Saturday, June 9, 2018

While You are Seeing Theater in DC, Stop By the Museum of the Bible

World Stage Theater located on the fifth floor of Museum of the Bible. 

By Lauren Yarger
Many of you ask about tourist destinations to visit while you are taking in theater. For those of you seeing theater in the Washington, DC area, one stop to consider is the new Bible Museum.

The facility itself, which opened almost a year ago,  is quite impressive with a well-thought-out building. The operations of the world's largest museum dedicated to the bible were still getting their feet wet when I visited shortly after it opened. (I'd love to hear from any readers who had more recent experiences at the museum).

Spearheading the effort to bring the bible to the midst of tourist-drenched DC is Co-founder and Chairman of the Board Steve Green, owner of the Hobby Lobby store chain. Indeed, many of the museum's exhibits come from his private collection of artifacts collected over many years. Approximately 1150 items from the museum’s permanent collection are on display with another 2,000 items on loan from other institutions and collections. 

The Museum Collections include artifacts and objects from a range of cultures and time periods, from the Ancient Near East to the modern period. The permanent collection focuses on biblical items, manuscripts, printed Bibles and books, and art. These collections allow the Museum of the Bible to convey the global impact and compelling history of the Bible in a unique and powerful way.

Controversy over the provenance of some of the items in Green's collection has resulted in an extended vetting process before items are put on display according to museum officials. An artifact's provenance is the history of its ownership and location, from its creation or place of modern discovery to the present. This history helps to verify the authenticity and importance of an artifact. It also contributes to understanding how an object was used over time. 

The museum has explained its process in this way:

"Two areas are of special concern for museums in general and for Museum of the Bible (MOTB) in particular: first, items that may have been subject to Nazi-era looting in Europe from 1933–1945, and second, ancient objects that may have originated in source nations or in areas of modern conflict, such as modern-day Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. Museum of the Bible, in consultation with cultural heritage and legal experts, has developed procedures for researching and investigating objects with potentially difficult histories in areas of turmoil. In doing so, Museum of the Bible has made a firm commitment to ethical collecting and to acknowledging objects in its collection that may have entered the market as a result of war, looting, or colonial practice."

Museum of the Bible’s acquisition policy, adopted in 2016, can be viewed here.

A quick overview:
In addition to the permanent collection, the museum offers special exhibits, some long-term, some limited in time, some at a cost additional to admission. Current and upcoming special exhibits include:

  • The People of the Land: History and Archaeology of Ancient Israel
  • Treasures from the Vatican Museums and the Vatican Library
  • The Wiedmann Bible
  • Pilgrim Preacher: Billy Graham, the Bible, and the Challenges of the Modern World
  • Jerusalem and Rome: Cultures in Context in the First Century CE

The museum also offers a number of special events in its 472-seat, state-of-the-artWorld Stage Theater, which is, I admit, what drew me to visit the museum. The national Broadway tour of Amazing Grace premiered with a run there and was followed by concerts by a Christian singing group. 

In addition, some exhibits included costumed characters explaining life style and history. There are some film presentations available in seated areas and visitors can enjoy a break at the cafe or gift shop. The top floor offers some space for groups to hold events.

My quick take:
It has been a while since my visit, so I am hoping things have smoothed out as the museum has gotten up and running. For me, the exhibits in the eight-story, 430,000-square-foot museum seemed limited and rather unimpressive. As more items are cleared for the collection and it grows, I am sure the permanent collections will seem more impressive.  I thoughts special exhibits, all of rather short duration, should have been included in the admission price, including "Washington Revelations," a disappointing special interactive ride that allowed participants to feel they were flying around DC to see biblical quotes on buildings throughout the city.  The concert I saw was attended by six or seven people. Here's hoping the space will get some use -- and bring in some audience members.

Communications overall have been difficult with folks reporting they are unable to find information, both via email or phone. This may improve with increased, experienced staffing.  See below for ticketing information and hours and other information including how to support the museum, which does not receive government funding, Its support comes from private donations, memberships and admissions.

