DCMTA Spring 2020 Staff Favorites: Outstanding Professional Theater Productions

A tribute to all the artists and theaters whose work so far this year has left an indelible impression on us.

Normally we who cover theater for DC Theater Arts collect our favorites as the year draws to a close, but this has not been a normal year. In mid-March, the 2020 season was interrupted by a pandemic and theaters went dark for who knows how long. Shows that were running closed. Shows in production got canceled. Suddenly the theater community felt profound uncertainty and anxiety.

We at DCMTA cannot magically turn the lights back on. But we realized there is something we can do to raise spirits: Share our staff favorites now for the shows we saw in 2020 before the shutdown. Just like we do at year-end—all our favorite productions, performances, design elements—except right now when our digital applause might serve as a gift of uplift.

Here then is our special spring 2020 edition of staff faves—in tribute to all the artists and theaters whose work so far this year has left an indelible impression on us.

The first category is Outstanding Productions (Professional), and in it we recognize:

  • Productions that stood out for their overall artistry
  • Theaters that took risks or pushed boundaries through their programming choices
  • Productions by locally based playwrights whose work elevated our stages

DCMTA Spring 2020 Staff Favorites: Outstanding Performances in a Professional Production
DCMTA Spring 2020 Staff Favorites: Outstanding Design Elements in Professional Productions

In the following days we will publish our picks for Outstanding Productions, Performances, and Design Elements (Community).

The 39 Steps at Constellation Theatre
This production of The 39 Steps is a joyous spoof of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 film.  Part parody and part tribute, it’s a wicked melange of razor-sharp dialogue, sight jokes, slapstick, and mime, all performed by four actors who dash through 60-odd roles.  Nick Olcott, who understands that comedy is serious stuff, has directed the show with exuberance and style. One of the funniest scenes—choreographed by Mark Jaster and Jenny Male—is a train chase in which the characters engage in a whirlwind game of musical chairs, exchanging dialects, coats, hats, and wigs.  Altogether, this is glorious, laugh-out-loud fun. —Ravelle Brickman
Bob Ashby’s review
Ravelle Brickman’s interview with Director Nick Olcott

The Amateurs at Olney Theatre Center
Of course, Jordan Harrison’s The Amateurs is not about Coronavirus. And Olney Theatre Center couldn’t possibly have known when programming this thoughtful comedy about medieval actors outrunning the black plague that viruses would be very much on audience’s minds this week. But by staging The Amateurs now, while a new health scare is forcing us all to rethink our routines, Olney Theatre’s production serendipitously underscores the play’s main point that while calamitous and tragic, health crises have often been catalysts for survivors—and specifically artists—to question the status quo and demand more out of life. Add Jordan Harrison to the list of those pushing the art form to ask new questions, seek new answers, and take humanity just a little bit further in the business of being human. And add Olney’s production to the list of shows that remind us of the magic of live theater. —Nicole Hertvik
Nicole Hertvik’s review

The cast of ‘The Amen Corner’ at Shakespeare Theatre Company. Photo by Scott Suchman.

The Amen Corner at Shakespeare Theatre Company
With the brilliant directorial conception of Whitney White, The Amen Corner pays homage to the Black Church in the rhythm, music, and movement of this emotionally moving play-with-music. And oh, how glorious is the music. Under Music Director Victor Simonson, the affirmation of song completes each dramatic crescendo. Just like a Greek chorus that exchanges tragedy for jubilation, the choir’s powerfully pleasing voices could resurrect Dionysius. The soul-stirring singing adds clout to a joyous shout, while the piano man takes the jazz out of the club and blasts it at the altar. Get-happy praise dance adds frenetic energy to gospel music that’s divinely right on time, and there are enough hallelujahs to lift the soul as well as the rafters of the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Sidney Harman Hall. —Ramona Harper
Ramona Harper’s review
John Stoltenberg’s interview with director Whitney White

American Opera Initiative
Washington National Opera
It is important to the development of the uniquely American opera canon to workshop new voices like this.—Whitney Fishburn
Whitney Fishburn’s review

Bandstand at The National Theatre
The musical celebrates the humanity and altruism war can arouse in people—the beauty that can come out of such atrocity, the individual sacrifices of the soldiers, and the compassion of citizens at home who attempt to help the vets. Bandstand is a love letter to all the veterans and their families, saying “We support you. We honor you. Welcome home.” —Kendall Mostafavi
Kendall Mostafavi’s review

