PRESS RELEASE: Single Carrot Theatre Hosts Continues Conversations Surrounding Lear

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Single Carrot Theatre Hosts Continues Conversations Surrounding Lear

Baltimore, MD – Single Carrot’s 11th Season is now open with its thought-provoking and
fast-paced regional premiere of Lear by Young Jean Lee. Like Shakespeare’s tragedy, Lee’s
text includes universal themes of family conflict, guilt, and madness; at the same time, it
takes a nuanced look race, wrestling with mortality, and the complex dynamics between
aging parents and their adult children. In the hope of continuing the conversations sparked by this vibrant production, Single Carrot will be hosting talkbacks with panelists from Morgan State University, Center Stage, the ACME Corporation, and Chesapeake
Shakespeare Company.

Race, Shakespeare, and Young Jean Lee
Sunday, October 15, following the 3pm performance

Join Gerrad Taylor of Chesapeake Shakespeare Company and Shirley Basfield-Dunlap of
Morgan State University for a discussion on the complex relationship between modern audiences and classical material. Share your thoughts on Young Jean Lee’s frenetic adaptation of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy, and engage with our panelists on issues of race, identity and performance.

Pride Night at Single Carrot Theatre!
Thursday, October 19, preceding the 8pm performance

Join us for cocktails, live pre-show music from Christen B, and a fabulous evening of theatre celebrating the 9th Annual LGBT Center Awareness Day! More about the artist: Christen B seamlessly blends electronic and acoustic instruments with transcendent vocals leaving listeners in a state of euphoria! This Baltimore native is changing the way people experience music. She allows the audience to watch as she masterfully layers unique sounds while looping them on the spot and leaving the crowd wanting more!

Adapting the Classics
Friday, October 20, following the 8pm performance

Join Gavin Witt of Center Stage and Lola Pierson and Stephen Nunns of The ACME Corporation as they discuss the complicated task of adapting famous classical texts for a modern audience. Nunns and Pierson collaborated last year on an original adaptation of A Streetcar Named Desire, Stranger Kindness, which was recently named “Best Play” in City Paper’s Best of Baltimore Reader’s poll. Witt, along with Center Stage’s Kwame Kwei-Armah, is part of a national project to reimagine and update Shakespeare’s plays for a modern audience. Join them in a conversation on the nuanced process of bringing a well-known, perhaps beloved, text into the present.

About the Play:
Lear
By Young Jean Lee
Directed by Andrew Peters
Shakespearean drama meets millennial self-indulgence in this outlandish and driving take on King Lear. Boring, stuffy parents have been left for dead – consigning audiences to the not-so-tender mercies of a younger generation, a mix of heroes and villains indulging their own selfish whims. Despite sharp wits and sharper teeth, these Kardashian-esque kids are comically shallow, callous, and vain: more concerned with dancing and drama than their own doomed parents. But superficial pleasures can only reign for so long before their conscience catches up with them, unearthing ugly secrets, doubts, and fears. Regional premiere.

WHEN:
Previews: Wednesday, October 4 and Thursday, October 5 at 8pm
Running: October 6 – 29
Thursday- Saturday at 8pm
Sundays at 3pm

WHERE:
Single Carrot Theatre
2600 N. Howard Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
Entrance on 26th Street.
Free parking available in adjacent lot and on the street.

TICKETS AND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Tickets: $10-$29
Web: singlecarrot.com
Phone: 443-844-9253
Email: boxoffice(at)singlecarrot.com
Twitter: @singlecarrot
Instagram: @singlecarrot

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PRESS RELEASE: Baltimore Center Stage Announces Shakespeare in Love Cast and Artistic Team

Baltimore Center StageShakespeare in Love

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Center Stage Continues its “Season of Community” with a Boisterous, Joyful
Production of the Blockbuster Movie

Baltimore — Baltimore Center Stage is pleased to announce the cast and artistic team for Shakespeare In Love.

Continuing a “Season of Community” at Baltimore Center Stage, where every program
and production explores the role of artists and institutions in building community,
Shakespeare in Love embraces the theme of “joy”. The language, love story and
luxurious scenery aim directly at the joy in the connectedness of the human spirit. It is a
moving examination of the relationship between art and love.

“This joyful romp celebrates every aspect of theater, from the words on the page to the
actors on stage. It is a charming tale of love, the English language, and theater itself,”
said Baltimore Center Stage Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah. “It is simply the joy
that this theater can provide in turbulent times.”

Shakespeare in Love is the most produced play in the 2017/18 theater season. Baltimore Center Stage is its only production in the Baltimore and Washington D.C. area. Based on the Oscar-winning film of the same name, Shakespeare in Love was adapted for the stage by Lee Hall from Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard’s screenplay. It is directed by Blake Robison, Artistic Director of the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.

The cast includes Nicholas Carriere* (William Shakespeare), Avery Glypmh* (Marlowe/Priest/Ensemble), John Plumpis* (Fennyman/Catling?ensemble), David Whalen* (Ned Alleyn/Lambert/Ensemble), Michael Fajardo* (Frees/Wabash/Heavy
1/Ensemble), Barzin Akhavan* (Henslowe/Ensemble), Brent Harris* (Burbage/Barman/Ensemble), Liz Daingerfield (Mistress Quickly/Waitress/Kate/Abraham/Ensemble), Marquis D. Gibson (Adam/Heavy
2/Ensemble), Wynn Harmon* (Tifney/Sir Robert de Lesseps/Ensemble), Naomi Jacobsen* (Queen Elizabeth/Molly/Ensemble), Bari Robinson* (Nol/Valentine/Ensemble), Taha Mandviwala (Peter/Proteus/Guard 2/Ensemble), Emily Trask* (Viola de Lesseps/Ensemble), Laura Gordon* (Nurse/Ensemble), Jefferson A. Russell* (Ralph/Ensemble), Jamal James* (Robin/Guard 1/Boatman/Ensemble) Clark Furlong (Webster), Michael Brusasco* (Wessex/Ensemble), and Richard Buchanan (Sam/Ensemble). There’s also a featured appearance by Meatball, a Chihuahua (Spot).

