Charm City Call Board: February 19 - 25

Welcome to Charm City Call Board for the week of February 19 - 25, keeping you up to date each week with all that is theater in Baltimore.     

Discounts and contest notices are listed first.  "On Stage" listings follow in this order: opening this week, in previews, current running productions, closing this week and upcoming productions.  Audition and help wanted notices will be next (arranged by date), followed by "Backstage Babble" - news bites, your letters and book/CD recommendations and "Theatre Events" are at the end.   I hope you find this format even more user friendly! 

Please feel free to send me suggestions/comments at jameshoward@broadwayworld.com.  

NEW THIS WEEK!:

  • BEST BET: BSF's The Comedy of Errors!
  • Big Discounts to Annie at the Warner Theatre!
  • Free Reading of New Emily Dickinson Play!
  • BPF Offers Readings of New Plays!
  • Black Arts Celebration Announced!
  • New Production of Little Shop of Horrors Announced!

If you have some news or an event you'd like added, please contact me at jameshoward@broadwayworld.com. 

 

BROADWAYWORLD.BALTIMORE DISCOUNTS!

  • Annie at The Warner Theatre in Washington, DC:
    • The Leapin' Lizards Leap Year Discount! $20.00 off regularly priced tickets for the Friday, February 29th performance!  Go to www.ticketmaster.com or call 202.397.7328.  Use password: LEAP.
    • The Pet Lovers Discount! 50% off regularly priced tickets for the February 26th, 27th and 28th performances!  Go to www.ticketmaster.com or call 202.397.7328.  Use password: SANDY. 
  • La Cage aux Folles at Toby's Dinner Theatre of Baltimore:  BWW Readers get 25% off all Thursday and Sunday Evening Performances of the award-winning musical!  Call 1-866-99TOBYS and mention this discount!  This offer good through February 24 only.
  • Pageant at Spotlighters: BWW readers get $5.00 off per ticket!  Go to www.spotlighters.org click on "tickets", and use code "BWW-PGT" or print out this article and bring it to the Box Office to receive this discount!

 

CONTESTS

There are no contests currently running.  Look for one soon!

 

ONSTAGE THIS WEEK!

A five star system will be utilized in order to differentiate between the various levels of success: artistry and entertainment value.  This system is not directly numeric, however.  That is, a 4 rated show isn't necessarily twice as good as a 2 rated show; neither is a 4 rated show a "B" or an 80%.

◊◊◊◊◊ - The absolute best theatre has to offer!  Missing this should not be an option!
◊◊◊◊ - This is excellent theatre!  Do not miss this show!
◊◊◊ - This is a good production.  Try to get to this one!
◊◊ - This is a fair production.
- Save your money.

Be sure to contact the theatre directly for show times, dates and prices.  All shows subject to change.  

 

CURTAIN UP!  Shows opening this week.

Other People's Money at Dundalk Community Theatre

  • ◊◊◊ 1/2 Disney's High School Musical (Musical): Hippodrome Theatre.  2/19 – 3/2.  Review to be posted 2/20.  www.broadwayacrossamerica.com or 410-547-SEAT.
  • Other People's Money (Drama): Dundalk Community Theatre.  2/22 – 3/2.  Review to be posted 2/25.  www.ccbcmd.edu or 410-780-6369.
  • Spinning Into Butter (Drama): Theatre Hopkins.  2/22 – 3/2.  www.jhu.edu~theatre .

IN PREVIEWS!

  • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Musical – Dinner Theatre): Toby's Dinner Theatre of Columbia.  2/21 - 6/5.  Review to be posted 3/8.  www.tobysdinnertheatre.com or 1-800-88TOBYS.

NOW PLAYING!  Shows currently open. 

