What Do You Think?


The American Idiot is something for everyone

When I first heard that the National Theater was hosting a production of “American Idiot,” the first thing that popped into my head was “Why would someone write a musical biography about me?”

What “American Idiot” turns out to be is a very trend setting musical based on the concept album by the alternative band Green Day.  More than one critic has hailed the work as a rock opera, which we have not seen since the heyday of Pink Floyd and The Who. 


"Sleeping Beauty" at Glen Echo

Why just do one piece of classic children’s literature when you can do two?

That’s what the Puppet Co down at Glen Echo is doing with “Sleeping Beauty,” one of the most recent additions to their repertory.  It takes the classic story, best known these days from the Disney animated version, and added a wraparound story to bring the tale to full length.


A very creative roundhouse seminar

For some of us, just saying the words “creative writing class” can bring chills down the spine.  Well, no matter how bad your experience was with a writing class, what happens to the characters in “Seminar” is far worse. 


There's a Rumpel in your Stiltskin

With all the children’s theater in the area, can there be a well-known childhood story that has not been mounted to the stage?  Actually there is one, and Imagination Stage’s current production of “Rumplestiltkins” does a good job adapting this Grimm fairy tale for live audiences. 

These folk tales were collected by the brothers Grimm, hence their name, but in their original versions they can be pretty grim indeed.  That may explain why this oft told tale is not frequently mounted.  In fact, I cannot recall another production of this story in my years of reviewing.


Get ready to Stomp!

Suppose you went to a musical and there were no memorable tunes.  Usually that would be a bad sign, but “Stomp” turns this situation into an asset.  Currently having a limited run at the National Theater, “Stomp” glorifies rhythm over melody throughout its athletic 100 minutes.
It begins simply enough.  In what looks like a glorified, multilevel junkyard, a man with a broom comes out and starts sweeping the floor.  Innocent enough, but the simple shaking out of dust and hitting the broom on the floor creates a sound and a rhythm, which the performer takes up and elaborates.  Then others come out with brooms.  What can you do with a broom?  Soon the eight cast members are hitting the floor with the broom, and then start hitting one broom against another to create complicated rhythmic patterns.


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