Highlights of festive holiday productions

By: Michael Toscano

December is traditionally the family-friendliest month on D.C.-area stages, with a mix of holiday-themed perennials and time-honored favorites.A listing of some of this year’s top attractions follows.Before we get to the more traditional offerings, there’s something a bit different at the Kennedy Center: Elf The Musical (Dec. 17 to Jan. 5). The Opera House will vibrate with ... READ MORE

Estelle Parsons stars in Arena premiere

By: Michael Toscano

The Academy Award-winning star is getting ready to go to the theater, and she is fretting about clothes. But this is not about a red-carpet appearance, and she’s not concerned about how she looks.This is the dilemma of a working actor who is trying to find the essence of a character, and part of that search involves wardrobe. What the character wears onstage will tell the audience a... READ MORE

Blues legend Johnny Winter to perform

By: Rebekah Sewell

It was 1962, and 17-year-old Johnny Winter was holding out hope that blues legend B.B. King would let him play guitar onstage. After all, Winter and his band, Johnny and the Jammers, had released music on a Houston recording label two years before.Winter and his brother Edgar waited in a club called the Raven in Beaumont, Texas, where they had come to see King perform. Both boys were... READ MORE

How to become more creative later in life

By: Carol Sorgen

It’s never too late to develop your creativity, and two new books show you why and how.Contemplating life after retirement and its inevitable question of “What’s next?,” psychologist Francine Toder impulsively, and almost simultaneously, took up cello lessons and creative writing classes.What those two seemingly random events led to was an exploration of late (or... READ MORE

Shakespeare al fresco with Caribbean flair

By: Anne Ball

Just as when Shakespeare’s plays were first performed, the Chesapeake Shakespeare Theatre brings its audience up close to the stage.And as in the first staging of Antony and Cleopatra and Taming of the Shrew back in the 1600s, the actors join the audience between exits and entrances.But that’s where the similarities to the Bard’s time end. Chesapeake Shakespeare’s... READ MORE

Melissa Etheridge rocks again at Wolf Trap

By: Barbara Ruben

Singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge may have won two Grammy Awards, been honored by Washington’s Women in the Arts Museum last year and garnered a star on the Hollywood Walk of fame in 2011.But when she was a child in Leavenworth, Kan., a music teacher didn’t know what to make of her raw, gravelly voice.*My first choir teacher did tell me that my voice was so weird she had to... READ MORE