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            Is it just me, or was this summer’s theatre season pretty darned good?  Between June and August, />/>Baltimore theatres has much to offer.  Here is my list of the Best of Summer 2006 Theatre in />/>Charm />City (in alphabetical order by Company):

  • The 25th Season of the Baltimore Playwright’s Festival 
  • Taming of the Shrew, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company
  • An Inspector Calls, Cockpit-in-Court
  • Gypsy, />/>Maryland Arts Festival
  • Date with a Stranger/The Cagebirds, Spotlighters
  • Southern Baptist Sissies, Spotlighters
  • Footloose: The Musical, Toby’s Dinner Theatre of Baltimore

This summer also showed local theatre goers that the future is, indeed, bright.  The 20-something crowd has some remarkable talents, both in front of and behind the footlights.  Among the brightest new performers this summer are (in alphabetical order): J. McCaul Baggett (actor, Split), Ian Belknap (director, Split), Kurt Boehm (actor-singer-dancer, Footloose: The Musical), Ian Bonds, actor, An Inspector Calls & director, Date with a Stranger), Kelly Cavanaugh (director-actor, The Cagebirds), Stacey Eckler (actor, Gypsy, Date with a Stranger), Ira Gamerman (playwright, Split), Courtney Krimmel (actor, Hope’s Arbor), Kathryn Lyles (actor-singer-dancer, Gypsy), Alex Peri (actor, Southern Baptist Sissies), Steve Polites (actor, Split), Michael Stettes (actor, Date with a Stranger), Alexander Scally (actor, The Cagebirds), Andrew Syropoulos (actor, Southern Baptist Sissies) and Becca Vourvoulas (actor-singer-dancer, Footloose: The Musical).  Look for these talented artists at theatres near you!



            Are you a producer, director or cast member of a local show that is currently running or will run during the month of September?  If so, I’d like your help!  Through September 19th, I am accepting nominations from you for the unsung heroes of your production.  The stars of the show get all of the attention, right?  Well what about those hard workers in the chorus or ensemble?  What about those even harder working technicians - prop people, costumers and dressers, lighting folks who never get recognized?

Each month starting with September, I would like to post a feature article about those folks who work hard, get little credit, but without whom, the show couldn’t happen.  Here’s what I need from you:  an email sent to me at, with September Stage Heroes in the title.  In the email, please give your name, position, theatre, show and schedule of performances.  Your name WILL NOT APPEAR IN THE ARTICLE.  Give the name of the nominee, the category (ensemble/chorus/walk-on actor/dancer/singer, or technician) and a brief, but detailed explanation of this person’s contribution to the show and why you think they deserve recognition.  Not required but it would be nice is a picture of the person.  Also, please give contact information so I can get more details from you.  Each production may nominate one performer and one technician (running between August 22 and any time in September or beyond – the show must primarily in September.  Theatres with multi-month runs can nominate in any of the months the show runs, but duplicate nominees for the same show will not be recognized).  All nominees will get mention.  Deadline for September entries is NOON, SEPTEMBER 19th



            Ask just about any usher at the Hippodrome who has been there from the beginning what their favorite show has been so far.  The Lion King?  No.  The Producers?  No.  The Phantom of the Opera? No!  Mamma Mia! is probably the answer you’d hear the most.  Two seasons ago, Mamma Mia took the Hippodrome by storm for 3 nearly sold out weeks. 

            Starting tonight, for the next 2 weeks (through September 10th) the acclaimed National Tour is back.  Shows run Tuesday – Saturday at 8PM, Saturdays at 2PM and Sundays at 1PM and 6:30PM.  Go to for more information and to order tickets.  Spandex never looked so good!  You are sure to have the time of your life! 

            This time around, the cast features 5 returning members from the first engagement – Laurie Wells as Donna Sheridan (she was the understudy for the role last time), Milo Shandel as Bill Austin, Donna’s Aussie suitor, Andrew Parkhurst, dance captain, and Rosalie Vega, a swing performer.  />/>Baltimore’s own Tiffani Barbour also returns as Sophie’s best friend, Ali. 

