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Filtering by Category: theatre

Theatre of Pain: Woolly's Gloria and Round House's Small Mouth Sounds, reviewed.

Chris Klimek

 Megan Graves and Ahmad Kamal are two of the standout performers in  Gloria . (Teresa Castracane)

Megan Graves and Ahmad Kamal are two of the standout performers in Gloria. (Teresa Castracane)

After the customary late summer lull, I’m back on the theater beat. Last week’s Washington City Paper featured my reviews of two plays that first appeared in 2015, now making their regional premieres Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ stunner Gloria, at Woolly Mammoth, and Small Mouth Sounds by Bess Wohl, at Round House.

FURTHER READING: My 2013 City Paper profile of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is here.

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's me on The Original Cast!

Chris Klimek

 It all started when I bought my buddy, Superman biographer Glen Weldon, a copy of this LP in Asbury Park, New Jersey for $20.

It all started when I bought my buddy, Superman biographer Glen Weldon, a copy of this LP in Asbury Park, New Jersey for $20.

Funny thing: Patrick Flynn lives in Bethesda, Maryland, a short public-transit trip across the northwest border of Washington, DC, where I live. We know many of the same people because we're both involved in theatre; him as a playwright, me as a critic. And yet our paths never crossed until he heard me on James Bonding last fall, which Matt Gourley and Matt Mira record weekly at Gourley's beautiful home in Pasadena, all the way on the other side of country.

Anyway, Patrick kindly invited me to appear on The Original Cast, his fine podcast celebrating Broadway cast albums, to discuss a musical of my choice. I picked the 1966 curiosity It's a Bird! It's a Plane!, which I'd never heard of but never heard until I picked up a secondhand LP of it as a gift for my buddy Glen Weldon a couple years back. Glen wrote the book on Superman, or at least a book on Superman. It's certainly the book on Superman I can most enthusiastically recommend.

Here's the discussion Patrick and I had, which does not confine itself to the Man of Steel's brief life as a Broadway star, for reasons that shall become clear. This was recorded in late April.

The Once and Future Prince: Botticelli in the Fire, reviewed.

Chris Klimek

 Jon Hudson Odom and Alyssa Wilmoth Keegan (Scott Suchman)

Jon Hudson Odom and Alyssa Wilmoth Keegan (Scott Suchman)

Canuck Renaissance Man Jordan Tannahill's Renaissance fantasy Botticelli in the Fire is the quintessence of what several speakers at Monday night's tribute to retiring Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company co-founder Howard Shalwtiz referred to as "a Woolly play." I tend to like those, and this one I happened to love. Here's my Washington City Paper review.

Bitches Be Cray: Saint Joan and The Small Room at the Top of the Stairs, reviewed.

Chris Klimek

 Eric Tucker and Aundria Brown in  Saint Joan  (Teresa Wood)

Eric Tucker and Aundria Brown in Saint Joan (Teresa Wood)

My reviews of Bedlam's visiting production of Saint Joan at the Folger and of Spooky Action's local premiere of Carole Fréchette's The Small Room at the Top of the Stairs were in last week's Washington City Paper, but for mysterious reasons took a few extra days to surface online. Enjoy.

Thoughtcrime Doesn't Pay: Scena's 1984, reviewed.

Chris Klimek

 Oscar Ceville (seated) and Ron Litman as Winston Smith and O'Brien. (Jae Yi Photography)

Oscar Ceville (seated) and Ron Litman as Winston Smith and O'Brien. (Jae Yi Photography)

My review of Scena Theatre's production of the the Duncan MacMillan/Robert Ickes adaptation of Nineteen Eighty-Four that I saw at the Shakespeare Theatre two years ago is in this week's Washington City Paper. In the years since I saw this script staged the first time, I have acquired a copy of Eurythmics' Greatest Hits on LP, which includes the unfortunate "Sexcrime (Nineteen Eighty-Four)" that accompanied the release of Michael Radford's 1984 movie version.

Honey, Believe Me: Girlfriend, reviewed.

Chris Klimek

 James Lukas Miller (standing) and Jimmy Mavrikes sing Sweetly to one another in Signature's  Girlfriend .

James Lukas Miller (standing) and Jimmy Mavrikes sing Sweetly to one another in Signature's Girlfriend.

My review of Signature Theatre's production of Girlfriend, wherein book writer (and songwriter, though not here) David Almond takes a (then) 20-year-old album Matthew Sweet wrote about his divorce and retcons it into a minimalist musical about two boys falling in love in Nebraska the summer after high school, is in this week's Washington City Paper. A fine little show. Nothing wrong with that sort of appropriation. But everyone I've heard from who really loves it has never heard the album from which Almond borrowed its music.

Less Is More: John and Underground Railroad Game, reviewed.

Chris Klimek

 Jennifer Kidwell and Scott R. Sheppard, the writers/performers of  The Underground Railroad Game.  (Scott Suchman)

Jennifer Kidwell and Scott R. Sheppard, the writers/performers of The Underground Railroad Game. (Scott Suchman)

Criticism imitating art imitating life: My Washington City Paper review of Annie Baker's John at Signature Theatre is three times as long as my review of the touring Underground Railroad Game at Woolly Mammoth, just as John is three times as long as Underground Railroad Game. And roughly a third as rewarding.

Your mileage, as ever, may vary.

Language Bury Her: Studio's Translations and Folger's The Winter's Tale, reviewed.

Chris Klimek

 British soldiers survey an Irish village circa 1830 in  Translations . (Teresa Wood)

British soldiers survey an Irish village circa 1830 in Translations. (Teresa Wood)

I've got reviews of two shows I enjoyed in this week's Washington City Paper: Studio Theatre second-in-command Matt Torney's confident new production of Brian Friel's 40-year-old Irish classic Translations, and Aaron Posner's The Winter's Tale over at the Folger. The former as a lot of superb performers who haven't worked a lot in Washington before. The latter has a bunch of Posner's favorite actors (and mine), but it's Michael Tisdale as the maniacal King Leontes who runs away with the show.