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Sam Abney - Page 2

Sam Abney

Sam Abney is a Washington, D.C. based arts professional. A native of Arizona, he has happily made D.C. his new home. Sam is a graduate from George Mason University with a degree in Communication and currently works for Arena Stage as a member of their Development team. He is a life-long lover of theater and is excited about sharing his passion with as many people as possible.

To stay up-to-date on Sam's latest reviews, be sure to subscribe to alerts. You can also follow him on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram at @sabney93.



BWW Review: Shakespeare Theatre Company Showcases Their Best in an Impeccable Gala
October 16, 2018

When Shakespeare Theatre Company first announced their 2018/19 season, I was hesitant. The season didn't feel grand enough to serve as a proper goodbye to Michael Kahn, who has developed this company into an international institution. Having now seen their first production, The Comedy of Errors, and their spectacular fall gala, I think it is safe to say my hesitation was unfounded. STC is sending their founder off with quite a spectacular farewell.

BWW Review: The Washington National Opera's LA TRAVIATA is an Exquisite Revival
October 10, 2018

Even if you've never seen an opera, you know at least one or two of the tunes from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata, which has become one of the most popular modern representations for classical opera. While the work was jeered at the time of its premiere, this tragic tale has aged beautifully-with a lush score featuring some of the greatest duets. The Washington National Opera's newest production injects new life into this piece, thanks to smart directorial choices by WNO Artistic Director Francesca Zambello and a top-notch creative team.

BWW Review: THE COMEDY OF ERRORS Makes Up for Some Errors with Great Comedy
October 6, 2018

There's nothing quite like a case of mistaken identity to really spice up a relationship. This is a lesson learned the hard way for Adrianna, wife of Antipholus of Syracuse, in Shakespeare Theatre Company's newest staging of The Comedy of Errors. While it takes a little while for this staging to settle into a groove, Alan Paul's deft direction supplies some of the finest comedic moments of the D.C. theater season thus far.

BWW Review: CHRISTOPHER JACKSON Exudes Swagger at an Intimate Kennedy Center Concert
September 30, 2018

On Saturday night, Washington, D.C. had a visit from one of the most popular American presidents and, while thoughts of a certain musical about a founding father hung over the evening, George Washington delivered a charming concert in the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater. To clarify, Mr. Washington himself was unavailable for the evening since he's been dead for two centuries. Christopher Jackson, however, who received a Tony nomination for his portrayal of our first president, served as a great alternative.

BWW Review: THE EVENTS at Theater Alliance is Poignant but Imperfect
September 21, 2018

Writing about gun violence is difficult. There's no 'how-to' guide when it comes to preventing these attacks which have become more and more commonplace. The more we try to understand the inner machinations of the monsters who carry out such senseless assaults, the more we begin to spiral into someone we hardly recognize. Such is the thesis of David Greig's The Events, which opened last week at Theater Alliance at the Anacostia Playhouse. While the work is incredibly poignant, some artistic decisions muddle the plot and make the 80-minute performance drag during the middle of the production.

BWW Review: Stellar Lead Performances Populate NextStop Theatre Company's THE WEDDING SINGER
September 17, 2018

Even if you haven't seen the original film, the musical is still a fun ride. Despite some missteps, NextStop Theatre Company's new production is an undeniably good time, thanks in large part to some winning lead performances.

BWW Review: The In Series's VIVA VERDI is an Indescribable Emotional Multitude
September 11, 2018

"I don't like works which require an explanation," begins Timothy Nelson, the new Artistic Director for the In Series, at Sunday's performance of Viva VERDI. Even after Mr. Nelson describes the performance with great detail, he encourages the audience to embrace their inevitable confusion. Instead, Mr. Nelson explains, this is a work that should be felt rather than understood. Keeping true to Mr. Nelson's suggestion, Viva VERDI is a work that only a genius could fully understand. Nevertheless, it is one of the most emotionally stirring performances I have seen in recent memory.

