Barbara Johnson

Barbara Johnson Barbara Johnson is a Northern Virginia-based young professional with a passion for music and theatre. As a lifelong performing arts enthusiast, she is thrilled to write for BroadwayWorld.com and help support DC area productions.


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BWW Review: Washington National Opera Presents Bold and Haunting DEAD MAN WALKING at the Kennedy CenterBWW Review: WNO's Bold and Haunting DEAD MAN WALKING
Posted: Feb. 27, 2017


BWW Review: Pointless Theatre's .d0t:: A ROTOPLASTIC BALLET Brings Futurism to LifeBWW Review: Pointless Theatre's .d0t:: A ROTOPLASTIC BALLET Brings Futurism to Life
Posted: Apr. 14, 2017


BWW Review: Nicholas Rodriguez Inspires in a Seventies-Themed Signature Theatre CabaretBWW Review: Nicholas Rodriguez Inspires in a Cabaret
Posted: Feb. 1, 2017


BWW Review: Rodgers and Hammerstein's CAROUSEL Sparkles at Arena StageBWW Review: Rodgers and Hammerstein?s CAROUSEL Sparkles at Arena Stage
Posted: Nov. 14, 2016


BWW Review: Delightful NEARLY LEAR Brings Kid-Friendly Shakespeare to the Kennedy CenterBWW Review: Delightful NEARLY LEAR Brings Kid-Friendly Shakespeare to the Kennedy Center
May 13, 2017

It's thrilling to discover a work of Shakespeare for the first time, especially as a kid. For me, those introductions came from old episodes of "Wishbone" on PBS, but luckily for today's young audiences in the Washington area, there's a live option: NEARLY LEAR, a tweaked, SparkNotes-length version of the dark original work, performed in a one-woman show by Susanna Hamnett at the Kennedy Center's Family Theater.

BWW Review: SMART PEOPLE Uses Comedy to Tackle Race at Arena StageBWW Review: SMART PEOPLE Uses Comedy to Tackle Race at Arena Stage
April 21, 2017

As topics go, you couldn't pick a more immediate one than race in America. And as cities go, Washington is an apt location for a production of Lydia R. Diamond's SMART PEOPLE. It's set during the Obama era and takes on the topic of race with biting comedy. Seema Sueko directs a new run at Arena Stage, featuring a four-person cast that is combustible and exciting to watch.

BWW Review: Pointless Theatre's .d0t:: A ROTOPLASTIC BALLET Brings Futurism to LifeBWW Review: Pointless Theatre's .d0t:: A ROTOPLASTIC BALLET Brings Futurism to Life
April 14, 2017

If you've ever dreamed of seeing Lin-Manuel Miranda collaborate with Daft Punk, Pointless Theatre's .d0t:: A ROTOPLASTIC BALLET may be the closest you'll get. Heavily inspired by Italian futurist artist Fortunato Depero, the show incorporates masterful puppetry, visuals like a pop-up book brought to life, and clever hip-hop musical verses written and delivered by Navid Azeez. It's a lot of ideas wrapped up in one experience, but they cohere beautifully.

BWW Review: Brave Spirits Theatre Presents A KING AND NO KINGBWW Review: Brave Spirits Theatre Presents A KING AND NO KING
April 3, 2017

In keeping with Brave Spirits Theatre's commitment to producing overlooked works from Shakespeare's contemporaries, the company's staging of Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher's A KING AND NO KING marks a DC metro area professional premiere. An excellent cast and a modern approach by director Cassie Ash and the creative team make this production worthwhile.

BWW Review: Moody MIDWESTERN GOTHIC Premieres at Signature TheatreBWW Review: Moody MIDWESTERN GOTHIC Premieres at Signature Theatre
April 3, 2017

My expectations for the premiere of MIDWESTERN GOTHIC at Signature Theatre were so high that the musical itself was bound to fall short, no matter what. Billed as a darkly funny thriller, it's got atmosphere in spades and boasts laudable performances from a cast of committed actors. But that isn't enough to keep the whole affair from feeling like an interesting concept still in search of a form.

