ALL SHE MUST POSSESS at Rep Stage - An Ambitious Look at the Famous Cone Sisters

I was so excited to learn about Rep Stage's Producing Artistic Director Joseph W. Ritsch's decision to present the world premiere of ALL SHE MUST POSSESS by Susan McCully. I had seen the Everyman Theatre's presentation of a one woman's show about Etta Cone starring Vivienne Shub and knew there was so much more to be told.

Well, McCully's play is a start. Ritsch has assembled a splendid cast of actors. Grace Bauer plays Etta Cone like a true Jewish mother full of warmth and intelligence. Her old sister Clarible played by the tough minded Valerie Leonard is the opposite of Etta. Leonard also gets a chance to shine as Gertrude Stein, a marvelous depiction.

Nigel Reed has the honor to play Henri Matisse and Leo Stein.

Teresa Castracane makes her appearance in the painting of "The Blue Nude" which eventually comes to life and is sublime as Etta Cone's love interest Alive B. Toklas.

Keri Eastridge plays the "writer" who interviews the sisters for a televised documentary series. Yes, this play is a flashback and one of its problems is the breaking of the "fourth" wall too often.

Daniel Ettinger's set allows for the "Blue Nude" to appear "live". I was curious why so many of the picture frames remained empty. Sarah Tundermann did clever projections and Conor Mulligan did the effective lighting. Period costumes were by Julie A. Potter.

I applaud Director Ritsch who sums up the play as a "love letter to Etta and all of us who long to surround ourselves with art and beauty."

ALL SHE MUST POSSESS runs until Feb. 25. For tickets, call 443-518-1510 or visit www.repstage.org. There is a post-show discussion on Feb. and a pre-show lecture on Feb. 24.

Do not miss a magnificent Gallery Exhibit at the Rouse Company Foundation Gallery located in the lobby of the Horowitz Visual and Performance Arts Center which runs through March 11. This amazing clothing exhibit displays historical women's clothing from the ear of the Cone Sisters. On view are historical garments from the era and showcases clothing and accessories used for everyday wear, evenings out and formal occasions. It is a wonderful compliment to the play.

The exhibit was made possible by the Towson University Historic Clothing Collection and sponsored by the Towson University Department of Theatre Arts.

Rep Stage Announces 2018-2019 Season:

Rep Stage will launch next season with Stephen Sondheim's SWEENEY TODD followed by a world premiere production by Callie Kimball THINGS THAT ARE ROUND,then they will present Anna Deveare Smith's TWIGHLIGHT:LOS ANGELES, 1992, and end the season with THE 39 STEPS by Patrick Barlow

cshubow@broadwayworld.com

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From This Author Charles Shubow

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