For those unfamiliar with the work of British playwright Caryl Churchill, Signature Theatre’s production of Escaped Alone (2016) may come as a bit of a shock. Skillfully directed by well-loved local actress Holly Twyford, Escaped Alone opens on a picturesque, yet unfussy, backyard garden. Three gracefully aging English women (Catherine Flye, Helen Hedman and Brigid […]
Review: Sondheim’s Assassins at Signature Theatre. Something just broke.
There are so many weirdly gleeful moments stuffed in Assassins, composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim and book writer John Weidman’s darkly comic and brilliant musical vaudeville exposing the ailing heart of American political culture. One of the most gripping is when John Wilkes Booth (Vincent Kempski) passionately borrows from the example of Willy Loman’s ignominious end in […]
Review: New musical Blackbeard swashbuckles its way across Signature’s stage
Singing and dancing pirates who aren’t stuck in a Disney theme park ride? Shiver me timbers and pipe me aboard, mateys! With rollicking fun, swashbuckling action and room enough for some heart-tugging moments, the new musical, Blackbeard, is ready to take no prisoners through the magic of musical theatre. The show is setting sail from […]
Fight choreographer Casey Kaleba on prepping actors for whole-cast swordfights in new pirate musical Blackbeard at Signature
Casey Kaleba, of Tooth and Claw Combat Arts, has been a fight choreographer at Signature Theatre for approximately a decade, teaching combat arts for shows from Jelly’s Last Jam to Midwestern Gothic to Road Show to Miss Saigon. “Very often, it’s a simple thing. I’ll come in for a slap or a character has to […]
Review: Spunk, Zora Neale Hurston’s stories at Signature Theatre
There’s something wonderful when two paintings by different creators “hang” side by side and seemingly begin a conversation. It feels that something rich and more than serendipity has taken place recently in DC with three shows produced by different companies that truly “speak” to each other’s themes, especially in their amplifying of the rich musical […]
Grand Hotel review. Brilliant sets, costumes and performances, lackluster book and music
Signature Theatre is known for reviving and revamping long forgotten musicals – and they don’t shy away from a challenge. Grand Hotel tells the story of a handful of strangers, drawn together as guests of the titular hotel at the center of Berlin during the city’s “Golden Era” of the mid- to late- 1920’s. During […]
Review: Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity asks when the earth becomes chaos, what is worth saving
You have one shoe box and twenty minutes until your house burns to the ground. What do you save? In Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, Signature Theatre asks not only what art is worth saving, but also which memories, beliefs, and people. Heather McDonald’s play, developed and produced for its world […]
Ain’t Misbehavin’ review, a high-wattage Fats Waller power surge at Signature Theatre
If you’ve got a case of the polar-vortex blues, Signature Theatre has the prescription for you: a two-hour extended-release burst of high-wattage, endorphin-pumping rhythm, courtesy of one Fats Waller and friends in a rompin’ stompin’ Ain’t Misbehavin’. A tad overmannered in spots and too loudly mic’d on the vocals, especially on the treble end, the […]
Review: Billy Elliot at Signature Theatre
A country divided, tensions running high. That was Tuesday evening in America on midterm election night. It was also mid-1980s England in Signature Theatre’s production of Billy Elliot.
Matthew Gardiner, directing Billy Elliot, admits the lead would have been his dream as a boy dancer.
Before becoming a prominent director in D.C., Matthew Gardiner, Signature Theatre’s associate artistic director, was a promising ballet dancer. Gardiner studied at The Washington Ballet starting at the age of seven, learned under noted teacher Suzanne Farrell, danced in The Nutcraker at The Warner Theater for several years, and performed with The Boston Ballet.
Review: Signature Theatre’s Heisenberg is not just another love story
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time playwright Simon Stephens’s two-person play, Heisenberg, is far from your typical love story. When Georgie (Rachel Zampelli), a 40ish American expat first blusters on to the track of a London train station—hair wild about her, overstuffed bag slung casually over disheveled jean shirt—she is halted in her […]
Review: Sondheim’s Passion. Signature’s ravishing production
Actress Natascia Diaz’s bold performance breathes transformative life into Fosca—one of musical theater’s most remarkable creations—in Signature Theatre’s resplendent revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Passion.
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