Author Archive for Rebecca J. Ritzel

Q&A: Nashville‘s Laura Benanti, Who’s Bringing a Cabaret to Wolf Trap

"When I think, 'Where would I retire?,' I think, 'Maybe I’ll retire to Virginia.'”

Pippin, Reviewed

The less-successful musical numbers fail worse in D.C. given some gut-wrenching events in the news.

Evita at the Kennedy Center, Reviewed

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1978 megamusical Evita opens with a funeral. Spoiler alert: The first lady of Argentina, whose role has famously been sung by both Patti Lupone and Madonna, has died. What’s notable about this good, but, not definitive, staging of the musical now touring through the Kennedy Center is that in terms of the [...]

Fiasco Theater’s Two Gentlemen of Verona, Reviewed

Not since Gossip Girl went off the air has Washington been entertained by such young, attractive, well-dressed backstabbing New Yorkers.
Fiasco Theater, a small troupe that specializes in contemporizing the classics without electronic bells and whistles, has taken up residence at the Folger Theatre with a buoyant new production of Two Gentleman of Verona. The result [...]

Camp David at Arena Stage, Reviewed

The Camp David Accords might never have been signed were it not for President Jimmy Carter’s golf cart. In Camp David, the world premiere play at Arena Stage, there’s no way for characters to negotiate the stage without it.
As Carter, Richard Thomas never seems more confident that he’s steering Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin (Ron [...]

The Belt Way: Beaches at Signature Theatre, Reviewed

Midway through Sunday’s interminable Oscars broadcast, capping the ceremony’s yearly tribute to Hollywood’s recently deceased, Bette Midler inexplicably belted “Wind Beneath My Wings,” her tearjerker ballad from the 1988 movie Beaches. Midler sounded like she lost her voice around 1992, and synthesizers backed her husky vocals with over-the-top period schmaltz. Presumably, Oscar producer hoped the [...]

Jim Lehrer’s Bell at National Geographic, Reviewed

"I know, you’re all here to hear about the telephone," actor Rick Foucheux grumbles about 10 minutes into his one-man show about Alexander Graham Bell. He shakes his bearded head in frustration. If you have an hour and $30, he'd like to tell you a few success (and failure) stories, stories that don't end with the [...]

Spin at Signature Theatre, Reviewed

Say you’re a musical-theater writing duo trying to recover from the devastating failure of your first Broadway flop. What do you do? You write a musical about a former boy band star trying to recover from the devastating failure of his solo career. And like your new character, you realize it’s time to take a [...]

Becky Shaw at Round House Theatre, Reviewed

Throughout the play Becky Shaw, characters travel between Boston, Providence, New York, and Richmond. That seems plausible, but to look around at the audience in Round House Theatre one night last week, you would have thought travel between Bethesda and say, Columbia Heights, is impossible.
Which is to say, it’s a shame the theater was half-filled [...]

Go Pair-Shaped: The Mountaintop at Arena Stage and The Last Five Years at Signature Theatre

Interested in seeing a show this month? Hoping for one that will force you to contemplate the consequences of infidelity and the temporal nature of life, plus be entertaining to boot? Then you have two choices, and you can’t go wrong.
Both The Mountaintop and The Last Five Years are two-person shows about how fame affects [...]