Win Tickets Here!!!

Win Tickets Here!!!

Theatre News
March 14th, 2009

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I saw Billy Elliot in NYC this past week- a review will be
posted later this week.
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Opening March 20th weekend is the much anticipated production of, SWEENEY TODD, at the Spotlighters Theatre. Directed by Fuzz Roark with musical direction by Michael Tan this production promises to be a highlight of the spring theatre season in Baltimore.
Get your tickets now, it’s only a 4 weekend run.
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Playing at the Lyric Theatre on Friday April 3rd is, An Evening of Classic Lily Tomlin.
The show is a nostalgic and warm presentation of Tomlin’s greatest hits with more than a dozen of her famous characters. The show is at 8pm and tickets are available at
http://www.ticketmaster.com.

Enter for a chance to win a pair of tickets to see Lily Tomlin

Email your name and address to: stagesbalti@aol.com. Drawing will be held on Tuesday March 31, 2009 from all names submitted. No purchase necessary and you can only enter your name one time. Winner will be notified by email on Wednesday April 1st.
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Unfortunately the tour of Forbidden Broadway that was to play the Bethesda Theatre for several weeks has been cancelled.
To submit theatre news email: stagesbaltimore@aol.com
(list web news as the subject)

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Check the Showtunes Tab

Spring Awakening review follows the news

Theatre News
March 7th, 2009

The Baltimore Theatre Alliance held their latest Cabaret at the Spotlighters Theatre last Sunday night. Hosts Fuzz and Elania offered a lobby reception at 6pm with tasty goodies and a cash bar. The show began at 6:30 with musical numbers by Loch Raven HS production of Cinderella and the Spotlighter’s upcoming production of Sweeney Todd. Various soloists rounded out the cast with an eclectic selection of showtunes.

The entire evening only cost $15.00 and the proceeds go to BTA. It’s a great evening of entertainment and networking. Meeting old and new friends who are all theatre oriented people.

Michael Tan handled the musical duties and gave a heart-felt speech at the end of the
show explaining why it was a joy to work with these new talents.

The next Cabaret is Sunday May 3rd at Spotlighters at 6pm. Tickets can be purchased in
advance on their website which I highly recommend. You don’t want to miss it.
=============================================

The BIGGEST news this week is the unofficial announcement of the 2009-2010 season for the Hippodrome Theatre. Currently signed are engagements of the National touring companies of- ‘In the Heights’ the 2009 Tony award-winner for Best Musical and the very entertaining, ‘Mel Brooks Young Frankenstein’. There will also be a sit-down (more than two weeks) of- ‘The Phantom of the Opera’. These are just the confirmed show with several more yet to be announced. However I know the smash hit‘ Jersey Boys’ is not coming to town anytime soon, but the rumors are still flying about a long run at the National Theatre in DC. Other possibilities that I have seen announced for the road include- August: Osage County, Disney’s Mary Poppins (see next item below), Curtains (but looking for a star name to tour), Xanadu, Dirty Dancing and WICKED is now repeating cities it has already played.
============================================

The Kennedy Center has announced their official 2009-2010 schedule of the shows playing the venue. (Just remember they charge Broadway rate ticket prices and service charges)

October – The Sydney Theatre Company’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire
starring Cate Blanchett as Blanche DuBois.

Nov/Dec – August: Osage County

Dec/Jan – Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein

March/April – Terrence McNally’s “Nights at the Opera” Festival
– Master Class
– The Lisbon Traviata
– Golden Age (premiere)
June 2010 – Thurgood

July 2010 – Mary Poppins

Kennedy Center Spotlight Concert Series:

Oct 9 – Cheyenne Jackson
Nov 14 – Christine Ebersole
Dec 12 – Karen Akers
Apr 30 – Daniel Evans & Jenna Russell (Sunday in the Park with George stars)
Jun 4 – Jessica Molaskey & John Pizzarelli
============================================

Shortly we will be running a contest on the website to win tickets to see-
Lily Tomlin
The Russian tour of Swan Lake
And
Chicago with Tom Wopat
all at the Lyric Theatre.
They will be soon be announcing the return to Baltimore of big musical for a 4 week engagement plus other shows at the Lyric. You will read it here first!!!!

