A Theatre Lover's Guide to DC/Capital Area Theatres – January 2012 Offerings and 'Best of 2011'


It's that time of the year to take a look back at which shows and performances I enjoyed in 2011 on DC area stages, and since I saw over 200 of them this year in professional, community, university, children's, and in programs that train young actors, so let me give it a whirl and I'll pick my 'Top 5' in each category below.

If you live in the DC area and/or visited the Nation's Capital this year and saw some shows - chime in – will you? – in the 'comments' at the end of this article and tell me what you think and tell me who your favorites were in 2011.

A few changes this year in this column – no more 'Must Sees.' I can't tell you how many of my "Must Sees' turned out to be "Bust Sees," so I'll continue my huge lists of shows in this column, and if I see something that you just have to see, I'll give you a 'Shout Out.'

And go to Maryland Theatre Guide, where I am the Editor, and read our reviews, interviews, and our popular short interviews with people who work in the theatre called 'A Quick 5' and you'll see what others are saying about what's playing in the DC area during 2012. Congrats and thank you to the vibrant DC area theatre community. There's so much to cover that it's taking 40 writers on Maryland Theatre Guide to try to report on everything that's playing.

I'd like to wish all of you - and everyone who work in and supports the theatre – a happy, successful, and healthy 2012 filled with great theatre and sold-out houses! And come visit our theatres in DC. There's lots of great shows playing here.

My Favorite Productions/Performances of 2011

(1) Musicals

  • The Drowsy Chaperone at McLean Community Players.
  • Dreamgirls at Toby's Dinner Theatre of Baltimore.
  • Follies at The Kennedy Center.
  • Nevermore at Creative Cauldron at ArtsSpace Falls Church.
  • The Wild Party at Teatro101.

(2) Performance in a Musical

  • Larry Baird as The Man in the Chair in The Drowsy Chaperone at McLean Community Players.
  • Danny Burstein as Buddy in Follies at The Kennedy Center.
  • Carolyn Cole as Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray at Signature Theatre.
  • Kevin McAllister as Burrs in The Wild Party at Teatro 101.
  • Chris Rudy as Mary Sunshine in Chicago and as himself in I Left My Heart, A Salute to the Music of Tony Bennett, both at Toby's Dinner Theatre of Columbia.

(3) Plays

  • The Chosen at Arena Stage.
  • The Green Bird at Constellation Theatre Company.
  • Macbeth at Synetic Theater.
  • Return to Haifa at Theater J.
  • Ruined at Arena Stage.

(4) Performance in a Play

(5) Children's Theatre and Young Actors' Productions

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Joel Markowitz Joel Markowitz grew up in Buffalo, NY. At a young age, between shoveling snow and eating hot Buffalo wings, he fell in love with theatre, particularly musical theatre. Moving to the DC area after graduating from Syracuse University, Joel founded The Ushers Theatre Going Social Group, where he leads groups to performances in the DC area, and theatre weekends in NYC and Philadelphia. This year, The Ushers is celebrating its 21st anniversary. Joel also coordinates Broadway Bound Meetup groups in the DC, Baltimore, and VA areas.

In May 2011, Joel became the Editor and Senior Columnist for Maryland Theatre Guide, after writing his popular column Theatre Schmooze, and recording interviews with DC, Philadelphia, and New York actors, directors, and composers for DC Theatre Scene for 5 years. Joel is also a regular contributor on the weekly NYC radio program ‘The Lunch and Judy Show’ where he talks with host Judy Stadt about theatre in NYC and the DC area. Joel is a fan of Stephen Sondheim, William Finn, Jason Robert Brown and Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. His favorite musicals include Ragtime, The Secret Garden, Spring Awakening, Gypsy, The Light in the Piazza, Sweeney Todd, The Last Five Years, and In The Heights. He is a huge supporter of children's theatre. Joel is also a Buffalo Sabres fan, so you may see him at hockey rinks, as well as at stage doors, where he schmoozes with the stars.

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