A Theatre Lover's Guide to DC/Capital Area Theatres - March 2011 Offerings

With over 30 new productions opening on DC area stages, 4 large festivals, and 2 world premiere musicals, it may still be chilly outside, but DC area stages are sizzling and bursting with great theatre. So come visit the Nation's Capital and visit our vibrant theatre scene.

MARCH 2011 MUST-SEES:

FROM MARCH 2ND TO THE 20TH, DIZZY MISS LIZZIE'S ROADSIDE REVUE'S FINN McCOOL AT WOOLLY MAMMOTH THEATRE COMPANY'S MELTON REHEARSAL HALL, IN WASHINGTON, DC. 

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For the past three seasons, Dizzy Miss Lizzie's Roadside Revue has been packin' 'em in at the Capital Fringe Festival. This month, they are remounting their big hit Finn McCool. "A brave hero fights a bad ass fairy. Rock and Roll, baby! Complete with a brave hero, a one eyed henchman, a crazy guy who talks to canned goods, Druids and a drinking song!"

Finn McCool is a new, original, rock and roll experience from the writers of The Oresteia and The Saints: composers and lyricists and guitar pickers extraordinaire Debra Buonaccorsi (who also penned the book) and Steve McWilliams. The rockin' cast are Debra Buonaccorsi (The Morrigan), John Kenna (Finn McCool), Laura Kenna (Druidess Bodhmal), Maria Egler (Luatha Lugann), Mike Kozemchak (Finneces), Steve McWilliams (Goll MacMorna), Judith Ingber (Murna), and Rich Nagel (Musician). Don't miss this toe-tappin', guitar strumming, hand clappin' time!

FROM MARCH 3RD TO THE 27TH, DR. HORRIBLE'S SING-ALONG BLOG, AT LANDLESS THEATRE COMPANY, AT DC ARTS CENTER ('DCAC'), IN WASHINGTON, DC. 

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'Dr. Horrible shuts down Washington, DC in March, 2011' - so says the Landless crew and I actually believe them! Look, when you see a Landless Theatre production you know you're gonna have a zany, off-the-wall time, so bring on Dr. Horrible!

"The play is a direct (what does that mean?) adaptation of the cult internet sensation by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon, Zack Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen; Billy May seem like a nerdy blogger by day... but he moonlights as Dr. Horrible, the aspiring Super-Villain hell bent upon dominating the world and earning his place alongside Bad Horse ("the thoroughbred of Evil") in the Evil League of Evil. Will his maniacal dreams be thwarted by the dashingly cheesy Captain Hammer, or an

unexpected romance with that special girl at the Laundromat?

I'm sure the eccentric director Andrew Lloyd Baughman, (who is also the Producing Artistic Director of Landless Theatre Company), will put his cast and audience 'through the ringer'.

The cast includes Landless regulars CharLes Johnson as Dr. Horrible, Clay Comer as Captain Hammer, and Stefanie Garcia as Penny. The production also incorporates cabaretstyle performances from Dr. Horrible's Commentary- The Musical, including tributes to the creators and deleted songs. How horrible could it be?

FROM MARCH 3RD TO THE 27TH, Red Herring, AT WASHINGTON STAGE GUILD, AT THE UNDERCROFT THEATRE OF MOUNT VERNON PLACE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH, IN WASHINGTON, DC. 

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I love farce and Red Herring sounds like my kind of show. Hollinger's play is described as, "A madcap, irreverent farce of spy versus counter-spy, set in the cold war and involving everything from the H-bomb to the FBI to Joseph McCarthy's daughter! Three of Steven's other plays have been produced by the Guild: Incorruptible, An Empty Plate in the Cafe du Grand Boeuf, and Opus", and they did them very well, so I am expecting great things here.

The amazing cast, directed by Steven Carpenter, features Brit Herring, Marni Penning, Lynn Steinmetz, Jeff Baker, Bligh Voth, and Michael Avolio. I'm 'herring' great things about this one!

