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Theatre Reviews

Irresistible ’90s’ choreography with five singing and dancing guys

Altar Boyz is the This is Spinal Tap of boy bands. As that classic 1980s’ movie mocked heavy metal bands, so does Altar Boyz mock the marketed maleness of the Backstreet Boys, New Kids on the Block and Menudo. But it does so gently, with an affection that softens the satire and allows the audience to appreciate the characters and their story.

2nd Star’s production has it all: unique characters, intertwining stories and beautiful music

       Ragtime began as a novel. Next, E. L. Doctorow’s historical novel published in 1975, was made into a movie.  In 1998, it opened as a Broadway musical with a book by Terrence McNally, music by Stephen Flaherty and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. Set at the turn of the century, it follows the lives of three sets of people: an upper-class white family represented by Mother (Heather McMunigal); an African-American community represented by Coalhouse Walker (Carl Williams); and Jewish immigrant Tateh (Stephen Yednock).

These creative cross-dressers would just like to have fun. But can they? 

      "Men’s clothing is the fashion equivalent of Mexican food: eight ingredients served 75 ways." –Albert/Bessie          Harvey Fierstein’s 2014 Tony-nominated play Casa Valentina, brought to Annapolis by The Colonial Players, invites you to step back to a June weekend in 1962 at the Casa Valentina, a rustic bungalow community in the Catskills.

Come for the songs

       When Woody Allen’s movie Bullets Over Broadway opened in 1994, it received mostly positive reviews. Then Allen decided to make it a Broadway musical — without original music. Instead, standards from the 1920s and 1930s were inserted throughout. The result: tepid reviews and a short run of just 100 performances, despite a slew of Tony nominations.

People of all ages and great talent bring the Bible to life

       A Broadway-style show with choreography, live music, costumes and professional-grade theatrical lighting may seem a bit ambitious for a church production. Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church in Severn pulls it off beautifully in Children of Eden.

This wonderful production gives us deep emotions and high elation 

        A Chorus Line debuted on Broadway in 1975 and set records by running for more than 6,000 performances. The production now running at Compass Rose Theater, scheduled to close May 20, deserves to set records of its own.

Join Neil Simon and local talent for this lovely and ­nostalgic stroll

 Spring has been dragging its feet across the region, but it’s sprung in Twin Beach Players’ production of Barefoot in the Park. Neil Simon’s lighthearted 1960s’ comedy about the first days of marriage between a free spirited bride and a buttoned-up groom is charming and full of laughs. This smart and masterfully written script sets up silly and wonderful situations fueled by lots of love — and too much Ouzo. 

If you need a few laughs — and who doesn’t — grab your ticket 

         Colonial Players’ Lucky Stiff, a musical and comic charmer, is organized chaos. It takes precision to do comedy right. Director Eric Hufford’s production is laugh-out-loud funny not just because of the material — c’mon, if you read a story about a dead guy being shown around Monaco in a wheelchair, would you have laughed? — but because Hufford and his multi-talented, multi-character cast of 12 bring the story to life in sidesplitting ways large and small.

How much of ourselves must we give up to coexist?

         It’s unusual for a play to have more relevance today than when it was written, but Ayad Akhtar’s Disgraced, which won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for drama, resonates powerfully in the context of current events that have awakened a deep-seated fear of dark-skinned, mustachioed people in many Americans.

Is it real … or just virtual?

       First, the elephant in the room: Sex with Strangers is not about sex with strangers. Rather, it is about the author of a book, Sex with Strangers, created from a blog written by young millennial Ethan, then bedding a different woman each week for a year, on a dare. The play is about Ethan, his attitudes, his trustworthiness and his generation’s seeming inability to connect without being “connected.”