view counter

Performing Arts

This theater tells its stories in dance, music and fashion
      It’s a Friday afternoon and opening night for Ballet Theatre of Maryland’s Aladdin is just a week away. Artistic Director Dianna Cuatto is working the company, Maryland’s sole professional ballet, on Act II and tweaking little things — the kinds of gestures, head positions and facial expressions — that will make the performance sing.

The acting is tight, the pace is fast, the one-liners fly and people die

      Take some Neil Simon-like one liners, add a dash of the door-slamming slapstick of Noises Off, mix with some World War II political intrigue, a bunch of mistaken identities and hidden passages in a dark mansion, and what do you get? The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940, running through February 24 at the Bowie Playhouse. 

The Colonial Players’ Quartet

        January has its own distinctive doldrums, and above a certain latitude (not everyone retires to the sunny south) and beyond a certain age, these doldrums can feel especially bleak. Talents diminish, good friends move away or pass over, and if those talents and friends were an integral part of your life purpose — especially if they were more of a goad — you can feel quite lost.

Annapolis hears two powerful local African American choruses in one weekend

     The civil rights movement raised its courage and renewed its hope on the music of faith that sustained black America through slavery, Jim Crow and oppression. The national Martin Luther King Jr. holiday makes this a weekend to hear that music loud and clear.       Two local African American choruses sing in Annapolis this weekend, both at St. John’s College.  

The grand classic turns intimate 

      Fiddler on the Roof, which hit Broadway in 1964, set longevity records, won nine Tony Awards and has been performed thousands of times by high school and community theaters across the country. It’s usually a big musical with big casts. This month, Compass Rose Theater gives Tevye and his family a more intimate treatment that, in the hands of director Lucinda Merry-Browne, gives us a nice new perspective.

The Colonial Players’ fresh take on this classic offers laughs, emotion and good doses of nostalgia

       What’s Christmas season without nostalgia? What’s nostalgia except a look back at how things were? Or, for George Bailey of Bedford Falls, a look back at how things might have been?

We add another family favorite to our holiday list

      The ghosts of Christmas haunt the Twin Beaches this time of year. One is angelic, one is joyful and one is downright frightening. Yet their messages penetrate to the heart of the season.       The three spirits, characters in Charles Dickens’ classic tale A Christmas Carol, made quite an impression on my family last weekend, as we attended the opening of the final production in Twin Beach Players’ 20th season.

Theater like you’ve never seen it 

     The U.S. Naval Academy’s Masqueraders chose a daring format for their fall play, The Infinite Wrench: USNA Style.       The Infinite Wrench, according to its creators, the Chicago-based Neo-Futurists troupe, “is a mechanism that unleashes a barrage of two-minute plays for a live audience.” In each theatrical experience, 30 plays delve into the topics of the day as the performers have experienced them.

Women fight their Civil War as ­battlefield reenactors in this comedy with conscience

       How aptly Colonial Players’ season-opener reflects current events the company could not have predicted a year ago, when Doris Baizley’s Shiloh Rules was booked. As the nation continues to struggle with issues left over from the Civil War, this light-hearted 2009 drama is art imitating life in a world where art imitates life: the venue of battlefield reenactors. It’s called Shiloh Rules because in this game, as in battle, there are no rules (that anyone obeys).

Behind this regal persona is a man of many faces

     It’s opening weekend at the Maryland Renaissance Festival, when the magical 16th century English village of Revel Grove awakens for its annual harvest festival — attended as always by the magnanimous Henry VIII, portrayed by Glen Burnie’s own Fred ­Nelson.      Heads turn as the entourage approaches. King Henry VIII, courtiers in tow, has come to the countryside to visit the faire.