Top 5 Shows of The Week

1. An Evening with Idina Menzel at Wolf Trap

The Tony Award-winning musical sensation from Broadway blockbusters Wicked and Rent stars in a one-night-only (August 3rd) exclusive performance with the National Symphony Orchestra.

READ Mark Beachy’s review of the concert.

Synopsis: Best known for her roles as Elphaba from Wicked and Maureen from Rent, Idina Menzel boasts a wide array of talents that consists of singing, songwriting, and acting. In 2008 she released I Stand, a mix of pop ballads and Broadway hits. In addition to her many performances on stage, the big-voiced virtuoso carried her musical aptitude to the screen, starring in several TV shows and movies that include Glee and Enchanted.

Idina Menzel. Photo courtesy of Wolf Trap.

2. Laura at Cockpit in Court

The script by Vera Caspary and George Sklar is exquisite.  The cast is superb.  You will be captivated by Cockpit in Court’s production of Laura.

READ Mark Beachy’s review of the play.

Synopsis: When Lt. Detective Mark McPherson is assigned to investigate a murder he hardly expects to find himself falling in love with the beautiful victim. Yet Laura’s portrait, her home, her personal effects offer him tantalizing clues about the reality of this mysterious woman. Why was she murdered? Who had motive – her mentor, her best friend, her lover? Why was he so captivated by her? To unravel the mystery, come to the Cockpit in Court production of Laura, based on a novel by Vera Caspary, with play by Caspary and George Sklar.

Melissa O’Brien (the girl) surrounded by (clockwise from front) Dennis Binseel (Danny), Greg Guyton (Marc), Phil Gallagher (Waldo) and Jeb Beard (Shelby).
Photo by Amy Jones Photography.

3. Grease at Toby’s Dinner Theatre of Baltimore

Toby’s sizzling production of Grease sets the stage on fire.  Be there or be square!

READ Mark Beachy’s review of the play. (coming soon)

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Synopsis: It’s 1959 and Rydell high is filled with rebellious, thrill-loving students. In the midst of this scene, Sandy Dumbrowski enters as the new girl in school. It turns out that she and the leader of the Burger Palace Boys gang, Danny Zuko, have had a brief love affair the summer before. While Sandy stresses to her new classmates the emotional attachment she and Danny had, Danny stresses the physical aspects of their relationship. As the show goes on, the students at Rydell High have to deal with love, gang violence, teen pregnancy, and friendship.

Danny (Tim Rogan) and Sandy (Lara Zinn). Photo by Kirstine Christiansen.

4. Shakespeare’s R & J Adapted by Joe Calarco at Dignity Players

A program of the UUCA, Dignity Players sprang into action in 2004. Separating it from the various theater groups in the Annapolis area, founders Bryan Barrett, Mickey Lund, and Sue Struve established the new group to promote “the inherent self-worth and dignity of all people” through the production of plays and musicals containing a strong liberal, open-minded message of life, liberty, justice for all, hope, and dignity.

READ Morgan Halvorsen’s review of the play.

Synopsis: This vibrant, provocative adaptation of Romeo and Juliet pulsates with an adolescent abandon and electricity as four young prep school students, tired of going through the usual drill of conjugating Latin and other tedious school routines, decide to vary their governed lives. After school, one breaks out a copy of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and they all take turns reading the play aloud. The Bard’s words and the story itself are thrilling to the boys and they become swept away, enmeshed in the emotion so much so that they break school rules in order to continue their readings. Perceptions and understanding are turned upside down as the fun of play acting turns serious and the words and meanings begin to hit home and universal truths emerge.

‘Shakespeare’s R & J’ at Dignity Players. Photo courtesy of Dignity Players.

5.  Snow White and The 7 Dwarves at The Puppet Company

Based on the Grimm fairytale, this production takes the Puppet Co.’s usual sideways view of the popular story, giving it timeliness and humor for adults, as well as kids.

READ April Forrer’s review of the play.

Synopsis: When Snow White meets seven vertically challenged bachelors, she discovers that everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses; and that friendship and teamwork make any challenge smaller.

The Dwarves. Photo courtesy of The Puppet Co.

About Mark Beachy

Mark Beachy is the publisher and video producer of the MD Theatre Guide and the NY Theatre Guide.

In 1997 he wrote the play, music, and lyrics in a musical called, “’Bout Baltimore.” This musical won the WMAR TV Channel 2 and Pumpkin Theatre Baltimore Bicentennial Playwriting contest and was produced as a 1-hour television special.

He has directed over 40 productions, including shows for Pumpkin Theatre, Timonium Dinner Theatre, Howard County Center for the Arts, and the Baltimore Children's Theatre where he was the founder and producer for 7 years.

Before starting the MTG in March of 2010, Mark was the performing arts reporter for the Baltimore Examiner.

As a professional actor he has appeared on TV nationally, including on Discovery Health as "Jerry Baldwin" on I Was Dead, “Officer Nunham” on America’s Most Wanted’s Top Cops 2009 and “Alexander T. Crane” in a Japanese TV documentary about Edgar Allan Poe.