Information on how to enter the contest to win tickets will be on the website next week.
===========================================

The Greenbelt Arts Center will open the popular drama, Amadeus, with a run from March 13th until April 4. Their phone number is 301-441-8770 and the locations is 123 Centerway in Greenbelt.
=============================================

Olney Theatre Center is presenting the area premiere of an original play by
Mark Twain, ‘Is He Dead? now until March 8th. =============================================

CCBC presents Lynn Nottage’s Las Meninas, March 19-23 at the theatre center at Essex Community College. 443-840-ARTS
======================================

AMADEUS opens at the Greenbelt Arts Center March 13 for a run thru April 4th.
301-441-8770
======================================

Arena Stage in DC is presenting a star-studded production of Edward Albee’s- ‘A Delicate Balance’ until March 15th. The pivotal roles are played by two original cast members from the Broadway production of ‘Angels in America,’ Kathleen Chalfant and Ellen McLaughlin. To obtain tickets for this 1967 Pulitzer Prize winning play are available at:www.arenastage.org or 1-202-488-3300
=======================================

Signature Theatre in Arlington has extended their production of, ‘The Little Dog Laughed’ until March 15th. Tickets: http://www.signature-theatre.org. See the review on this website.
========================================

The Vags has a new production of Harold Pinter’s- ‘Old Times’ which runs from 2/27 – 3/29
========================================

Toby’s Dinner Theatres:Baltimore-
‘Sophisticated Ladies’ until March 15th (‘Disney’s Beauty & Beast’ next)
Columbia- ‘High School Musical’ & ‘My Way’ in repertory.
========================================

The Hippodrome has a busy couple of months ahead with the following shows-
Riverdance – 3/10 – 15
Celetic Woman- 3/17 & 18
CATS- 3/24 – 29
A Bronx Tale- 4/14 – 26 (starring ChazPalminteri)
========================================

Warner Theatre in DC-
Jesus Christ Superstar- 3/17-22 (Starring Teddy Neely)
RENT- 5/26-31 (Starring Adam Pascal & Anthony Rapp)
========================================

National Theatre in DC-
A Chorus Line – 3/10 – 3/22
Chicago – 3/31 – 4/12
========================================

Bethesda Theatre-
Forbidden Broadway – beginning 3/12
Menopause: TheMusical – beginning 4/14

To submit theatre news email: stagesbaltimore@aol.com
(list web news as the subject)

Spring Awakening, Caught with its Pants Down.
By Ben Ryland

The original 1890’s play, Spring Awakening, by Frank Wedekind (translation: Jonathan Franzen) is currently being performed by the Mobtown Players at Clipper Mill. This is the original work that the recent award-winning musical was based on. I have seen neither before and what I have seen from the musical and its score was not that impressive. Staging can be everything but since the show is not still running after only a couple of years (compared to RENT) I am still left wondering about its youthful appeal.

Maybe it is merely the sexually explicit scenes of masturbation and circle jerks, or for the most depraved among, us the young teen age rape sequence. God help me to understand but I just don’t get it. And I was a teenager once.

Having school boys with Rhodes Scholar vocabularies, the repressed mentality of the adults and an unexplained not of this earth ringer thrown in at the finale was lost on me. The term Moral Order is thrown about by all concerned in this German based story which is an unintentional (?) precursor of the atrocities of the early to middle last century of hatred and violence that was demonstrated by the same factions.

If Spring Awakening is supposed to be a primer on budding adolescent merging sexuality we are all in trouble and the tragedies of last century becomes more comprehensible from start to finish. Unfortunately the popularity of the musical with young people once again demonstrates we have once again learned nothing from the lessons of the past.

Moritz and Melchior are best friends in an expensive prep school along with a large cast of equally underachieving students. They speak in pompous prose in a style that in addition to being completely unrealistic is misleading disguised as sophisticated. They are just a bunch horny school boys trying to justify their actions much like the protagonists of Lindsay Anderson’s cult favorite film of the 1960’s- ‘if…’ So similar in fact that the resultant death and destruction are in much the same vein if not in exact execution.

