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Blackbeard ~ Signature Theatre

Jordan Wright
June 29, 2019

Full disclosure:  I am a descendant of Edward Teach aka Edward Thatch aka Blackbeard.

Okay, now that my admission of partiality is out of the way, I can talk about why the world premiere of Blackbeard is a rousing success.  First and foremost, Lyricist John Dempsey (Brother Russia, The Witches of Eastwick, The Fix) and Composer Dana P. Rowe (Dempsey’s collaborator on the same award-winning shows) have chosen the consummate swashbuckling blackguard to lead us into a hilariously unconventional fantasyland of pirates and their amours.  Directed by Signature’s Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer, this turbo-charged adventure is based on the legendary exploits of the infamous 18th century privateer.

Awa Sal Secka (Shanti), Kevin McCallister (Caesar), Chris Hoch (Blackbeard), Christopher Mueller (Jake), and Lawrence Redmond (Samuel) in Blackbeard at Signature Theatre. Photo by Christopher Mueller.

Punctuated with dazzling pyrotechnics, the snicker-snack of gleaming swords, and booming cannons so thunderous that the floor actually quakes beneath your feet, this lusty new musical introduces us to the life of the dastardly pirate, Blackbeard.

Maria Egler (Morgan), Lawrence Redmond (Samuel), Christopher Mueller (Jake), Ben Gunderson (Garrick), Awa Sal Secka (Shanti), and Kevin McAllister (Caesar) in Blockbeord at Signature Theatre. Photo by Margot Schulman.

Conceiving a plan to conquer the British navy and achieve notoriety, Blackbeard seeks out his former lover, Dominique, a dazzlingly alluring temptress who rules the high seas.  His aim: To gain access to her sorcery and recruit an army of the undead.  Her aim:  To secure her freedom from the island where he abandoned her and conscript him to bring her three precious jewels.  To achieve this perilous feat, Blackbeard must travel to the kingdoms of Japan and India and confront the Norse gods of Scandinavia.

Nova Y. Payton (Dominique) in Blockbeord at Signature Theatre. Photo by Christopher Mueller.

Accompanied by Roger, a clever young stowaway, his trusty African Captain Caesar, Karl, a curiously reticent sailor, and a scurrilous band of ne’er-do-wells, Blackbeard travels across stormy seas on his perilous mission.

Veteran Broadway actor Chris Hoch (War Paint, Amazing Grace, Matilda, Shrek: The Musical, Beauty and the Beast, Dracula), with his marvelously commanding voice and stage presence, gives us an imposing Blackbeard, while leading lady Nova Y. Payton blows us square out of our seats with her powerhouse singing and fierce portrayal of the payback-seeking Dominique who enchants Blackbeard in the sultry number “Spellbound’.  Equally engaging is Lawrence Redmond’s finely tuned portrayal of the Old Man and Bobby Smith as Ódinn, the Viking ruler, who engages Blackbeard in an uproariously comical drinking contest in the number “Valhalla” – “Val-ha-ha-ha-la”!

As bold and colorful as these pirates is Paul Tate Depoo III’s set design.  Rigged with ship’s lines for clambering and a massive ship’s prow, the two-level set is wonderfully atmospheric.

It’s all tongue-in-cheek as this band of buccaneers takes us on a wild ride to exotic ports of call.

Ben Gunderson (Lt. Maynard) and Chris Hoch (Blackbeard) in Blockbeord at Signature Theatre. Photo by Christopher Mueller.

Highly recommended.  A rousing adventure with a memorable score.

Ten actors play over 60 roles.  With Chris Hoch as Blackbeard; Nova Y. Payton as Sally/Dominique; Rory Boyd as Roger; Lawrence Redmond as Samuel/Old Man; Kevin McAllister as Caesar; Bobby Smith as Karl/Ódinn; Maria Egler as Morgan/La Mer; Ben Gunderson as Garrick/Lt. Maynard; Christopher Mueller as Jake/Kamikase; and Awa Sal Secka as Shanti/Kali Maa.

Conducted by Jon Kalbfleisch; Choreography by Matthew Gardiner; exceptionally costumed by Erik Teague; Lighting Design by Chris Lee; Sound Design by Ryan Hickey; Orchestrations by David Holcenberg & Scott Wasserman; Fight Choreography by Casey Kaleba.

Through July 14th at Signature Theatre (Shirlington Village), 4200 Campbell Avenue, Arlington, VA 22206.  For tickets and information call 703 820-9771 or visit www.signature-theatre.org.

