Theater & Music

DC digest

All the world's a stage, and most of us are desperately unrehearsed.”    --Irish playwright Sean O'Casey


The Agitators

 How Hope Happens: Past as Prologue

Theater review by Donna Christenson


When I headed out to see Mosaic Theater Company's production of The Agitators I expected to learn something about the relationship between two iconic figures in American history, one the suffragist Susan B. Anthony and the other the abolitionist Frederick Douglass. What I did not expect was that the evening would be such a powerful emotional experience, ending with a standing ovation that was followed by all of us singing “We Shall Overcome” as tears streamed down my face.

When Artistic Director Ari Roth and his team chose The Agitators as part of their fourth season’s theme How Hope Happens: Past as Prologue/Plays in Dialogue, they couldn't have known that the timing for this particular production would feel so exactly right for what we are going through now in the aftermath of the horrific shootings in the synagogue, along with several other frightening attacks on people targeted based on race or politics in recent days. The play’s themes dealing with struggles on issues of equality and voting rights, race and gender are as relevant now as they were well over a hundred years ago.  Though we have clearly come a long way, it can feel discouraging to see how much further we still need to go.

The past two years have been especially challenging and difficult in so many ways and the events of recent weeks were really
overwhelming. What happened in the theater on opening night was the kind of magic that can only rarely be created when all of the elements come together perfectly. 

Embodying their respective roles, Ro Boddie as Frederick Douglass, and Marni Penning as Susan B. Anthony dominate the stage so actively and powerfully we don’t notice that this is essentially a two-character play.  Ensemble members Adanna Paul and Josh Adams create silent characters who keep the action moving, along with the props and sets. Aging before our eyes during a friendship spanning some 45 years, Boddie and Penning’s stirring performances made each age and stage in their relationship ring perfectly true.  Kudos to Amy MacDonald for transformative period costumes and make-up as the characters aged, and, as the photos show, notably for Douglass’ distinctive hair.   

Director Kenyatta Rogers’ production utilizes a wide range of elements to simultaneously remind us of the history, illuminate its relevance in today’s world, and create an inclusive experience.  Interludes of contemporary music from Hip-hop to James Brown helps it resonate especially with younger audience members; sign language and boldly projected sur-titles welcome deaf viewers; post-performance discussions offered several times each week invite further exploration on a wide range of related topics.

Following a powerful opening night performance, the cast, crew and community members celebrated together.  In the photo to the left are Movement Coordinator Elena Velasco, Sound Designer Robert Garner, Marni Penning (Susan B. Anthony), Ro Boddie (Frederick Douglass, Second row: appreciative supporters Jose Alberto Ucles, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and children’s book author Tom Noll flank DCdigest’s Donna Christenson. 


This brilliant play examines the 45-year friendship and occasional rivalry between two great, rebellious, and flawed American icons: Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass. Young abolitionists when they met in Rochester in the 1840s, they were full of hopes, dreams and a common purpose. As they grew to become the cultural icons we know today, their movements collided and their friendship was severely tested. This is the story of that 45-year friendship - from its beginning in Rochester, through a Civil War and to the highest halls of government. They agitated the nation, they agitated each other and, in doing so, they helped shape the Constitution and the course of American history. A loving and faithful portrait of two historical figures, Mat Smart’s story also brims with modern urgency and relevance.   

The Agitators runs through November 25, 2018, at Mosaic Theater Company performing at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002. For tickets, call the box office at (202) 399-7993 or at 


‘Swedish Jazz’ Pleases Lyceum Audience with Varied Program and Musical Finesse
By Dan McKay with photo by Donna Christenson

Saxophone master Anders Lundegard curated another of his signature concerts to delight discerning music-lovers as he led the Swedish Jazz Trio with a varied program spanning eight decades Saturday evening at The Lyceum in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.

The trio provided an intriguing variety of songs and instrumentals stretching from 1940s Duke Ellington ( “I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart”), to the 1966 bossa nova ballad, “Dindi” by Antonio Carlos Jobim to the 1969 pop-rock hit, “I Love You More Today than Yesterday,” by the Spiral Staircase.

Other delightful tunes on this diverse “Rock the Boat” program included “Au Privave,” by Charlie Parker’, “On Green Dolphin Street” – first recorded by the Miles Davis Quintet in 1958 – and “It Had Better be Tonight” from Henry Mancini’s score for the 1963 “Pink Panther” movie.

Al Bauman played guitar throughout the evening and sang when tunes included lyrics, including “Beautiful Things” from the movie, “Dr. Doolittle,” “I Let a Song Go Out of my Heart,” by Duke Ellington, and  the Antonio Carlos Jobim bossa nova classic “Dindi” (pronounced “jin-jee” – Portuguese for “sweetheart”).

Bassist Daniel Brown, meanwhile, rocked the rhythm and anchored deft chord changes throughout while providing beautiful solos where he made his upright bass “sing.”   Anders – not known for his vocals – sang an original song.  “Be My Match” was inspired, he said, by the fire that decimated the lakeside cottage he bought in Sweden in 2015. Before launching into this song, he played a furious sax solo instrumental he composed, “Fire,” immediately after learning of the troubling lakeside house fire.

Even when the music stopped, Anders gave the audience chuckles as in his candid admission of dance-floor shortcomings when he introduced the Jerome Kern song, “I Won’t Dance” – popularized by Fred Astaire’s exquisite footwork in the black & white film, “Roberta.” At other moments between tunes, he entertained the crowd with self-effacing humor and some historical references to events that occurred on November 3rds in years past (e.g., Joseph Haydn’s unsuccessful eye surgery in 1752, the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918, and D.C. residents regaining the right to vote in 1964).

The three excellent musicians dipped into a bit of Baroque, performing “Adagio by Albinoni,” attributed to the 18th-century Venetian master Tomaso Albinoni but actually believed to have been composed by 20th-century musicologist and Albinoni biographer Remo Giazotto. Shortly after the end of World War II, Giazotto announced that he had found a manuscript fragment of the adagio in heavily bombed Dresden, Germany, but Anders said he joins the consensus of classical music scholars who dismiss the finding as a fake and suspect that Giazotto penned the composition himself sometime in the 1940s in the style of Albinoni.

Al and Daniel provided an ever-propulsive and sensitive backdrop throughout, augmented by Al’s vocals or soft and calming “bridge” solos from Daniel’s deft upright bass.  From subtle trills to the occasional obligatory honks and squeals as in the introduction of the Pink Panther number, Anders exhibited superb command of styles on soprano, alto and baritone saxophones.  Anders and Al have an entertaining stage presence between selections and Anders, with his PhD in music, always informs the audience with bite-size nuggets of knowledge.

Between the fast tempos of John Coltrane’s “Lyresto” and “Just in Time” to the ballads, “If I Had You” and “Dindi” this concert hit many different vibes. It ended, to rousing audience applause, with the standard, “Wade in the Water” – a “Spiritual” song developed and sung by slaves in Confederate southern states before the Civil War. 

A festive and convivial reception followed the performance. The Lyceum is Alexandria’s History Museum, built in 1839, at 201 S. Washington Street. Concert admission includes the opportunity to tour the museum prior to the performance. The second-floor concert hall, with seating for just over 100, provides an intimate concert experience with quite nice acoustics for small ensembles.



AIDA is a Shining Star for Constellation Theater

Theater review by Donna Christenson

The gorgeous voice of Shayla S. Simmons would be reason enough to make seeing the new production of Elton John and Tim
Rice’s Tony Award-winning musical AIDA an evening well spent ...but wait, there’s so much more!  Constellation Theater Company’s talented cast and crew, headed by director Michael J. Bobbitt, has accomplished the challenging goal facing any ensemble by creating a beautifully-interwoven whole that is even greater than the sum of its excellent integral parts.    

Working within the constraints of a relatively small black box theater space, every element has been pared down to a minimum but used powerfully for maximum effect.  A.J. Guban’s dramatic, jewel-toned lighting, featuring a glowing asymmetrical diagonal band of changing light, triangulating the very well-designed but minimalist set, shifting the focus and mood for each scene in the story. Angles and triangles are repeated in a grid frame hanging as a ceiling and in the intricate jewel-toned pattern of the floor.  Angled and ramped floor areas and a few steps offer choreographer Tony Thomas II a variable platform where action,  movement and positioning of characters, along with Costume Designer Kenann M. Quander's bejeweled and flowing garments, take the place of sets, and very few props are required.  It is clear that the entire team, rounded out by Helen Hayes Award-winning music director Walter “Bobby” McCoy and Sound Designer Roc Lee, has pulled everything together seamlessly so that all elements focus on the epic pop-rock musical score. 

As Aida, the aforementioned Shayla S. Simmons uses her beautiful voice to take us on a marvelous journey, sometimes to unexpected places, and it is always exquisite.  “When someone shows up who sounds like that, you have to cast her!” said director Bobbitt. With her star-crossed lover Radames, dashingly embodied by Jobari Parker-Namdar, the duets were especially strong, showing off both power and range.  The chemistry between them was palpable, heightening the intensity of their predicament.  Rounding out the love triangle, Chani Wereley as Amneris really came into her full vocal power in her final scenes.  The entire ensemble of fourteen singing dancing actors of color delivers a dynamic evening of music and drama you won’t want to miss!


Based on the opera by Giuseppe Verdi, this rock-pop musical is brilliantly brought to life by the renowned songwriting team of Elton John and Tim Rice, whose credits include The Lion King. This legendary musical chronicles a star-crossed love triangle between Aida, a Nubian princess kidnapped from her country; Radames, the Egyptian captain who enslaved her people; and his fiancée Princess Amneris. As attractions intensify, Aida must choose between her heart’s desire and her responsibility to lead her nation to freedom.

Constellation Theater’s AIDA runs through November 18 at Source Theater, located at 1835 14th Street NW.  Tickets start at $25.  Call the Box Office 202-204-7741 or get ticket information at

Photos by DJ Corey Photography


Pat Metheny and Innovative Bandmates Regale Sell-Out Strathmore Audience

By Dan McKay with photos by Donna Christenson

Bethesda, MD, Oct. 6   – Renowned guitarist Pat Metheny and his latest quartet featured pop-jazz instrumental originals from 1970s and 80s all evening at Strathmore and, while the tunes weren’t new, he and his latest piano/bass/drum lineup brought new interpretations and energy to each of them.

Metheny has recorded and toured since the mid-1970s with jazz legends such as Gary Burton, Charlie Haden, Ornette Coleman, Roy Haynes and Brad Mehldau, as well as rock stars like David Bowie and Joni Mitchell.

On this North America tour, Metheny-- now 64 -- surrounded himself with a new cosmopolitan lineup that included Welsh pianist Gwilym Simcock (37), Australian bassist Linda May Han Oh (34), and Mexican drummer Antonio Sánchez (46).

Their concert Saturday night at the Music Center at Strathmore incorporated elements of progressive jazz, Latin jazz, acoustic guitar ballads and jazz fusion, with occasional touches of Asian, New Age and psychedelic influences.

Long-time Metheny fans were delighted to hear tunes familiar from his earliest albums, re-interpreted by this new lineup of sidemen who added zest and vigor. A couple of these tunes were recorded with late legendary bassist Jaco Pastorius on Metheny’s 1976 “hello world” album, Bright Size Life, including that disk’s title track.  Another “oldies” crowd-pleaser re-cast with this band was “Phase Dance” from the 1979 Pat Metheny Group album.  On these special very early tunes, Metheny showcased amazingly light yet richly vibrant chords from his custom-built 42-string “Pikasso” guitar. (Guitar photo bottom, left) 

“Last Train Home” from Metheny’s 1987 album, Still Life (Talking) got a makeover with guitar-and-drum innovations amidst the
essential steady propulsion from Sánchez.  In other pieces, Simcock and Han Oh provided thoughtful and sensitive piano and upright bass solos, respectively.  Throughout the two-dozen tunes he and/or this quartet performed, Metheny’s fingers on his fret-board proved to be arguably faster than ever, and his ear for harmonics remains as deft, intuitive and fun as always with this special “generational” musical genius. 

Apart from being a superb guitarist, Metheny’s been a pioneer in musical technology.  He was one of the first guitarists to wield a guitar synthesizer, a Roland GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer GR-300 which he first featured commercially in “Are You Going with Me?” on his third album, Offramp (1982).  

Before picking up the guitar, Metheny dabbled as a youngster with the trumpet. His older brother, Mike Metheny was a far better trumpeter.  When Metheny got fitted for braces as a young teenager, which made trumpet-playing painful, he discovered the guitar. What trumpet-player doesn’t like to probe the higher notes of his/her range when an extended solo arises?  Nonetheless, the trumpet influence surfaces on some of Pat’s tunes wherein he sets his Roland GR-55 to approximate the timbre of a trumpet's
 higher octaves.  When he goes off into stratospheric ranges on it à la Maynard Ferguson or Cat Anderson, the sound it emits pales in comparison to a true brass trumpet and such sounds are a turn-on for some listeners and a turn-off for others.

