J. Wynn Rousuck | WYPR

J. Wynn Rousuck

Midday Theater Critic

J. Wynn Rousuck has been reviewing theater for WYPR's Midday (and previously, Maryland Morning)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.

Photography by Shealyn Jae

Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins us now with her regular Thursday review of one of our region's many thespian offerings.  Today, she spotlights playwright Mark Scharf's The Quickening, now getting its world premiere at Baltimore's Fells Point Corner Theatre, in a co-production with the Collaborative Theatre Company.

photo by Matthew Murphy

Each Thursday, Midday's peripatetic theater critic, J. Wynn Rousuck, joins us with a review of one of the region's many theatrical offerings.  This week, she's spotlighting On Your Feet!, the new touring musical production based on the life and career of Cuban pop sensations (and husband-and-wife team) Gloria and Emilio Estefan, that's now on stage at Baltimore's Hippodrome Theatre.

With Christie Prades and Mauricio Martinez in the lead roles, On Your Feet portrays the Estefan's humble beginnings in Cuba, and their ascent, after coming to America, to the pinnacle of the pop-music world.  It shows us the near tragedies, too, including the life-changing 1990 bus crash that severely damaged Gloria's back and also injured other members of her family and band.

Energized by a score featuring more than two dozen of Emilio and Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine's iconic pop hits -- from "Conga" to "Turn the Beat Around" --  On Your Feet! tells the story of a pioneering and influential musical couple that faced adversity, and found a way to stay on their feet.

On Your Feet! is directed at the Hippodrome by two-time Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots), with choreography by Olivier Award winner Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys) and an original book by Academy Award winner Alexander Dinelaris (Birdman).  

On Your Feet! continues at The Hippodrome through Sunday June 10.

photo courtesy Annapolis Shakespeare Co.

It's Thursday, and time again for a visit with Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck, who joins us in the studio each week with her reviews of the region's theatrical endeavors.  This week, she spotlights the new production of Kiss Me, Kate, the Bard-inspired musical now on stage at Annapolis Shakespeare Company

Kiss Me, Kate is the "backstage" story of the production of a fictional musical version of William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, fueled by the conflicts, on-stage and off, between the show's director, producer and star, and his temperamental leading lady (and ex-wife).

Written by Samuel and Bella Spewack, with music and lyrics by the inimitable Cole PorterKiss Me, Kate opened on Broadway in 1948 and enjoyed a long and successful initial run. In 1949, it won five Tony Awards, including the first Tony ever presented for Best Musical.  Ever since, it has been a frequent and internationally popular choice for revivals.

Directed and choreographed for Annapolis Shakespeare Company by Sally Boyett, with musical direction by Marc IrwinKiss Me Kate features a 17-member cast led by Benjamin Russell as producer Fred Graham and Robin Weiner as his ex-wife and star, Lilli Vanessi.

Kiss Me Kate continues at Annapolis Shakespeare Company through Sunday June 3.

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It's time again for our weekly visit from theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck, who joins Tom today with her review of the new production of The Book of Joseph, now on stage at Baltimore's Everyman Theatre.

The play is a stage adaptation by Seattle playwright Karen Hartman of a book by former Baltimore newpaper and TV journalist Richard Hollander.  After Hollander's parents were killed in a car accident in the mid-1980s, he discovered in their attic a briefcase filled with correspondence. The letters, all stamped with Third Reich swastikas, provided a unique record of the tragic fate of his Jewish relatives in German-occupied Poland during the Holocaust, and of his father's heroic efforts to save them.

The discovery of those letters led Hollander, eventually, to write a book, which he published in 2007, called “Every Day Lasts a Year: A Jewish Family’s Correspondence from Poland.”  The book inspired the play that world-premiered in Chicago in 2017, and has now come to the Everyman, with Noah Himmelstein directing the resident company cast.

The Book of Joseph continues at Baltimore's Everyman Theatre until Sunday, June 10. 

Photo by Bill Geenan

Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom today with her review of the world premiere of Soul: The Stax Musical, now rattling the boards at Baltimore Center Stage.

The production is the directorial swansong of departing artistic director Kwame Kwei Armah, who's stepping down after seven years running the shows at Center Stage. (Check out his May 9 interview here on Midday).

