All stories by Mary Ann Johnson on BroadwayStars

Monday, April 1, 2019

Theatre Review: ‘Dead Dog’s Bone: A Birthday Play’ at Nu Sass Productions by Mary Ann Johnson

I fell in love with the dog. The dog’s name happens to be Dog, and as portrayed by Karen Lange, I just wanted to scoop her up and give her all the treats. Lange gives a performance that is…

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Sunday, March 31, 2019

Theatre Review: ‘Bus Stop’ at Aldersgate Church Community Center by Mary Ann Johnson

Well, Toto, we are in Kansas now—at least for the duration of this reverent revival of ‘Bus Stop’ by William Inge. The Aldersgate Church Community Theatre does a lovely job of bringing…

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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Theatre Review: ‘Resolving Hedda’ at Washington Stage Guild by Mary Ann Johnson

Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler is a serious play, with a capital “S.” One thing audiences should be prepared for in this production of “Resolving Hedda,” is that it is absolutely delicious f…

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Monday, March 25, 2019

Theatre Review: ‘TOPDOG UNDERDOG’ at WSC Avant Bard by Mary Ann Johnson

This is an intense theatrical experience because there’s just no way forward for these two brothers. Uneducated, poor, black, abandoned by their parents a long time ago, and never part of …

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Monday, March 11, 2019

Theatre Review: ‘The Women of Lockerbie’ at Bowie Community Theatre by Mary Ann Johnson

Sorrow is ground into this play, from the skirl of the bagpipes as you sit down to the grey lighting and scenery that evoke fog and mist and a mizzling rain to the involuntary moment of sile…

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Sunday, March 10, 2019

Theatre Review: ‘Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity’at Signature Theatre by Mary Ann Johnson

This is a show of such opposites that it is exhilarating and numbing all at the same time. Hate/love, forgiveness/revenge, pain/surcease, brutality/kindness, despair/hope, beauty/ugliness. I…

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Monday, March 4, 2019

Theatre Review: ‘Blood at the Root’ at Theater Alliance by Mary Ann Johnson

Every once in a while a play comes along that is so electric and alive and thought-provoking and mesmerizing that you want to shout about it from the rooftops. This is one such play. Don’t…

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Sunday, March 3, 2019

Theatre Review: ‘Time Stands Still’ at Reston Community Players by Mary Ann Johnson

“Time Stands Still” may have been a replacement for a musical in their line-up this year, but the Reston Community Players do full justice to it. From the phenomenally constructed and go…

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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Theatre Review: ‘The Head That Wears the Crown’ at Ally Theatre Company by Mary Ann Johnson

In terms of the #MeToo movement and a growing seriousness about sexual violence against women, this is a very timely script. It checks a number of boxes—body dysmorphia, Queen Bee syndrome…

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Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Theatre Review: ‘The Brothers Size’ at 1st Stage by Mary Ann Johnson

Sometimes a production is so good it reminds you all over again of the power of theatre to demand participation by paying attention and losing yourself in the story. This production of ̶…

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Monday, February 4, 2019

Theatre Review: ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ at Arlington Players by Mary Ann Johnson

“Arsenic and Old Lace” is like an old friend—comfortable, cozy, known. It’s not going to offer any surprises, but you hope the ride will be fun. ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ is…

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Friday, February 1, 2019

Theatre Review: ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’: The Fats Waller Musical Show’ at Signature Theatre by Mary Ann Johnson

This is a shiny show. The music, the actors, costumes, set, lighting—they just shine. This musical revue, with the book by Murray Horwitz and Richard Maltby, Jr., and music by various comp…

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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Theatre Review: ‘Three Sistahs’ at MetroStage by Mary Ann Johnson

Get ready to raise the roof. Then stomp your feet and clap and shout amen. This show grabs you by the throat with raw emotion and music that will lift you to a better place for two hours. Th…

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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Theatre Review: ‘Gulf View Drive’ at Washington Stage Guild by Mary Ann Johnson

Like many of the plays WSG produces, this one is a quiet barn-burner. It takes two families from the mid-1950s and puts them through some bedrock-deep changes, set against the backdrop of ra…

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Sunday, January 27, 2019

Theatre Review: ‘Superior Donuts’ at Reston Community Players by Mary Ann Johnson

This show is a delight and funny and sad and ultimately hopeful. Working with themes of growth and loss and change and generosity, love and unexpected friendship, the Reston Community Player…

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Theatre Review: ‘Kleptocracy’ at Arena Stage by Mary Ann Johnson