More pleasing to the appreciative audience, the vast majority of the program featured an amazing mix of up-tempo Latin-rhythm pieces, acoustic ballads including the classic “Midsummer Night’s Dream” 1977 and others from his 2003 solo album One Quiet Night.  Despite his forays into electronics, Metheny’s solo acoustic work remains unrivaled. The whole quartet “jelled” so fluidly, but there appeared a special chemistry between guitarist and drummer.  Jack DeJohnette and Tony Williams have held top rankings in the jazz drummer category for several decades, but it might well be time to make room for the newcomer Sánchez!  So nimble and polyrhythmic, with awesome dynamics across his array of drums, cymbals and bells, he propelled the whole evening entertainingly whether in the background to embellish the other musicians or in the foreground in a couple of featured solos.

The audience begged for an encore with a standing ovation after an unnamed mesmerizing duet between Metheny’s sparse, spacey guitar synthesizer and Sánchez’s elegant soft drum and cymbals work – reminiscent and worthy of some of Pink Floyd’s early instrumental psychedelic excursions. Metheny returned for a solo acoustic guitar medley encore, followed by yet another standing ovation that brought back the whole quartet to play his rocking Brazilian-inspired electric “Song for Bilbao.”

In 2013, Metheny became only the fourth guitarist to be inducted into the Downbeat magazine “Hall of Fame” – besides only Charlie Christian, Django Reinhardt, and Wes Montgomery.

Even if his “mop-head” of hair is now gray, Metheny showed Saturday that he’s always capable of squeezing out innovative sounds across his vast repertoire!


The Music Center at Strathmore is located at 5301 Tuckerman Ln, North Bethesda, MD 20852.


Marie and Rosetta

 by Donna Christenson

 Ayana Reed (Marie), Ronnette F. Harrison (Piano), Roz White (Rosetta), and Barbara Roy Gaskins (Guitar) in ‘Marie and Rosetta.’ Photo by Stan Barouh

If you are familiar with the history of rock and roll, you probably already know about Sister Rosetta Tharp; if you are not, you no doubt will be delighted to make her acquaintance in the current production of Mosaic Theater Company.  Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018 (it’s about time!), Rosetta Tharp is credited as an inspiration and influence for a range of musical luminaries including Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and other rock stars.  A black female gospel singer who was the first to successfully “cross over” to what became R&B charts, she accompanied her powerful vocals with her own original hard-driving guitar style, which was later emulated mostly by men who gained much greater fame than she did.  Belatedly, she has been called “the founding mother who gave rock’s founding fathers the idea”.

From the moment you meet Rosetta Tharp and Marie Knight ...and they meet each other will feel as if you were there as the musical and magical relationship between them developed.  Ayana Reed and Roz White embody the vibrant singing and acting of Marie and Rosetta, respectively.  In an unusual conceit, the instrumental music the characters perform is powerfully played by two impressive musicians who share the stage with the actors.  When Marie (Ayana Reed) sits down at the piano, she is sharing the bench with pianist Ronnette F. Harrison, whose fingers are actually on the keyboard. Rosetta (Roz White) sings and appears to strum her guitar but we can see that the powerful notes we hear are produced by the dynamic guitarist Barbara Roy Gaskins.  Initially very controlled, timid and proper, Marie reluctantly and delightfully opens up under the tutelage of Rosetta as their relationship evolves.  As the story unfolds, the foursome delivers glorious music ranging from plaintive gospel to playful, rowdy, foot-stomping rhythm and blues. You will leave the theater feeling exuberant!

Be sure to check out the wide range of post-performance discussions which are scheduled several times each week through the run of the show. We were lucky enough to have the added bonus of a conversation and performance featuring legendary blues artist Memphis Gold! 

Marie and Rosetta runs through September 30, 2018, at Mosaic Theater Company performing at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002. For tickets, call the box office at (202) 399-7993.


Constellation Theater’s “The Caucasian Chalk Circle”

by Donna Christenson


You don’t so much “watch” Constellation Theater’s new production of “The Caucasian Chalk Circle”, but rather the audience is wrapped up in the performance.  With an immersive 360 degree staging of Studio Theater’s black box theater space, several of the audience seating sections are recessed into the stage itself. Using ten different entrances, the actors move about through the audience on multiple stage areas and platforms, creating an energetic intimacy. 

Though written decades ago and based on a 14th century Chinese tale, German playwright Bertolt Brecht’s epic play offers timely themes that resonate today.  A parable about a young woman who raises an abandoned child as her own, only to have his mother resurface trying to reclaim the young boy to gain an inheritance, the story leads to a trial judge ordering a Solomon-like verdict.  Metaphorically, the chalk circle is drawn around a society with twisted priorities, lacking in moral values. In one of the play’s many lively songs, the message is that rightfully “what there is shall belong to those who are good for it”. 

As we have come to expect at Constellation Theater, the ensemble cast makes it seem easy for 14 actors to portray over 60 distinctly different characters.  Special mention must be made of the ingenuity involved in the portrayal of the baby, who changes from a newborn to a toddler over the course of the play.  Puppet Designer Matthew Aldwin McGee created figures whose life-like movements were controlled by black-clothed operators, a very effective conceit.  Among other effective and imaginative stagings was the brilliant creation of a human rope bridge precariously crossed by our heroine.   

Always innovative, Constellation Theater has succeeded once again in their stated mission to tell “big, powerful stories in an intimate space. We spark curiosity and imagination with plays from all over the world that feature visual spectacle, original music, dynamic movement and passionate acting ensembles. We draw from the genres of fantasy, farce, and epic adventure to transport our audiences to dramatic worlds where the action is larger than life.”

Constellation Theater’s “The Caucasian Chalk Circle” runs April 12 through May 13 at Source Theater, located at 1835 14th Street NW.  Call the Box Office 202-204-7741 or get ticket information at






by Cary Pollak


The Washington Opera Society plans a series of events starting with a performance titled “Voices of Croatia” to be presented on Friday, April 27 at the Embassy of Croatia.  In addition, a “Gala Performance” of the opera Carmen on June 23 at the French embassy is on the schedule.  A link to the WOS web site for details and ticket purchasing appears at the end of this article.  Speaking as a WOS board member, I hope you can attend any or all of our performances.

While I was at a planning meeting of the WOS board, my mind wandered to a noteworthy encounter I had with a famous opera singer years ago.  I thought it was a story I would like to share with readers.

In the 1960’s and 70’s tenor James McCracken was one of the best known stars of the Metropolitan Opera Company.  His circuitous route to stardom started in the choir at Horace Mann High School in Gary, Indiana, known as the “Choral Club” and continued at Columbia University where he studied music.  He was still in his twenties when he was hired by the Met, but they advised that he would not fulfill his ambition of being a principal singer with them unless he gained notoriety on his own in Europe. 

By the time I graduated from Horace Mann, about 20 years after McCracken did, the grand singing voice that had rung out from the stage at our school auditorium, also had boomed from some of the great opera stages of the world, including those at the Vienna State Opera, London’s Royal Opera House, the Zurich Opera and many more.  At the time of his death at age 61 in 1988, The New York Times described McCracken as “the most successful dramatic tenor yet produced by the United States.”

The Metropolitan Opera’s performance of Carmen at the Wolf Trap Farm Park in 1974 marked the first time that the great company had mounted a full scale production outdoors.  Playing the lead opposite McCracken’s Don Jose, was the equally renowned Marilyn Horne.  Reviews that appeared on the next day noted that the quality of the performance remained consistent despite how chilly the weather had turned by the time of the last act. 

After the final curtain I made my way to a room near the stage where fans gathered to try to catch a glimpse of their favorite stars as they left the building.  I failed to notice that McCracken got by me but someone in the room told the crowd that he had just left, so I headed out to the parking lot to see if I could catch him.  I spotted him chatting with conductor Henry Lewis and walked up to them to introduce myself.  McCracken had once told an interviewer that it was not unusual for him to lose four or five pounds during an energetic performance and he still was sweating when I caught up with him.

I more or less blurted out that we had gone to the same high school and that I was a big fan.  I expected no more than a cordial response, but instead he went on for several minutes reminiscing about the home town and wanted to know if I still was connected in any meaningful way.  It turned out that he had gone back to our school not long before and had delightful visits with the drama teacher, Mrs. Mooney (who had aged surprisingly little he thought), with the Choral Club director, Mrs. Winter and many more.  Despite his apparent exhaustion after a major performance, he could not have been more friendly or more gracious.  I also was impressed with maestro Lewis, who stood by patiently while McCracken and I rambled on about our high school.

Horace Mann was shut down some years ago due to the dwindling population and budget of a city that once grew and prospered when heavy industry flourished there.   The building still stands, however, despite the ravages of time.  Somewhere in that vacant auditorium the echoes of a magnificent tenor voice, destined to be heard and loved throughout the world, still reverberate on the walls and floorboards – at least in spirit.  It is in the effort to keep that kind of spirit alive that the Washington Opera Society strives to promote the love of opera in metropolitan Washington, a locale in which James McCracken thrilled many opera fans. 

More information on the Washington Opera Society can be found on its website, or by calling 202-722-5335. Details of the upcoming production also are posted on the DCdigest Calendar of Events page at




The Wild Party

Theater review by Robert Cordaro and Donna Christenson

Do you like steamy, bawdy vaudevillian plays?  How about non-stop lively music and dance?  Then consider yourself invited to the “The Wild Party”.  It’s a roaring, rowdy romp through an evening of partying, replete with risible, risqué but tasteful conflict and fun ...another success by the always-engaging Constellation Theater Company.

The minimalist set, designed by set designer Tony Cisek, provides the audience an immersive, empathetic experience.  Inside this set an experienced, energetic and talented ensemble dances and sings throughout the evening.  It is the story of two vaudeville performers (Queenie and Burrs – skillfully portrayed by Farrell Parker and Jimmy Mavrikes) caught in a sexually forceful but tempestuous relationship.  Queenie, hoping that a potent dose of jealousy might strengthen their love life, asks Burrs to host a party.  What follows is a raucous procession of characters joining the party.  Black and Burrs, competing for Queenie’s wiles, set up a number of dramatic confrontations, highlighting the Vaudevillian Pagliacci Mavrikes pulls off very effectively.

Each actor is worth noting, but standouts include Black (Ian Anthony Coleman), Madame True, a lusty lesbian with a powerful singing voice (Kate Ginsburg), Mae (Emily Zickler), andher boyfriend Eddie (Calvin Malone), perfectly cast as a prizefighter with his burly build, replete with an effective trace of a Brooklyn accent. 

Director Allison Arkell Stockman has put together an amazing show with smooth scene changes, a clear focus and cohesiveness that is impressive.  Concomitantly supporting characters, no actor pulls focus when they shouldn’t, but, on the other hand, each one was fully capable of commanding and sustaining attention. 

The energetic ...near frenetic ...choreography of Ilona Kessell perfectly complements Andrew Lippa’s lively music and lyrics. I assure you a good time immersing yourself in the Jazz age ambiance and feel of this production ...a delightful evening of musical theater!

“The Wild Party” runs through October 29th.  Constellation Theater Company performs at The Source Theater located at 1835 14th Street NW.  Online:


A Little Night Music Sends in the Clowns

At Arlington’s Signature Theatre through Oct. 8

By David Hoffman

Isn’t it bliss?” sings Desiree in “Send in the Clowns,” the signature tune from Stephen Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music.” The unambiguous answer is “YES!”

The one true “hit” of Sondheim’s storied career is crooned in a husky, hurtful murmur of rueful regret by the middle-aged actress Desiree. She addresses the verses to her onetime paramour Fredrik, who has just spurned her attempt to rekindle their romance.

Written days before the show first opened, “Send in the Clowns,” an anthem to regret and love’s renewal, was originally intended to be sung by Fredric rather than Desiree. The song’s title is drawn from a theatrical term about covering for something going wrong on stage.

Fredrik is a widower, who is now remarried to the much younger Anne. His rejection shocks former lover Desiree. It breaks through her normal way of dealing with the world with blithe one-liners and innuendos. The very intensity of this song with its ragged edge of emotion and vulnerability stuns Fredrik, who sits waiting uncomfortably for its ending.

Set in Sweden in 1900, the musical is based on “Smiles of a Summer Night,” an Ingmar Bergman’s film of the 1950s. Desiree and Fredrik are “lived” Holly Twyford and Bobby Smith. Their intense performances make the audience squirm. Desiree conducts an affair with the boastful military officer Count Malcom, a man utterly unworthy of her. Fredrik arrives with his new bride Anne. Married 11 months, they have yet to consummate their marriage.

