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  Midwestern Gothic at Signature Theatre

Midwestern Gothic

Signature Theatre
4200 Campbell Avenue Arlington

In a frozen little town in the middle of nowhere lives Stina, a young woman filled with a desperate hope to escape her humdrum surroundings. Following her mind's twisted flights of fancy, it isn't long before Stina's imagination is driving her to create more and more bizarre diversions, leading to a sudden and shocking twist of events. This wildly original world premiere of Midwestern Gothic features a book by Royce Vavrek and a contemporary score from Josh Schmidt, the award-winning composer of Adding Machine, that weaves together rock, country and pure fantasy. Catch this provocative and innovative musical thriller at Arlington's Signature Theatre.

Thru - Apr 30, 2017

Box Office: 703-820-9771

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  Midwestern Gothic Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Washington Post - Somewhat Recommended

"...One issue becomes crystal clear over the hour and 40 minutes of "Midwestern Gothic": There's work still to be done here by Vavrek and Schmidt, the latter the composer of the scalding "Adding Machine: A Musical" that made a blistering impact at Studio Theatre several years ago. For the moment, it's a cold show that doesn't meet the quota for chills."
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Peter Marks

MetroWeekly - Highly Recommended

"...A carnival of lust, violence and lewd behavior, Josh Schmidt and Royce Vavrek's cheeky new musical Midwestern Gothic, now at Signature Theatre, blows in like a hot summer breeze, promising a purely escapist good time. How escapist might depend on one's personal proximity to sensational stories of teen-aged criminal masterminds who lure unsuspecting victims into webs of deceit that result in kidnapping, murder, or any number of other felonies. As for the good time, the production tempts and teases, but only partly delivers."

Andre Hereford

BroadwayWorld - Somewhat Recommended

"...My expectations for the premiere of MIDWESTERN GOTHIC at Signature Theatre were so high that the musical itself was bound to fall short, no matter what. Billed as a darkly funny thriller, it's got atmosphere in spades and boasts laudable performances from a cast of committed actors. But that isn't enough to keep the whole affair from feeling like an interesting concept still in search of a form."
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Barbara Johnson

Talkin Broadway - Recommended

"...Midwestern Gothic, in a world premiere production at Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia, is dark, fascinating, and ultimately impossible to describe. It offers an unflinching look at the underside of rural America and the ways in which people break out when they have nothing to lose; as a mood piece, it isn't for everyone, but it's extremely well done."
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Susan Berlin

DC Metro Theater Arts - Somewhat Recommended

"...Tart tongues and cute poses only can go so far, at least to me. There seems little beneath the surface of the current Midwestern Gothic. With what felt like a surface mash-up with allusions to old movies, old literature and some hot air blown at Jesus, Midwestern Gothic fell flat for me. Worse; it seemed soft and lazy. It needed some kind of pumping up. Maybe that will be in store so we can revisit it."
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David Siegel

MD Theatre Guide - Somewhat Recommended

"...While "Midwestern Gothic" radiates Gothic identity, using warm lights and haze to paint these lost souls in harsh chiaroscuro, the script is not nearly so confident. At its best, it is ambitious for its attempt to tackle the genre through multiple lenses. Otherwise, it offers a muddled assemblage of those multiple lenses in an incomplete effort to craft a vision or inspiring essence of its own."
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John Connor Buckley

Theatre Bloom - Recommended

"...You never know how many secrets stay hidden beneath the surface until you start digging. Don't dig too far down into Virginia or you'll miss all the sordid secrets that come tangled up in the world premiere of Midwestern Gothic, a new musical with Book by Royce Vavrek, Music by Josh Schmidt, and Lyrics by Vavrek & Schmidt. Appearing now in The Ark Theatre of Signature Theatre, this freeze-frame capture of dystopian life in the American Midwest circa the late 80's/early 90's is a questionable venture with a welcomed, albeit sudden, dark plot twist that hooks the audience late in the game. Directed and Choreographed by Matthew Gardiner, the show dabbles with dark thematic elements that stir up controversial conversations."
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Amanda Gunther

DCTheatreScene - Somewhat Recommended

"...This cacophonous problem is not a uniform aspect of Midwestern Gothic though. Especially later on, the entire creative team finds the heart of the play in a nice sequence of songs that lead to the climax. Relying on solo talent from Keene and Alex, the second half of this play cuts through the noise to become the deeply disturbing romance the text longs to be."
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Alan Katz

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