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Charm City Stage Door – 02/28/2006


            Do you usher at a local theatre?  If so, please contact me directly via email at for a survey of questions to be used for a series of upcoming "stories from the trenches" articles.  Please put "Usher Survey" in the subject heading.  Questionnaires will be available beginning this Thursday, March 2nd at noon and will responses will be accepted until noon on Monday, March 20th.  I look forward to hearing from all of you!



Long-time TowsonUniversity supporters John G. and Barbara J. Dreyer ('76), of White Hall, Md., have given $100,000 to TowsonUniversity.  The commitment to the Towson University Foundation includes $50,000 to be directed to the Campaign for the Center for the Arts.    Two spaces in the Center for the Arts will be named in their honor, The Dreyer Design Studio and The Dreyer MFA Group Studio.  Barbara Dreyer, a '76 graduate of TowsonUniversity and 1997 Alumni of the Year, is a member of the Towson University Board of Visitors and is chair of the Development/Fundraising Committee for the Board of Visitors.

In making the gift, Mrs. Dreyer said, "We wanted to show our appreciation for the arts and are excited by the naming program.  Donors want something that will be a lasting legacy for their contributions.  The new Center for the Arts is a spectacular building and we are proud to be naming The Dreyer Design Studio and The Dreyer MFA Group Studio.   John and I hope to inspire others in our community to recognize TowsonUniversity's significance in Maryland's higher education system and hope to encourage others to participate in the naming opportunities for the Center for the Arts."

Gary Rubin, Vice President, University Advancement said "The Towson University community is proud to accept this extremely generous gift.   The Dreyers' philanthropic commitment to Towson is deeply appreciated." 

The Center for the Arts at TowsonUniversity is a $53 million project that has doubled the size and performance venues in the state of the art building.   Improvements include a new black box theatre; new theatre director's labs and lecture classrooms; a renovated band room; a new recording studio; new percussion and jazz labs; a new recital hall; new offices; an expanded Asian Arts Gallery; a new Main Art Gallery; a new Asian garden; a new and enlarged box office; new dance studios including a new dance performance hall; and a new MFA art studio and gallery.  

Congratulations, TowsonUniversity!



            Rep Stage, Equity theatre in residence at HowardCommunity College offers its Rep Stage Actors' Institute for Teens (ages 14 – 18, entering 9th – 12th grade) and Preteens (ages 9 – 13, entering 5th – 8th grade).  This summer, students will have the opportunity to be a part of 2 shows. 

The first is The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland, running from June 26 – July 16, 11AM – 5PM for Teens ($475.00 per student) or June 26 – July 14, 8:30AM – 4:30PM for Preteens ($630.00 per student).  Performances of Alice are scheduled for July 15 at 7PM and July 16 at 3PM for Teens, and July 13 and 14 at 7PM for Preteens.  Students must be available for all performances in order to participate.  Auditions will be held the first week.  In addition to rehearsals, Teens will get instruction in movement, vocal exercises and character exploration and Preteens will create costumes and props, and swim in the HCC pool.

The second is Peter Pan, Or the Boy Who Would Not Grow Up, running from July 17 – August 6, 11AM – 5PM for Teens ($475.00 per student) or July 17 – August 4, 8:30AM – 4:30PM for Preteens ($630.00 per student).  Performances of Peter Pan are scheduled for August 5 at 7PM and August 6 at 3PM for Teens, and August 3 and 4 at 7PM for Preteens.  Students must be available for all performances in order to participate.  Auditions will be held the first week.  In addition to rehearsals, Teens will get instruction in creature exercises and stage combat and Preteens will create costumes and props and swim in the HCC pool.

Rep Stage Actors Institute also offers Start-up and Wind-down programs.  The Start-up program runs from 7:30 – 8:30AM and features a light breakfast, board games and a movie for $35.00 a week per student.  The Wind-down program runs from 4:30 – 6:30PM and features a light snack and movies for $50.00 a week per student.

For a complete brochure and full information, call 410-772-4587, fax 410-772-4040, email, or go to the website at



            Baltimore's CenterStage, M&T Bank and the Creative Baltimore Fund are offering their popular Kickin' It with the 'Rents program in conjunction with their production of The Murder of Isaac at CenterStage.  This program offers Baltimore City families the show, a pre-show discussion and a family-style dinner all for only $8.00 per person.  The event happens tonight, February 28th with the 8PM performance.  Note:  The Murder of Isaac presents mature themes, and may not be appropriate for younger children.

            AfterThoughts, another popular CenterStage Program (Sponsored by McDanielCollege) offers post-show discussions for a deeper look into the production with Production Dramaturg Gavin Watt and special guests.  This week's AfterThoughts will be held on Thursday, March 2nd, after the 8PM performance, and on Sunday, March 5th, after the 2PM performance.

            Tomorrow night, March 1st, from 7-11 PM, CenterStage will present Project_One, which will be designed by  The event, to be held at CenterStage in Baltimore features tasting wine and foods from around the world, the latest paintings and sculptures from local and home-coming artists, a performance by the Balinese dance troupe Gamelan Mitra Kusuma, and a DJ-enhanced fashion show that mixes period and couture.  Also, the Lounge will feature the sounds of live Bossa Nova.  And after-party, featuring belly-dancing will be held at the Red Maple.  For more information or to securely purchase $25.00 tickets go to or call the CenterStage box office at 410-332-0033.



