Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Opening Saturday: A Commedia Puss in Boots!

by Lane Riosley
directed by Julie Herber

Photo by Julie Herber, 2012

Nov 24, 2012 - Jan 6, 2013
Saturdays @ 2pm
Sunday 1/25, 12/9, 12/30, & 1/6 @ 2pm
Maryland Ensemble Theatre, 31 W Patrick Street, Frederick, MD

Purchase tickets through our box office: 301-694-4744
or online at

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

"HOLLY" Press News & Reviews

Photo by Ryan Maxwell, 2012
HOLLY DOWN IN HEAVEN at Forum Theatre has seen some great reviews this week, and Dr. McNuthin herself got some shout-outs:

"One [doll] is played by puppeteer Vanessa Strickland – the Carol Channing look-alike therapist with a great voice... [Director Michael Dove] keeps every actor as real and as matter-of-fact as possible, which makes the lightning, clever dialogue real and meaningful... Holly... is an entertaining night of theater and an honest look at adolescence and growing up." (click for full review)
- Jessica Vaughan, DC Metro Theatre Arts

"This delicate middle ground between blameworthiness and sympathy is the strong point of Corthron’s character writing, and director Michael Dove sensitively blends humor and poignancy. Under Dove’s direction, the show grows organically as it progresses, starting as a witty and irreverent take on a sad subject, and ending on an earned gravity, without losing any of the script’s sparkle... Vanessa Strickland shines as Dr. McNuthin, a foul-mouthed Carol Channing ventriloquist doll with psychiatric leanings." (click for full review)
- Robert Duffley, DC Theatre Scene

"However, the show belongs to Maya Jackson who gives a revelatory performance as pregnant teen Holly and…a Carol Channing puppet voiced by Vanessa Strickland... Dr. McNuthin gives Holly the adult guidance she desperately is seeking and Vanessa Strickland excels with bringing it to life.  Her comedic moments and vocal inflections are priceless.   Without someone as strong as Strickland in the role, the puppet could have been too much of a one-note joke, but Strickland made it work. Really work."
- Jennifer Perry, Broadway

We've had a lot of press leading up to opening, too, which you can read up on here:
HOLLY DOWN IN HEAVEN was also featured as a "Top Stop" in the Washington Post Express today, Wednesday, 10/3.

Shows continue tonight through Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm!  This Friday, 10/5 is our Young Professionals Night, so if you're under 30 years of age, come take advantage of our special $10 tickets!  Call the Forum box office at 240-644-1100 or email tickets [at] forumtd [dot] org to reserve!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


A world premiere by Kara Lee Corthron
directed by Michael Dove
Opening this Saturday, 9/29 at 8pm
at Round House Silver Spring
presented by Forum Theatre

Featuring Maya Jackson, KenYatta Rogers*, Dawn Thomas, Parker Drown, Luke Cieslewicz, KyoSin Kang, and Vanessa Strickland
*member of Actors Equity Association

or call the Round House box office at
Pay-What-You-Can Previews: Thursday, 9/27 and Friday, 9/28 at 8pm
Opening night: Saturday, 9/29 at 8pm

Runs Sept. 27 through Oct. 20th
Wednesdays through Sundays
There is no performance Sunday, 9/30

Ticketed parking is available at the Wayne Ave. garage and the Ellsworth/Town Center garage.  Parking is free on weekends and upon exiting the garages AFTER 6pm.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, August 6, 2012


I recently celebrated a li'l anniversary with the Maryland Ensemble Theatre.  It marks my first full year as a company member there, but their 15th year as a company.  I've had such an awesome time and am only looking forward to what comes next.

I wrote a li'l blog about it for them, ya wanna hear it?  Check it out here, g'wan, click it!

They really know how to make artists feel welcome, and I've been given the chance to exercise my puppeteering and directing muscles, not to mention being challenged as an actor in roles that I'd only imagined having and creating work amongst other artists with such drive you can't help but be motivated.  Opportunities, challenges, and collaboration.  Three things I strive to cultivate as an artist, and thus far all three have been overwhelmingly satisfied.  I'm hoping you'll join us this season, we've got some awesome work coming up.

In the meantime, I'm hatching some ideas for their children's season (puppet-related), and I'm working on a little project of my own... more to come on that when it's taken a more definitive shape.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

HEIDI opens Saturday!