Six Dead Queens... at Mobtown; A Doll's House at Chesapeake Shakespeare Company

  • ◊◊◊◊ A Doll's House (Drama): Chesapeake Shakespeare Company.  Through 3/2.  2 hours, 40 minutes, including intermission.  Review posted 2/10.  www.chesapeakeshakespeare.com or 866-811-4111.  BEST BET 2/12!
  • ◊◊◊◊◊ La Cage aux Folles (Musical – Dinner Theatre): Toby's Dinner Theatre of Baltimore. Through 3/9.  2 hours, 35 minutes, including intermission.  Adult themes, situations.  www.tobysdinnertheatre.com or 410-649-1660 or 1-866-99TOBYS.  Review posted 1/21.  See above for BWW discount!  BEST BET 1/22!
  • ◊ 1/2 Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Drama): CENTERSTAGE.  Through 3/9. 2 hours, 40 minutes, including intermission.  Review posted 2/7.  www.centerstage.org or 410-332-0033.
  • ◊◊◊◊◊Six Dead Queens…and an Inflatable Henry (US Premiere Comedy): Mobtown Players.  Through 3/8. 90 minutes, no intermission.  Review posted 2/23. PARENTAL ADVISORY: Not recommended for children.  www.mobtownplayers.com See below for article about this show.  Reservations are HIGHLY recommended.
  • The Philadelphia Story (Comedy): Laurel Mill Playhouse.  Through 3/9.  www.laurelmillplayhouse.org or 301-617-9906.
  • ◊◊◊◊ 1/2Pageant (Musical): Spotlighters Theatre.  Through 3/9.  Review to be posted 2/24.  www.spotlighters.org or 410-752-1225.
  • Three Irish Plays (Drama): Performance Workshop Theatre. Through 3/16.   www.performanceworkshoptheatre.org or 410-659-7830.

 

CLOSING THIS WEEK! Your last chance…

The Turn of the Screw at Everyman Theatre; The Comedy of Errors ay Baltimore Shakespeare Festival

  • ◊◊◊◊◊ The Turn of the Screw (Mystery-Thriller): Everyman Theatre. Through 2/24.  1 hour, 25 minutes, no intermission.  www.everymantheatre.org or 410-752-2208.  Review posted 1/19.   BEST BET 1/22!
  • ◊◊◊ Mrs. Warren's Profession (Drama): Rep Stage.  Through 2/24.  2 hours, 30 minutes, including intermission.  Adult themes. Review posted 2/4.  www.repstage.org or 410-772-4900.
  • ◊◊◊◊ 1/2 The Comedy of Errors (Shakespearean Comedy): Baltimore Shakespeare Festival.  Through 2/24.  Review posted 2/18.  www.baltimoreshakespeare.org or 410-366-8596.  BEST BET 2/19!

  

OPENING SOON! 

Look for shows opening in March next week!

 

WORKSHOPS/TRAINING

Spotlighters Offers Stage Management Workshops

  • Stage Managers Workshop - Two Days (6 hours)  COST:  $85  (order online at www.spotlighters.org - click on Tickets, then OnlineStore)
    This workshop is designed for the novice stage manager with little experience in stage managing a production.  Taught by Equity Stage Manager, Kristen Bishel; this workshop will take you from pre-audition to closing and strike. 

    Providing samples (and CD) of the various forms used by the Stage Manager to track and communicate with all the designers and actors in a production,  Kristen will also teach attendees how to set up the BOOK, and give examples of the various accessories/necessities and tools that comprise her Stage Manager's Kit.  The first day will be a basic and introductory look at Stage Management, and will provide the ground work for Day Two.
  • Stage Managers Advanced Workshop - One Day (3 hours)  COST:  $55   (order online at www.spotlighters.org - click on Tickets, then OnlineStore)
    This workshop is designed for the experienced stage manager that wants to take Stage Managing to the next level, and prepare for work in professional theatre, stage managing a production.  Taught by Equity Stage Manager, Kristen Bishel; this workshop begin with the more advanced components of stage management.

    Providing samples (and CD) of the various forms used by the Stage Manager to track and communicate with all the designers and actors in a production,  Kristen will also review how to set up the BOOK, and give examples of the various accessories/necessities and tools that comprise her Stage Manager's Kit.  This one day workshop will give experienced Stage Managers the skills needed to fully Stage Manage a production, and to begin to move into a professional status as a Stage Manager.