FROM MARCH 8TH TO THE 27TH, THE CHOSEN, AT THEATRE J, PERFORMING IN THE FICHANDLER AT Arena Stage AT THE MEAD CENTER FOR AMERICAN THEATRE, IN WASHINGTON, DC.

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When Aaron Posner is directing a show in DC - it's a real event, and this month his adaptation of Chaim Potok's The Chosen, which was a hit 10 years ago at Theater J, will be remounted in Arena Stage's newly renovated Fischandler in-the-round stage. It's a great choice by Arena Stage as they invite Theater J as the first local guest company in residence.

"The much beloved story of two boys, two fathers, and two very different Jewish communities in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Aaron Posner's award-winning adaptation introduces us to two passionate, intelligent boys on opposite sides of a baseball game. When the game takes a turn, and Reuven is injured by Danny, a unique friendship is born". I fell in love with Chaim Potok's novel as a young Jewish lad growing up in a religious home, and I cannot wait to see this amazing cast perform it: veterans Rick Foucheux, Edward Gero and Aaron Davidman, and two outstanding young actors - who I will be interviewing shortly - Derek Thompson and Joshua Morgan.

FROM MARCH 5TH TO JUNE 5TH, 42ND STREET AT TOBY'S DINNER THEATRE OF BALTIMORE, IN BALTIMORE, MD.AND FROM MARCH 10TH TO JUNE 12TH, HAPPY DAYS - A NEW MUSICAL, AT TOBY'S DINNER THEATRE OF COLUMBIA, IN COLUMBIA, MD. 

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Toby's Dinner Theatre is mounting two musicals this month - one classic and one fairly new. In their Baltimore venue, those tapping Broadway shoes are back in the classic musical 42nd Street, filled with some of the most loved songs from The American Songbook, including "Young and Healthy", "Go into Your Dance", "You're Getting to Be a Habit with Me", "Dames", "We're in the Money", "Lullaby of Broadway", "Shuffle Off to Buffalo", and of course -"42nd Street". Today, we're lucky to get one good song out of a new musical, and look at what you'll hear in this show! It's glitzy and fun and you root for Peggy Sawyer - the underdog. Will she come in for the injured, bitchy diva and save the show? Of course!

And the other reason to shuffle off to Baltimore is the talented all-dancing all-singing cast of Toby's veterans with some newbies sprinkled in: Ray Hatch (Mac), Andrew Horn (Abner Dillon), Jordan Klein (Andy Lee), Jen Kohlhafer (Phyllis), Dan McDonald (Pat Denning), Larry Munsey (Bert Barry), Vincent  Kirk Musgrave (Bert Barry), Laurie Newton (Phyllis Dale), Jamie Ogden (Peggy Sawyer), David Reynolds (Julian Marsh), David Jennings (Billy Lawlor), Lynne Sigler (Dorothy Brock), Ashley Parker (Lorraine Fleming), Anne Reilly (Katie Harrington), and ensemble members Jimmy Biernatowski, Jen Kolhafer, Cody Cooley, Javi Harnly, Laura May, Randy Snight, and Gabrielle Sullivan. Tina DeSimone directs, choreographs and also plays Maggie Jones. Reenie Codelka is the Musical Director.

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In their in-the-round Columbia venue, for the first time in the DC area - they are mounting the 2007 musical Happy Days - A New Musical based on the long-running television comedy Happy Days. Woah! You remember that one - with Richie Cunningham, Arthur Fonzarelli, Ralph Malph, Joanie Cunningham, Chachi Arcola, Al Delvecchio, Pinky Tuscadero, Mr. and Mrs. C. and Arnold and his malt shop?

With a book by the television series' creator Garry Marshall and music and lyrics by Paul Williams ('Oscar winner for co-writing the song "Evergreen" with Ms. Streisand) the musical focuses on the character of Fonzie, rather than Richie. The story concerns the kids' plans to save Arnold's from demolition by hosting a dance contest and a wrestling match.