Opening this Saturday, 5/19/12


Kidnapped by her cruel aunt and sent to live in the city with a strict housekeeper and sick cousin, young Heidi struggles to remain optimistic, wondering if her grandfather is searching for her. While dreaming of her peaceful life atop the Swiss Alps, Heidi gets into mischief and makes surprising new friends, changing the lives of everyone she meets. Adapted from the classic 1880 novel by Johanna Spyri.

Featuring Karli Cole, Sarah Deleonibus, Geoffrey Huntoon, Laura Stark, & Bill Stitely
adapted for the MET by Allison Lepelletier
directed by Vanessa Strickland

MAY 19 – JUNE 10
Saturdays at 2pm, Sunday 6/3 & 6/10 @ 2pm

**Saturday, 5/19 is the G8 summit and the 150th Anniversary of the Great Frederick Fair and June 2-3 is the Annual Frederick Festival of the Arts, so please allow extra time for travel and parking if you plan to attend the show!**

OR call the MET box office at 301-694-4744
All tickets $13.50. Ticket price includes a $1.50 handling charge.

Performances are held at Maryland Ensemble Theatre, 31 W Patrick Street, Frederick, MD
Metered parking available on Market, Patrick, and surrounding streets; garage parking available at the Court Street garage, across from the theatre.

Hope to see you at the MET!

Friday, March 23, 2012

ANTIGONE World Premiere Opening Tonight

TONIGHT, 3/23/12
Opening night of the world premiere of

at the Maryland Ensemble Theatre

adapted from Sophocles by Reiner Prochaska, directed by Julie Herber

Photo by Joe Williams, 2012
"The greater your arrogance, the greater God's revenge."

The world premiere adaptation of Sophocles’ tragic classic which pits the courageous Antigone against King Creon and the laws of Thebes in defense of her brother’s honor with fatal consequences.

The MET's adaptation deals with not only the original story of Antigone, but the themes of the story in an unexpected, original way.  Thursday 3/22 is the $5 preview, Saturday 3/24 you can meet the cast after the show and Sunday is the Opening celebration with a pre-show reception at 6pm catered by The Greene Turtle, the Sunday show will sell out, so get your tickets now.  The following Sunday, April 1st, will feature a post-show talkback with the director, cast, writer and special guests.
Featuring MET Company Members: Ashley Hall, Devin Gaither, Karen Paone, Reiner Prochaska & Vanessa Strickland with Joe Jalette and Bill Stitely
March 22 – April 15
Thursday – Saturday @ 8pm, Sunday 3/25, 4/15 @ 7pm, 4/1 @ 2pm

$24 adults – $20 students/seniors     Thursday and Sunday evenings – all tickets $15
$1.50 processing fee per ticket         $5 Preview – Thursday, March 22 – no reservations/cash only

BUY TICKETS ONLINE or call the MET Box Office at 301-694-4744

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

ART = ♥

My apologies for the delayed update!  The year really took off, and I'll tell you why:

This weekend saw the read-throughs of the next two shows I'm involved in at Maryland Ensemble Theatre: (1) The Young Olympians and the Most Amazingly Awesome Adventure Ever and (2) Antigone, the former a completely original children's show written by MET company member Sarah Shulman and the latter a brand-new adaptation of the classic Greek tragedy written by MET company member Reiner Prochaska.

What most excites me about these two shows is the fact that I'm getting to work creatively with some of my favorite people!  For Young Olympians, I'll be pitching in on the construction of several classic monsters of Greek mythology, including a puppet version of Cerberus, the three-headed dog of Hades.  I'll be understudying for Cerberus, but I am thrilled to be getting to coach the puppeteers in the show.  For Antigone, I will be playing the title role in this adaptation, which shows the story of Antigone permeating time and place, with each stasimon of the play occurring in different periods of war and strife through 400 years of world history.  I'm excited for the challenge, excited for the story we're going to tell, and eager to be a part of what I imagine will be a momentous artistic experience.

I hope you'll come be a part of it.  :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

2012 guys, whoa!

I have a moment, in which I will update you all, albeit briefly:

1 - Reading awesome student plays for Young Playwrights Theater's New Writers Now Festival = INSPIRING!
2 - Maryland Ensemble Theatre retreat to choose the next season = EXCITING! (+ video games)
3 - Building puppets for an awesome Fun Company show: The Young Olympians = CHALLENGING *AND* AWESOME!

So all in all, the year's off to a pretty cool start! :)