Twisted Melodies ~ Mosaic Theatre

Jordan Wright
June 27, 2019 

Twisted Melodies, a dramatic interpretation of the last day of Donny Hathaway’s life, touches us on so many levels.  As a consummate songwriter and performing artist, Hathaway was one of the most enduring talents during the height of the 1970’s R&B scene.  An accomplished pianist, soul, blues and jazz singer, and collaborator with Roberta Flack (The Closer I Get To You), he borrowed from his gospel roots reinterpreting his melodic memories into one of the most recognizably appealing sounds of the decade.  For area audiences it’s a special treat to experience this powerful production and revisit some of his music, as Hathaway was well known in DC circles where he attended Howard University during the Civil Rights era.

Twisted Melodies at Baltimore Center Stage, in associa- Pictured: Kelvin Roston, Jr. © Richard Anderson

Making its DC premiere at Mosaic Theatre in association with New York’s famed The Apollo Theater, its writer, star, and musical director, Kelvin Roston, Jr., presents an indelible foray into Hathaway’s psychological turmoil.  Roston’s skill at becoming Hathaway’s doppëlganger captures the artist in his most fragile period after he had been hospitalized several times with a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia and was living on a dangerous cocktail of medications that served only to increase his fears and insecurities.

Twisted Melodies at Baltimore Center Stage, in association with Congo Square Theatre Company Pictured: Kelvin Roston, Jr. © Richard Anderson

Set in a New York hotel room where Hathaway is surrounded by his demons – a ghost named Duke, disembodied voices and fears of his room being bugged – the terrified singer fights to keep it together on the eve of his comeback.  “I gotta focus!  Twist it into melodies.  Everybody is depending on me.”  Interspersed with songs by Hathaway and other artists – Leon Russell, George Clinton, Stevie Wonder – played on an electric piano, Roston dramatizes Hathaway’s decline as both an artist and father.

Twisted Melodies at Baltimore Center Stage, in association with Congo Square Theatre Company Pictured: Kelvin Roston, Jr. © Richard Anderson

Roston’s tour de force portrayal of a tormented soul in full-blown crisis mode is skillful beyond imagining.  Not only is his beautifully written script filled with passion and raw emotion, but more incredibly, he takes on Hathaway’s entire persona in what would be a physically and emotionally draining role for any actor.  Along the way, he reaches out to the audience, as though we are a part of his rehabilitation.  As his “angels” and “muses”, he calls out to us for support, acknowledging our presence as he strives to transform his anger and weakness into beauty.

Highly recommended.

Directed by the award-winning Derrick Sanders, Set Design by Courtney O’Neill, Costumes by Dede Ayite, Lights by Alan C. Edwards, Sound by Christopher M. LaPorte, and Projections by Mike Tutaj.  Presented in co-production with Baltimore Center Stage and The Apollo Theater.

Through July 21st at the Atlas Center for the Performing Arts in the Theresa and Jane Lang Theatre – 1333 H Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002.  For tickets and info on post show discussions, special rates and discounts visit www.MosaicTheater.org or call the box office at 202.399.7993 ext. 2.  Valet parking at 1360 H Street, NE.

Nibbles and Sips Around Town ~ June 2019

Jordan Wright
June 2019
Photo credit: Jordan Wright
 

East Indian Glamour at Punjab Grill ~ Gâteau Bakery Café & Tea Room Brings Bespoke British Tea Time to Old Town Warrenton ~ High Street Café – Latin-inspired Brasserie in Georgetown

 Punjab Grill  

Glamorous table setting at Punjab Grill

As a great admirer of Indian cuisine (inspired by my mother who turned down a marriage proposal from the last Maharaja of Sarila , I have been delighted with the wide variety of Indian restaurants around DC.  Dining at the award-winning Rasika or Indique  or Bombay Club (think days of the Raj) spring to mind.  Even casual spots like Indigo and Pappe   – which all are on my short list.  Travel outside city limits and a new Indian restaurant seems to pop up every month.  The more exposed we are to the joys and complexities of Indian food, the more we want to try a new one.

