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Theatre Reviews

A moving Veterans Day tribute to World War II wives

Mid-20th century, the weekly magazine was the premier delivery of news, culture, values, information and all things current. Photo-laden Life Magazine was one of the stalwarts. The Cover of LIFE — written by Louisiana native R. T. Robinson in 1992 — recalls that era.

Not up to Twain’s standard

Good theater, like good fiction, convinces the audience to suspend its disbelief, and Mark Twain’s genius was his ability to convey place and personality with such unblinking realism that we embrace his story no matter how far-fetched. In The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, that meant accepting that Tom (John Patterson), a kid from a good home, could be best friends with the town delinquent, Huck Finn (Erik W.

Last chance to see Shakespeare live before he disappears into the mists of time for another 400 years

Not ready to hang up Halloween? Then Theater 11 has just the treat for you this Friday, All Saints Day and Saturday, All Souls Day). It’s a spirited comedy featuring a celebrity ghost, Shakespeare.

Halloween sweetens the bait in this timely production

Agatha Christie catches you in her Mousetrap — the longest running show in the world — baited by Twin Beach Players with Halloween lure.     Enter the cozy North Beach Boys and Girls Club and you step into the spell. Cobwebs drape the gate of Christie’s barely illuminated Monkswell Manor, now a guesthouse.     In the dark theater, the tune of Three Blind Mice (the play’s original title), played on piano, breaks the silence. The eery music yields to a shrill whistle and a woman’s scream.

A small staging delivers on theater’s favorite things

Compass Rose opens its little new theater with a giant of American musical theater.      Written in 1959 with music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein and book by Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse, The Sound of Music went on to win the Best Musical Tony Award.      No surprise there: Music has a dramatic true story for inspiration, and Hammerstein’s brilliant lyrics and songs sound vibrant over 50 years later.

Little shop; big hit

Was it really 30 years ago this week that Little Shop of Horrors made its Broadway debut? How can that be when it still feels fresh as a daisy?     No matter how many times you’ve seen it, and especially if you’ve never seen it, you must catch 2nd Star Productions’ strain of this outrageous sci-fi tragicomedy inspired by a 1960 cinematic flop. Welcome Halloween with the time-honored struggle between innocence and evil that sprouts when a carnivorous plant is mysteriously beamed to Earth.

I’d gladly travel back in time for another first look at this production

Facing a time-travel problem, Star Trek Voyager’s Captain Janeway looked pained, rubbed her forehead and moaned, “Time-travel paradigms: they give me such a headache!”     Colonial Players’ Communicating Doors will cure any time-travel problem, indeed any headache.

Do you think watching three men silently eat olives would be funny? In Art, it is hysterical.

Dignity Players opens its 2013-2014 season — dedicated to the Power of Art — with Yasmina Reza’s 1998 Tony Award-winning comedy Art.     Art is a 90-minute one-act comedy about relationships, truth, white lies and, of course, the meaning and value of art.

Great vocal talents and imaginative theater choices lead you into the woods of an atypical fairy tale

As you enter Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre, take note of the Into the Woods set, designed by show director and choreographer Darnell Morris. The woods are beautifully painted in soft pastels with large trees on each side of the stage, evoking a pastoral Monet sensibility. Appreciate the beauty while you can because, as advertised, “this is not your typical fairy tale,” and with Alex Doan’s lighting, the stage becomes dark and ominous very quickly.

An entertaining transposition of Shakespeare to the 1950s

Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing endures because audiences love smart love stories. Twenty years ago, Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson revived it on film. Joss Whedon’s critically acclaimed remake — now showing at the West End Cinema in D.C. — is set in modern-day California.