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.

Matthew Murphy

Anniversaries and plays by female playwrights will be celebrated during the upcoming 2015-2016 Baltimore theater season and J. Wynn Rousuck is in the studio with Tom to talk all about it. The Vagabond Players and Everyman Theatre both have milestone anniversaries. Washington’s large-scale celebration of women playwrights will reach stages in this area as well, among them: Single Carrot Theatre, the Interrobang Theatre Company, the Strand Theater Company, Rep Stage and Olney Theatre Center.

Women will also be well represented at Center Stage, which is producing an all-female “As You Like It,” two thought-provoking new plays by women, “X’s and O’s” and “Detroit ’67,” and the musical, “The Secret Garden.” Musicals in the Hippodrome’s new line-up will include the recent Broadway hits, “Kinky Boots” and “Motown The Musical.” And, Cohesion Theatre Company, in partnership with Iron Crow Theatre, will present the Trans* Voices Workshop Series.

Tessa Sollway Blische

Lisa D’Amour calls her 2010 play, Detroit. But she herself has acknowledged that the play is set “in a suburb of what could be any middle American city.”

That is, any middle American city beset with severe financial woes, unemployment, abandoned housing and increasingly desperate members of what was once middle America’s middle class.

That’s the backdrop for this Pulitzer Prize finalist, a play that’s been staged from Chicago to New York to London. Now Fells Point Corner Theatre has produced the play’s well-acted, well-directed Baltimore premiere.

Joshua McKerrow

Double-dealing, misunderstandings, disappearing funds, important papers lost or shredded – and a little romance. Could be a typical day at any state capital (give or take the romance).

You can see it all right before your eyes in historic Annapolis thanks to Annapolis Shakespeare Company’s delightful production of the commedia dell’arte classic, “The Servant of Two Masters.”

An 18th century Italian comedy might seem an unusual choice for a Shakespeare company, but this comedy is a good fit for its setting – Annapolis’ Reynolds Tavern, which opened in 1747, a year after Carlo Goldoni wrote “The Servant of Two Masters.”

Margot Schulman

The musical, “Dear Evan Hansen,” is making its world premiere at Washington’s Arena Stage. Ben Platt (“Pitch Perfect”) stars as a lonely, ill-at-ease high school senior whose psychiatrist assigns him to write pep-talk letters to himself -- letters that start: “Dear Evan Hansen.” But when Evan’s first letter winds up in the wrong hands, there are enormous consequences, exacerbated by cyberspace and a web of lies. Theater critic J.

Will Kirk

It certainly sounds strange: An all-female production of “Henry IV, Part One” – a Shakespeare history play in which almost all of the characters are men.

But there’s precedent – a lot of it. There are all-female Shakespeare companies from New York to Los Angeles to London. Sarah Bernhardt played Hamlet in 1899. So did Eva Le Gallienne in the 1930s. More recently, Helen Mirren starred as Prospero in the 2010 film of “The Tempest.” And Center Stage will produce an all-female “As You Like It” in January.

Casting all women is just the flip side of what went on in Shakespeare’s day, when all roles, by law, were played by men. In a program note for the Baltimore Shakespeare Factory’s current production of “Henry IV, Part One,” director Tom Delise offers another justification: Historically, female political leaders are nothing new. I’d add that this particularly resonates now, when a woman is the Democratic front-runner for the United States presidency.

Alexander Fox

“Single Women Actively Seeking Sex.” Those words appear on a sign on stage at the Strand Theater’s production of “Saving Myself for Steve Martin.”

“SWASS,” the awkward acronym on the sign, is a support group. Over the next 80 minutes or so, we hear from the group’s newest member. Eve is a 45-year-old, just-divorced mother of an adolescent daughter.

Ann V. Wixon, author of "Saving Myself for Steve Martin," structures this Baltimore Playwrights Festival selection as a series of monthly group meetings – from September through May. It’s a structure that’s rather formulaic and, at times, repetitive.

Janine Vreatt

Theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck talks with Tom Hall about the Tony Award-winning musical, “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” adapted from the 1967 movie of the same name. Can a girl from Kansas become a modern woman in 1920s New York? Can the stage musical improve on director George Roy Hill’s movie starring Julie Andrews? Rousuck has gone to Cockpit in Court to find the answers.

“Thoroughly Modern Millie” continues through Sunday at the summer theater on the Essex campus of the Community College of Baltimore County.

Seth Freeman

Theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck reviews the new plays being presented at the Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. These productions take on such topics as personality disorders, missing children, and Pussy Riot. The festival runs through August 2nd at Shepherd University:

Chelsea Dove

Theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck reviews “Commander”, part of the Baltimore Playwrights Festival at the Vagabond Players:

Anna Fitzgerald

Theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck reviews “The World Is Round” a stage adaptation of Gertrude Stein’s novella of the same name, brought to life by two Baltimore theatre groups, The Acme Corporation and Baltimore Annex Theater: