John Stoltenberg

The world of  Wig Out! is a glittering fantasia on house ballroom culture. Tarell Alvin McCraney’s ingeniously metatheatrical 2006 script sets this play with music in the urban underg…

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Review: ‘The Gun Show’ at 1st Stage by John Stoltenberg

Among the issues polarizing America (and degrading public discourse) is the hot-button question of what to do about guns. Proponents of positions right and left talk past each other. Both ca…

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Saturday, July 15, 2017

2017 Capital Fringe Review: ‘Help Me, Wanda!’ by John Stoltenberg

Toni Rae Salmi is an actor seen frequently on DC stages, most recently “enjoyably grand” in Perfect Arrangement at Source Festival. In Help Me, Wanda!, she belts out a rockin&…

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Friday, July 14, 2017

Review: ‘The Originalist’ at Arena Stage at The Mead Center for American Theater by John Stoltenberg

The original The Originalist returns to Arena in a much larger house (The Kreeger, not the Kogod Cradle where it debuted in 2015). This is fitting. The play, the performances, and the produc…

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2017 Capital Fringe Review: ‘The Heroes’ Tale’ by John Stoltenberg

Four black men in their forties sit around a chess game in Dupont Circle park in 1980. They open the show singing barbershop-quartet style, an upbeat song about themselves: They are the 1342…

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Sunday, July 9, 2017

2017 Capital Fringe Review: ‘This Too Comes By Hard’ by John Stoltenberg

No way around it, this is a dark, harsh, and gritty domestic drama. For some, it may be too dark, too harsh, too gritty, perhaps a partner violence trigger. A fun, frothy, feel-good frolic t…

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Saturday, July 8, 2017

2017 Capital Fringe Review: ‘Last Ditch Playlist’ by John Stoltenberg

The unofficial rules for crafting a successful play also tend to apply to compiling the perfect mixtape: tell a compelling story, know your audience but keep them guessing, set a tone, stick…

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2017 Capital Fringe Review: ‘The Blind’ by John Stoltenberg

Against a backdrop of trendy dramedies and raunchy musicals, the Wheel Theatre Company’s The Blind leads its audience to a cold, dark forest a century old. Your experience depends on how…

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2017 Capital Fringe Review: ‘Lazarus’ by John Stoltenberg

The notion that medical technology will one day enable human beings to live indefinitely is not just science fiction. Preventing the aging process (or “ending aging”) is an actua…

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Friday, July 7, 2017

2017 Capital Fringe Review: ‘Constructive Fictions’ by John Stoltenberg

Was ever a jailed sex offender more self-righteous and self-pitying than Rabbi Barry Freundel in this brilliantly disturbing new play by A. J. Campbell? Were ever such a predator’sR…

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2017 Capital Fringe Review: ‘Ready to Serve: Remember the Nurses’ by John Stoltenberg

Stories of war wounded told from the point of view of military medics—those who try to save lives and bag the bodies of the ones they can’t—give glimpses into the bravery and heroi…

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Thursday, July 6, 2017

DC Theatre Scene and DCMetroTheaterArts’ Joint Capital Fringe Coverage Begins Tonight by John Stoltenberg

The two media companies combine writing strength to review 70 openings in 6 days The editors and publishers of DC’s two major theater websites—DC Theatre Scene and DCMetroTheaterArts—t…

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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Magic Time!: Report on a Staged Reading of ‘Olityelwe (The Forgotten)’ at Theater J by John Stoltenberg

When Jonathan David Martin came from New York to DC to be Theater J’s new associate producer in March of last year,  he brought with him a backstory as co-artistic director and produ…

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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Magic Time!: ‘Broken Glass’ at Theater J by John Stoltenberg

Arthur Miller’s 1994 Broken Glass does not rise to the stature of his greatest works (Death of a Salesman, The Crucible, The Price, and others). But even lesser Miller can be arresting…

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Tantalizing Tastes from a Boffo Buffet: A Report on the 2017 Capital Fringe Festival Preview Night by John Stoltenberg

Fifteen of the 80-plus shows in the 12th Annual Captial Fringe Festival presented five-minute teaser scenes to a packed house Thursday night at Logan Fringe Arts Space. Act after act, the ho…

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Magic Time!: ‘When We Were Young and Unafraid’ at The Keegan Theatre by John Stoltenberg

On the top floor of The Keegan Theatre is a cork board labeled “What Does Feminism Mean to You?” Pushpins, pens, and slips of paper are provided so that patrons can have their sa…

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Magic Time!: ‘The Return’ at Mosaic Theater Company of DC by John Stoltenberg

Inside this taut and provocative two-character play—which vividly evokes the political tension between the Israeli state and its Palestinian citizens—there is a startling sex scene, one …

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 12:38PM
Sunday, June 18, 2017

Magic Time!: ‘Still Life with Rocket’ at Theater Alliance as Voyage to a New Form: A Q&A with Director Mollye Maxner by John Stoltenberg

Still Life With Rocket is greater than the sum of its arts. The diverse forms of installation, choreography, and character-driven drama come together in this collaboratively devised experien…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 08:53AM
Monday, June 12, 2017

Magic Time!: ‘School for Lies’ at Shakespeare Theatre Company by John Stoltenberg

The set that we see is a towering eyeful, The interior decorator spared nary a trifle, For decked all about are amusing objets d’art On loan from museums with tastes tres bizarre. Claes Ol…

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Saturday, June 10, 2017

Review: Source Festival 2017: ‘Perfect Arrangement’ by John Stoltenberg

Perfect Arrangement by Topher Payne was a smash hit at Source Festival when it debuted there four years ago, and the comedy’s return to Source on the occasion of the festival’s t…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 02:19PM
Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Review: ‘And the Tony Goes to…’ at The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC by John Stoltenberg

Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC, concerts never lack for inspired high concepts and ingenious themes. Whether featuring love songs, cowboy songs, nostalgia songs, or who-knows-what-…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 03:30PM