Kennedy Center members lose faith over Book of Mormon tickets

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Yesterday, phone lines at the Kennedy Center were jammed and their website crashed (nearly 24 hours later, it still hasn’t been restored.) The cause?  Members trying to get tickets to the July/August performances of The Book of Mormon. DCTS writer Steven McKnight reports from the front lines.

Hedda Gabler at the Nordic Cool Festival

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They call the festival Nordic Cool, but someone must have planted a stick of dynamite at the Kennedy Center.  Hedda Gabler at times is so “hot” that it blasts away at any conception that Ibsen is the old fashioned architect of 19th century dramatic realism. The production from the National Theatre of Norway is fresh, contemporary […]

Dante’s Inferno

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Hell hath no water break for Bill Largess, whose one-man Dante’s Inferno sears through Dante’s underworld in 90 minutes. Exercising a mnemonic that would impress Homer, Largess escorts audiences through literature’s most hallowed vision of hell. He hits the highlights, and a delightfully gruesome sound design complements his reverent recitation.

Smash 2:4 – The Song

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Well, let’s start with the good news. With tonight’s final scene, Evil Producer Jerry sends a clear message to everyone’s favorite worst character ever – “Don’t ever contact me again,” accompanied by a bona fide maniacal laugh (actually, that part might have just been in my head). So at least Ellis is never, ever, ever, […]

Arena Stage’s 64th season starts this June with Janis

(l-r) top:Maurice Hines, Bill Pullman, Kathleen Turner, Estelle Parsons (bottom) Stephen Spinella, Kenny Leon, Randy Baker, Mary Bridget Davies, Moises Kaufman and Charles Randolph-Wright (Photos courtesy of Arena Stage)

Arena Stage announces its upcoming 10 production season which features the return of such powerhouse performers as Mary Bridget Davies (One Night with Janis Joplin), Kathleen Turner (Mother Courage and Her Children) and Maurice Hines (Tappin’ Through Life), the American classic Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, the musical revue Smokey Joe’s Café, the pre-Broadway presentation of The Velocity of […]

It’s sock puppets doing Rocky Horror. It’s free. Do you need more?

If you saw Nu Sass’s sock puppet version of  Into the Woods: In Concert last year, you have probably already snagged reservations to this year’s Socky Horror Puppet Show. If you missed it, here’s a chance to make up for that mistake. Ten actors, puppets at the hand, are taking on all the characters and, yes, in Rocky […]

The Sound of Broadway Music: A Book of Orchestrators and Orchestrations

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Before I launched Theater Shelf, my reviews appeared on the website Potomac Stages. One of my favorites of all the books I reviewed for that outlet was Steven Suskin’s “The Sound of Broadway Music: A Book of Orchestrators and Orchestrations.” Wanting to spread the word of this fascinating and invaluable book to my newer readership, […]

Synetic takes on The Tempest

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Synetic Theatre has delivered a blockbuster with its almost cinematic rendition of The Tempest. Think Lord of the Rings mixed with scenes from James Cameron’s Titanic. Shakespeare’s masterpiece is moved through with a lush underscoring whose decibel strength could do an AMC “big screen” theatre proud.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona

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Rarely, if ever, would you match up the pop song “Hey Jealousy” by The Gin Blossoms with William Shakespeare’s Two Gentlemen of Verona. But Chesapeake Shakespeare Company’s production of the classic blends in some modern-day elements and the match-up works.

Berlin to Broadway

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Experiencing Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill is like taking a remarkable journey across time and space, encountering some of the great literary giants of the 20th century and colliding with a few of that century’s major events. All this comes to the audience through the eyes and music of the extraordinary Kurt Weill, something […]

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