2021 DCMTA Staff Favorites: Outstanding Community Theater Productions

As the year draws to a close, we asked the DCMTA writers to reflect on the productions that stood out to them in 2021.

Here are the community theater productions that resonated with our authors this year.

Melvin D. Smith as Harold and Paul Brewster as Albie in “A Black and White Cookie”. Photo by Harvey Levine.

A black and white cookie, Silver Spring Stadium
Originally scheduled as a staged reading, script in hand, October 15-17, 2021, A black and white cookie evolved into a minimal production show under the direction of Jacqueline Youm. It was Silver Spring Stage’s first live performance at its storefront theater in 18 months. Lead performers Melvin D. Smith as Harold, White-Bearded Paul Brewster as Albie, and Youm as Niece Carol each find a heart center of their individual characters. The supporting ensemble included Robert Howard and Helen Cheng Mao.
Lisa Traiger’s full review

Gabby Carter (Mindy), Melanie Kurstin (Georgeanne), Rebecca Cooley (Frances) and Brittany Washington (Trisha) in “Five Women Wearing the Same Dress.” Photo by Matthew Randall.

Five women wearing the same dress, Dominion Stage
Full of snark and impertinence, Five women wearing the same dress is replete with observations of women’s lives, bodies, deliberations, hidden secrets and exaggerated revelations. The show is full of moments of laughter as the bridesmaids wrestle with their demons of past and current regrets and potential future realities.
The Complete Debbie Minter Jackson Review

Laura Gayvert as Lizzy and Ben Carr as Jack Key in “Maytag Virgin”. Photo by Brandon Bentley.

Virgin Maytag, Annapolis Colonial Players
Audrey Cefaly’s play, about two neighbors in an Alabama town, is a quietly touching drama about intimacy and relationships. Edd Miller does a terrific job as a director, making the physical distance between the actors feel natural. They navigate well on stage and help create the illusion that only the two are there. Laura Gayvert gives Lizzy a curiosity. Ben Carr plays Jack with an independence that hides deep pain and feelings. After a year of a dark stage, seeing the Colonial Players stage a full production is a joy.
Charlie Green’s full review

Scenes from ‘Over the Town.’ Photos courtesy of Rockville Musical Theatre.

On the city, Rockville Musical Theater
Rockville Musical Theater’s production is absolutely top-notch, succeeding in every aspect of a show that demands of its cast and staff at a professional theater standard, not to mention the community. The Watch Award judges should watch. On the city, written when its creators were in their twenties, is about youthful energy as the sailors do their best to make the most of their short stay in New York. World War II is in the background, but the eyes of the show are fixed on the exhilaration of that day – joy which the Rockville Musical Theater production gives audiences abundantly.
Bob Ashby’s full review

Robert Freemon (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) and Zenia McPherson (Camae) in “The Mountaintop”. Photo by Ken Kemp.

The top of the mountain, Rockville Little Theater (streaming production)
The top of the mountain by Katori Hall, presented by Rockville Little Theater in partnership with the City of Gaithersburg (Arts on the Green), takes place at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, the day before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968. In RLT’s virtual production of The top of the mountain, Robert Freemon’s Dr. King is clearly exhausted and doubtful of his own mission. He’s in a small hotel room, with orange beds and spartan decor. He paces, trying out sentences for a speech and checking the phone for listening devices. He is joined by the feisty and charming Camae (Zenia McPherson), a maid who brings him coffee and shares his Pall Malls. Both are charismatic, and both are on edge. It is a beautifully produced and performed production.
Sophia Howes’ full review

Carey Bibb, Samantha McEwen Deininger, Mary Rogers and Ryan Harris in “The Revolutionaries”. Photo by Brandon Bentley.

