Tag Archives: Studio Theatre

Depth and Deprivation: The Children and Love’s Labor’s Lost, reviewed.

I didn’t write about Ella Hickson’s Oil, the best play I’ve seen this year. But I did review Lucy Kirkwood’s The Children, the second-best. I’m struck by how different two plays with ecological themes written by British women born in the 80s that premiered in 2016 can be. I also wrote about Folger’s new production of the seldom-staged Shakespeare comedy, Love’s Labor’s Lost.

In the Loop: Studio’s Kings, reviewed.

I reviewed Kings, DMV native Sarah Burgess’s smart drama about an idealistic freshman Congresswoman, for the Washington City Paper.

Language Bury Her: Studio’s Translations and Folger’s The Winter’s Tale, reviewed.

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I’ve got reviews of two shows I enjoyed in this week’s Washington City Paper: Studio Theatre second-in-command Matt Torney’s confident new production of Brian Friel’s 40-year-old Irish classic Translations, and Aaron Posner’s The Winter’s Tale over at the Folger. The former as a lot of superb performers who haven’t worked a lot in Washington before. The latter has a bunch of Posner’s favorite actors (and mine), but it’s Michael Tisdale as the maniacal King Leontes who’s the standout.
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Talking Skeleton Crew and Word Becomes Flesh on WETA’s Around Town

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If it ever seems like I’m about to well, actually you or anybody else, kindly remind me that this is what happens to my face.

With the return of theatre season comes the return of me trying semi-convincingly to smile on command! Robert Aubry Davis, Jane Horwitz, and I have shot a new batch of short Around Town segments discussing a great pair of shows I reviewed for the Washington City Paper last month, Studio Theatre’s production of Skeleton Crew byDominique Morisseau and Theatre Alliance’s remount of their Helen Hayes Award-winning 2016 version of Marc Bamuthi Joseph Word Becomes Flesh. How to embed those videos here eludes me because I’m an analog guy, but I’ve got links.

Skeleton Crew: http://player.pbs.org/viralplayer/3005059310

Word Becomes Flesh: http://player.pbs.org/viralplayer/3005058510
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Wake Up: Studio’s Skeleton Crew and Theatre Alliance’s Word Becomes Flesh, reviewed.

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You’ve got two, two, two big shows written by and starring people of color up in the District just now: Skeleton Crew, the third entry in Dominique Morisseau’s Detroit series, has the same concerns as Lynne Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Sweat but it’s a better play, and Studio Theatre’s production is built to last. And Psalmayene 24’s multi Helen Hayes Award-winning production of Marc Bamuthi Joseph’s Word Becomes Flesh is back at Theatre Alliance for a remount starring the same superb cast it did last year. I review both in this week’s Washington City Paper. For which I also wrote the cover story, for some reason. It’s not like I get paid by the word, people.

Sisters of No Mercy: Three Sisters and No Sisters, reviewed.

Caroline Hewitt, Ryan Rilette, William Vaughan, Emilie Krause, Josh Thomas, Craig Wallace, Ro Boddie, and Nick Torres in Three Sisters. Photo- Teresa Wood. Bridget Flanery, Emilie Krause, Ryan Rilette, and Caroline Hewitt (Teresa Wood) .jpg

Studio Theatre is putting on a ballsy experiment for the next month or so, running a new production of Three Sisters and No SistersAaron Posner’s companion play—not in rep but literally on top of one another. I review both in this week’s Washington City Paper.

FURTHER READING: My April 2015 review of Round House’s Uncle Vanya. My January 2015 review of Posner’s Life Sucks, or the Present Ridiculous at Theatre J. My June 2013 review of Stupid Fucking Bird. And my August 2011 review of the Sydney Theatre Company’s Uncle Vanya, starring Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving.

Epic-in-the-Brechtian-Sense Fail: Kiss, reviewed.

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Feeling compelled to write a play about war or genocide? You’ve got your work cut out for you, but God bless. Feel compelled to turn your frustration over how hard it is to write a good play about war or genocide into a play? Please stop. A lot of things are about you, but not everything.

Woolly Mammoth’s American premiere of Chilean playwright Guillermo Calderón’s Kiss is not as bad as Jackie Sibblies Drury’s We Are Proud to Present, because nothing I’ve ever seen on a stage is as myopic and offensive as Jackie Sibblies Drury’s We Are Proud to Present. But it ain’t good. I break it down in today’s Washington City Paper, available wherever finer alt-weeklies are given away gratis.

Bad Times, Good Times: Studio’s Cloud 9 and Constellation’s Urinetown, reviewed.

Studio Theatre's "Cloud 9" (Teresa Wood)Constellation Theatre Company's "Urinetown."

For various critic-related, theater company-related, and publication-related reasons, my reviews of Studio Theatre’s production of Caryl Churchill’s anticolonial sex romp Cloud 9 and Constellation Theatre Company’s new production of the Y2K-era Greg Kotis-Mark Hollman musical Urinetown have taken a long time to see print. But they’re in this week’s Washington City Paper, and online, too.

Sock Pulpit: Hand to God, reviewed.

Liam Forde in "Hand to God" at Studio Theatre. (Amy Horan)

My review of Studio Theatre’s terrific production of Robert Askins’ Broadway hit Hand to God is in today’s Washington City Paper.

A Horse of a Different Color: Between Riverside and Crazy and Equus, reviewed.

Frankie R. Faison, Emily K. Townley, and David Bishins in %22Between Riverside and Crazy%22 (Allie Dearie)

Ryan Tumulty and Ross Destiche in "Equus."