With a book by Matthew Benjamin, choreography by Chase Brock, musical direction by Rahn Coleman and a multi-talented 21-member cast, Soul: the Stax Musical tells the story (with renditions of more than 30 songs) of Memphis-based Stax Records and the recording company's role in launching such legendary artists as Otis Redding, The Staple Singers, Isaac Hayes, Booker T & The MG's, Rufus & Carla Thomas, David Porter, Wilson Pickett, Johnnie Taylor, and Eddie Floyd — singers whose iconic work during the 1960s and 70s laid the foundations for American Soul Music. Their story, and the rise and fall of Stax Records, play out against the backdrop of the evolving civil rights struggle and the growing power of R&B music -- still evident today -- to unite a divided nation.   

Soul: The Stax Musical continues at Baltimore's Center Stage through Sunday, June 10.   

Photo by Britt Olsen-Ecker

Our theater critic J. Wynn  Rousuck joins Tom for another of her weekly reviews of the region's theater offerings. Today, she's spotlighting the world premiere of an adaptation of the J.M.Barrie classic, Peter Pan, ​now on stage at Baltimore's Single Carrot Theatre.

Billed officially as Peter Pan: Wendy, Peter. Peter, Wendy, the play is a modern re-imagining of Barrie's beloved 1904 stage fantasy (and 1911 novel) about identity, growing up and belonging.  It retains the original's iconic characters, from Peter Pan and Wendy and the Darling family dog Nana, to Captain Hook and Tiger Lily and the Lost Boys.  But playwright Joshua Conkel, working in collaboration with Baltimore’s LGBTQ+ residents and service organizations, has updated the Barrie original (as the Single Carrot program explains) "to include contemporary conversations about gender, sexuality, and performative identity, and to embrace queer culture."  The result is that Barrie's nostalgic Neverland is transformed "from a distant fantasy to a modern safe-haven for those who have been rejected and devalued, a stronghold against normalcy and a place where Peter and his Lost Boys can finally be themselves."

Tristan Powell directs Peter Pan at Single Carrot with a cast that features Tina Canady as Wendy/Peter, and Single Carrot Ensemble member Ben Kleymeyer as Peter/Wendy.

Peter Pan continues at Single Carrot Theatre through Sunday, May 20. 

Photo by Matthew Murphy

It's time for our regular Thursday visit with Midday's peripatetic theater critic,  J. Wynn Rousuck, who joins Tom in the studio today with her review of An American in Paristhe touring stage adaptation of the Gershwin-inspired 1951 film musical. The Tony Award-winning production premiered on Broadway in 2015, hit the road in 2016, and is just now making its local stop at Baltimore's Hippodrome Theater.

Like the classic Vincente Minnelli film -- which starred Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron and won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture -- this award-winning stage adaptation tells the story of an American World War II veteran and aspiring painter who lingers in the newly-liberated Paris of 1945 and falls in love with a young French woman.  Also like the film, the stage version weaves their complicated romance through a rich tapestry of George Gershwin's brilliant orchestral works -- including the titular An American in Paris, the Concerto in F and a Second Rhapsody/Cuban Overture medley -- and more than a dozen of the incomparable songs that George and his brother Ira Gershwin penned during the 1920s and 30s.  Show numbers include I Got Rhythm, S'Wonderful, But Not for Me, Stairway to Paradise, and They Can't take That Away.  And as in the Gene Kelly-choreographed film, a lot of that great music is set wonderfully to dance.

Photo by Will Kirk

It's Thursday, and that means it's time for Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck and her weekly review of the region's noteworthy thespian offerings.   Today, she spotlights the new and unusual staging of William Shakespeare's Othello at Baltimore Shakespeare Factory.

What's distinctive about this production of the Bard's 1604 tragedy is its use of "Original Pronunciation," or O.P., which employs the sounds and rhythms of the English that actors in Shakespeare's London theaters would have spoken more than 400 years ago.  The cast was trained in the antique dialect by O.P. coach  Ann Turiano.

Directed by Tom Delise, BSF's Othello features Troy Jennings in the title role, Kathryn Zoerb as Desdemona, Ian Blackwell Rogers as Iago, and Jess Behar as Aemelia.

