My review of Signature Theatre's production of Girlfriend, wherein book writer (and songwriter, though not here) David Almond takes a (then) 20-year-old album Matthew Sweet wrote about his divorce and retcons it into a minimalist musical about two boys falling in love in Nebraska the summer after high school, is in this week's Washington City Paper. A fine little show. Nothing wrong with that sort of appropriation. But everyone I've heard from who really loves it has never heard the album from which Almond borrowed its music.
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Criticism imitating art imitating life: My Washington City Paper review of Annie Baker's John at Signature Theatre is three times as long as my review of the touring Underground Railroad Game at Woolly Mammoth, just as John is three times as long as Underground Railroad Game. And roughly a third as rewarding.
Your mileage, as ever, may vary.
My review of Signature Theatre's robust revival of Jerry Herman and Harvey Fierstein's beloved Reagan-era musical farce La Cage Aux Folles is in this week's Washington City Paper. I like the show, but I don't like my review as much as the one I wrote of the Goodspeed Opera House's production about a year ago, as part of my coursework for the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center's National Critics Institute. Which is odd, because I remember thinking I was producing mostly unpublishable copy while I was there. I've never been a fast writer. Most days we had copy due at 8:30 or 9 a.m. about the show we'd seen the night before. Anyway, the Critic Class of 2016 starts their two-week term on Saturday. Good luck, you guys. I envy you, sort of — just not your early-a.m. deadlines or your accommodations or your on-campus meals.
Actually, the coffee was pretty decent. I drank a lot of it, at any rate.
Prince is all I've thought about in the can-it-really-be-only-a-day since the world learned of his death, but here are the two theatre reviews I filed earlier in the week for the Washington City Paper. Arena Stage does Richard Schenkkan's 2014 Tony winner All the Way, and Signature Theatre stages Bathsheba Doran's The Mystery of Love and Sex.
Okay, back to deliberating whether I should post Prince's long out-of-print 2002 three-disc live album One Night Alone Live, which is not available for purchase anywhere unless you're prepared to drop north of $300 on a used copy.
I review Signature Theatre's production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning comic drama The Flick in this week's Washington City Paper. It's the fourth Annie Baker play I've reviewed — five if you count her translation of Uncle Vanya — and the second in which I've quoted a heckler. Maybe I wouldn't have done that had I remembered doing it in my review of Studio Theatre's The Aliens three-and-a-half years ago.
I brought my folks to Signature Theatre's reverent, rapturous production of the Broadway classic West Side Story the week before Christmas, but due to vagaries related to two issues falling on holidays between then and now, my Washington City Paper review is only now surfacing. I filed on time, dammit. At least I think I did. Who can remember anything from before Christmas now? Holiday-time usually brings a conventional but deeply satisfying revival of a proven crowd favorite, and this winter, West Side Story is the one to beat.
For what it's worth, the first time I heard "America" was when Bono was singing a snippet of it during "Bullet the Blue Sky" on U2's PopMart Tour in 1997.