Carmen at IN Series
The show’s innovative take on a classic made it relevant, raw, and riveting. Despite the show’s relentless coarseness, its intimate immediacy kept the audience invested. —Whitney Fishburn
Whitney Fishburn’s review

Elephant & Piggie’s “We Are in a Play!” at Adventure Theatre and ATMTC Academy
Whether considering a favorite toy, dealing with unintended consequences, deciding to go to a party or sharing an ice cream, Elephant and Piggie have some friends to emphasize each detail. The Squirelles, a three-part harmony backup group, adds quick one-liners in word, intonation, and song that get an immediate response. Big booming laughs come from the audience. There’s plenty for adults to find in all this fun. Played by Kelli Blackwell, Alex De Bard, and Da’Von Moody, the Squirelles add comic timing in gestures as simple as poking a head in the doorway or the sound from an everyday hand-held instrument. There’s plenty of coming and going too, as characters appear and disappear building the intensity by running away, or reappearing in an unexpected way. —Jane Franklin
Jane Franklin’s review

Candice Shedd-Thompson, Rachel Rarlaam, Greg Michael Atkin, Brice Guerriere, Lauren Farnell, and Adelina Mitchell in 'Head Over Heels' by Monumental Theatre Company. Photo by Rj Pavel.
Candice Shedd-Thompson, Rachel Rarlaam, Greg Michael Atkin, Brice Guerriere, Lauren Farnell, and Adelina Mitchell in ‘Head Over Heels’ at Monumental Theatre Company. Photo by Rj Pavel.

Head Over Heels at Monumental Theatre
Set in an intimate theater-in-the-round, this production was so much of a nonstop whirl of mirth and talent that it is almost impossible to know where to begin explaining how much I loved every second, but I’ll try: After receiving a foreboding prophecy of loss and destruction, the King of Arcadia is determined to outwit the gods and save his kingdom’s “beat.” To do so, he takes his queen, two daughters, and faithful household on a journey that turns out to be much more about the path they travel than the destination they seek. With book by James Magruder, adaptation by Jeff Whitty, and a plot based on Sir Philip Sidney’s The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia, Head Over Heels at Monumental Theatre Company was a queer and perfect combination of Shakespearean verse and jukebox musical. Featuring the Go-Go’s hits “We Got the Beat,” “Mad About You,” “Vacation,” and “Our Lips Are Sealed,” Head Over Heels was a toe-tapping celebration of life, love, and self. —Em Skow
Em Skow’s review

Henry IV, Part 2 at Brave Spirits Theatre
Will Henry IV, ill and despondent after a brilliant youth, be able to hold onto his throne? Will his son Prince Hal stop carousing with reprobate Sir John Falstaff and become a true prince-in-waiting? In Henry IV, Part 2, Shakespeare compresses the last decade of Henry IV’s reign into eight short historical scenes. The justly famous comic episodes with Falstaff tend to dominate many productions. Here, they are wonderfully energized by Director Charlene V. Smith’s talent for compelling stage action and exuberant physical comedy. —Sophia Howes
Sophia Howes’s review

Kinky Boots at Toby’s Dinner Theatre
With a terrific local cast and production, Toby’s Dinner Theatre in Columbia strutted all over any straitlaced conventions in this musical’s six-inch stilettos. The message about respecting the differences of others came over loud and clear in the shared duet “Not My Father’s Son.” Long after all the runway lights dimmed, it was that universal spirit of acceptance that left one so happy to have been part of the audience. —John Harding

From top to bottom, the production was wowing. The cast, the choreography, the creative design, and everything in between. A stellar production of an inspiring and uplifting show —Kendall Mostafavi
John Harding’s review

Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures: Swan Lake at The Kennedy Center
At the seedy club, couples cavort with trendy articulations of the wrists and pronounced undulation of hips.  There’s humor in the quick pace and the interactions that lead to the Prince (James Lovell) finding no solace.  Lovell’s dance on the grimy street shifts as if the low could feel no lower. Video Designer Duncan McLean’s wrong-side-of-the-tracks club is a daunting visual presence.  Filter through the setting with your own experience, and a background of understanding fills in the rest. Same goes for the common language of a city park where rippling waves appear on a lake, and suddenly there is a swan. Bird watchers beware; this is one for your life list.  —Jane Franklin
Jane Franklin’s review

