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Baltimore/Washington Backstage - November 1, 2007


By Charles Shubow

What a Halloween treat on "The Today Show" yesterday. Someone was a genius to feature the upcoming musical Young Frankenstein. There were performances of "Transylvania Mania", "Together Again", and "Roll in the Hay". Nov. 8 is opening night. I'll report next week on a preview performance I'm seeing tonight.

 Let me start by admitting I'm a huge fan of the ABC series Ugly Betty.  Well, tonight's episode (Nov.1) visits the Broadway hit musical Wicked. You will see glimpses of Eden Espinosa as Elphaba, Megan Hilty as Glinda, and Kristoffer Cusick as Fiyero. Check this website (BWW TV) for an exclusive peak. Coming in the future…a musical episode with Marc Shaiman (Hairspray) providing the score.

We've lost a great one in Robert Goulet. Since Lerner & Lowe's  My Fair Lady will be opening at Baltimore's Hippodrome Theatre on Nov. 6 (until Nov. 18), wouldn't it be "loverly" if Baltimore could start a tradition by dimming the Hippodrome's lights (a la Broadway) to pay tribute to the star of Lerner & Lowe's Camelot? This is the Cameron Mackintosh and National Theatre of Great Britain production which stars Lisa O'Hare and Christopher Cazenove. For tickets to MFL, call 410-547-SEAT.

Disney's High School Musical :The Ice Tour is at the 1st Mariner Arena through Sunday. Saw the cast performing this morning at 6:30 a.m.on WBAL-TV. Such is life in the arts. 410-547-7328.

Speaking of Disney, what a treat I had being invited to a sneak preview of Disney's Enchanted.  This live-action/cartoon film has a terrific score by Allen Mencken and Stephen Schwartz. Look for more on this in my column next week. The film opens Nov. 21.

For fans of Helen Hedman (recently so terrific in the Rep Stage's Mrs. Farnsworth), she'll be doing a staged reading of The Judicial Murder of Mrs. Surratt, a new play by Rich Amada on Monday, November 5 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H. Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. The reading starts at 7:30 p.m. and there will be a reception and discussion afterwards. It's FREE!!! The question concerns whether Surratt was indeed an accomplice of John Wilkes Booth. For reservations contact Laura VanDruff at 202-518-5356, ext. 2 or email her at

Closing notices this week:

A Shayna Maidel  at the Rep Stage. Do not miss this terrific play. 410-772-4900.

The Baltimore Waltz at Single Carrott Theatre. There's a quiet buzz about this wonderful theater troupe.  443-844-9253.

The GreatAmericanTrailer Park Musical at the Spotlighters. 410-752-1225.

The Last Five Years by the Springfield Community Theatre. 703-866-6238. If you can't make it here, there's always the version at Baltimore's Vagabond Players which continues the Jason Robert Brown musical until Nov. 25. 410-563-9135.

My Children! My Africa ends its successful and extended run at the Studio Theatre Sunday, Nov. 4. Opening Nov. 7 is Conor McPherson's ShiningCity. 202-322-3300.

The Everyman Theatre had a wonderful production of Caryl Churchill's A Number last season and I'm happy to report that HBO Films in association with BBC Films will be bringing it to television in 2008 starring Tom Wilkinson, so terrific in the recently released Michael Clayton.

 And speaking of the Everyman, Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing opens Nov. 7 and runs to Dec. 16. Ethan Hawke and Robert Sean Leonard star. OOPS…that was the movie. But you can be sure there will be a stellar cast. 410-752-2208.

 More Shakespeare? Macbeth also opens next week on  November 9 at the Chesapeake Shakespeare Co. 866-811-4111.

 How about The Taming of the Shrew at DC's Shakespeare Theatre Co. It runs until November 18. The theatre's NEW space, Sidney Harman Hall features in repertoire (until January 6), Marlow's Edward II and Tamburlaine. Baltimore's Jefferson Russell is in both shows. 202-547-1122.

 How could I forget the Folger Theatre presenting Shakespeare's As You Like It through Nov. 25. 202-544-7077.

 No excuses for anyone who doesn't know where to see a Shakespeare play.

 Oh, while the Baltimore Shakespeare Festival is NOT doing Shakespeare, they ARE doing Sophocles' Antigone through November 11. 410-366-8596.

 For anyone who has seen Josh Lefkowitz' one man show Help Wanted (Center Stage last year), you know what a terrific time you had. Well, GOOD NEWS!!! Josh is back in Now What? at the Wooly Mammoth Theatre Company in DC playing until Nov. 25.  Also at the theatre is Current Nobody (a modern take on Homer's Odyssey) playing until Nov. 25. For both shows, call 202-393-3939 or visit

Cannot wait to see Hearts at Center Stage. Opening night was last night and I'm confident the reviews will confirm my prediction. 410-332-0033.

And speaking of Center Stage, we will all miss Manager Director Michael Ross who will be leaving the theater shortly.  Ross has an infectious love of theater and has done a phenomenal job at Center Stage. He will be greatly missed

Meanwhile, over at the other stage, Arena Stage, I thoroughly enjoyed the new musical The Women of Brewster Place.  This features one of the most impressive ensembles you will ever see in a musical. More on this next week.
The Word Begins continues at the Signature through Dec. 2. Sunday, November 4, the Signature Theatre presents 365 Days/365 Plays by Suzan-Lori Parks. This is FREE. Showtime is at 4 p.m. Call 703-820-9771.

Tick,tick…BOOM! Continues at the Metro Stage in Alexandria. 800-494-8497.

The Olney Theatre continues with Late Night Catechism which runs until Nov. 11. Olney is gearing up for Fiddler on the Roof  which runs November 14 to Dec. 30. Kids are half price. What an opportunity to see a professional version of this hit musical. 301-924-3400.

David Mamet's Speed the Plow continues at Theater J through Nov. 25. I did see the Center Stage production and enjoyed it. 202-777-3210.


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