J. Wynn Rousuck | WYPR

J. Wynn Rousuck

Maryland Morning Theater Critic

J. Wynn Rousuck has been reviewing theater for Maryland Morning with Sheilah Kast since 2007. Prior to that, she was the theater critic of The Baltimore Sun, where she reviewed more than 3,000 plays over the course of 23 years. Her feature coverage for The Sun included a comprehensive series chronicling the development of the Tony Award-winning musical, “Hairspray.” Judy got her start at The Cleveland Press and at Cleveland’s fine arts radio station, WCLV. Her broadcasting experience also includes a year as an on-air theater critic for Maryland Public Television.

A member of the Artistic Advisory Committee of Young Audiences of Maryland, Judy is also a freelance teacher for the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth and the Hippodrome Foundation, Inc. (the Hippodrome’s non-profit partner, which focuses on education and outreach). She was a faculty member at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s Critics Institute in Waterford, CT, for two decades; she is a former National Endowment for Humanities Journalism Fellow; and she was a visiting student at Brown University (2007-2008), under the mentorship of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Paula Vogel. Judy and her husband, Alan Fink, share their home with two dogs, who enjoy hearing their “Master’s Voice” on WYPR.

Thursdays mean theater on Midday, so J. Wynn Rousuck is back with her weekly review of a local production. Today, she’s talking about The Call of the Wild , master storyteller Charlie Bethel’s new solo adaptation of Jack London’s classic 20th century novel, now in performance at Theatre Project in Baltimore.  An audience favorite and an experienced theater artist both on stage and off, Bethel brings new life to the classic American tale. 

Photo by Tom Lauer

Midday’s theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck returns for her weekly review of a local stage production. This week, she discusses the Vagabond Players’ new rendition of The Complete History of America (abridged), written by Adam Long, Reed Martin, and Austin Tichenor and directed by Howard Berkowitz. Starring Fred Fletcher-Jackson, Sean Kelly, and William B. Meister, The Complete History condenses 600 years of American history into 90 minutes of outrageous satire.

The Complete History of America (abridged) runs through February 5th at Vagabond Theatre in Fell’s Point. 

Photo by Joan Marcus

Midday's theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck  joins Tom every Thursday with her reviews of local and regional stage productions. This week, it's the celebrated Fiasco Theater production that became a surprise hit in New York City: a minimalist re-invention of Stephen Sondheim's and James Lapine's classic Tony Award-winning musical-fantasy, Into the Woods, now on stage at the Kennedy Center.  

Into the Woods at the Kennedy Center runs through Sunday, January 8th.  Recommended for audiences ages 8 and up!

Photo by Joan Marcus.

Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom every Thursday with her reviews of local and regional stage productions. This week, her spotlight is on the touring company production of  A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, now in its final week at the Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore.

This romping musical tells the story of Monty Navarro, the cocky heir to a family fortune, who plots to eliminate all rivals for his inheritance, while he struggles to navigate his tangled romantic life and stay one step ahead of the law.  

The show stars John Rapson as the D’Ysquith heirs (eight of them in all!), Kevin Massey as Monty Navarro, Kristen Beth Williams as Sibella Hallward, Adrienne Eller as Phoebe D’Ysquith and Mary VanArsdel as Miss Shingle.

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder won four 2014 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Direction of a Musical (Darko Tresnjak), Book of a Musical (Robert L. Freedman) and Costume Design of a Musical (Linda Cho).

A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder continues at The Hippodrome Theatre through January 1, 2017. 

Photo by Kiirstn Pagan

Midday theater critic  J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom every Thursday with her reviews of local and regional stage productions.  This week, she's been to Everyman Theatre to see the Baltimore debut of the off-Broadway hit, playwright Colman Domingo's "Dot."

Domingo, whose other works include "Wild With Happy," and whose acting credits include a starring role in "Fear the Walking Dead," has written a touchingly comic play, set in the holiday season, about kinship, sanity, and the impact of Alzheimer's Disease on an African-American family in West Philadelphia.

Directed by Vincent M. Lancisi, "Dot" continues at Everyman Theatre through Sunday, January 8.

photo by Richard Anderson

Theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom in the studio with her weekly review of local stage productions. Today, she shares her impressions of  Les Liaisons Dangereuses, directed by Hana S. Sharif at Baltimore's Center Stage. The classic tale of love and betrayal, set in pre-Revolutionary France, was written in 1985 by Christopher Hampton as an adaptation of Pierre Choderlos de Laclos's 1782 epistolary novel. The production runs through Friday, December 23rd.

Center Stage

Today, a conversation about Center Stage. Maryland’s State Theater is undergoing a major facelift. The first phase of the renovation has been on display since Thanksgiving weekend, when previews for their current show, Les Liaisons Dangereuses opened in a spruced-up Pearlstone Theater. Center Stage hopes to complete their renovations in the next few months.  

How will the new space inform the programming at Center Stage and create opportunities for up-and-coming playwrights and actors?  Tom is joined by Center Stage Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah OBE, the theater’s Associate Director, Gavin Witt and Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck. They’ll also discuss Center Stage’s new program “Wright Now, Play Later” that takes theater-making outside the building and into the community by bringing accomplished playwrights, patrons and performers together to turn an idea about a play into a spontaneous, lively performance executed in Baltimore’s local businesses and well-known public places. 

Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck interviews writer, actor, and director Colman Domingo.

Colman Domingo is best known for roles in Fear the Walking Dead, Lincoln, and Selma, ​but he has also acted on and off-Broadway and directed shows at The Lark,  The Geffen Playhouse, and Lincoln Center's Director's Lab. He is also an acclaimed playwright, and his play  Dot  is currently showing at Baltimore's Everyman Theatre. Dot will be playing at Everyman through Sunday, January 8th, 2017.

Photo by Gary Emord Netzley

Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins us today with her review of  A Christmas Story, The Musical -- a new rendition of the late author and radio-TV celebrity Jean Shepherd’s comic story of a childhood Christmas. Shepherd helped turn his story into a movie in 1983 -- he wrote the screenplay and narrated the film -- and it’s been a perennial holiday favorite ever since. Now it’s a musical, with book by Joseph Robinette and music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. A Christmas Story - the Musical is on stage at the Hippodrome through this Sunday, December 11.

Rousuck's Review: "Schoolgirl Figure" at Cohesion Theatre

Dec 1, 2016
Cohesion Theatre Company

Midday's theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck returns to Studio A with her weekly review of local area productions. Today it's Cohesion Theatre Company's production of Schoolgirl Figurenow onstage at the United Evangelical Church in Baltimore. Set in a high school, this edgy comedy examines the tragic complexities of body image in today's vanity-obsessed culture. The darkly disturbing play was written by Wendy MacLeod. It's  directed by Jonas David Grey, and stars Emily Sucher and Tatiana Ford, among the cast.

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