BWW Review: Timely New Play PETROL STATION Premieres at Kennedy CenterBWW Review: Timely New Play PETROL STATION Premieres at Kennedy Center
March 25, 2017

Anglo-Kuwaiti writer-director Sulayman Al Bassam's new play PETROL STATION is as of-the-moment as it gets. Drawn from politics, literature, and myth, it features Muslim characters and is densely packed with urgent themes: justice for migrant workers, autonomy for women, cyclical violence. Epic set and lighting design (Eric Soyer) conjure a windswept desert in an imagined borderland torn by civil war, a dramatic backdrop that enhances the actors' delivery of poetic lines.

BWW Review: Scena Theatre's THE NIGHT ALIVE is Supernaturally GoodBWW Review: Scena Theatre's THE NIGHT ALIVE is Supernaturally Good
March 22, 2017

'May lost souls find salvation' is the tagline of Scena Theatre's production of Conor McPherson's modern Irish play THE NIGHT ALIVE. Any lost soulswandering into this production will find it worth seeing for its superb Irish actors, Barry McEvoy and Brian Mallon, alone. They'realso likely to find salvation in a story that elevates the everyday to heavenly heights.

BWW Review: FROM THE MOUTHS OF MONSTERS Makes Powerful Premiere at the Kennedy CenterBWW Review: FROM THE MOUTHS OF MONSTERS Makes Powerful Premiere at the Kennedy Center
March 11, 2017

Inspired by (but not literally adapted from) Mary Shelley's 200-year-old novel Frankenstein, Idris Goodwin's FROM THE MOUTHS OF MONSTERS makes a powerful world premiere at the Kennedy Center's Family Theater. A two-actor play starring Shannon Dorsey and Tia Shearer in energetic, flexible roles, it sports a cool, contemporary aesthetic and impeccable sound design (Christopher Baine) - important for a play that's all about a teenager's discovery of the weight of words.

BWW Review: Washington National Opera Presents Bold and Haunting DEAD MAN WALKING at the Kennedy CenterBWW Review: Washington National Opera Presents Bold and Haunting DEAD MAN WALKING at the Kennedy Center
February 27, 2017

Rooted in the moral conflict between society's thirst for justice and Christianity's tenet of forgiveness, the modern American opera DEAD MAN WALKING is an apt selection for the Washington National Opera this season. With a moving score by Jake Heggie and an honest, straightforward libretto by Terrence McNally, it is based on Sister Helen Prejean's 1993 memoir of her work as a spiritual advisor to death row inmates, including one in particular, Joseph De Rocher. The Kennedy Center production directed by Francesca Zambello marks the 50th international production of DEAD MAN WALKING, and it's a bold and haunting one.

BWW Review: BLUES IN THE NIGHT Smolders at Creative CauldronBWW Review: BLUES IN THE NIGHT Smolders at Creative Cauldron
February 13, 2017

Creative Cauldron's production of BLUES IN THE NIGHT, directed by Matt Conner, spotlights a strong four-person cast that delivers 26 songs by Duke Ellington, Bessie Smith, and other early jazz legends. Backed by a live band led by Walter 'Bobby' McCoy and surrounded with a sultry set, these singers enthrall.

BWW Review: Nicholas Rodriguez Inspires in a Seventies-Themed Signature Theatre CabaretBWW Review: Nicholas Rodriguez Inspires in a Seventies-Themed Signature Theatre Cabaret
February 1, 2017

Seen most recently in his unforgettable turn as Billy Bigelow in Arena Stage's CAROUSEL, Nicholas Rodriguez graces Signature Theatre with his own cabaret. Those in the DC area who have delighted in Rodriguez's take on traditional musical roles now get the chance to hear him croon, emote, and belt a variety of music spanning the decade of the 1970s.

BWW Review: Scena Theatre's SOMEONE IS GOING TO COME is Paranoid and ProvocativeBWW Review: Scena Theatre's SOMEONE IS GOING TO COME is Paranoid and Provocative
January 11, 2017

Robert McNamara directs three Scena Theatre veterans in the Washington-area premiere of SOMEONE IS GOING TO COME, Norwegian writer Jon Fosse's absurdist exploration of magnified paranoia. Thanks to excellent acting and attention to detail, the experience is tense, at times grating, and interesting to witness.

BWW Review: Synetic Theater Presents SLEEPING BEAUTY with a TwistBWW Review: Synetic Theater Presents SLEEPING BEAUTY with a Twist
December 12, 2016

The classic fairy tale SLEEPING BEAUTY is hundreds of years old, but Synetic Theater has improved it from an emotional standpoint by incorporating an unexpected twist: the Witch is a multidimensional person. In this version, the Prince is the Witch's son, and the incomparable Irina Tsikurishvili brings the Witch to life. The result is breathtaking and makes for timeless entertainment for younger audiences and their families.

