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  Play Details

Josephine Tonight

MetroStage
1201 North Royal Street Alexandria

A musical biography of showbiz legend Josephine Baker. Josephine Tonight draws on the early life of the internationally known singer, actress and nightclub sensation who wowed audiences in America and Europe in first quarter of the 20th century, and reveals the relationship of the young Josephine and her laundress mother who steers her toward success and then guides her to remember her roots.

Thru - Mar 18, 2012

Thursdays: 8pm
Fridays: 8pm
Saturdays: 3pm & 5pm & 8pm
Sundays: 3pm & 7pm



Price: $50

Running Time: 2 hrs, 20 minutes with 1 intermission

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  Review Round-Up

MetroWeekly - Highly Recommended

"... the show is a gem that keeps on shining every time you look at it. It moves marvelously courtesy of smart staging, especially scenic designer Klyph Stanford's success in projecting images and patterns on sheer curtains evoking different times and places. Jessica Lee Winfield deserves praise for her transporting lighting, and David Alan Bunn offers tight leadership of a five-piece band with a mean rhythm section. And then there's Hines's sharp, inspiring choreography -- including a prolonged tap sequence between Villanueva and the dazzling James T. Lane, playing Eddie Baker. You'll be exhausted and awe-struck just watching it. Now this is show biz."

Doug Rule


Talkin Broadway - Recommended

"...MetroStage in Alexandria, Virginia, has the benefit of Broadway-caliber talent—beginning with director-choreographer Maurice Hines, a Helen Hayes Award recipient for an earlier MetroStage musical, Cool Papa's Party—in its premiere production of Josephine Tonight, an intimate musical about the early career of famed chanteuse Josephine Baker. The dancing and other theatrical movement are the highlights of a show that is still a work in progress: a modern-dress framing device opens the show and never reappears, and some of the songs just wind down without ever really ending."
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Susan Berlin


City Paper - Recommended

"...The witty book and lyrics by Sherman Yellen that are the show’s strength. The music, as played by an able jazz quintet, is pleasant but not memorable. (Composer Wally Harper died in 2004, so he’s not around to revise.) There’s no set—just well-designed projections. The costume designer appears to have gone shopping at Ross, thanking God that drapey cardigans and lace-up boots are back in style. But the show’s biggest shortcoming is antithetical: There’s little dancing in this musical about a famous hoofer choreographed by a tap-dance legend."
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Rebecca J. Ritzel


Washingtonian - Highly Recommended

"...Josephine Tonight is centered on an exuberant performance from Zurin Villanueva as Baker, a performer who can light up the stage with a 1,000-watt grin or beguile with a mischievous pout. Her Josie starts out gangly and overenthusiastic, and transforms into an elegant, commanding star with a primal, powerful stage presence. Director and choreographer Maurice Hines showcases Villanueva’s dancing abilities through a charged, African-influenced cabaret number and a delightful rapid-fire tap-dance-off between Baker and her first love interest, Eddie (James T. Lane, earnest and smooth; he later transforms into Josephine’s bohemian French lover, Paul)."
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Missy Frederick


DCTheatreScene - Highly Recommended

...a great script, memorable songs, terrific director and talented cast. Finding that perfect combination is as rare as being graced by the extraordinary life spirit of Josephine herself. For a show to get it so right warrants a visit.. or two. Yes, it’s that good.
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Debbie Jackson


Alexandria News - Highly Recommended

"...Associate Director Mel Johnson Jr. (Total Recall) has accomplished a real feat in portraying this bigger than life personality on such a tiny stage. To that end, Jessica Lee Winfield’s stage and lighting design of sheer black panels works wonders. By using lights and projected images, she effectively conveys time and place with very few props. David Alan Bunn’s musical direction of Wally Harper songs brings the jazz age to life, along with Hine’s choreography and Reggie Ray’s evocative costume design."
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Laura Fries


MD Theatre Guide - Somewhat Recommended

"... Yellen’s book does not match the high-energy of the score. While he does give us a lot of info about Baker’s early career – it would have been more interesting if he would have also included the rest of her very colorful career."
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Elliot Lanes



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