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 3,000,000 homes.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

LITTLE THEATRE of ALEXANDRIA (LTA)



“The Rocky Horror Show”
          I’ve seen a number of productions of “The Rocky Horror Show” that have been a bit raunchy, but that is not the case at The Little Theatre of Alexandria—to my surprise and delight. LTA’s version is very enjoyable with a terrific cast, backed up by music director Christopher A. Tomasino and the Rocky Horror Band. It’s a rockin’ show as directed by Kristofer Kauff. The story is about an innocent couple, Janet and Brad (Melissa Berkowitz and Adam Newland) who have car trouble and head toward the nearest house for help—not expecting a house of horrors. A great cast of spooky folks meet them including Magenta (Paige Taylor), Rocky (Ricardo Coleman) plus Phantoms and Transilvanians, Kimberly Braswell, Kate Malloy, Tahara Robinson and others. Effective lighting by Ken and Patti Crowley. This fun “Rocky Horror Show” runs through Nov. 15. For information and tickets, call 703-683-0496 or check the website at www.thelittletheatre.com

ARENA STAGE - - “Our War”



     Arena Stage in the District is paying tribute to America’s Civil War. “Our War” is part of The National Civil War Project, a collaboration with universities and the art community. Guest narrators are reading from short monologues by 25 playwrights with
an onstage cast of six actors. More than 30 notable leaders from the D.C. community will join the cast individually or in pairs during the run  through Nov. 9. This past weekend, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court did a reading. The actors, giving meaning to the essays, are Ricardo Frederick Evans, John Lescault, Lynette Rathnam, Kelly Renee Armstrong, Tuyete Thi Pham and Sara Waisanen. “Our War” is directed by Anita Maynard-Losh. For information and tickets, call 202-488-3300 or  check the website at www.aenastage.org.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

SIGNATURE THEATRE - - “Sex with Strangers”


  Over the years, I’ve seen local actress Holly Twyford in many, many roles, but none as terrific as the one she is now playing as Olivia in “Sex with Strangers”  at Signature Theatre. Partnered with equally talented Luigi Sottile, in the role of Ethan, these two make “Sex with Strangers” a Must See show!  They are truly mesmerizing. The story is about Olivia, a 39 year old gifted writer who has yet to see success and the much younger, tech savvy blogger, Ethan. They  meet in a small getaway lodge where they are trapped by a  snowstorm. While wildly different, they are  attracted to each other sexually and find themselves in an interesting relationship. “Sex with Strangers” is provocative and raises issues of privacy. Beautifully written by Laura Eason and directed by Aaron Posner.  Twyford and Sottile do great justice to this new contemporary play. For more information and tickets, call 703-820-9771 and check the website at www.signature-theatre.org. “Sex with Strangers” runs through December 7.

BETHESDA BLUES & JAZZ SUPPER CLUB



     The fairly new center of attraction in Bethesda for entertainment and dining is the Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club at 7719 Wisconsin Avenue. You can’t miss it with its sparkly marquee on the front of what used to be a movie theater. Inside there’s a spacious lobby and bar, reminiscent of the old time movie theaters. Beyond the lobby theactual theater has been transformed into a supper club---think mini Copacabana. Owner Rick Brown has established a reputation for bringing in quality entertainers. For example, when I was there last week, the headliner was the well-known Brazilian singer Glaucia Nasser. What a sultry voice! With Nasser was band leader and bongo player extraordinaire, Sammy Figueroa. The whole band was terrific. I have to tell you that I was quite happy with the food. My steak was cooked perfectly and my wife’s stuffed chicken breast was delicious. The soup du jour was vegetable and it was tasty and hot.You would be surprised how often soup is not served hot. The classic Caesar salad was crisp with an excellent Caesar dressing. Other entrees on the menu  include Cajun style veal chop, seared grouper, vegetable pasta and a roasted lamb rack. To check upcoming shows at the  Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club, check the website at www.bethesdabluesjazz.com. Call 240-330-4500 for reseervations and details about free parking. You can also go to the club just for the show for a cover charge only.

SIGNATURE THEATRE - - “Elmer Gantry”



     Signature Theatre has a powerhouse musical in “Elmer Gantry,” the second production in its 25th anniversary season. A wonderful 10 piece orchestra backs the large cast led by Charlie Pollock as Elmer and Mary Kate Morrissey as Sister Sharon Falconer. “Elmer Gantry” is based on a Sinclair Lewis novel and has a lot of  revivalist music. It’s also a sad love story and exposes raw emotions of people searching for their dreams. This Signature version is a bit different from the first  time Eric Schaeffer directed it 15 years ago.  Some of the familiar tunes are “You Don’t Know Who I Am,” “”No Greater Love,” “Should’a Known Betta Blues” and “My American Dream.” The Washington Sisters, three gospel singers, Nova Y. Payton, Ashley Buster and Daphne Epps, can really belt out a song. A few of the other cast members are Harry Winter, Jessica Lauren Ball, Matt Conner, Larry Redmond, Paul Scanlon, Bobby Smith, Stephen Gregory Smith and Russell Sunday.  Another great show at Signature! “Elmer Gantry” runs through Nov. 9. For information and tickets, call 703-820-9771 or check the website at www.signature-theatre.org.

THE METROPOLITAN OPERA



Simulcast of “Le Nozze de Figaro”
     “Figaro” is one of those happy operas and it was simulcast from The Metropolitan Opera in New York City last weekend at the Regal Theatre 12 in the Ballston Mall. The premise of this delightful opera is beautifully silly with characters loving everyone around. The great conductor James Levine was on hand leading the orchestra. The role of “Figaro” was  played by Ildar Abdrazakov.  Lovely Rene Fleming hosted the event with backstage interviews—always such a treat. The next simulcast from the Met will be on November 1 with the exciting “Carmen”. For more information and tickets check the website at www.fathomevents.com.