            Several members of the cast from the first engagement went on to new Mamma Mia heights on Broadway, including Lauren Mufson, who replaced an ailing Michelle Pawk/> as Donna, Sara Kramer/>, who played Sophie here and then Broadway, Timothy Booth, who now plays Father Alexandrios, and Ryan Sander, a swing performer with the New York company.  Still others from that first go-round left the Mamma Mia fold to perform across the country, including two />/>Baltimore favorites – E. Faye Butler, who played Rosie, and later starred in CenterStage’s Once on this Island, and is scheduled to play Evillene in the Broadway-bound revival of The Wiz.  Amina S. Robinson, went from Mamma Mia to Little Shop of Horrors, playing a doo-wop singing street urchin, and just this year starred in CenterStage’s Crumbs from the Table of Joy

Look for me at the Hippodrome… I’ll be the dancing fool down front! 



            Mamma Mia fans have many reasons to rejoice!  Not only is this crowd-pleasing favorite making a two-week return stop to the Hippodrome, but the cast will again give />/>Charm />City a charity event not to be missed.  The benefit show will be held on Wednesday, September 6th at the Hippo (the bar, not the theatre!) located at One West Eager at />

            If this show is like the one they held last time they were here, tickets will sell fast!  The entertainment is first-rate, showing what these energetic young people can do aside from singing and dancing to the tunes of ABBA.  In fact, last time, they performed nothing from the show, so don’t expect Mamma Mia in a club setting. 

            And tickets are CHEAP!  $8.00 general admission/$10.00 for reserved seating.  The door opens at 10 PM, the pre-show starts at 10:30 PM, and the night goes on from there!  Call 410-576-0018 or go to for more information and reservations. 

            Trust me, you’ll have a great time!  See you there! 



            Toby’s Columbia finishes its run of 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 Kiss Me, Kate is up next!

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

Toby’s Baltimore just began previews of the beautiful musical Ragtime, set to open September 10th.  Co-directed by Daniel McDonald/> and Toby herself, the show looks to be another exciting production.  Add to that reasonable ticket prices, a great buffet dinner, including a make your own sundae bar, and a great location, and you simply cannot lose!

(To be reviewed in September 10 on – />/>Baltimore) 



Fresh off the success of its 25th anniversary season, The Baltimore Playwrights Festival sends word that two of its productions will be performed as staged readings at the />/>Kennedy />Center’s Page to Stage Festival.  Ira Gamerman’s />/>SPLIT  will be performed on September 2nd at 2pm along side selections from "Past is Present", also from BPF.  The purpose of "Page-to-Stage" is to showcase DC/MD area theaters devoted to developing new work. It is a 3 day festival. Admission is free, but on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, call 800-444-1324 or visit For a full line up: 

(/>Split was reviewed 08/24/2006 on – />/>Baltimore.) 



Fells Point Corner Theatre, as part of their 20th anniversary, presents a revival from their 3rd season. The Boys Next Door, by Tom Griffin, is about four mentally handicapped men who live under the supervision of an earnest, but increasingly “burned out” young social worker. Mingled with scenes from their daily lives, where “little things” sometimes become momentous (and often very funny), are moments of great poignancy when, with touching effectiveness, we are reminded that the handicapped, like the rest of us, want only to love and laugh and find some meaning and purpose in the brief time which they, like their more fortunate brothers, are allotted on this earth.

Richard Dean Stover, the director, is a twenty year veteran of />/>Baltimore theatre. In addition to the The Boys Next Door, Rick has also directed The Tale of the Allergists Wife, Eyes for Consuela, Black Snow, Vast Difference and Cosi all at FPCT.

      Featured in the cast are John Pruitt, Josh Waters, John Hurley, Russell Wooldridge, Mike Robinson, Sarah Zietlow, and Dave Gamble.

            The show runs from September 8th through October 8, 2006, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m., Sundays at 2:00 p.m.  Call 410-276-7837 for reservations.  Tickets are $15, Seniors/Students $12.

(To be reviewed 09/15/2006 on BroadwayWorld – Baltimore.) 



            One of this summer’s most enchanting new stars, Kathryn Lyles (Louise in MAF’s Gypsy) is now starring as Sally Bowles in Cabaret .  The show will be at the Phoenix Festival Theater (performed in the Chesapeake Theater @ Harford Community College).  The shows are Friday September 8th @ 8pm, Saturday September 9th @ 3pm & 8pm, Friday September 15th @ 8pm and Saturday September 16th @ 3pm & 8pm.
Tickets are $ 16 for adults and $ 8 for students and seniors* (*at matinees only).  For more information, directions and/or to order tickets:

            If you see this show, please send me your review to post in the CCSD column!



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Charles Street
.  The benefit will be for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and AIDS Action Baltimore, two very worthy and acclaimed charities. 

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