I don't want to sound negative too here, but I know my readers want honesty. and I do feel there were kinks to work out. There is great benefit in taking in the exhibits and to a bible presence in the middle of our nation's capital, however, so do check it out if you are in the area.

Visit The Bible Museum, 400 4th St SW, Washington, DC, at

Hours of Operation: Daily 10 am to 5 pm

Suggested admission prices:
Adult $19.95; Child (12 and under) $9.95
* Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.

Become a member here.

Upper Gallery and World Stage Theater – 6th Floor of Museum of the Bible 

Bible in America exhibit 

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Harry Potter, Spongebob, Admissions, Desperate Measures Win Top Drama Desk Categories

Photo: Matthew Murray
Outstanding Play
**Admissions, by Joshua Harmon, Lincoln Center Theater
Mary Jane, by Amy Herzog, New York Theatre Workshop
Miles for Mary, by The Mad Ones, Playwrights Horizons
People, Places & Things, by Duncan Macmillan, National Theatre/St. Ann's Warehouse/Bryan Singer Productions/Headlong
School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play, by Jocelyn Bioh, MCC Theater
Outstanding Musical
Desperate Measures, The York Theatre Company
KPOP, Ars Nova/Ma-Yi Theatre Company/Woodshed Collective
Mean Girls
Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story, 2b Theatre Company/59E59
**SpongeBob SquarePants
Outstanding Revival of a Play
**Angels in America
Hindle Wakes, Mint Theater Company
In the Blood, Signature Theatre Company
Three Tall Women
Travesties, Menier Chocolate Factory/Roundabout Theatre Company
Outstanding Revival of a Musical
Amerike-The Golden Land, National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene
**My Fair Lady
Once on This Island
Pacific Overtures, Classic Stage Company
Outstanding Actor in a Play
Johnny Flynn, Hangmen, Royal Court Theatre/Atlantic Theater Company
**Andrew Garfield, Angels in America
Tom Hollander, Travesties, Menier Chocolate Factor/Roundabout Theatre Company
James McArdle, Angels in America
Paul Sparks, At Home at the Zoo, Signature Theatre Company
Outstanding Actress in a Play
Carrie Coon, Mary Jane, New York Theatre Workshop
Denise Gough, People, Places & Things, National Theatre/St. Ann's Warehouse/Bryan Singer Productions/Headlong
**Glenda Jackson, Three Tall Women
Laurie Metcalf, Three Tall Women
Billie Piper, Yerma, Young Vic/Park Avenue Armory
Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Jelani Alladin, Frozen
Harry Hadden-Paton, My Fair Lady
Joshua Henry, Carousel
Evan Ruggiero, Bastard Jones, the cell
**Ethan Slater, SpongeBob SquarePants
Outstanding Actress in a Musical
Gizel Jiménez, Miss You Like Hell, The Public Theater
LaChanze, Summer
**Jessie Mueller, Carousel
Ashley Park, KPOP, Ars Nova/Ma-Yi Theater Company/Woodshed Collective
Daphne Rubin-Vega, Miss You Like Hell, The Public Theater

