Categories

Find Us

What’s On Stage In the DMV – June

What’s Onstage in the DMV For June

Jordan Wright
May 15, 2024
Special to The Zebra

Beauty and The Beast via Toby’s Dinner Theater

Beauty and the Beast
Where: Toby’s Dinner Theatre
When: Now through June 16
www.TobysDinnerTheatre.com

Rose: You Are Who You Eat
Where: Woolly Mammoth
When: June 5 – June 23
Find more information at www.WoollyMammoth.net

Metamorphoses
Where:
Folger Shakespeare Theatre
When: Now through June 16
Find more information at www.Folger.edu

Long Way Down
Where: Olney Theatre Center
When: Now through June 23
Find more information at www.OlneyTheatre.org

Image via the Kennedy Center

Bye Bye Birdie
Kennedy Center
June 7 – June 15
Find more information at www.Kennedy-Center.org

The Magic Matchbox Flute
Where: Shakespeare Theatre Company
When: Now through June 16
Find more information at www.ShakespeareTheatre.org

Postcards from Ihatov
Where: 1stStage
When: June 6 – June 23
Find more information at www.1stStage.org

Letters to Kamala and Dandelion Peace
Where: Voices Festival Productions – at Universalist National Memorial Church
When: June 8 – June 21
Find more information at www.TicketTailor.com

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical
Where: Adventure Theatre
When: June 21 – August 19
Find more information at www.AdventureTheatre-mtc.org

Image via Roundhouse Teatre

Top Dog/Underdog
Where: Roundhouse Teatre
When: Now through June 23
Find more information at www.RoundhouseTheatre.org

The Elephant in the Room
Where: Keegan Theatre
When: June 1 – June 23
Find more information at www.KeeganTheatre.com

The Migration
Where:
Arena Stage
When: June 7 – July 18
Find more information atwww.ArenaStage.org

The Minutes
Where: Providence Players of Fairfax
When: June 7 – June 22
Find more information at www.ProvidencePlayers.org

Miss Nelson is Missing

Miss Nelson is Missing
Where Imagination Stage
When June 20 – August 10
Find more information at www.ImaginationStage.org

The Haymaker’s Wife
Where: Theatre J
When: June 8 – June 25
Find more information at www.TheatreJ.org

Rent
Where: Dominion Stage
When: June 7 – June 22
Find more information at www.DominionStage

American Psycho
Where: Monumental Theatre Company
When: June 28 – July 21
Find more information at www.App.Arts-People.com

The Drowsy Chaperone
Where: Workhouse Arts Center
When: Now through June 23
Find more information at www.WorkhouseArts.org

Dixie’s Tupperware Party Brings Wild and Crazy Southern Schtick to the Kennedy Center

Dixie’s Tupperware Party Brings Wild and Crazy Southern Schtick to the Kennedy Center

Dixie’s Tupperware Party
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Jordan Wright
May 15, 2024

Yes, Dixie Longate is a real person who has been selling Tupperware for 22 years. I need to put that out there because initially I was unsure if what I was seeing was a person or a character – definitely a bit of both. Ms. Dixie has won countless sales awards in no small part due to her outrageously hilarious and super salty brand of humor and earnestly flippant pep talks. To join her party be prepared to be charmed, included (parts are interactive) and doubled over with laughter. Dixie is the best friend and soulmate you were not entirely sure you needed, but how on earth did you reach adulthood without her detailed instructions on relationships? Her prescription (maybe I should call it “The Gospel According to Dixie”) for a successful life offers tough love, Tupperware and sex advice – all delivered tongue-in-cheek.

Strutting the stage in ruby red high heels and tossing out advice like tabs from a Pez dispenser, this Mobile, Alabama gal chides the audience while doling out her own life story.  In her saucy red gingham dress with candy cane striped skirt festooned with bows and topped ever so sweetly with a retro cherry-print apron, this feisty six-foot plus gal doles out platitudes and life lessons the audience laps up like kittens to a bowl of sweet milk. How can you not love a gal sporting a bouffant hairdo that’s as close to God as a rattail comb can achieve? For some reason I began to desperately crave a cherry Coke, fried green tomatoes and a Moon Pie.

Image via the Kennedy Center

If you don’t get the vapors from her non-stop, double entendre repartee, you’ll learn a lot about how Tupperware relates to Life as she regales you with stories of prison and her trailer park background before she found her muse, Brownie Wise, the housewife founder of Tupperware in-home parties who changed the world of business for women everywhere. That part is true. As Dixie tells it, “I have three kids – Wynona, Dwayne and Absorbine, Jr. and 3 ex-husbands. All of ‘em have somehow died, but I ain’t crying about it. I’m way too busy traveling all over the place bringing creative food storage solutions to your town.”