Tandoori Tiger Prawns at Punjab Grill

Punjab doesn’t tumble neatly into any of these categories.  It stands alone as a temple to Indian fine dining with its luxe décor – Hermés plates, napkin rings and gold-handled silverware – and well-trained, crisply uniformed waitstaff.   If I were hosting a dream dinner party it would be luxuriating in its private dining room where 150,000 miniature, convex mirrors reflect the light from dozens of candles and low-lit chandeliers, and where a long dining table inlaid with mother-of-pearl creates a glimmering, shimmering ambiance that reeks of regal sophistication.  Dubbed the ‘Sheesh Mahal’ or ‘Palace of Mirrors’ it accommodates ten of your nearest and dearest.

Punjab Grill’s Chutney Flight

Another dining room – dubbed the ‘Passage to India’ is inspired by the private railroad car journeys through India taken in the comfort of royal saloons.  Each table is supported by a hand-carved marble base, sourced from the same mines as the Taj Mahal.  Its walls are artfully decorated with beautifully carved wooden latticework.

Malabar Macchi- Chilean Sea Bass with jaggery cumin glaze, Brussels sprouts thoran and kokum coconut sauce

A translucent onyx bar at the entrance beckons you to order one of their delicately-spiced cocktails.  Decorated with marble inlays and aglow with amber lighting from within the stone, it makes for a dramatic introduction to the dining rooms where dishes are treated as works of art.

Aloo Tikki Chaat surrounded by pomegranate seeds

A must-have starter is the sampler of six distinctive chutneys – mango, pineapple, mint yoghurt, ginger tamarind carrot pickle, turnip pickle, radish pickle and laccha onion surrounding an assortment of crisp “breads” – poppadum, dosa crisps and naan grissini.  The pink one is tinted with beet juice.

As beautiful as the dishes are, they are not mere window dressing.  The food is divine – a tribute to Executive Chef Jaspratap ‘Jassi’ Bindra’s modern twist on Indian cuisine.

Salted Caramel Paneer Cheesecake​ (L) ​–​ honey cashew crust, mascarpone cream / Chocolate Pistachio Giandiya (R)​ ​–​ cardamom ganache, chocolate sable

Punjab Grill, 427 11th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20004. Reservations are recommended.  Call 202 813.3004 or visit ​www.punjabgrilldc.com Valet parking is available at dinner.

Gâteau Bakery Café & Tea Room

Gâteau Bakery Café and Tea Room in Warrenton, VA

I met owner Lora Vennettilli Gookin at a Gold Cup event in The Plains, Virginia a few years ago.  I had been gobbling up her delicious pastries while visiting the Airlie tent and was introduced to her by a mutual friend.  Lora let me know she was opening a bakery in Old Town Warrenton and was in the process of restoring a historic building in the center of town.  She promised to contact me when it was ready.  Fast forward two years later and Lora made good on her pledge and that was how I came to experience Gâteau Bakery’s delightfully delicious afternoon tea.

Owner/Baker Lora Vennetilli Gookin in front of the historic bank’s vault where she houses the collection of cups and teapots used for tea service.

A short drive out from DC, and a world away from the stresses of the city, the charming bakery plus tea room is situated near the Fauquier Courthouse and Fauquier History Museum and Old Jail, both of which are worth a visit.  Built in 1860, the bakery itself with its interior brick walls is housed in what was once the Bank of Warrenton.  On one side you’ll find the tea room on the other near the entrance a gift shop, takeout bakery and a café serving soups, salads and sandwiches.

Baba au rhum at Gateau Bakery

Lora is a superb pastry chef and enterprising baker.  All the scrumptious baked goods are baked by Lora and her well-trained staff of bakers.  In the bakery section you’ll find lots of flavors of cakes (caramel cakes!) and cupcakes (coconut chocolate almond!) plus savory treats to take away – cupcakes, muffins, biscuits, cookies, cakes and classic desserts like baba au rhum.  For those with specific food issues or allergies, you can still have your cake and eat it too with gluten-free, dairy-free and/or vegan options.  For my friend and I, the exquisitely prepared afternoon tea is what we came for.  Take away sweets can wait.

Different levels of the tea experience are offered.  I recommend you go all in with the Royal Tea featuring cucumber sandwiches, mini savory puff pastries with tomato, basil and mozzarella, scones (flavors at the whim of the chef), Virginia ham and sweet potato biscuits served with mustard butter, curried egg salad, mini chocolate tarts with shortbread crust, and an assortment of cookies and scrumptiously rich cake bites.  It is a tea lover’s dreamland heightened by the freshly whipped cream and seasonal fruit jams.