            Originally scheduled for February 12, and postponed due to snow, The Spotlighters Theatre has rescheduled its Talk Back Session and Reception for Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None (10 Little Indians) for this Sunday, March 5th, following the 2PM matinee.

            The event is sponsored by the Mystery Loves Company Book Store in Fells Point and will include a costume contest for patrons dressed as their favorite Agatha Christie characters.  A lively discussion with the actors and creative staff of the show and a light reception follow the performance.

            Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for students, seniors and Baltimore Theatre Alliance members.  This fun, terrific show is consistently selling out, so reservations are strongly recommended.  Call 410-752-1225 or visit for will call reservations or to purchase them in advance with a credit card.



            Auditions for the entire 2006 season of shows at Cockpit in Court will be held this weekend on the campus of CCBC Essex.  Saturday, March 4 auditions will be held from 10AM to 2PM, and Sunday, March 5 auditions will be held from 12 noon to 4PM.  The auditions will be held in the E building.  Interested actors should go to to register and for more information about specific audition requirements.  This season's shows are The Full Monty, Plaza Suite, The Music Man, and An Inspector Calls.  The Court Jesters, Cockpit's children's theatre will be presenting Peter Pan with actors from ages 3 to 17.  No appointments will be taken; all auditions will be on a walk-in basis.  Questions may be emailed: or asked by calling 410-780-6534.

            **Share your audition experience with me and your fellow readers by emailing me directly at .  Please put "Audition Story" in the subject heading.  Break a leg!**



            This Thursday, Spotlighters will be offering a special Half Price Night at their terrific production of And Then There Were None (10 Little Indians).  The performance on March 2nd will begin at 8PM, and the lobby opens at 7PM.  Half price tickets are available to students at local high schools and colleges, local actors in a currently running production (or one that opens in a few weeks or one that closed a few weeks back), or if you are a teacher at a Baltimore area public or private school, college or university.  Tickets for those fitting that criteria are $8.00.  All other tickets are $15.00.  This great show has been selling out consistently, so advanced reservations are STRONGLY recommended.  Call 410-752-1225 or visit for will call reservations or to purchase them in advance with a credit card.



Towson University Department of Theatre Arts presents Cloud 9 by Caryl Churchill on Thursday, March 9, through Saturday, March 11, at 8 p.m.; and Saturday, March 11,  at 2 p.m.; and Tuesday, March 14,  through Thursday, March 16,  at 8 p.m. in the Center for the Arts Main Stage Theatre. 

An outrageous and provocative comedy by British playwright Caryl Churchill, Cloud 9 moves from the repressive Victorian era to the hedonism of London in 1979, exploring and exploding the politics and attitudes around gender roles and sexuality through humor and satire.  While largely considered a feminist play, Cloud 9 reaches far beyond any historical moment or movement to speak to the human experience of desire and identity. The artistic staff includes Steven J. Satta, director; Daniel Ettinger, set and lighting designer; and Daniel Rehbehn, costume designer. 

Steven Satta holds a Bachelor of Arts in acting from NYUTischSchool of the Arts and an M.F.A. in acting and University Diploma in voice teaching from YorkUniversity in Toronto.  He has worked as an actor on Broadway, off-Broadway, for the National Actor's Theatre, The Pearl Theatre, Riverside Shakespeare Company, The National Shakespeare Company, Mill Mountain Theatre and The Wayside Theatre.   A certified actor-combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors, he has choreographed and/or performed fights for companies ranging from the Metropolitan Opera to the Ridiculous Theatrical Company.  

The cast includes Ed Ronspies, Charlie Long, Theresa Ewell, Lauren Pierce, Haily Wineland, Steve Polites and Bobby Libby

For ticket charges and additional information, please call 410-704-2787.  Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for students and senior citizens and are available at the Center for the Arts Box Office located at the corner of Osler and Cross Campus.  Box Office hours are noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and one hour prior to events.  Tickets can be purchased on the Web at



            The Vagabond Players continues its 90th season the a double bill of short plays by American playwright Christopher Durang, Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All to You and The Actor's Nightmare.  Directed by Barry Bach, the production will run from March 3 – April 2, 2006.  Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8PM and Sundays at 2PM.  Tickets are $15.00, with a $2.00 discount for seniors and students.

            Amy Jo Shapiro plays the title character of Sister Mary Ignatius, and Donald Cook plays the befuddled accountant, George Spelvin in The Actor's Nightmare.  The ensemble includes Seamus Woods, Tim Elliott, Jennifer Johnson and K.C. O'Connor.  Call 410-563-9135 or go to for tickets and more information.


This week's titles are from 1776, Godspell, Peter Pan, Sunday in the Park with George, South Pacific, A Chorus Line, Half a Sixpence, Nine and Nunsense.  Thanks for reading! And don't forget, ushers and auditioners, write to me with your stories! James

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