 

AUDITION NOTICES:

The Who's Tommy

  • WHO: Winters Lane Productions
  • WHAT: The Who's Tommy
  • WHEN:  Monday, February 18, 2008 and Tuesday, February 19, 2008 from 7:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.  POSSIBLE CALLBACKS: Wednesday, February 20, 2007 @ 7:00 p.m. (if necessary)
  • WHERE:  CCBC Catonsville --- 800 South Rolling Road, Q Building, Catonsville, MD 21228
  • WHAT TO PREPARE: 32 bars of a pop, rock, or musical theatre selection. Be ready to dance.
  • WHAT THEY ARE LOOKING FOR:
    • Tommy, a young genius who becomes a rock star—strong rock tenor age 17-24 with appealing stage presence and that indefinable "it" factor 
    • Captain Walker, Tommy's handsome father—strong tenor who ages from early 20's to early 40's during the play, must be physically able to pass on both ages.  Strong, commanding presence.
    • Mrs. Walker, Tommy's mother—strong belt alto who ages from 20-40 during the play, must be physically able to pass on both ages.
    • Uncle Ernie, Captain Walker's alcoholic older brother—character baritone who ages from 30-50 during the play.  He's the stereotypically creepy uncle everyone denies having. 
    • Cousin Kevin, Tommy's cruel and abusive babysitter—strong pop tenor age 17-24 with bad boy looks and attitude 
    • Sally Simpson, Tommy's biggest fan—pop soprano age 15-23, the typical teenage girl next door.
    • The Gypsy, (a/k/a the Acid Queen), a heroine addict and prostitute—typically African-American R&B/rock alto age 21-35, hardened, street-looking, and very sexually charged.  Usually associated with a Tina Turner vocal style and presence, but other character types will be entertained
    • Tommy (age 4 & age 10), both parts boy sopranos who look the appropriate age, bear a passable physical resemblance to adult Tommy, and must be willing to change hair color to match him if needed.
    • Adult Ensemble—various adults of all ages and types who portray cameo characters such as Kevin's and Sally's parents, specialist doctors who treat Tommy's catatonic condition, soldiers, security guards, and London folk
    • Youth Ensemble—various teens of all physical types age 14-25 who play Kevin's thug comrades, rock fans, and  the lads and lasses of London
  • SHOW DATES: July 17 – August 3, 2008
  • MORE INFORMATION:  For more information contact Troy Hopper at (877) 718-7977 x703 or troy@winterslaneproductions.org       

 

Variations Project

  • WHO: Run of the Mill Theater
  • WHAT: Variations Project
  • WHEN: February 26th and 27th 2008
  • WHERE: Theater Project, 45 West Preston Street  Baltimore, MD
  • WHAT TO DO: To schedule an audition please send your head-shot and resume to
    Runofthemilltheater@gmail.com with "Variations Audition" in the subject line.

 

Pump Boys & Dinettes, Into the Woods, Anansi: Tales of the Trickster Spider, and Fabulous Post-Show Review

  • WHO: Theatre on the Hill
  • WHAT: Pump Boys & Dinettes, Into the Woods, Anansi: Tales of the Trickster Spider, and Fabulous Post-Show Review
  • WHEN: Auditions for those 18 and over will be held 10 a.m.-5 p.m. March 8 in WMC Alumni Hall at McDaniel College. Apprentice candidates ages 15-17 may also audition at this time. Appointments are required for auditions and can be made by calling (410)
    857-2599.
  • WHAT TO PREPARE:  Participants should prepare and bring sheet music for 32 bars of a show
    tune, prepare a one-minute contemporary comedic monologue, and dress for a dance audition. Any adult male singers or actors who play guitar or standing bass should bring their instrument with them.
  • PAY: All adult company members are paid and housing is available.
  • WHAT THEY ARE LOOKING FOR:  All roles except L.M. in Pump Boys & Dinettes and narrator/mysterious man in Into the Woods are open.
  • SHOW DATES: Pump Boys & Dinettes will run at 7:30 p.m. on June 20, 21, 27, 28 and July 5. Matinee shows at 1:30 p.m. will run June 28 and July 5.  Into the Woods will run at 7:30 p.m. on July 18, 19, 25, 26, Aug. 1and Aug. 2. There will be a matinee performance at 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 2.  Anansi the Clever Spider will run at 1:30 p.m. on July 12, 13, 19, 20 and 26.  Late Night Post-Show Revue, a cabaret-style performance, will run at 10 p.m. June 27, 28, and July 5; 7:30 p.m. on July 11-12; and 10:15 on July 19 and 26.

