Tag Archives: The Washington CIty Paper

Kitchen-Sink Drama: The Gabriels: Election Year in the Life of One Family, reviewed.

Hungry<br /> Public Theatre<br /> LuEster<br /> HUNGRY<br /> Written and Directed by Richard Nelson<br /> Featuring Meg Gibson, Lynn Hawley, Roberta Maxwell, Maryann Plunkett, Jay O. Sanders, and Amy Warren<br /> Sets &amp; Costumes Susan Hilferty<br /> Lighting Jennifer Tipton

Amy Warren, Maryann Plunkett, Lynn Hawley, and Meg Gibson in “Hungry” at the Public Theater, March 2016.

Notice is posted: My review of playwright/director Richard Nelson’s three-play cycle The Gabriels, which I took in during a single nine-hour period at the Kennedy Center last Sunday, is in this week’s Washington City Paper.

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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.

Dealer’s Choice: The Trump Card, reviewed.

Mike-DaiseyThis took a few days longer to appear than it should’ve, for boring reasons only partly within my control. Anyway, last Friday I attended a workshop of a new monologue by Mike Daisey — an artist I’ve written a lot over the last six or seven years. I didn’t find room in the piece to mention that the monologue was directed by Isaac Butler, who has been doing some terrific writing on the theatre for Slate. The oral history of Angels and America that he and my sometimes-editor Dan Kois posted this week is marvelous piece of historical journalism. Anyway, my Washington City Paper review of the still-developing The Trump Card is (finally) here.

Gay for Play: La Cage Aux Folles, reviewed.

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My review of Signature Theatre’s robust revival of Jerry Herman and Harvey Fierstein’s beloved Reagan-era musical farce La Cage Aux Folles is in this week’s Washington City Paper. I like the show, but I don’t like my review as much as the one I wrote of the Goodspeed Opera House’s production about a year ago, as part of my coursework for the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center’s National Critics Institute. Which is odd, because I remember thinking I was producing mostly unpublishable copy while I was there. I’ve never been a fast writer. Most days we had copy due at 8:30 or 9 a.m. about the show we’d seen the night before. Anyway, the Critic Class of 2016 starts their two-week term on Saturday. Good luck, you guys. I envy you, sort of — just not your early-a.m. deadlines or your accommodations or your on-campus meals.

Actually, the coffee was pretty decent. I drank a lot of it, at any rate.

Popcorn Psychology: Signature’s The Flick, reviewed.

Thaddeus McCants, Laura C. Harris, and Evan Casey in Signature Theatre's "The Flick."

I review Signature Theatre’s production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning comic drama The Flick in this week’s Washington City Paper. It’s the fourth Annie Baker play I’ve reviewed — five if you count her translation of Uncle Vanya — and the second in which I’ve quoted a heckler. Maybe I wouldn’t have done that had I remembered doing it in my review of Studio Theatre’s The Aliens three-and-a-half years ago.

Further reading, if you really want to see me struggle not to repeat myself: Circle Mirror Transformation, from 2010, and Body Awareness, from 2012.

Less Is Moor: Othello, reviewed.

Ryman Sneed and Faran Tahir in the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s production of "Othello," directed by Ron Daniels. (Scott Suchman)

I reviewed the Shakespeare Theatre Company‘s new Ron Daniels-directed Othello, starring Jinn‘s Faran Tahir as the Moor of Venice, for the Washington City Paper. Jonno Roberts’ Iago is the best reason to go.

2 Midsummer 2 Dreamz

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I spent a midwinter day and evening taking in two, two, two big productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, from WSC Avant Bard and the Folger Theatre. I reviewed the experience for this week’s unusually me-heavy Washington City Paper.

Aniello, I Love You, Won’t You Tell Me Your Name?

Vaughn Irving, Doug Wilder, Farrell Parker, and Suzanne Edgar in "You, or Whatever I Can Get." 2015 Aniello Award winner Flying V will remount the show starting next week. (Paul Gillis)

Vaughn Irving, Doug Wilder, Farrell Parker, and Suzanne Edgar perform their musical “You, or Whatever I Can Get” in the 2014 Capital Fringe Festival. 2015 Aniello Award winner Flying V will remount the show starting next week. (Paul Gillis)

After covering theater in DC on a regular basis for seven or eight years, it’s clear to me that what I like and what Helen Hayes Awards judges like sometimes overlap but more often do not. But I very much appreciate that the Haysies created a new award eight years ago in the name of longtime DC theatre patron John Laurentzen Aniello Jr. to recognize outstanding start-up theatre companies, because making good art is difficult, difficult, lemon difficult and keeping a theatre company afloat ain’t so easy, either. Continue reading

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.

Personal Is Geopolitical: Chimerica and Women Laughing Alone with Salad, reviewed.

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My review of the U.S. debut of Lucy Kirkwood’s sprawling, ambitious drama Chimerica at the Studio Theatre is in today’s Washington City Paper. Also reviewed: Women Laughing Alone with Salad, a surreal feminist comedy from Sheila Callaghan making its world premiere at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. For those keeping score, that’s one great play by a woman that’s not officially part of the Women’s Voices Theatre Festival, and one pretty good play that is. Read those pieces here, or pick up a dead-tree WCP, available wherever finer alt-weeklies are given away gratis — and you don’t even need to have an Amazon Prime subscription! Continue reading

I’ve Got You Under My Skin: Silence! The Musical, reviewed.

