Showing posts with label theater. Show all posts
Showing posts with label theater. Show all posts

Friday, March 06, 2020

March 6-12: Lasso of Truth play at Towson University

Lasso of Truth

by Carson Kreitzer | Directed by Steven J. Satta

Under the direction of Steven J. Satta, Carson Kreitzer's funny, insightful play reveals the feminist origins of superhero Wonder Woman and traces the character's rocky journey from America's cultural margins to her current mythic status.

Lasso of Truth is presented by arrangement with THE DRAMATIC PUBLISHING COMPANY of Woodstock, Illinois. May contain material recommended for mature audiences.
Proceeds benefit the TU Foundation.

 Friday, March 6, 2020 at 8:00pm 
More dates through March 12, 2020
Saturday, March 7, 2020 at 8:00pm
Sunday, March 8, 2020 at 2:00pm
Tuesday, March 10, 2020 at 7:30pm
Wednesday, March 11, 2020 at 7:30pm
Thursday, March 12, 2020 at 7:30pm 

Studio Theatre, CA 3060
Center for the Arts, Towson University, Towson, MD 21252, USA

A little more information about the play is at Scoop.

Friday, July 28, 2017

A Chat with King Kirby director William Keith Cassidy

By Mike Rhode
Tonight a recent biographical play about comic book creator Jack Kirby will open for a three weekend run in Greenbelt, MD. Coincidentally, this is also the 100th anniversary year of Kirby's birth, and if you're a comic book fan, or love superhero movies, you should lift a glass to Kirby, and go see this play to learn more about him.
In 2014, comic book writer Fred Van Lente and his wife Crystal Skillman had a Kickstarter campaign to fund a staging of their “King Kirby” script.  At the time, they described the project as:
KING KIRBY is a play by the husband-and-wife team of New York Times bestselling comics writer Fred Van Lente and NYIT award-winning playwright Crystal Skillman about the life and times of Jack Kirby, the great comic book artist who created or co-created some of your favorite heroes on the page and screen, Captain America, the Avengers, Thor, Fantastic Four, the X-Men, Iron Man, Young Romance, the New Gods, Darkseid, The Demon… the list goes on and on.
From the Jewish ghetto of New York's Lower East Side to the battlefields of France to the Senate hearings of 1950s, this is a hysterical and heartbreaking story about a man who pours his quintessentially Twentieth Century life into his comics, only to make the fateful mistake that sends him into obscurity while his creations become known to every person on Earth.
Original 2014 production art by Ryan Dunlavey
A real-life "Adventures of Kavalier & Klay", King Kirby asks what happens when an artist doesn't own his own legacy? Can he ever get it back?
King Kirby has been a long-term passion project of Fred's; with Crystal's help, it's down on paper. Now, with your help, we'll bring this astounding true story to life on stage.
The play has been staged several times (in Seattle and NYC) and is now coming to Greenbelt, MD via Off the Quill and William Keith Cassidy’s vision. A few days before the premiere, I talked to Cassidy (who was my daughter’s high school theater teacher and is a friend of mine) about some specifics of his staging.

Mike Rhode: When you cast Lee and Kirby, did you look at their real-life counterparts? Was that an issue for you?

Rehearsal shot of Josh Mooney as Jack Kirby and Erik Harrison as Stan Lee
William Keith Cassidy: The nature of the play, and especially our production, is very theatrical so I didn’t feel I had to. Also, everyone, and especially Kirby himself, ages several years in the show. Kirby is on stage the whole time so there can be no makeup. It has to be done with acting. We have people in the cast playing four or five parts each, so I didn’t feel that I needed to find people that looked or sounded like them. With the exception of Stan Lee, because he’s the most recognizable. Erik Harrison had the look, and if you read his blog post, he talks about how he always came back to a smile, a grin and this vibrant, youthful energy that Stan Lee has. The one thing I did want physically is that I did want Jack Kirby and his wife Roz to be somewhat the same age. They look like they belong together. I cast a Jack and Roz who are both relatively young, but I could have cast them as older people. I didn’t want to cast one as really young and the other as really old; then they don’t look like they belong together. Whatever their aging is, they have to go together. The play all these lines about Kirby being short, but the actor isn’t and he has blond hair. I told him the other night, “I know you don’t look a thing like him, but by adapting his mannerisms, I think you look like Jack Kirby.”

