Tuesday, July 22, 2008

New Reviews: A Roundup of DC Theatre

After I returned from the national conference of the American Theatre Critics Association in Washington, D.C., I wrote a long review (over 2,000 words, it turned out) for Back Stage of just about all the productions I saw there. Here's the link. I'm actually rather proud of this piece and its epic length.

Here's a tease:

Capitol Crimes and Missed Demeanors
July 18, 2008
By Leonard Jacobs

It seems a cliché to suggest that all theatre in the Washington, D.C., area has a political slant. But at times it appeared as if the tickets being offered to the visiting members of the American Theatre Critics Association, which held its annual conference from June 17 through June 22 in and around the D.C. metro area, were for productions seeking to prime the pumps of polemical debate. Critics were offered opportunities to see up to 10 shows (well, 14 if you squeezed in errant matinees and stayed in town a little longer), plus four panels, four dinners with artistic directors, and various other colloquia, readings, and events.

The Bethesda, Md.-based Round House Theatre's remounting of Russell Lees' prickly and pulsating satire Nixon's Nixon (closed June 29) — first presented by the company in 1999 — was among the more overtly political works on the agenda. It was originally produced Off-Broadway under the auspices of MCC Theater (then called the Manhattan Class Company) in 1995; it is set on the eve of President Nixon's resignation from office. While it has been widely reported that Nixon's secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, decided to visit the embattled 37th president in the Lincoln Sitting Room that night, what transpired remains a mystery. As Lees insightfully imagines their chat, the play is equally compelling for the volumes left unsaid.

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