You are aware that this is a heavy, edgy show by oblivious hints. With minimal staging, the actors speaking often in the dark, and the pretentious staging- Damn it you must know this is an important work. So important that is has been totally forgotten from the classical cannon of drama until the musical appeared. What can be more pretentious than that? Oh yes, I know: it was banned from production after being written for many years so it has to be ground breaking and truthfully provocative!

Crap…..

Using actors from the Carver High School acting program makes it even more so since most adults in the audience seemed to be shocked at what these budding adults, just past puberty, were portraying onstage. The adult’s response was almost like being caught by a coworker at a porno theatre in the 70’s by attending this show. The actors friends in the audience even tittered at many of the sexual high-jinks mimed onstage much like Jack McFarland’s reactions (in televisions ‘Will and Grace’) whenever someone innocently mentions balls or heinous.

Josh Kemper is intense as Melchior and is an actor to watch in the future. His counterpart Chris Magorian as Moritz is less effective in his pivotal role rushing through his incomprehensible dialog-at a break neck speed. As he continually questions the metaphysical qualities in life and customs he looses the audience because of his inarticulation. The splendid Melanie Glickman as Wendla fulfills her role of the sexually uninformed female but trying to keep up with the boy’s part of the sexual equation. Women are beaten, and expect it in this society so sexual and emotion repression can only manifest its worse in them. Wendla’s mother even allows a butcher to botch an abortion that kills her raped 14 year old daughter.

What seems to be the inspiration of the oft-mentioned conceptual visionary of this production, the late Terry Long, is that old dramatic standby- MORE is less. Done in a more chamber style staging this Spring Awakening might be more humanistic and approachable. At a running time of three hours and 15 minutes is very similar to Les Miz in performance but without the laughs.

Spring Awakening – Mobtown Players at Clipper Mill
This Friday and Saturday
http://www.mobtownplayers.com

Theatre News
Feb. 28th,2009

The Baltimore Theatre Alliance will present their next Post-show Showcase Cabaret this Sunday (March 1st) at the Spotlighters Theatre at 6:00pm. Your $15 donation to BTA will offer you food before the Cabaret which will feature performances from- ‘SWEENEY TODD’ (Spotlighters), HEAVY, WET SECTIONAL improv group, ‘CINDERELLA ‘(Loch Raven HS), and several vocalists. All for a $15.00 donation!!!!

Tickets: 410-752-1225 or http://www.ticketturtle.com/index.php?show=6134

Don’t miss this fun evening…………….
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Center Stage Promotional Discount:
If you donate gently used woman business attire the theatre is offering $10 off a ticket to
“Fabulations”. Use the code 09suitup when ordering tickets online or by phone. You will receive a donation receipt that you will need to pick up your tickets at the boxoffice. For more information- http://www.centerstage.org.
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Loch Raven High School to stage Rodgers & Hammerstein’s ‘CINDERELLA’, March 5-7. The cast of student range in age from 14 to 18 years old. Showtime is 7pm.
============================================

The beautiful Fulton Theatre in Lancaster has announced their new season:
Hello, Dolly!
Driving Miss Daisy
Dial M for Murder
Noises Off
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Information- http://www.thefulton.org
============================================

Big news from Arena Stage:

Not only was their smash hit production of, ‘NEXT TO NORMAL’, recorded for CD release (with the original Arena Stage cast) it is opening on Broadway & the Booth Theatre on March 27th with an official opening night on April 15th.

Also, ’33 Variations’, which had its world premiere last season at Arena will open with Jane Fonda starring at the Eugene O’Neil theatre on Broadway March 9th.

