DCMTA 2021 Staff Favorites: Outstanding Community Theater Productions

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As the year draws to a close, we asked DCMTA’s writers to rethink the productions that stood out for them in 2021.

Here are the community theater productions that resonated with our writers this year.

Melvin D. Smith as Harold and Paul Brewster as Albie in “A Black and White Cookie”. Photo by Harvey Levine.

A black and white cookie, Silver Spring Stage
Initially scheduled as a staged reading with scripts in hand, from October 15 to 17, 2021, A black and white cookie evolved into a minimal production show under the direction of Jacqueline Youm. It was the first live performance of Silver Spring Stage in its storefront theater in 18 months. Lead performers Melvin D. Smith as Harold, white-bearded Paul Brewster as Albie, and Youm as niece Carol each find a heart center in their individual characters. The support set included Robert Howard and Helen Cheng Mao.
Lisa Traiger’s full review

Gabby Carter (Mindy), Melanie Kurstin (Georgeanne), Rebecca Cooley (Frances) and Brittany Washington (Trisha) in “Five Women Wearing the Same Dress”. Photo by Matthew Randall.

Five women wearing the same dress, Dominion Scene
Full of snark and nerve, Five women wearing the same dress is full of observations about the lives, bodies, deliberations, hidden secrets and exaggerated revelations of women. The show is full of laughter moments as the bridesmaids struggle with their demons of past regret and potential current and future realities.
Debbie Minter Jackson’s complete review

Laura Gayvert as Lizzy and Ben Carr as Jack Key in “Maytag Virgin”. Photo by Brandon Bentley.

Maytag virgin, Colonial players from Annapolis
Audrey Cefaly’s play, About Two Neighbors in a Town in Alabama, is a gently touching drama of intimacy and relationships. Edd Miller does a terrific job as a director, making the physical distance between the actors natural. They navigate well on stage and help create the illusion that only the two are there. Laura Gayvert gives Lizzy a curiosity. Ben Carr plays Jack with an independence that hides pain and deep feelings. After a year of darkness on their stage, seeing the Colonial Players put on a full production is a joy.
Charlie Green’s full review

Scenes from ‘Over the city.’ Photos courtesy of the Rockville Musical Theater.

on the city, Rockville Musical Theater
The Rockville Musical Theater production is absolutely top notch, succeeding in all aspects of a show demanding from its cast and staff at a professional level, let alone the community, the theater. Watch Award judges should watch. on the city, written when its creators were in their mid-twenties, is all about the energy of youth as Sailors do their best to make the most of their short stay in New York City. World War II is in the background, but the show is focused on the joie de vivre of today – joy that the Rockville Musical Theater production gives audiences abundantly.
Bob Ashby full review

Robert Freemon (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) and Zenia McPherson (Camae) in “The Mountaintop”. Photo by Ken Kemp.

The top of the mountain, Rockville Little Theater (continuous production)
The top of the mountain by Katori Hall, presented by Rockville Little Theater in partnership with the City of Gaithersburg (Arts on the Green), takes place at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, the day before the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the 4th April, 1968. In the virtual production of RLT The top of the mountainRobert Freemon’s Dr King is clearly exhausted and doubts his own mission. He’s in a small hotel room, with orange beds and spartan decor. He comes and goes, trying out phrases for a speech and checking the phone for listening devices. He is joined by the fiery and charming Camae (Zenia McPherson), a maid who brings him coffee and shares his Pall Malls. Both are charismatic and both are skin-deep. It is a beautifully produced and performed production.
Sophia Howes’ full review

Carey Bibb, Samantha McEwen Deininger, Mary Rogers and Ryan Harris in “The Revolutionaries”. Photo by Brandon Bentley.

The revolutionaries, Colonial Annapolis players
Directed by Jennifer Cooper, this exploration of the lives of women during the French Revolution is touching and enlightening. The revolutionaries opens with the apartment of Olympe de Gouges, writer and social activist, played by Mary C. Rogers. As the first act unfolds, we are greeted by two characters who hold an important place in French history: Marie-Antoinette (Ryan Gunning Harris) and Charlotte Corday (Carey Bibb). The fourth character is Marianne Angelle – played by the astonishing Samantha McEwen Deininger – who did not actually exist but is a composite character representing the free black women of the island of Santo Domingo. The acting and the content are a highlight of this production. There are a lot of other things to love here, especially the setting by Richard Atha-Nicholls and the costumes created by Amy Atha-Nicholls. There are a number of technical effects that use projections. Designers Wes Bedsworth and Bill Reinhardt have done a great job using the technology at their disposal and the 360 ​​degree space in which they work.
Darby Dejarnette’s full review

Dorothy (Allison Meyer), Lion (Meghan Williams Elkins), Scarecrow (Kathy Suydam), Toto (Amanda Dullin-Jones) and Tin Man (Francis Hoag). Photo by Kim Harmon Photography.

The Wizard of Oz: a British panto, British players
Public participation is not only suggested in British Pantos; it is deliciously compulsory. British Players production The Wizard of Oz was a top notch production and a fun, boisterous, loud way to experience theater. Written by Emma Houldershaw and Samantha Cartwright, this is not the musical version of The Wizard of Oz that you have probably seen on stage or on screen. Yes, there are songs, and yes, your favorite characters are there – including Dorothy and Toto, the Lion, the Iron Man and the Scarecrow – but they’re joined by an array of additional characters that amplify the game. humor of the show. Kudos to director Nicola Hoag and all of the cast and crew for this top notch production.
Nicole Hertvik’s full review

Adam Adkins (Roat), Brendan Chaney (Carlino) and Mel Gumina (Susy) in “Wait Until Dark”. Photo by Matthew Randall.

Wait for the night, Little Theater of Alexandria
The Little Theater of Alexandria (LTA) shows that good acting and tense staging can continue to fuel an entertaining production of Wait for the night, a 1960s thriller by Frederick Knott. Mel Gumina brings a constantly high level of energy to the lead role, Susy Hendrix. Every good thriller needs a villain, and Harry Roat (Adam R. Adkins) is as bad as it gets. Roat’s henchmen in the criminal ploy – the MacGuffin driving the plot is the search for a doll filled with heroin – are Mike Talman (Brendan Quinn) and Sgt. Carlino (Brendan Chaney), a couple of unlucky little crooks. Director Heather Benjamin has created a tense and suspenseful production. LTA’s technical work lives up to the group’s well-established standard. The realistic set, designed by Julie Fischer, represents a fairly high-ceilinged basement apartment, with frequently used stairs leading down from an upper entrance (footsteps on the stairs are sometimes an important part of the plot. ).
Bob Ashby full review

Show off artwork for the 2021–22 season at the Ovations Theater.

Ovations Theater
Special mention to Ovations Theater for continuing to grow during COVID and producing high quality productions featuring talented young artists. Ovations’ work provided a much needed outlet for teens in 2021. Under the direction of founder Darnell Morris, productions including To rent, Ragtime, The beauty and the Beast, and american idiot featuring stellar sets and costumes, and solid performances from young Ovation performers who gain a solid background in musical theater history and performance. Additionally, Ovations became a permanent performance space, “the Harriet,” in Gaithersburg, Maryland – a difficult step for a growing theater company even if COVID was not a consideration. Nice work, Ovations!
Learn more about the Ovations theater

SEE ALSO:
DCMTA 2021 Staff Favorites: Outstanding Professional Theatrical Productions
DCMTA 2021 Staff Favorites: Outstanding Digital Theater


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