Nancy Opel as Dolly Levi with Jp Qualters, Harris Milgrim, Kyle Vaughn and Alex Puette in the Ford’s and Signature Theatre co-production of “Hello, Dolly!” Photo by Carol Rosegg.
When tourist season comes around and you own arguably the most famous theater in the country, it can’t hurt to play it safe.
That’s what Ford’s Theatre and Signature Theatre seem to think, anyway, as they’ve teamed up to bring Hello, Dolly! to the Ford’s Theatre stage right as the cherry blossoms and spring breakers roll in.
It’s not an entirely bad idea: the line to Tuesday’s performance stretched down the street outside; groups arrived by the busload; and the show – which won the 1964 Tony for Best Musical and/or production of the year at your high school – is a light, catchy romp.
If that’s what you’re looking for, Hello, Dolly! will do just fine; but this production has room to improve for those of us watching from beyond the tour bus.
Photo: Christopher Mueller
2012 has been a good year for Nova Y. Payton. Payton made a splash this time last year in Signature Theatre’s Hairspray, which netted her a Helen Hayes award in April. After Hairspray, Payton became a Signature fixture with roles in Xanadu and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Now she’s ending the year on a note as high as the one she rode last winter. Payton is quickly becoming a hot name on the DC Theatre scene and her performance as Effie in Signature Theatre’s production of Dreamgirls will be one we will not forget come awards season. With a talented ensemble led by Payton, Dreamgirls will dazzle you with striking moments of a musical era of big hair, sparkling outfits, and skinny ties.
Rachel Zampelli and Thomas Keegan in Signature Theatre’s production of Dying City. Photo credit: Scott Suchman.
A month ago the nation paused to remember the 11th anniversary of 9/11. Even though the day was a sobering and emotional one for many, it was more low-key than the previous ten. Fewer families were on hand at public ceremonies and many events were smaller affairs than previous years. The day has not lost any significance; the level of mourning has simply evolved to more personal moments of reflection.
It is in this new era that Signature Theatre presents a more intimate view of the war on terror with Christopher Shinn’s Dying City. We have seen many takes of the war in film and on stage. From films such as Jarhead and The Hurt Locker to plays like Black Watch, the whole gamut from the horrors of war in the trenches to the lasting damage of those returning to the homefront has been covered. Here Shinn keeps the Iraq war in the background, focusing instead on comparing the complexities of war to the psychological struggles that plague one’s failing relationships.
courtesy of Michael T. Ruhl
If you’re looking to round out your Labor Day weekend plans, how does free theater at the Kennedy Center sound?
The 11th annual Page to Stage festival runs this Saturday-Monday and features free readings, workshops, and rehearsals of new works by some of the area’s most talented artists and theater companies.
This year, Synetic Theater offers a training demonstration and preview of their upcoming wordless Jekyll and Hyde; groups like The Inkwell and DC-Area Playwrights Group plan to showcase short, new works in progress by local playwrights; Signature Theatre, Folger Theatre, and the Kennedy Center all team up for Ken Ludwig’s latest thriller; and the weekend features a number of family-friendly shows for the younger crowd.
Page to Stage also offers a rare chance to see shows in the Kennedy Center’s rehearsal spaces and smaller venues. With a casual and collaborative atmosphere, it’s a bit like the Fringe – except with more chandeliers.
Page to Stage runs September 1-3, 2012 throughout multiple venues at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The Kennedy Center is located at 2700 F Street, NW Washington, DC 20566. Closest Metro stop: Foggy Bottom/GWU (Orange/Blue line). For more information call 202-467-4600.
Photos: Scott Suchman
At the start of Signature Theatre’s God of Carnage, we find ourselves in the immaculate living room of the Novak family. The modern style and elegance of the whole scene looks as if it was ripped out of a catalog: fresh flowers, a beautiful city skyline, smiling faces from those that are inhabiting the space.
The serenity and beauty of the scene is but a fleeting moment in Yasmina Reza’s Tony Award winning play, the chaos that unfolds will leave the room in a completely different state: floor covered with papers, feathers, and shoes; cigars and glasses of liquor strewn about; actors with scowls that have been stripped of all manners and outward politeness.
This short one-act (approximately 80 minutes) is essentially a strip-show of political correctness where the characters take off layers of social manners piece by piece. What we end up with are subjects that bare-all to the audience.
Photo: Scott Suchman
Over on their website, this is how Signature Theatre describes their upcoming World Premiere of Really Really by Paul Downs Colaizzo:
“At an elite university, when the party of the year results in the regret of a lifetime, one person will stop at nothing to salvage a future that is suddenly slipping away.”
Many people have interpreted this description as a play loosely based on the Duke Lacrosse scandal, a description cast and crew members were quick to distance themselves away from. Colaizzo described the show as, “a play about a girl who wants a house.”
Even though there are some similarities: college elites, a big party, an accusation and scandal; after talking with several members of the cast the show has strong themes about how the Millennial generation is struggling to find what they want in today’s changing world.
In other words it’s right up my alley.
Photo by Scott Suchman
If you could take the premise Yasmina Reza’s “Art” and turn it into an episode of Seinfeld, it would have been a classic.
Just imagine George Costanza marching into Jerry’s apartment to see a blank white 5’ x 4’ canvas…
Jerry: George! Behold my latest acquisition!
George: What is it?
Jerry: It’s an Antrios!
George: Never heard of him.
Jerry: Well he’s a classic- and this painting will be as well! I got it at such a steal!
George: How much?
Jerry: $200,000. What do you think?
George: I am speechless. I am without speech.