Othello (in Original Pronunciation) continues at the Baltimore Shakespeare Factory through April 29.

Photo by David D. Mitchell

It's Thursday, and Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom with her weekly review of a production lighting up one the region's many stages. Today, it's Hoodoo Love, a bluesy play (and one of the earliest works) by Katori Hall, being produced by Baltimore's Arena Players, the oldest continuously operating African American community theater in the United States.

Arena Players calls Hoodoo Love "a tale of love, magic , jealousy and secrets in...1930s Mississippi and Memphis. It is a blues story about having your dreams realized."  Reviewing its premiere in New York's West Village in October 2007, New York Times theater critic Stuart Miller described the play as "an unsentimental, even brutal look at black life in Memphis in the 1930s, the central female characters burdened by rape and betrayal."

One of Hoodoo Love's central female characters is Toulou, a young woman who fled an abusive family and the cotton fields of Mississippi to pursue her dream of becoming a blues singer.

“I love my people’s history,” playwright Katori Hall told the Times back in 2007.  Hall, who studied African-American culture and creative writing at Columbia University, added, “I feel a huge responsibility to tell the stories of my past and my ancestors’ past.”

Director David D. Mitchell leads the Arena Players cast, which features IO Browne (Toulou), Theresa Terry (Candylady), Quinton Randall (Ace of Spades) and Quincy Vicks (Jib).

Hoodoo Love is at Arena Playhouse, 801 McCulloh St., Baltimore MD 21201, through Sunday, April 29.   Tix and info here.

Photo by Joe Williams

It's Thursday, and that means we welcome to the studio Midday's far-ranging theater critic, J. Wynn Rousuck, back from our western frontier and an evening at Frederick's Maryland Ensemble Theater, which is currently staging a new production of playwright Gina Gionfriddo's feminist comedy, Rapture, Blister, Burn -- a finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Drama.

MET's program describes it as "an intensely smart, immensely funny play that asks the question, 'What makes us happy in life?' After graduate school, Catherine and Gwen chose polar opposite paths. Catherine built a career as a rock star academic, while Gwen built a home with her husband and children. Decades later each woman covets the other’s life, commencing a dangerous game of musical chairs."

Playwright Gionfriddo, in her program notes for Playwrights Horizons' 2012 world premiere of Rapture, Blister, Burn in New York, wrote, "I don't want to say too much about what happens in this play, but age and generation loom large. My play, Becky Shaw, feels to me a play about years 30-35; it's still possible to launch a career or start a family, but you need to hurry up. Rapture, Blister, Burn feels like a play about years 40-45. Big, unfulfilled dreams are still possible, but they're statistically less likely. If you're going to take a big leap and remake yourself, you have to do it now."

The production at MET is directed by Suzanne Beale, and the cast includes Gené Fouché, Carol Randolph, Madeline Reinhold, Laura Stark, and Ron Ward.

Rapture, Blister, Burn continues at Maryland Ensemble Theatre in Frederick through April 29.

Photo by Stan Barouh

Theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins us with her weekly review of one of the region's many thespian offerings.  Today, it's Aubergine, the new play by Julia Cho that's on stage at Baltimore's Everyman Theatre

Aubergine is a story about the complexity of family relationships and the emotional power of food.  The play centers on a Korean family that's struggling to bridge generational and cultural divides, and the foods and culinary traditions that help the family members find each other across those divides.

Produced in association with Olney Theatre Center and directed by Everyman's founding artistic director, Vincent Lancisi, Aubergine features Tony Nam (as Ray); Glenn Kubota (Ray's father); Song Kim (Ray's uncle); Jefferson Russell (Lucien); Eunice Bae (Cornelia); and Megan Anderson (Diane/hospital worker).

Aubergine continues at Everyman Theatre through Sunday, April 15th. 

Photo copyright by Matthew Murphy

It's Thursday, and that means Midday's intrepid theater critic, J. Wynn Rousuck, is here with another of her weekly reviews of the region's thespian offerings. 

This week, Judy braved the elements to attend the opening of the new touring production of School of Rock, the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical that's now raising the rafters at Baltimore's Hippodrome Theater.

