Entertainment, The Features, We Love Arts

We Love Arts: Late: A Cowboy Song

Olmsted Thomas and Wilmoth Keegan in LATE A COWBOY SONG(L-R: Sarah Olmsted-Thomas and Alyssa Wilmoth-Keegan in No Rules Theatre’s production of Late: A Cowboy Song. Photo: Second Glance Photography)

Despite the title of Sarah Ruhl’s Late: A Cowboy Song, this early work from a quickly rising playwright is about being trapped rather than being late. The show now playing at No Rules Theatre features a heroine Mary (Sarah Olmsted-Thomas) who is trapped in an abusive relationship and day-to-day bustle that is quickly getting away from her to the point where it feels like she’s living from holiday to holiday. Her exasperated observation about the litany of holidays in a year will ring true to you once you sit down and think about it. Her boyfriend/husband Crick (Chris Dinolfo) is trapped in a perpetual man-child state which involves a love for modern art that borders on unhealthy and extremely needy tendencies. Mary’s childhood friend Red (Alyssa Wilmoth-Keegan) found her escape through her life as a cowboy living outside the city setting of Pittsburgh. The show’s eclectic tastes include musical interludes, interpretive dance, and clever use of props. However, despite a captivating exploration of identity, romance, and the idea of the perfect life, Late is a production trapped in its own complexity. Its lack of polish can be attributed to a playwright’s early work.

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Entertainment, The Features, We Love Arts

We Love Arts: The Personals


Much of No Rule Theatre’s The Personals plays out like a twisted Match.com ad. An early 40-something woman seeks a sweet and honest man. A serious reporter searches for, “an aggressive woman.” Blind man hopes to find a sighted mate. These are not the serendipitous perfect matches portrayed in those online dating commercials. That’s because the dates are part of an on-going role-playing game between a husband and wife who are hoping to repair their broken marriage.

Unable to pick up the pieces after a tragic accident, Don and Janna (Michael Kramer and Anne Kanengeiser) attempt to rekindle their lost love through their fake blind dates. The two go on dates set-up through personal ads in the newspaper. Taking on characters dictated in the personal ads, the two meet in the after hours of the bar where Don serves as both owner and headline entertainer.

The premise equates into a multitude of roles for Kramer and Kanengeiser, who both provide subtle hints of chemistry through their false personas that illustrates the love that once existed in the now vacant marriage. There are quite a few humorous moments, especially through Don’s cheesy magic act, but don’t mistake this for a stage version of Fifty First Dates. The mood is gloomy, a thick fog that separates a husband and wife who hope to find their way by pretending to be somebody else.

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Entertainment, The Features, We Love Arts

We Love Arts: Black Comedy


Most farces, especially British faces, are essentially the same: frenetic energy, physical humor, and mistaken identity. There’s little you can change besides the names, sets, and costumes… right?

Peter Shaffer finds another way to spice up the genre with lighting. Or should I say without lighting?

When it comes to the characters in Shaffer’s Black Comedy, they are in dark when the stage is lit and vice versa. As the show starts, the lights go out and we hear the entire opening scene done in complete blackout. While it is funny to hear actors speak and move about without being able to see, it is more amazing to realize they are navigating a stage without any light. As someone that’s worked on stage before, it’s quite the task. After a “blown fuse” the lights finally go up, but the characters act as if the opposite has occurred. It results in a zany twist for No Rules Theatre’s first show at the Signature Theatre in Shirlington, where the company will reside for the next three years.

The result is a show packed with non-stop laughs that will have you rolling in the aisles by the night’s end.

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Entertainment, The Features, We Love Arts

We Love Arts: WLDC 2012 Theater Preview (Part 1)

The We Love DC Theater team: Don Whiteside, Patrick Pho, Jenn Larsen, and Joanna Castle Miller.

Fall is in the air and that means one thing…


Oh ya and Theatre.

As new seasons across the District kick-off, the We Love DC Theater team got together at The Brixton to talk about the upcoming year in theater – and I got some of it on video! Find out which shows we are excited about in the first of two videos below!