A Measure of Cruelty at 4615 Theatre
The casual cruelty that constructs men’s certainty they’re real men—and the cost of that violence to others and to themselves—comes under scathing scrutiny in Joe Calarco’s shattering one-act A Measure of Cruelty. Directed by the author as a site-specific experience in a bar in Bethesda, this gripping production by 4615 Theatre Company rips open raw wounds done by and done to three generations of men. In the immediacy of this intimate barroom, A Measure of Cruelty offers a front-row seat to the slap-hug-slap-hug and rage-remorse-rage-remorse of wounding and wounded men. It’s at once a punch in the gut and a tug to the heart. —John Stoltenberg
John Stoltenberg’s review

Regina Aquino and Ami Brabson in 'The Merry Wives of Windsor.' Photo by Cameron Whitman Photography.
Regina Aquino and Ami Brabson in ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’ at Folger’s Theatre. Photo by Cameron Whitman Photography.

Merry Wives of Windsor at Folger Theatre
Director Aaron Posner has an unerring sense for our zeitgeist, and when coupled with a wicked sense of humor it guarantees a fantastic evening of theatre—especially when he’s producing Shakespeare.  His Merry Wives of Windsor was a fully realized 1960s-style romp, complete with the wives as placard-carrying feminists. That the opening night fell on the evening of the annual women’s march in Washington helped to create a rare form of electricity, linking 1600s made-to-order sitcom (Queen Elizabeth demanded one more ridiculous turn for Falstaff, her favorite stage character) with the still-relevant theme of women’s empowerment.  All while paying tribute to the classic sitcoms of the 1960s. —Andrew Walker White
Andrew Walker White’s review

Museum 2040 at 4615 Theatre
Museum 2040, a world premiere written by Renee Calarco and directed by Jordan Friend, was an extraordinary immersive installation, a simulated real-time event that took us off guard and plunged us into an unknown future. The “museum” was designed as a place of remembrance and hope, to commemorate the nation’s recovery from a 2030 terrorist attack on the Lincoln Memorial. On a tour, we saw artifacts of the attack and listened to eyewitness accounts. Later, we witnessed a dedication ceremony and watched a panel discussion. At all times, the experience was disconcertingly authentic and full of surprises, an utterly original and compelling art form. —Sophia Howes

Billed as an “immersive experience,” this dystopian drama is set in a not-so-distant future that is both terrifying and terribly familiar. The year is 2040. The place is a museum, dedicated to the memory of a catastrophic event. 4615 founder Jordan Friend directs a stunning cast in a show that playwright Renee Calarco thought was “unproducible.” DCMTA reviewer Sophia Howes called it a “complex, fully realized, and utterly compelling.” ” —Ravelle Brickman
Sophia Howes’s review
Ravelle Brickman’s preview and interview with Playwright Renee Calarco

Christopher Lovell (Moses) and Jalen Gilbert (Kitch) in ‘Pass Over’ at Studio Theatre. Photo by Margot Schulman.

Pass Over at Studio Theatre
Imagine the Book of Exodus—a saga retold at Passover celebrations around the world—grafted onto the poetry and comedy of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. If you can grasp that, then you will have a hint of Pass Over, a drama in which violence hovers above history and menace interrupts faith. John Stoltenberg, DCMTA’s reviewer, called it “harrowing.” —Ravelle Brickman (whose feature, based on an interview with dramaturg Lauren Halvorsen, will appear when the show reopens)

Pass Over by Antoinette Nwandu is so harrowing it will stop your heart. In it, Christopher Lovell and Jalen Gilbert give two of the most powerful performances to be found in the DMV. The intense experience of Pass Over is followed by no curtain call for release. The audience is left to absorb the impact of what just happened. In the interplay between their bodies in motion and brisk riffs of speech, there emerges a heightened performance style that absolutely stuns with originality and eloquence. Director Psalmayene 24 has done something extraordinary: Lovell and Gilbert so physicalize the text’s every rhythm, breath, and pulse that we could be beholding some brand-new form of choreopoem. —John Stoltenberg
John Stoltenberg’s review 