The bakery and gift shop at Gâteau

Twenty-five varieties of tea grace the menu.  Your selection is brought to the table in an individual pot, kept warm with hand-knit tea cosies Lora has made in England.  Each pot and cosy are unique and tea varieties are custom made exclusively for the bakery by Green Alchemy Herb & Mercantile Company owned by nearby Lovettsville residents, Sarah and Peter Roussos, a former chemistry teacher.  Be sure to take home a few of these unique teas.  The Roussos’s ‘American Chai’ has been patented and is the perfect morning sip.

The Royal Tea at Gateau Bakery

Lora also serves a Children’s Tea, which is the best way to introduce your child to the finer things in life (including good table manners).  The Gentleman’s Tea is more meat- and cheese-centric and features bison sliders and smoked gouda grits washed down with a sprightly pilsner.  For those craving something with a bit more punch, the bakery has a full-on liquor license that includes cocktails, wine, beer and champagne.

Once a career civil engineer who, encouraged by friends, attended pastry school in Scottsdale, Arizona, Lora has her own style.  Though many of her pastries are of the classic variety, this is not your average corner bakery.  On-trend sweets as well as gorgeously decorated multi-tiered wedding cakes that are her most popular items.  Lora is committed to the best quality ingredients – many of which are locally sourced.  A visit to her website reveals more about her exacting practices.  “All of our cakes, fillings and frostings are skillfully made from scratch using select organic ingredients, no shortening, unbleached and unbromated flour, aluminum free leaveners and non-GMO ingredients.”

Gâteau Bakery Café and Tea Room is located on 12 Culpeper Street, Warrenton, VA 20186. Reservations are recommended for afternoon tea.  Call 540 347.9188 or visit www.1gateau.com

High Street Café  

The bar at High Street Café

Imagine my surprise to find Georgetown’s old Paolo’s turned into an American brasserie with a Latin flair.  It’s like having culinary Europe at your doorstep.  Veteran restauranteur Manuel Iguino is back and center stage.  (Nearly a decade ago he served the pounded plantain dish mofongo at his Puerto Rican-influenced restaurant Mio.)  Whether sitting on the patio smack dab on Wisconsin Avenue (perfect for people-watching) or perched at the intimate bar, or nicely cosseted on a banquette, Georgetown’s hustle-bustle is at eye level.  Located in the heart of Georgetown’s toniest environs, his latest venture, High Street Café, affords diners a sunset view, an accomplished chef, Gerard Cribbin, and an ambitiously creative cocktail program by Beverage Director, Carl Townsend.

Cribbin, who once cheffed a few blocks away at Filomena’s making fresh pastas, drifted farther south.  After stints in Greenville, SC, a noted foodie destination where he was chef and co-owner of Gerard’s, he cooked at The Lazy Goat and later became the executive chef at Coal Fired Bistro.  For now, he’s back in the nation’s capital.  Let’s hope he stays.  At Coal Fired Bistro his seafood bisque became all the rage.  It’s one of his specialties and on the menu here.  Cribbin has his own way of interpreting the dishes we think we’re familiar with.  A starter of tuna tartare was a surprising refresher.  Not your usual raw fish dish, this version becomes elevated with the addition of tiny cubes of sweet mango and a silken dressing of orange cream.

Scallops with wild mushrooms, sherry cream, spinach and saffron risotto

A wide array of menu items (I spotted lechon pizza!) beckons, but I drilled down on a calf’s liver starter.  Now there are a lot of things that can go wrong with this rarely encountered delicacy – a chef that thinks it’s okay to substitute beef liver (too bitter), overcooking (tough as shoe leather) and near-raw onions.

Calf’s Liver with caramelized shallots

The onions must be caramelized through a process of long, low and slow cooking.  For those who are equally as discerning about liver and onions, I can report that this one was sheer perfection and served with caramelized shallots.  Even better, as these tiny bulbs yield a sweeter result.

Tuna Tartare with mango, orange cream and baby kale

Another dish I measure a restaurant’s chef by, is Spaghetti alla Vongole.  Cribbin prepares it with the tiniest of sweet clams, plenty of garlic, seasoned bread crumbs and a charred lemon on the side.  Memorable.  A dish of perfectly bronzed scallops with wild mushrooms and sherry cream and risotto was oh, so rich and delicious too.