MR: I have not read this play, so what time frame in Kirby and Lee’s lives is it set? Is it set at the start of the Marvel Age?

WKC: It’s pretty much Kirby’s whole life. It actually opens after he’s dead and there’s an auction of his work and Kirby is commenting on it as an ethereal figure. Then it immediately flashes back to him as a kid in the street gangs in New York City. It goes through his life. We don’t even get to Marvel until the last third of the play.

MR: How long does the play run then?

WKC: There’s no intermission and it’s about an hour and thirty-five minutes.

MR: So that’s a lot of work for Josh Mooney who’s playing Kirby…

WKC: Yes. There’s one scene between where he’s working for Max Fleischer and then going to work for Victor Fox, where he leaves the set. It’s the only time he leaves the stage. For four minutes, he’s not on stage. 

MR: Are there any other comic book people in it?

WKC: Joe Simon is a major character. The original production had Kirby and then only four other people. The actress who played Roz played all the females. The actor that played Simon played a bunch of people. I thought there were certain characters that were important enough to Jack’s life and recurred often enough to be their own actor. I didn’t want them to be ensemble people. My Simon, Lee and Roz  - those are the only roles they play.

MR: So this is a deep dive into comics for an average person – how much did you have to work to convince the theater that it would draw a wider audience?
WKC: I didn’t have to work that hard, actually. There was only one theater I wanted to take this to – Off the Quill. I knew some people there and we’d done some shows together. I’d seen a lot of their shows. Like I said, I wanted to have a very theatrical, stylized element and this theater is very good at that. My assistant director Patrick Mullen really handled all the staging, the transitions, and the movement pieces. He was the mover and shaker behind the stylized pieces, but I don’t think you have to have a strong knowledge of comic books. The more you know, the more you’ll appreciate it, but you can come in knowing nothing.

MR: I saw David Bar Katz's The History of Invulnerability about Superman creators Siegel and Shuster at the Washington DC Jewish Community Center years ago, and you didn’t necessarily have to be steeped in comics.

WKC: Right. There were things I didn’t know about Kirby. I didn’t know that he and Joe Simon pretty much created the romance comic books. That was something I learned coming into this.

MR: Is Kirby’s New York background a major part of his character?

WKC: Yes. I don’t know much he felt this at the time he did it, or if it was later while looking back, but the play includes his regret that he changed his name to Jack Kirby from Jacob Kurtzberg, because he was very proud of his Jewish heritage and background. I don’t think he wanted to be perceived as someone who was trying to hide that. There’s actually a dream sequence at the end where he and Stan Lee are in a confrontation. The playwrights use the dream sequence to have a scene where Jack can say all the things to Stan that maybe he never said. One of the things Stan says is, “C’mon, you were ashamed,” and Kirby replies that he wasn’t ashamed.

MR: Everybody who was Jewish in comic books at the time changed their name. It would be hard to find someone who didn’t.

WKC: There’s a funny scene where Stan Lee is a young kid and he’s writing the prose story in Captain America Comics (which was mandatory for cheaper postage rates), and Joe Simon says, “Who’s Stan Lee?” Lee says “That’s me, I changed my name just like Jack.” Jack says, “I changed my name to sound less Jewish ,” and Joe Simon tells Lee that his name sounds Chinese and he’s changed one minority for another.

MR: When did you start working on this?

WKC: We had several meetings in the spring and we had auditions a week or two later. So in April, but we really got into it in May.

MR: Does the scenery have any fantastic elements?

WKC: It’s very open. We’re using projectors because I really want to create the idea that everything’s a comic book page. The projections are serving a lot of purposes. They’re showing his artwork, which is number one for me.  When I read the play, it seemed the purpose of the play was to let everyone know what his contributions were, so the art had to be center. There are several scenes where there’s a transition from one time to another – it goes from 1961 to 1969, so we’re going to project and show all the Marvel characters he created. We have him drawing, and all the work around him on the walls and floors. We have two projectors on the walls, and one on the floor. We also wanted to use the projectors to show time and place as we cover a sixty-year span, and we use the projectors to show how his life influenced his art. There’s one scene during a street gang fight where they freeze, and it merges into a later Jack Kirby panel with a Viking battle scene that works really well. The theater is a black box with the audience ¾ of the way around the stage.