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Entertainment, The Features, We Love Arts

We Love Arts: Suicide, Incorporated

Photo: C. Stanley Photography

It seems like we can pay anybody to do anything for us now a days. Need your lawn mowed? There’s somebody for that. Need your errands run? There’s somebody for that. Even if you need somebody to get you a new razor there’s somebody for that. We have resume writers, college application coaches, and those that will help you break-up with your significant other.

So it’s not too much of a stretch that somebody out there would be willing to write your suicide note. That is the premise of Andrew Hinderaker’s “Suicide, Incorporated”. The self-proclaimed tragicomedy caps off the No Rules Theatre Company’s 2011-2012 season as well as their residence at the H-Street playhouse, which will be closing in 2013. With Suicide Inc, No Rules continues to bring fresh, new perspectives to familiar subjects in our lives.

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Entertainment, The Features, We Love Arts

Theatre Spotlight: Peter Pan: The Boy Who Hated Mothers

(Photo courtesy No Rules Theatre Company)

The entertainment we are consuming has taken a turn towards the dark side. The likes of Adam West’s Batman and Christopher Reeve’s Superman are long gone, replaced with darker retellings of our classic stories and heroes. Christopher Nolan re-imagined Batman with his Dark Knight trilogy and even Disney, the biggest name behind the glitter and glam of the 90′s, tapped Tim Burton when it decided to make Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Shows like Grimm and Once Upon a Time have taken our childhood fairy tales and turned them into chilling dramas.

That being said, it’s only fitting that No Rules Theatre Company‘s production of Peter Pan: The Boy Who Hated Mothers would be grittier than anything that Cathy Rigby would do.

By the way, I can’t believe she’s still playing the role at 58.

This week the production opened at the H Street Playhouse, I talked with cast members Adam Downs, Nathan Mendez, and John Evans Reese (who plays Pan) about Michael Lluberes’ adaptation of the classic J. M. Barrie tale.

The phrase “darker adaption” was thrown around a lot during our conversation but Downs adds, “you can call it darker but you can also say the stakes are more real.”

There are no songs, no sugar coating, no spectacle with Pan. Instead the show works out to be an essential reaction to the “Disney-fication” of our youth. A leap away from happily ever after and more towards something more authentic and real, as described by Reese.

“We’re really hungry for the truth,” Reese explains, “so what is true about Peter Pan? He steals children, takes them back, thins then out when they start growing up…there’s so much death in this story that’s been glittered.”

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Entertainment, The Daily Feed

The DC Theatre Community Gears Up For Theatre Prom 2K11!

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘dbking’

My pal Brieahn J. DeMeo calls it Theatre Prom.

I call it the fanciest event I ever had to get dressed for.

Sure I’ve been to weddings, but it’s easy when you know you just have to rent a tux and you are all set. For this one I had to call in the big guns- I rang up Brittany and she set me straight.

I’m talking about the Helen Hayes awards, the annual night where the local theatre community honors the outstanding plays and musicals of the past year. It’s kind of like the Tony’s- but for stuff that happens at Kennedy Center and Arena Stage. 26 awards will be presented tonight as well as three special awards to Ford’s Theatre (Innovative Leadership in the Theatre Community), Factory 449 and No Rules Theatre Company (Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company), and stage legend Tommy Tune will be honored with the he Helen Hayes Tribute.

Tonight also marks the debut of a Helen Hayes commemorative stamp issued by the United States Postal Service.

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Entertainment, We Love Arts

We Love Arts: You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown

With an original debut in 1967, You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown wowed audiences long before it became fashionable to bring successful franchises of any kind onto the stage (Harry Potter: The Musical anyone?) Ever since it’s original production, Charlie Brown has become one of the great classic musicals that have been put up time and time again with numerous revivals, regional productions, and tours under it’s belt. The District now can get a taste of CB, Snoopy, Lucy, and the gang over at H-Street Playhouse where the show opens the second season of the No Rules Theatre Company.

The Peanuts franchise has become an American institution thanks to comic series with over 17,000 strips and a series of television specials that still run every holiday season. In fact any minute now we should be expecting It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown to fill the airwaves on ABC.

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