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Baltimore Center Stage Announces 58th Season Featuring Plays by Charlayne Woodard and More

Baltimore Center Stage Announces 58th Season Featuring Plays by Charlayne Woodard and More

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Baltimore Center Stage Announces 58th Season Featuring Plays by Charlayne Woodard and More

At a time of uncertainty with regards to the continuing effects of the global pandemic, as well as a much-needed reckoning of the ongoing racial injustice in our country, Baltimore Center Stage honors the collective need for progress, hope, and joy. This is not a time to return to the way the theater industry functioned before the pandemic, but rather to move forward and build new norms which make both enjoying theater as well as working in theater welcoming and accessible for all audiences and all artists. With that in mind, Baltimore Center Stage has announced the theater's 58th Season, which will feature a four play Mainstage Series to reflect an abundance of care for our audiences and staff in the return to live performances, as well as a variety of programming, both virtual and in person, to provide as many access points as possible to Baltimore Center Stage.

"Throughout history, artists have made their home at the epicenter of change, shaping and reshaping our society by challenging norms, reflecting on the best and worst of humanity, and daring to imagine our future," said Artistic Director Stephanie Ybarra. "I'm confident that through our 2020/21 artistic programming and organizational practices, Baltimore Center Stage will serve that legacy well. It is a gift to navigate the next twelve months with the BCS staff, board, and audiences alongside our 20/21 artists."

Curated with Baltimore audiences in mind, the four productions of the Mainstage Series feature deeply personal stories, designed to entertain and inspire the collective imagination. The Mainstage Series includes three world premieres, beginning with a Baltimore Center Stage commission, The Swindlers: A True-ish Tall Tale, written by and featuring Noah Diaz (Richard & Jane & Dick & Sally), directed by Will Davis; an interactive new work, A Play for the Living in a Time of Extinction, by Baltimore-born playwright Miranda Rose Hall, directed by Taibi Magar; a Baltimore-inspired Our Town, by Thornton Wilder, directed by Stevie Walker-Webb; and The Garden, written by and starring Broadway and TV Star Charlayne Woodard (Pose) and directed by Patricia McGregor. The Mainstage Series begins in January in a reconfigured Head Theater, reimagined to support both social distancing guidelines and a singular artistic experience.

Baltimore Center Stage is revitalizing its commissioning program with an investment in local artists and a commitment to intentional, individualized processes. Throughout the 20/21 season, BCS will develop two new works centering the city of Baltimore with Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi and R. Eric Thomas. Baltimore Center Stage has also commissioned local visual artist Suzanne Coley to create original pieces of artwork for the Mainstage Series.

The 20/21 Season also includes the launch of a new Bridge Series that will explore the interconnectedness of classic and contemporary theater through virtual readings and conversations between artists and scholars; a revitalization of Baltimore Center Stage's commissioning program with a focus on artists with Baltimore roots; and a variety of civic programming for people to engage with beyond the productions on stage. Finally, Baltimore Center Stage will continue to deliver learning programs for students of all ages, including the continuation of its virtual student matinees and the celebrated Young Playwrights Festival.

Key to the 2020/21 season is Baltimore Center Stage's commitment to continue along the path of keeping antiracism and anti-oppression at the center of both artistic practice and operational policies. In the coming weeks, Baltimore Center Stage will publicly announce updates on previously made commitments regarding anti-Blackness in the community, as well as adjustments in artistic processes to create more humane and equitable working conditions.

"The compounding effects of a global pandemic and ongoing racial injustice have forced a long-overdue reckoning, inspiring a renewed commitment to what we say we value," said Artistic Director Stephanie Ybarra. "And, in order to move toward our highest ideals, come what may, we can never go back."


The Swindlers: A True-ish Tall Tale

By Noah Diaz

Directed by Will Davis

Commissioned by Baltimore Center Stage

Jan 28-Feb 28, 2021

The author of last season's critically acclaimed Richard & Jane & Dick & Sally is back with a Baltimore Center Stage original. Marie is plagued by the winter blues. Her boyfriend's a dud, her bank statements are piling up, and her house suddenly foreclosed. Oh, and the FBI is looking for her father, a notorious con man on the run for swindling families and businesses out of their money. When Marie discovers that her house is foreclosed because of him, she tracks him down and blackmails him into a cross-country road trip to return the stolen funds before the foreclosure is finalized. Loosely inspired by the real-life exploits of the playwright's grandfather, this raucous new road-trip comedy explores redemption, reconciliation, and the unspoken rewards of surviving time with family.

A Play for the Living in a Time of Extinction

By Miranda Rose Hall

Directed by Taibi Magar

Mar 25-Apr 25, 2021

Baltimore's own Miranda Rose Hall returns to BCS with this darkly comic world premiere play. The Zero Omissions Theater Company desperately wants the audiences of their climate change play to WAKE UP! But when things don't go as planned, it's up to their stage manager/light board operator/dramaturg Naomi to find a new way of telling their story. In this interactive, communal experience like no other, the play becomes an awakening about how to be human in an era of man-made extinction.

Our Town

By Thornton Wilder

Directed by Stevie Walker-Webb

Apr 29-May 23, 2021

Re-discover the Pulitzer Prize-winning classic play as you've never seen it before, drawing inspiration from our town, Baltimore. Directed by Obie Award winner Stevie Walker-Webb, Our Town tells the story of a community: in their growing up and their marrying and their living and their dying. Widely regarded as the finest American play ever written, this Thornton Wilder masterpiece lifts up the beauty of ordinary human life and reminds us of how extraordinary each moment can be.

The Garden

By Charlayne Woodard

Directed by Patricia McGregor

A Co-Production with La Jolla Playhouse

May 27-June 20, 2021

Written by and starring the Tony Award® nominated artist Charlayne Woodard, this moving world premiere play explores the complex relationship between two "alpha" women: Claire Rose, an elderly Black woman and her middle-aged daughter, Cassandra. After not speaking to each other for the past three years, Cassandra shows up unexpectedly at her mother's garden gate, attempting to reconcile old wounds. Both women give as good as they get, taking us on a rollercoaster ride unearthing conflicts and secrets of the past, and creating magic in the process.

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