Monday, June 13, 2005


Keeping the Conversation Going

On June 5, 2005, the Shakespeare Theatre's Artistic Director, Michael Kahn, met with a small audience at the offices of the Human Rights Campaign, and held a wonderful discussion on theater in Washington, D.C. Not only was Mr. Kahn enthralling, but the audience members asked courteous questions that have been perplexing me since I moved back to Washington, my home town, after over a decade in New York:

1) Can the Washington area, which now boasts over 200 performance troupes, support so many theaters? (Yes, said Mr. Kahn confidently).

2) Aren't Washington audiences rather stodgy, turning out only for Shakespeare, Gilbert & Sullivan, trusted American classics by Arthur Miller, Eugene O'Neill, and Tennessee Williams, fun musicals to which you'd happily take a 10-year old, and anything imported from London and Dublin? No, said Mr. Kahn, Washington audiences are far more adventurous. (I was startled but pleased by this answer, since I consider myself a stodgy theater-goer who can be dragged, kicking and screaming, to Woolly Mammoth---and afterwards feel grateful for having gone---but otherwise only look forward to Shakespeare, G&S, trusted American classics, musicals that I enjoyed as a ten-year old, etc.) . Thank goodness I am not typical, and have friends who will drag me to Woolly and elsewhere.

3) Mr. Kahn seemed unworried about the commercialization of theater, such as the naming of a theater in New York after American Airlines. He said for the right amount of money, and with assurances that the company would have no artistic say over content, he'd happily dub the Shakespeare Theatre, "The Federal Express Shakespeare Theatre." (Which would be one way to avoid confusion with the Washington Shakespeare Company in Virginia. Think about it, Federal Express.)

I left feeling optimistic and energized, even as the weather tried to dampen my spirits through humidity that rivaled the innermost circles of hell. (What did Washington theaters do before air conditioning?)

This blog is an attempt to keep the conversation going. It is founded with the kind encouragement of the wonderful folks at Footlights,, and the incomparable Joel Markowitz and the Ushers, at As soon as I can figure out how to add your links to the "links" section, I will of course link to you, and to Potomac Stages, and to Right now I am still finding my way towards the curtain.

Yay! Congrats on getting this up and running.

If you are adding links, I'd appreciate it if you'd link to the dc_theatre journal over on Live Journal. Thanks!

And good luck. I will comment more as we hit upon shows I've seen. I'm looking forward to seeing "Take Me Out," but don't get to until July 6.

Suggestion, if you're looking for any ... if you want comments on shows you haven't seen, you might want to post a basically open post about a show ... something along the lines of having the title of the show as the subject line, then a sentence or two about what the show is about and then a request for comments about the show.

I just saw Lady Windermere's Fan and would be happy to add my comments.

Also, if you want this to become more of a discussion, you really should consider anonymous comments. I signed up, but most won't.

Sunday Greetings,

The folks of this household are following the example set by Simon Cat and being layabouts today. That is until the humans head to Baltimore once more to take our seats in the Hippodrome Theatre at 6:30 to visit with Disney's THE LION KING. I'm quite sure the short trip north will be well worth the effort in this muggy high heat.

Speaking of Baltimore. Pablo & I were up there last Sunday [05 June] for the afternoon performance at Everyman Theatre of Terrence McNally's FRANKIE & JOHNNY in the CLAIR de LUNE. This two character two act romantic serio-comedy provided us with one of our best theatre outings of 2005. The script is truly first rate writing that came beautifully to life in the hands of director Vincent M. Lancisi and as performed by Deborah Hazlet and Zachary Knower. The story is about a cook & waitress in '87 NYC. These forty something folks have had their knocks in life & after a date that included a bad dinner, a bad movie & great sex, they might, just might, have a chance to gather to themselves a bit of the happiness we all seek.
The production is on thru 26 June & you should, if you live in these parts that is, make every effort to attend a performance of this truly wonderful production. For particulars go to Paul & I agreed 100% on this one.