 

BACKSTAGE BABBLE!  News, Best Bets, etc. (New items in RED.)

BEST BET: BSF's The Comedy of Errors

The Baltimore Shakespeare Festival opened a terrific new production of Shakespeare's first play, The Comedy of Errors.  Featuring a cast of young actors from all over the Baltimore area, this hilarious take on mistaken identities is a visual feast!  Director Ian Belknap has done excellent work with his design team to create a watery world of fun for all ages!

 

NEWS: BPF Presents More Play Readings

The Baltimore Playwrights Festival continues its monthly readings of new plays, potential entries in this year's festival.  ALL events are at Fells Point Corner Theatre, 251 S. Ann Street.

2/19 : 8:00 PM: Trio by Jim Cary

2/21: 7:00 PM: Kosher with Salsa by Miryam Madrigal

2/23: 12:00 PM: Under the Sign of Capricorn by Peter L. Levy

 

NEWS: Baltimore Black Arts Presents Celebration

Featuring performances by: Brown F.I.S.H., LOVE the poet, Ogun, Amanda Fair, Robert Lee Hardy, Aquil Mizan, Shelby Jade, Courtney Dowe, Sunz of N.A.T., Darin Keith Bastfield, Margaret Locklear, EZE Jackson of Soul Cannon, E the poet-emcee, and Tracie Jiggets!

Thursday, February 21 at The Eubie Blake Jazz Center, 847 N. Howard St., Baltimore, MD.   Doors open 7pm; showtime 8pm.   Tickets $12 ($7 for Baltimore Black Arts members).  More information:  contact Eric Muhammad at 443-844-8979.

 BALTIMORE BLACK ARTS is the bridge between the Black artist and the Baltimore community. We develop, support and encourage community-minded artists.  BALTIMORE BLACK ARTS IS MOVEMENT FOR CHANGE! This movement will include: Artist and community art/activism workshops, community forums, performances and events that will  serve as a catalyst for renewal in the city of Baltimore.  Membership is open to artists as well as non artists who wish to see the artistic community serve its city! As art imitates life, and life imitates art, let's work to make both of them better in Baltimore!  www.baltimoreblackarts.com

 

NEWS: BSF Presents Reading of New Emily Dickinson Play by Local Playwright

Local Playwright Gordon Porterfield's exploration of the poems of Emily Dickinson Apparition, will be performed on Saturday, February 23rd at 2pm at the Baltimore Shakespeare Festival's Elizabethan theater, 3900 Roland Avenue. Admission is free. The reading will be performed by actress Ginny Hornbeck and will include a moderated discussion afterward.

Gordon Porterfield has written a number of plays produced in Baltimore, New York, London, San Francisco and at the Yale Rep. A collection of his work has been performed at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland. In 1999, his play Snow was honored as Best Play and Best Production by the Baltimore Playwrights Festival. Over the past year Mr. Porterfield has spent his time devoted to the works of Emily Dickinson, memorizing one hundred of her poems and writing this play as 'a labor of love' in her honor.

The reading will be performed by local actress Ginny Hornbeck, seen locally in productions such as The Music Man, Fiddler on the Roof and Mame. She has a long history of singing in a cappella groups from her time at Amherst and Bowdoin Colleges and currently performs with Out Too Late – a women's a cappella group.

For more information call 410.366.8594 or email James@baltimoreshakespeare.org

 

News: Local Group Presents 34th Annual Dinner Theatre – Little Shop on Tap

The Suburban Players are pleased to announce their 34th annual dinner theatre production, the 1982 musical black comedy Little Shop of Horrors by composer Alan Menken and writer Howard AshmanJ. Jeffrey Harrison, Mary Elizabeth Mullin, Dave Guy, and Michael Quinn lead the cast of Skid Row castoffs.   John Desmone directs, Sally Tarr is the musical director, and Debbie Goetzinger choreographs.  The show will run for three weekends beginning on Friday, February 22,at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church on Cub Hill Road in the Carney area of Baltimore County.  For ticket information, please call 410-256-7362.