Based on the hit 2003 film, the musical follows Dewey Finn, a down-on-his-luck wannabe rock star who poses as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school to make ends meet. When he discovers that his fifth-graders harbor some extraordinary musical talents, he encourages them to form a rock group and take a shot at winning the Battle of the Bands competition.

Andrew Lloyd Weber, who has done more than his share to bring rock and romance to Broadway, has composed 14 new songs for School of Rock, and kept all the original songs from the movie.  Directed by Laurence Connor and choreographed by JoAnn M. Hunter, the talented cast includes Rob Coletti as Dewey Finn, Lexie Dorsett Sharp as Rosalie, and a band of young actor/musicians who help deliver the musical's youthful spirit and high-octane score. 

School of Rock continues at the Hippodrome until Sunday, March 25.

Photo by Michael Brosilow

Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins senior producer Rob Sivak with her review of a new production of Animal Farm, an adaptation of George Orwell's dystopian 1945 novella that's now running at Baltimore's Center Stage.

This popular adaptation of the novella, written in 1982 by Ian Wooldridge, is being co-produced in its new run at Center Stage with the Milwaukee Repertory Theater.  It re-imagines Orwell's anti-Stalinist allegory, in which the animals of Manor Farm rise up against their human masters and the tyranny of their forced labor, inspired by the revolutionary ideas that an old boar named Major shared with the animals before his death. They establish a new order based on Major's commandments of "Animalism," in which all humans are enemies, all animals are comrades, and all animals are equal.  But the revolutionary doctrines are soon twisted to empower a ruling clique led by a brutal, authoritarian boar named Napoleon. The citizens of Animal Farm begin to realize that some animals are more equal than others.

Directed at Center Stage by May Adrales, the eight-member "Animal Farm" cast includes Melvin Abston as Napoleon, Jonathan Gillard Daly as Benjamin, Tiffany Rachelle Stewart as Squealer, Brendan Titley as Snowball, and Stephanie Weeks as Major.  Playing multiple roles, the actors deploy unique animal-head armatures created by Costume Designer Izumi Inabi to portray the creatures of Manor Farm.

Animal Farm continues at Baltimore's Center Stage through Sunday, April 1st.  

Photo by Tessa Sollway

It's Thursday, and Midday theater critic J, Wynn Rousuck joins guest host Rob Sivak with her weekly review of local thespian offerings.  Today, she spotlights the new production of a two-woman play by Win Wells called Gertrude Stein and a Companion, at the Fells Point Corner Theater.

Directed by Anne Hammontree and starring Marianne Gazzola Angelella as Alice B. Toklas and Andrea Bush as Gertrude Stein, the play explores the complex relationship between Stein, the celebrated American avante-garde writer, and Toklas, her lifelong companion.

Gertrude Stein and a Companion continues at the Fells Point Corner Theater through Sunday, m,arch 25th.

Photo by Shealyn Jae

It's Thursday, and our peripatetic theater critic, J. Wynn Rousuck, joins us once again, today with her review of Count DownThe play by Dominique Cieri is being produced by The Strand Theater Company, the only Baltimore theater that presents works written exclusively by women artists.

Cieri describes the play as a composite of her experiences working for a New Jersey youth arts program, helping a group of at-risk teenage girls express themselves by creating an original musical stage production.  Cieri says her work with the girls quickly became "a labor of love, and an odyssey into the psyche of the adolescent girl."

Count Down -- directed at the Strand by Bari Hochwald -- portrays that revelation, and, in the words of the Strand's program, "exposes the inherent dissonance between the child welfare system and the reality of the girls who have no choice but to spend their childhood and adolescence in its care."

Count Down was the recipient of the 2009 Mid Atlantic Individual Playwriting Fellowship, and Finalist for Playwrights First Award, the National Arts Club, NYC.

The Strand's production of Count Down is presented as part of the DC region's 2018 Women's Voices Theatre Festival.

Count Down continues through Sunday, March 4 at The Strand Theater,  which is located at 5426 Harford Rd. Baltimore MD 21201.  Ticket info at www.strand-theater.org.

