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Baltimore/Washington Backstage - February 20, 2009

I nomally try to start my column with information about pending television programs which may have some interest to theater fans. And do I ever have one today.

"Jerome Robbins: Something To Dance About" is the first full-length documentary about The Life of the late director-choreographer which premiered last week on WETA in DC. Well for those who missed it or want to record it, Maryland Public Television, WMPT, is broadcasting it on Feb. 26 (which just happens to be my birthday) @ 9 p.m. You'll learn how Jerome Rabinowitz, who's parents owned a woman's undergarments' factory in New Jersey, morphed into one of the greats on Broadway.  Highlights of his many hits like On the Town, The King and I, The Pajama Game, Peter Pan, Gypsy, Fiddler on the Roof and West Side Story are presented. Go to www.pbs.org and click under "American Masters" for more information.

Saturday morning, Feb. 21, Sutton Foster (Shrek The Musical) will perform on NBC's "Weekend Today Show".

BBC America will be airing "Any Dream Will Do", a reality competition show to cast the lead actor for the current London revival of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. It premieres March 29 at 8 p.m.

Broadway actors seen recently on network television: Donna Murphy on "Trust Me", Cheyenne Jackson superb on "Life on Mars" and Laura Benanti also on "Life on Mars".

Between now and March 1, you can purchase "two-for-one" tickets for most Off-Broadway plays under the promotion "On the House". To participate, mention "House" when making telephone or online tickets purchases. Visit www.Onthehouse.com for a list of shows.

Good news for theater fans. The Hippodrome has sent their subscribers a letter announcing that the 2008 Tony-winning musical In the Heights and Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein are under contract for the 2009-2010 season. What an improvement!! The rest of the season will be announced in late March.

For a nice interview with 'In the Heights' creator and star, Lin-Manuel Miranda, get a copy of the Winter edition of "Play by Play", the theatre magazine by and for teens published by the Theatre Development Fund. For a free subscription, call 212-912-9770, write to playbyplay@tdf.org, or visit www.tdf.org. A nice feature is how to get student and rush tickets on Broadway and Off-Broadway.

"Crazy for Cockpit: A Benefit Cabaret" is Cockpit in Court's Annual Fundraiser Feb. 21 at 8 p.m. It features Edward Peters, Liz Boyer-Unnicutt, Shannon Wollman, and Jeffrey Hawks. Tickets are $25. Call 443-840-2787.

Center Stage has Fabulation or, The Re-education of Undine through March 8 by one of my favorite contemporary playwrights, Lynn Nottage (Intimate Apparel). 410-332-0033 or www.centerstage.org.

Saturday afternoon at the theater is offering an unusual opportunity presenting "A Festival of New Plays Exploring Roles for Women On Stage and OFF" @ 2 p.m. There will be four World Premiere Readings: Stepping on Water by Cardid Svich, Into You  by Lee Blessing, Trickle by Kia Corthron, and Confirmed Sighting by Patrick Gabridge. Following the readings, there will be discussions and three of the playwrights will be in attendance - Svich, Blessing, and Corthron. This should really be something. Head to the Head Cabaret. There is a $5 suggested donation.

Center Stage is offering "Recession-Proof Theatergoing: Half-Price Subscriptions". They offer the best seats in the house for any SATURDAY evening for the last three shows of the season for $90 per person...$30 a ticket. This offer ends Feb. 20. When calling mention the Half-Price Saturday Membership Special and tell them you read about on Broadwayworld.com.

Last chance to see the Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning I Am My Own Wife  at the Everyman Theatre through Feb. 22. See my review on this site. Don't miss it!! 410 752-2208.

Coming next to the Everyman is Anton Chekov's The Cherry Orchard from March 18-April 26. Pay-What-You Can Night is March 17 at 7:30 p.m. What a way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day!

And speaking of St. Patrick's Day. Here's another option. From March 12 through April 4, The Heritage-O'Neill Theatre Company (formerly the The Heritage Theatre Company) will be presenting Eugene O'Neill's The Long Voyage Home beginning March 12 to April 4. There will also be Irish and Celtic theme music. 201-770-9080 or visit www.theheritagetheatre.org.

The First United Church in Fells Point is presenting Godspell Feb. 27-March 1 at 1728 Eastern Avenue, Baltimore. Visit www.brownpapertickets.com event #53218.

Cats is being performed by the Children's Playhouse of Maryland March 7-22 at the J Building Lecture Hall at CCBC Essex. Congratulations to CPOM for taking First Place for "Outstanding Performance" at the National Junior Theatre Festival 2009 in Atlanta. They performed a segment of Seussical: The Musical. Congratulations!!! For tickets, 443-840-ARTS.

Spring Awakening (the play the musical is based on) opened last night at the Mobtown Theater and runs until March 14. The production was conceived by the late Terry Long who chose a translation by Jonathan Franzen. Long's close friend Matt Bowerman (Theatre Chair at the Carver Center for Arts and Technology) has taken over the reigns and has incorporated Long's set design, costume design, and sound design. 41-467-3057 or visit www.mobtownplayers.com.

I've seen some great reviews of the Olney Theatre presentation of Mark Twain's Is He Dead which runs to March 8.  301-924-3400 or visit www.olneytheatre.org.

Theatre Hopkins has Well by Lisa Kron at the Swirnow Theater in the Mattin Arts Center on the campus of Johns Hopkins and runs until March 1.