BWW Review: THE MAGI Brings Love and Lyrics to The Hub TheatreBWW Review: THE MAGI Brings Love and Lyrics to The Hub Theatre
December 5, 2016

The Hub Theatre's THE MAGI is in many ways made for the winter holidays: it is unabashedly about love and sacrifice. Kelsey Mesa directs this two-person acoustic musical featuring impressive original songs by Eli Pafumi.

BWW Review: A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE is Bleak and Beautiful at the Kennedy CenterBWW Review: A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE is Bleak and Beautiful at the Kennedy Center
November 23, 2016

The plot of A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE is straightforward, and the source material by Arthur Miller is pretty good, but the spectacular staging of this classic work at the Kennedy Center elevates what could have been a fairly pedestrian family drama to atmospheric heights. The very definition of 'catharsis', this spellbinding production stuns with stripped-down, potent emotion.

BWW Review: Rodgers and Hammerstein's CAROUSEL Sparkles at Arena StageBWW Review: Rodgers and Hammerstein's CAROUSEL Sparkles at Arena Stage
November 14, 2016

There's something about a classic, standard musical that tugs at the heartstrings. Maybe it's the the swelling orchestra, the time-honored songs, or the amazement that an old love story can feel new again. Under the direction of Molly Smith at Arena Stage, Rodgers and Hammerstein's CAROUSEL is all of the above.

BWW Review: Nu Sass Productions Revives 43 1/2: THE GREATEST DEATHS OF SHAKESPEARE'S TRAGEDIESBWW Review: Nu Sass Productions Revives 43 1/2: THE GREATEST DEATHS OF SHAKESPEARE'S TRAGEDIES
November 7, 2016

43 1/2: THE GREATEST DEATHS OF SHAKESPEARE'S TRAGEDIES, a 2013 Capital Fringe favorite from Nu Sass, is back again with its enthusiastic original cast for a third run. Sun King Davis directs the zany, bloody production, with a new batch of gruesome fight scenes thrown in to keep things fresh.

BWW Review: Spooky Action Theater Waxes Philosophical with RAMEAU'S NEPHEWBWW Review: Spooky Action Theater Waxes Philosophical with RAMEAU'S NEPHEW
October 24, 2016

Spooky Action Theater opens its season with a cutting-edge play that covers politics, celebrity, and the nature of genius. RAMEAU'S NEPHEW, adapted from an 18th century work by Denis Diderot, is hardly new, but this 2016 incarnation is as timely and amusing as can be. Director Richard Henrich delivers a production with flashes of outright brilliance that compensate for a few (non-fatal) flaws.

BWW Review: Delightfully Absurd COLLECTIVE RAGE: A PLAY IN FIVE BOOPS Premieres at Woolly MammothBWW Review: Delightfully Absurd COLLECTIVE RAGE: A PLAY IN FIVE BOOPS Premieres at Woolly Mammoth
September 19, 2016

The world premiere of Jen Silverman's COLLECTIVE RAGE: A PLAY IN FIVE BOOPS kicks off Woolly Mammoth's season with a perfect balance between the really absurd and the absurdly real. Directed by Mike Donahue, it's the story of five very different women. All are named Betty Boop, and all are female archetypes fighting against their own oppressive forces.

BWW Review: The Klunch Presents Kinetic Comedy THE LAST CLASS: A JAZZERCIZE PLAYBWW Review: The Klunch Presents Kinetic Comedy THE LAST CLASS: A JAZZERCIZE PLAY
August 22, 2016

For a play that is essentially about deciding when it's time to say goodbye to the one dream that has made you happy, THE LAST CLASS: A JAZZERCIZE PLAY is as funny as it is insightful. Trying to retain her place in a fitness-class world that has long since moved on to Zumba, Kelsea (Megan Hill, also the play's writer) has continued to teach Jazzercize to an ever-shrinking class at the Chikatawnee Valley Community Center. The Klunch brings the DODO production of JAZZERCIZE to DC, featuring the original cast from the recent New York City premiere and direction from Margot Bordelon.



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