Photo by Bill Geenan

It's Thursday, and that means theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom in the studio with her weekly review, today spotlighting a new production at Baltimore's Center Stage.

From the playwright of Detroit ’67, Skeleton Crew (the third play in Dominique Morisseau’s acclaimed Detroit Trilogy) tells the story of four workers at the last exporting auto plant in Detroit struggling to survive as their way of life disappears.  Directed by Nicole A Watson, the play's cast includes Stephanie Berry as Faye, Sekou Laidlow as Reggie, Brittany Bellizeare as Shanita, and Gabriel Lawrence as Dez, portraying a team of loyal and proud workers trying to navigate their uncertain futures.

Part of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival

Skeleton Crew continues at Baltimore's Center Stage through March 4th.

Photo by Katie Simmons-Barth

Theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins us today with reviews of two plays now running in the region:  Red Velvet, by the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, and All She Must Possess, a world premiere at Rep Stage, on the Howard Community College campus.

Chesapeake Shakespeare's Red Velvet (profiled on Midday's January 31st showtells the story of Ira Aldridge, a celebrated and controversial African American actor who won international renown for his groundbreaking portrayal of Shakespeare's Othello at a London theater in 1833.  The play by Lolita Chakrabati is directed by Shirley Basfield Dunlap, and features Christian R. Gibbs as Ira Aldridge and Yuri Lomakin as a London theater manager.

All She Must Possess, directed at the Rep Stage by Joseph Ritsch, is the world premiere of a play by Susan McCully, who portrays the lives of Baltimore's Victorian-era Cone sisters -- Dr. Claribel and Etta Cone.  The iconic pair's passion for collecting art and curios from around the world brings them into the rarified company of many of the artistic and literary geniuses of their day, including avant-garde writer Gertrude Stein.

Red Velvet at Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, and All She Must Possess at Rep Stage in Columbia, both continue through February 25.

Photo by Stan Barouh

It's Thursday and time for our weekly visit with theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck, who joins us today with her review of the new production of Eugene O'Neill's dark classic, Long Day's Journey Into Night, now on stage at Baltimore's Everyman Theatre.

Director Donald Hicken​ helms a seasoned cast of resident company* and guest actors in O'Neill's iconic, semi-autobiographical play that recounts a summer day and night in 1912 in the Connecticut home of the Tyrone family.  A stream of interactions quickly reveals the family members' deep emotional wounds and long-simmering conflicts.  James Tyrone (played by Kurt Rhoads, in his Everyman debut), his morphine-addicted wife Mary (Deborah Hazlett*), and their two sons, Jamie (Tim Getman*) and Edmund (Danny Gavigan*), struggle to connect with each other through their tangled webs of drug addiction, alcoholism, anger and love.  The production also features actress Katherine Ariyan as Cathleen, the Tyrone's housekeeper.

Long Day's Journey Into Night continues at Baltimore's Everyman Theatre til Sunday, March 4.  For ticket information click here.

Photo by Joan Marcus

It's Thursday again, so it's time for the weekly review from our peripatetic theater critic, J. Wynn Rousuck. This week, she spotlights Waitress, the new touring production of the hit Broadway musical, that's now on stage at Baltimore's Hippodrome Theatre.

Based on the popular 2007 movie of the same name, the musical stage version of Waitress is energized by an all-female creative team, with original music and lyrics by 5-time Grammy nominee Sara Bareilles, book by screenwriter Jessie Nelson and direction by Tony Award laureate Diane Paulus.

Waitress tells the story of Jenna (Desi Oakley) - a pregnant waitress and a gifted pie maker who dreams of escaping from her small-town and a loveless, stifling marriage. Her hopes for a happier life are stirred by a baking contest in a nearby county, the arrival of the town's new doctor (Bryan Fenkhart), and the encouragements of her fellow waitresses (Charity Angel Dawson and Lenne Klingaman). 

Waitress continues at Baltimore's Hippodrome Theatre until Sunday, February 4.  Ticket info here.

Photo by Rob Clatterbuck

Every Thursday, our resident theater critic, J. Wynn Rousuck, joins Tom in studio to regale us with her review of a local theater production. This week, she spotlights a new production of the opera Trouble in Tahiti at Stillpointe Theatre.

