Baltimore/Washington Backstage - December 6, 2008

Disney on Broadway has a kids sale but it ends this Friday, Dec. 12. Buy a full-price adult ticket for shows between January 6 and March 13 and one child younger than 18 gets in free for all the Disney shows (The Lion King, Mary Poppins, and The Little Mermaid). Call 866-870-2717 or visit

December 14 is opening night for the musical Shrek and you can get a sneak preview on "The Today Show", Monday morning, Dec. 8 between 8:30 and 9 a.m. Meredith Vierira does a behind the scenes tour with Brian d'Arcy James (Shrek), John Tartaglia, and director Jason Moore. On Tuesday, Dec. 9, there will also be a live performance of the song "I Know It's Today" by Sutton Foster, Marissa O'Donnell and Leah Greenhaus. The music is by Jeanine Tesori (Carolyn, or Change).

I was surprised at the Broadway musicals highlighted in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. In the Heights was the first to be featured followed by The Little Mermaid, White Christmas (starring Stephen Bogardus), South Pacific, and Hair. May I inquire where were Billy Elliot and Shrek? One day I would love to learn how the shows are selected for the telecast.

Looking for a holiday gift? The DVD of Mamma-Mia! becomes available on Dec. 16 with deleted scenes, a deleted song, and the sing-along version.

Speaking of Mamma Mia!, two alumna from the Broadway production are currently at the Hippodrome Theatre in A Chorus Line: Holly Howard (Maggie) and Erica Mansfield (swing). J.R. Whittington (Butch) was in the touring production. Do not miss this production. See my review elsewhere on this site. It continues at the Hippodrome until Dec. 14.  Call 410-547-SEAT.

The Grammy Nominations were announced this week. The nominees for Best Musical Show Album include Gypsy, In the Heights, The Little Mermaid, South Pacific, and Young Frankenstein: The Musical.

Nominees for Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media (who makes this stuff up?) include Mamma Mia! and Sweeney Todd plus "American Gangster", "August Rush", and "Juno".

Stephen Schwartz and Alan Menken  were nominated for two songs from the film "Enchanted", "Ever Ever After" and "That's How You  Know".  I really believe "Enchanted" has a shot as a oadway musical.

The Grammy Awards will be held Feb. 8, 2009 and can be seen on CBS from 8 - 11:30 p.m.

Remember how I raved about the two person musical Doors at Metro Stage in Alexandria? Well, it's heading to an Off-Broadway theater in 2009. I'll keep you posted.

Now at Metro Stage is Isn't it Romantic through Dec. 21. 703-548-9044. Add the lights of the holiday season in Alexandria and the whole experience is romantic.Whooly Mammoth ends its successful production of Boom Sunday. 202-393-3939.

I was surprised what a terrific job Katie Couric did on her recent report on the CBS television magazine" Sunday Morning" which featured the three "Billys" from Billy Elliot: Trent Kowalik, Kiril Kulish, and David Alvarez.  The three also appeared on "The View" and "The Today Show".

Jason Robert Brown's world premiere of his concert version of E.B. White's The Trumpet of the Swan: a Novel Dec. 6 is in the Eisenhower Theatre. Brown wrote the music and will be conducting a 35-piece orchestra. Marsha Norman has adapted the book, Bob Balaban directs, and the cast features Kathy Bates, Lauren Kennedy, and Fred Willard.. Recommended for ages 7 and up.

Also heading to the Kennedy Center is  Legally Blonde (Dec. 16-Jan.11, 2009). For tickets at the Kennedy Center, call 202-467-4600 or

I was fortunate to attend the Nov. 9 concert at Strathmore Hall in Bethesda that featured Tony-winners Christine Ebersole (Grey Gardens) and James Naughton (City of Angels, Chicago). What a wonderful and entertaining show they put on in a beautiful setting. Pick up Ebersole's latest CD. It's terrific.

Grey Gardens, the musical is packing them in at the Studio Theatre. The great Barbara Walsh, so terrific in last year's A Little Night Music at Center Stage, is not to be missed. It is now extended to January 4. 202-332-3300.