Jessica Lauren Ball (Pinky Tuscadero), Jamie Boyle (Richie Cunningham), Esther Covington (Mrs. Cunningham), Chad W Fornwalt (Count Malachi), Arielle Gordon (Lori Beth), Ali Hoxie (Pinkette Tina), David James (Arnold), Shawn Kettering (Mr. C. [Cunningham]), Dan McQuay (Ralph), Chris Rudy (Chachi), Shayla Simmons (Pinkette Lola), Amy Sonntag (Joanie), Dan Sonntag (Potsie), and Greg Twomey plays The Fonz. The ensemble includes Frank Anthony, Elena Crall, Lance E Hayes, Alan Hoffman, Christine Nelson. Artistic Director Toby Orenstein and Mr. Kettering co-direct, and Ross Scott Rawlings is the Musical Director. 

I saw the National Tour in Philadelphia and I had a great time. "Happy Days is complete with varsity sweaters, hula hoops, and jukebox sock-hoppin'. This perfectly family-friendly musical will have you rockin' and rollin' all week long!" With this talented cast, I bet it will!

FROM MARCH 17TH TO APRIL 10TH, AS THE CURTAIN RISES, AT Signature Theatre, IN ARLINGTON, VA. 

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A world premiere musical is always an event, especially when it's mounted at The Tony Award-winning Signature Theatre. And the Curtain Rises (formerly known as Wheatley's Folly), is the the third production presented as part of Signature's groundbreaking American Musical Voices Project, following Michael John LaChiusa's Giant in 2009 and Ricky Ian Gordon's Sycamore Trees last year.

"Partly historical. Totally hysterical. The world premiere musical comedy And the Curtain Rises loosely re-imagines the theatrical bedlam surrounding the creation of the first American musical. Set in 1866, this classic backstage tale follows novice producer William Wheatley as he finds his production in shambles: bruised egos, secret plots, romance, some skimpy costumes, an uncompromising author, and a cast on the verge of revolt. All is complicated when a French ballet troupe is forced to seek refuge in his theatre after a fire erupts in an adjacent theatre. Rather than throw in the towel and count his losses, Wheatley decides to take control and turn lemons into lemonade. Filled with outrageous characters and rich melodies, and reveling in the chaos and camaraderie of the theatre, And the Curtain Rises is a lovely valentine to a unique American art form".

Michael Slade wrote the show's book. Mark Campbell wrote the lyrics. The score is by Joseph Thalken, whose musical version of the cult film Harold and Maud, is one of my favorite musicals and I wish more theatres around the country would mount it. The production is being directed by Broadway's Rock of Ages' Kristin Hanggi.

The cast includes Erik Altemus (George C. Boniface) , Anna Kate Bocknek (Marie Bonfant), Kristen Calgaro (Justine), Kevin Carolan (C.H. Morton), Alma Cuervo (Mme. Grimaud), Nick Dalton (William Wheatley), Suzanne Darling (Gabrielle), Erick Devine (Jeremiah Burnett), William Diggle (James Timoney), Greer Gisy (Regine), Laura Keller (Jacqueline), Rachel Schur (Simone), Jennifer Smith (Rose Morton), Brian Sutherland (Roman Korda), Sean Thompson (Charles Barras), and Rebecca Watson (Millicent Cavendish). It's a cast filled with great singers, and I am eager to hear them sing Joseph's score.

FROM MARCH 23RD TO MAY 21ST, LIBERTY SMITH, AT Ford's Theatre. IN WASHINGTON, DC.

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What better place to mount the world premiere production of a new American musical about Liberty Smith than the historic Ford's Theatre! "... a madcap musical romp through Revolutionary America. A childhood friend of George Washington, apprentice to Benjamin Franklin and linked to Paul Revere's remarkable ride, the elusive Liberty Smith weaves his way through familiar tales of a young nation. Rife with melody and blazing with adventure, Liberty Smith recalls the lush heyday of the American musical. Experience the birth of America through the eyes of our forgotten founding father: Liberty Smith".

