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'School for Lies:' a Kahn/Ives Collaboration, a Laugh a Second

June 6, 2017

There can be no better evening in the theater than when you can watch a Michael Kahn/David Ives collaboration. They have gotten together before with productions of The LiarThe Heir Apparent and Metromaniacs.  This newest collaboration on School for Lies is a little different but just as wonderful.

This time Kahn decided he wanted to do School for Lies even though it had been done before. But in typical Kahn fashion he decided it wasn’t quite in the shape he wanted it. So he contacted Ives who told the audience at the meet the cast evening at the Lansburgh Theater that “at the suggestion of Michael Kahn he re-read his play he found many things to change.” With suggestions from Kahn and his own rethinking the play together they clearly found a way to make a good play into an even greater play. You will laugh from the first line till the last. 

 Veanne Cox (Photo by: Courtesy of Playbill) Veanne Cox

School for Lies is based on the 1666 ‘The Misanthrope’ by Moliere.  The play appeared in paperback in 2012 and the explanation read “Adapted from Molière’s The Misanthrope, David Ives’s The School for Lies tells the comic tale of Frank, who shares with Molière’s Alceste a venomous hatred of the hypocrisy that surrounds him. Like his predecessor, Frank gets into trouble for insulting the work of a dreadful poet, Oronte, and falls in love with Celimene, a witty widow. In Ives’s madcap version, however, Celimene returns Frank’s affection because she wrongly believes him to be King Louis XIV’s bastard brother. Borrowing from Shakespeare, reality TV, and everything in between, The School for Lies is an inspired entertainment as well as a pointed study in self-delusion, all rendered in sparkling couplets.” In this updated version Ives has included references to the Trump administration which we all know can be viewed as a tragedy.  But like with many tragedies you laugh to keep from crying, and with School for Lies every reference leads to another laugh.  

This updated production continues to be done in sparkling couplets which the cast brings to life in a way that leaves you wanting more. This is actually a very short production for those use to Kahn’s long evenings in the theater. It is done in one act of ninety minutes. Gregory Wooddell who plays Frank is brilliant. His comic timing is perfect.  As those who know her anticipated Veanne Cox who plays Arsinoe turns in another incredible performance. For those who don’t know her Veanne Cox received a Tony nomination for her performance as Amy in the 1995 revival of Company on Broadway. We will surely see her name on the list of Helen Hayes nominees next year. 

The Set (Photo by: Peter Rosenstein) The Set

Victoria Frings as Celimene is a firecracker as is Dorea Schmidt as Eliante. Those who know Tom Story from all his great performances around town will be mesmerized by his Oronte. His comic timing has never been better and he is a delight to watch.  Each member of the very talented cast brings something wonderful to the play. They include Cameron Folmar as Clitander, Liam Craig as Acaste, Michael Glenn as Dubois/Basque, and Cody Nickell as Philinte

The creative team aside from author David Ives and the always brilliant director Michael Kahn includes scenic designer Alexander Dodge, costume designer Murell Horton, lighting designer Mark McCullough, sound designer Christopher Baine, and composer Adam Wernick

School for Lies will be at the Lansburgh Theater through July 9th.  I suggest you get your tickets before they sell out which based on the reaction of the opening night audience will be quickly. 

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Do More 24 'Start Your Activism @ Home'

May 25, 2017

Do More 24 “Start your Activism @ Home" is our region’s largest online giving day.  It takes place during the 24-hour period occurring on June 8th from 12 midnight to 11:59 pm and it is hoped on that day close to $2 million will be raised. Turns out you can start giving today. 


Given President Trump’s budget proposal and the skyrocketing demand for services from the region’s vulnerable populations, the time is now for us to step up and support the metro area nonprofit community.  These groups are involved with issues ranging from animal welfare to workforce readiness; protecting our environment to family financial stability; providing educational opportunities to children and adults, supporting the needs of the LGBT community, to helping the homeless find housing, and much more.


Kelly Brinkley, COO for United Way of the National Capital Area, said “Deep budget cuts on Capitol Hill coupled with a skyrocketing demand for life-saving services has underscored the need for support from local residents to make sure our neighbors receive the help they need.” 


