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 experience DC area productions.
"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 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 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 Cauldron February 13, 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 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 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 Theatre December 5, 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 Stage November 14, 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 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 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 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.BWW Review: Jade Jones Presents JAZZED AND JADED at Creative Cauldron's 2016 Summer Cabaret Series August 1, 2016
Let's be honest - with the state of current affairs, the political circus, the ongoing tragedies around the world - we're all feeling at least a little jaded these days. So it makes sense that DC singer Jade Jones' 'Jazzed and Jaded,' part of Creative Cauldron's 2016 Summer Cabaret Series, is exactly what we need right now.BWW Review: Thought-Provoking REDDER BLOOD Premieres at The Hub Theatre July 25, 2016
Originally earning 11 Helen Hayes nominations and audience acclaim in 2014, Synetic Theater's silent 1920s-style take on TWELFTH NIGHT is re-staged this season - which is not a moment too soon. In a winning blend of quirky vintage comedy and surprising emotional depth, this production manages to reinvent Shakespeare in a way that's so energetic, it could never be called tired.BWW Review: Delighting in Deception at Capital Fringe's PERFECT LIARS CLUB July 11, 2016
For those who think they can easily spot a liar (especially in this city), PERFECT LIARS CLUB returns to Capital Fringe Festival and offers an opportunity to pick one out of a lineup. The show includes four storytellers who each present a personal tale that seems stranger than fiction. Only three are telling the truth, and it's the audience's job to scrutinize the facts and expose the liar.BWW Review: PLAY CUPID Hits Home at Capital Fringe July 11, 2016
Capital Fringe Festival's PLAY CUPID is a crowdsourced dating app in which we, theaudience, decide who gets paired up as we watch the action unfold. The choose-your-own adventure matchmaking format of this performance makes it better than this season of 'The Bachelorette.' Or at the very least, it feels more authentic. Its surprising humanity and sometimes painful awkwardness might summon not-too-distant memories of your own first dates.