Dixie loves her gays and they love her back. She calls them her “homosectionals” – the rest of us are lovingly referred to as “hookers” – and likes to challenge the audience to interactive games, bringing a select few onstage while dispensing Southern schtick. There were moments when I was entirely prepared to see Baltimore filmmaker John Waters pop out from behind the curtain with the late actor “Divine”. Ah, well, Miss Dixie is a truly pretty Southern gal – just don’t tell John I said that.

Be sure to see Dixie in her wild and crazy Tupperware World. It’s tons of fun!

Image via the Kennedy Center

By Kris Andersson; Directed by Patrick Richwood; with Lighting Design by Richard Winkler and Sound Design by Christopher K. Bond.

Through June 2nd at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in the Family Theatre, 2700 F Street, NW, Washington, DC 20566. For tickets and information call the box office at 202 467-4600 or visit www.Kennedy-Center.org

The Psychedelic Age of Aquarius Shines with “Hair” at Signature Theatre

The Psychedelic Age of Aquarius Shines with “Hair” at Signature Theatre

Hair
Signature Theatre
Jordan Wright
April 28, 2024
Special to The Zebra

Peace signs, African beads, bellbottoms, tie dyed t-shirts, dashikis and fringe jackets. Sound familiar? If not, you were born long after the Peace Movement and hippie culture radicalized the American landscape. Created organically as a result of Nixon and Reagan politics and the Vietnam war, and framed by marijuana, LSD and peyote, this movement defined the late 60’s and early 70’s spreading out from California (doesn’t everything?) through the heartland to the East Coast. Communal living and free love, before the age of AIDS, generated a free and open spirit that saw a multitude of campus protests, countrywide activism, the start of the new women’s movement and the ascension of Black Power.

Olivia Puckett (Sheila), Jordan Dobson (Claude), and Mason Reeves (Berger) (Photo/Christopher Mueller)

The world was changing, and it was not driven by political insiders, but by student activists, American youth and the mood of a country fed up with the graphic nightly broadcasting of the Vietnam war. This political shift was emblematic of the nation’s divisions. Three men caught this shift in the mood of the country. They were Gerome RagniJames Rado and Galt Macdermot who collaborated on one of the first rock musicals ever written in the age of Aquarius and they called it Hair to reflect the polarization of the long-haired youth and the straight, predominantly White ruling culture. This radical experiment in musical theatre elevated the movement and gave it a beautiful and complex voice. I first saw it in the mid-60’s at Joseph Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival Theatre on a small stage and it was magical – encapsulating everything the counter culture movement was trying to say and the political machine it was up against.

Director Matthew Gardiner has seized the vibe and faithfully respected its original purpose. As an interactive piece that often breaks the fourth wall, it allows the audience to share the emotions and passions of its characters – fifteen strong-minded youths with racially diverse middle-class backgrounds, living together – and not always getting by – but always getting high.

The cast of HAIR at Signature Theatre (Photo/Christopher Mueller)

Forty numbers give voice to the relevant interests of American youth – fear of 1-A draft status, fascination with the British Invasion “Manchester England”, sex, Aretha, Hendrix, festivals and love-ins, East Indian culture and flower power. It’s what’s happening, baby. Even if you didn’t live it, it’s resurgence echoes in the current Boho fashion style with macrame and peace signs. Wait! Where’s my mood ring? Even Margaret Mead makes an appearance to investigate the scene – for anthropological research, of course.

Backgrounded with video projections of the era, and a kick-ass 9-piece band conducted by Angie Benson, this production will catapult you to a moment in time that revolutionized music, art, politics and culture – a time when there were bad trips and good times. A time of activism, questionable wars and the malaise of youth happening yet again on college campuses today.

Noah Israel (Woof), Mason Reeves (Berger), Keenan McCarter (Steve) (Photo/Christopher Mueller)

Ashleigh King’s hyper-energetic choreography focusses on Dance, Dance, Dance with this multi-talented, hyper-exuberant ensemble. You can sense the cast is loving the atmosphere Gardiner has created for them to explore. Coupled with Paige Hathaway’s set design incorporating iconography of the period, it is a brave, exuberant and immersive experience.

Highly recommended!

