All stories by Bob Ashby on BroadwayStars

Monday, November 18, 2019

Virginia Opera’s ‘Il Postino’: No “Scary Modern Music” Here by Bob Ashby

Virginia Opera’s artistic director Adam Turner, in his program note for contemporary composer Daniel Catán’s Il Postino, hastens to assure audiences that the company is working to dispe…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 02:42PM
Monday, November 4, 2019

‘Sweat’ at Silver Spring Stage: a precise portrayal of workers caught in a rip tide by Bob Ashby

I’ve never been to Reading, PA, the location of Lynn Nottage’s searing 2015 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Sweat, now playing at Silver Spring Stage, but my life has been bracketed by livi…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 12:48PM
Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Mosaic’s ‘Theory:’ an embodiment of ‘wokeness’ besieged by Bob Ashby

Canadian playwright Norman Yeung’s Theory, in its American premiere at Mosaic Theater, seeks to be, in the words of Mosaic’s press release, “a hot button play for our digital moment.…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 09:25AM
Monday, October 28, 2019

Murder most melodic in Reston’s ‘Gentleman’s Guide’ by Bob Ashby

Getting killed multiple times in a single production can be great fun (my personal best is three). In Reston Community Players’ (RCP) A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Patrick Grah…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 11:38AM
Saturday, October 26, 2019

Thoughtful ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ at Arena Stage by Bob Ashby

How do you put a human face on a difficult, complex subject the natural habitat of which may more likely be a law review article than a stage? Such is playwright Sharyn Rothstein’s task in…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 08:08AM
Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Constellation’s “Little Shop” Puts the Horror Back in Horticulture by Bob Ashby

From its beginnings as a very low-budget 1960 Roger Corman B-picture horror flick (a young Jack Nicholson had a minor role), Little Shop of Horrors has been an irresistible salad of corrupte…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 01:20PM
Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Review: ‘Disenchanted’ at Creative Cauldron by Bob Ashby

Snow White is bossy. Cinderella is a ditzy dim bulb. Sleeping Beauty not only sleeps a lot but snores. Belle is going nuts from talking to inanimate objects. Mulan likes girls.   Just what …

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 09:50AM
Saturday, October 5, 2019

Review: ‘The Royale’ at Olney Theatre Center by Bob Ashby

Black early 20th-century celebrity heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson has had as irresistible a pull on subsequent playwrights and filmmakers as he did on the public of his day. Alrea…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 08:45PM
Monday, September 23, 2019

Review: ‘The Finger’ at Venus Theater by Bob Ashby

Ambiguous loss that binds two people together while pushing them apart. Incompatible paths of grief that alienate each other’s only source of connection. The dominating presence of someone…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 01:58PM
Sunday, September 22, 2019

Review: ‘Cats’ at The Kennedy Center Opera House by Bob Ashby

Andrew Lloyd Webber catapulted to unprecedented West End and Broadway success with his musical extravaganza Cats, based on a 1939 collection of light verse by the otherwise modernist poet, T…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 11:42AM
Sunday, September 15, 2019

Review: ‘Beauty and the Beast’ by The Arlington Players by Bob Ashby

After a highly successful animated film, a long-running Broadway show, a live-action movie version, various spin-offs, and innumerable theme park, cruise ship, and school productions, the Di…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 08:41PM
Saturday, September 14, 2019

Review: ‘Helen on Wheels’ at Best Medicine Rep by Bob Ashby

The central character in Best Medicine Rep’s (BMR) DC-area premiere of Cricket Daniel’s Helen on Wheels, Helen Wheeler (Liz Weber), is a 74-year old Oklahoma widow full of vim, vigor, an…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 02:36PM
Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Review: ‘Legally Blonde’ at the Keegan Theatre by Bob Ashby

In this summer of our discontent – what with unchecked climate change, racist politics, and mass murders – a bit of cheer in the form of a frothy tale of a privileged white girl who, thr…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 10:08PM
Sunday, July 28, 2019

Review: ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’ by Baltimore Shakespeare Factory by Bob Ashby

Baltimore Shakespeare Factory’s (BSF) production of The Merry Wives of Windsor, directed by Tom Delise, delivers the “merry” promised in the title. The wives – Alice Ford (Emily Clas…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 10:04PM
Monday, July 15, 2019

Review: ‘The Few’ by Unexpected Stage Company by Bob Ashby

The American interior West has long been a favored setting for stories about loneliness. The visual emptiness of vast open spaces – think of your favorite John Ford film – and the emotio…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 11:16AM
Sunday, July 14, 2019

Review: ‘American Spies and Other Homegrown Fables’ by The Hub Theatre by Bob Ashby

Playwright Sam Hamashima is described in his program bio as working in the “collision  between his queer identity and his Japanese-American identity.” In American Spies and Other Homegr…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 09:28PM
Monday, July 8, 2019