A full review of Arena’s current show- Edward Albee’s ‘A Delicate Balance’, and Olney’s- ‘Is He Dead?’ are now posted – Click on Reviews.
=============================================

The Greenbelt Arts Center will open the popular drama, ‘Amadeus’, with a run from March 13th until April 4. Their phone number is 301-441-8770 and the locations is 123 Centerway in Greenbelt.
=============================================

Olney Theatre Center is presenting the area premiere of an original play by
Mark Twain, ‘Is He Dead? now until March 8th. =============================================

Arena Stage in DC is presenting a star-studded production of Edward Albee’s- ‘A Delicate Balance’ until March 15th. The pivotal roles are played by two original cast members from the Broadway production of ‘Angels in America,’ Kathleen Chalfant and Ellen McLaughlin. To obtain tickets for this 1967 Pulitzer Prize winning play are available at:www.arenastage.org or 1-202-488-3300
=======================================

Signature Theatre in Arlington has extended their production of, ‘The Little Dog Laughed’ until March 15th. Tickets: http://www.signature-theatre.org. See the review on this website. Also Signature’s disappointing and expensive production of ‘Les Miz’ closes this Sunday.

========================================

The Vags opens a new production of Harold Pinter’s- ‘Old Times’ shortly which runs from 2/27 – 3/29
========================================

Charyl Churchill’s- ‘Cloud Nine’ is now playing at Audrey Herman’s Spotlighters Theatre until March 8th. It is a parody and spoof of the Victorian age and its rigid attitudes especially towards sex. The show is suggested for mature audiences only. Now until March 8th. Ticket Reservations at: 410-752-1225.
========================================

Toby’s Dinner Theatres:Baltimore-
‘Sophisticated Ladies’ until March 15th (‘Disney’s Beauty & Beast’ next)
Columbia- ‘High School Musical’ & ‘My Way’ in repertory.
========================================

The Hippodrome has a busy couple of months ahead with the following shows-Menopause: The Musical – 3/5-8
Riverdance – 3/10-15
Celetic Woman- 3/17 & 18CATS- 3/24-29
A Bronx Tale- 4/14-26 (starring ChazPalminteri)
========================================

Warner Theatre in DC-
A Bronx Tale- 2/28-3/8
Jesus Christ Superstar- 3/17-22 (Starring Teddy Neely)
RENT- 5/26-31 (Starring Adam Pascal & Anthony Rapp)
========================================

National Theatre in DC-
A Chorus Line- 3/10-4-12
Chicago- 3/31-4/12
========================================

Bethesda Theatre-
Pluck, The Titanic Show- beginning 2/12
Forbidden Broadway- beginning 3/12
Menopause: TheMusical- beginning 4/14
To submit theatre news email: stagesbaltimore@aol.com
(list web news as the subject.

Click on News for the latest

Olney Presents a World Premiere of
A ‘New’ Mark Twain Comedy,
RENT on DVD
And Edward Albee at Arena Stage

By Ben Ryland

After 12 years on Broadway and a long laundry list of actors, RENT closed on Broadway.
The ephemeral nature of live entertainment usually only leaves us the cast recording, playbill, program and sometimes the script to remember the experience of a musical on Broadway.

But thanks to SONY the final week of performances was captured and edited into the ultimate recording- the show its self. Granted the talented final cast were no slackers but upon comparison with the original (Idina Menzel, Taye Diggs, Jesse Martin, Adam Pascal, Daphne Rubin Vega, etc.) there is a slight bit of an energy spark missing on the video. But why quibble, many of the first cast show up on stage for the extended finale that can also be jumped to directly in the Bonus features. Baltimore’s Tracie Thoms played Johann in the movie version and in this final cast.

Even though I was bounced (downsized before the bankruptcy in 2001) from SONY Theatres
-and still holding a grudge after working for them for more than a dozen years- I will recommend all RENTheads and theatre lovers to check out this DVD for the following reasons- Filmed in HD with 17 cameras and incredible sound; hopefully it will sell well creating a market for ‘Live on Broadway’ recordings in the future.
—————————————————————————————————————

Mark Twain’s- Is He Dead?

Yes, this is a new play by Mark Twain. The recently discovered manuscript (Twain’s only play) has been adapted by David Ives and a fun evening is had by all. Olney has created two beautiful sets; I missed the changeover at intermission so if you don’t have to go stay and watch the transformation.