Jordan Dobson (Claude) (Photo/Christopher Mueller)

With Jordan Dobson as Claude; Amanda Lee as Dionne; Mason Reeves as Berger; Noah Israel as Woof; Solomon Parker III as Hud; Olivia Puckett as Sheila; Nora Palka as Jeanie; Caroline Graham as Crissy; Jamie Goodson as Suzannah/Mother; Keenan McCarter as Steve/Father; Nolan Montgomery as Jonathan/Margaret Mead; Greg Twomey as Paul/Hubert; Savannah Blackwell as Lorrie; Patrick Leonardo Casimir as Walter; and Alex De Bard as Emmaretta.

Lighting by Jason Lyons; Sound Design by Eric Norris; Video Design by Patrick W. Lord; Wig Design by Anne Nesmith; Fight Choreographer Casey Kaleba; Resident Intimacy Consultant and Choreographer Chelsea Pace.

Through July 7, 2024 at Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Avenue, in Shirlington Village, Arlington, VA 22206. For tickets and information call the box office at 703 820-9771 or visit www.SigTheatre.org

STC’s Modern Production of Macbeth Stars the Great British Actor Ralph Fiennes in a Triumphant Performance

STC’s Modern Production of Macbeth Stars the Great British Actor Ralph Fiennes in a Triumphant Performance

Macbeth
Shakespeare Theatre Company
Jordan Wright
April 16, 2024
Special to The Zebra

Indira Varma and Ralph Fiennes (Photo/ Marc Brenner)

From the opening roar of a fighter jet overhead to the ultimate rhythmic uttering of one of the Three Witches, “by the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes”, this production will be the one Macbeth you will remember above all others. I honestly felt as though I had neither heard, studied, nor seen it before – certainly never performed so brilliantly nor staged so creatively. We not only see Lady Macbeth (Indira Varma) as a woman who longs to equal a man’s powers, “…unsex me here and fill me from the crown to the toe top-full of direct cruelty. Make thick my blood,” she entreats the spirits, but we see Macbeth (Ralph Fiennes) drenched in blood, going mad with the fear of divine retribution for his evil deeds as predicted by the Three Witches (Lucy ManganDanielle Flamanya and Lola Shalam).

Enough cannot be said about the two leads and the raw passion in these tour de force performances by Fiennes and Varma. Fiennes delivery, slowing down the pace when the lines and the mood need emphasis and heft, and drawing the audience deep into his sphere, are fiercely captivating. This slowing down of the pace allows the audience time to process and that is what separates this staging from many others. The actors’ well-honed delivery and Director Simon Godwin’s keen respect for the prose reflected here.

Lola Shalam, Lucy Mangan, and Danielle Fiamanya (Photo/ Marc Brenner)

Singers are told, “Don’t throw away a line. Give it meaning.” No line should be incidental and no action superfluous. Here everything is carefully drawn and purposeful. This is not the revved-up Shakespeare we have come to expect with lines delivered staccato. In this interpretation deeper meaning is imparted to each interaction and to every word. It is a glorious thing to behold. This is the same experience we have when watching a great movie where the viewer is afforded pauses in the action to better process the scene allowing for a more intimate and visceral experience.

Fiennes’ extraordinary ability to inhabit Macbeth is as complex and gripping as it is nuanced. The same can be said for Varma as the diabolical Lady Macbeth. The two are in total sync and it is absolutely delicious. Though we well know the plot, it’s still edge-of-your-seat action – from the sword fights to the grisly murders to the diabolical treachery, the grief and the ultimate revenge.

Ben Allen, Indira Varma, Rose Riley, Richard Pepper, Steffan Rhodri, and Levi Brown (Photo/ Marc Brenner)

Surprisingly, the production is not held in either of STC’s downtown theatres. It’s in a former BET-TV production facility in Northeast DC that lends itself to the magnitude and enormity of this unique event. Upon entry into the massive facility, you will pass through what appears to be a bombed-out street scene. A burned-out sedan rests on a pile of rubble, reflecting the emotional disasters to come. Fiennes insisted this Macbeth be in an industrial space on the outskirts of the city. The same requirement applied to its previous iterations in Liverpool, Edinburgh and London where it was mounted before coming to DC.

A triumph for Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Simon Godwin and this outstanding and predominantly British cast!

With Ben Allen as Ross; Ewan Black as Malcolm; Levi Brown as Angus; Jonathan Case as Seyton; Keith Fleming as King Duncan/Siward; Michael Hodgson as Second Murderer/Captain; Kiyoko Merolli as Macduff’s Daughter; Jake Neads as First Murderer/Donalbain; Richard Pepper as Lennox; Steffan Rhodri as Banquo; Rose Riley as Menteith; Rebecca Scruggs as Lady Macduff/Doctor; Maxwell Kwadjo Talbert as Macduff’s Son; Ethan Thomas as Fleance; Ben Turner as Macduff; Adrianna Weir as Macduff’s Daughter; and Mila Weir as Macduff’s Daughter.