MR: You’ve cast your son, Brett Cassidy, in the play?

WKC: He’s young, but he reads a lot older on stage. He’s nineteen years old and he’s 6’ 7”. He’s playing most of the bosses. He plays Victor Fox, Martin Goodman, General Patton… he’s playing all the characters that are intimidating.

MR: Whether it was true or not in the real world, Kirby apparently always felt put upon by anybody he worked for, and that comes through in the play?

WKC: Oh, yeah. It’s one of the main themes. It’s one of the things that I responded to personally. Kirby had no problem fighting in a street gang, or fighting in the Army in France, but tried to avoid personal conflict. He’s also a product of the Depression and he doesn’t want to hurt his job. Stability is important to him.

MR: Does the play cover his DC years [when he created The Fourth World and the New Gods]?

WKC: No, when he leaves Marvel, the play skips 20 years. The way we’re staging it, we’re doing a transition and will see the DC years through the artwork projections, but it really picks up again in 1982.

MR: The court case against Marvel about Howard the Duck ownership that eventually led indirectly to the return of his original art?

WKC: Yes, he’s at a convention and he realizes someone is selling his original art. That leads into the dream sequence with Stan Lee. We just know he leaves because he’ll get full credit at DC and not argue with Stan Lee over who did what. The lack of financial rewards is touched on too. He’s at this convention and a fan asks him to sign original art, and Kirby asks how he got it. He also asks the fan about his New Gods for DC, and the fan says he couldn’t get into it.

MR: One of my academic friends, Charles Hatfield, has written a book arguing that the New Gods are Kirby’s true vision. And for the new Justice League movie, at least one of Kirby’s characters is a villain, and the New Gods might be the background for the whole Justice League film series… hopefully Kirby’s is getting some of the profits.

WKC: I hope so. I love [local author] Marc Tyler Nobleman’s movie “Batman and Bill” about Bill Finger’s role in Batman. I didn’t know his story at all. 

MR: It’s interesting that comic book history is now focusing on creators instead of just the characters. I hope you are catching a wave.

WKC: I think so. Anybody that likes good theater will like it. Anybody that likes comic books will like it. We’ve got two good built-in audiences. It’s a great cast. 

For more information about the genesis of the play, read these two articles -

‘King Kirby’ Takes The Stage: Fred Van Lente On His New Play About Jack Kirby’s Life [Interview]

by Patrick A. Reed,  June 19, 2014

“It’s not created by a machine – it’s art created by people” – An Interview with “King Kirby” Playwrights Crystal Skillman and Fred Van Lente.

by Reid Vanier, June 19, 2014

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Director's Notes for Off the Quill's upcoming King Kirby play

The play opens July 28 in Greenbelt - see

by William Keith Cassidy

I have a confession to make. As a kid, I never really liked Jack Kirby’s artwork.

 When I started collecting comics, the artist everyone was talking about was Neil Adams. I quickly became a Neil Adams super-fan. Jack Kirby’s (to my untrained eye) blocky and cartoony layouts just never measured up to Adams’ smooth, flowing compositions, which featured subtle, realistic facial expressions as well as a detailed knowledge of musculature and anatomy. I actually thought Kirby’s work was ugly by comparison…How foolish I was.

As I grew older and (at least a little) wiser, I began to learn how misplaced my first impressions were. Comic art is about moving the story forward and no one did that better than Jack Kirby. Every panel of a Kirby comic is packed with as much emotion as the scene required. When a Kirby hero punches a villain, it’s not just his fist landing on the miscreant’s face, but rather his whole body exploding off the evil-doer’s chin sending him flying backwards. Kirby’s use of depth makes his work appear three dimensional as he often has characters break the frame of the panel. There may have been better artists working in superheroes over the years (Neil Adams among them,) but I argue that there has never been a better illustrator than Jack Kirby.

I found this script while browsing at the Drama Book Shop in New York. I was intrigued that someone had written a play about Jack Kirby, and after I read it was very excited to stage it. Two of my greatest passions are theatre and comic books and I was thrilled to be able to merge the two interests into one project.

