Week of March 12, 2023
1. Pacific Overtures at Signature Theatre
“…a talented 10-piece cast, the innovative musical numbers and the clear, concise direction of Ethan Heard…a memorable musical that should be seen again and again…” – Carolyn Kelemen
Synopsis: In 1853, after 200 years of stability, Japan faces an American expedition determined to open the “Floating Kingdom” to trade. The isolated island’s reckoning with unwanted Western influence is brilliantly illuminated through a kaleidoscope of stories about seafarers, samurai, “someone in a tree” and two friends who choose radically different paths. This innovative East meets West epic is one of Sondheim’s most ambitious and rarely produced musicals.
2. “Crisis Mode: Living Pilipino in America” at The Strand Theater Company
“…a scathing critique of colonialism, American White Knight Syndrome, and the joy and passion of Filipino culture…intimate, striking, brutally honest, and genuinely kind.” – Kateri Pelton
Synopsis: In this one-person play, Cori Dioquino explores the complexities of her own identity as she navigates the three major identity crises of her life. Crisis Mode interweaves Dioquino’s personal story with that of her motherland – the Philippines – and her complicated relationship with the United States through dance, movement, music and art. At each crisis, she shares her experiences growing up as an immigrant in the “Land of the Free,” coping with hidden mental health issues, and gradually transitioning from “Proud Pinoy” to “Generic Asian.”
3. “To Kill a Mockingbird” at the Hippodrome Theater
“…a breathtaking and absolutely captivating production on every level, with a fantastic cast supported by the exemplary work of the creative team…packs a strong emotional punch.“ – Lynne Menfee
Synopsis: Oscar® Winner Aaron Sorkin’s adaptation of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece. The show follows the story of Atticus Finch, a lawyer in 1930’s Alabama, as he defends Tom Robinson, a black man falsely accused of rape, seen through the eyes of his children Scout, Jem and their friend Dill.
4. “A Nice Indian Boy” at the Olney Theater Center
“For those looking for sweet and dramatic entertainment, A Nice Indian Boy is the place to be.” – Charlotte Selton
Synopsis: During a sweet encounter at the local temple, Naveen meets the man of his dreams: a Marathi-speaking Hindu who loves the same Bollywood movies and can cook a mean Dal Makhani. If his parents would ever accept him bringing a friend home, that boy would be Keshav, except – he’s white and was raised by Indian foster parents who adopted him. But they are madly in love and make their way to the Gevaskar house, where Naveen’s white boyfriend isn’t the only surprise ready to walk through the door. This cross-generational, cross-cultural comedy portrays a heartfelt portrait of an Indian family struggling with tradition, masculinity and acceptance.
5. The Storehouse by Perisphere Theatre
“McAlister hits her character’s more vulnerable moments with an authenticity that compels audiences to take a second look at a now controversial literary figure… Beruk’s portrayal is truly inspirational.” – Anne Valentino
Summary: The storehouse based on the real-life interactions between writers Harriet Beecher Stowe (Uncle Tom’s cabin) and Harriet Jacobs (Incidents in the life of a slave). Harriet Jacobs attempts to become the first fugitive enslaved woman to self-publish her story and comes close to becoming world famous Uncle Tom’s cabin to author Harriet Beecher Stowe for her help, and the result will forever change both her life and her legacy. This piece examines the structural forces preventing people from telling their own stories and what is required of writers creating from a privileged place.
Honorable Mention: “Gloria: A Life” at Theater J
“Her performance was so authentic that I had to keep reminding myself all evening that Susan Lynskey is not actually Gloria Steinem…” – Jeanette Mulherin
Summary: Gloria: A life is more than a play – it is a celebration of human connection. Five decades after Gloria Steinem began speaking out and speaking up for the voices of others, her call for equality is as urgent as ever. In this exploration of the iconic feminist’s extraordinary legacy and the women who inspired her (including Dorothy Pitman Hughes, Flo Kennedy, Coretta Scott King and Wilma Mankiller), Act I tells her story and Act II invites the audience to share theirs to share own . Gloria Steinem’s poignant and uplifting narrative is a necessary reminder of the importance of speaking out and speaking out.