“I’m afraid that marriage isn’t one of the easier relationships, is it?” Fredrik asks Count Malcom’s jilted wife Charlotte, played with gusto by the uber-talented Tracy Lynn Olivera.

Desiree’s ancient mother Madame Armfeldt, played with hauteur by the incomparable Florence Lacy, host the quartet for a weekend at her country estate. They gather to sing “A Weekend in the Country,” another of the show’s great tunes. Lacy follows by warbling “Liaisons,” an anthem to love’s more practical side.

The remainder of the cast is Broadway-quality. Will Gartshore is a blustery and buffoonish Count Malcolm. Sam Ludwig is earnest as Henrik, Fredrik’s earnest virginal son back from his studies to become a Lutheran pastor, who has fallen hopelessly and secretly in love with his step-mother. Nicki Elledge sparkles with girlish charm as Anne.

Put these actors together for a fictive country weekend and the stage is set for trouble. Eric Schaeffer, the director, Signature Theatre’s co-founder and artistic director, Jon Kalbfleish, conductor of the 13-person orchestra, and choreographer Karma Camp, are more than a match for Sondheim’s ode to romantic and sexual mismatches. They set his clever lyrics and the music, waltz-like, in three quarter time score.

After an abortive suicide attempt and a Russian-roulette duel, the play ends on a modestly hopeful note. Leaving a few “spoilers” out, let’s just say that the reprise of “Send in the Clowns” ends by asking, “Are we a pair?”

There is no better way to spend an early autumn night than enjoying this classic Sondheim musical. It is truly a tour de force.

Signature Theatre is in Shirlington Village in Arlington. Tickets are at, or at the box office at 703-820-9771. Runs through Oct. 8, 2017.

David Hoffman is past vice president for programs at the Woman’s National Democratic Club at Dupont Circle. He lives on Capitol Hill and is a freelance journalist covering arts and entertainment as well as (dour note) “politics” and foreign policy. This review appeared originally on at  


A Play Against Perpetual War

“Republic For Which We Stand” dramatizes the wisdom of entrusting war-making responsibility to Congress.


John Henry’s transfixing play “Republic For Which We Stand” sounds the tocsin against the chosen people mentality that fuels perpetual war, one-branch government, and limitless surveillance in the United States. That un-starry-eyed message is leavened with recurring humor, satire and comedy that capture the full spectrum of vices and foibles in all their moods and tenses. Our Founding Mothers and Founding Fathers come to life, warts and all, to remind us of what made America great.

We are mired in nine unconstitutional presidential wars. None shows any light at the end of the tunnel. The multi-trillion dollar military-industrial-counterterrorism complex is extending its web everywhere, drawing all power into its vortex. Since 9/11, it has turned millions of wives into widows and children into orphans in the Middle East. No one asks why we have protest marches for women, climate change, and tax disclosure, but none for them. Tis folly to be wise and ignorance is bliss in the corridors of power and the sycophantic mainstream media.

“Republic For Which We Stand” is a breath of fresh air. It dramatizes the birth of the American republic and the wisdom of the founders in entrusting war-making responsibility exclusively to Congress. Yet thirteen successive administrations have flouted the Declare War Clause of the Constitution. When Truman started the first presidential war in Korea, Secretary of State Dean Acheson boasted: “The United States is the locomotive of mankind and the rest of the world the caboose.” Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make arrogant.

The great little James Madison is featured in Henry’s action-packed play as the wunderkind of the Constitutional Convention. He uniquely understood that institutions have personalities; and that institutional personalities trump the personalities of the occupants. Madison recognized that the executive branch personality—like a pit bull—concocts excuses for war to aggrandize power and to leave a legacy. But the legislative branch, which gains nothing from belligerency, goes to war only in self-defense—like a Labrador retriever. Thus, as thirty-five consecutive Congresses abjectly surrendered their war power, the nation has fought gratuitous presidential wars irrespective of the varied personalities of the White House occupants. Only the official picture in the White House War Room changes from presidency to presidency.

The war power is the most important enumerated power. War dethrones the rule of law. Everything is subservient to national security. Thus, in the name of fighting international terrorism, we have endowed the president with power to play prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner to kill any person on the planet the president believes is an imminent threat based on secret, unsubstantiated information. King George III would have blushed with envy. Friedrich Nietzsche got it wrong. God isn’t dead. God has simply moved into the Oval Office.

A reinsurance CEO, the talented new playwright uses drama as the Greeks invented it to stimulate political discussion. In 2003, Henry brought together establishment foreign policy “realists” opposed to the invasion of Iraq—including C. Boyden Gray, White House counsel to President George Herbert Walker Bush; and Chas Freeman, former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia—to found the Committee for the Republic, a non-profit organization which holds monthly foreign policy salons in Washington DC at the historic Metropolitan Club. In 2016, Henry started the Stone Hill Theatrical Foundation to produce historical dramas staged out-of-doors in a remarkable amphitheater Henry spent seven years building with his own hands on his farm 80 minutes from Washington.

“Republic For Which We Stand” pits Alexander Hamilton’s enthusiasm for beating the British at empire against Madison’s commitment to liberty secured through a separation of powers—a structural Bill of Rights to protect citizens from oppression. In the play, Madison persuades George Washington and the other founders to place the war power in Congress to secure peace, liberty, and prosperity and to reject the British model admired by Hamilton. Never before had the war power been severed from the executive branch—a break in history that propelled the United States to unimagined prosperity and peace for a century.   

The founders frequented Philadelphia theaters during the Constitutional Convention. George Washington had his soldiers perform the play Cato at Valley Forge. So in “Republic For Which We Stand,” Washington has three “history plays” performed by convention delegates in Benjamin Franklin’s home while they await a quorum in the spring of 1787. Henry chose the three greatest English warrior kings—William the Conqueror, Edward III, and Henry V—because their unvarying imperial ambitions prove the institutional eagerness of the executive branch for war. Contemporary words or references come trippingly off the tongues of the players to show the continuity in the human condition. History—with all its volumes vast—has but one page.  

“Republic For Which We Stand” adroitly exploits the notoriety of the mega-hit “Hamilton,” the Broadway immigrant-makes-good hip-hop hero. Henry’s more realistic monarchy-leaning, over-zealous (almost on steroids) Hamilton declares: “Congressional government leads from behind.” Hamilton dismisses Madison’s claim that the president cannot be trusted with the decision to take the country to war. Like Hamilton himself, the presidency is “bellicose” and indeed (as he repeatedly brandishes his pistol) “kinetic.”  

Hamilton’s “chosen-people” hubris is linked to Henry’s riff on the wrong-headedness of our Old Testament foreign policy (“good guys” vs “bad guys”) explored in his 2016 play entitled “Arguing with God.” The bombastic Hamilton frequently bounds about the stage wearing or flaunting a shirt embroidered with a large “No. 1.” “You can’t be leader of the world without fighting wars,” Hamilton exhorts. “Better to fight too many wars than too few.” Madison’s response: “Our Constitution will stand or fall on resisting the temptation of war.”

Henry’s play is sometimes a courtly dance, other times a slew of medieval beheadings, plus one (off-stage) rape scene. But it always burns with a hard gemlike flame, throwing off beams of light as well as heat, cool as well as astringent, witty as well as wise—a buoyant bonfire of all human vanities, a fiery metaphor he himself ardently pursues at his sprawling Northern Virginia farm, Stone Hill, when he invites friends and neighbors each year to a costumed “spectacle”—heralded with drums and bagpipes the last weekend before Halloween.

All the actors in Henry’s plays are so-called “citizen-actors”—amateurs, not professionals. Committee for the Republic Board members Bruce Fein, a highly-respected constitutional lawyer and advocate of impeaching presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama for their unconstitutional presidential wars, and Bill Nitze, a Committee co-founder and environmental entrepreneur for clean energy technologies to combat climate change, play James Madison and George Mason respectively. Johns Hopkins University professor of medicine Hugh Hill plays Hamilton, booming like he is shot out of a cannon. As director, Rick Davis—Dean of George Mason’s College of Visual and Performing Arts and Professor of Theatre—has directed what Davis calls Henry’s “ambitious series of plays, a growing body of work belonging to an ancient and honorable tradition of theatre that addresses the largest questions we face.” Davis defines it as “drama of the people, by the people, and for the people,” linked to a distinctive constitutional foreign policy perspective “downstage center in a new way.” “Republic For Which We Stand” embraces a Renaissance tradition—wrapping history plays within a history play, in Davis’s words, to make “an urgently contemporary point.” Obama inherited three presidential wars from Bush and left nine presidential wars to Trump.

Davis explains his love for citizen theater: “Every time I engage with this extraordinary company of ‘citizen artists’ whose daily lives occupy a vast terrain professionally, politically, theologically, and philosophically, I feel a breath of the freshening air of ancient Athens, where Western drama took root. In Athens, drama and democracy came of age at the same moment and for the same ends. The form and style have changed, but the purpose remains: to help us, the people, think together about the institutions we have built and the assumptions on which they rest.”

The opening performance of “Republic For Which We Stand” was before a sold-out, 160-person audience at the Castleton Theatre House in Rappahannock County, Virginia, on May 28, 2017. The second performance of the play is September 22 at the Woman’s National Democratic Club (WNDC) in Washington DC. Other fall performances will be announced on Facebook. If you are interested in having the play come to your area, please contact

Among the two-dozen cast is the president of the venerable Woman’s National Democratic Club, Pakistani-American Nuchhi Currier, portraying Queen Isabella, the avaricious (for money and power) French-born bride of the weak English king, Edward II (portrayed by William Nitze, scion of the late Paul Nitze, former Secretary of the Navy and long-time hawkish defense intellectual.) Playing Washington is Bill Walton, a libertarian, private-equity fund manager who led the Trump administration’s transition team for the Treasury Department. In two roles—as Dolly Madison and Joan of Arc—is the effervescent songbird Patricia Bland Nicklin, former executive vice president of the National Park Foundation and onetime official in other philanthropic ventures including the Bush Points of Lights Foundation. Nicklin closes the show when she leads the cast in rousing choruses from the Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is your Land.” Eleven-year-old Maeve Ciuba virtually steals the show in a brief but stand-out role as the youthful version of Edward III, played in adulthood by a slyly punchy and highly hormonal Bob Randolph, a board member of the Committee for the Republic.

“My play celebrates the founders as the greatest generation in history,” Henry explains. “They believed the war power is the most important in the Constitution. They entrusted sole responsibility for war in Congress—the branch with no incentive to exercise it except in self-defense. The founders recognized that getting the war issue right is indispensable to keeping our Republic. They worried that getting it wrong would destroy the last best hope on earth.”

David J. Hoffman serves as the elected Vice President for Programs at the Woman’s National Democratic Club in Washington, DC.  

Article printed from The American Conservative:

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Editor's Note:  DCdigest's Donna Christenson is one of the "citizen actors" performing in this play.  



The Arabian Nights Preview Performances
This Thursday - Saturday Only!



Pay-What-You-Can Preview
Thursday, May 4 at 8:30 PM


Come to our first public performance and Pay-What-You-Can for a ticket! All tickets for this preview will be available for purchase at the door on a first come, first served basis starting 1 hour before curtain. Learn more about our PWYC system here



$15 Preview - SOLD OUT!!
Friday, May 5 at 8:30 PM


This preview performance is SOLD OUT! Patrons wishing to purchase a ticket may sign up for our wait list in person at our box office starting 1 hour before curtain. All tickets for this preview are $15 + a $2 processing fee with use of a credit card.



$25 Preview
Saturday, May 6 at 8:00 PM


Purchase tickets for this preview performance online in advance, or buy them at the door (as available). All tickets for this preview are $25 + a $3 processing fee with use of a credit card. Act now for the best seats!


What is a preview performance?
A preview performance is an opportunity for the cast and crew to fine-tune the show based on the response of a live audience. Sometimes there will be changes made prior to opening night, but it is a full performance with all theatrical elements in place. 



Drunk with Hope

Theater review & photo by Dan McKay

Spend an hour with Hope and 10 or more vastly different but similarly afflicted women and you will laugh, for sure, but also gain valuable insight into the addictive disease of alcoholism and the struggles that women, especially, face in their path to recovery.  

In “Drunk with Hope,” actress and playwright Tara Handron (photo at left) convincingly moves between characters of different backgrounds and circumstances.  Ultimately, although pain comes to each, sobriety doesn’t necessarily come naturally.  This one-woman tour de force reveals the complex issues that confront any woman trying to wrestle with the demon of alcoholism – whether from family pressure, the pain of law enforcement and jail terms, or self-enlightenment.

