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Thornton Wilder

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By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,SUN THEATER CRITIC | February 8, 1999
With its humongous theme of the survival of the human race, Thornton Wilder's "The Skin of Our Teeth" might seem a tough play to turn into a musical.But "Over & Over," the adaptation by famed songwriters John Kander and Fred Ebb ("Cabaret," "Chicago") and librettist Joseph Stein ("Fiddler on the Roof"), proves both jaunty and engaging.From its very conception, this world premiere musical at Signature Theatre in Arlington, Va., has had a lot going for it. For starters, there's the overt artificiality of the source material.
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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | June 7, 2013
Picture it: England, 1707. Two guys who have run out of money decide to seek out and successfully woo rich women. They take turns playing master and servant as they roam the countryside in their quest, which leads them to the town of Lichfield and some very promising prospects. That set-up leads to all sorts of crazy things in George Farquhar's "The Beaux' Stratagem," one of the classics of Restoration Comedy, the genre that flourished for several decades after Charles II assumed the British throne in 1660.
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By Arthur Hirsch and Arthur Hirsch,SUN STAFF | January 24, 2001
November 1956 found Thornton Wilder in thrall to an impulse to write short plays, something he had not done much of in nearly 20 years, before he had established himself in the American theatrical canon by writing the full-length dramas "Our Town" and "The Skin of Our Teeth." Yet there he was, up before dawn on Nov. 17 in the Hamden, Conn., home he had built years before with the royalties from an enormously successful novel, his imagination stirred by the notion of writing something short, a one-act play called "The Wreck of the Five-Twenty-Five."
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By Tim Smith | tim.smith@baltsun.com and Baltimore Sun reporter | March 26, 2010
"Everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal," says the Stage Manager in Thornton Wilder's "Our Town," "and that something has to do with human beings." The lasting force of this 1938 Pulitzer Prize-winning play might well lie in the way it reminds us of that eternity, that commonality, that community. The folks who live and die in the early years of the 20th century in Grover's Corners, N. H., might be terribly specific in name, age, occupation, aspiration and aptitude, but they're as close to us as our relatives and neighbors.
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By TESS LEWIS and TESS LEWIS,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | January 5, 1997
"The Letters of Gertrude Stein and Thornton Wilder," edited by Edward M. Burns and Ulla E. Dydo with William Rice. Yale University Press. 436 pages. $35.It would be difficult to find two authors whose works diverge more in style and structure than Thornton Wilder and Gertrude Stein. Wilder's limpid, engaging prose and accessible story lines often mask his works' depth and critics too easily dismiss him as a popularizer of great ideas. Gertrude Stein assembled streams of laborious, repetitive sentences into lengthy meditations on a few recurrent themes.
ENTERTAINMENT
By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,Sun Theater Critic | April 23, 2000
From Nazi trials to swing dancing, from Thornton Wilder to August Wilson, Center Stage's 2000-2001 season will offer a broad mix of subject matter, periods and styles. The most ambitious offering will be Peter Weiss' "The Investigation," based on the actual testimony of Nazi guards, doctors and officials who were brought to trial by Auschwitz survivors in 1964. The production is supported by a $55,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. "I built the season around it," artistic director Irene Lewis said of "The Investigation," which she has been interested in directing for several years.
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By J. WYNN ROUSUCK and J. WYNN ROUSUCK,SUN THEATER CRITIC | March 9, 2006
She's a nun who's convinced that all prayers are answered, but "sometimes the answer to our prayer is no." He's an accountant who finds himself acting in a play he's never rehearsed. These are the respective protagonists of Christopher Durang's 1981 double bill of one-act plays - Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You and The Actor's Nightmare, receiving a serviceable revival at the Vagabond Players under Barry Bach's direction. The plays are an interesting pairing. The nun thinks she knows everything; the accountant doesn't have a clue.
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By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,SUN THEATER CRITIC | July 22, 2004
Playwrights and novelists often claim that their characters "write themselves" - that they take on lives of their own. That's the premise in Joe Dennison's Air/Ice, a Baltimore Playwrights Festival production at Fell's Point Corner Theatre. The play opens with a highly charged scene - athletically directed by Barry Feinstein - of two men locked in hand-to-hand combat. One of the men is Cooper Wells, a terminally ill, wildly successful pulp fiction writer. The other is Dick Dragon, the fictional superhero of Wells' 22 spy novels.
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By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,SUN THEATER CRITIC | October 16, 2003
At age 73, John Astin has a new career - and it's at his alma mater, back in the town where he was born. Still best known as Gomez Addams, the role he played on ABC's The Addams Family four decades ago, Astin began his career as an actor on and off Broadway. In more recent years he's also been directing, as well as touring his one-man show, Edgar Allan Poe - Once upon a midnight... Beginning tomorrow night, local audiences will be able to see him play the role of the Stage Manager in a production of Thornton Wilder's Our Town, under his direction.
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By SUSAN TRAUSCH | February 11, 1991
"I'm now going to show you a picture of the luckiest man in Iraq on this particular day,'' Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf told reporters at a Riyadh briefing the other day.The couch potatoes on the other side of the world leaned forward to see what the general was pointing at in a video taken from the nose of a bomber.''Look here -- right through the cross hairs,'' General Schwarzkopf said as a truck, which appeared to be about the size of a fly, drove along a stretch of bridge highway smack in the center of the bomber's sight.
