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 and help support DC area productions.



BWW Review: 1st Stage Presents Poignant Regional Premiere of HERO'S WELCOMEBWW Review: 1st Stage Presents Poignant Regional Premiere of HERO'S WELCOME
Posted: Sep. 9, 2018

BWW Review: Creative Adaptation of Children's Book HOW TO CATCH A STAR Charms at the Kennedy CenterBWW Review: Creative Adaptation of Children's Book HOW TO CATCH A STAR Charms at the Kennedy Center
Posted: Nov. 25, 2018

BWW Review: Synetic Theater's TITUS ANDRONICUS is Beyond WordsBWW Review: Synetic Theater's TITUS ANDRONICUS is Beyond Words
Posted: Apr. 29, 2018

BWW Review: Temptations Musical AIN'T TOO PROUD Pleases Crowds at Kennedy CenterBWW Review: Temptations Musical AIN'T TOO PROUD Pleases Crowds at Kennedy Center
Posted: Jun. 30, 2018

BWW Review: Landless Theatre's THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD [SYMPHONIC METAL VERSION] is Original and EntertainingBWW Review: Landless Theatre's THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD [SYMPHONIC METAL VERSION] is Original and Entertaining
Posted: Apr. 9, 2018

BWW Review: The Klunch Presents Wildly Funny ADULT ENTERTAINMENTBWW Review: The Klunch Presents Wildly Funny ADULT ENTERTAINMENT
Posted: Mar. 11, 2018

BWW Review: UNDERGROUND RAILROAD GAME is Searing and Sensational at Woolly MammothBWW Review: UNDERGROUND RAILROAD GAME is Searing and Sensational at Woolly Mammoth
Posted: Apr. 8, 2018

BWW Review: THE WAY OF THE WORLD at Folger Theatre is Biting Satire for the Reality TV Age
January 15, 2018

The DC premiere of Theresa Rebeck's satire THE WAY OF THE WORLD is adapted from a Restoration-era classic by William Congreve, but it couldn't be more contemporary and on trend. With biting wit and visual flair, it delivers timeless social commentary for the Kardashian (and Trumpian) age. Can true love exist in a world so cynical and jaded?

BWW Review: THE SANTALAND DIARIES Brings Irreverent Cheer to Drafthouse Comedy Theater
December 8, 2017

For the cynics among us who need to look beyond THE NUTCRACKER and A CHRISTMAS CAROL for holiday entertainment, THE SANTALAND DIARIES at Drafthouse Comedy Theater offers a quirky alternative. Cameron Folmar plays a disaffected department store Christmas elf in this consistently funny solo show adapted from a cult-classic monologue by humorist David Sedaris.

BWW Review: The In Series' AN OPERETTA HOLIDAY is a Charming Throwback
December 11, 2017

In many ways, the holiday season is about schmaltz and sentimentality, when it's okay to let yourself appreciate old-fashioned pleasures and crank up favorite songs. The In Series' AN OPERETTA HOLIDAY unabashedly embraces this spirit, serving up a frothy cabaret of romantic songs from THE MERRY WIDOW, DIE FLEDERMAUS, and other classics.

BWW Review: DRAW THE CIRCLE at Mosaic Theater is Essential Viewing
December 4, 2017

Mashuq Mushtaq Deen's DRAW THE CIRCLE marks Mosaic Theater Company's first time featuring a transgender artist telling their own personal story, which alone makes the work noteworthy. But Deen's extreme vulnerability and creativity coalesce to make it a vitally important piece of theater.

BWW Review: Nu Sass Presents Amusing Satire THE UGLY ONE
November 19, 2017

It's what's on the inside that counts. THE UGLY ONE by German playwright Marius von Mayenburg skewers that idea, and Nu Sass brings us an energetic take on the satirical play. Renata Fox directs actors who embrace their roles with effervescence, three out of four of them playing multiple characters, while colorful lighting by E-Hui Woo enhances the absurdist atmosphere.

BWW Review: THE REAL AMERICANS is a Must-See at Mosaic Theater Company
November 15, 2017

When actor and writer Dan Hoyle left San Francisco on a three-month trip through small-town Middle America several years ago, he couldn't have predicted that many of the disillusioned real Americans he encountered on his travels would be part of a nationwide movement to elect Trump in 2016. Hoyle's astounding one-man show, THE REAL AMERICANS (developed with and directed by Charlie Varon), reveals poignant perspectives of these individuals with humor, emotional depth, and authenticity.

BWW Review: A LITTLE PRINCESS SARA CREWE Delights at Creative Cauldron
November 5, 2017

Based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Creative Cauldron's A LITTLE PRINCESS SARA CREWE is a charming take on the classic. Matt Conner and Stephen Gregory Smith infuse the time-worn story with delightful original songs, which the children of the Learning Theater Ensemble take on with infectious enthusiasm.

BWW Review: Pinky Swear's SAFE AS HOUSES Plays It Too Safe
October 27, 2017

Pinky Swear's production of Natalie Ann Piegari's new play SAFE AS HOUSES boasts an excellent cast, a well-designed set, and a gripping concept: what would you do if your husband, who vanished ten years ago, suddenly showed up at your house as if no time had passed at all? But the intriguing idea never gains forward motion. Due to an underdeveloped script, a plot never materializes, and the experience is stagnant and underwhelming.

BWW Review: The Welders' HELLO, MY NAME IS Immerses Audiences in Intimate Adoptee Stories
October 25, 2017

Upon arriving at Rhizome DC, the homelike site of the Welders' theatrical event HELLO, MY NAME IS..., I was handed a name tag before being ushered into a living room. Many members of the fifteen-person audience had already arrived. From that point, it was a fully immersive experience as we witnessed the distinct but interwoven stories of three Korean adoptees in search of their identities.

BWW 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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

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 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.