Various meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) are presented as characters introduce themselves with the traditional greeting, “Hi, I’m ________, and I’m an alcoholic.”  What follows from their mouths, as in actual meetings, can be quite unpredictable. 

Zoe, a nurse whose alcoholism spilled over to stealing her roommate’s prescription medications for a controlled substance while inebriated and led her to time in jail, is full of remorse as she can’t wait to get her nurse’s license back.

Another young (single) woman who can’t connect with the issues of kids and dogs that come up at the first AA meeting she’s encountered, wonders whether Nyquil and pot might be an acceptable substitute.

Olivia is frustrated and embarrassed in early sobriety when her husband finds her relapsing, so she goes to early morning meetings to keep him away from scorekeeping . . . then finds that days of sobriety add up to weeks, months and ultimately years.

A rather paranoid active drinker, who senses that those around her are talking about her, states her belief that, “Being afraid all the time builds character!”

AA clichés surface throughout from many of the characters but usually in a twist of context that is unexpected and sometimes hilarious.  The question, for example, “Are you willing to go to any length for your sobriety?” ends up in cheerleader fashion, spelling out W-I-L-L-I-N-G . . . and much more!

Life in sobriety, as anywhere, is not entirely fair.  Meeting up with a long-lost friend, one woman in early recovery proudly proclaims, “I’m sober now.”  Her friend, in response, announces, “I’m engaged!”

Playwright Handron, with a B.F.A. degree from NYU and a M.A. degree from Georgetown University, also studied acting and performing at the Second City Conservatory in Chicago as well as the Atlantic Theater Company and the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in New York.  On top of her drama and comedy credentials, she serves as vice president of the prominent Caron Treatment Centers. 


Handron first compiled material for this production in 2008, for her Master’sThesis at Georgetown University, and additional material has evolved over the years. For a video preview, see:


Whether you fit the profile of any character in this vibrant and illuminating production or know someone who struggles from the disease and/or recovery from it, “Drunk with Hope” is an hour well spent.


Where:  The Unified Scene Theater, a small venue just a year in existence at 80 T Street, N.W. 



Friday, April 28th, 8 p.m.

Friday, May 5th, 8 p.m.

Saturday, May 6th, 8 p.m.

Sunday, May 7th 7 p.m.


Tickets: $20, see


Guest Correspondent Dan McKay is a former Capitol Hill energy newsletter reporter and editor who first wrote theater and music reviews as an undergraduate student in the 20th century.


More Irish …and More Emotionally-satisfying …Than Green Beer!

Solas Nua Presents the American Premiere Production of


Review by Donna Christenson


Perfectly timed to run during the month of St. Patrick’s Day, Coolatully offers a richly-satisfying way to immerse in Irish culture … without the green beer or the hangover. If you haven’t yet discovered Solas Nua, you’ll be impressed by the quality of both the writing and the acting in their theatrical productions.  Solas Nua, which means ‘new light’ in Irish, describes itself as “the only organization in the United States dedicated exclusively to contemporary Irish arts”.  In addition to theater, they offer music, visual arts, film, and literary events including a book club. 

With immigration such a hot-button issue both here and abroad, Coolatully takes a thoughtful look at a wide range of factors …family, friendships, love, loss, work (or the lack of jobs) and risk …that either prompt people to stay where they are or motivate them to seek a change.  Escalated by economic recession, emigration from Ireland more than tripled during several recent years, but the well-defined characters in this fictional Irish village could be in any small town facing economic hardship.   

Coolatully's town hero when he was a champion on the hurling field, Killian (movingly played by actor David Mavricos, center in photo) now can only reminisce about his youthful glory. The village can't support a team, Kilian is on the dole, and everyone he knows seems to be leaving Ireland for jobs in Australia. What binds us to our roots, and what will we do …or not do …when life as we knew it eludes us?   

Strong performances also are given by an excellent ensemble cast of Kiernan McGowan as Paudie (photo left), Jenny Donovan as Eilish (photo right) and four-time Helen Hayes-nominated actor Brian Hemmingsen as Jimmy.  In their capable hands, we are taken into a poignant world created by award-winning Irish playwright Fiona Doyle, in her American premier.   

Performances run March 9 – 26
The Mead Theatre Lab/Flashpoint, 
916 G St N.W., Washington, D.C.  

For tickets, call 202-315-1317 or



ALEX VERNON in Constellation Theater's Peter and the Starcatcher


MARK JASTER at Olney Theatre Center in FICKLE





SARAH OLMSTED THOMAS and ALEX VERNON in Submersive Theater's
H.T. Darling's Incredible Musaeum presents the Treasures of New Galapagos
Astonishing Acquisitions from the Perisphere



Little Thing, Big Thing – by Donal O’Kelly

November 10 – 27, 2016

Solas Nua returns to Flashpoint/Mead Theatre Lab in Washington, DC this season to follow the success of their production of Wild Sky.

Sister Martha is carrying a film roll that has attracted the unwanted attention of some dangerous men. Larry is a low-level thief who has to pull off one last job before he can retire.The ensuing action thrusts Martha and Larry into a fight for their lives and their souls.  A darkly comic crime thriller from award winning playwright Donal O'Kelly, Little Thing, Big Thing makes its DC PREMIERE with this Solas Nua production.  Would you risk your life to save your soul?  The play showcases two actors playing seventeen different characters. Sasha Olinick and Nanna Ingvarsson (multiple Helen Hayes Awards and nominations) co-star under Solas Nua artistic director Rex Daugherty’s direction.

“Impressive . . . impeccable . . . a cloak-and-dagger comedy with a pure but unsentimental heart and a social conscience”  
-New York Times 

“O’Kelly finesses this deceptively breezy, carefully constructed story with his signature imagistic, action- oriented approach to language.”  -The Irish Times


Ticket Info

Performances are Thursday – Saturday at 8pm

Saturday and Sunday at 2pm

$35 General Admission

For Tickets visit

or call 202-315-1317


FREE CONCERT Sunday, November 6th, at 5:00 P.M.

Henrik Naimark Meyers, Violinist

Francis Conlon, Pianist

Violinist Henrik Naimark Meyers, on tour from Sweden, and pianist Francis Conlon will present a recital on Sunday, November 6th, at 5:00 P.M. at the Church of the Annunciation, 3810 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W. (one block west of Wisconsin Avenue), Washington, D.C. 20016. This is the first program in this season’s Catherine and Mary Roth Concert Series. There is plenty of free parking, and the church has an entrance ramp. There is no admission charge, but free-will offerings will be received. For further information, please call 202-441-7678.

The program includes:

Mozart – Sonata in G Major, K. 301

Stenhammar – Romance in F Minor, Op. 28, No. 2

Bloch – Baal Shem Suite

Ysaye – Ballade

Franck – Sonata in A Major

The Swedish-American violinist Henrik Naimark Meyers was born in Malmö, Sweden in 1989. His family soon moved to Washington D.C and he began taking violin lessons at the age of six after moving to Stockholm. He entered The Royal College of music in Stockholm in 2008 where he studied with professor Henryk Kowalski. Henrik received his Bachelor degree in 2011 and continued his violin studies in Salzburg with professor Igor Ozim at Universität Mozarteum. In 2013/2014 he had an exchange year at the ”Hanns Eisler” Hochschule für Musik, Berlin, where he studied in the class of professor Ulf Wallin. Henrik has been awarded many of Sweden´s most prestigious prizes and scholarships. In 2014 he won the ”Järnåker” foundation grant from the Royal Academy of Music and was elected candidate for the Swedish Soloist Prize. He has been featured as a soloist with the Stockholm Royal Academy Symphony Orchestra after winning their annual Soloist Competition and has since appeared as a soloist in various contexts.  He has participated in many international masterclasses and festivals such as the Salzburger Kammermusikfestival, the Trondheim International Chamber Music Festival Academy 2014, the "Musethica" festival in Tel Aviv 2015, and he is a member of the Swedish Chamber Soloists. He has a great interest in contemporary music and played in the spring of 2016 the world premiere of a piece by the Swedish composer Albert Schnelzer in the presence of the king and queen of Sweden. Henrik plays a Ludovico Guersan from 1755 lent to him from a private collection.


Happenstance Theater’s

MOXIE: A Happenstance Vaudeville

Presented by Round House Theatre 
Performances run June 24 – July 17, 2016

 Opening night is Monday, June 27, 2016

 Pay-What-You-Can performances: Saturday, June 25 at 2pm and Monday, June 27 at 8pm. 

MOXIE: A Happenstance Vaudeville is a theatrical collage inspired by the Great Age of Vaudeville, infused with the joys and struggles of its performers' lives. In homage to the style and spirit of this immensely popular theatre from the late 19th Century, Happenstance Theater brings old Vaudeville back. MOXIE is teeming with hijinks, live music, period costumes, nostalgic beauty and physical comedy.

Mark Jaster, Sabrina Mandell, Karen Hansen, Gwen Grastorf, Sarah Olmsted Thomas, and Alex Vernon.


Tickets are $20 (+ $6 fee) and $10 (+ $6 fee) for kids

May also be purchased by calling 240.644.1100 or in person at the box office.

Round House Theatre is located at 4545 East-West Highway, one block from Wisconsin Avenue and the Bethesda station on Metro’s Red Line. For directions, parking, and public transportation info, visit

Opening night is Monday, June 27, 2016.

• Pay-What-You-Can performances: Saturday, June 25 at 2pm and Monday, June 27 at 8pm. PWYC tickets go on sale in person at the box office one hour prior to curtain. Cash and exact change only. Limit of 2 tickets per order. PWYC tickets are subject to availability.

• Group Sales: Groups of 10 or more save $5 per ticket. These tickets must be reserved and purchased in advance by calling 240.644.1100 or emailing




Embassy Series’ concert and dinner at the Czech Embassy To Honor Bob Doubek

Thursday, June 9 at 7:30 pm

By Bill Outlaw, Guest Correspondent


          What do the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the American Friends of the Czech Republic, the memorial to Czechoslovak hero Tomáš Masaryk in Washington, D.C., and the rebuilding of a monument in Prague in honor of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson all have in common?  They all are historic, legacy-building projects led or substantially supported by Robert W. Doubek, an American originally from the Chicago area whose grandparents came to the U.S. from the kingdom of Bohemia (now part of the Czech Republic).  

          His leading role in developing these projects is the reason the Czech Republic and the Embassy Series are honoring Doubek at their June 9 concert at the Czech Embassy.   Details on DCdigest Calendar Of Events at  

          “We are pleased to dedicate this Embassy Series’ concert performance to the leadership role Bob Doubek has played, both in the United States for his role in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and on behalf of the Czech Republic,” said Jerome Barry, Embassy Series founder.                  

The Embassy Series’ concert at the Czech Embassy will feature the performance of international prize-winning pianist and Czech native, Veronika Böhmová. 

            "I am especially pleased that this concert is dedicated to Robert Doubek, a founder and past president of the American Friends of the Czech Republic (AFoCR), said Petr Gandalovič, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the U.S.  “ During his presidency of AFoCR, he was instrumental in mobilizing public support for the accession of the Czech Republic to NATO.  Moreover, he launched and directed a project to rebuild the Woodrow Wilson Monument in Prague.  We are further grateful for his support and role in the establishment and creation of the Thomas G.  Masaryk Memorial and the Václav Havel Place tribute at Georgetown University in Washington, DC." 

          Doubek’s dedication and determination led him to play leading roles in building historic tributes in both countries.  He co-founded the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund in 1979 and served as its executive director and project director until the completion of the Memorial (often called the “Wall”) in 1983.  It pays tribute to those who served and those who gave their lives fighting in the Vietnam War. 

          After graduating from the University of Illinois in 1966, Doubek served in Vietnam in 1969 as a U.S. Air Force intelligence officer.  After his service, he earned a law degree and was working for a law firm in Washington, D.C, in the late 1970s when he met Vietnam veteran Jan Scruggs, who conceived the idea of building the Vietnam Veterans Memorial as a way to recognized the service and sacrifice of all who served in Vietnam, especially to those who gave their lives.  This was at a time when Vietnam veterans had not received recognition and often had been disparaged for their service in the politically controversial war.  


“We perceived its purpose as recognizing the service and sacrifice of those who served in Vietnam, instead of continuing to use them as tools in arguments for and against the war.  A hoped-for byproduct would be that the memorial could help reconcile the country’s divisions over the war.  Ideally, both the war’s supporters and its opponents could agree that the veterans deserved recognition,” said Doubek.  
           Doubek last year published his memoir about the project, called “Creating the Vietnam Veterans Memorial: The Inside Story,” which describes the challenges faced in getting the Memorial built.   Despite strong opposition from some political circles and from some veterans, the Wall is now the most visited memorial in Washington and its design is considered brilliant. 

