CENTERSTAGE Presents 'FINAL STRANGE TALE OF EDGAR ALLAN POE', Now thru 11/25

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Just in time for Halloween, CENTERSTAGE presents The Completely Fictional-Utterly True-Final Strange Tale of Edgar Allan Poe. Hometown favorite Bruce Nelson stars in this madcap, touching tale of the morbid life and mysterious final days of Baltimore's treasured emblem of oddness, Edgar Allan Poe. Previews begin tonight, October 17.

Baltimore-based actor Bruce Nelson-a company member with both Everyman Theatre and Woolly Mammoth Theatre, and recently named Best Actor by City Paper-will take on the role of legendary storyteller Edgar Allan Poe, as he ponders his life and work from his mysterious deathbed in Baltimore's Washington Hospital.

"When I read this play, I knew I wanted us to do it. And when I heard Bruce reading it, I knew it had to be him," says Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah.

CENTERSTAGE produces the show as part of its commitment to fostering new and developing work. This is Poe's second production, after having been written, developed, and premiered at Trinity Repertory Company by Stephen Thorne. The production's original director, and Trinity Rep Artistic Director, Curt Columbus, returns to the helm for its Baltimore premiere.

Featuring a design by multi-Tony Award-winning scenic designer Eugene Lee (Wicked, Sweeney Todd, production design for NBC's Saturday Night Live), the set transforms CENTERSTAGE's Head Theater into a theater-in-the-round experience, immersing audiences in the possibly crazed mind of Baltimore's literary genius. CENTERSTAGE's Costumer, David Burdick (whose many credits include The Rivals and An Enemy of the People), changes the cast of eight into a whole host of characters spanning the 40 years of Poe's life. The design team is rounded out by lighting designer Josh Epstein and sound designer Zachary Williamson.

The show features an ensemble of seven actors, portraying the many characters that bring Poe's fevered dreams and memories to life, from Charles Dickens to his doomed child bride, from his mother and step-father to his own younger self. Returning cast includes Jimmy Kieffer (The Rivals), Kenneth Lee (Snow Falling on Cedars), Libya Pugh (The Rivals; Caroline, or Change), and Erick Pinnick (Once on This Island). Making their CENTERSTAGE debuts are Charlie Thurston (who appeared in the original production) and Caroline Kaplan, both graduates of the Brown/Trinity Repertory MFA program. Rounding out the cast is multiple Helen Hayes Award-winning actress Naomi Jacobson, a DC-based actor and company member at Woolly Mammoth Theatre, as Poe's ill-fated mother.

TThe Completely Fictional-Utterly True-Final Strange Tale of Edgar Allan Poe, by Stephen Thorne, directed by Curt Columbus, begins previews tonight, October 17. The show opens on Wednesday, October 24, and closes November 25. Tickets start at $10, and can be ordered online at www.centerstage.org, or by calling 410.332.0033.

CENTERSTAGE, the State Theater of Maryland, celebrates its 50th Anniversary Season in 2012-13. The professional, nonprofit company serves as a local hub and national leader for provocative, entertaining theater and as a catalyst for conversation in the community. Each year, a broad range of productions in two intimate performance spaces attracts a highly diverse audience of more than 100,000 people-including more than 8,000 fiercely loyal members. Under the leadership of acclaimed playwright, actor, and director Kwame Kwei-Armah (Artistic Director) and national arts leader Stephen Richard (Managing Director), CENTERSTAGE enters its 50th year with a renewed dedication to the production of world-class theater in the heart of Baltimore.

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