Off The Quill was the first and only company I thought of. I knew from the first reading that I wanted to tell the story with a great deal of theatricalism and movement. OTQ has proved quite adept at such stagings in their young history. Also, having acted in productions with many OTQ people before, I knew that they would provide the camaraderie and collaboration, necessary to produce this play in accordance with my vision. I told Patrick Mullen up front, “You guys are better at this than me. I’m really depending on you to nail down the movement aspects of this show.” I was not disappointed.

From my first production meeting, we were all in agreement that the art should be the center of the production and would incorporate projections of Kirby’s work throughout the show, not only to give the audience an appreciation for his genius, but also to illuminate how Kirby’s life influenced his work. The goal was to have the projections, when they were used, take up several locations. They would not just appear on screens, but on the walls and floors, literally turning the stage into a giant comic book.

From the very first auditions, the actors in this show have been a tremendous joy to work with. There was not one rehearsal after which I did not leave feeling artistically satisfied. Every day, they find something new in their characters. There are many aspects associated with this production that I will forever have fond memories of, but working with this enormously talented group of actors, led by the incredible Josh Mooney in the title role, certainly tops the list.

One final note to all of you Stan Lee fans (and I consider myself one,) this play reflects Jack Kirby’s version of their working and personal relationship. Stan’s memories are quite different. Many comic book historians take one side or the other…or somewhere in the middle. However, I feel that the playwrights committed to telling JACK’S story and we have to respect that. One thing EVERYONE agrees on, is that Jack never received as much credit as he deserves. Even Stan says so. I invite you all to do your own research and draw your own conclusions.

Hopefully, after seeing our production, audiences will have a greater appreciation of Jack’s contributions, both in creating the Marvel Universe and in promoting the art of graphic storytelling.

 He was the KING!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

More on the new Cul de Sac play by Amy Thompson and Encore Stage

by Mike Rhode

Yesterday, the Washington City Paper posted my interview with Amy Thompson and Sara Duke on the new Cul de Sac play coming to Encore Stage and Studio next month. They didn't use all of the photographs that Amy provided, or a couple of little bits from the interview, so we present them here for the world's rabid Cul de Sac fans.

Mike Rhode: Richard’s characters are children, but sometimes they are Peanuts-like children, wise beyond their years, as opposed to actual children. Having met people in his family, I can definitely see some of the sources for the strip. Amy, you neglected to mention that you’re often the model for the mom.

Amy Thompson: [laughing] Sometimes…

MR: Did you take inspiration from any previous strip adaptations like the Peanuts cartoon shows or Annie the musical?

AT: I don’t think they’re comparable in the same way. There’s You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, but that’s a musical and I knew I didn’t want to do this as a musical for children’s theater. If I was doing this for professionals who could sing and dance, I think it would make a great musical. This has a couple of random songs, but isn’t a musical. One thing that I did think about is a stage adaptation of Maurice Sendak called Really Rosie. It was based on The Sign on Rosie’s Door and The Nutshell Library. They took the words from Nutshell Library and had ready-made songs. He did it with Carole King and that was a Broadway show. They also did it as an animated special, and I researched it more and read the script and heard the cast recording. That had the same kind of resonance because the main character Rosie is a drama queen. It’s all about “me and you’re going to be part of my little show.” That was something that I thought about.

Sara Duke: I love the detail she put into this. The plates look right. Everything on their kitchen table is perfect.

MR: Could you see using older people in it?

AT: It could be played by people of any age. The main drawback would be that it is for a very large cast the way it’s written right now. You couldn’t do it with a professional theater because it would cost way too much money. It would have to be reworked.

MR: What are you plans for the play in the future?

AT: There are no plans. I hope to publish it. If everything goes well, I would like to approach somebody about publishing it so it could be done anywhere.

SD: The production team discussion about the toad zombies was really amusing and included: how do they move, what do their costumes look like, can they crawl on top of each other, how do they interact…?

MR: Did Richard ever draw them?

AT: He drew one. There was one picture of a toad zombie, and there was one picture later that his artist collaborator Stacy Curtis drew of a bunch of them. You don’t really know what happens with the toad zombies, so I got to make that up.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Post reviews The Lion King play

'The Lion King,' exuberant as ever, takes pride of place at the Kennedy Center [in print as Lion King: A Sensory Feast].