            Doubek’s next monumental project came about in tribute to his Czech origins.   He grew up in the Chicago suburbs of Berwyn and Riverside, where many people had Czech roots. His four Czech grandparents had immigrated in the ten years before World War I. 

 His experience in organizing and obtaining support for the Vietnam Memorial helped guide him in creating an organization called the American Friends of the Czech Republic (AFoCR), to support efforts of the Czech Republic to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). This came about a few years after the newly formed Czech Republic and other Central and Eastern European nations had broken free from the East Bloc, ruled by the Communist government in Russia. 

AFoCR has worked to strengthen ties between the U.S. and the Czech Republic in business, trade, culture, education, diplomacy, and security.   A main goal was to enhance understanding and friendship between the peoples of the two countries, while informing U.S. government leaders, media, and other opinion makers about the Czechs.   After its efforts on NATO, AFoCR’s next major project, in 2002, was to establish a monument to Tomáš G. Masaryk, the founding President of Czechoslovakia, on Embassy Row near DuPont circle in Washington, D.C.   

 Inspired by the gratitude and pride expressed by Czech visitors to the Masaryk Memorial, Doubek proposed that AFoCR rebuild the monument to Woodrow Wilson in Prague that had been destroyed by the Nazis in 1941.  The proposal was embraced by AFoCR’s leadership, the Czech Ambassador, and the Lord Mayor of Prague, and Doubek directed it to completion in 2011.  Noting that many Americans wonder about the connection between Wilson and the Czechs, Doubek explains: “Woodrow Wilson was the godfather of the independent Czechoslovak state in 1918, which fulfilled a centuries-old dream.” 

          Doubek is now with the U.S. State Department, where he buys and sells real property worldwide for diplomatic use. 

“With these projects I sought to provide lasting recognition to individuals who made significant sacrifices and contributions to their societies and the world.  I am gratified that for many Vietnam veterans the creation of their Memorial has imparted genuine healing,” concluded Doubek.


          Guest Correspondent Bill Outlaw is a Vietnam Veteran and former reporter who first wrote about the building of the Vietnam Memorial when it was built in the early 1980's.



Pay What You Can Theater Tickets


thru May 29
Theater J (WDCJCC, 16&Q Street, NW).

Pay-What-You-Can performance Mon, May 2 at 7:30pm. Tickets at the door 90min prior to show time; some sales in advance online.

This engrossing and provocative play tells the true story of the extraordinary friendship between playwright Dan O'Brien and war reporter Paul Watson, whose Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of a dead American soldier being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu reshaped the course of global events. In a journey spanning Rwanda to Afghanistan to the Canadian Arctic, and with powerful, theatrical language, O'Brien explores mental health, war, friendship and the ethical consequences of personal actions. Don't miss the winner of the 2014 Horton Foote Prize for Outstanding New American Play in its regional premiere.


April 21 thru May 22
Constellation Theatre (at Source, 1835 14th St, NW)

Pay-What-You-Can performance Thurs, April 21 at 8:30pm and $15 Previews on Fri, April 22 at 8:30pm and Sat, April 23 at 8pm. PWYC tickets are sold at the door at 7;30pm first come, first served basis, cash/check/credit card. You can buy tickets for $15 previews in advance online.

This ancient Chinese legend tells the story of a Buddhist monk who travels from China to India in search of sacred scriptures. A rambunctious monkey, an insatiable pig and a fierce river monster join Tripitaka, the monk, on his epic adventure. Imaginative spectacle, action sequences and live music intertwine to create a world that is part vaudeville, part mystical dreamscape. Playwright Mary Zimmerman's distinctive style has led to box office hits for Constellation in the past with The Arabian Nights & Metamorphoses.


April 21-May 15
Rorschach Theatre (at Atlas Performing Arts Ctr, 1333 H Street, NE)

Pay-What-You-Can performances Thurs, April 21 to Sat, April 23 at 8pm. Pay-What-You-Can tickets are available one hour before each performance.

When a young man is killed in a car accident, a group of fractured souls encounter a magical baby and begin to rewrite the stories of their lives. Folk tales and folklore weave throughout this darkly comic story of sad endings, strange beginnings and the unlikely people that get you from one place to the next.



Save $15 per/ticket with code "MUSIC"




"Black Pearl not only sings, but soars.  This is a play of discovery-of self, of personal power, of the importance of heritage-but it is also a vivid reminder that the things that connect us are often stronger than the things which divide us."   


"This powerful play with music resonates on a higher plane, spiritually and dramatically."             

- Dallas Observer

" arms and head for the real deal endearing examination of women and race."             

- Philadelphia Enquirer


"...conjures something akin to an exquisite agony, the sense of a trapped people finding ways to transform unfathomable pain into beauty."             

- Washington Post


"By the time 'Pearl' reached its climax in a heartrending duet, there wasn't a dry eye-mine included-in the house."             

- San Francisco Chronicle









(Washington, DC) Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company is pleased to announce its 2016-2017 season, beginning with a world premiere and continuing with hotly-anticipated new plays by award-winning playwrights. Woolly’s new season features the work of Jen Silverman, Guillermo Calderón, Clare Barron, Nilaja Sun, Taylor Mac, and The Second City. 


Jen Silverman’s Collective Rage: A Play in Five Boops is an absurdist romantic comedy about five women named Betty colliding at the intersection of anger, sex, and the representation of female identity. Kiss, by Guillermo Calderón, is a farcical soap opera that abruptly reveals itself to be a politically charged drama; the play is making its U.S. premiere at Woolly. Baby Screams Miracle, Obie Award winner Clare Barron’s gripping family drama about a religious household and an impending storm, comes to DC after a successful engagement at Clubbed Thumb (NYC). Nilaja Sun returns to Woolly for the first time since 2008’s No Child with her transformative, critically-acclaimed new solo piece Pike Street. Taylor Mac’s Hir, a bold new comedy deemed “audacious” and “uproarious” by the New York Times, rounds out the season. And as a special holiday treat, The Second City will bring some of Chicago’s most creative black comedians to fantasize about the racial future of America in the brand new provocative satire, Black Side of the Moon.


Woolly Mammoth’s 2016-2017 Season celebrates the courage, resilience, humor, and even eagerness of the collective human spirit in the face of terrifying, confusing, cataclysmic, and electrifying change,” says Woolly Mammoth Artistic Director Howard Shalwitz. “As the ground shifts beneath our feet and everything that we thought we knew about gender, culture, race, faith, and family is called into question, what do we do? Is the response to dig in our heels and hold fast or to embrace the chaos and collapse? Either way, the storm is coming, whether we want it to or not. Who knows what (and who) will emerge from the wreckage?”

THE 2016-2017 SEASON:


By Jen Silverman

Directed by Mike Donohue

September 14-October 9, 2016

Betty is rich. Betty is lonely. Betty’s a dutiful wife, but Betty’s busy working on her truck. Betty wants to talk about love, and Betty wants Betty, but Betty needs to hit something. And Betty keeps using a small hand mirror to stare into parts of herself she’s never examined. Meanwhile, Betty decides to stage a production of that play-within-a-play from…what’s it called? Summer’s Midnight Dream?

In Collective Rage, five different women named Betty collide at the intersection of anger, sex, and the “thea-tah.” Award-winning playwright Jen Silverman’s absurdist romantic comedy is at once hysterical, inspired, and boldly uncompromising. When you’re done laughing, you’ll be ready to deliver a knockout blow to a thousand different well-worn tropes about female identity… and dare them all to say “Boop.”



By Guillermo Calderón

Directed by Yury Urnov

October 10-November 6, 2016

A standing double-date quickly becomes a hilarious farce as four friends unburden their hearts and reveal their secret passions. But is anything really what it seems to be? An intense, furtive video chat with what might be an exiled author, living on the run while escaping persecution, slowly upends both their world and ours. Can we recover what’s been lost in translation?

This U.S. premiere by “Chile’s most acclaimed playwright-director of the last two decades” (LA Times) is a disquieting exploration of the limitations of art in grappling with the suffocating effects of an oppressive regime. Politically charged and emotionally urgent, it dares us to question whether we can truly understand other cultures… because just when we think we get Kiss, it gets us instead.



By Clare Barron

Directed by Howard Shalwitz

January 30-February 26, 2017

A small house is besieged by an apocalyptic storm. Great trees crack and splinter, garbage shatters windows, a deer impales the car windshield, and the wind hurls a trampoline into the living room. While their family home collapses all around them, a prodigal daughter and her zealous relatives try to pray their way to safety.

Obie Award-winner Clare Barron’s new play is “a genuinely fragile, complex piece of work” (Time Out New York): a Rorschach test for the faithful and the faithless alike. You’ve never seen anyone pray quite like this. You’ve never met a family like this. But if you enter the eye of the storm with them, you might find an imperfect, harrowing miracle.



By Nilaja Sun

Directed by Ron Russell

March 27-April 23, 2017

From the one-woman dynamo who brought the Obie Award-winning No Child to Woolly in 2008 comes a rich slice of Puerto Rican immigrant life that “glows with humor” (New York Times). If you’ve ever seen Nilaja Sun’s virtuosic performance style, you’ll want to experience it again… and if you haven’t, you must not miss the chance to be transported to Pike Street.

On the Lower East Side, a mother works hard to keep the electricity flowing for her daughter’s respirator while a hurricane looms nearby. As she prepares for disaster, a vibrant host of characters— a decorated war veteran, her ne’er-do-well father, her octogenarian downstairs neighbor—bring new meaning to the phrase “it takes a village.”



By Taylor Mac

Directed by Shana Cooper

May 22-June 18, 2017

Isaac, a veteran, returns to his childhood home and discovers that his family’s been transformed. His mother, freed from the constraints of her marriage, has begun a crusade to subvert the patriarchy, and his former sister has become a transgendered queer anarchist who uses the pronouns ze and hir. Meanwhile, his once-abusive father now wears clown makeup and downs estrogen pills… against his will.

Obie Award winner Taylor Mac’s “audacious, uproarious black comedy” (New York Times) flips the script on gender power dynamics and asks a key question: does destroying the past really free you from it? It’s a sly kitchen-sink drama covered in glitter, and you’ll laugh your way through to an answer.




Performances Begin Next Week!

Previews October 22-24

Pay-What-You-Can Preview: Thursday, October 22 at 8:30 PM
Want to see Avenue Q for only a few bucks? Come to our very first public performance and Pay-What-You-Can for a ticket!
For our Pay-What-You-Can Preview, the box office opens one hour prior to the scheduled curtain time. Patrons can purchase tickets at the door on a first come, first served basis. We encourage you to make a small donation in exchange for your ticket!


$15 Previews: Friday, October 23 at 8:30 PM & Saturday, October 24 at 8:00 PM

Tickets for our second and third preview performances of Avenue Q are only $15.
At this time, all advance sale tickets for the Friday and Saturday previews are sold out. Please check our website as tickets may become available at the last minute!


Can't make it to a preview performance? No problem!

Avenue Q will be performing through November 22,

Wednesday through Monday, 8 shows a week!

Visit our website for a full performance calendar. 






(Washington, DC) Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company announces its first production of Season 36, the world premiere of Women Laughing Alone with Salad by playwright Sheila Callaghan, directed by Kip Fagan. Women Laughing Alone with Salad will run from September 7 to October 4 as part of the inaugural Women’s Voices Theater Festival. 

What’s on the menu for Meredith, Tori, and Sandy: the three women in Guy’s life? Healthy lifestyles, upward mobility, meaningful sex? Or self-loathing and distorted priorities? Sheila Callaghan serves up a new play on a bed of bawdy language in a gender-bending comedy vinaigrette, inviting everyone—men and women, mothers and sons—to savor this complex recipe of desire and shame. 

This is the second world premiere by Sheila Callaghan to be launched at Woolly Mammoth: Fever/Dream, an adaptation of Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s Life is a Dream satirizing corporate America, appeared on Woolly’s stage in 2009. Callaghan’s previous play Crumble (Lay Me Down Justin Timberlake) appeared in DC in 2008, presented by Catalyst Theater Company.  In the TV world, Callaghan has garnered acclaim for her work as a writer and producer on the celebrated Showtime original series Shameless 

“I'm thrilled to welcome Sheila Callaghan back to Woolly to be part of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival,” says Woolly Mammoth Artistic Director Howard Shalwitz. “Women Laughing Alone with Salad is an outrageous work that stakes its own stylistic territory while raising provocative questions for both women and men.  By dealing forthrightly with advertising, body image, feminism, desire, and shame, the play is sure to stir many lively conversations that will stimulate audiences and energize the festival.”   

