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.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

METRO STAGE - - “Uprising”

     I’m always interested in plays that portray a slice of  American history. None are so compelling as those exposing the perilous times of slavery. Such is the case of “Uprising,” a play by Gabrielle Fulton, currently playing at Metro Stage in Alexandria.  It’s a musical drama with an outstanding cast! The story is set in 1859 in a free black community in Pennsylvania where the strongwilled Sal (Cynthia D. Barker) encounters Ossie (Anthony Manough), the lone survivor of John Brown’s Raid on Harper’s Ferry. While she is attracted to him and his mission, she has many reservations including mistrust, fear and a commitment to a young fellow, Freddie (Jeremiah Hasty). It’s amazing how the audience is drawn into this personal story and the conflicted feelings of the freed slaves versus their counterparts in other states. “Uprising” runs through Oct. 25. For information and tickets, call 703-548-5044 and check the website at

ARENA STAGE - - “Destiny of Desire”

     Imagine taking your favorite television soap opera and turning it into a stage play. This is called a telenova or that’s what’s playing at the Arena Stage in D.C. Award winning playwright Karen Zacarias has written a telenova called, “Destiny of Desire.” Think “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Dynasty” with music.  The play takes place in a Mexican desert town and is hot with Latin lovers, campy intrigue and great music. The wide divide between the wealthy and the poor and the morality (or lack of it)  of each is front and center. “Destiny of Desire” is really a lot of fun and provides a very entertaining evening at the theatre. And, what an ensemble cast of actors!! Great direction by José Luis Valenzuela, wonderful music coordination by Rosino Serrano and delightful choreography by Robert Barry Fleming, You’ll enjoy this show!! For tickets, call 202-488-3300 and check the website at The show runs 
through Oct 18.

Sunday, September 20, 2015


     The McLean Community Players are presenting the area premiere of Tim Furth’s “Calendar Girls,” at McLean’s Alden Theatre. Based on a true story, it is set in a small English village where a number of middle-aged ladies belong to a club call the Women’s Institute. After the husband of one of the members dies, they decide to raise money for the hospital in his name by selling a calendar. Sounds innocent enough until we discover the calendar will have pictures of the ladies, sort of in the buff. When word gets out, they are deluged by reporters. Lots of fun with a great ensemble cast. “Calendar Girls” is directed by Bob Sams who directed MCP’s production of “The Games Afoot” last season. The show runs on weekends through Oct. 3. For more information and tickets, check the website at


    The 2015-2016 World Stage series at The Kennedy Center began last weekend with a production of “Seuls,” written, directed and performed by Wajdi Mouawad, born in Lebanon, raised in Canada and now residing in Paris. This one-man show was in French with English sub-titles. I have to say I found the show complex—easy to follow for the first half, but a bit complicated at the end. But, honestly, it was so well performed that I couldn’t stop thinking about it long afterwards. Mouawad plays Michael who is writing a thesis on Robert LePage and at the same time, having issues with his father. “Seuls” is just the first of six productions in The Kennedy Center’s World Stage series which brings leading companies of artists from the U.S. and abroad in theatre, music  dance and more. For information and tickets to upcoming shows, call 202-467-4600 and check the website at


“Now Comes the Night”
     Every once in a while, you see a show that is written so well written, the actors don’t seem to be acting. Such is the case with “Now Comes the Night,” written by E.M. Lewis and playing at 1st Stage at Tysons. It takes place in 2006 in the apartment of Michael Apres (Dylan Myers). He has just returned  from being held hostage for 18 months in Iraq. He was  a journalist and anchorman for a local TV station prior to leaving for Iraq. His friend and co-anchor Brad Flanigan (Jaysen Wright) wants to interview him about his horrific experiences, but Michael is fearful the  interview would affect a female hostage still in Iraq. A third person  on stage is Jack Velazquez (Sun King Davis)), a photo journalist, who  saved Michael’s life, but was killed in their  attempt to escape. “Now Comes the Night” is a must see before it ends Oct. 11. Great direction by artistic director Alex Levy. For more information and tickets, call 703-854-1856 and check the website at Their next show is “Harvey,” which opens Nov. 12.