Among my other inspired headline ideas was the immortal “Race, Horse.” Washington City Paper editor-in-chief Steve Cavendish came up with the winning entry: “Crime Doesn’t Neigh.” Bravo, Steve. Herewith, my reviews of Studio’s Between Riverside and Crazy, the 2015 Pulitzer winner from Stephen Adly Guirgis, and Constellation’s new production of Peter Shaffer’s Equus.

 

Apples to Apples, Dust to Dust: Sorry and Regular Singing, reviewed.

Sarah Marshall, Elizabeth Pierotti, Rick Foucheux, Ted van Griethuysen, and Kimberly Schraf in My review of Sorry and Regular Singing, the latter two entries in Richard Nelson’s Apple Family quartet, is in today’s Washington City Paper. I reviewed the the first pair, That Hopey Changey Thing and Sweet and Sad, when the same director and cast staged them here in Washington two years ago. If I’ve little more to say now than I said then, it’s only because the strengths of the magnificent whole are also the strengths of its magnificent component parts.

The Play’s the Thing, the Thing, and the Other Thing: The Blood Quilt, Jumpers for Goalposts, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, reviewed.

My reviews of — in alphabetical order — the new play The Blood Quilt, the debuting-in-the-U.S. play Jumpers for Goalposts, and the postmodern chestnut Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, are all in this week’s Washington City Paper. Except for the latter two of the three, which are online-only. Find them via the links above.

Video

On Around Town, talking Choir Boy, Life Sucks, and The Widow Lincoln.

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http://watch.weta.org/viralplayer/2365420189

Three new Around Town play reviews means three new opportunities to attempt to smile on command and to speak in concise sentences that end rather than trail off. (I’ll keep working on it.) This time, host Robert Aubry Davis and Washington Post arts writer Jane Horwitz and I discuss Studio Theatre‘s Choir Boy, Theater J‘s Life Sucks, Or the Present Ridiculous, and Ford’s Theatre’s The Widow Lincoln. That’s two shows I liked a lot, respectively, plus one I liked, well, more than many others did. (My Washington City Paper reviews are here, here, and here.) I am informed that the Choir Boy video aired on WETA right after Downton Abbey last night. I would’ve worn my sport jacket to the taping had I known that would happen, if not a tuxedo and tails.

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Do You Want to Blow a Secret? Washington Stage Guild’s In Praise of Love and Studio’s Choir Boy, reviewed.

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My reviews of Washington Stage Guild’s sturdy revival of Terence Rattigan‘s In Praise of Love and Studio Theatre’s gospel song-inflected production of Tarell Alvin McCraney‘s Choir Boy are in this’s week’s Washington City Paper. Go find a copy; they’re free! Or read them here.

Drone Unknowns: Grounded, reviewed.

My review of Grounded, a George Brant’s solo play about a drone pilot, is in today’s Washington City Paper

Lucy Ellinson in the Gate Theatre production of George Brant’s Grounded.

Habit, Run: Water by the Spoonful and Normal, reviewed.

In today’s Washington City PaperI review the Pultizer-winning drama Water by the Spoonful at Studio Theatre and Molotov’s production of Normal, a play about the Dusseldorf Ripper.

Our Pottymouthed Year: 2013 on the DC Stage, Assessed.

Drew Cortese and Quentin Maré in Studio's "The Motherfucker with the Hat," a 2013 highlight. (Teddy Wolff)

Drew Cortese and Quentin Maré in Studio’s “The Motherfucker with the Hat,” a 2013 highlight. (Teddy Wolff)

We’re wrapping up a highly rewarding and admirably trend-resistant year on DC’s stages, as I aver in this week’s Washington City Paper.

More Plays About Gatherings and Food: (Half of) The Apple Family Plays, reviewed.

Ted van Griethuysen, Elizabeth Pierotti, Sarah Marshall, Kimberly Schraf, and Rick Foucheux inThat Hopey Changey Thing. (Photo: Teddy Wolff)

Ted van Griethuysen, Elizabeth Pierotti, Sarah Marshall, Kimberly Schraf, and Rick Foucheux in “That Hopey Changey Thing.” (Photo: Teddy Wolff)

The Studio Theatre is staging two of Richard Nelson‘s four Apple Family Plays, the last of which had its world premiere at the Public Theater in New York only last Friday, in repertory. The pair at Studio are That Hopey Change Thing and Sweet and Sad. My review of both is on Arts Desk now, and will show up in print in next week’s City Paper. Happy Thanksgiving.

Mentor of Attention: The Night Watcher, reviewed.

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Charlayne Woodard is an actress and storyteller of no mean talent. I did not care for her show The Night Watcher. 

Reviewed in today’s Washington City Paper.

Photo: Igor Dmitry/Studio Theatre.

Specific is Baby Universe-al

Baby Universe No. 7,001 isn't like the others.

Baby Universe No. 7,001 isn’t like the others.

If this summer’s crop of megabudget blockbusters aren’t floating your barge, perhaps you’ll take to heart my unequivocal endorsement of Baby Universe, the whimsical and yet nourishing sci-fi puppet show now at Studio Theatre that achieves grand scale via modest means.

The piece is a co-production of Nordland Visual Theatre and Wakka Wakka, the same consortium that did Fabrik, a similarly dark and ambitious, not-necessarily-for-kids puppet play I saw in New York five years ago. These groups are really good at coming up with unlikely material that suits their chosen medium perfectly; it’s hard to imagine what the live-action version of these shows would look like. Anyway, Baby Universe is in town through July 14.