The French themed farce is based on a real starving artist, Jean-Francois Millet, but not based on
anything which really happened in his life. Millet and friends decide to have him fake becoming ill and die so his paintings will rapidly appreciate in value creating a buying frenzy which he will perpetuate by being alive to paint new ones. He was a talented artist but France was full of them, so to keep the ruse going he disguises himself as his widowed twin sister- “we have been twins for many years,” she explains.

The lone shark/art collector, Andre, has everyone in his pocket and takes a liking to the widow, after Millet’s girlfriend refuses his advances. Jokes and one-liners that would do Neil Simon proud hit home over and over. Twain even throws in a few boob and fart jokes too.

In the second act flushed with success the widow is wooed by several men both paupers and rich alike. But girlfriend Marie disguised as a policeman comes to investigate the death and gives the best performance of the show. A female Inspector Clouseau that would have Peter Sellers rolling in his grave from laughing. Elizabeth Jernigan as the cop keeps the audience rolling too in the final act.

Jeffries Thaiss as Millet (and his twin) is wonderfully sexual as a male and female even outshining his comedic role in Steve Martin’s The Underpants earlier this season at Olney.

To use the old theatre expression about acting- “Dying is easy, comedy is hard,” director Halo Wines and her merry cast of players have proven she and her cast don’t need just the script to make a stuffy era of history into a laugh a minute production. I loved it.

Mark Twain’s Is He Dead? – Olney Theatre Center – Route 108 and Sandy Spring Road.
Now until March 8th only
Tickets: http://www.olneytheatre.org
—————————————————————————————————————-

Edward Albee’s- A Delicate Balance

This 1967 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama is now being presented at Arena Stage in DC/Virginia with some star powered actors from Broadway. Kathleen Chalfant and Ellen McLaughlin were both in the Tony winning, Angels in America Parts 1 & 2. A Delicate Balance is a huge play, and just as emotionally draining as ‘Angels’ in its own way.

The family depicted is typical. Loads of trauma, skeletons and eccentrics but with quick witted dialog. Staged in the elegant sitting room of the retired couple Agnes and Tobias the alcoholic sister of Agnes has ensconced herself upon their good nature and hospitality. As often in these types of plays the drunk is the most profound, observant and ultimately the voice of truth. McLaughlin gives a magnificent performance as Claire. Hints of Tobias sleeping with her years before are quickly ignored by Agnes as are the 4, or is it five times, daughter Julia has be married and dumped only to return home yet again. Throw in the couples best friends showing up and moving in because they are suddenly afraid in their own house and you have the ground work for a drama that only Albee could come up with.

As the alcohol flows to everyone but Agnes the sorted details arise wrapped in the playwrights usual off-kilter focus. After 3 hours and two intermissions everything goes back to normal but the audience has an understanding that this tight-knit group will continue along their same
route. There is no pivotal role in this play because every member of the group play pivotal
roles. Each with their own quirks, talking of suicide, uncomfortably details about their dead (maybe gay) son and/or drinking themselves into a stupor provide rich acting characterizations.

Director Pam MacKinnon creates a world of confusions out of chaos and pulls it off. The ensemble are a seamless cast of mostly veterans (several from Olney) who knowingly inhabit their creations. When Mama Agnes is speaking to her daughter she, “apologizes because I am articulate,” but that is a ruse also. Her idea of functional is to bring a delicate balance to her family and friends and as it often is, only to ignore the faults and histories of each.

Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance – Arena Stage in Crystal City, VA (temporary home)
Now through March 15th
Tickets: http://www.arenastage.org

THEATRE NEWS – 2/20/09

Next to Normal

Next to Normal

SHOWTUNE VIDEO MADNESS,
is a hit on Tuesday nights at the Club Hippo. The event is now 4 hours-
from 8:30pm until 12:30am every week.

The Baltimore City Paper has made SHOWTUNES a critic pick for a fun night on Tuesdays in Charm City. Everyone is Welcome to the hottest night out in town. Free Admission!!!