Women Laughing Alone with Salad is Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company’s contribution to the Women’s Voices Theater Festival, a citywide celebration of new work by female playwrights from more than 50 professional theaters throughout the Nation’s Capital region, taking place in D.C. for the first time this fall. 

More information about Woolly’s 36th Anniversary Season can be found at More information about the Women’s Voices Theater Festival can be found at 

Women Laughing Alone with Salad runs September 7, 2015 to October 4, 2015, with performances Wednesday-Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 3pm and 8pm (Saturday, September 12 at 8pm only), and Sunday at 2pm and 7pm (Sunday, September 13 at 7pm only). Monday, September 7 and Tuesday, September 8 will be Pay What You Can performances, which will begin at 8pm. 

Patrons who are 30-years-old and younger may, at any time, purchase Section B tickets for $20 to any performance. There are also discounts available for first responder men and women and active US military personnel, spouses, and veterans. More information is available at


Woolly Mammoth’s Connectivity Department will be hosting a series of companion events around the production of Women Laughing Alone with Salad to take place through October 4. All events are free and open to the public.

Stop Losing the Last 10 Pounds: Ending Bad Relationships with Food, Fitness and Your Body*

Wednesday, September 23rd
Rehearsal Hall

Why are we so focused on changing our bodies? And what can we do to get past the sense of malaise, fear, and sadness that surrounds our size and shape? In this interactive workshop with acclaimed wellness and recovery coach Kaila Prins, we’ll explore these questions and more!

Skip the Garnish: A Local Riff on “Salad”*

In Collaboration with Art in Praxis
Friday, September 25th
Rehearsal Hall

Are you tired of laughing alone with your salad? Poke fun at the popular meme with up-and-coming funny, fearless DC comediennes that are sure to leave you hungry for more. Warm up for the play with Emcee Shelly Bell and a fierce line-up including: Dana Fleitman, Elahe Izadi, Sarah Lawson, Curt Mariah, Chelsea Shorte, and Anu Yadav. Start your Friday off right with happy hour and original beats from 6pm until the show starts at 8:00pm!

Stretching Expectations: Supportive Yoga for Every Body*
Saturday, September 26th
Rehearsal Hall

Have you wanted to try yoga, but worry that it isn’t for you? Or perhaps you’d like to learn to better support your body in your yoga practice? Join Annie Carlin of Supportive Yoga for a workshop that challenges the idea that yoga is only for one type of body, and offers practical tools, modifications, and enhancements to help you explore all the amazing possibilities for your practice.  All levels and all bodies welcome. Please wear movement friendly clothing and bring your own yoga mat (if possible). 

Media as Mirror: Reflections on Representation
Friday, Oct. 2nd, following the 8pm performance. 
In the Theatre.

What are the visual tropes of women in the media, advertising, and stock photography, where do these clichés come from, and how do we move beyond them? Interrogate perception vs. reality with award-winning feminist writer, media critic and activist Soraya Chemaly and a panel of prominent journalists, ad execs, and media-makers.

Locally (Re)sourced: Community Organizations for DC Women and Allies
In Collaboration with the Mayor’s Office of Victim Services
Saturday, October 3rd
In the Lobby

In observance of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Woolly will host a pop-up resource fair showcasing local orgs seeking to empower women, combat gender violence, and establish gender equity. Participants include service providers, grassroots activist organizations, gender and social policy institutions, including Men Can Stop Rape, The Women’s Center, Right Rides/Collective Action for Safe Spaces and many more! 

Women’s Voices Theater Festival Special Event: The Glass Curtain*
Sunday, October 4th
In the Theatre

Women Laughing Alone with Salad playwright Sheila Callaghan, and other notable members of the national theatre community, join us for a special conversation about gender parity in the American theatre and supporting the work of women theater makers. 



Guilford Station Arts Club 

Music, Antiques and Lebanese Cuisine Lure Us Out Beyond the Beltway!

editor & photo credit - Donna Christenson


Some of my finest dining experiences have been in the Washington, DC area …not just downtown but in places like Bethesda, Alexandria or Potomac.  I also love traveling and the opportunity to
try more exotic local cuisines …trips to France, Italy, and Brazil top my list of "great food" experiences.  For unusual food, it seems my mind drifts to places that require a plane trip …good things often begin at Dulles Airport.

Dulles is in Loudoun County, the home of Leesburg and Purcellville …interesting places perhaps, but a bit far away. For many of us city-dwellers, the obstacle is traffic-congested roads.  The idea of venturing way, way out beyond the Beltway fills many with "Traffic Anxiety Syndrome".

But it turns out you can find a truly authentic Lebanese meal in a quaint, rustic setting in less driving time than it takes to find a parking place in Georgetown …in Sterling, VA, near the afore-mentioned  Dulles Airport.  Combine excellent food with classical music performed live in an intimate setting, all at a bargain price of only $15, and you have a great reason to explore or re-discover the suburbs. 

I’ve had the food fortune to attend musical “salons” at Jackie Anderson's home in Mclean for many years, and the tradition certainly pre-dates me. I always admire the precision, comfort and grace Jackie gives these events, seemingly effortlessly. Anybody who visits Jackie's house is immediately impressed by her collection of beautiful and practical antiques, lovingly curated over decades. 
When she recently retired from her National Symphony Orchestra-violinist career, Jackie knew she wanted to do something special to stay involved in the wonderful world of music she loved, and to blend that with her passion for antiques.   

Jackie (in photo at left with her husband, Bill Ewing) is now focusing her interest and experience into an “Arts Club” – a place to meet other artists, discuss ideas, collaborate, practice, teach and learn – all with Turkish coffee (and eventually wine, too, if things work out.)  The Guilford Station Arts Club provides a wonderful performance space for musicians and offers audience members a rare opportunity to hear marvelous music in a charming, intimate setting.  Imagine delightful musical evenings reminiscent of a bygone era, before live music performed in private homes was replaced by electronic reproductions.    

This all takes place in an elegant 1860’s-era farmhouse that truly transports you to a new and wonderful Early American world – complete with Jackie’s golden touch. The Guilford Station Arts Club is just North of Dulles, in old Sterling (called Guilford when the railroad first came through.)   Jackie has always liked the idea of opening an antiques shop but a place filled with relics could potentially be stodgy.  That fate has been precluded with the emphasis on music and the arts, and by, quite literally, spicing things up …with aromatic Lebanese cuisine. 

Mona’s Café is a delightful feature of the Guilford Station Arts Club.  Mona Abul-Hosn has been cooking for Jackie for well over a decade and wanted to move beyond her home-based catering business. They already knew they had the right chemistry …when the two of them get together, the laughter is contagious.  Mona is as productive as she is authentic, laughing engagingly as she bustles in the kitchen, whipping up a batch of baba ghanoush, kibbeh and stuffed grape leaves quicker than most of us can slice a melon.  Mona (center) shows off a platter of falafel, Samaha (left) holds spinach pies, and Mariella has meat pies. 

At a woodwind quintet salon performance there a few weeks ago, I sampled a wide array of Mona's delicacies – lamb with rice, falafel, hummus. The package deal including the musical performance was incredible at $15, and Mona's everyday, prices are better than reasonable, too.   

So if you have an EasyPass (worth getting to avoid long lines in the cash toll lanes …or you might prefer just to take Route 7) it’s a terrific excuse to take a drive to what was, until recently, considered “out in the country”.  I highly recommend planning a trip to Mona's Lebanese Café and the Guilford Station Arts Club. You can check them out at and, (both ready for you to “like” on Facebook.) 

The next salon performance at the Guilford Station Arts Club is Sunday, July 12 at 4:00 p.m., followed by a light buffet of Mona's delectable Lebanese cuisine.  Guests are encouraged to bring a bottle of wine or their favorite beverage. Reservations are required!  

Details on our Calendar of Events page or at  See you there!

Editor's Note:  We have taken the unprecedented step of posting this on several different pages on www.DCdigest because it is just too good to miss!  Tell your friends!


 Nationally Renowned Jazz Artist Marcus Johnson to Host A Series of

New Album Release Performances at Blues Alley July 16-19, 2015

editor & photo credit - Donna Christenson

Nationally renowned jazz musician, producer and entrepreneur Marcus Johnson will debut his latest album titled Marcus Johnson Live & Direct Featuring The Urban Jam Band with a series of performances at Blues Alley, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in July. Two shows will be performed each evening on July 16-19, the first at 8 PM with an encore performance at 10 PM.  Tickets are priced at $27.50 per person plus a $5 processing fee, available at the Blues Alley box office between 12 PM and 8 PM daily, online at, or by calling (202) 337-4141.  There is a $12 food or beverage minimum per person per show; seating is available on a first come first serve basis.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Marcus Johnson’s first CD release.  Over the past two decades he has gained critical acclaim across the board from peers, media and the music industry.  Johnson is the owner of FLO Brands, LLC and a Washington native, as well being an internationally renowned, Billboard Top 10, NAACP Image Award-nominated jazz musician and entrepreneur.  He has performed at clubs throughout the United States and has been a featured performer at many jazz festivals, including his hometown Capital Jazz Festival, the Bermuda Jazz Festival, Atlantic Artscape, the Latin Meets Jazz Festival and the Huntington Beach Jazz Festival.  Over the last decade, the self-starting Johnson has released 15 studio albums, all of which have been met with critical and commercial success. Johnson created FLO Brands, a lifestyle company that aspires to enhance lives through small pleasures, such as music and wine (three varietals in photo at left).  For more information about Marcus Johnson please visit

Blues Alley is located in the heart of historic Georgetown at 1073 Wisconsin Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20007; less than a mile from the Foggy Bottom-GWU metro station, accessible on the orange, blue and silver lines.  For additional information please call (202) 337- 4141 or visit


Star Line-Up of Local Favorites to Join showTunes & Cocktails
theatreWashington’s Monthly Sing-Along Event Celebrates the Best of Broadway

As spring turns to summer, some of the area’s most popular – and hard-working – musical theatre celebrities join the sing-along crowd at the Beacon Bar and Grill for theatreWashington’s showTunes & Cocktails. May 11 sees special guest Pamela Bierly Jusino – currently in Kafka’s Metamorphosis at the Alliance for New Music-Theatre – partner with Maestro Glenn Pearson to share her favorite standards and encourage the piano-bar attitude that makes these gatherings a must-do for music theatre lovers. On June 8, guest Evan Casey takes a break from rehearsing the title role in Adventure Stage MTC's production of Garfield, the Musical with Catitude; and on July 13, Stephen Schmidt shares a precious Monday night off from performing in The Producers at the Olney Theatre Center. Each event, from 7 – 10 p.m., features happy hour prices, signature cocktails, and a chance to win free tickets to the Washington area’s top shows.
Pearson – equal parts raconteur and master pianist – is a renowned orchestra leader and a mainstay of Washington’s social scene. Working with his co-host theatreWashington Vice President Brad Watkins, he inspires the best – and beltiest – from a growing crowd of showTunes regulars and newbies.
Just one element in theatreWashington’s year-round efforts in audience-building and theatre advocacy, showTunes & Cocktails is funded through the Beacon Bar & Grill’s generous donation of 10% on all purchases, and a Pay What You Can admission policy. Scheduled on Monday nights when theatre professionals are free to mix and mingle with their theatre-loving public, future showTunes & Cocktails events are slated for August 10, September 14, October 5, November 9, and December 14, with guest artists to be announced. For further information, visit


"Laugh" a Little,  but Not Much More

   Theater review by Barbara Twigg


Hopes rise for a play entitled, "Laugh," which aims to capture the zany spirit of silent films in old Hollywood.  Crimes of the Heart author and Pulitzer Prize-winner Beth Henley wrote it  as a self-described vacation from intense theatrical topics.   Among such achievements are The Miss Firecracker Contest (both play and screenplay), The Wake of Jamey Foster, The Debutante Ball, The Lucky Spot, and Abundance. Her most recent plays are Signature, Control Freaks, L-Play, Impossible Marriage (with Holly Hunter in the lead), and The Jacksonian, directed by Robert Falls at the Geffen in Los Angeles and The New Group in New York. In addition to the screenplays of Crimes of the Heart and The Miss Firecracker Contest, Henley has written several television and movie screenplays, including “Survival Guides” with Budge Threlkeld for PBS, the films Nobody’s Fool and True Stories (the last is collaboration with Steven Trobolowsky and David Byrne of the rock group Talking Heads).

"Laugh" takes its plot line directly from that silent era, with gold mines, dastardly characters, thwarted love, and dreams of making it on the silver screen.  Cheerfully directed with a fair amount of sight gags and physical comedy, the play recreates that melodramatic movie-making with a talented cast, and captures the feel of old theaters with wonderful live piano and narration provided on stage by Tony Award nominee, composer Wayne Barker.  That was a treat!  However, though blessed with fine music, staging, and acting, the play itself does not transcend the plot and character types of its cinematic ancestors.  It is silly, and aims to be, but not enough of a modern twist on silly to make it very interesting.   But maybe I'm just a humbug??...

