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Arts and Culture (Theatre Reviews)

This update on Shakespeare is fun all the way to the interplanetary nether regions

Twin Beach Players’ Return to the Forbidden Planet is a howler, and I mean that in a good way. It’s original and it feels spontaneous, but a ton of work had to go into this production. The large cast, comprising 14 teenagers and one adult, take over the spacious stage for a romp that takes us out to the spatial interplanetary nether regions, and it’s fun all the way.
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For those of Sinatra’s generation, this is a memory walk. For those younger, My Way could make some new Sinatra fans.

Tribute bands of performers impersonating famous artists are in vogue. My Way, now playing at Infinity Theatre, is subtitled “A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra.” But this show is intended as a genuine tribute, not merely an impersonation of Ol’ Blue Eyes. For that, be grateful because it is much more, and it reaches loftier goals.
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This contemporary cousin to Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf debates the value of compassion and the ethics of art.

The shape of things (written in lower-case by playwright Neil Labute) intends to raise questions about art, its role in life and the value of the creative methods. Honesty, kindness and truth seem to be of lesser concern.
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2nd Star Productions’ Cinderella Enchanted

2nd Star Production’s Cinderella is keeping up the tradition. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical adaptation of the fairy tale has been delighting audiences of all ages for over 50 years. This Cinderella, playing for the next four weekends at the Bowie Playhouse, is so enrapturing that I found myself scribbling hearts instead of stars to mark the highlights....

It’s got “All the Jazz,” but it could use a bit of bite

Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre opens its season with Chicago, an upbeat musical with a downbeat outlook. Despite bouncy, memorable music, Chicago carries a cautionary tale about celebrity, corruption and media fascination with both. Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre captures the upbeat side flawlessly. The downbeat side is less well rendered.
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See this one and your sense of truth will be Enlarged! Enlivened! Enlightened!

Sir Peter Shaffer’s Lettice & Lovage requires two extremely talented actresses to be successful. The Colonial Players satisfy the playwright’s requirement by casting Mary MacLeod as Lettice Douffet and Darice Clewell as Lotte Schoen.
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Packed with thrilling moments from our nation’s musical traditions.

Dignity Players’ Songs for a New World is an auditory rush. From the first haunting strains of The New World — sent washing by Wendy Baird over the audience from the back of the auditorium — to the company’s stunning final chord in Hear My Song, Jason Robert Brown’s pop-rock revue of the American psyche is packed with thrilling musical moments colored by ...

Bay Theatre Company’s one-man show will put you in Hound Heaven

Had it with political wrangling? Fed up with wasteful government spending? Yearning for a simpler, more primal existence? Then you’re set to enjoy The Bay Theatre Company production of Lee Blessing’s Chesapeake.
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This Second Star Productions work is clever as a TV sitcom, with the warmth of live action and evolving characters.

There is immense talent at 2nd Star Productions and when the company challenges themselves with a great script, as they did with My Fair Lady, the result is spectacular. When they work with weaker scripts, however, they cannot grow beyond the script limitation, Be My Baby is such a case.
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Identity and integrity figure large in this Dignity Players’ showing that addresses the masks we hide behind.

What is truth: fixed standard or fluid interpretation? Is a visionary artist an outsider or an insider? Is an expat a pioneer or a coward? Is a fist perhaps just a hand? Is an ex-lover ever a friend?...