 

NEWS: Run of the Mill Theater New Works Reading Series Offers Encore of James McBride 

On Monday, February 25th at7 pm, ROTM will present a FREE reading of James McBride by Mark Clayton Southers at the University of Baltimore Performing Arts Theater.

Synopsis: When the Kiltimaugian Society of Poets in Ireland decides to open its six hundred year poetry contest to poets living abroad, they open the door for James McBride, an African-American poet from Chicago, who wins the prestigious award. McBride and his friend, T. R. Reid, a white Chicago rapper, travel to Ireland to accept the prize and encounter a few challenges when they arrive.
Mark Clayton Southers is a Pittsburgh playwright and founder of Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre.

Location:  University of Baltimore Performing Arts Theater, 21 W. Mount Royal Avenue, 5th Floor (Located at the corner of Mt. Royal and Maryland Ave.)

 

NEWS: Local Church to Present Benefit Performances of Nunsense A-Men!

For three nights only, the Little Sisters of Hoboken will be live on stage at the First United Church, UCC to benefit the church and its programs.  This version of the popular Nunsense series, Dan Goggin's Nunsense A-Men! is performed by an all male cast, and will be presented for three nights only – February 22 – 24.

Featuring a cast of local favorites - Eddie Peters, James Hunnicutt, Drew Gaver, Jeffrey Hawks and Tom Burns - the show is under the direction of Gregory Dorsey.   

In addition to the show, audiences will be treated to a dinner theatre style venue – seating and dinner begins at 6:30 PM, and curtain is 8PM.  Tickets are $20 per adult, $15 per youth (ages 12 – 16.  Table rates are available through jwilson@ihip.com.  The performance will be at 1728 Eastern Avenue, Baltimore 21231, between Ann and Broadway.

 

NEWS: FPCT & CTC TEAM UP TO RAISE FUNDS FOR THE TROOPS WITH ROUNDING THIRD                                                            

As part of Operation Baseball Diplomacy to benefit our troops In Iraq, Catonsville Theatre Company, a committee of the Catonsville Chapter of the CCBC Alumni Association present an encore presentation of the comedy, Rounding Third, by Richard Dresser, at the Fells Point Corner Theatre, 251 S. Ann Street, Baltimore, MD 21231. This special promotion to benefit our troops is 3 performances only; Friday, February 29 and Saturday, March 1 @ 8 PM and Sunday, March 2 @ 3 PM.   Ticket prices are $17.  Donate baseballs and/or gloves (new or used) ticket price is $10.  All donated equipment and equipment purchased with a portion of the proceeds, will benefit the troops in Iraq. 

For tickets or information call 410/455-4400 or email catheatrecompany@aol.com 

 

THEATRE EVENTS (New items in RED.)

 

February 21 – March 2: Theatre Project Presents World Premiere of A Summer in Sanctuary

Theatre Project presents the world premiere of A Summer in Sanctuary, an autobiographical piece by performance poet/playwright Al Letson. Set in the summer of 2006, the show is based on Letson's experience as a counselor at Sanctuary on 8th Street, a community center in an economically challenged neighborhood in Jacksonville, Fla. Through monologue, song, poetry and multimedia, Letson challenges perceptions about race and class, as he struggles to connect with the disadvantaged children of the Sanctuary. Funny, poignant and ultimately inspiring, A Summer in Sanctuary will take you into the heart of a community and leave you with a better understanding of the world.

"Working at the Sanctuary was an education for me, not just on poverty, but about myself," Letson says. "It was an experience that taught me so much about who I am and the man I want to be."

A Summer in Sanctuary is directed by Gary Anderson. The show runs at Theatre Project Feb. 21-Mar. 2. Tickets are $20 general admission, $15 seniors and artists and $10 students. Tickets can be purchased in advance at www.missiontix.com. For reservations, please call 410-752-8558.

