Rich Massabny is a theatre, arts, & food critic in the nation's capital. He has been quoted in the Washington Post and Washington Times. One of the most visible cable television personalities in the Washington, D.C. area, his celebrity chefs on cooking shows, his weekly reviews and his hour long talk show, reach over 1,000,000 homes.

Monday, January 19, 2015

BISTRO 360



Bistro—Market—Wine Bar
     Recently opened at 1800 Wilson Blvd. in Arlington, is a restaurant, market and wine bar called Bistro 360. Art Hauptman, who owns Cassatts restaurant on Lee Highway near Glebe Road, is a principal at Bistro 360.  Taking a look at Bistro’s menu, developed by executive chef Scott Person, my first thought was, “Wow! A little Asian, a little Italian, a little Southern, a little Eastern Europe and a little French.”  For starters, I tried the onion cabbage soup and butternut squash bisque with a side of fried green tomatoes. Delicious. I was tempted to get the antipasto platter with charcuterie, cheeses, salad and pickled vegetables because Bistro’s market features a wonderful array of cheeses. Another item I passed up, but will try later, was a roasted lamb flatbread with feta cheese and caramelized onions. It looked great! Entrees are divided into pastas and rice, seafood, rotisserie and meats. I chose the miso glazed salmon with bok choy along with lo mein noodles. My wife had a lemongrass pork chop served with gnocchi and snap peas. Both entrees were beautifully presented and seasoned perfectly. Chef Scott said his shrimp and grits and steak dishes are also very popular. Bistro 360 is an up and coming  restaurant between Rosslyn and Clarendon. It’s open seven days a week for dinner plus  brunch on Saturday and Sunday. For more information and reservations, call 703-522-3600 and check the website at www.Bistro360.net.

THE LITTLE THEATRE of ALEXANDRIA



“The Game’s Afoot or Holmes for the Holidays”
     The Little Theatre of Alexandria (LTA) has a wonderful farce, “The Games Afoot or Holmes for the Holidays,” written by Ken Ludwig. This funny play, directed by Frank Pasqualino and produced by Rachel Alberts and Bobbie Herbst, is a winner! It’s set on Christmas Eve in 1936 at the Connecticut home of actor William Gillette (John Henderson). Gillette has invited fellow actors to celebrate the success of their play. He is also recuperating from a gun shot wound. Included in the mix are his mother, Martha (Patricia Spencer Smith) and a theatre critic, Daria Chase (Melissa Dunlap). Daria ends up with a knife in her back and the fun begins when Gillette and actor Felix (Chuck Leonard) attempt to hide the body from a police inspector (Michelle Fletcher). Gillette is fond of quoting Sherlock Holmes and indeed, the plot has many Sherlock twists. Adding greatly to the cast of characters are Joe Quinn as Simon, Maureen Goldman as Aggie and Pam Kasenetz as Madge. “The Game’s Afoot or Holmes for the Holidays” runs through February 7 at LTA, 600 Wolfe Street. For information and tickets, call 703-683-0496 or check the website at www.thelittletheatre.com.

“The Merry Widow”



Simulcast from the Metropolitan Opera in NYC
     The beautiful Renee Fleming sang the title role of  Hanna Glawari in “The Merry Widow” this past weekend in the New York Metropolitan Opera’s simulcast which was viewed at the Regal Theatres at the Ballston Mall. “The Merry Widow” is a happy and good-spirited opera set in Paris where the ambassador from the Pontevedrian region of France (Sir Thomas Allen), which is in desperate need of money, holds a ball at the embassy in hopes of raising money from his guests. The ambassador also wants Count Danilo Danilovitch  (Nathan Gunn) to pursue and marry the wealthy widow Hanna so her millions will remain in Pontevedria. There are a lot of playful flirtations including the ambassador’s wife, Valencienne (Kelly O’Hara) with Camille de Rosillon (Alek Shrader)).“The Merry Widow” was  a Susan Stroman production including the choreography. Sir Andrew Davis conducted the familiar score. The next simulcast from the Met will be “The Tales of Hoffman” on Jan. 31. For more information and how to order tickets, check the website, www.Fathomevents. Com.



Monday, December 29, 2014

SIGNATURE THEATRE - - “Diner”



     The Fabulous Fifties is reflected in the current world premiere production of “Diner” at Signature Theatre. My wife and I are probably two of very few in the audience on opening night who actually remember the music of the fifties. “Diner” is based on the book and movie by Barry Levinson with music and lyrics by Cheryl Crow. Signature’s production is directed and choreographed by  Kathleen Marshall. The story is set in Baltimore in 1959 and revolves around six young men, their girlfriends, a wife and a soon to be wife. The story is very reminiscent of my own young adulthood in Brooklyn. It was great to hear the   the doo wop beat  which brought back memories of Dick Clark’s American Band Stand. Great music from the six member band led by Lon Hoyt. It’s difficult to write about the cast individually as they are all so good. Loved the “portable” diner set and period clothes. “Diner” is a very entertaining show. It runs through Jan. 25. Don’t wait to get tickets. Call 703-573-SEAT or check the website at www.signature-theatre.org.



Saturday, December 20, 2014

SYNETIC THEATER - - “Beauty and the Beast”



     For those few who have not experienced the unique theatre company, Synetic Theater, here’s your chance to see one of their most innovative productions, “Beauty and the Beast.” Presented by the founders of Synetic, Paata and Irina Tsikurishvili and directed by company member Ben Cunis, this “Beauty and the Beast” production delves deeply into the Beast’s past. The Beast is played convincingly by Vato Tsikurishvili. The show is particularly innovative for Synetic with the addition of  narration by Witch Emmeranne (Renata Veberyte Loman)who originally placed a curse on the Beast. Belle, the Beauty (Irina Kavsadze) is forced to meet the Beast and after a while falls in love. Even though the relationship is complex,  the show has heart  Wonderful show! “Beauty and the Beast” runs  through January 11 in Crystal City at 1800 S. Bell Street. For more information and tickets, call 703-824-8060 and check the website at www.synetictheater.org.