The revolutionaries, Annapolis Colonial Players
Directed by Jennifer Cooper, this exploration of the lives of women during the time of the French Revolution is touching and enlightening. The revolutionaries opens with the apartment of Olympe de Gouges, writer and social activist, played by Mary C. Rogers. As the first act progresses, we are greeted by two characters who occupy an important place in the history of France: Marie-Antoinette (Ryan Gunning Harris) and Charlotte Corday (Carey Bibb). The fourth character is Marianne Angelle—played by the gorgeous Samantha McEwen Deininger—who didn’t actually exist but is a composite character representing the free black women of the island of Santo Domingo. The acting and the content are a strong point of this production. There’s a lot more to love here, especially the Richard Atha-Nicholls set and the costumes created by Amy Atha-Nicholls. There are a number of technical effects that use projections. Designers Wes Bedsworth and Bill Reinhardt have done a great job using the technology available to them and the 360 ​​degree space they work in.
The full opinion of Darby Dejarnette

Dorothy (Allison Meyer), Lion (Meghan Williams Elkins), Scarecrow (Kathy Suydam), Toto (Amanda Dullin-Jones) and Tin Man (Francis Hoag). Photo by Kim Harmon Photography.

The Wizard of Oz: A British Panto, British players
Audience participation is not only suggested in British Pantos; it is delightfully obligatory. The production of British players of The Wizard of Oz was a top-notch production and a fun, loud, rowdy way to experience theatre. Written by Emma Houldershaw and Samantha Cartwright, this is not the musical version of The Wizard of Oz you’ve probably seen on stage or on screen. Yes, there are songs, and yes, your favorite characters are there – including Dorothy and Toto, the Lion, the Tin Man and the Scarecrow – but they’re joined by an array of additional characters who amp up the humor of the show. Kudos to director Nicola Hoag and the entire cast and crew for this top-notch production.
Nicole Hertvik’s full review

Adam Adkins (Roat), Brendan Chaney (Carlino) and Mel Gumina (Susy) in “Wait Until Dark”. Photo by Matthew Randall.

Wait until nightfall, Small Theater of Alexandria
The Little Theater of Alexandria (LTA) shows that good acting and tight directing can continue to fuel an entertaining production of Wait until nightfall, a 1960s thriller by Frederick Knott. Mel Gumina brings a consistently high level of energy to the lead role, Susy Hendrix. Every good thriller needs a villain, and Harry Roat (Adam R. Adkins) is as bad as they come. Roat’s henchmen in the criminal scheme – the MacGuffin who directs the plot is the search for a heroin-filled doll – are Mike Talman (Brendan Quinn) and Sgt. Carlino (Brendan Chaney), a couple of unlucky little crooks. Director Heather Benjamin created a tense and suspenseful production. LTA’s technical work lives up to the band’s well-established standards. The realistic set, designed by Julie Fischer, depicts a fairly high-ceilinged basement apartment, with frequently used stairs descending from an upper entrance (steps on the stairs are sometimes an important plot element).
Bob Ashby’s full review

Show off artwork for the 2021-2022 Ovations Theater season.

Ovation Theater
Special mention to Ovations Theater for continuing to grow during COVID and producing high quality productions featuring talented young performers. Ovations’ work has provided a much-needed outlet for teens in 2021. Under founder Darnell Morris, productions such as To rent, Ragtime, The beauty and the Beast, and american idiot featured stellar sets and costumes, and strong performances from young Ovation performers who are getting a solid background in musical theater history and performance. Additionally, Ovations became a permanent performance space, “the Harriet”, in Gaithersburg, Maryland – a difficult step for a growing theater company, even if COVID was not a consideration. Nice work, cheers!
Learn more about Ovations Theater

SEE ALSO:

DCMTA 2021 Staff Favorites: Outstanding Performance in Professional Theater Productions
DCMTA 2021 Staff Favorites: Outstanding Design Elements in Professional Productions
DCMTA 2021 Staff Favorites: Outstanding Design Elements in Community Theater Productions
2021 DCMTA Staff Favorites: Outstanding Performance in Community Theater Productions
DCMTA 2021 Staff Favorites: Outstanding Professional Theater Productions
DCMTA 2021 Staff Favorites: Outstanding Digital Theater

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