 

February 22 – March 2: DCT Presents Other People's Money

The Outer Critics Circle's Best Off-Broadway Play of 1989 is a dazzlingly sharp comedic drama combining the dizzying workings of big business with a classic battle of the sexes. Lawrence Garfinkle—aka "Larry The Liquidator"—is a corporate raider who meets his match when his attempts to take over a New England wire and cable company are thwarted by sexy attorney Kate Sullivan, whom he immediately falls for. Both Kate and her smitten adversary are first-class manipulators—but how far will they go to close the deal? If the stockholders back his take over, he will make a bundle but what will happen to the 1200 employees and the community when he liquidates the assets?

Best described by New York theatre critic John Simon as "Funny, serious, suspenseful, disturbing, but above all expertly crafted," this gripping economic drama will make you want to stand up and cheer for the little guy! See how these workers fight back to protect their company and their small town life.

Director John Amato brings together the following cast:  Frank Vince as Lawrence Garfield, Elisa Dugan as Kate Sullivan, Mike Styer as Andrew Jorgenson, Jim Knost as Bill Coles, and Marianne Shaughnessy as Bea Sullivan.

Show Dates are February 22, 23, 24, 29, March 1 and 2nd.  Friday/Saturday showtime 8pm, Sunday 3pm.  Tickets $21 General, $18 Senior and $13 Student.  Box Office phone number – 410-780-6369

 

Through  March 2: Chesapeake Shakespeare Company to Present Ibsen's Classic A Doll's House

The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company will produce the immortal "door slam heard around the world" with its Classics-in-the-Box production of Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, February 8-March 2, 2008 at the Howard County Center for the Arts in Ellicott City, Maryland.

A Doll's House, a searing drama that unintentionally helped fuel the women's movement of the late 19th century, follows Nora, the perfect wife and mother, who always has time for her children while satisfying her husband's every whim.  To her husband, she is a little doll.  A riveting chain of events leads to Nora's realization that she controls her own future.  "The door slam heard around the world" is the critics' characterization of Nora's final action, and the start of Nora's new future.

The play was shocking in its time because Nora's empowerment and the decision she makes in its wake was the most profoundly feminist statement yet seen on European stages.   A Doll's House was also particularly unique in its time for focusing on a female protagonist.

Directing A Doll's House is company member and Education Director Kevin Costa.  Dr. Costa brings a wealth of professional directing and acting experience from theaters across the country. Past credits with CSC include: Mr. Purgon in The Imaginary Invalid, Grumio in Taming of the Shrew, several roles in King Lear, Touchstone in As You Like It and several roles in Henry V.   Dr. Costa is also the Drama Department Chair at the McDonogh School in Owings Mills, Maryland.

 "Our hope is to re-examine, collaboratively, the fundamental predicaments at the heart of this play. Why is Nora's plight still compelling 127 years after the play's first appearance? Why do we remain drawn to her situation?  Moreover, what does Ibsen explore about the human situation through each person in this timely drama?  Like Nora at the end of the play, we can't – and perhaps shouldn't – have a definitive answer.  This production, rather, will provide the opportunity for the cast to attempt answers with the full knowledge that we may only find more questions," explains Costa.

The cast is headlined by CSC Company Members Patrick Kilpatrick, Christina Schlegel, Scott Alan Small and Charlie Mitchell.

Tickets for A Doll's House can be purchased online at www.chesapeakeshakespeare.com, by calling 866.811.4111 or prior to the performance at the box office.  Groups of 10 or more, please call 410.313.8874 for group rates.  For general information, call the CSC offices at 410.313.8874.

Through March 8: MOBTOWN PRESENTS US PREMIERE OF SIX DEAD QUEENS…

Please note:  Seating at the Mobtown Theater is by general admission, so please arrive early to secure a good seat.

Marriage is tough business, even under the best of circumstances.  If she's not careful, a girl could lose her head ... literally.  In fact, several women did when they married the most demanding husband in history, England's King Henry VIII.  Next month, the Mobtown Players take an irreverent look at the lives and deaths of Henry's wives when they stage the U.S.  premiere of Six Dead Queens…and an Inflatable Henry.

Created by The Foursight Theatre Company of Wolverhampton, England, Six Dead Queens… is an experimental comic musical packed with intrigue, rowdy good humor and duels of words. The action takes place in eternity where Henry's consorts have been trapped together for 500 years in the same bedroom they fought to win in life.  Wit, candor and knitting needles fly as each fights to assert her position as the One True Queen. 

