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Theatre Reviews

In Sister Mary Ignatius and in The Actor’s Nightmare are plights you’ll remember from your past and in your dreams

Winter has a way of boxing us into our insular realities. Bay Theatre unfolds them with mind-bending comedy in a double bill of one-acts: the Obie Award-winning satire Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You! and The Actor’s Nightmare. Both are by Christopher Durang, sometimes referred to as Christopher Deranged.

Passionate singing electrifies ­scripture with personal resonance

When two 20-somethings recorded a musical version of the Passion of Jesus Christ in 1971, rock opera was an innovation. Then Norman Jewison turned Andrew Lloyd Webber’s score and Tim Rice’s lyrics into the iconic 1973 film Jesus Christ Superstar, slapping audiences awake with an electrified take on the scriptures.

Opposites not only attract, they also repel, making for a timeless comedy

Neil Simon’s 1963 romantic comedy Barefoot in the Park was a box office smash on stage and screen, not merely because it starred dreamy Robert Redford but because it’s packed with hilarious moments. What’s not to get about newlyweds learning the hard lessons of why opposites not only attract but also repel? The story, as old as matrimony, roused braying guffaws of recognition from Compass Rose Studio Theater’s mature audience on opening night.

Here’s Crimes of the Heart flipped to comedy

“Why is it that whenever she is wrong, we’re the ones who feel bad?,” asks one sister about another in Bowie Community Theatre’s new production of playwright Del Shores’ comedy Daddy’s Dyin’ … Who’s Got the Will? Such are the family tensions at the heart of the show and, honestly, haven’t we all been there — probably very recently at a holiday gathering?

Amazing stories brought to life with astonishing effect — this is theater at its best

For good old-fashioned escapist entertainment, Annapolis has never seen the likes of Colonial Players’ Shipwrecked. Commissioned by a children’s theatre, this play is unlike both Donald Margulies’ other plays and much of what dominates local stages during winter months.  Audiences of all ages will love the story and Colonial’s innovative presentation.

Can Canada’s answer to Neil Simon match the American’s wit?

Snows may soon cover the golf course, but golfers can escape to the links this winter at The Bay Theatre, where Norm Foster’s comedy The Foursome is now playing. If you long to crack open a few beers and play verbal tackle over a friendly wager, then this is the play for you.

With lines straight from Charles Dickens’ own hand, Twin Beach Players’ third adaptation of A Christmas Carol is its most realistic performance yet, according to director and producer, Regan Cashman.     It’s also the most endearing, as Ebenezer Scrooge’s tale of redemption is told through the eyes — and mouths — of children. As the all-kid cast learn their lines, they consult with adults in the company to understand Dickens’ meaning and language.

By November 25, almost two weeks before opening night, Colonial Players’ musical A Christmas Carol was sold out. That amazing feat speaks to the power of Charles Dickens’ classic and to Colonial Players’ place in the traditions of its community.     Colonial’s homegrown Carol — with play and lyrics by Richard Wade and composed by Richard Gessner — debuted in 1981. This is its 29th incarnation.

Great songs, strong voices and ­spirited dancing

Oklahoma!, the Pulitzer Prize-winning first collaboration between Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein II, is a rousing night of theater with spirited and memorable music. 2nd Star Productions has the vocal talent to do justice to this great musical.     Director and set designer Jane B. Wingard has chosen to present an Oklahoma! with a beautifully painted set that is flat and one-dimensional. That works because it keeps the focus on the music and the voices.

You’ll welcome the light after two dark hours

Nostalgic for mudslinging yet? If so, you must see Colonial Players’ production of Sunlight, a thoughtful and well-acted tale of academic and family discord over post 9/11 foreign policy.