Nia Holloway as Nala in "The Lion King," playing at Kennedy Center. (Joan Marcus)
By Nelson Pressley June 23 2014

Friday, May 02, 2014

May 3: Shrek the Musical brought to you by the students at Washington-Lee High School in Arlington. The last show on May 3rd will have an evening performance at 7pm. Ticket prices for Shrek: $7 in advance and $10 at the door. 

I saw this tonight, and it was really a lot of fun. The kids did a great job! It's the perfect way to end your Free Comic Book Day!

Monday, April 28, 2014

May 1-3: Shrek the Musical

....brought to you by the students at Washington-Lee High School in Arlington.  Each show will have an evening performance at 7pm.

Ticket prices for Shrek: $7 in advance and $10 at the door. 

Here's the link to order tickets in advance.​

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Jan 18-19: Little Mermaid Jr. on stage in Arlington

The Little Mermaid Jr.

Music by Alan Menken
Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater
Book by Doug Wright
Based on the Hans Christian Andersen Story and the Disney Film produced by Howard Ashman & John Musker and written & directed by John Musker and Ron Clements
January 10-19, 2014
Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre
125 S. Old Glebe Road Arlington, VA 22204
Encore Season 2013 BannerSplash into this classic story of Ariel, the mermaid princess, who wishes to live in the world above rather than the ocean floor. To explore life on land, Ariel disobeys her father, King Triton, and makes a deal with the evil sea witch Ursula. Ransoming her singing voice, she must convince Prince Eric that she is indeed the girl who rescued him or risk losing her voice forever. Sing along to your favorite songs and watch as Ariel, with the help of her friends, tries to break Ursula's curse and win the heart of the Prince. Recommended for ages 4 and up.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Lincoln 'Big Nate' Peirce interview online at City Paper

Meet a Visiting Cartoonist: A Chat with Lincoln Peirce
by Mike Rhode
Washington City Paper's Arts Desk blog May 9, 2013

Tune-in tomorrow at ComicsDC for the children's Q&A session that didn't make it into this story.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

City Paper doesn't like Addams Family play either

Standard & Horror [online title: At Studio and the Kennedy Center, buzzy and commercial musicals with a dose of the macabre]
By Trey Graham Washington City Paper July 20, 2012

Monday, May 14, 2012



(Washington, DC) – The History of Invulnerability, David Bar Katz's provocative new drama, brings the origin story of the Superman comic to life, in all its political complexity. Behind every great superhero is a determined creator. In 1930s America, that creator was usually a young Jewish man with an active imagination. Batman, Spiderman, The Incredible Hulk and other iconic cartoon characters were all products of young American Jews.  Bar Katz's play illuminates the story of Jerry Siegel—the brains behind Superman's brawn—and the imagined struggle between the creative father and his uber-mensch son.

The History of Invulnerability runs June 6–July 8, 2012 at Theater J in the Washington DCJCC's Aaron & Cecile Goldman Theater. Press night is Monday, June 11 at 7:30 pm. Performances on Saturday, June 9 at 8:00 pm and Sunday, June 10 at 3:00 pm are $30 previews. Performances on Wednesday, June  6 and Thursday, June 7 at 7:30 pm are pay-what-you-can previews. Performances on June 17 and 24 and July 1 and 8 at 7:30 pm are $35 Sunday night specials. On Thursday, June 21 at 7:30 pm the show will have open-captioning for the hearing impaired. There will be special matinee performances at noon on Friday, June 22.  Tickets are available starting at $30 at  or (800) 494-TIXS.