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By J. WYNN ROUSUCK and J. WYNN ROUSUCK,SUN THEATER CRITIC | March 9, 2006
She's a nun who's convinced that all prayers are answered, but "sometimes the answer to our prayer is no." He's an accountant who finds himself acting in a play he's never rehearsed. These are the respective protagonists of Christopher Durang's 1981 double bill of one-act plays - Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You and The Actor's Nightmare, receiving a serviceable revival at the Vagabond Players under Barry Bach's direction. The plays are an interesting pairing. The nun thinks she knows everything; the accountant doesn't have a clue.
FEATURES
By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,SUN THEATER CRITIC | July 28, 2005
The Baltimore Playwrights Festival specializes in new, untested scripts produced by community theaters that frequently pride themselves on giving a chance to new, untested actors and directors. It can be a recipe for chaos, but once in a while a genuinely strong script receives a genuinely strong production. That's exactly the case with a sharp, well-constructed comedy called Holidays In. Written by Jim Sheehan and directed by Kathleen Amshoff, it marks an auspicious festival debut for Run of the Mill Theater.
FEATURES
By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,SUN THEATER CRITIC | July 22, 2004
Playwrights and novelists often claim that their characters "write themselves" - that they take on lives of their own. That's the premise in Joe Dennison's Air/Ice, a Baltimore Playwrights Festival production at Fell's Point Corner Theatre. The play opens with a highly charged scene - athletically directed by Barry Feinstein - of two men locked in hand-to-hand combat. One of the men is Cooper Wells, a terminally ill, wildly successful pulp fiction writer. The other is Dick Dragon, the fictional superhero of Wells' 22 spy novels.
FEATURES
By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,SUN THEATER CRITIC | October 16, 2003
At age 73, John Astin has a new career - and it's at his alma mater, back in the town where he was born. Still best known as Gomez Addams, the role he played on ABC's The Addams Family four decades ago, Astin began his career as an actor on and off Broadway. In more recent years he's also been directing, as well as touring his one-man show, Edgar Allan Poe - Once upon a midnight... Beginning tomorrow night, local audiences will be able to see him play the role of the Stage Manager in a production of Thornton Wilder's Our Town, under his direction.
ENTERTAINMENT
By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,Sun Theater Critic | July 15, 2001
SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. -- After watching the dress rehearsal of his world premiere play The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa at the Contemporary American Theater Festival, playwright John Olive had a revelation. Suddenly, he scrapped the last scene. "I'm a 'put-er in-er.' I put a lot of stuff in. When I see [the play] on its feet, I take a lot out," Olive says of his writing process. Meanwhile, his colleague, playwright Craig Wright, took a look at the festival's staging of his play The Pavilion, which has had three previous regional theater productions across the country, and liked what he saw. He didn't change a thing.
FEATURES
By Arthur Hirsch and Arthur Hirsch,SUN STAFF | January 24, 2001
November 1956 found Thornton Wilder in thrall to an impulse to write short plays, something he had not done much of in nearly 20 years, before he had established himself in the American theatrical canon by writing the full-length dramas "Our Town" and "The Skin of Our Teeth." Yet there he was, up before dawn on Nov. 17 in the Hamden, Conn., home he had built years before with the royalties from an enormously successful novel, his imagination stirred by the notion of writing something short, a one-act play called "The Wreck of the Five-Twenty-Five."
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | June 7, 2013
Picture it: England, 1707. Two guys who have run out of money decide to seek out and successfully woo rich women. They take turns playing master and servant as they roam the countryside in their quest, which leads them to the town of Lichfield and some very promising prospects. That set-up leads to all sorts of crazy things in George Farquhar's "The Beaux' Stratagem," one of the classics of Restoration Comedy, the genre that flourished for several decades after Charles II assumed the British throne in 1660.
FEATURES
By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,SUN THEATER CRITIC | July 28, 2005
The Baltimore Playwrights Festival specializes in new, untested scripts produced by community theaters that frequently pride themselves on giving a chance to new, untested actors and directors. It can be a recipe for chaos, but once in a while a genuinely strong script receives a genuinely strong production. That's exactly the case with a sharp, well-constructed comedy called Holidays In. Written by Jim Sheehan and directed by Kathleen Amshoff, it marks an auspicious festival debut for Run of the Mill Theater.
FEATURES
By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,SUN THEATER CRITIC | January 11, 2001
If Thornton Wilder's full-length dramatic masterpieces are his symphonies, then his short plays are his sublime chamber pieces. And as the four that opened last night at Center Stage prove, short did not mean slight for Wilder. He was a writer capable of expressing major themes in miniature formats. "Pullman Car Hiawatha," "The Long Christmas Dinner," "The Wreck on the Five-Twenty-Five" and "Now the Servant's Name was Malchus" explore such broad issues as man's place in the universe and the fleeting nature of life.
ENTERTAINMENT
By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,Sun Theater Critic | April 23, 2000
From Nazi trials to swing dancing, from Thornton Wilder to August Wilson, Center Stage's 2000-2001 season will offer a broad mix of subject matter, periods and styles. The most ambitious offering will be Peter Weiss' "The Investigation," based on the actual testimony of Nazi guards, doctors and officials who were brought to trial by Auschwitz survivors in 1964. The production is supported by a $55,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. "I built the season around it," artistic director Irene Lewis said of "The Investigation," which she has been interested in directing for several years.
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