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play
Anthony Boyle, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Ben Edelman, Admissions, Lincoln Center Theater
Brian Tyree Henry, Lobby Hero, Second Stage
**Nathan Lane, Angels in America
David Morse, The Iceman Cometh
Gregg Mozgala, Cost of Living, Manhattan Theatre Club
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
Jocelyn Bioh, In the Blood, Signature Theatre
**Jamie Brewer, Amy and the Orphans, Roundabout Underground
Barbara Marten, People, Places & Things, National Theatre/St. Ann's Warehouse/Bryan Singer Productions/Headlong
Deirdre O'Connell, Fulfillment Center, Manhattan Theatre Club
Constance Shulman, Bobbie Clearly, Roundabout Underground
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
Damon Daunno, The Lucky Ones, Ars Nova
Alexander Gemignani, Carousel
Grey Henson, Mean Girls
**Gavin Lee, SpongeBob SquarePants
Tony Yazbeck, Prince of Broadway, Manhattan Theatre Club
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
**Lindsay Mendez, Carousel
Kenita R. Miller, Once on This Island
Ashley Park, Mean Girls
Diana Rigg, My Fair Lady
Kate Rockwell, Mean Girls
Outstanding Director of a Play
Marianne Elliott, Angels in America
Jeremy Herrin, People, Places & Things, National Theatre/St. Ann's Warehouse/Bryan Singer Productions/Headlong
Joe Mantello, Three Tall Women
Lila Neugebauer, Miles for Mary, Playwrights Horizons
Simon Stone, Yerma, Young Vic/Park Avenue Armory
**John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Outstanding Director of a Musical
Christian Barry, Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story, 2b Theatre Company/59E59
Teddy Bergman, KPOP, Ars Nova/Ma-Yi Theater Company/Woodshed Collective
Jack O'Brien, Carousel
**Tina Landau, SpongeBob SquarePants
Bartlett Sher, My Fair Lady
The LaDuca Award for Outstanding Choreography
Camille A. Brown, Once on This Island
Christopher Gattelli, SpongeBob SquarePants
Casey Nicholaw, Mean Girls
**Justin Peck, Carousel
Nejla Yatkin, The Boy Who Danced on Air, Abingdon Theatre Company
Outstanding Music
The Bengsons, The Lucky Ones, Ars Nova/Piece by Piece Productions/Z Space
Ben Caplan, Christian Barry, Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story, 2b Theatre Company/59E59
**David Friedman, Desperate Measures, The York Theatre Company
Erin McKeown, Miss You Like Hell, The Public Theater
Helen Park, Max Vernon, KPOP, Ars Nova/Ma-Yi Theater Company/Woodshed Collective
Outstanding Lyrics
Nell Benjamin, Mean Girls
Quiara Alegría Hudes/Erin McKeown, Miss You Like Hell, Public Theatre
**Peter Kellogg, Desperate Measures, The York Theatre Company
Helen Park, Max Vernon, KPOP, Ars Nova/Ma-Yi Theater Company/Woodshed Collective

Outstanding Book of a Musical
**Tina Fey, Mean Girls
Kyle Jarrow, SpongeBob Squarepants
Peter Kellogg, Desperate Measures, York Theatre Company
Hannah Moscovitch, Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story, 2B Theatre/59E59
Outstanding Orchestrations
Tom Kitt, SpongeBob SquarePants
Annmarie Milazzo and Michael Starobin (John Bertles and Bash the Trash, found instrument design)Once on This Island
Charlie Rosen, Erin McKeown, Miss You Like Hell, Public Theater
Jonathan Tunick, Pacific Overtures, Classic Stage Company
**Jonathan Tunick, Carousel
Outstanding Music in a Play
**Imogen Heap, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Justin Hicks, Mlima's Tale, Public Theatre
Amatus Karim-Ali, The Homecoming Queen, Atlantic Theater Company
Justin Levine, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Public Theater
Adrian Sutton, Angels in America
The Hudson Scenic Studio Award for Outstanding Set Design of a Play
**Miriam Buether, Three Tall Women
Bunny Christie, People, Places & Things, St. Ann's Warehouse/National Theatre/Bryan Singer Productions/Headlong
Lizzie Clachan, Yerma, Young Vic/Park Avenue Armory
Maruti Evans, Kill Move Paradise, National Black Theatre
Louisa Thompson, In the Blood, Signature Theatre
Outstanding Set Design for a Musical
Louisa Adamson, Christian Barry, Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story, 2b Theatre Company/59E59
Beowulf Boritt, Prince of Broadway, Manhattan Theatre Club
Dane Laffrey, Once on This Island
Santo Loquasto, Carousel
**David Zinn, SpongeBob SquarePants
Outstanding Costume Design for a Play
Dede M. Ayite, School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play, MCC Theater
**Jonathan Fensom, Farinelli and the King
Katrina Lindsay, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Ann Roth, Three Tall Women
Emilio Sosa, Venus, Signature Theatre
Outstanding Costume Design for a Musical
Gregg Barnes, Mean Girls
Clint Ramos, Once on This Island
David Zinn, SpongeBob SquarePants
**Catherine Zuber, My Fair Lady
Dede M. Ayite, Bella: An American Tall Tale, Playwrights Horizons
Outstanding Lighting Design for a Play
**Neil Austin, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Natasha Chivers, 1984
Alan C. Edwards, Kill Move Paradise, National Black Theatre
Paul Gallo, Three Tall Women
Paul Russell, Farinelli and the King
Outstanding Lighting Design for a Musical
Louisa Adamson, Christian Barry, Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story, 2B Theatre Company/59E59
Amith ChandrashakerThe Lucky Ones
**Jules Fisher, Peggy Eisenhauer, Once on This Island
Brian MacDevitt, Carousel
Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew, KPOP, Ars Nova, Ma-Yi Theater Company, Woodshed Collective