With a new Superman blockbuster film opening in 2013 and the re-release of the Superman comic as "The New 52" by DC Universal in September 2011, The Man of Steel remains an enduring American phenomenon.  As Bar Katz traces the iconic character back to his conception in the mid 1930s, the audience views the action from the inner landscape of creator Jerry Siegel (David Deblinger) who begins his journey in his mother's basement in Clevelend. Frustrated with feelings of powerlessness in the face of the mounting horrors of Nazi Germany, Siegel and illustrator Joe Shuster (David Raphaely) create a being capable of overpowering all enemies. After their Superman comic catches on, the duo's desire to depict Superman slaughtering Nazis is curbed by Harry Donenfeld (Conrad Feininger), the head of DC Comics who purchased the rights to Superman for a mere $130. As Jerry wrestles to retain control of his comic book sensation and his life, America is drawn into WWII.  Interspersed with scenes from Siegel's life is the story of inmates of Birkenau. Audacious Benjamin (David Raphaely) dreams of rebellion, elderly Saul (Conrad Feininger) struggles to keep faith in God, and young Joel (Noah Chiet) waits expectantly for the day when Superman will come to their rescue.  The History of Invulnerability was a finalist for the 2011 ACTA Steinberg New Play Award and the Acclaim Award for "Outstanding Play World Premiere" at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.  Theater J's production marks The History of Invulnerability's East Coast premiere and second production overall.

Artistic Director Ari Roth welcomes The History of Invulnerability to the Theater J stage, remarking "In the tradition of David Mamet, David Bar Katz is a writer of muscular Jews with a wild, robust writing style to match. He's got a number of interesting plays: Philip Roth in Khartoum, [staged at the Public Theatre in 2008] Burning Burning Burning [surrounding Shabbetai Tzvi, the false messiah] and The Atmosphere of Memory [Featuring Ellen Burstyn]. He's a great writer for a new generation, and we're glad to start an ongoing relationship with him."  Bar Katz is a company member of the prestigious LAByrinth Theatre in New York, which includes artists like Philip Seymour Hoffman, who directed the Emmy-nominated HBO presentation of Bar Katz's Oh The Power. Bar Katz also earned two Tony Award nominations for the Broadway production of his play Freak. In an article in CityBeat, Cincinnati, Bar Katz describes himself as a writer who understands the "desire to fight battles in the real world using your fiction."

Director Shirley Serotsky understands this impulse as well, commenting "The desire to will into existence a better place, a better solution, a better being, is a fascinating piece of the Jewish and of the human story." Initially coming from a musical theatre background, Serotsky was struck by the parallels between musical theater and comic books: "Both are uniquely American art forms…dominated by Jews, often first–generation Jews who needed an escape both from the tragedies going on in Europe, and from their own often harsh circumstances in America." As the Director of Literary and Public Programming, and frequent director at Theater J, Serotsky has an extensive background staging stories from the Jewish experience.  Ms. Serotsky's Theater J credits include The Rise and Fall of Annie Hall, The Moscows of Nantucket, Mikveh and next season's The Hampton Years.  Recently, she garnered praise with her production of Birds of a Feather at The Hub Theatre, Blood Wedding at Constellation Theatre Company, and Working at Keegan Theatre.

Serotsky describes her cast as "a gutsy group of actors who are able to embrace both the stylistic world of a comic book and the deeply honest emotions and desires of the characters in this world." They are led by David Deblinger, who garnered rave reviews for his portrayal of Jerry Siegel in Cincinnati Playhouse's world premiere of The History of Invulnerability. Deblinger is one of the founding members of the LAByrinth Theater Company, where he has performed in over 15 productions. He recently appeared in the world premiere of The Killings Room at Teatro Circulo and Animals Out Of Paper at The San Francisco Playhouse. In addition to being a talented actor, Deblinger is also a prolific playwright and solo performer. On June 25, Deblinger will share his work-in-progress Abe's Lucky Penny, which deals with the themes of fathers and sons also raised in The History of Invulnerability.

Playing the brash Harry Donenfeld is Conrad Feininger. Mr. Feininger recently appeared at Theater J in Benedictus, Either/Or and String Fever. A frequent performer at The Shakespeare Theatre, he recently appeared in their productions of King Lear, Richard II, Henry V and All's Well That Ends Well. Other recent credits include Hysteria at Rep Stage and Charming Billy at RoundHouse Theatre. Playing the Man of Steel himself is Tim Getman, fresh from his appearance in After The Fall earlier in the Theater J season.  Getman has also appeared in the Theater J productions Photograph 51, Passing the Love of Women, The Last Seder and as Danny Saunders in Theater J's original production of The Chosen. He recently starred in Gruesome Playground Injuries at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, where he also appeared in The Unmentionables and The Distance from Here.