The day before, Sat...04 June, we had a most enjoyable time with friend Lina K. at Round House Theatre Bethesda. They are putting on the 90 minute musical ONCE ON THIS ISLAND. The show is almost completely sung-through in the very infectious Caribbean rhythms of the French Antilles. The story is more like life than a fairy tale in that there is no Hollywood ending. We have a young girl that comes across a young man in need of nursing after a bad accident. Problem is that she is from what is considered the wrong side of the tracks & has fallen head over heals in love with the guy. After being nursed back to health he returns to his family and the girl he has been promised in marriage to since he & she were mere tots. Montego Glover as our innocent exudes a sincere naievete that is warm & beautiful in equal amounts. Ten other talented performers will help Glover to convey her story in song & dance that will have 16 numbers. They are backed up by an orchestra of six that communicates the Caribbean sound that is not easily forgotten. The music is by Stephen Flaherty with book & lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. This is the team that gave the world RAGTIME. ONCE ON THIS ISLAND is most enjoyable & just what is needed to help us get through some of the dog days of 2005. The show will be on the boards until July 3. For info go to
Lina was very enthusiastic abt ISLAND. I thought it very entertaining. Pablo came in just a tad behind me ON THIS ISLAND.

Studio Theatre is presenting the last of its Russian plays for the 2004-2005 season. TERRORISM by The Presnyakov Brothers, translated by Sasha Dugdale, was seen by me the evening of Friday, 03 June. TERRORISM has a very European feel to its writing & presentation. The talent on stage, there are nine players, is very good. I just found the 6 scenes [one act] that follow the life of its central character very long winded. TERRORISM was written before September 11th. The program says: "but the events of that day give Terrorism a particular resonance for an American audience." Maybe so. Just not sure that it is worth your time if you are a theatergoer in the DC area. Maybe this kind of Studio Theatre Secondstage production is an acquired taste that I just am not willing to dine on too often. This particular translation of the play was originally produced at the Royal Court, London. For more details see

Yesterday afternoon we went back to a time between the two great wars for a visit to the shores of Cornwall, England. Paul and I did that via the magic of cinema. "There is nothing like a DAME." Unless it's two of them named Judi Dench & Maggie Smith. A big round of applause for Charles some of you remember him as the main romantic interest in the extremely well done '84 Public TV miniseries JEWEL IN THE CROWN? It was Dance that wrote/adapted & directed this little gem and brought it to the attention of Smith and Dench to do. We thoroughly enjoyed the cinema time capsule that is LADIES IN LAVENDER. At that time of year when film houses are cluttered with a new title each week that claims more bangs & whistles than anyone has ever seen, it is truly refreshing to see a story told for the sake of story and feature two such truly accomplished performers. Catch it if you can. Dame Smith & Dame Dench are not getting any younger & I fear that not many precious scripts will come their way like this one. In time it will be available to rent. But you should treat yourself to seeing them together up there on the big screen in a film that does what it sets out to do, Charm & Entertain.

For dinner last night we put together something that was quick & easy as well as healthy. It turned out so well that I thought I would share it with you in this diary. It tasted super! The recipe is below.

There it is for this writing. A little of this & a little of that.

Hope you have been enjoying your weekend in an unhurried fashion.

Pablo & I send you our best.

Until next time,

"Cheers" Gar20910


4 cod fillets (1/4 lb each)
4 t low-sodium soy sauce
Black pepper (to taste)
1 t grated gingerroot or 1/2 t ground ginger
1 1/2 t olive oil
1/4 t paprika

Coat a shallow roasting pan with nonstick olive
oil spray [look for it near the cooking spray at
the supermarket]. Place cod in pan and sprinkle
both sides with soy sauce, pepper and ginger-
root. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with paprika.
Broil until fish flakes easily with fork, 6 to
8 minutes.

We served the fillets over a bed of rice with
Brussels sprouts on the side. A nice white wine
of choice washes it all down.

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