With music by Michael Weiner and lyrics by Adam Abraham, and a book by Marc Madnick, Eric R. Cohen and Mr. Abraham, based on an original story by Marc Madnick and Eric R. Cohen, the show is directed by Matt August, musical directed by Jay Crowder, and choreographed by Denis Jones. I am so glad that Geoff Packard, who wowed DC audiences as Candide recently at Washington Shakespeare Company, is playing Liberty Smith.

It's also so nice to see Ford's Theatre filling its cast with so many of DC area's award-winning veterans and so many of our talented young actors who have filled up my Scene Stealers articles in my Theatre Schmooze column on DC Theatre Scene: Matthew A. Anderson (Samuel Adams), Christopher Bloch, (Benjamin Franklin), Noah Chiet (Brendan DeBonis (Child Actor/Josiah Quincy), Tracy Lynn Olivera (Actress/Courtier), Donna Migliaccio (Betsy Ross), Gia Mora (Marie Antoinette/Rachel Revere), Bobby Smith (Thomas Jefferson/jJames Otis), Lauren Williams (Martha Dandridge), James Konicek (Benedict Arnold) Harry A. Winter (Augustine Washington/Governor Hutchinson, and Courtier). Michael Bunce (Town-Crier, Dr. Warren, and Courtier), Kelly Karbacz (Emily Andrews), Drew Eshelman (Old Liberty Smith), Thomas Adrian Simpson (King Louis XVI/Lead Player), Gregory Maheu (George Washington), and Richard Pelzman (Paul Revere). Whoa! What a great cast!

And a special nod to young Noah Chiet who recently wowed me and the critics as Jason in Ganymede Arts' production of Falsettos. He has a bright future on the stage ahead of him and I am thrilled that he is in the cast of Liberty Smith.

FROM MARCH 24TH TO APRIL 24TH, KING LEAR, AT SYNETIC THEATER AT THE LANSBURGH THEATRE, IN WASHINGTON, DC.

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Shhh! The Tsikurishvilis are at it again with Paata directing and adapting (with Ben Cunis and Irina choreographing another wordless Shakespearean tragedy - King Lear, as Synetic returns for the second time this year to the Lansburgh Theatre

"Synetic will present the seventh play in its "Silent Shakespeare" series, an adaptation of one of the greatest tragedies of all time - King Lear. Helen Hayes Award-winning actor Irakli Kavsadze plays the title role of the aging king whose test of his daughters' love undoes the fabric of his kingdom. The bloody conflict that ensues is interwoven with a tale of loyalty, love, hate and redemption".

The cast includes Irakli Kavsadze (King Lear), Irina Tsikurishvili (Regan), Irina Koval (Goneril), Philip Fletcher (Edmund), Ben Cunis (Edgar), Alex Mills (Fool), and Greg Anderson, Mienka echova, Chris Dinolfo, Chris Galindo, Renata Loman, Konstantine Lortkipanidze, Peter Pereyra, Hector Reynoso, Dallas Tolentino, Ryan Tumulty, and Matt Ward.

How do you describe a Synetic production? Athletic, visually stunning, beautiful, and haunting. Let's just say it usually leaves me 'speechless'. Well - take a look at a video promo for one of their other Wordless Shakespearean adaptations here.

FROM MARCH 25TH TO APRIL 16TH, THRILL ME - THE LEOPOLD & LOEB STORY, AT ELDEN STREET PLAYERS, IN HERNDON, VA. 

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They've made musicals about other killers including The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Lizzy Borden and Mr. Hyde, so why not a musical about the infamous Leopold and Loeb? With book, music and lyrics by Stephen Dolginoff, Elden Street Players - a fabulous community theatre - is presenting The Regional Premiere of this musical.

"The story of Leopold and Loeb, the Chicago "Thrill Killers" of 1924, is as horrible and gruesomely fascinating as a multi-car pile up on the interstate. Nominated for several "Best Musical" awards, Thrill Me is as uncompromising and unsettling as its subjects".