SYNOPSIS:  The West. The 1920s. Mabel’s had a hard few weeks. A dynamite accident at a gold mine has left her wealthy but orphaned, and she’s shipped off to a calculating aunt whose nephew is charged with seducing her to control Mabel’s fortune. This hapless courtship reveals a shared love of silent movies and a plan for greater things. A story of mishaps and moxie, the romance of Hollywood and ultimately a Hollywood-caliber romance. A world-premiere slapstick comedy from the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of Crimes of the Heart. 

"Laugh" by Beth Henley.  Though April 19 at Studio Theatre, 1501 14th St. NW DC.  Box Office 202-332-3300 or visit



Theater review by Barbara Twigg

If you can picture two suburban couples from Houston's oil industry seriously considering trading their metropolitan lives for permanent residence in a North Carolina campground, you might really like "Cherokee," the new American play by award-winning playwright, Lisa d'Amour at Woolly Mammoth.  I quite enjoyed the first act, as John and Janine, Mike and Traci launch their wooded vacation.  There is much humor, very entertaining video effects, and a cast of beguiling characters.  However, after the mysterious disappearance of the creature-phobic Mike, played with great verve by Thomas W. Jones II, the rapid shake-up in relationships strained my credulity.  Not that the play is meant to be taken so literally... But, since it does probe serious questions of life and love and marriage in its own quirky way, the plot situations seemed too far fetched to support them.  That said, the production is very well done, and much of the audience seemed genuinely enthusiastic.  But for me, it ultimately seemed silly, rather than soul-searching.  Maybe "Cherokee" is essentially a comedy, but it seemed to reach for more, yet fall a bit short.

It is worth noting that the multi-talented actor in this production, twelve-time Helen Hayes award winner Thomas W. Jones II, also wrote, directed, and choreographed the excellent musical Bessie's Blues, running now through March 15th at MetroStage in Alexandria.  Read the review below for more details.


Through March 8 at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company

641 D Street, NW, Washington, DC  20004

Box Office: 202--393-3939


Need some hot music to warm up a cold winter night?  Try 

Bessie's Blues, running through March 15th at MetroStage in Alexandria.

Theater review by Barbara Twigg 

Written, directed, and choreographed by twelve-time Helen Hayes award winner Thomas W. Jones II, this musical review explores the life, career and trials of famed blues singer, Bessie Smith, portrayed by the outstanding Bernardine Mitchell, reprising a role she has made her own.  I expected that level of excellence from her, but what surprised me were the contributions of the other seven cast members, four men and three women, who provided a rich and energetic evening of music and dance. Backed up by a terrific live band led by music director William Knowles, with some sweet saxophone, Bessie's Blues moves from heartbreaking ballad to roof-raising stomp.   Though the narrative story was a little confusing at times,  the performers were always a joy to watch and hear.

And don't let the fear of Old Town Alexandria parking challenges keep you away.  MetroStage is located on the less congested northern edge of Old Town, with its own free parking lot, as well as plenty of street parking. .More details on the DCdigest Calendar of Events at



                                    Studio Theatre's 'Bad Jews'
                                                                         Two Theater Reviews

Barbara Twigg writes:  What should one expect from a play with such a politically incorrect, and daring title like "Bad Jews"?  If you answered, "a wild comedy built around serious themes that can alternately offend, pillory, and delight both Jew and Gentile" you'd be in the right ethnic ballpark.  It has squabbling, fierce and impressive monologues, on purpose horrendous singing, and enough funny lines to make even the the sleepiest audience member laugh out loud.  It takes a lot to get me over that laughter threshold, and I quite enjoyed such an invigorating theatrical experience.  Yet behind the dueling cousins gathered for their grandfather's funeral lurk the powerful and poignant emotions that characterize the complexity of family relations.  The cast of four is terrific,and the 90 minute, no intermission show moves at breakneck speed.  Written by Julliard grad  Joshua Harmon, Bad Jews is nominated for a Helen Hayes award for outstanding play--right along with Master Shakespeare at the Folger!

And a funny p.s. for me:  the Gentile actress is portrayed as being from Delaware (like myself),  and potentially marrying a Jew (as I did) and having a half Jewish child (as I did), who grew up to marry an Asian (as mine did).  The next generation was projected to potentially marry a black Puerto Rican, effectively watering down the Jewish culture into extinction.... May I live to see the unfolding of that generational chapter!

Rozanne Weissman writes:  
Millennials Liam & Daphna argue in-your-face at Studio Theatre's 'Bad Jews'– reminding me somewhat of the bitter battles between Richard Burton (George) and Elizabeth Taylor (Martha) going at it with take-no-prisoners insults in the film 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' Except that the actors played a married couple & Liam & Daphna are cousins who argue ironically over who is more worthy of their dead grandfather Poppy's 'chai' (Hebrew for 'life') necklace. There's a wonderful story & legacy behind grandfather's gold necklace which made it through a holocaust death camp despite the Nazis' capture of all prisoners' gold & valuables.

"The best comedy of the season!"   --The New York Times
A savage comedy about family, faith, and identity politics, now extended through February 15 at Studio Theater. or Box Office at 202.332.3300


PayWhatYouCan performances - Bargain Tickets for Two New Productions at Two Different Theaters

ABSOLUTELY {perhaps} - Constellation Theatre Company (Source Theatre, 14th & T Street NW)

PayWhatYouCan performances, Oct 9 & 10 at 8:30pm, Oct 11 at 8pm. Tickets are sold at the theatre the evening of the show 1 hour prior to showtime. OR purchase in advance advance online for just $15.

By Luigi Pirandello. A wildfire of gossip and speculation breaks out when Signor Ponza and his wife move to town and shockingly take up residence in a separate house from his mother-in-law. With no regard for privacy, the community of this Italian village decides they absolutely must get the inside scoop. What these snoops discover sends them spinning - tales of love-induced trips to the madhouse, secret letters delivered by a bucket on a rope and pulley, and a case of mistaken identity that has been maintained for years.
Constellation Theatre Company

FETCH MAN, MAKE CLAY - Round House Theatre (4545 East-West Highway, Bethesda, MD)
PayWhatYouCan performance, Sat, Oct 11 at 3pm and Wed, Oct 15 at 7:30pm.. PWYC tickets go on sale in person at Box Office 1 hour prior to curtain. The patron decides the admission price. Cash/exact change only, limit of 2 tickets per person.

In the days before one of the most anticipated fights in boxing history, heavyweight champ Muhammad Ali forms an unlikely friendship with controversial Hollywood star Stepin Fetchit. This true story explores the improbable bond that forms between these drastically different, influential cultural icons - one a vibrant and audacious youth, the other a resentful, almost forgotten relic - as they fight to shape their legacies amidst the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.
Round House Theatre


Carrie: the Musical

Theater review by Cary Pollak and Donna Christenson


Studio Theater’s 2ndStage has taken on a significant challenge by putting on a musical version of Carrie: the Musical, Stephen King’s 1974 best-selling thriller that was turned into Brian de Palma’s blockbuster 1976 movie.  The movie's success was due in part to spectacular special effects that could not possibly be duplicated on stage.  But Carrie's story is a fascinating one that has the potential to captivate a theater audience, especially with the addition of good singing and dancing.  Studio 2ndStage is pulling it off and the play is well worth seeing.  Spoiler alert: most of you likely know this story from reading the book or seeing the movie.  This review gives away some surprises, but we think you will find the play entertaining even if you know what is coming.


Despite the overwhelming success of the book and film versions, the original Broadway production of Carrie: the Musical may have been the biggest flop in that era’s theatrical history.  The 1988 show ran for only five performances and resulted in a financial loss of perhaps eight million dollars.  It was a very bold move even to consider another attempt at a similar production, much less to turn this somber tale into a musical.  That composer Michael Gore and lyricist Dean Pitchford (with book by Lawrence D. Cohen) were able to do so with such great success is a tribute to their many talents.  Director Keith Alan Baker combined exuberant choreography by Michael J. Bobbitt and minimalist set design from Luciana Stecconi to showcase the action and voices of this energetic young cast. 


More than forty years after its publication, the themes in Carrie: the Musical seem even more relevant today.  The timeless issue of bullying is more prominent now in the aftermath of a series of horrific school shootings, some of which involved shooters with childhood histories of neglect, abuse or bullying.  Though Carrie did not use a gun and her weapon was to say the least, unique, what is familiar is the devastating psychological impact caused by the endless tormenting inflicted upon Carrie by her classmates.   Sensitively embodied by local actress Emily Zickler, the evolution of Carrie’s distress is made palpable.


Storyline aside, Carrie: the Musical is after all, a musical, so now for the music.  While you may not leave the theater humming any of the tunes, you will have enjoyed a wide range of satisfyingly-delivered musical genres.  The operatic range and powerful style of Emmy-award-winning Barbara Walch (standing behind Carrie in photo below) as Carrie’s domineering, religious-extremist mother was worth a trip to the theater, even if she had been the only musical star.  Fortunately, all of the principal cast members deliver not only with vocal talent but also emotion-packed performances, ranging from playful excitement getting ready for the prom to lush ballads to soft, poignant reflections on the overwhelming pain and heartache that looms so large in teenage experiences.  The intimate setting of Studio Theater’s Stage 4 is a great choice to increase the effect, with audience members literally just a few feet …or at times inches …away from the action.

As you may know, the main character is Carrie White, a naïve girl so sheltered that she feared she was dying when she began menstruation during gym class at school.  The play, unlike the movie, is done as a flashback.  This 
 puts significant demands on the actress playing Sue Snell, who tried to befriend Carrie.  She has to make several instantaneous switches from a person under oppressive, stressful interrogation then back to being an unsuspecting high school student.  A good example is the scene where her boyfriend Tommy (played well by Robert Mueller in an appropriate "fun guy but good guy" fashion) takes her to an imaginary prom the night before the real one.  She is as gleeful as could be, and then needs to switch her demeanor immediately as the scene jump-cuts to the interrogation.  Actress Maria Rizzo does a great job in handling those transitions.


Carrie: the Musical’s interrogation and flashback format lets the audience know from the beginning that something horrible has happened …an interesting twist with dramatic effect.  The movie version told the story very well in the present tense, and at the end the student survivor was at home getting sympathy, and understandably looked to be suffering from major PTSD.  The musical version offered no explanation for why she is being treated like a criminal with blinding lights beamed at her face and disembodied voices repeating the same questions she already has answered.  The voices explain only that they are seeking "the truth."  There may be reason to be skeptical of the poor girl's story about the supernatural cause of the prom disaster, but it does not explain the harsh treatment.  From a theatrical rather than logical point of view, however, this device certainly does add dramatic tension.


It would be an understatement to say that the prom, which the students correctly predicted to be a night they would never forget, does not go well.  The blood pouring scene is done differently from the one in the movie, but still is quite effective.  There is enough of it spattering in all directions that we assume that daily costume laundering needs to be a line item in the play's budget!  Studio 2ndStage did not simply order a large quantity of "stage blood."  They painstakingly created their own corn syrup-based concoction, with just the right consistency to adhere for dramatic effect and yet be easily washable …well-suited to this production.  


There are a number of other theatrical effects, some of which are fun and a bit magical.  For those who do not know the story, however, it is difficult to tell that there was a fire at the prom.  Smoke was a good clue, but a projection of flames on the back walls would have been much better.  Studio 2ndStage has the set up to do that powerfully and effectively, given that they were projecting silhouettes and images of Carrie and others on those walls throughout the play.

Overall, Carrie: the Musical is a very well done and entertaining production.  Do go to see it …we predict that Carrie and her telekinetic powers will "move" you!

 Carrie: the Musical is at Studio Theater, 1501 14th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. now through August 3. 2014.



Theater review by Barbara Twigg and Donna Christenson


"Grounded," by American playwright George Brant, provides 65 minutes of uninterrupted theatrical intensity for our time.  This one woman show, engaging Washington, DC audiences after sold out runs in Britain, stars Lucy Ellinson, who hides her English accent very successfully, looking and sounding completely at home in her U.S. Air Force flight suit. This play presents the ultimate extreme in working-mother conflicts: how does a drone pilot in a Nevada windowless trailer find the balance between a numbing twelve hour shift of targeting "military-age males" for destruction in Afghanistan, and returning home nightly to husband and baby daughter.  In an unfortunate dichotomy, absent the camaraderie of in-person soldiering with its ability to decompress together from horrific situations, supportive intimacy decreases at the same time that remote warfare also gives you a jarringly intimate view of the destruction you wreak.  Needless to say, this struggle exacts a costly emotional price. 