This searing and visceral meditation on America’s original sin, slavery, is an uncompromising commentary on racism, freedom, hope and despair by New York-based playwright Antoinette Nwandu. It’s as prophetic and as compelling as a Shakespearean tragedy and as current as the headlines. Pass Over reminds us of the power of live performance. Studio’s production packs near-equal power to the Steppenwolf’s production. Local director, playwright, and actor Psalmayene 24 draws strong performances from Christopher Lovell (Moses), Jalen Jamar Gilbert (Kitch), and Cary Donaldson (in the dual role of Mister and Ossifer). Debra Booth’s set is a floating island of dirty concrete sidewalk beneath a street lamp on a nondescript urban corner—recalling the spot where Estragon and Vladimir sat in Godot. Moses and Kitch, like forbears Didi and Gogo, pass the time as night blends into day, and day back into night. —Lisa Trager
Lisa Traiger’s review on Washington Jewish Week

The Pied Piper
American Pops Orchestra
The American Pops Orchestra (APO), led by Maestro Luke Frazier, gently took children and adults by the hand and engaged them with a gleeful new musical take on an old fairytale, The Pied Piper, gently delivering some innovative life lessons along the way. The Pied Piper was written by Claybourn Elder. In the APO’s Pied Piper, movement and singer helped illuminate the narrative. The musical numbers were drawn from the Great American Songbook and pop tunes. The live music was delightfully and crisply performed by eight members of the APO. The musical numbers were sung with great, carefree, animated cheer by the show’s three cast members. So, what was the APO’s Pied Piper about? This time it was a town led by co-mayors who had forbidden happiness for the townsfolk, including the orphan children who did all the dirty work in town. There was to be no music, singing, or dancing by its citizenry. Even the rats who infested the small hamlet had a hard time. This Pied Piper was a woman who used jaunty music, delightful singing, and glorious movement to convince the powerful town co-mayors to change their ways. From my vantage point, the very diverse audience of young children and adults were totally enthralled. The children were quiet as they leaned forward to see and hear. They clapped at the end with winning smiles on their faces.  —David Siegel
David Siegel’s review

Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World at Mosaic Theater
Imagine a comedy about immigration, or a hookup illuminated by a lightbulb, or—wildest of all—a pious fiancee finding a naked woman in her soon-to-be husband’s bed. Imagine any of those, and you will still have only a scant idea of why Pilgrims Musa and Sheri is as delicious a romp as any that’s come along in years. Billed as a romantic comedy, Pilgrims is funny with touches of farce, sweet but not saccharine, sad but not tragic. All five of its characters are pilgrims, following their passions and searching for a better life. Shirley Serotsky, the director, understands the importance of taking risks, and Yussef El Guindi, the award-winning playwright, understands the universality of immigration. Lighting, sound, costumes, and set are all pitch perfect. In the end, Pilgrims is more than funny. It’s a tale of triumph over odds and a salute to those who make it in a world that is not always brave or welcoming. —Ravelle Brickman
Ravelle Brickman’s review
John Stoltenberg’s column 

Andrea Harris Smith as Nya and Justin Weaks as Omari in 'Pipeline.' Photo: C. Stanley Photography.
Andrea Harris Smith as Nya and Justin Weaks as Omari in ‘Pipeline’ at Studio Theatre. Photo by C. Stanley Photography.

Pipeline at Studio Theatre
Dominique Morisseau’s Pipeline tells the story of a Black boy sent by his parents to a pricey white boarding school, and everything that goes down for him has everything to do with the reality of the institution of whiteness. As the boy’s mother, Nya, a 30-something single public school teacher,  Andrea Harris Smith gives a deeply affecting performance on the verge of unraveling. She is overcome with grief and foreboding because her teenage son, powerfully portrayed by Justin Weaks, has just physically assaulted a white teacher in class. She knows this now means he is at risk of expulsion and possible charges that could ensure him a position in the school-to-prison pipeline. Pipeline burns with the passion of a loving Black parent and blazes with insight about her at-risk Black son. And as this luminous Studio Theatre production makes clear, it shines a bright light on what gives white the right. —John Stoltenberg

Dominique Morrisseau’s Pipeline is a memorable portrait of a mother and son trapped in a system that gives neither of them much support. The son, Omari (I saw Justin Weaks’s replacement, the excellent Jeff Hiller), has come to resent the pressure to be a “model student” as one of the few minorities in a prestigious private school. His mother, Nya (Andrea Harris Smith), teaches at a public school and has high expectations for her son. When he fails to meet them, she erupts in rage. We come to care deeply about these characters in the course of the play. In this first-rate production, Studio gives us a glimpse of a world that, though fraught will difficulty, is suffused with love. —Sophia Howes
Bob Ashby’s review
John Stoltenberg’s column