Originally composed and conducted by the legendary Leonard Bernstein (whose other works include "West Side Story"), this opera centers on a young suburban couple who live a seemingly perfect and beautiful life. In reality, both husband and wife are suffering a numbing discontent with their lives and relationship. Claire Galloway Weber and Peter Tomaszewski play the lead roles of Dinah and Sam.

Trouble in Tahiti is directed by David Schweitzer, with musical direction by Ben Shaver.  For ticket info, click here.

Photo courtesy Rapid Lemon Productions

It's Thursday, and that means theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom in the studio for her weekly review of one of the region's many thespian offerings.  This week, she spotlights Love Is a Blue Tick Hound, Rapid Lemon Productions' regional premiere of a collection of four short plays by Audrey Cefaly, three of which have received New York premieres, and all of which have won festival awards throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Cefaly's suite of four intimate one-act duets -- Fin & Euba, Clean, The Gulf, and Stuck -- explores the many ways we struggle to cope with the complicated dynamics of life and love.

Part of the 2018 Women's Voices Theater Festival, Love Is a Blue Tick Hound is on stage at Baltimore's The Theatre Project now through Sunday, January 21, and at Washington's Trinidad Theatre/Capital Fringe from February 9-17.   Click here for Theatre Project tickets and here for Trinidad Theatre/Capital Fringe tickets.

Courtesy of Bruce F Photography

Today, Midday's intrepid theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck reviews the courtroom drama Inherit the Wind, now on stage at Vagabond Players.

Based on the 1925 Scopes "Monkey Trial," Inherit the Wind explores themes of science, religion, and intellectual freedom, as they swirled together in a historic courtroom debate over whether Charles Darwin's theory of evolution should be taught in public schools. Written in 1955 by playwrights Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, the play was a broadside at the contemporaneous McCarthy hearings, the infamous Senate campaign to purge suspected communists from jobs in the US government, industry and the arts.

Inherit the Winddirected by Sherrionne Brown, continues at Vagabond Players through Sunday, February 4, with show times on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased here or at the door.

Spotlighters Theatre - Shaelyn Jae Photography

It's Thursday, and that means it's time for theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck to bring us her weekly review of one of the Baltimore-Washington region's thespian offerings, and this week it's First Date, a musical comedy now on stage at Spotlighter's Theatre

The minimalist romp finds blind-date novice Aaron (played by Reed DeLisle) set up with serial-dater Casey (Lindsey Litka), and their casual drink at a busy New York restaurant soon turns into a complex and comedic dinner for two that involves a suprisingly large cast of characters.

First Date is stage-directed by Fuzz Roark, with book by Austin Winsberg, music and lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weine, and musical direction by Michael Tan.

First Date continues at Spotlighter's Theatre through Sunday January 21.  For ticket info, click here.

(Adult Language and Situations - Parental Guidance Necessary.)

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It's Thursday, and that means it's time for our peripatetic theater critic, J. Wynn Rousuck, to join  us with her latest take on the region's thespian offerings. Today, she reviews "The Revolutionists," the new play by Lauren Gunderson that's now on stage at Baltimore's Everyman Theatre.

A comic spin on the bloody 18th century uprising known as the French Revolution, the play brings together former queen Marie Antoinette (played by Beth Hylton), assassin Charlotte Corday (Emily Kester), playwright Olympe de Gouges (Megan Anderson), and Caribbean spy Marianne Angelle (Dawn Ursula), as the people of France struggle against an oppressive monarchy and take to the streets for equality and freedom.  The sparks fly in what Everyman Theatre calls "a funny new work about feminism, legacy and standing up for one’s beliefs."

"The Revolutionists" -- directed by Casey Stengl, with costume design by David Burdick -- continues at Everyman Theatre through Sunday, January 7. 

Photo by Richard Anderson

It's Thursday, so it's time for our weekly visit from theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck, who joins us today with a review of Lookingglass Alice, the new spin on the Lewis Carroll classic that's now on the boards at Baltimore's Center Stage.

