All stories by John Stoltenberg on BroadwayStars

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Magic Time!: The Power of Subversive Design in ‘Day of Absence’ at Theater Alliance by John Stoltenberg

To realize how much white America loved minstrelsy is a reckoning painful or shameful, depending on one’s ancestry. Minstrel shows were never meant for people of African descent to see; th…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 11:51AM
Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Magic Time!: On Tour in DC With ‘What to Send Up When It Goes Down’ by The Movement Theatre Company by John Stoltenberg

Editor’s note: Woolly Mammoth Theatre, in conjunction with its staging of Jackie Sibblies Drury’s Fairview, has brought to DC a show produced by the Harlem-based Movement Theatre Company…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 05:24PM
Sunday, October 13, 2019

Magic Time!: A Theater Buff Auditions the GalaPro App by John Stoltenberg

How does that new GalaPro app work? How well does it work? And what’s it like to watch a show with it? This inquiring theatergoer wanted to know. Many Deaf and hard of hearing people are a…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 09:12AM
Monday, October 7, 2019

Review: A Wild Tale Wags ‘My Barking Dog’ at Caos on F by John Stoltenberg

test The post Review: A Wild Tale Wags ‘My Barking Dog’ at Caos on F appeared first on DC Metro Theater Arts.

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 03:41PM
Saturday, October 5, 2019

Magic Time!: A #MeToo Memory Animates ‘I Am Her’ by John Stoltenberg

Midway through this taut, fraught drama about sexual trauma, a woman named Ana, a wife and young mother, is suddenly triggered. We are not told exactly why. It might be the Kavanaugh hearing…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 09:09PM
Monday, September 30, 2019

Magic Time!: The Sorrow Beneath the Surface of ‘School Girls’ at Round House Theatre by John Stoltenberg

Can one laugh heartily at a satirical comedy—be thoroughly engaged by the entertaining characters, story, and performances—and then after it’s over mourn what it was about?  That was …

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 02:21PM
Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Magic Time!: Natsu Onoda Power Crafts a Tennessee Williams Puppet Show by John Stoltenberg

Sitting in the front row in a child-size chair, I watched a puppet show based improbably on a play by Tennessee Williams. The occasion was a preview at Spooky Action Theater of a never-befor…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 04:52PM
Sunday, September 22, 2019

Review: Book ‘The Book Club Play’ at Silver Spring Stage by John Stoltenberg

Whether you’re an avid reader or a theater buff or both, there’s a supersmart, superfunny show up in Silver Spring that should be on your short list. Marking its 52nd anniversary (!), co…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 04:50PM
Thursday, September 19, 2019

Magic Time!: Maria Manuela Goyanes on ‘Fairview,’ Race, and What’s Next at Woolly Mammoth by John Stoltenberg

I saw Jackie Sibblies Drury’s Fairview opening night at Woolly, and I cannot stop thinking about its originality—not only in form but in intent. I’m not writing about the production—…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 09:52AM
Monday, September 16, 2019

Review: The Miracle of ‘What the Constitution Means to Me’ at The Kennedy Center by John Stoltenberg

When Heidi Shreck steps out onto the Eisenhower stage and has what seems an informal, ad-libbed, introductory chat with us, the first thing you notice is her joy. She seems genuinely happy t…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 10:35AM
Sunday, September 15, 2019

Review: ‘Surfacing’ at Expats Theatre Depicts the Desperation of the Displaced by John Stoltenberg

It isn’t every day you see a play that merges Becket and Martha Graham. That’s my takeaway from watching the hybrid form of Surfacing play out at the Atlas: Three actors are strictly cir…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 12:03AM
Thursday, September 12, 2019

REACH Report: ‘The Just and the Blind’ Aims to Save Black Sons by John Stoltenberg

“How does a black boy become an American?” asks spoken word artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph. “How does he learn his role to play?” For Joseph the question is personal and visceral. In The…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 11:29AM
Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Review: Raise a Glass to ‘The Smuggler’ at Solas Nua by John Stoltenberg

The bar is open and there’s 100-proof theater on tap. It’s a stirring play about an Irish immigrant bartender, and it’s shaking up a classy new cocktail bar where only 30 patrons at a …

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 12:53PM
Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Review: ‘Fabulation’ at Mosaic Theater Is an Outright Joy by John Stoltenberg

It takes a certain talent to turn topics that are no laughing matter into laugh-out-loud comedy that doesn’t condescend, doesn’t ridicule, and yet imbues life with meaning as only art ca…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 03:18PM
Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Review: ‘Enron’ at 4615 Theatre Company Is an Excellent Investment by John Stoltenberg

Back in 1998, the official Enron vision and values statement had a line in it that said: “Ruthlessness, callousness, and arrogance don’t belong here.” Two years later, as the company…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 01:47PM
Monday, August 12, 2019

Review: ‘The War Boys’ at Ally Theatre Company Is Raw and Riveting by John Stoltenberg