Also making a second appearance in the Theater J season is Brandon McCoy,  who just reprised his role as Simon in Theater J's encore presentation of New Jerusalem: The Interrogation of Baruch de Spinoza.  Playing both Joe Shuster, the illustrator of Superman, and Benjamin, the revolutionary concentration camp inmate is David Raphaely.  One of Philadelphia's most popular young actors, Mr. Raphaely has appeared in productions at The Wilma Theatre, The Arden Theatre Company, The Walnut Street Theatre, PlayPenn, and the Philadelphia Theatre Company.  In the summer of 2010, he was a guest artist in the Theater J/TheatreLab staged readings of Ari Roth's Born Guilty cycle. Jjana Valentiner, who recently gained acclaim playing barmaid Patsy in Sideman at 1st Stage, will play Jerry's mother and other roles. Valentiner's other recent credits include Pride and Prejudice at Round House Theatre; Birds of a Feather at The Hub Theatre;  Fucking A at The Studio Theatre 2ndStage and Tartuffe at the Journeymen Theater Ensemble. She is joined by James Whalen, returning to Theater J after appearing in last season's Voices from a Changing Middle East festival. Mr. Whalen was recently seen in The Shakespeare Theatre Company's production of Cymbeline. He is also a frequent player at Everyman Theatre, where he has appeared in The Exonerated, Betrayal and The Cripple of Inishmaan. Alyssa  Wilmoth, a graduate of the Shakespeare Theatre Company Academy for Classical Acting who recently earned accolades  in No Rules Theatre Company's production of StopKiss will play Superman's paramour, Lois Lane.  Noah Chiet completes
the ensemble as the young boy imprisoned in a concentration camp, dreaming of Superman.  By the age of 12, Mr. Chiet has already gained rave reviews for his turn in Ganeymede Arts' Falsettos and in Liberty Smith at Ford's Theatre. He has participated in two readings at Theater J, and this is his first production.

An all-star design team of Theater J veterans reunite to create the vibrant world of comic books and the equally atmospheric concentration camps. In addition to designing the set for The Rise and Fall of Annie Hall and The Moscows of Nantucket, scenic designer Robbie Hayes has worked on Theater J's Sholom Aleichem: Laughter Through Tears. Lighting will be designed by Dan Covey, who also designed lights for Mikveh at Theater J. Debra Kim Sivigny, a veteran Theater J designer (Rise and Fall of Annie Hall, The Moscows of Nantucket and Mikveh) and company member of Rorschach Theatre, will be designing costumes. Returning to Theater J after several seasons is Dre Moore, as Properties Designer. Matthew Nielson (The Whipping Man, New Jerusalem) will create the sound design.

The History of Invulnerability is presented as the annual Arthur Tracy "The Street Singer" Endowment Production honoring the memory and musical legacy of Arthur Tracy, the renowned radio, stage and screen singer and entertainer whose talent delighted millions around the world. Additional funding has been provided by Ann and Don Brown and Judy and Leo Zickler.

Complimenting The History of Invulnerability in the DCJCC Ann Loeb Bronfman Gallery will be the exhibit "Graphic Details: Confessional Comics by Jewish Women" opening on June 7. See for more information.

WRITTEN BY: David Bar Katz
DIRECTED BY: Shirley Serotsky
SOUND DESIGNER: Matthew Nielson
DRAMATURG: Stephen Spotswood

FEATURING: David Deblinger, Conrad Feininger, Tim Getman, Brandon McCoy, David Raphaely, Jjana Valentiner,
James Whalen, Alyssa Wilmoth and Noah Chiet

PRESS NIGHT:  Monday, June 11

Regular Schedule:  Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Saturdays at 8:00 pm, Sundays at 3:00 and 7:30 pm
$30 Previews:  Saturday, June 9 at 8:00 pm and Sunday, June 10 at 3:00 pm
Pay-What-You-Can Previews: Wednesday, June 6  and Thursday, June 7 at 7:30 pm
Special Matinees: Friday, June 22 at 12:00 pm
Please note: Thursday, June 21 at 7:30 pm the show will have open captioning for the hearing impaired.


LOCATION: The Washington DC Jewish Community Center's Aaron & Cecile Goldman Theater at 1529 16th Street NW in Washington, DC, 4 blocks east of Dupont Circle.