Kleptocracy is an interesting word. It means a government with corrupt leaders that exploit the people and resources for personal gain and expansion of powers. As produced at Arena, “K…

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Thursday, January 24, 2019

Theatre Review: ‘Admissions’ at Studio Theatre by Mary Ann Johnson

One of the highlights of this work is that for around 15 minutes one is treated to a hysterically funny and deadly serious non-stop howl of outrage from a college-bound senior (a deliriously…

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Theatre Review: ‘Next to Normal’ at Port Tobacco Players by Mary Ann Johnson

In the best of circumstances, this is a demanding, difficult musical; and the circumstances at the Port Tobacco Players Theatre were quite good. The troupe were up to the challenge and did n…

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Monday, December 17, 2018

Theatre Review: ‘The Panties, The Partner and The Profit’ at Shakespeare Theatre Company by Mary Ann Johnson

Somehow there is a cosmic joke running through Shakespeare Theatre Company’s “The Panties, The Partner and The Profit: Scenes from the Heroic Life of the Middle Class” and it…

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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Theatre Review: ‘Madeline’s Christmas’ at Creative Cauldron by Mary Ann Johnson

“Madeline’s Christmas” is a delightfully gentle musical exploring the magic of Christmas. The staging is innovative, it has puppets, really good voices, beautiful use of li…

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Theatre Review: ‘My Father’s Dragon’ at Synetic Theater by Mary Ann Johnson

Clocking in at just an hour, “My Father’s Dragon” is another family friendly show that will not tax kids’ abilities to sit in a seat and watch a live show. In fact, this …

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Monday, December 10, 2018

‘A Renaissance Concert Thru The Years’ at Chesapeake Choral Arts Society by Mary Ann Johnson

This past weekend, the Chesapeake Choral Arts Society presented a beautiful program of seasonal music at Peace Lutheran Church in Waldorf, MD. The icing on this solemn and joyous program was…

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Theatre Review: ‘She The People’ at Woolly Mammoth Theatre by Mary Ann Johnson

‘She The People’ at Woolly Mammoth will make you stand up and roar for women’s rights and experiences. Playing through January 6, 2019, this is a tour-de-force production d…

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Friday, December 7, 2018

Theatre Review: ‘Christmas at the Old Bull & Bush’ at Metro Stage by Mary Ann Johnson

‘Christmas at the Old Bull & Bush’ may be a chestnut, but it’s a lovely interlude in a season that doesn’t seem all that joyous to many; set on the eve of WWI, it reminds us that…

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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Theatre Review: ‘All Save One’ at Washington Stage Guild by Mary Ann Johnson

Cozy is a word that comes to mind when watching this world premiere by Greg Jones Ellis. While the play does attempt to tackle some big subjects — homophobia, sexism, ageism, religious…

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Theatre Review: ‘In This Hope: A Pericles Project’ at The Welders: A Playwrights’ Collective by Mary Ann Johnson

A gong against a brass bowl introduces the acts. Ancient place names that resonate in the bones surround us. We enter a circle and sit almost adrift. For ‘In This Hope: A Pericles Proj…

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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Theatre Review: ‘Disney’s Beauty and the Beast’ at Damascus Theatre Company by Mary Ann Johnson

Lighthearted and fun—that would describe the Damascus Theatre Company’s production of “Beauty and the Beast.” As probably everyone knows, the story concerns Belle who is …

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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Theatre Review: ‘Blight’ at Pinky Swear Productions by Mary Ann Johnson

Is it wrong to be so enamored of a play called blight? Written by John Bavoso, it is a show that has solid writing, some really funny lines, and an assortment of characters that ring true—…

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Friday, October 26, 2018

Theatre Review: ‘Illyria Or What You Will’ at WSC Avant Bard by Mary Ann Johnson

This Illyria, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” by Jonelle Walker and Mitchell Hebert, is not set on the isle, but in a basement nightclub in the 1980s. Befitting …

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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Theatre Review: ‘Sing to Me Now’ at Rorschach Theatre by Mary Ann Johnson

Even goddesses get the blues and evidently can fall further—into deep depression. Only when a goddess, or a god, becomes enveloped by the black fog of sorrow, grief and despair, the ramifi…

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Monday, October 22, 2018

Theatre Review: ‘The Babylon Line’ at The Colonial Players of Annapolis by Mary Ann Johnson

Can the stories we tell change our lines? Can we really be honest in stories? If we’re honest in our stories, can we handle the fall-out? Can we, should we use our stories to try to seduce…

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All that Chat

Oct 06: Slave Play
Feb 01: The Minutes
TBA: Blue