In this modern re-telling (which is suitable for audiences age 6 and up), Alice is a young African-American woman (played by Markita Prescott), who falls through the Looking Glass and finds herself on a journey of self-discovery and fulfillment.  Along the way, she encounters the familiar and the fantastical, and comes face to face with the intimidating Red Queen (played by Patrice Covington), along with a surreal parade of oddities that challenge Alice to stand strong and speak her mind.

Lookingglass Alice, directed by Jeremy Cohen and with costumes by David Burdick, continues at Baltimore's Center Stage through Sunday, December 31st.   Ticket info: click here.

Photo by Glenn Ricci

It's time for our weekly conversation with theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck, who joins Tom today with a review of Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play, a post-apocalyptic fantasy in three acts by playwright Anne Washburn, being produced by Cohesion Theatre Company at "The Fallout Shelter" at Baltimore's United Evangelical Church.

The play asks a series of questions:  What happens to pop culture after the fall of human civilization? What about 7 years after the fall? Or even 75 years?

Mr. Burns runs those scenarios out over three time-shifting acts. When nuclear power plants across the country begin to “go up,” a group of survivors gather in the woods and begin to recount an episode of The Simpsons.  As Cohesion Theatre Company's program describes it, "casual storytelling evolves into theater, theater evolves into ritual, and one Simpsons episode evolves into a myth and legend for a post-apocalyptic world."

Cohesion Theatre Company's Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play, directed by Lance Bankerd, continues at "The Fallout Shelter" at United Evangelical Church, located at 923 S. East Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21224, until December 17th.  For ticket and location info, click here.

Photo by Joan Marcus

It's Thursday, and that means it's time for our visit with theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck, who joins us each week with her review of one of the region's many thespian offerings. This week, she tells us about the new touring production of The Lion King, the Tony-Award-winning musical on stage at Baltimore's Hippodrome Theatre until December 10th.

A stage adaptation of Disney's Academy Award-winning 1994 animation, The Lion King tells the story of Simba, a young lion prince born into a royal pride of African lions. Simba idolizes his regal father, Mufasa, but resists the responsibilities of his status in the pride.  When his wicked uncle Scar seals his grip on power by taking his father’s life, Simba flees to neighboring lands, leaving the life he knew behind. Eventually, his responsibility to family comes calling on the adult prince, and Simba is persuaded to challenge his powerful uncle, bring goodness back to his ancestral home, and fulfill his destiny to be king.

Directed by Tony winner Julie Taymor, The Lion King is the highest grossing Broadway production of all time. The score by Elton John and Tim Rice features the songs “The Circle of Life,” “I Just Can't Wait to Be King,” “Hakuna Matata” and “Can You Feel The Love Tonight.” The show has been seen by over 90 million people worldwide, with 24 productions happening around the globe.

The touring production of The Lion King stars Gerald Caesar as Simba, Mark Campbell as Scar, Gerald Ramsey as Mufasa, Buyi Zama as Rafiki, Nia Holloway as Nala, Greg Jackson as Zazu, Ben Lipitz as Pumbaa and Nick Cordileone as Timon.

The Lion King continues at the Hippodrome Theatre until Sunday, December 10th.  For ticket information and showtimes, click here.

Photo courtesy Mean Girls Broadway

Our indefatigable theater critic, J. Wynn Rousuck, joins us with her review of  Mean Girls, writer-comedian Tina Fey's lively new musical theater adaptation of her hit 2004 movie, now getting its world premiere on the boards at The National Theatre in Washington, D.C., before heading to Broadway.

photo by Richard Anderson

It's Thursday, and that means our peripatetic theater critic, J. Wynn Rousuck, joins Tom in Studio A for our weekly look at the region's thespian offerings.  Today, Judy reviews Shakespeare in Love, the new stage version of the multi-Oscar winning 1998 film that's now on the boards at Baltimore Center Stage.  Adapted by Lee Hall from ​from Marc Norman's and Tom Stoppard’s original screenplay, Shakespeare in Love is a funny, bawdy back-story take on the famous Bard's creative muse, and on the complex relationship between art and love.

Photo by Jim Preston

Theater critric J.Wynn Rousuck joins us in Studio A every Thursday with a review of one of the region's thespian offerings, and this week, she tells us about a new production of Origin of the Species now on stage at Strand Theater Company in Baltimore.

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