Richard II at Brave Spirits Theatre
This Richard II, part of Brave Spirits’ ambitious project to bring all Shakespeare’s history plays to the stage, is a resounding success. A talented and energetic cast, led by the superb Gary DuBreuil as Richard, bring their very best to this complex but profoundly human play. The painful choices people make between proximity to power and the love of family are at the heart of the conflict. The central action is a tectonic shift from a leader who believes in the divine right of kings to another who insists that ability, luck, and timing can alter that assumption. —Sophia Howes
Sophia Howes’s review

The Royale at 1st Stage and Olney Theatre Center
This play about a boxer packs so many emotional punches into its compact six rounds, you might not know what hit you. As fists fly, bells clang, terse words burst, and the cast claps out each repercussion, you might feel the pace of your own pulse race and you might be moved to shed a tear and cheer. Marco Ramirez’s The Royale was inspired by the life of African American heavyweight champion Jack Johnson, who is fictionalized as Jay Jackson. Paige Hernandez directs this award magnet And Jay is played by Jaysen Wright, giving a full-on physical, vocal, and passion-filled performance of the caliber and charisma that makes stars. —John Stoltenberg
John Stoltenberg’s column
Bob Ashby’s review of the production at Olney Theatre Center
Nicole Hertvik’s interview with Director Paige Hernandez

Sheltered at Theater J
A gathering stormcloud looms over this exquisitely wrought play by Alix Sobler. “How bad is it going to get?” a character wonders aloud. No one can answer. “It can’t go on like this much longer, can it?” she asks. No one can say. The time is spring 1939. It and this mean Hitler’s persecution of Jews in Europe. All five characters are aware of it but none knows what’s to come. None has any conception of the “final solution” now called the Holocaust. And in the fraught space between our knowing and the characters’ not knowing, Sheltered at Theater J engages the very moral fiber of our being and takes on an urgent universality. —John Stoltenberg
Amy Kotkin’s review
John Stoltenberg’s column

Silent Sky at Ford’s Theatre
Silent Sky is the story of Henrietta Leavitt (Laura C. Harris), a 19th-century college graduate who is determined to make a career out of studying the stars. She spends nearly 30 years at the Harvard Observatory, where the male astronomers consider her work and that of the other women—to be something akin to bookkeeping. It’s a wonderful story, and Lauren Gunderson, the playwright known for the pairing of science and feminism, has turned it into a drama fit for a star-studded stage. —Ravelle Brickman
Amy Kotkin’s review
Ravelle Brickman’s interview with Laura C. Harris (about some of the ways in which her character could well be the grown-up version of Wendy in Peter Pan)

Evan Daves and the cast of ‘Spring Awakening’ at Round House Theatre. Photo by C. Stanley Photography.

Spring Awakening at Round House Theatre
This production was amazing. Director Alan Paul managed to give this frenetic musical a fresh spin at Round House. Unique blocking and choreography melded with a stellar cast to take this Spring Awakening to the next level. —Darby DeJarnette
Lisa Traiger’s review
Darby DeJarnette’s preview and interview with the cast

suicide.chat.room at Taffety Punk Theatre
Taffety Punk’s suicide.chat.room was a unique, haunting, and compelling performance. Marcus Kyd conceived and directed the production, with a narrative based upon and compiled from text found at pro-suicide websites. With its music composed by Chad Clark and performed by Beauty Pill, and choreography by Paulina Guerrero with Erin Mitchell Nelson, the ensemble production is one-of-kind, powerfully and well-expressed. Music, dance, and acting come together persuasively in service to Taffety Punk’s impressionistic suicide.chat.room. Eloquent theater about those who wish to be released from real pain, or the toxicity of their lives as they feel them. —David Siegel
David Siegel’s review

Swan Lake at Ballet Theatre of Maryland
Ballet Theatre of Maryland’s production of Swan Lake is a gorgeous combination of dancing, costumes, and lighting. With choreography by Artistic Director Dianna Cuatto, it is a wonderful staging of Tchaikovsky’s beloved classic. As Cuatto will retire at the end of this season, and Nicole Kelsch, who plays Odette and Odile, is set to become the new Artistic Director, this production is also a lovely tribute to them both. —Charles Green
Charles Green’s review

