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Sam Abney - Page 3

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's Befuddling PERICLES Benefits from We Happy Few's Shameless Cast
May 21, 2018

As acknowledged by Director Kiernan McGowan's program note, Pericles is a hot mess of a show. It was only half-written by Shakespeare, completed later by George Wilkins (who isn't remembered for good reason). The incoherence of the plot reveals the fractured nature of the play's creation. It's understandable why this play is rarely produced. As We Happy Few demonstrates, however, this show can still be a fun ride if your performers lean into the script's ridiculousness.

BWW Feature: The Washington Chorus Celebrates Choral Excellence with a WEST SIDE STORY BALL
May 21, 2018

The Washington Chorus sure knows how to throw a party. Capping off their 2017-18 season, the organization's recent West Side Story Ball allowed the organization to showcase their strong vocalists while celebrating famed composer Leonard Bernstein's 100th birthday. A festive evening such as this also underscored the importance of choral performances in classical spaces like churches: it makes the performance ten times better.

BWW Review: One-Night-Only Pygmalion and Galatea Reveals the Best of SYNETIC THEATER
May 21, 2018

When defining theatrical productions, people like to break down the categories into two basic camps: plays and musicals. Anyone believing those two monikers are the only labels for modern theatrical productions have never witnessed a show like that put on by Synetic Theater in Arlington, VA. As the regions' premiere physical theater, Synetic continually pushes the boundaries of what can be on stage. This statement rang true during Tuesday's one-night-only engagement of Pygmalion & Galatea created by Founding Artistic Director Paata Tsikurishvili and his wife, Co-Founding Choreographer Irina Tsikurishvili. This powerful and highly stylized performance reveals all the best qualities of Synetic.

BWW Review: Rosemary Cipriano Shines in EVEN OLYMPIANS HAVE ASTHMA
May 10, 2018

There's something incredibly rewarding about a simplistic production. Once you strip away the lights, sounds, costumes and set there are shockingly few shows that can stand on their own merits. Thankfully, classic storytelling is alive and well with the talented Rosemary Cipriano who, if her recent Even Olympians Have Asthma is any indication, is ready to move to the next level of her performing.

BWW Review: Scena Theatre's 1984 Provides Thrills Despite a Slow Start
May 4, 2018

If you've never read George Orwell's 1984, the seminal classic examining a world that's fallen under the rule of the nameless Party and their omnipotent leader Big Brother, stop what you're doing and read it now. Or you can just see Scena Theatre's new production playing at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. The show takes a while to amp up but the thrilling climax is performed with such vigor and authenticity that the true dangers of Orwell's devised society come to fruition.

BWW Review: Double Bill ZARZUELAS by The In Series Misses the Mark
April 23, 2018

No matter the work, it is important to leave a theater feeling some sort of emotion. Any emotion will do, just as long as you were able to feel for the performance happening in front of you. Unfortunately, the double bill of zarzuelas produced by The In Series that opened Sunday night (playing at GALA Hispanic Theater) left minimal impact on the audience. Zarzuelas, or short Cuban operettas, take the operatic form and infuse it with the sounds of Cuba. The music throughout the evening is beautiful but almost none of the performances are nearly as beautiful or compelling as their source material.

BWW Review: WITCH at Creative Cauldron Casts an Enchanting Spell
April 22, 2018

Witches are not sexy. They are a representation of centuries of oppression women did (and still do) experience for doing things they shouldn't. Creative Cauldron's new production of Witch, part of their Bold New Works for Intimate Stages initiative, simultaneously educates audiences of the injustices 'witches' throughout history face while paralleling the tales with modern struggles for equality. The evening is largely a success, revealing the ways this once deadly moniker can be a beacon of girl power for the 21st century. With America at a crossroads for gender equality, works like this are essential in sparking conversations necessary for our society's advancement.

BWW Review: Mason Opera's ALBERT HERRING is a Case Study in Untapped Potential
April 21, 2018

It's never a good sign when, during an opera, you pay more attention to the orchestra than the people onstage. This is the kind of situation that befalls George Mason University's School of Music and Mason Opera's new revival of Benjamin Britten's Albert Herring. Britten's complex score is indeed a difficult one and Mason Opera tackles it head-on. They're never able to reach the necessary heights this work allows. This calls into question whether this selection was the right choice for this class of students.

BWW Feature: 2018 ARTS SUMMIT Looks to the Future States of America and Asks Where We Want to Go
April 20, 2018

The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts can be called a lot of things: enormous, vital, intimidating… the list can go on for a while. But the most crucial descriptor which Kennedy Center leadership is looking to cement is ambitious. Convening for the fifth year in a row, the 2018 Kennedy Center Arts Summit, titled The Future States of America: Using the Arts to Take Us Where We Want to Go, served as a reminder for how far artistic advocacy has come. The day also served as a sobering reminder of just how far the arts have to go.