Tally Sessions and Laura Jordan in the musical parody "The Silence of the Lambs" demanded.

Tally Sessions and Laura Jordan Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter and Clarice Starling, in the musical parody “The Silence of the Lambs” demanded.

Studio Theatre served fava beans as snacks on press night of Silence! The Musical. Tasteful! fuhfuhfuhfuhfuhfuhfuh.

I review the show in today’s Washington City Paper.

The Overlook’ed Hotel: very still and hard to see, reviewed.

Yasmin Tuazon and the company of "very still and hard to see." (C. Stanley Photography)

Yasmin Tuazon and friends. (C. Stanley Photography)

I often admire the work Rorschach Theatre Company does, but I struggled with their latest offering, an atmospheric but impenetrable production of Steve Yockey’s horror anthology very still and hard to see. My review is in today’s Washington City Paper.

Cheks Mix: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike & Uncle Vanya, reviewed.

We’ve got an An-ton of Chekhov in DC just now, what with Arena Stage doing Christopher Durang’s Tony Award-winning, Chekhov-inflected Sonia and Masha and Vanya and Spike, while Round House Theatre has put together a sublime new Uncle Vanya, working from Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Baker’s recent translation of the play.

I review both of those in today’s Washington City Paper. I have seen Live Art DC’s staged-in-a-bar Drunkle Vanya yet, but it’s stumbling distance from my apartment so I should find the time.

FURTHER READING: My 2010 review of Baker’s Circle Mirror Transformation. My 2011 review of Sydney Theatre Company’s Liv Ullmann-directed, Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving-starring Uncle Vanya. My 2012 review of Baker’s The Aliens. My 2013 review of Aaron Posner’s Stupid Fucking Bird, and its follow-up, from earlier, this year, Life Sucks, or the Present Ridiculous. Surely that’s more than enough.

John Kevin Boggs, 1963-2015

JKBJohn Kevin Boggs had many people closer to him than me, but we were friendly acquaintances for a decade and running into him never failed to improve my mood. I wrote what I remember and admire about him for The Washington City Paper.

Judgment Days: Signature Theatre’s Soon, reviewed.

Alex Brightman and Jessica Hershberg in "Soon." (Teresa Wood)My review of all-rounder Nick Blaemire’s world premiere apocalypse musical Soon is in today’s Washington City Paper. Or you can save an already-killed tree and read it here.

 

An Imperative, Not a Noun: Beth Henley’s Laugh, reviewed.

Creed Garnick (Roscoe) and Helen Cespedes (Mabel). Photo: Igor Dmitry.

Pulitzer Prize-winner Beth Henley‘s new play Laugh is not like her other plays. It’s wacky. How you feel about wacky will be a better predictor of your experience than you feel about Henley.

My Washington City Paper review is here.

DC Theatre: Five Plays to See in 2015

Holly Twyford and Luigi Sottile in Signature Theatre's "Sex with Strangers."

Holly Twyford and Luigi Sottile in Signature Theatre’s “Sex with Strangers.”

In the Washington City Paper, I highlight a few of the plays I saw in 2014 that linger in my mind at year’s end and choose five I’m excited about for the first half of 2015. Happy New Year, Theatregoers.

Bringing Out the DC Dead

Collage on brown package paper affixed to interior window at Fort Fringe, Oct. 5, 2014The flood of new words from me posting today and tomorrow includes this Washington City Paper feature on DC Dead, Rex Daugherty and Vaughn Irving’s “zombie survival experience” set in the former Fort Fringe at 607 New York Ave. NW, and likely, if not certain, to be that storied old wreck’s final show now that the Capital Fringe Festival has officially moved a mile and change east, to the H Street NE corridor.

The photo (click to enlarge it) is of something I saw taped up to the inside of one of the windows in the second-floor room where they used to assemble the festival’s schedule using sticky-notes on the Sunday I visited to report the story. The City Paper photographed CapFringe founder Julianne Brienza there for my cover story about the festival in 2010, and they’ve reused those pictures many times in the years since.

Notes on Champ: Fetch Clay, Make Man and ABSOLUTELY! {perhaps}, reviewed.

Roscoe Orman and Eddie Ray Jackson as Stehin Fetchit and Muhammad Ali in "Fetch Clay, Make Man."

Roscoe Orman and Eddie Ray Jackson as Stephin Fetchit and Muhammad Ali in Fetch Clay, Make Man. (Round House Theatre)

My review of Round House Theatre‘s strong production of Will Power‘s Fetch Clay, Make Man, a play about the unlikely friendship of Muhammad Ali and Stephin Fetchit, is in today’s Washington City Paper. I also review Constellation Theatre‘s update of a century-old Luigi Pirandello play, ABSOLUTELY! {perhaps}. Continue reading

In Arms’ Way: Golda’s Balcony and Moth, reviewed.

Tovah Feldshuh as Golda Meir in "Golda's Balcony" by William Gibson.

I review Golda’s Balcony, William Gibson’s 2003 solo play about the life of Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, and the U.S. premiere of Australian playwright Declan Greene’s Moth in today’s Washington City Paper, available wherever finer alt-weeklies are given away for free. Read all about ’em.

Tovah Feldshuh as Golda Meir.