All stories by Bob Ashby on BroadwayStars

Sunday, September 20, 2020

The future of opera in the time of pandemic: A Q&A with Adam Turner by Bob Ashby

I spoke with Adam Turner, Artistic Director of the Virginia Opera, on Tuesday, September 15, about how a regional opera company weathers COVID and the shutdown of most live performance. Virg…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 04:39PM

Virginia Opera is all about Stayin’ Alive by Bob Ashby

With live performances shut down since March because of the COVID-19 pandemic, artists unemployed, and income streams disrupted, performing arts organizations continue to face the hardest of…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 04:35PM
Friday, September 11, 2020

A top-notch storyteller tells ‘Stories I May Not Tell’ at Best Medicine Rep by Bob Ashby

Theaters have gone dark during the pandemic, with little certainty about when or whether actors and audiences can again gather in the same space to tell and listen to stories that illuminate…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 06:34AM
Sunday, March 8, 2020

Small-town redemption still resonates in Rockville Little Theatre’s ‘The Spitfire Grill’ by Bob Ashby

The Spitfire Grill was in Off-Broadway previews on 9/11. In part because its heartwarming, American roots/small-town spirited songs and characters struck a powerful emotional chord in the da…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 10:15AM
Monday, March 2, 2020

Washington National Opera stages a vocally stirring, visually arresting ‘Samson and Delilah’ at The Kennedy Center by Bob Ashby

Tales of wars, slaughters, betrayals, competing tribes and religions, and a few dominant women make the Book of Judges one of the more colorful segments of the Hebrew Bible. Camille Saint-Sa…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 09:23PM
Monday, February 24, 2020

‘Ordinary Days’ at NextStop Theatre: Ah, to be young and tuneful in New York City by Bob Ashby

Adam Gwon’s 2009 show Ordinary Days could serve as the prototypical Off-Broadway chamber musical: four young characters navigate the Big City in search of their lives, in 19 songs over 80 …

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 03:49PM
Monday, February 17, 2020

‘Cinderella’ (La Cenerentola): Well-sung Rossini at Virginia Opera by Bob Ashby

Spoiler alert: Cinderella and the Prince live happily ever after. Of course, since Virginia Opera, like all opera companies of any size, prints a detailed synopsis in the program each patron…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 11:21AM
Tuesday, February 11, 2020

‘The 39 Steps’ at Constellation: a walk on the hilarious side by Bob Ashby

For an evening of dry wit and sophisticated, subtle humor, make your way…Oh forget it. Just come to Constellation Theatre’s The 39 Steps for a couple hours of cheesy lines, old situation…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 09:45PM
Sunday, February 9, 2020

A holy night: Folger Consort performs ‘Palestrina’s Perfect Art’ at the National Cathedral by Bob Ashby

What would it have felt like, I’ve sometimes wondered, to listen, in sublime surroundings, to sounds conveying the deepest devotions of Christian belief, long before the “melancholy, lon…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 09:34AM
Sunday, February 2, 2020

The political becomes personal in Olney Theatre Center’s ‘Miss You Like Hell’ by Bob Ashby

At Friendship Park, on the US-Mexico border just south of San Diego, from 10 am to 2 pm Saturdays and Sundays, 10 people at a time on the US side can see, and talk through a fence, with frie…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 05:26PM

Carlo vs. Carlo clash in Best Medicine Rep’s ‘Comedy of Venice’ by Bob Ashby

John Morogiello’s new “based-on-a true-story” play Comedy of Venice, having its debut performance at Gaithersburg’s Best Medicine Rep, centers on a feud between two 18th-century Vene…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 10:44AM
Saturday, January 25, 2020

‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ at Arena: women fighting their forever war by Bob Ashby

You will not this season see a more beautiful, emotionally wrenching portrayal of profound love than in Arena Stage’s production of Ursula Rani Sarma’s A Thousand Splendid Suns. Based on…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 03:10PM
Monday, January 20, 2020

Mother and son fight to stay afloat in ‘Pipeline’ at Studio Theatre by Bob Ashby

The pipeline in the title of Dominique Morisseau’s play is the “school-to-prison pipeline” affecting young African-American men. Fueled, as Studio Theatre’s dramaturgical notes expla…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 08:09PM
Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Rueful romance in ‘Now and Then’ by Upcounty Theatre by Bob Ashby

Sean Grennan’s Now and Then, receiving its East Coast premiere courtesy of Upcounty Theatre in Germantown, Maryland, deals in regret anticipated and recollected, and inquires about the pos…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 08:48AM
Monday, December 23, 2019

A Powerhouse Performance of Handel’s Messiah by NSO at The Kennedy Center by Bob Ashby

At the outset, I will confess a bias: I much prefer listening to baroque pieces played in the style, and on the scale, of the time in which they were composed. Handel’s 1741 oratorio Messi…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 10:42AM
Saturday, December 21, 2019

A ‘My Fair Lady’ for today at the Kennedy Center by Bob Ashby

The character arc that carries Lerner and Loewe’s classic My Fair Lady belongs to Eliza Doolittle, as she rises from flower girl at Covent Garden to the belle of the embassy ball, from fer…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 04:07PM
Sunday, December 15, 2019

Scena Theatre’s ‘The Dead’ presents quiet desperation at Christmastime by Bob Ashby

Based on a renowned short story by James Joyce, The Dead, now being presented by Scena Theatre, is a slice of the lives of polite, quiet desperation lived by genteel middle-class Dubliners i…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 09:08PM
Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Mosaic Theater’s ‘Eureka Day’ puts immunization in the hot seat by Bob Ashby

In Samoa, 68 people – mostly children – have died of measles in recent weeks, victims of an abysmally low immunization rate resulting, in significant part, from misinformation spread on …

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 12:32PM
Monday, December 9, 2019

IN Series’ ‘L’Enfance du Christ’ follows the Holy Family’s journey as refugees by Bob Ashby

Hector Berlioz’s mid-19th-century L’Enfance du Christ is not quite an oratorio in the most familiar sense of that term. Nor is it quite an opera. Written piecemeal over many years by a c…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 03:15PM
Wednesday, November 27, 2019

A well-conceived ‘Curious Incident’ at Round House Theatre by Bob Ashby

“Curious” is the operative word in the title of Simon Stephens’ The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, now playing at the Round House Theatre. The protagonist, teenager Chr…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 12:01AM
Sunday, November 24, 2019

Venus Theatre’s ‘The Powers that Be’: fighting the double bind by Bob Ashby

Venus Theatre’s staff don’t open the house until immediately before The Powers that Be begins, presenting audience members, as they take their seats, with the evening’s most arresting …

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 10:25PM
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

All that Chat

2019-2020 BROADWAY SEASON
Oct 06: Slave Play
Feb 01: The Minutes
TBA: Blue