PARKING & METRO:  Limited parking in the Washington DCJCC lot; additional parking available at Colonial Parking, 1616 P Street NW; limited street parking. Dupont Circle Station RED line.

TICKETS:  Starting at $30. Box Office Tickets (800) 494-TIXS or
For discounts for groups of 10+ call (202) 777-3214 or email

Theater J is handicapped accessible and offers assisted listening devices for interested patrons.   
High resolution digital images are available upon request. More information about this production is available at (202) 777-3230 or

Theater J, a program of the Washington DCJCC, produces thought-provoking, publicly engaged, personal, passionate and entertaining plays and musicals that celebrate the distinctive urban voice and social vision that are part of the Jewish cultural legacy. Acclaimed as one of the nation's premiere playwrights theaters, Theater J presents cutting edge contemporary work alongside spirited revivals and is a nurturing home for the development and production of new work by major writers and emerging artists exploring many of the pressing moral and political issues of our time. Dedicated first to a pursuit of artistic excellence, Theater J takes its dialogues beyond the stage, offering an array of innovative public discussion forums and outreach programs which explore the theatrical, psychological and social elements of our art. We frequently partner with those of other faiths and communities, stressing the importance of interchange among a great variety of people wishing to take part in frank, humane conversations about conflict and culture.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Feiffer play onstage in Arlington

A revival of Jules Feiffer's dark play Little Murders opens tomorrow Friday January 13th (hmmm) and runs to Feb. 11 at Gunston Theatre Two, 2700 S. Lang St., Arlington, 703-998-4555, .
and here's the Post's favorable preview:
Death and mayhem: Gadzooks! In 'Little Murders,' making dark comedy of exaggerated violence [online title: "Backstage: Death and mayhem in 'Little Murders'"
By Jessica Goldstein
Washington Post (January 11 2012)
online at


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thru Oct 17: Peanuts play in town

Tickets are $25 from No Rules Theater at the H Street Playhouse -

You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown
Book, Music & Lyrics by Clark Gesner
Additional Dialogue by Micael Mayer
Additional Music & Lyrics by Andrew Lippa

Directed by Matt Cowart
Choreographed by Pauline Grossman
Musically Directed by Taylor Williams

Lucy - Carolyn Cole
Snoopy - Chris French
Sally - Kristen Garaffo
Schroeder - Sean Maurice Lynch
Linus - Joshua Morgan
Charlie Brown - Augie Praley

H Street Playhouse - Washington, DC
Theatre Mania Box Office: 866-811-4111
9/30 - 8pm | 10/1 - 8pm | 10/2 - 2pm & 8pm | 10/3 - 2pm
10/7 - 8pm | 10/8 - 8pm | 10/9 - 2pm & 8pm | 10/10 - 2pm
10/14 - 8pm | 10/15 - 8pm | 10/16 - 2pm & 8pm | 10/17 - 2pm

Friday, July 09, 2010

Superheroes Who Are Super at the Capital Fring Festival beginning tonight

Save the Day Productions is presenting its live readings of comic books, "Superheroes Who Are Super" at the Capital Fringe Festival beginning tonight
Friday, July 9 @ 8pm
Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man and Wonder Woman #1
Saturday, July 10 @ 10pm
Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man and Wonder Woman #1
Wednesday, July 14 @ 9:45pm
Batman Adventures: Mad Love
Friday, July 16 @ 10:15pm
The Uncanny X-Men #127-128
Sunday, July 18 @ 3:30pm
The Uncanny X-Men #127-128


The Apothecary
1013 7th Street, NW
Washington, DC
Tickets: $15

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

A little bit of Peanuts history

This ad for "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown" is from the July 8th, 1969 Chicago Tribune - or 8 days before Apollo 11 took off and 12 days before it landed on the moon - thus explaining World War 1 ace Snoopy's spacesuit helmet.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Apparently Garfield: The Play will arrive in DC in 2011

The Warner Theater is specifically suggested as a venue in "Garfield" Will Be Star of His Own Musical, Harry Haun, Playbill's Playblog (March 4 2010). Unless my daughter's tastes change radically in the next year, I'll be seeing this.