Spaghetti alla Vongole

Although I was racing off to the theatre and I usually forgo a drink when I’m working, I wanted to try, on this very hot day, just one mojito.  It’s a good way to test a bar’s credibility as too often this classic Spanish cocktail is dumbed down by a lazy bartender who plants a solitary sprig of mint and calls it a day.  Townsend’s was a veritable garden of mint and limes and super hydrating.

High Street Café’s Mojito

Here are a few of Townsend’s specialty summer cocktails:  ‘Mai High Tai’ with Novo Fogo Cachaça, Dry Curaçao and orgeat; ‘Seasonal Buck’ with Gin Lane 1751 ‘Victoria’ Pink Gin, lavender and ginger beer; ‘Ponce Old Fashioned’ with Don Q Añejo Rum, turbinado and bitters; ‘Spicy Guava Pisco Sour’ with Soldeica Pisco, Ancho Reyes and sichuan syrup; and ‘Paloma-rita’ with Rooster Rojo Tequila, lime and grapefruit soda.

Two house-aged cocktails presented by High West Whiskey are also featured – the ‘Chili Aged Manhattan’ with High West American Prairie Bourbon, vermouth and Amargo de Chile; and the ‘Caribbean Negroni’ with Don Q Gold Rum, Tiki Lovers Dark Rum, amaro blend and vermouth blend.

A return trip (with alcohol) is definitely on the horizon.

High Street Café – 1303 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20007.  Call 202 333.0256.

Every Brilliant Thing ~ Studio Theatre

Jordan Wright
June 24, 2019 

Studio Theater’s new Milton Theatre is looking to attract a summer crowd and last night it did.  Called SHOWROOM it is a casual space offering specialty cocktails and snacks at the bar.   Olney Theatre Center’s production of Every Brilliant Thing, by playwrights Duncan MacMillan and Jonny Donahoe, is a one-man, one-act play about suicide and was the first of the off-beat performances of the season.  Pleasantly ensconced at café tables lit with candles, the youngish crowd had bought their drinks and looked ready for a Friday date night that promised audience participation.  Touted as a comedy, it seemed as though fun was just around the corner.

Alexander Strain and an audience member in Every Brilliant Thing. Photo: Teddy Wolff.

So, maybe I should have had what they were drinking, or snagged one of the cards that was handed out in advance to a smattering of guests so they could call out some of the “brilliant things” Alexander was grateful for while his mother lay in hospital after another suicide attempt.  But for me, no amount of jokes or self-deprecating comedic schtick could subtract from the fact that a family was being torn asunder by a mother’s crushing depression and nothing could stop that fateful train from jumping the tracks.

Alexander Strain and an audience member in Every Brilliant Thing. Photo: Teddy Wolff.

Thinking about my feelings for the play, I drifted off to sleep that night and had a dream about it – a dream as quirky as the play itself.  I dreamed that Amy Schumer was in a play she had written and was eager to get a group of us into the theater to see it.  She described it as a story about her mother’s suicide.  We didn’t want to see her act out her personal tragedy, but she begged us to participate.  We entered the theater (in Greece, no less) and the more we listened, the more we wanted her to stop.  Because though it seemed to be alleviating her sorrow, we couldn’t bear to hear the whole dismal story.

The audience and Alexander Strain in Every Brilliant Thing. Photo: Teddy Wolff.

That’s what this play is about more or less, except that the audience is conscripted to shout out these brilliant things like “ice cream”, “staying up past bedtime”, “things with stripes”, etc.  Much of the time these non-actors couldn’t be heard across the room.  My seatmate turned to me on several occasions with a quizzical look, as if hoping I would tell him.  That left us wondering what the brilliant thing was that Alexander as the child, who later presents as a teenager, and ultimately a college student with his own crushing depression, might have said.

I’ll grant you it might seem like a healthy psychological exercise to look for the sunny side of life while everything around you is crumbling, but nonetheless, it doesn’t work out in the end for Alexander, even though a woman from the audience has been asked to play his dying dog’s vet, another has been asked to play his guidance counselor, and a man is challenged to play Alexander’s father, a man so removed from his child’s life, he closets himself away when the going gets tough.

Audience members and Alexander Strain in Every Brilliant Thing. Photo: Teddy Wolff.

Once in college Alexander learns of Goethe’s notions about suicide and subs an audience member to play the part of his college professor.  He references ‘social contagions’ and agrees with the notion that we are unconsciously affected by the behavior of our peers – as in copycat suicides.  It’s called the ‘Werther Effect’ after Goethe’s notable character.  As Alexander tells us, “Children of depressed mothers have a heightened sense of stress.”  It would be good to keep this warning in mind when writing a play about suicide.

