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Baltimore/Washington Backstage-July 7, 2006




If you will be in the New York area on Thursday, July 13, head to Bryant Park for their weekly free Broadway luncheon concerts. Appearing will be "The Drowsy Chaperone", "Beauty and the Beast", "Drumstruck", and "Mamma Mia!". Program lasts about an hour and starts at 12:30.  I'll be there with my video camera. Regarding "The Drowsy Chaperone", read my colleague James Howard's review of the just released CD in his July 4th Charm City Stage Door column. I heartily agree with his review. Looking forward to see this show.




What a thrill it was to attend the opening of the new Smithsonian duet of museums last week-end, the National Portrait Gallery and the Museum of American Art located in the old Pension Building at Eighth and F. Streets, NW in Washington. These are two fabulous museums in ONE building. See Rita Braver's review on CBS' "Sunday Morning".


 And, you can combine your visit with a free theater presentation, "1776: The Musical". Starring Steve Cupo, Sherri Edelin, Bill Largess and Phillip Binder, this staged reading and concert performance will take place Saturday July 8 2 and 8 p.m., Sunday, July 9 at 2 p.m., and Monday, July 10 at 7 p.m. Admission is FREE but reservations are preferred at 202-275-0570. The performance will be in the  McEvoy auditorium. For more information, 202-633-1000.


While watching David Letterman the other night and heard the Paul Schaeffer Orchestra play "Everything's Coming up Roses" which reminds me that you MUST see "Gypsy" at the Maryland Arts Festival at Towson University. My review will be posted shortly but you can surmise what it will say.  It plays until July 23


Also at the MAF is "Beehive: the 60's Musical". This closes on July 16. A special treat will be this Sunday from 1 – 1:45 p.m. Dr. Elizabeth Gray will discuss the effect of the Vietnam War on popular music in the late 1960's.  Call 410-704-2787.


 I was looking forward to seeing the improvements at the Towson Center for the Arts but in the Mainstage Theater did not see much change. I hoping to see the orchestra pit placed UNDER the stage which is normal for most theaters instead of in front like in a high school auditorium.


 It was great to see the elimination of steps leading to the building from Osler Drive but there is one walkway which leads to nowhere.


My biggest complaint is the decision to do without the great barbecue stand which was a great way to enjoy a light snack before the show, during intermission and after the show to linger with the cast. Oftentimes, there would be a stage set up for a cabaret to give the cast (and others) a chance to shine all over again. Please "Bring Back the Barbecue"!!


 Last chance to see  Paul Osbourne's fantasy-drama "On Borrowed Time" at the Vagabond Players in Fells Point. It ends Sunday, July 9. 410-563-9135.


Also closing this week-end is the Chesapeake Shakespeare's Company's productions of "Taming of the Shrew" and "King Lear" in Ellicott City. 410-752-3994.


More Shakespeare…the Baltimore Shakespeare Festival is doing "A Midsummer's Night Dream" outdoors at Evergreen House at Loyola College though July 23. 410-366-8596 or


 Not enough Shakespeare? Washington's Shakespeare Theatre Company is getting terrific reviews of "Love's Labor's Lost" until July 30. Look my review shortly. 202-547-1122 or

 The Potomac Theatre Festival at the Olney Theatre Center is buzzing. Opening Saturday night is "Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris". It closes July 30.  Look for my review shortly.


Beginning July 20-Aug. 27 will be Ibsen's  "An Enemy of the People" This is a terrific play which I loved at Center Stage a few years back.


 Running until July 23 is "Hedda Gabler".

 Also at the OTC you can find two more pieces. "No End to Blame" and "An Experiment with an Air Pump. Between July 16-23, you can see ALL FIVE  shows. 301-924-3400 or


 A free outdoor symphony concert "A Night On Broadway" will be held in Alexandria, Virginia on Sat. night, July 8 with fireworks at Oronoco Bay Park. 703-88-4686.


Wolf Trap has the musical "Chicago" July 11-16. 703-55-1868 or

Howard County Summer Theatre presents "Me and My Girl" till July 15 at Mount Hebron High School in Ellicott City.

This is a benefit for Prepare for Success and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.


The Cockpit in Court presents "Peter Pan" through July 16 in Essex. 410-78—6369.


For you Edgar Allen Poe fans, there will be a free performance by David Keltz at the Hampton National Historic Site in Lutherville, MD Sunday at 2 p.m.


 July 12, the Arena Stage presents "3 mo'divas" through Aug. 13. 202-488-3300 or

The Kennedy Center has "Little Women" and The Reduced Shakespeare Company's presentation of "The Complete HiStory of america (abridged)". 202-467-4600.


"Caroline or Change" continues until July 23 at the Studio Theatre. 202-332-3300.


Marlo Thomas' "Free to Be You and Me" is being done week-ends in Gaithersburg. 301-258-6394.


For you Jason Robert Brown fans, "The Last Five Years" begins July 14-July 23 at the Foundry Players in DC. 202-332-3454 or


Auditions for "Dreamgirls" July 10 and 11 for the Winters Lane Production in Brooklyn Park, MD. 301-741-0177 or


There is now more competition for bus trips to New York. On July 14 Eyre Bus Lines is beginning day bus trips to the Big Apple for trips on  Friday, Saturday and Sunday at $59 round-trip. It leaves from Glenelg at 6, Ellicott City at 6:30 and Towson at 7. The best part is it does not leave NYC until 6:30 which gives ample time for dinner after a show before heading home. They also have day trips to see "Spamalot" (July 22), "Tarzan" (July 29), "Mary Poppins (November 11), "Wicked" (Dec. 2) and "Jersey Boys" (January 6 and February 24). Call 1.800-321-3973 or go to I plan on featuring other such trips in the future.


I always like to look for Broadway performers on television and I highly recommend TNT's "The Closer" starring recently Emmy nominated Kyra Sedgwick (Lincoln Center's "Twelth Night), and Tony nominee for "Hairpsray" Corey Reynolds. Tony nominee Doug Sills was just featured. If you have Comcast On Demand, you can watch a nice interview with Reynolds on the TNT Special "Behind the Scenes at Closer".


 Finally, I highly recommend the Walters Art Museum's "Mightier Than the Sword: The Satirical Pen of KAL" though Sept. 3. This terrific exhibition of editorial cartoons from the pen of Kevin Kallaugher (formerly of the Sun) is incredibly entertaining. This Sunday at 2 p.m. meet the artist and other cartoonists in "Cartooning: A Global Perspective". 410-547-9000 or

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