Adapted by Emily Burns; Set and Costume Design by Frankie Bradshaw; Sound Design by Christopher Shutt; Lighting by Jai Morjaria; Composer Asaf Zohar; Fight Director Kate Waters.

Ben Turner (Photo/ Marc Brenner)

Through May 5th presented by the Shakespeare Theatre Company in association with Wessex Grove, Underbelly. At 1301 W Street, NE, Washington, DC. For tickets and information call the box office at 202 547-1122 or visit www.ShakespeareTheatre.org.

If you are unable to secure tickets to this once-in-a-lifetime production, it will be in local movie theatres beginning May 2nd

What’s Onstage in the DMV — May/Early June

What’s Onstage in the DMV

For May/Early June
Jordan Wright
April 16, 2024
Special to The Zebra

Jesus Christ Superstar (Photo/EVAN ZIMMERMAN FOR MURPHYMADE)

Homeless Garden
Where: Avant Bard
When: May 2 – May 25
Find more information at www.AvantBard.org

Jesus Christ Superstar
Where: National Theatre
When: May 17 – May 25
Find more information at www.TheNationalDC.com

Hair
Where: Signature Theatre
When: Now through Jul 7
Find more information at www.SigTheatre.org

Expecting
Where: Keegan Theatre
When: May 16 – May 25
Find more information at: www.KeeganTheatre.com

The Drowsy Chaperone
Where: Workhouse Arts Center
When: May 18 – June 23
Find more information at www.WorkhouseArts.org

Long Way Down
Where: Olney Theatre Center
When: May 22 – June 23
Find more information at www.OlneyTheatre.org

Reefer Madness
Where: Next Stop Theatre
When: May 3 – June 2
Find more information at www.NextStopTheatre.org

Image via GALA Hispanic Theatre

The Return of Eva Péron: Momia en el Closet
Where: GALA Hispanic Theatre
When: May 9 – June 9
Find more information at www.GALATheatre.org

Mexodus
Where: Mosaic Theater
When: May 16 – June 15
Find more information at www.MosaicTheater.org

Mark Twain’s Is He Dead
Where: The Little Theatre of Alexandria
When: May 18 – June 8
Find more information at www.TheLittleTheatre.com

Corteo
Where: Cirque du Soleil
When: May 17 – May 25
Find more information at www.CirqueDuSoleil.com

Image via Studio Theatre

Problems Between Sisters
Where: Studio Theatre
When: May 8 – June 16
Find more information atwww.StudioTheatre.org

Expecting
Where: Keegan Theatre
When: May 16 – May 25
Find more information at www.KeeganTheatre.com

Frontiéres Sans Frontiéres
Where: Spooky Action Theater
When: Now through May 19
Find more information at www.SpookyAction.org

The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin
Where: Creative Cauldron
When: May 16 – June 9
Find more information at www.CreativeCauldron.org

Margorie Prime
Where: Prologue Theatre
When: Now through May 19
Find more information at www.PrologueTheatre.org

Sing Down the Moon: Appalachian Wonder Tales
Where: Adventure Theatre
Find more information at https://adventuretheatre-mtc.org/

Little Shop of Horrors
Where: Ford’s Theatre
When: Now through May 18
Find more information at www.Fords.org

Image via The Washington National Opera

Turandot
Where: Kennedy Center
When: May 11 – May 25
Find more information at www.Kennedy-Center.org

The Matchbox Magic Flute
Where: Shakespeare Theatre Company
When: May 21 – Jun 16
Find more information at www.ShakespeareTheatre.org

Love’s Labour’s Lost (The Musical)
Where: St. Mark’s Players
When: now through May 18
Find more information at www.StMarksPlayers.org

(Im)Perfect
Where: Imagination Stage
When: May 10 – May 12 – Same – May 9 – May 12
Find more information at www.ImaginationStage.org

Metamorphoses
Where: Folger Theatre
When: May 7 – June 16
Find more information at www.Folger.edu

Dixie’s Tupperware Party
Where: Kennedy Center
When: May 7 – June 2
Find more information at www.Kennedy-Center.org

Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express is a Standout at The Little Theatre of Alexandria

Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express is a Standout at The Little Theatre of Alexandria