Review: ‘A Welcome Guest: A Psychotic Fairy Tale’ by Michael Weller at Contemporary American Theater Festival by Bob Ashby

Eat your heart out, Christmas Carol. Hang up your dancing shoes, Nutcracker. Change the channel on reruns of It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s Christmas in July in Shepherdstown, as the Contem…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 02:41PM

Review: ‘Antonio’s Song/I Was Dreaming of a Son’ by Dael Orlandersmith and Antonio Edwards Suarez at Contemporary American Theater Festival by Bob Ashby

The Antonio in question is Antonio Edwards Suarez, the writer (with Dael Orlandersmith) and actor in this one-man autobiographical piece, part of the Contemporary American Theater Festival i…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 02:11PM

Review: ‘My Lord, What a Night’ by Deborah Brevoort at Contemporary American Theater Festival by Bob Ashby

My Lord, What a Night, a new play by Deborah Brevoort at the Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, explores the relationship between two 20th-century greats…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 01:52PM
Sunday, June 30, 2019

Review: ‘Matilda’ at Olney Theatre Center by Bob Ashby

A young hero in her own story who redeems the lives of others around her, the title character in the musical adaptation by Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin of Roald Dahl’s novel Matilda uses h…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 07:45PM
Monday, June 17, 2019

‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ by the Rude Mechanicals at the Greenbelt Arts Center by Bob Ashby

Tennessee Williams famously wrote fragile female leads: Laura, delicate and easily shattered; Blanche, already defeated before she is forced to rely upon the kindness of strangers. Not so wi…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 11:14PM
Sunday, June 9, 2019

Review: ‘Princess Ida’ by The Victorian Lyric Opera Company by Bob Ashby

Princess Ida, now being presented by The Victorian Lyric Opera Company (VLOC), is something of an odd duck in the Gilbert and Sullivan repertory. It has three acts, the dialogue is in blank …

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 03:21PM
Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Review: ‘A Misanthrope’ at WSC Avant Bard by Bob Ashby

The audience didn’t stop laughing all night. Between Matt Minnicino’s rhyming couplet- filled, witty, knowing, sometimes bawdy adaptation (or, as he would have it, “distillation”) of…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 01:51PM
Sunday, June 2, 2019

Review: ‘Stonewall 50’ by Rainbow Theatre Project by Bob Ashby

In the midst of Pride season, and in the 50th anniversary year of the Stonewall riots that defined the beginning of the modern gay rights movement, Rainbow Theatre Project presents a look at…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 02:04PM
Monday, May 27, 2019

Review: ‘Pride and Prejudice’ at the Maryland Ensemble Theatre by Bob Ashby

All the familiar characters are there: Lizzy Bennet, her sisters and parents; suitors Darcy, Bingley, Collins, and Wickham; the de Bourghs and Charlotte. The basic plot lines and period sett…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 05:20PM
Monday, May 6, 2019

Review: ‘Gypsy’ by St. Mark’s Players by Bob Ashby

Rose Hovic is one of the most riveting characters in the history of musical theater, inspiring allusions to the most renowned figures in dramatic literature. Gypsy’s lyricist, Stephen Sond…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 02:52PM
Sunday, April 28, 2019

Review: ‘Annie’ at Reston Community Players by Bob Ashby

Reston Community Players (RCP) serves up a tasty dish of that ultimate Broadway comfort food, Annie. Cooked up by Thomas Meehan (book), Charles Strouse (music) and Martin Charnin (lyrics) in…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 09:23PM
Saturday, April 20, 2019

Review: ‘Spring Awakening’ by Boundless Theatre by Bob Ashby

It is a joyful occasion when a new, vital theater company opens, and the advent of Boundless Theatre in Frederick is a welcome addition to the Western Maryland arts scene. Their inaugural pr…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 06:13AM
Sunday, April 14, 2019

Review: ‘A Comedy of Tenors’ at Olney Theatre Center by Bob Ashby

Things are getting silly at the Olney Theatre Center these days. Very, very, silly. Very skillfully silly, in the production of Ken Ludwig’s A Comedy of Tenors. A follow-on to Ludwig’s h…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 09:24PM
Sunday, April 7, 2019

Review: Curse of the Starving Class at Maryland Ensemble Theatre by Bob Ashby

When we first see the Tate family in Sam Shepard’s Curse of the Starving Class, now playing at Frederick’s Maryland Ensemble Theatre (MET), they are already doomed, they just don’t ful…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 05:30PM
Saturday, March 30, 2019

Review: ‘My Fair Lady’ at Way Off Broadway Dinner Theatre by Bob Ashby

“She sweeps out,” says George Bernard Shaw of Eliza in a stage direction at the end of Pygmalion, leaving Henry Higgins alone and feeling self-satisfied. As Shaw said emphatically in his…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 10:34PM

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2019-2020 BROADWAY SEASON
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