In addition, Theatre Hopkins will present two Saturday matinee staged reading performances of Ancestral Voices by A. R. Gurney on Feb. 21 and 28 at 2 p.m. Call 410-516-7159 or email thehop@jhu.edu.

The Spotlighters next is presenting Caryl Churchill's Cloud Nine through March 8.

Save the date: March 1, 2009 at 6 p.m. when the Spotlighters hosts the Baltimore Theatre Alliance Post Show Cabaret featuring a Lite Fare Reception. Order online at www.baltimoreperforms.org. There will be entertainment by local singers and a preview of Sweeney Todd which opens on March 20. Call 410-752-1225 or visit www.spotlighters.org.

The Vagabond Players in Fells Point is gearing up to present Harold Pinter's Old Times running from Feb. 27 to March 29. 410-563-9135.

Metro Stage in Alexandria is presenting a new musical Cool Papa's Party until March 15 with choreography by THE Maurice Hines. For tickets, call 800-494-8497. Look for my review shortly.

Speaking of Metro Stage, Rooms, a rock romance which played at this lovely theater last year is heading Off-Broadway beginning Feb. 27 at the New World Stages/Stage 2 (340 West 50th Street with opening night, Monday, March 16. And what a deal I have for you. The first 888 people to text themselves a coupon available at www.8coupons.com on February 27 can see the show for $8 (normally $69.50). These tickets will be good for all performances from Feb. 27 through March 29. Read my review elsewhere on this site. For tickets call 212-239-6200. Also visit www.roomsmusical.com.

The Arena Stage in their Crystal City space has Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance through March 15.This has been getting rave reviews. 202-488-3300

In my last column I was happy to report that there WILL BE a cast recording of the Arena Stage's presentation of the musical Next to Normal by Sh-K-Boom/Ghostlight  Records this month.  Well, this week it was just announced the play is heading to Broadway at the Longacre Theatre which will have its balcony closed to offer a more intimate feel. Thus, the 1,100 theatre is being reduced to 820.  The same cast seen at the Arena Stage will be performing opening on March 27.  Opening night is April 15.212-239-6200.

The Arena Stage's annual benefit this year is called Arena Stage in Oz. Performers include Brad Oscar, E. Faye Butler, Marva Hicks, NaTasha Yvette Williams, and Diego Pietro.  The show's emcee will be The Honorable William T. Newman, Jr. and also participating will be Representative Jess Jackson, Jr. and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton. For ticket information, call 202-554-9066 ext. 266.

Arena Stage has one MORE play now playing on Broadway, Moises Kaufman's 33 Variations starring Jane Fonda through May 24 at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre.

Four Broadway stars will sing along with the National Symphony Orchestra Pops March 12-14 at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Presenting "Jerry Herman's Broadway" will be Melissa Errico, Debbie Gravitte, Hugh Panaro, and Ron Raines. 202-467-4600.

Also mark your calendars for musical Ragtime, an all new Kennedy Center Production in the Eisenhower Theatre April 18-May 10.

American playwright, Sam Shepard, is being presented at the Rep Stage which has A Lie of the Mind through March 1. See the wonderful review in the Baltimore Sun. 410-722-4900.

The Shakespeare Library has The Winter's Tale till March 8. Visit www.folger.edu.

Also getting a great review in the Baltimore Sun is, the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company's presentation of the 17th century comedy The Country Wife through March 1. Call 410-313-8874 or visit www.chesapeakeshakespeare.com.

Annapolis' Bay Theatre Company has The Gin Game beginning Feb. 20 through March 28. 410-268-1333 or visit www.baytheatre.org.

The Single Carrot  has Killer Joe through March 15. 443-844-9253.

The Dundalk Community Theatre has Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes running Feb. 27-March 8. 443-840-2787.

The Signature Theatre is presenting the Tony-nominated comedy, The Little Dog Laughed though March 8 in the 110 seat The Ark Theatre.

If you want to hear the people sing one last time, closing this week-end is the "brilliant" production of Les Miserables.  703-573-7328 or visit www.signature-theatre.org.

Conor McPherson's Broadway hit The Seafarer also ends its successful run Sunday at the Studio Theatre. 202-332-3300 or visit www.studiotheatre.org.

Bethesda's Round House Theatre has the successful Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl through March 1. 240-644-1100.

If you missed A Chorus Line in Baltimore, luckily you'll get another chance to see this great production at The National Theatre running March 10-22. 800-447-7400.

Critics have been raving about The Accident at Theater J which closes March 8. 800-494-TIXS.

For all you Idina Menzel fans mark March 24 on your calendar when you can see the Tony-winning actresss from Wicked in concert at the Birchmere in Alexandria. 703-549-7500.

Auditions :

The Last Night of Ballyhoo by the Chevy Chase Players Feb. 23 and 24 @ 7:30 p.m. at the Chevy Chase Community Center, McKinley and Connecticut Avenue, Washington, DC.

Rabbit Hole at the Foundry Players (I loved this play) March 2 and 3. Write to mjoannahenry@yahoo.com.

Cyrano de Bergerac is being presented by the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company this summer and has for 40 roles to cast. They are looking especially for male intern actors aged 16-22. Contact Tami Moon at moon@chesapeakeshakespeare.com for an application

Signature Theatre Musical Theater Institute Overtures for late teens and up from June 21 to July 3. Auditions: March 7. For appointment, 571-527-1854 or visit www.signature-theatre.org.

For comments, write to cgshubow@broadwayworld.com.

 

 

 

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From This Author Charles Shubow

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