The folks at Spotlighters Theatre have again generously offered an exclusive discount to readers of this column and the Baltimore page of!  If you mention “” when you place a phone order or make a pourchase at the box office for their current offering, “Just For Laffs”, you get $5.00 off per ticket!  That’s a savings of over 33%!  See below for more information.  Thank you Spotlighters!



Perhaps an evening of rib-tickling belly laughs is not always the first thought that comes into one’s mind when hearing the name Chekhov.  The themes of his plays, though, are the stuff of wonderful comedy---the never-ending conflicts between men and women merely trying to cope with the world, with the tedium of life, and with each other.  Directors John Sadowsky and Mary H. Pohlig, and translator Paul Schmidt bring to life some of this world-class playwright’s greatest short plays in an evening of hilarious vaudevilles.  Tickets are $15 for adults with discounts for Seniors, Students, and Baltimore Theatre Alliance members.  See above for exclusive BWW discount!

The cast includes several actors giving terrific performances, including long-time Charm City actor Branch Warfield, relative newcomers Russ Addis and Charlie Mitchell (regulars at CSC), and the always delightful Cathy Ireland and Mark Squirek.  The clever sets and snappy dialogue do make for a fun evening.

Tickets may be purchased at the Box Office one hour prior to each performance.  Tickets may be placed on Will Call by phoning the theatre at 410-752-1225, or from the website:  Will Call Reservations are strongly recommended.  Cash and Credit Cards are accepted at the Box Office.  Tickets may be purchased on line at using a credit card.  (Discount NOT available with online purchases.)

(Reviewed on 07/19/2006 on – Baltimore.)      


Earlier in the season, we ran a contest in conjunction with the opening of Baltimore’s newest theatre, Toby’s of Baltimore. One of the winners, Alisa Bralove and her husband used their prize of two tickets to Footloose last Thursday, and by all reports had a great time.  Look for Ms. Bralove’s review in this column next week!



Local theatre icon Toby Orenstein has great summer fare in two locations – her original Toby’s of Columbia and now the terrific new Toby’s of Baltimore.  And that great fare takes place at both the dinner table (sumptuous buffets are featured at both locations) and on the stage!  At the fabulous new Toby’s in Baltimore (located at the newly renovated Best Western at the Baltimore Travel Plaza) the terrific Footloose:The Musical continues its successful run throughout the summer.  This don’t-miss production features two of Baltimore’s most thrilling new performers, Kurt Boehm as Ren and Becca Vourvoulas as Ariel.  For more information, and to make reservations (you REALLY should) call 1-866-99TOBYS or go online at


(Review of Footloose posted 06/20/2006 on BroadwayWorld – Baltimore.)

An interview with Mr. Boehm and Ms. Vourvoulas posted on 07/14/2006 on BroadwayWorld – Baltimore. 


Toby’s Columbia just opened its summer show, Buddy: The Buddy Holly Musical, which will run through September 3, 2006.  For more information about this rock n’ roll event, call 1-800-88TOBYS or go online at

(Review posted 07/10/2006 on BroadwayWorld – Baltimore)



While I suppose we should be grateful that a movie of the Tony-winning smash Hairspray is being made at all, doesn’t it stink that NONE of the movie will be shot here?  The Maryland Film Commission ought to be ashamed – if Toronto can make monetary concessions, so can Maryland.  And God knows, if the Ravens wanted a gigantic soundstage built, it would be done yesterday, so why not for Hairspray?  Why doesn’t anyone get it that if you lower the price, make a few concessions, SOME money into the city is better than none, short-term, but the boost to the local economy in the long-term will far outweigh the concession costs?  And if Baltimore would invest in building a state of the art soundstage, it will last far beyond the filming of one movie, and attract many more?  I, for one, am so tired of hearing about what could have been.  No wonder Baltimore is a cultural third-world country in the eyes of others.  Your thoughts?



Cockpit-in-Court at its home at CCBC-Essex has, on the main stage is Meredith Willson’s family classic The Music Man will run at Cockpit in Court Summer Theatre from July 21 through August 6, with performances Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 3pm, and one Thursday performance on August 3 at 8pm.  Ken Kemp of Gaithersburg plays Harold Hill in this production, opposite Kimberly Hart of Fallston as Marian Paroo.  Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 3pm, with one Thursday night performance on August 3 at 8pm.  Tickets are $18 general admission, $16 seniors and CCBC alumni, and $12 for children 12 and under.  Tickets are available in advance by calling the Box Office at 410.780.6369.

Closing out the season in the upstairs cabaret is the mystery classic, An Inspector Calls, running from July 28 – August 6, Fridays and Saturdays at 8PM, Sundays at 2PM.  For tickets and more information go to


(The Music Man reviewed on – 07/24/2006; An Inspector Calls to be reviewed on 07/29/2006.)




The Baltimore Playwrights Festival is in the midst of it 25th year of bringing new, exciting works to the stage.  Beginning this Friday, through August 6th at Vagabond Players in Fell’s Point is “A Modern Pas de Duex” by Susan Middaugh, directed by Barry Feinstein.  Show times at Vags are Fri – Sat at 8PM, Sun at 7PM and tickets are $15 General/ $13 Seniors and Students.  For more information go to or call 410-563-9135.


For more information about the entire festival, go to or call 410-276-2153.


BEST BET CD: [title of show]

This little gem of a show (see last week’s column) is only on until September 9th at the Vineyard Theatre in NYC, but for those of you who can’t make it, or can, and are TRUE musical theatre enthusiasts, this CD is just as terrific!  It sounds just like in the theatre, and the performances are just as charming and engaging – Hunter Bell, Heidi Blickenstaff, Susan Blackwell and Jeff Bowen are wonderful – playing stage versions of themselves as they chronicle the events of creating a musical.  They talk like the real New Yorkers they are, so the “F” word is used casually and frequently, but all in good humor and taste.  If you get it, and play it at work, wear your headphones or turn it way down!  And the bonus track is an absolute scream – and keep it playing… there’s a hidden track, too.  If you get the CD and/or see the show, let me know what you think!



How lucky I was to see Spring Awakening, and how lucky we all are that this courageous, deep piece is going on to Broadway.  Yes, just one day after my column reviewed the piece, it was announced that it would indeed transfer uptown (not that I had a thing to do with it).  But it is great news for those of us ready for a challenging, contemporary musical!  Again, if any of you get to see it, I’d love to hear your thoughts!


Thanks for reading, James.

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From This Author James Howard

James was first bitten by the theatre bug at the tender young age of 11, when, at the last minute, he was called upon to (read more...)