Bring your friends and join us. Free snacks and theme nights (with prizes twice a month). And the best Broadway, Hollywood and comedy on the big projection screens in full stereo.
=============================================

Big news from Arena Stage:

Not only was their smash hit production of, NEXT TO NORMAL, recorded for CD release this week (with the original Arena Stage cast) it is opening on Broadway @ the Longacre Theatre on March 27th with an official opening night on April 15th.

Also, 33 Variations, which had it’s world premiere last seas at Arena will open with Jane Fonda starring at the Eugene O’Neil theatre on Broadway March 9th.

A full review of Arena’s current show- Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance, will be posted on this website over the weekend.
=============================================

The First United Church in Fell Point will be hosting a production of, Godspell, next weekend February 27th – March 1st. Godspell was written by composer Stephen Schwartz who also has a little show on Broadway you may have heard about called, WICKED. Tickets are available at the door (cash only) and the location is 1728 Eastern Ave.
============================================

The Greenbelt Arts Center will open the popular drama, Amadeus, with a run from March 13th until April 4. Their phone number is 301-441-8770 and the locations is 123 Centerway in Greenbelt.
=============================================

Olney Theatre Center is presenting the area premiere of an original play by Mark Twain, ‘Is He Dead? now until March 8th. REVIEW WILL APPEAR ONLINE THIS WEEKEND.
=============================================

Scapino! (a long way from Moliere) is being performed at the McManus Theatre at Loyola College weekends Feb. 13th – 22nd. 410-617-5024.
=====================================

Sam Shepard’s A Lie of the Mind is playing at RepStage at HCC in Columbia until March 1st. At once wildly comic and deeply affecting, this turbulent love story entwines the destines of two families, from California and Montana, into a searing snapshot of America today.
=====================================

Arena Stage is presenting a star-studded production of Edward Albee’s- ‘A Delicate Balance’ until March 15th. The pivotal roles are played by two original cast members from the Broadway production of ‘Angels in America,’ Kathleen Chalfant and Ellen McLaughlin. To obtain tickets for this 1967 Pulitzer Prize winning play are available at:www.arenastage.org or 1-202-488-3300
=======================================

Signature Theatre in Arlington has extended their production of, ‘The Little Dog Laughed’ until March 15th. Tickets: http://www.signature-theatre.org. See the review on this website. Also Signature’s disappointing and expensive production of ‘Les Miz’ closes this Sunday.

========================================

The Vags opens a new production of Harold Pinter’s- ‘Old Times’ shortly which runs from 2/27 – 3/29
========================================

Charyl Churchill’s- ‘Cloud Nine’ is now playing at Audrey Herman’s Spotlighters Theatre until March 8th. It is a parody and spoof of the Victorian age and its rigid attitudes especially towards sex. The show is suggested for mature audiences only. Now until March 8th. Ticket Reservations at: 410-752-1225.
========================================

Toby’s Dinner Theatres:Baltimore-
‘Sophisticated Ladies’ until March 15th (‘Disney’s Beauty & Beast’ next)
Columbia- ‘High School Musical’ & ‘My Way’ in repertory.
========================================

The Hippodrome has a busy couple of months ahead with the following shows-
Menopause: The Musical – 3/5-8
Riverdance – 3/10-15
Celetic Woman- 3/17 & 18
CATS- 3/24-29
A Bronx Tale- 4/14-26 (starring ChazPalminteri)

========================================

Warner Theatre in DC-
A Bronx Tale- 2/28-3/8
Jesus Christ Superstar- 3/17-22 (Starring Teddy Neely)
RENT- 5/26-31 (Starring Adam Pascal & Anthony Rapp)
========================================

National Theatre in DC-
A Chorus Line- 3/10-4-12
Chicago- 3/31-4/12
========================================

Bethesda Theatre-
Pluck, The Titanic Show- beginning 2/12
Forbidden Broadway- beginning 3/12
Menopause: TheMusical- beginning 4/14
————————
To submit theatre news email: stagesbaltimore@aol.com
(list- web news as the subject.