Though the play's title, "Grounded," originates from our heroine's pregnancy demotion from flying her beloved fighter jet, to being a desk-bound drone pilot in the dreaded "Chair Force," it also suggests her struggle to feel  grounded by her life as mother and wife.  Can those roles secure her strength and sanity, which are assaulted daily by the dehumanizing work that is modern warfare, visited upon the enemy from afar?


It is an interesting twist to create a female fighter pilot to illuminate the impact of wartime experience on one’s humanity and psyche, perhaps offering even greater contrast between our idealized image of “normal” family life and the realities of post-traumatic stress reactions.  Reminiscent of the theme of Ernest Hemingway’s brilliant short story “A Way You’ll Never Be”, we must recognize that it is impossible for anyone who hasn’t actually experienced it to truly understand the full, life-changing impact of war experience, though this taut performance allows us an intense glimpse into that world. 


Symbolically performed in a barren gauze cube, the production provides a powerful representation of alienation mixed with duty, of a range of powerful emotions struggling to break free or to stay contained.  Lucy Ellinson is terrific, and the play becomes an engaging, thought-provoking metaphor for a decade that is droning on in a harrowing new way.  "Fisher Price is not yet making drones," says our pilot mother, "but that can't be more than five years away."


Now extended through July Studio Theater


Freud’s Last Session - Extended Through July 6

Theater review by Donna Christenson


Rick Foucheux as Dr. Sigmund Freud and Todd Scofield as C.S. Lewis  [
photo credit: Stan Barouh ]

Theater J has done it again …selected a challenging, thought-provoking play and mounted another brilliant production.  Freud’s Last Session, an acclaimed long-running Off-Broadway hit, posits a fascinating dialogue between two brilliant minds …the ground-breaking psychoanalyst Dr. Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis, Mediaeval and Renaissance scholar and author of popular books such as The Chronicles of Narnia.  As if an exchange of diverse views between these two intellects on subjects like love, sex, the meaning of life and the existence of God were not enough, these topics are heightened by the fact that the conversation takes place on the very day England enters World War II.


Despite the tensions of the situation and heady subject matter, there is much humor in the play right from the start.   Mark St. Germain’s writing sets a light-hearted tone, and the evening proceeds with a very high energy level.  This regional premiere features the talents of well-known and highly-regarded actors Rick Foucheux and Todd Scofield, each demonstrating a broad spectrum from wit and sarcasm to somber realism, each facing fears of war and death (Freud is ravaged by oral cancer) in different ways.  The set design captures the appropriate ambiance of Freud’s study, complete with a vintage radio lending an air of authenticity broadcasting Churchill’s famous words announcing the beginning of the war. 


Freud’s Last Session runs May 14 - July 6, 2014 at Theater J, located in the Washington DC Jewish Community Center at 1529 16th Street NW, Washington DC 20036.  Call the box office at (800) 494-TIXS (8497) or buy tickets online where you also will find a variety of ticket discount opportunities.  


Theater review by Donna Christenson

SYNOPSIS:  John breaks up with his long-term boyfriend. Two weeks later, he’s grateful to be accepted back —and haunted by a passionate and unshakable encounter with a woman. In a world with so many ways to be happy, how do you know the right thing when you have it? Cock detonates the love triangle in this investigation of attraction, ambivalence, and commitment from Britain’s most provocative young playwright.

"An equivalently brilliant and blackly hilarious feat of provocation."  

--The Independent

"A feisty, hypnotic and oddly energizing exercise in emotional carnage."  

--The New York Times

John, appealingly played by Ben Cole, is a charming guy.  In fact, he looks and sounds and has the charming mannerisms of a young Hugh Grant.  His boyfriend is crazy about him ...and you will be, too it is not really a surprise when a woman he meets falls for him, too.  The fact that he is a gay man does make his response to her surprising, most especially to John himself.  His symbolically-named lovers are M and F, the male played by Scott Parkinson and the female by Liesel Yeager, and the intriguing style through which these characters play out their overlapping relationships makes for a high-voltage evening of revelations and discoveries.  Who do we love ...and why do we love them?  How much of who we are is inherent and what is shaped by how we see ourselves and who we become reflecting perceptions of others?    

After-Show Discussions with the Cast of Cock 

May 25, 2014, after the 2pm matinee
June 7, 2014, after the 2pm matinee

Cock PostScript
June 22, 2014, after the 2pm matinee
PostScript is a series of candid and invigorating conversations about our Season Subscription plays, like a book club for plays.

Now extended through June 29.

Call Studio Theater’s Box Office at 202.332.3300 or get tickets/details at




$15 (CODE: TALKBACK) CALL 703-548-9044




Brief Encounter: British Theatre at its Zany Best

Theater review by Barbara Twigg


The British Kneehigh Theatre company has stormed into Shakespeare's Lansburgh Theatre with a dazzling production of Brief Encounter, based on the 1945 movie and an earlier Noel Coward play, and directed by Emma Rice.  The story follows a

chance meeting in a train station cafe of two already married people and their unfolding love affair as they decide to meet there on subsequent Thursdays. 

I remember seeing the film on TV, a very poignant and touching portrayal of a man and woman struggling between their attraction to each other, and their devotion to current spouses and families.  I don't recall it being particularly funny, if funny at all.

But how to describe this imaginative confection? What inspired Brit decided that the film's serious side could be kept intact, while decorated with zany, laugh-out loud humor, great music, and farce from the supporting characters?  And this multi-media production is unlike anything I've seen.  Can you picture an actor stepping through a slit in the background movie screen showing a departing train and then waving goodbye as part of the film?  Or the woman's children as life-sized marionettes?

Somehow, it all works as a gloriously delightful evening of theatre.  It's a madcap combination of love, sadness, laughter, and sight gags, all rolled into an inspired theatrical gem. 

A two week run, closing April 13.  See it! 



Theater Review by Donna Christenson


When the audience rose to their feet to give a standing ovation at the end of the performance of TRIBES, it felt like an inevitable response to one of the most thought-provoking evenings of theater in recent memory.  On the surface, TRIBES is the story of a family including a deaf son who falls in love with a young woman who is going deaf, and the wide range of communication issues all that entails.  The choice of lip-reading and speaking versus signing, an ongoing controversy in the deaf community, is vividly brought to life as the characters illustrate the pros and cons of each choice.


But on a much broader scale, the issue becomes how we all communicate with one another …what do we reveal, what do we hide or obscure, what do we miss or misunderstand …and how do we find a way to really “hear” each other.  This play will, of course, resonate with anyone connected to the deaf world, but it is equally powerful and important for all of us who ostensibly can hear. 


Playwright Nina Raine successfully captures the flavor and nuance of family dynamics, the subtle spoken and unspoken messages between people who have been together a long time.  And the actors, including James Caverly who is deaf, are uniformly excellent, leading us through an intense array of intellectual explorations and cascading emotions that will stay with you long after the play has ended.


Update:  TRIBES has been extended again and now runs through March 16, 2014.  Details below.  Don’t miss it!

Studio Theatre is thrilled to announce the final two-week extension of Nina Raine’s dramatic comedy Tribes.  With a 10-week run, Tribes will be one of the longest extended shows in Studio’s history.  The critically acclaimed production has been praised as “one of the best shows Washington will see in 2014” (Washingtonian), and “wonderfully expressive” (City Paper) with “consistently honest, real, and unflinching performances”(BroadwayWorld).

On February 23, after the 2pm matinee, Studio offers PostScript, a series of candid and invigorating conversations, like a book club for plays. Concessions available. 

On February 23, after the 7pm performance, join members of Gallaudet University's Linguistics and ASL & Deaf Studies faculty as they discuss Tribes, Deaf Culture and Linguistics.   

Tribes Sign Interpreted Performances. two additional sign interpreted performances of Tribes on February 28 and March 1. 
Check website or Box Office for additional events and interpreted performances.



“It's the best-written, best-plotted, deepest, most daring – and funniest – new play in recent years.” —Wall Street Journal


by Nina Raine

directed by David Muse

January 8 – March 2, 2014


Studio Theatre’s 2013-14 season continues with Nina Raine’s Tribes. The moving and surprising play is the second offering in the Theatre’s year-long New British Invasion Festival. “Tribes is a play I’ve wanted to direct since my first read,” says Artistic Director David Muse. “It’s a funny, astute exploration of in-groups and out-groups, focusing on the experience of a deaf son in a hearing family. With Gallaudet—the preeminent deaf university in the world—in DC, it’s a natural fit for this city and community.”



Tribes follows Billy, who was born deaf into a garrulous academic family who raised him to lip read and integrate into the hearing world. When he meets Sylvia—raised by Deaf parents and going deaf herself—Billy decides it’s time to speak on his own terms, sending shock waves through the family. Playing out in sign language, argument, music, and mesmerizing silence, this sophisticated drama examines family, belonging, and the limitations of language.



English playwright, author, and director Nina Raine began her career as a trainee director at the Royal Court Theatre after graduating from Oxford. She dramaturged and directed Unprotected at the Liverpool Everyman (TMA Best Director Award, Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award). Her debut play, Rabbit, premiered at the Old Red Lion Theatre in 2006 and transferred to the West End before going to New York. Rabbit won the Charles Wintour Evening Standard and Critics Circle Award for Most Promising Playwright. Ms. Raine also directed her second play, Tiger Country, at Hampstead Theatre. She directed Jumpy at the Royal Court Theatre, which later transferred to the West End, and Shades (Critics Circle and Evening Standard Awards for Most Promising Newcomer). Her commission for the Royal Court Theatre, Tribes, directed by Roger Michell, won an Offie Award and was nominated for Olivier and Evening Standard Awards for Best New Play. In New York, Tribes won the Drama Desk Award for Best New Play and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Foreign Play. Ms. Raine directed Longing by William Boyd at Hampstead Theatre in January 2013.


During its 2013-2014 Season, Studio Theatre will showcase the work of some of the most accomplished and innovative plays by British writers under 40 in its New British Invasion Festival. Anchored by three fully produced productions—the Olivier and Drama Desk Award-winning Tribes by Nina Raine, the Olivier Award-winning Cock by Mike Bartlett, and the US premiere of Sam Holcroft’s Edgar & Annabel in 2ndStage—the Festival includes readings of other plays alongside conversations with artists, scholars, and critics to place the work of these writers in a wider theatrical and cultural context.


Where: Studio Theatre, 1501 14th Street NW, Washington DC 20005

Dates: January 8 - March 2, 2014

Performances: Tuesday-Saturday, 8pm; Sunday, 7pm

Matinees: Saturday and Sunday, 2pm



  • Post-Show Discussions with Actors: Sunday, January 19 and Saturday, February 1 after the 2pm matinees
  • PostScript. Sunday, February 23, after the 2pm performance. A new series of candid and invigorating conversations, like a book club for plays.
  • Sign-Interpreted Performances:
    • Friday, January 10 at 8pm
    • Sunday, January 12 at 2pm (Press Opening)
    • Sunday, January 12 at 7pm (Donor Opening)           
    • Sunday, January 19 at 2pm
    • Saturday, January 25 at 2pm
    • Saturday, February 1 at 2pm
    • Tuesday, February 4 at 8pm
    • Sunday, February 23 at 7pm
  • Captioned Performances:
    • Thursday, January 16 at 8pm
    • Saturday, February 1 at 8pm
    • Wednesday, February 12 at 8pm
  • Audio Described Performance:
    • Sunday, February 16 at 2pm


DISCOUNTS (subject to availability)

Military Personnel: US Military personnel, spouses, and children are invited to purchase tickets at 20% off regular ticket prices. 

Seniors: $5 discount with ID.

Patrons under 30: Studio25 offers $25 tickets to all performances to patrons under 30.

Students: Through College Connection, all student tickets are $20.

Studio District Night: $20 tickets for patrons who live or work between 11th and 17th Streets NW, and from N Street NW to Florida Avenue NW. January 8, 9, 10.

Groups:  Call the Group Sales Manager at 202-232-7267 for parties of 10 or more.



Now in its fourth season under the leadership of Artistic Director David Muse, Studio Theatre is Washington’s premiere venue for contemporary theatre, “where local audiences will find today’s edgiest playwrights” (Variety). Muse is joined by Keith Alan Baker, Managing Director/Artistic Director, 2ndStage; and Serge Seiden, Producing Director.  One of the most respected midsized theatres in the country, Studio Theatre produces the work of today’s greatest writers, augmented by occasional productions of modern classics, performed by acclaimed actors in intimate spaces. Throughout the Theatre’s 36-year history, the quality of its work has been recognized by sustained community support as well as with 303 nominations and 60 Helen Hayes Awards for excellence in professional theatre.





Studio Theatre
1501 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20005