The Washington Examiner “Tony Sportiello, who wrote the book for National Pastime at Keegan Theatre, must have had fun coming up with all the silliness that constitutes the musical…National Pastime creates a platform for some excellent actors and singers….Karen is played by Katie McManus, whose vibrant voice carries the musical’s best numbers…Played as a lovable
“APRIL 2001 Must-Sees: FROM APRIL 9TH TO MAY 15TH, NATIONAL PASTIME, AT KEEGAN THEATRE AT CHURCH STREET THEATER, IN WASHINGTON, DC. There’s nothing more exciting than seeing a World Premiere Musical … It’s co-directed by Mark A. Rhea and Susan Marie Rhea, who brought us Keegan’s Helen Hayes Award-winning production of Rent, and musical directed by Jake Null … The talented cast includes so many of my favoroite DC-area actors…”
On Saturday, April 9, The Keegan Theatre opens NATIONAL PASTIME, a world premiere musical comedy written by Tony Sportiello (book) and Al Tapper (music and lyrics). A reading of NATIONAL PASTIME took place at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in New York in May 2010. Producers from Chicago and New York are joining forces with the Keegan Theater for this limited five-week engagement prior to its moving onward.
Basra Boy: “The lithe and limber Sticklin plays the 18-year-old slacker Speedy in this world premiere of a play by Belfast native Rosemary Jenkinson.” The Weir: “Skillfully directed by Keegan’s founding artistic director, Mark A. Rhea, it co-stars his wife, the astonishingly talented Susan Marie Rhea …”
This “Basra Boy” succeeds for two reasons: Jenkinson’s ability to write a humorous, poignant but unsentimental play about a close-knit pair of friends and the nostalgia one of those friends feels when the communication between them is lost; and Sticklin’s boundless energy, his ability to sustain convoluted emotions and to shift rapidly from scene to scene and persona to persona, taking the audience on a whirlwind tour of one not-so-bad boy’s life.
In a succinct 70 minutes that pulse with slangy lyricism, “Basra Boy” paints a vibrant portrait of an exuberant teenager and his quirky, down-at-heels community. As brought to life by director Abigail Isaac and the appealing performer Josh Sticklin, who portrays multiple characters, it’s a piece that starts as a funny, antic romp and ends asit’s a piece that starts as a funny, antic romp and ends as a touching tribute to friendship and to the process of growing up…
Set in one location in real time, The Weir is the kind of interior, Irish-to-its-chilly-bones piece at which Keegan Theatre excels.” Under the direction of Mark A. Rhea, the cast all scale their performances appropriately. The comfort and the contempt arising from their lives of small-town proximity registers. As Jack, Kevin Adams seems to resent
“Magnetic Ghost stories: Keegan Theatre’s production of THE WEIR hooks the playgoer with its subtle and provocative writing … Subtle, magnetic …McPherson is expert at unsettled equilibrium, and this production gets that … the audience is transfixed”
“Isaac has crafted the production beautifully to make every scene fold into another with minimum fuss and lightning speed. She is aided by the energetic and fearless Sticklin …This is a play not to be missed, and, moment for moment, it’s a performance packed with dynamite and delight.”
The Washington Post “Subtle but magnetic … the audience is transfixed as the characters, one at a time, sink into long, spellbinding speeches recounting eerie, inexplicable events … Rhea and the actors do know how to use stillness to advantage … As a piece of dramatic writing, “The Weir” is exquisite – gripping and deeply