Outstanding Projection Design
David Bengali, Van Gogh's Ear, Ensemble for the Romantic Century
Andrezj Goulding, People, Places & Things, National Theatre/St. Ann's Warehouse/Bryan Singer Productions/Headlong
Peter Nigrini, SpongeBob SquarePants
Finn Ross and Adam Young, Mean Girls
**Finn Ross and Ash J. Woodward, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Outstanding Sound Design in a Play
Brendan Aanes, Balls, One Year Lease Theater Company/Stages Repertory Theatre/59E59
**Gareth Fry, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Tom Gibbons, 1984
Tom Gibbons, People, Places & Things, National Theatre/St. Ann's Warehouse/Bryan Singer Productions/Headlong
Stefan Gregory, Yerma, Young Vic/Park Avenue Armory
Palmer Hefferan, Today is My Birthday, Page 73 Productions
Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical
**Kai Harada, The Band's Visit
Scott Lehrer, Carousel
Will Pickens, KPOP, Ars Nova, Ma-Yi Theatre Company, Woodshed Collective
Dan Moses Schreier, Pacific Overtures, Classic Stage Company
Outstanding Wig and Hair
Carole Hancock, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Campbell Young Associates, Farinelli and the King
Cookie Jordan, School Girls; or The African Mean Girls Play, MCC Theater
**Charles G. LaPointe, SpongeBob SquarePants
Josh Marquette, Mean Girls
Outstanding Solo Performance
**Billy Crudup, Harry Clarke, Vineyard Theatre
David Greenspan, Strange Interlude, Transport Group
Jonathan Levin, A Hunger Artist, The Tank/Flint & Tinder
Lesli Margherita, Who's Holiday!
Sophie Melville, Iphigenia in Splott, Sherman Theatre, Cardiff/59E59
The Chase Award for Unique Theatrical Experience
**Derren Brown: Secret, Atlantic Theater Company
Master, Foundry Theatre
Say Something Bunny!
Outstanding Fight Choreography
J. David Brimmer, Is God Is, Soho Rep
**Steve Rankin, Carousel
Unkle Dave's Fight House, Oedipus El Rey, The Public Theater/The Sol Project
Outstanding Puppet Design
Finn Caldwell, Nick Barnes, Angels in America
**Michael Curry, Frozen
Charlie Kanev, Sarah Nolen, and Jonathan Levin, A Hunger Artist, The Tank/Flint & Tinder
Vandy Wood, The Artificial Jungle, Theatre Breaking Through Barriers
To Sean Carvajal and Edi Gathegi of Jesus Hopped the A Train ­­whose last-minute entrances into the Signature production of this powerful play ensured it had a happy real-life ending
Ensemble Award: To Nabiyah Be, MaameYaa Boafo, Paige Gilbert, Zainab Jah, Níkẹ Uche Kadri, Abena Mensah-Bonsu, Mirirai Sithole, and Myra Lucretia Taylor of School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play, whose characters learn the facts of life but whose portrayers taught us all a thing or two about the way things are.
Sam Norkin Award: To Juan Castano, whose varied performances this season in Oedipus El ReyA Parallelogram, and Transfers not only make a complex statement about American life but also indicate great things to come for this talented performer.

