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Barbara Trainin Blank

Growing up in New York City, seeing plays, both musicals and not, were a part of steady family diet. So were opera, ballet, and concerts. 

Trainin Blank has been writing about theater and the performing arts -- either in reviews or previews -- for more decades than she'd care to admit. She is also a practitioners: several of Trainin Blank's short plays have been workshopped or given staged readings; two full-length plays have been produced, and three have been published.

Trainin Blank moved to the DC area in 2013. She's a member of the Playwrights Alliance of Pennsylvania and the Alliance of Jewish Theatre.


BWW Review: FLOW at Studio Theatre
May 23, 2021

Flow, which saw its second production, in 2004, at Studio Theatre, is back! Part of Studio Theatre’s first digital season and more specifically featuring a trio of eclectic solo performances, Flow might be called a mixed metaphor. It blends the old West African tradition of griot — an oral tradition combining a historian, storyteller, praise singer, poet, and musician — with seven storytellers of an urban community presumably in the States.

BWW Review: dwb (driving while black) film at UrbanArias
May 3, 2021

The title and content of this filmed opera reminded me of a friend with a young biracial relative. Whenever he ventures out, whether by foot or car, his mother provides him with a letter explaining who he is and asserting that his purpose is benevolent in case the police may approach him.

BWW Review: UNTIL THE FLOOD at Studio Theatre
April 20, 2021

DC’s Studio Theatre is known as a leading contemporary theater, and the subject matter of its current production can scarcely be more so. Inspired by the police killing of young Michael Brown in 2014 in Ferguson, Mo., and based on dozens of interviews conducted in its aftermath across the city’s communities by playwright Dael Orlandersmith, Under the Flood goes beyond any specific such shooting to explore African American-White relations on a much-broader and emotionally charged scale. The anger and mistrust, the occasional ties of friendship. Personal success and failure amidst social upheaval.

BWW Review: THE SNOW QUEEN at Imagination Stage
December 21, 2020

Like many of the fairy tales by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, his popular novel The Snow Queen has a dark undertone — representing the struggle between good and evil that two friends Gerda and Kai experience. In the adaptation by Mike Kenny, written for Imagination Stage and directed by Janet Stanford, founding artistic director of the Bethesda -based children’s theater, The Snow Queen is more imperious than truly evil. She imprisons souls more than bodies.

BWW Review: DON JUAN IN HELL at Washington Stage Guild
November 26, 2020

Wit, wisdom, and sometimes overpowering verbosity fill George Bernard Shaws’ Don Juan In Hell, the dream sequence contained within the third act of the Irish playwright’s Man and Superman and sometime performed independently.

BWW Review: DEAR MAPEL at Mosaic Theater Company
October 27, 2020

Is it possible to change a relationship retrospectively, especially one that has been intermittent all along and ended with the death of the other person? That is the question posed by Psalmayene 24, who didn't see his father until he was 12 and even then was introduced by the older man as someone else's son. Meetings between the two were scarce and sporadic after that, and, in fact, Psalmayene 24 found out about his father's death on three years after it happened.

BWW Review: ROOST performed by Urban Arias as part of the Decameron Opera Coalition
October 21, 2020

Roost. It's a short opera about an expectant couple (for the first time) in lockdown who would be happy, and sexually active, if not for the fact that the air conditioning isn't working and it's a long, hot summer. Also hovering via FaceTime is Kat's overbearing mother.

September 29, 2020

The word legendary can be used loosely, but as Brian Ganz demonstrates in a tribute concert to his long-time teacher and world-famous pianist Leon Fleisher, in this case not only is the description deserving but can be applied in many different spheres.

BWW Review: NEW WORKS 2020 (& BEYOND)
August 4, 2020

Contemporary Dance is a collaborative style, including modern and ballet elements, as well as sometimes jazz and hip hop. This fusion is the trademark of Chamber Dance Project, the D.C.—based company, with founding artistic director Diane Coburn Bruning at its helm.

May 4, 2020

There is much to admire in this streamed production of one of Shakespeare's lesser-performed but highly dramatic play. It isn't a work with many famous lines — though it has some — but Antony & Cleopatra makes up for it with action.

BWW Review: DEMO: NOW 2O20 at Kennedy Center
March 3, 2020

It was a misty, later rainy night, but that didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the audience at Kennedy Center's Eisenhower Theater watching DEMO: Now 2020. They greeted the musicians and dancers, directed and curated by Damian Woetzel, with standing ovations and loud, prolonged applause.

BWW Review: THE SNOWY DAY AND OTHER STORIES at Adventure Theatre
February 18, 2020

A recent article in The New York Times declared that Ezra Jack Keats's The Snowy Day and Other Stories is the most widely borrowed book in the Big Apple's public library collection. It's popular not only for the way it evokes the wonder and innocence of childhood but for breaking the color barrier in children's literature. 

BWW Review: PILGRIMS MUSA & SHERI IN THE NEW WORLD at Mosaic Theater Company
January 26, 2020

An emphasis on immigrants and how well they integrate (or not) in this country is nothing new. If anything, the issue has become more heated in the past few years.

BWW Review: THE MAGICAL PINATA at Keegan Theatre
December 16, 2019

A great deal is packed into The Magical Piñata. There's a brief explanation of where Mexico's population comes from; a smattering of spoken Spanish and songs in both Spanish and English; pratfalls; a morality tale; and lots of laugher.

BWW Review: THE INFINITE TALES at 4615 Theatre Company
December 10, 2019

There's a lot of energy and creativity onstage during 4615 Theatre Company's world premiere of The Infinite Tales -- and they come not only from the actors. The performers are accompanied by live and recorded music, props that take up a good part of the stage (mostly suitcases and trunks, suggesting the long-distance travel the main characters must undergo), shadow puppets and screens, and paper cut-outs, among others.