The Studio has a great holiday gift idea. Three great plays for only $99!! And they are: The Seafarer by Conor McPherson, Rock'n'Roll by Tom Stoppard ( I loved this on Broadway), and the classic by August Wilson, Radio Golf. Visit

Also selling like hotcakes is Peter Pan at the Olney Theatre Center and it also has been extended to January 11, 2009. 301-924-3400.

Check out a new version of Alice at the Round House Theatre in Bethesda through Dec. 28. 240-644-1100.

Center Stage is gearing up for what could be its biggest hit of the season, Caroline, or Change starring E. Faye Butler.  Previews begin Dec. 10 and it runs through January 18, 2009. There's even a New Year's Eve performance at 8 p.m.

But there's more going on at Center Stage. There's One-Man Star Wars Trilogy written and performed by Charles Ross and directed by T.J.Dawe. You'll see a reenactment of the three original movies in about an hour. It runs Dec. 9 to Dec. 21. 410-332-0033 or

David Mamet's Glengarry  Glen Ross is being presented by the Keegan Theatre through Dec. 20. 703-892-0202.

You still have a chance to see the Everyman Theatre's Filthy Rich by Canadian playwright George F. Walker through Dec. 14. This is a little bit unusual for the theater to have such a fun film noire satire built around a detective story. It's quite enjoyable. 410-752-2208.

The Everyman is also presenting "A Concert Tribute to Rodgers and Hammerstein" Dec. 26-Dec. 30. Four performances are already sold-out. Tickets are only available Dec. 28, Dec. 29, and Dec. 30 so act quickly. Tickets are only $30. Vince Lancisi directs.

Picnic is playing at the Spotlighters through Dec. 21. 410-752-1225.

The highly acclaimed Single Carrot Theatre is presenting Crave through Dec. 21. There's free beer and wine. Call 443-844-9253 or visit

A new version of The Nativity Story is being presented at the Rep Stage in Columbia through Jan. 4. 410-772-4900.

Every Christmas Story Ever Told is presented by the Baltimore Shakespeare Festival through Dec. 21. 410-366-8596 or visit

Ending Sunday, Dec. 7 is The Sisters Rosensweig at the Fells Point Corner Theatre. 410-276-7837.

The musical Next to Normal continues to January 18 in Crystal City and  features Alice Ripley (Side Show) and J. Robert Spencer (Jersey Boys). Two-time Tony nominee Michael Grief (Rent, Grey Gardens) directs.

Attention students!! Monday, Dec. 22 at 7 p.m. there will be a special performance designated for high school and college students followed by a post-show reception. Tickets are ONLY $10!!! 202-488-3300 or

Can you imagine Les Miserables in a small setting with a 14 piece orchestra, 28 actors, 138 costumes, and a five ton steel set?  Well, the Signature Theatre is undertaking this Herculean task running to January 25, 2009. Get your tickets NOW. 703-573-7328 or visit

One of my favorite actors Helen Hedman is starring in Miss Nelson is Missing through Jan.4 at Imagination Stage in Bethesda. 301-280-1660.

Bernstein's West Side Story is heading to Broadway at the Palace Theatre beginning Feb. 23.  You can catch it in DC to at The National Theatre Dec. 15 to Jan. 17.  The production has an onstage cast of 37 and 30 musicians in the pit and will weave Spanish throughout the book and songs. Call 800-447-7400.

Towson State University has August Wilson's The Piano Lesson through Sunday, Dec. 7. 410-704-2787.

Johns Hopkins is presenting Fuddy Meers through Dec. 7, 410-516-0618.

Want to see Billy Elliot and help out a good cause? The Edith Rosen Strauss Organization has a few orchestra tickets left for the Dec. 10 matinee for $215 which includes bus, breakfast, dinner, and snacks. Call Thelma at 410-764-6571.


The Little Foxes: Dec. 6 and Dec. 9 at CCBC Dundalk. Call Lisa Boeren at 410-780-6369.

Camelot: Dec. 6 and Dec. 8 at the Bowie Playhouse. Also, No Sex Please,We're British Dec.  6 and 7. 410-757-5700.

Falsettos: Dec. 9 and 10 at Elden Street Players. 703-841-5930.

The Full Monty: Dec. 6 at 2 p.m. 703-501-7588.

Follies: Dec. 9 and 10 at the Arlington Players.

F***A: Dec. 13 at the Studio 2nd Stage.

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From This Author Charles Shubow