BWW Review: Rainbow Theatre Project's IN THE CLOSET is a Moving, Although Unpolished, Coming-of-Age Tale
August 22, 2018

Siegmund Fuchs's new play In the Closet, produced by Rainbow Theatre Project, manifests this space in vivid detail. Unlike similar coming out stories, Fuchs emphasizes the continual process of coming out over the course of one's life. Even when the script stumbles, the themes presented in this show are worth listening to intently.

BWW Review: Pointless Theatre's DON CRISTÓBAL is a Beautiful Production Despite a Lackluster Script
August 20, 2018

Pointless Theatre's production of Don Cristobal is an inventive send-up to Punch and Judy shows that is unfortunately bogged down by a clunky script which spends too much time trying to set up profundities it doesn't successfully execute.

BWW Review: 4615 Theatre Company's MACBETH is Mired by Miscalculated Performances
August 8, 2018

Tackling Macbeth is no minor feat. Few shows inspire as much dread both onstage and off as Shakespeare's "Scottish Play." Daringly dark in both plot and theme, Macbeth relies heavily on the performances of the eponymous Scot and his wife to propel the plot along compellingly and with varying intensity. 4615 Theatre Company's production, unfortunately, falls victim to most of the pitfalls which riddle this complicated work. The final result is a revival which is bogged down by a slow-paced first act and lead performances which are unable to reveal anything new about this work.

BWW Review: 4615 Theatre Company Serves Up a Satisfying DINNER
August 7, 2018

Whatever happened to the theatrical thriller? There's something so incredibly fulfilling about a play that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Too often, there are elements that can pull you out of a thrilling production. It can be the smallest thing: from a flickering stage light to a fumbling actor. Thankfully for 4615 Theatre Company, their production of Dinner by Moira Buffini is devoid of any of these downfalls. Instead, the play comes together to create a sumptuous treat that will leave you wanting more.

BWW Review: GOD IS DEAD AND APRIL'S GETTING MARRIED and A TWO WOMAN HAMLET Don't Fully Execute their Visions at Capital Fringe
July 23, 2018

Capital Fringe productions tend to have a lot of ambition. No matter the quality of the show, there is a clear underlining of a message the playwright wants to get across to their audience. When this message is unclear, however, the work can begin to falter. Unfortunately, this is the kind of scenario that befalls two promising productions at the Festival: God is Dead and April's Getting Married and A Two Woman Hamlet. Neither is bad, per se, but each show fails at living up to the promise of their premises.

BWW Review: SHOPWORN at Capital Fringe Festival is a Real Diamond in the Rough
July 19, 2018

With over 80 plays to choose from, Capital Fringe Festival can be overwhelming for the average theatergoer. There are plenty of good choices ranging from over-the-top comedies to funky experimental dramas to allegories and satires and everything in between. Obviously, with so many offerings, there will be works that fail to execute their artistic vision effectively. Thankfully, Derek Hills's Shopworn, which opened on Tuesday night at Capital Fringe's Orange venue (Christ United Methodist Church), is a true diamond in the rough: a family drama that provides modern commentary without getting too preachy. It is thoroughly delightful and a perfect selection for Fringe veterans and first-timers alike.

BWW Review: Monumental Theatre Company's PIPPIN is a Faithful Revival
July 17, 2018

Pippin may be one of the most timeless American musicals ever written. No matter when or where it is presented, the production is easily molded to fit the social circumstances of the day. Whether the original Fosse-helmed production, the Diane Paulus circus-themed 2013 revival, or a regional production that falls in between, Pippin's journey of self-discovery is one that allows for-even encourages-reinvention and improvement. Fresh off their victory of The John Aniello Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company at this May's Helen Hayes Awards, Monumental Theatre Company's newest production presents Pippin as a coming of age tale for the millennial generation. The millennial spin is understandable but, unfortunately, the execution prevents Pippin's extraordinary tale from becoming more than an ordinary revival.