The evening’s oddest moment came when a pretty girl who was asked to pretend she was Alexander’s girlfriend didn’t understand how the game was played.  Everyone else in the audience had understood they were to parrot the words he voiced aloud to them but even after he repeatedly fed her the lines, she opted to concoct her own responses until she finally had that aha moment and played along.  LOL… or not.

Alexander Strain and an audience member in Every Brilliant Thing. Photo: Teddy Wolff.

So, see it if you’ve never known anyone who has committed suicide.  That’s my warning.  Just be sure to order a cocktail first.  Who knows?  You might find it amusing.

Directed by Jason Loewith and starring Alexander Strain.

Through July 7th at Studio Theatre – 1501 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005.  For tickets and information about the remaining shows in the run, visit www.StudioTheatre.org or call 202 232.7267

Falsettos ~ The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Jordan Wright
June 18, 2019 

Written at the height of the AIDS epidemic, Falsettos has been an anthem to the love and emotional support gays and their families experienced as they watched their love ones die off in droves.  It had its Broadway debut in 1992, but before that the musical had appeared Off-Broadway as March of the Falsettos in 1981 and Falsettoland in 1990.  Thanks to Composer and Lyricist James Lapine’s efforts, you’d be hard pressed to find a musical with a more difficult score to sing.

Trina, Jason and Marv in Eden Espinosa, Thatcher Jacobs and Max von Essen. Photo by Joan Marcus.

It is a story of Marvin, his wife, Trina, and their boy, Jason.  When Marvin leaves his family for Whizzer, a cocky, handsome gay man, the couple turns to Mendel, the psychiatrist to sort it all out.  Mendel falls for Trina and, oh well, it’s complicated.

Mendel and Marvin – Nick Blaemire and Max von Essen. Photo by Joan Marcus.

If you look at it as a story only about gays and AIDS, it seems incontrovertibly dated.  A broader perspective might be to think of it in terms of devotion or, perhaps, altruism – the devotion of caregivers and the empathy required to sacrifice one’s own needs for another’s touches everyone.  At least that’s how I came to view it, because, in that deeper way, it can be far more relatable.

But it’s not for everyone.  It’s overly long, nearly three hours, and demands our sympathies in uncomfortable ways.  Do we like how Marvin destroys his marriage to Trina and cavalierly ignores his own son?  Certainly not.  Is he not vain, egotistical, obsessive, hurtful and destructive?  All of the above.  Do we notice that their shrink Mendel cuckolds Marvin, his original patient?  Indeed, we do.  What about the tempestuous and superficial relationship between Whizzer and Marvin?  “We like fighting most,” he admits.  Should we care?  And, though they are Jewish, their only nod to religion is their insistence that Jason have a Bar Mitzvah, even though the boy is dead set against one.  The pessimism, obsessions and neuroses can be soul-killing to witness.

Marvin and Whizzer ~ Max von Essen and Nick Adams. Photo by Joan Marcus.

In “Trina’s Song” she laments that men are so immature yet rule the world.  Here, Lapine and Finn offer a brief nod to women’s liberation and her hopes for a more fulfilling life, but then do a 180 making Trina a stay-at-home wife and mother.  It is only when Whizzer is dying and Marvin returns to care for him with their lesbian neighbors, Cordelia and Dr. Charlotte, that we witness the human connection.

Cordelia and Dr. Charlotte ~ Audrey Cardwell and Bryonha Marie Parham. Photo by Joan Marcus.

As a sing-through that includes 37 titled numbers and scenes, the musical stretches the vocal talents of any singer and in this production it takes a host of Broadway veterans.

The Company ~ Photo by Joan Marcus

Directed by James Lapine, Set by David Rockwell, Costumes by Jennifer Caprio, Lighting by Jeff Croiter, Choreography by Spencer Liff, and Sound by Dan Moses Schreier.

With Max Von Essen as Marvin, Thatcher Jacobs or Jonah Mussolino as Jason, Nick Adams as Whizzer, Nick Blaemire as Mendel, Eden Espinosa as Trina, Bryonha Marie Parham as Dr. Charlotte, and Audrey Cardwell as Cordelia.

Through June 23rd in the Eisenhower Theater at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F St., NW, Washington, DC.  For tickets and information call 202 467-4600 or visit www.Kennedy-Center.org.