The production runs February 15 through March 8 with performances Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm.  There will be two special matinees on Sundays, February 24 and March 2.  Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students and seniors and are available at the box office or online.

Parents are encouraged to leave their children at home, as the cheeky dialogue is aimed squarely at adults.

Director Erin Riley first saw Six Dead Queens while studying for her theater degree in England.  "I've been dying to produce it ever since," she says.  "The piece is a dynamic and unique picture of six women who were almost completely overshadowed by their husband in the history books. 

"And let's face it," she adds, "history isn't always truthful or kind.  But it's sure fun when it's rewritten!"

Riley's cast includes some of Baltimore's best-known actresses. The six queens are Virginia Weeks, Stephanie Ranno, Melissa McGinley, Kristen Zwobot, Hannah Marr, and Kerry Brady.  Brady is especially familiar; this is her third turn on the Mobtown stage this year. 

Audiences accustomed to Mobtown's spare productions will find Six Dead Queens… a feast for the senses.  The costumes are traditional Tudor in jewel tones, complete with original jewelry design.  The music is an extremely challenging blend of madrigal style in 4 - 6 part harmony with infusions of Motown, Latin and Jazz styles.  And despite Mobtown's small stage, the set boasts a working fireplace, a large projection screen, and a bed large enough to fit all 6 women AND spin in a complete circle. 

Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. The Mobtown Theater is located at Meadow Mill, 3600 Clipper Mill Road in Hampden. To purchase tickets or find directions to the Mobtown Theater, please call 410-467-3057 or visit www.mobtown.net.

Through March 8: MET to Present Killer Laughs with Letts' Killer Joe

"A normal person is just someone you don't know real well."

So says Tracy Letts, playwright and author of Maryland Ensemble's latest mainstage production, Killer Joe.  This dark comedy delves into the idea that under the surface of every seemingly 'normal' person, family or relationship, there lurks the possibility of madness, absurdity and evil. 

Killer Joe is a brutally funny and disturbing play, a black comedy of deplorable manners.  Chris needs money, a lot of money. With his father Ansel and stepmother Sharla, Chris hires Killer Joe Cooper to assassinate his mother.  But when Mom's insurance payout doesn't go as planned, Joe demands a different form of currency, leading to a climax that is both bloody and surprisingly redemptive.  The final blackout comes on an unexpected fresh start - for some of the characters.

"Letts is a very exciting playwright in our country today," says MET Producing Artistic Director Tad Janes. "After reading his play, our company was enthralled at the possibility of doing it. It's funny, it's intense and it has a lot of attributes our company likes in a play."

Featuring the talents of MET Ensemble Members Matt Baughman, Amy Easton, Julie Herber, Tad Janes, Gené Fouché (Director) and MET regular Denny Grizzle, Killer Joe is not for everyone.  Its poetic qualities notwithstanding, it is dark, obscene and violent.  Due to language, violence, drug use and nudity, Killer Joe is recommended for mature audiences only.

"This is a difficult play in terms of content, that's for sure," says director Gené Fouché.  "But despite that, it's an exciting and thought-provoking piece of theatre which is why it was chosen for our season.  The fact that it's live makes it so controversial.  On film, this same story wouldn't raise an eyebrow.  Killer Joe is fast, funny, dangerous and tragic – it has all the ingredients for great theatre."

This "Shepard-esque" thriller won awards and rave reviews in London and off-Broadway. Alternating between humor and menace, Killer Joe is at once clever, suspenseful, subtle, complex, deeply funny and riveting.

Tracy Letts was born and raised in Oklahoma. His first play, Killer Joe premiered in Chicago in1993, and has since been performed in ten countries in over a dozen languages. His second play, Bug premiered in London in 1996 and was made into a film, starring Ashley Judd, this past year.  His play August: Osage County, currently running on Broadway, looks like the play to beat for the Tony Award this year.

Killer Joe opens February 8th and runs through March 8th.  Tickets are $22 for adults and $19 for students and seniors.  For tickets or more information call 301-694-4744 or visit www.marylandensemble.org 



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