Gracewell Prodiuctions

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Our reviews are professional reviews written without a religious bias. At the end of them, you can find a listing of language, content or theological issues that Christians might want to know about when deciding which shows to see.

** Mature indicates that the show has posted an advisory because of content. Usually this means I would recommend no one under the age of 16 attend.

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

My Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists. Her play concept, "From Reel to Real: The Jennifer O'Neill Story" was presented as part of the League of professional Theatre Women's Julia's reading Room Series in New York. Shifting from reviewing to producing, Yarger owns Gracewell Productions, which produced the Table Reading Series at the Palace Theater in Waterbury, CT. She trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Intensive and other training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run. She was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She wrote reviews of Broadway and Off-Broadway theater (the only ones you can find in the US with an added Christian perspective) at

She is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection (, an award-winning website featuring theater and arts news for the state. She was a contributing editor for She previously served as theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer, Connecticut theater editor for and as Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web.

She is a Co-Founder of the Connecticut Chapter of the League of Professional Theatre Women. She is a former vice president and voting member of The Drama Desk.

She is a freelance writer and playwright (member Dramatists Guild of America). She is a member if the The Outer Critics Circle (producer of the annual awards ceremony) and a member of The League of Professional Theatre Women, serving as Co-Founder of the Connecticut Chapter. Yarger was a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger also worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and served for nine years as the Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. She lives with her husband in West Granby, CT. They have two adult children.


All material is copyright 2008- 2022 by Lauren Yarger. Reviews and articles may not be reprinted without permission. Contact


Key to Content Notes:

God's name taken in vain -- means God or Jesus is used in dialogue without speaking directly to or about them.

Language -- means some curse words are used. "Minor" usually means the words are not too strong or that it only occurs once or twice throughout the show.

Strong Language -- means some of the more heavy duty curse words are used.

Nudity -- means a man or woman's backside, a man's lower front or a woman's front are revealed.

Scantily clad -- means actors' private areas are technically covered, but I can see a lot of them.

Sexual Language -- means the dialogue contains sexually explicit language but there's no action.

Sexual Activity -- means a man and woman are performing sexual acts.

Adultery -- Means a married man or woman is involved sexually with someone besides their spouse. If this is depicted with sexual acts on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Sex Outside of Marriage -- means a man and woman are involved sexually without being married. If this is depicted sexually on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Homosexuality -- means this is in the show, but not physically depicted.

Homosexual activity -- means two persons of the same sex are embracing/kissing. If they do more than that, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Cross Dresser -- Means someone is dressing as the opposite sex. If they do more than that on stage the listing would include the corresponding "sexual activity" and/or "homosexual activity" as well.

Cross Gender -- A man is playing a female part or a woman is playing a man's part.

Suggestive Dancing -- means dancing contains sexually suggestive moves.

Derogatory (category added Fall 2012) Language or circumstances where women or people of a certain race are referred to or treated in a negative and demeaning manner.

Other content matters such as torture, suicide, or rape will be noted, with details revealed only as necessary in the review itself.

The term "throughout" added to any of the above means it happens many times throughout the show.

Reviewing Policy

I receive free seats to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows made available to all voting members of the Outer Critics Circle. Journalistically, I provide an unbiased review and am under no obligation to make positive statements. Sometimes shows do not make tickets available to reviewers. If these are shows my readers want to know about I will purchase a ticket. If a personal friend is involved in a production, I'll let you know, but it won't influence a review. If I feel there is a conflict, I won't review their portion of the production.

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