Nathan Leopold is played by Christopher Smith and Richard Loeb is played by Matthew Scarborough. The show is directed by Lorraine Magee, and is in the very capable hands of Musical Director Scott Richards. I'm thrilled that ESP is bringing this musical to its intimate stage. More information on the show is here.

ALSO OPENING IN MARCH 2011:

From March 3rd to 12th, Como Evitar Enamorarse del Hombre Equivocado (How to Avoid Falling in Love with the Wrong Man), at Teatro de la Luna, at Gunston Arts Center-Theatre 2, in Arlington, VA.

From March 3rd through April 2nd, Morgue Story, at Molotov Theatre Group, at 1409 Playbill Cafe, in Washington, DC.

From March 4th to 5th, Aliens, Immigrants & Other Evildoers, at Gala Hispanic Theatre, in Washington, DC.

From March 4th to March 12th, WAM2 (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart), at The In Series, at The Atlas Performing Arts Center's Lang Theater, in Washington, DC.

March 7th to April 3rd, Voices Underwater, at Rorschach Theatre Company, at The National Conservatory for the Dramatic Arts, in Washington, DC.

From March 8th to April 10th, An Ideal Husband at Shakespeare Theatre Company's Sidney Harman Hall, in Washington, DC.

From March 10th to 13th, 24, 7, 365, at George Mason Center for the Arts, in Fairfax, VA.

From March 10th to April 14th, Fighting Improv Smackdown Tournament, at Washington Improv Theater at Source, in Washington, DC.

From March 11th to April 25th If You Give a Cat a Cupcake, at Adventure Theatre, in Glen Echo, MD.

From March 15th to April 13th, Penelope, at The Studio Theatre, in Washington, DC.

From March 16th to April 3rd, The Trip to Bountiful, at Round House Theatre, in Bethesda, MD.

From March 17th to 26th, Atrevidos (The 3 Rascals), at Teatro de la Luna, at Gunston Arts Center-Theatre 2, in Arlington, VA.

From March 18th to April 17th, Master Harold...and the boys, at Quotidian Theatre Company, at The Writer's Center, in Bethesda, MD.

From March 21st to April 10th, The Agony and Ecstacy of Steve Jobs, at Woolly Mammoth Theatre, in Washington, DC.

From March 23rd to April 3rd, Blue Man Group, at the Warner Theatre, in Washington, DC.

From March 23rd to April 24th, Photograph 51, at Theater J, in Washington, DC.

From March 24th to April 24th, The Weir, at Scena Theatre, at H Street Playhouse, in Washington, DC.

From March 25th to April 14th, Boeing Boeing, at Maryland Ensemble Theatre ('MET'), in Frederick, MD.

From March 25th to April 17th, The Glass Menagerie, at First Stage, in McLean, VA.

From March 26th to April 10th, Protest and Passion Latino & American Resistance Songs, at The In Series, at Source, in Washington, DC.

From March 29th to May 22nd, Art, at Signature Theatre, in Arlington, VA.

From March 30th to April 17th, The Ressurectionist King, at Active Cutures Theatre, in University Park, MD.

From March 31st to April 24th, China: The Whole Enchilada, at Landless Theatre, at The District of Columbia Arts Center ('DCAC'), in Washington, DC.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED COMMUNITY THEATRE PRODUCTIONS

From March 4th to 26th, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, at The Reston Community Players, in Reston, VA.

Through March 19th, The Last Five Years, at Kensington Arts Theatre, in Kensington, MD.

From March 25th to April 16th, Thrill Me, at Elden Street Players, in Herndon, VA (See above).

FESTIVALS

From March 1st to 20th, maximum India, at The Kennedy Center, in Washington, DC.

From March 5th to April 24th, The Edward Albee Festival, at Arena Stage, in Washington, DC.

From March 16th to May 2nd, New Ireland: The Enda Walsh Festival, at The Studio Theatre, in Washington, DC.

From March 25th to April 16th, Tennessee Williams Centennial Festival, at Georgetown University, in Washington, DC.