This Bitter Earth at Theatre Alliance
A poetic and politically charged same-gender-loving love story, This Bitter Earth by Harrison David Rivers—in a powerfully moving production at Theater Alliance—strips bare the hearts, hurts, and sexual heat of two men who face the hate outside across the color divide. The physical interplay between Jesse (Justin Weaks) and Neil (Noah Schaefer) is the sensual heartline of the play, its erotic epicenter, and is present throughout in Dane Figueroa Edidi’s exquisitely sensitive intimacy choreography. With Jesse and Neil’s every kiss, caress, and cuddle, we sense they have found with each other, for some brief and precious time, a trust and passion that might just might mitigate all that in the world would tear them apart. —John Stoltenberg
John Stoltenberg’s review

Jordan Essex, Tess Higgins, Ricky Drummond, Emily Levey, and Joshua Simon in ‘The Toxic Avenger’ at Rorschach Theatre. Photo by Ryan Maxwell Photography.

The Toxic Avenger at Rorshach Theatre Company
If you are wondering to yourself “Did that campy ’80s horror movie really merit a musical version?” then I have good news for you. Absolutely! If you are a fan of demented silliness, then this is the musical you didn’t know you needed in your life. Inspired direction, fun performances, and clever design elements all conspire to make this production one to be seen. Rorschach’s first musical in its 21 years as a company leaves us wanting more. —Nicole Hertvik
Nicole Hertvik’s review

Weep at Nu Sass Productions
Nu Sass’s world premiere of Weep was an arresting, unflinching peek into complicated lives with emotionally charged scenes and character collisions. It is a slowly building psychological thriller. In the intimate Caos on F space, with seating for about 30, the Weep audience becomes jurors, hearing the evidence in the deeply moving tragedy of Marina, a mother accused of drowning her two children. Under the sensitive direction of Nu Sass company member Bess Kaye, the original script penned by area playwright Amanda Zeitler was a riveting story brought to life by a terrific ensemble cast of four with emotional range. A drama to see and react to. —David Siegel
David Siegel’s review

What Problem by Bill T. Jones Company at the Center for the Arts at George Mason University
Performer/Choreographer Bill T. Jones has created a company with an extraordinary reputation for its ability to perform in the area between dance and theater. His latest creation, a world premiere, was performed at the Center for the Arts at George Mason University after a month of preparation, master classes, and rehearsals with a group of people from the Mason community. Since the subject of What Problem was the impossibility of living without community, the production’s division into three parts—the last of which illustrated the creation of community—proved that, once again, Bill T. Jones is a master at making visible what other dancers might leave simply as an idea.  —Barbara Mackay
Barbara Mackay’s review
David Siegel’s interview with Choreographer Bill T. Jones

Zomo the Rabbit: A Hip-Hop Creation Myth at Imagination Stage
Imagination Stage has produced an engaging show with a talented cast that is energizing, fun, and informative. The production is recommended for ages 4 and older, but don’t exclude your tweens. I went with a 9- and an 11-year-old (girl and boy, respectively), and both were dancing in their seats and jiving with the beats. And everyone in the audience was infected with the love of hip-hop.—Kendall Mostafavi
Kendall Mostafavi’s review

Outstanding Repertory: Richard II, Henry the Fourth Part 1, Henry the Fourth Part 2, Henry the Fifth at Brave Spirits
Charlene V. Smith’s vision of a two-year, eight-play cycle of Shakespeare’s history plays was tragically cut short in its first iteration this spring—but make no mistake:  next year, the above four plays in repertory plus the three parts of Henry the Sixth and the ultimate Richard III will be one of the must-sees of the 2021 season.  Smith, inspired by a staging of these plays in London some years ago, has assembled some fine talent and managed to coach some memorable performances.  She wasn’t content to stage these plays as museum pieces, either; one example will have to suffice:  by casting Nicole Ruthmarie as an African American Princess Katherine de Valois in Henry the Fifth, and closing out this first season with the cast singing the slave ballad “The Shores of Hispaniola,” Smith has presented theatre that forces you to work your mind at multiple levels. —Andrew Walker White

DCMTA Spring 2020 Staff Favorites: Outstanding Professional Theater Productions


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