To highlight the organizations who are the beneficiaries of this event the United Way of the National Capital Area has planned an event on Thursday, June 8th. They will bring together hundreds of nonprofit organizations who serve our area's most vulnerable populations to raise money that will be reinvested right here in our own community. The community-wide block party will be held from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm at PEPCO Edison Gallery (702 8th Street, NW, Washington, D.C.  The block party will bring together local nonprofits and community organizations – from step teams to marching bands and pet adoptions. 


The leadership of the United Way NCA and the nonprofits they support are encouraging local residents to funnel their frustrations and passion over these budget cuts to our community by giving locally to nonprofits. Remember again that they reinvest that money right here in our area to help our neighbors!  


So how can you give starting today? United Way NCA has made it easier than ever to contribute by allowing advanced giving on DoMore24. Just one click now and you can see all the participating organizations and make your donation today. Between now and June 7th you can decide what to give and your contribution will be credited on June 8th.  Make a difference in your community and participate in Do More 24 “Start your Activism @ Home.”

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A New Winery in Maryland

April 19, 2017

It is always exciting when a new venture comes online and when it’s a vineyard you know it has taken a long time and lots of love to get it right.  On Saturday, April 29th Hidden Hills Farm and Vineyard is inviting the public to their grand opening and it seems they have gotten it right. 


Robin Sagoskin, the owner of the vineyard, has worked hard to turn her dream into a reality. While Hidden Hills is a beautiful 100 acre horse farm turning land into a successful vineyard wasn’t easy. Beginning on April 29th the public is going to be able to cast their votes as to how successful Robin has been. My prognosis is they will be happy with the results.

(Photo by: Hidden Hills Farm and Vineyard)


Maryland has not always been known as the home of fine wines but with hard work and dedication Robin may be helping to change that image. Robin envisioned a woman-owned vineyard to be the perfect complement to the rolling green hills of the Frederick County farm and her passion for wine. Robin said “Hidden Hills Vineyard was born because I wanted to grow our own grapes in order to produce notable wines.”  She selected the varietals very carefully staying true to the climate and the region.  She added “Our wines are crafted in small blocks, showcasing their best characteristics with a refined complexity.” 


There are a selection of wines ready for tasting and purchase. They include; A 2015 Chardonnay described as a bright, fresh and clean aromatic wine with notes of lemon zest and hints of candied pear. Lemon chicken with risotto would be the perfect complement to this unoaked Chardonnay.  Produced with all-natural yeast. A 2015 Pinot Grigio that Robin suggests has a delicate apricot color, created by allowing skin contact for several hours before separating the skins and seeds from the juice. This wine has a bold structure that stands up well to intense flavors.  Lovely stone fruit and honeysuckle notes can be detected after the first sip tickles the front palate.  A perfect pairing with Thanksgiving and holiday dinners, as well as your favorite barbecue.  Produced with all-natural yeast. A 2014 Vidal Blanc which was their debut wine. According to Robin it is a Golden apple and a rich, round, yet soft mouth feel best describe this Vidal Blanc with no residual sugar. On the finish you will detect mineral, flint, and chalk.  Well balanced, this lovely wine has enough acidity to bring out the natural fruit flavors.  Produced with all-natural yeast. And finally a 2015 Cabernet Franc. Robin refers to this as our velvet wine because of the silky texture and soft well-integrated tannins.  Notes of cranberry, lavender, and a hint of walnut come together in this Cabernet Franc, and then linger with savory pepper.  Serve with a rosemary spiced ribeye roast. Robin also suggests that you don’t drink it all now. You can put this bottle away as it will continue to improve and become more elegant with time.

Robin Sagoskin (Photo by: Hidden Hills Farm and Vineyard) Robin Sagoskin


The Grand Opening will be from 2:00-5:00 pm and along with great wine visitors will be entertained by jazz pianist Christopher Linman. There is a $5 general admission fee and tickets are available at Hidden Hills The vineyard is located at 7550 Green Valley Road, Frederick, MD 21701.

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