The Little Theatre of Alexandria
Jordan Wright
March 26, 2024
Special to The Zebra

(L – R) Michael Kharfen (Hercule Poirot), Brianna Goode (Countess Andrenyi) and Brian Lyons-Burke (Monsieur Bouc). (Photo/Matt Liptak)

“Touch nothing!” is the no-nonsense command given by writer Agatha Christie’s über-detective, Hercule Poirot (Michael Kharfen who inhabits Poirot with an absolutely brilliant performance). A man is found murdered in his stateroom and everyone’s a suspect. For those who love crime drama and murder mysteries with a soupçon of humor, it’s the first order of business when investigating a fresh crime. Without DNA or CCTV an old-fashioned detective needed to have mad deductive skills. That said, it’s not only fun to play along with the Belgian gumshoe’s innate ability to seek out liars like a truffle-hunting pig, but to try and puzzle it out for ourselves. Even if you’ve seen this dramedy before, you’ll still thrill to its witticisms and this marvelous cast.

Set in the 1930’s, ten passengers traveling on the posh Orient Express are under deep suspicion. Who had the motive? Who had the means? Who had a provable alibi? Who was closest to the scene? And, who had the most to gain? As clues and red herrings spring up like weeds, Poirot must unravel truth from fiction.

(L – R) Brian Lyons-Burke (Monsieur Bouc), Michael Kharfen (Hercule Poirot), Brianna Goode (Countess Andrenyi) and Paul Donahoe (Head Waiter/Michel) (Photo/Matt Liptak)

With so many suspects on board, who could be the perpetrator? Alibis abound. Was it the Russian Princess Dragomiroff (Patricia Nicklin)– a feisty noble traveling with Swedish missionary, Greta Ohlsson (Julia Rudgers); Helen Hubbard (Eleanore Tapscott), an American heiress on the hunt for her fourth husband; Michel the conductor (Paul Donahoe), whose uniform button was found beside a body; Scottish Colonel James Arbothnot (John Paul Odle) or his illicit paramour, the English governess Mary Debenham (Danielle Comer); Monsieur Bouc (Brian Lyons-Burke), Poirot’s dear friend, fellow Belgian and director of the Orient Express company Wagon-Lits; the pretty Hungarian doctor, Countess Andrenyi (Briana Goode); or Samuel Ratchett (Paul Caffrey), the rough and tumble American businessman traveling with his secretary, Hector McQueen (Avery Lance). When Ratchett turns up dead in his bed, everyone is questioned as to their whereabouts the night before.

(Seated L-R) Brianna Goode (Countess Andrenyi), Eleanore Tapscott (Helen Hubbard), Patricia Nicklin (Princess Dragomiroff), Julia Rudgers (Greta Ohlsson)
(Standing L-R) Brian Lyons-Burke (Monsieur Bouc), Paul Caffrey (Samuel Ratchett), John Paul Odle (Colonel Arbuthnot), Michael Kharfen (Hercule Poirot), Danielle Comer (Mary Debenham), Avery Lance (Hector MacQueen) and Paul Donahoe (Head Waiter/Michel) (Photo/Matt Liptak)

The stunning opening conjured up by Director Stefan Sittig, Lighting Designers, Ken and Patti Crowley, Sound Designer Janice Rivera and Set Designer Matt Liptak sets the perfect tone in the pitch dark of the theatre featuring a realistic-appearing, whistleblowing, Mars light ablaze locomotive roaring onto the stage. Creating an alluring ambiance for intrigue, the full-stage revolving set design features an elegantly furnished dining car for the passengers – insert audible audience’s gasp here – the second reveals a cutaway view of the passengers’ bedrooms. It’s quite dramatic and remarkably effective.

To all the amateur sleuths out there, I pose this question. Can you name the killer before the dénouementAlorsmes amis, imagine yourself on a train bound for London in the middle of a blizzard and trapped by a massive snowdrift in the mountains of Yugoslavia with no way out. As Poirot might say, “Bonne chance!”

A clear winner for The Little Theatre!

(L – R) Patricia Nicklin (Princess Dragomiroff) and Julia Rudgers (Greta Ohlsson). (Photo/Matt Liptak)

Adapted by Ken Ludwig; Dialect Coach, Alden Michels; 1930’s period Costume Design by Jean Schlichting and Kit Sibley; Fight Choreography by Stefan Sittig; Makeup and Hair Design by Larissa Norris.

Through April 13th at The Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. For tickets and information call the box office at 703 683-5778 or visit www.TheLittleTheatre.com.