BWW Review: LESBIANS AND THE MEN WHO LOVE THEM is Hard to Fall For at Capital Fringe Festival
July 15, 2018

A good title is everything. It sets up the entire tone of a production before any audience members have filed into a theater space. Undoubtedly, Lesbians and the Men Who Love Them has one of the most intriguing titles of the 80+ shows participating in the Capital Fringe Festival. It's a shame that the rest of the production doesn't pique the same intrigue.

BWW Review: TINKER BELL Joyfully Flies to Adventure Theatre MTC
June 27, 2018

Peter Pan is possibly one of the most commonly adapted and re-adapted works for the stage. From Peter and the Starcatcher to Finding Neverland and everything in between, there are constant tweaks and updates to this classic that make it resonate with new generations. Adventure Theatre's newest adaption, Tinker Bell, is a good family-friendly adaptation and is worth visiting just for the sheer fun. Patrick Flynn's script, however, runs out of pixie dust before the work can reveal anything about the story that hasn't already been heard.

BWW Review: AUDRA MCDONALD Gives a Perfect Concert with the NSO at the Kennedy Center
June 24, 2018

With so many things to worry about or be sad about in 2018, there is no shortage of people searching for solace wherever they can find it. Thankfully, six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald provided that and more during her one-night-only concert with the National Symphony Orchestra last Tuesday. Ms. McDonald, whose limitless abilities have made her the most awarded Broadway performer, gives all she has to those in attendance. The final result is the closest thing to a religious experience one may have in a theater or concert hall.

BWW Review: GALA Hispanic Theatre's DANCING IN MY COCKROACH KILLERS is a Breath of Fresh Air
June 14, 2018

Summer theater offerings in D.C. tend to pull out all the stops to draw Washingtonians off of the streets and into their venues. This shouldn't be a difficult sell if there is air conditioning: after all, escaping the humidity is a high priority for people surviving summer in the District. Nonetheless, theaters pack their summers with big exciting productions from Signature's Scottsboro Boys to Arena Stage's upcoming Dave to an unknown little show known as Hamilton at the Kennedy Center. Amongst all of the madcap mayhem for biggest summer smash, GALA Hispanic Theatre has delivered a small and intimate musical that could be one of the best times you have in D.C. this summer.

BWW Review: The Washington National Opera's WNO GALA Pays Tribute to Leonard Bernstein
May 25, 2018

As both a celebration of the Washington National Opera and a culmination of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts' Leonard Bernstein at 100 celebration, last weekend's Opera Gala definitely found success. While the evening had its share of disappointments (Titus Burgess of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt fame fell ill and was unable to perform; Patti LuPone, the top-billed artist of the evening, performed only two fairly short numbers) there was an undeniable electricity to the night. Previously, the WNO held an annual ball which, according to Kennedy Center Chairman David Rubenstein, included neither opera nor a ball. Switching the format to one with a formal gala reception, an opera-filled performance, and elegant dinners hosted by Ambassadors and foreign dignitaries proved the Kennedy Center can still pull off some new tricks.

BWW Review: Theater Alliance's FLOOD CITY Gets Swept Away by Numerous Troubles
May 23, 2018

The first five minutes of Theater Alliance's new production of Flood City are some of the most gripping that have graced a D.C. stage in the past year. As two women wrestle the torrential disaster which laid waste to Johnstown, Pennsylvania in 1889, the ensemble creates an immensely satisfying flood across the stage at the Anacostia Playhouse. Just when the dramatic storm is reaching a natural conclusion, the action is cut short by an announcement for the audience to turn off their phones. It's admittedly a humorous turn to the scene but it sets up a dangerous precedent for the remainder of the production: almost every scene is cut short just as it starts to settle into a groove. The result is two hours of wading through a black comedy that can't settle on a pace, tonality, or even a central theme.