BWW Review: Round House Theatre Tackles MASTER HAROLD… AND THE BOYS
April 19, 2018

Athol Fugard is one of the most difficult modern playwrights to perform. His shows are largely punctuated by blunt dialogue, devoid of noticeable metaphor, and rely on the creation of highly realistic scene scapes defined oftentimes by the most mundane. None of his works exemplifies this style more than his most famous work, Master Harold… And the Boys. This is what makes Master Harold such a challenging work. Round House Theatre's new revival, which opened Monday in Bethesday, tries hard but doesn't prove up to the challenge of this dense work.

BWW Review: Constellation Theatre's THE CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE Avoids Becoming a Roundabout Affair
April 17, 2018

Constellation Theatre Company's new production of Bertolt Brecht's The Caucasian Chalk Circle isn't perfect. It is undoubtedly a celebration of what smart allegory can be. As this small theater company stretches itself to the limits to ensure they do Brecht's seminal work justice, they make great cases for both why more people should be visiting Constellation and why Brecht's work should be examined more often.

BWW Review: L.A. Theatre Works's THE MOUNTAINTOP Climbs to New Heights at George Mason University
April 15, 2018

Martin Luther King, Jr. declared 'I've been to the mountaintop' almost exactly 50 years ago on April 3, 1968. His words, a confident assessment on the future of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, echo with the same power as when he bellowed them all those years ago. Dr. King never made it to the promised land, having been assassinated only one day after his 'Mountaintop' speech. His spirit, however, lives on beautifully in Katori Hall's play The Mountaintop at George Mason University's Center for the Arts on Saturday, April 14 as part of Los Angeles Theatre Works's 38-city touring production.

BWW Review: NEDERLANDS DANS THEATER Delivers a Near-Perfect Evening at the Kennedy Center
April 6, 2018

There is something profound about the simple. Such is the driving force behind the Nederlands Dans Theater's (NDT) program currently playing at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Three shockingly different dances fill this two hour program and, while the dancers wrap themselves about in complex positions regularly, the emotions portrayed are always simple and translate brilliantly. Artistic Directors Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon are to be commended for their diverse and cutting-edge selections.

BWW Review: Mosaic Theater Company's PAPER DOLLS Creates a Beautiful Piece Despite Some Creases
April 4, 2018

If you've ever thought what it would be like to cross an episode of Ru Paul's Drag Race with a searing Middle East drama and set the action to pop hits of the early aughts, Paper Dolls the perfect show for you. Mosaic Theater Company's newest entry to their Voices from a Changing Middle East cycle is a delightful piece of sheer entertainment. The show unfortunately tries to cover too many topics, however, and is thus unable to reach the dramatic heights some of its subject matter calls for.

BWW Review: George Mason University School of Dance Proves Their Worth With a Diverse DANCE GALA
March 26, 2018

George Mason University is a bit of a trek when discussing arts organizations in the DMV area. If Saturday night's School of Dance Fete and Gala Concert is any indicator, then this trek is worth making. Celebrating the strides Mason's (still young) dance program has made in recent years, the evening was a unique combination of educational panels and dance showcases. With four moving performances capping off the evening, Mason's dance program cements itself as one to not be underestimated.

BWW Review: MARK MORRIS DANCE GROUP Delivers a Finessed, Yet Disconnected, Persian Love Story
March 23, 2018

Don't be fooled by all of the bright colors. The Mark Morris Dance Group's (MMDG) newly commissioned Layla and Majnun, which opened last night at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, lacks the necessary energy to elevate this tragic yet formulaic love story. It's evident from the start that all of the performers on stage are immensely talented, which is why the lack of cohesion throughout the evening becomes frustrating.

BWW Review: SHEAR MADNESS at The Kennedy Center Celebrates 30 Years of Killings
March 16, 2018

Few productions can claim to be as much of an institution as Shear Madness is to Washington, D.C. Celebrating 30 years at the Kennedy Center, this show has become once of theater's most notorious tourist traps. This comedic caper whose plot can vary wildly each night incentivizes repeat viewings to those who are true converts, proving why more than 3.4 million people have attended this production. And although the stereotype-laden script struggles when viewed in 2018, the immersive whodunnit remains an experience unique enough to justify Shear Madness's continued existence.

BWW Review: GEORGE - DON'T DO THAT at MetroStage Honors British Comedienne Joyce Grenfell
March 12, 2018

The Women's Voices Theater Festival may be winding down in D.C. proper, but Alexandria's MetroStage is looking to keep the focus on female-centered stories with their Spring Solo Series. The second of these one-woman shows, George-Don't Do That: The Music and Magic of Joyce Grenfell, is a love-filled tribute to British comedienne Joyce Grenfell who became a global sensation in the mid-20th century thanks to her intellectual satire and good natured spirit. Despite clear adoration for the play's subject, the work doesn't properly explain who Ms. Grenfell is or why she became so famous, information which would be helpful for a modern American audience.