ALREADY OPENED AND PLAYING THROUGH MARCH 2011 & APRIL 2011

Through March 5th, Dead Man's Cell Phone, at Maryland Ensemble Theatre ('MET'), in Frederick, MD.

Through March 5th, Slam Theatre 1.0, at Atlas Performing Arts Center, in Washington, DC.

Through March 6th, Cymbeline, at Shakespeare Theatre Company's Lansburgh Theatre, in Washington, DC.

Through March 6th, I Left My Heart: A Salute to The Music of Tony Bennett, at Toby's Dinner Theatre of Columbia.

Through March 6th, Oedipus El Rey, at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, in Washington, DC.

Through March 6th, ON THE RAZZLE, at Constellation Theatre Company, at Source, in Washington, DC.

Through March 6th, The Comedy of Errors, at The Folger Elizabethan Theatre, in Washington, DC.

Through March 7th, Intersections-A New America arts Festival,, At Atlas Performing Arts Center, in Washington, DC

Through March 12th, Basra Boy, at Keegan Theatre, at Church Street Theater, in Washington, DC.

Through March 12th, One Flea Spare, at Forum Theatre at Round House Theatre, in Silver Spring. MD.

Through March 13th, His Eye is on the Sparrow, at MetroStage, in Alexandria, VA.

Through March 13th, Perseus Bayou, at Imagination Stage, in Bethesda, MD.

Through March 13th, Tether, at Doorway Arts Ensemble, in the Studio Theater of the Cultural Art Center Montgomery College, in Silver Spring, MD.

Through March 13th, The Weir, at Keegan Theatre, at Church Street Theater, in Washington, DC.

Through March 19th, Cymbeline, at Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, in Ellicott City, MD.

Through March 20th, Beyond Therapy, at Bay Theatre Company, in Annapolis, MD.

Through March 20th, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, at Olney Theatre Center, in Olney, MD.

Through March 20th, Juno and the Paycock, at Washington Shakespeare Company, in Arlington, VA.

Through April 3rd, The Magic Paintbrush, at Synetic Family Theater, in Arlington, VA.

Through April 10th, Jack and the Beanstalk, at The Puppet Company, in Glen Echo, MD.

Through April 10th, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, at Arena Stage, in the Kreeger, in Washington, DC.

Through April 24th, At Home at the Zoo, at Arena Stage in The Kogod Cradle, in Washington, DC.

PHOTOS

(1) Laura Kenna, and Maria Egler in Dizzy Miss Lizzie's Roadside Revue's Finn McCool. Photo: Dizzy Miss Lizzies Roadside Revue 

(2) Captain Hammer (Clay Comer), Penny (Stefanie Garcia) and Dr. Horrible (CharLes Johnson), From Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, Photo by Amanda Williams Photography. 

(3) Brit Herring and Marni Penning in Red Herring. Photo by C. Stanley Photography.

(4) Artwork from The Chosen by David Polonsky.

(5) Artwork from 42nd Street and Happy Days -A New Musical.

(6) Artwork from As the Curtain Rises.

(7) Geoff Packard, as Liberty Smith. Photo by Scott Suchman.

(8) Artwork from King Lear. Photo and design by Graeme B. Shaw.

(9) L to R: Christopher Smith as Nathan Leopold and Matthew Scarborough as Richard Loeb in Thrill Me - The Leopold and Loeb Story. Photo by Lorraine Magee.

______

Joel Markowitz writes about theatre in Washington, DC, Philadelphia, and New York for DC Theatre Scene. Follow Joel's Theatre Schmooze column here and his podcast interviews here. He is a regular guest on The Lunch and Judy Show radio program starring Judy Stadt on Positive World Radio Network and can be heard on WTBQ 1110 AM in NYC. Joel founded The Ushers Theatre Going Group in the DC area in 1990, and co-organizes Broadway Bound Meetup. Joel also writes a monthly preview of what's about to open in DC area theatres for BroadwayWorld. His work can also be seen in "Columns" and "Podcast" on BroadwayStars.

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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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