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Movers & Shakers: 46 Artists of the 2007 Baltimore Theatre

The Up and Comers Class of 2007

Every year, hundreds of shows, and thousands of actors, directors, technicians and the like converge on Baltimore's many theatre spaces.  And every year, a new crop of folks debuts, branches out into new areas or simply flourishes after years in the background.  Here, in alphabetical order, are the 10 men and 10 women who really distinguished themselves onstage or behind the scenes this year.  Plus, there were a few younger people who really made a difference, too!  Some literally made their debut, while others showed Charm City audiences what they could do over the course of the year. 

The Gentlemen:

Ian Belknap (Director: Save Me, Legs (Variations on Justice); Actor: Much Ado About Nothing):  Ian has really run the gamut this year, working as press rep for the BSF for part of the year, and directing Save Me for the Baltimore Playwrights Festival, and the one act Legs for Run of the Mill's Variations on Justice.  Charisma fairly springs from this talented young man, who made his presence first known when he directed the award-winning play Split, by one of last year's "Up and Comers," Ira Gamerman.  Then, late this year, Mr. Belknap went back to his acting training and secured an ensemble role in Everyman's Much Ado About Nothing.  That he could hold his own against the acting chops of no less than Vivienne Shub is a credit to him.  Up next:  He's directing The Comedy of Errors for the BSF.

Vince Eisenson (Actor: As You Like It, Henry V, Macbeth):  A new face and now regular to CSC, this extremely talented young actor is also currently appearing in National Treasure 2 at your local Cineplex.  Mr. Eisenson made quite an impression in the summer comedy As You Like It, swooning and singing his way around stage, and then showed his dramatic flare in Henry V, as one of Henry's betrayers.  In Macbeth, he scored nicely with the role of heir to the throne of Scotland, bringing a simmering anger and indignation to a young man exiled from his own country and ready to stage a comeback.

Adam Grabau (Actor: Fiddler on the Roof, Little Shop of Horrors, Titanic: The Musical, The Sound of Music):  A part of the Toby's family, Mr. Grabau really came into his own this year, making the most of ensemble roles in both Fiddler on the Roof and The Sound of Music.  He also played one of the puppeteers of Audrey II in Little Shop.  But what most impressed me about this young actor was his intensity and subtle facial acting in Titanic: The Musical, as Murdock, the edgy, unsure officer on that fated ship, his hands on the wheel at the time of impact.  The look of fear and panic on his face as he refused to let go of the wheel is etched in my mind forever.  For Mr. Grabau and his audience the tragedy was really happening.  And that's why he is one to watch for in 2008!

J. Buck Jabaily (Artistic Director, Single Carrot Theatre; Director: Red Light Winter; Actor: Short Play Festival, The Baltimore Waltz):  Much print has been given to the coming of this new theatre company from Colorado to Baltimore, including on this site.  But Mr. Jabaily still makes the list because he is a young man with whom the buck stops.  But is he afraid?  NO!  Red Light Winter proved to be one of the most well-received and challenging productions of 2007, and he isn't bad onstage either, which he proved with a sincere, heartfelt and funny performance in The Baltimore Waltz.  I'm sure this won't be last we hear of him!

Peter Kendall (Actor: The Blessed Mothers of War):  Young Mr. Kendall, a theatre major at McDaniel College gave one of the most intense performances I've seen in years in The Blessed Mothers of War, a problematic, if timely play presented as part of The Baltimore Playwrights festival.  Mr. Kendall managed in a short time to transport us through the dangerous maze of politics, fear, confusion and rage, as he portrayed an unwilling participant in the Iraq war, later coming to grips with the consequences of doing what is right.  I'm excited to see what comes next from this young man!

Todd Krickler (Actor: Fat Pig, The Pillowman):  Though The Pillowman at Mobtown has more potential than actual excitement to it, Mr. Krickler managed to do his best with the role of a mentally challenged young man left to decide whether to be honest or lie to save his brother.  But it was his powerhouse performance as the nasty best friend to the "hero" of Fat Pig that really brings him this honor.  Krickler's performance nearly redefines the term "a#%$%^le" he was so blistering in his delivery.  Best part of that?  That he was saying everything most of us are probably too ashamed to admit we were thinking.


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James was first bitten by the theatre bug at the tender young age of 11, when, at the last minute, he was called upon to replace a classmate who, 42nd STREET-like, broke his leg, in a play, of all things, about the skeletal system! It was a trip to New York with his high school drama teacher to see Angela Lansbury in MAME that sealed his fate. As an actor, favorite roles include Sheridan Whiteside in THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER, Potiphar in JOSEPH..., Col. Pickering in MY FAIR LADY, and Sancho Panza?s ass in MAN OF LA MANCHA. After spending a summer feeling very conflicted playing both an apostle AND a high priest in JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, James' theatre career took a turn toward direction and design, including such varied productions as THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK, LOST IN YONKERS, GETTING AWAY WITH MURDER and GRAND HOTEL, SIDE SHOW, THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD and SWEENEY TODD. James holds a Bachelor's degree in English from Towson University, with additional course work in journalism, dramaturgy, scenic design and stage direction. He is living proof that you can be a devout Sondheim fan AND love MAMMA MIA!


 
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