The animus being whipped up against “invaders” at our southern border lends Naomi Wallace’s 1993 The War Boys an unsettling resonance. Written when she was but 26, the play is about th…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 09:23AM
Friday, August 9, 2019

Magic Time!: ‘Blank’ at Theater Alliance by John Stoltenberg

“There are holes in the script!” would be the deathblow for any more conventional work of theater, but in Nassim Solimanpour’s Blank, the gaps are where the action’s at. As with Soli…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 09:44AM
Sunday, August 4, 2019

Review: ‘Or,’ by Theatre Prometheus at Capital Hill Arts Workshop by John Stoltenberg

Liz Duffy Adams’s play Or,—which premiered in 2009 at the Women’s Project in New York—is a deliciously literate feminist farce. A radical mashup of dichotomies (among them straight a…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 04:09PM
Friday, August 2, 2019

Magic Time!: A Love Letter to ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ by John Stoltenberg

When Dear Evan Hansen debuted at Arena Stage four years ago, I was so moved by the show I wrote it a love letter, republished below. Now a Broadway hit, it returns to DC for a run at Kennedy…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 02:36PM
Saturday, July 27, 2019

Review: ‘Volta’ by Cirque du Soleil by John Stoltenberg

It always sparks joy when Cirque du Soleil comes to town, and its latest Big Top production, Volta, is a crazy-wondrous delight. The show is inspired by amateur street sports, and its theme …

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 08:36PM
Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Dispatches from Mike Daisey’s ‘A People’s History,’ Chapters 1 to 18 by John Stoltenberg

Over a period of 16 days in Washington, DC, in July 2019, Mike Daisey gave 18 different performances, each about an hour and 45 minutes long, of his epic look at America’s past, present, a…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 02:16PM
Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Magic Time!: Why ‘A People’s History’ Is “Painful”: A Q&A With Mike Daisey by John Stoltenberg

John: Before you brought A People’s History to DC, you performed all 18 parts three times—once through in Minneapolis and twice through in Seattle. I can imagine people could be picking …

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 05:54PM
Saturday, July 6, 2019

Daily Dispatches from Mike Daisey’s ‘A People’s History’ by John Stoltenberg

Chapter 1: The Gold Earring, July 5 8pm Mike Daisey’s marathon retort to Trump’s Fourth of July “Salute to America” kicked off in the Kogod Chapel last night before a sold-out crowd.…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 07:31AM
Thursday, July 4, 2019

Review: ‘The Negroes Are Congregating’ (DC Black Theatre & Film Festival) by John Stoltenberg

Midway through this fast, furious, in-your-face poetic explosive about anti-black racism, one of the three cast members stops the action and says: “I’m sorry, I’m trying to keep up the…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 11:38AM
Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Review: ‘Campaign ’72’ (DC Black Theatre & Arts Festival) by John Stoltenberg

Flashing a wide smile and a V sign, outfitted in power suit, sensible pumps, and her trademark glasses and bouffant, Shirley Chisholm enters the Anacostia Playhouse blackbox waving to the ap…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 01:04PM
Sunday, June 30, 2019

Review: ‘The Heroes’ Tale’ (DC Black Theatre & Arts Festival) by John Stoltenberg

This power plant of a play knocked me out two years ago during the Capital Fringe Festival and knocked me out all over again in the DC Black Theatre & Arts Festival. The Heroes’ Tale d…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 05:21PM
Saturday, June 29, 2019

Magic Time!: ‘The Boy from Troy’ (DC Black Theatre & Arts Festival) by John Stoltenberg

One looks for hope where one can find it. And sometimes hope pops up on its own, unexpected. That kind of hope, not sought out, can catch in one’s throat, can even move one to tears. Such …

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 08:02AM
Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Magic Time!: The Mind-Blowing Stagecraft in ‘Twisted Melodies’ at Mosaic Theater by John Stoltenberg

Twisted Melodies is a spectacular finish to Mosaic’s fourth season. Written by and starring Kelvin Roston, Jr., the show sweeps us into Donny Hathaway’s world of magnificent music-making…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 03:26PM
Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Review: ‘Baldwin’s Nigger’ (DC Black Theatre & Arts Festival) by John Stoltenberg

With the recent release of  I Am Not Your Negro and If Beale Street Could Talk, the eminent writer James Baldwin received significant cinematic attention. This has been followed in DC by t…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 11:45AM
Sunday, June 23, 2019

‘A People’s History’ at Capital Fringe Will Rock Your Worldview by John Stoltenberg

I remember being so bored by my high school American history class that I got a D in it. This was not normal. My report cards always had A’s and B’s. So the kindly elderly woman who taug…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 12:56PM
Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Review: ‘HERstory: Love Forever, Hip Hop’ at The Kennedy Center by John Stoltenberg

I have to marvel at all the ways the national culture temple named for our 35th president reaches out to an audience that looks like America. There’s no such uniform audience, of course—…

Linked From DC Metro Theater Arts at 01:18PM

All that Chat

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