The artistic team includes director Robison, Tim Mackabee (Scenic Designer),
Kathleen Geldard (Costume Designer), Michelle Habeck (Lighting Designer), Matt
Nielson (Sound Designer), Diane Lala (Choreographer), Rick Sordelet and Christian
Kelly-Sordelet (fight directors).

*Member of Actors’ Equity Association.

Shakespeare in Love opens Thursday, October 26, with previews October 19–25, and
closes Sunday, November 26. Press night is Opening Night, October 26. For more
information, visit http://www.centerstage.org or call the box office at 410.332.0033.

Shakespeare in Love is made possible by T. Rowe Price. This performance is supported
in part by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC). Center Stage’s Season
Sponsor is M&T Bank and the season is also made possible by The Shubert Foundation
and the Baltimore County Commission on Arts and Sciences

About Baltimore Center Stage

Baltimore Center Stage is a professional, nonprofit institution committed to entertaining,
engaging and enriching audiences through bold, innovative and thought-provoking classical and contemporary theater. Named the State Theater of Maryland in 1978,
Baltimore Center Stage has steadily grown as a leader in the national regional theater
scene. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah OBE and Managing
Director Michael Ross, Baltimore Center Stage is committed to creating and presenting a
diverse array of world premieres and exhilarating interpretations of established works.
Baltimore Center Stage believes in access for all—creating a welcoming environment for
everyone who enters its theater doors and, at the same time, striving to meet audiences
where they are. In addition to its Mainstage and Off Center productions in the historic
Mount Vernon neighborhood, Baltimore Center Stage ignites conversations among a
global audience through digital initiatives, which explore how technology and the arts
intersect. The theater also nurtures the next generation of artists and theater-goers
through the Young Playwrights Festival, Student Matinee Series and many other
educational programs for students, families and educators.

PRESS RELEASE: Everyman Theatre’s Intimate Apparel Reveals Patterns of Synergy and Commitment to Playwright’s Work

Everyman Theatre Logo
Everyman Theatre’s Intimate Apparel Reveals Patterns of Synergy and Commitment to Playwright’s Work
Production Weaves Thematic Threads with Meaningful Community Connections

Intimate_Apparel

Baltimore, MD – As though tailor-made for the locally-commissioned play’s Baltimore audience,Intimate Apparel stirs with substance, style and sincerity at Everyman Theatre—October 18 through November 19, 2017—in a quietly commanding production that radiates with powerful performances on-stage and profound local partnerships off-stage, bringing the play’s delicate themes affectingly to life.

Wearing her heart on her sleeve while sewing intimates for her clientele, Esther is the talented African American seamstress in turn-of-the-century New York who has built a savings for herself making beautiful undergarments—while earnestly daydreaming of new beginnings, romantic possibilities, and the lingering affection she shares with a Jewish fabric merchant. But when an egregious deception cuts short heartfelt desires, can class, culture and circumstance outmatch the strength of human spirit? Inspired by a true story, Intimate Apparel is a heart-rending contemporary work in the style of an enduring classic—from Lynn Nottage, the first female playwright to win two Pulitzers.

Intimate Apparel marks the third Lynn Nottage play produced at Everyman Theatre, following 2015’sRuined and 2014’s By The Way, Meet Vera Stark. Intimate Apparel director Tazewell Thompson (who previously directed Great Expectations and Ruined at Everyman, as well as a production of Intimate Apparel at Dartmouth College) brings what Everyman Theatre Founding Artistic Director Vincent M. Lancisi describes as “a dramatist’s eye and a librettist’s ear” to the helm.

“Plays like Intimate Apparel are about bringing the real changing world into the theater,” said Thompson. “They are about making the theater contemporaneous with life; making the theater a leader of perception, not a follower. Intimate Apparel awakens us to the selves within ourselves; allows us to see, hear and understand the lives of, indeed, every man.”

In this spirit, Everyman’s production of Intimate Apparel is augmented by an extensive slate of ancillary programming that fastens topics from the play (including empowerment, entrepreneurship, and evolving trends) to close-knit community collaborations involving local artists, makers and independent entrepreneurs as well as institutions such as MICA, Baltimore School for the Arts, the Baltimore Design School and the Maryland Film Festival’s SNF Parkway Theatre.

“The story on stage can be just the beginning of the journey,” explained Everyman Theatre Managing Director Jonathan K. Waller. “We invite audiences to join us in deepening the experience by exploring how the play’s themes connect to our lives and history here in the Baltimore area. For Intimate Apparel, we have more opportunities to do this than ever before thanks to a growing circle of committed and connected partners.”

Partner projects for Intimate Apparel include an on-site costume exhibit, a tasting involving local restaurants, a film screening and discussion, a community conversation with local/regional fashion designers, a panel discussion about labor and sex work, and a walking tour of Baltimore’s historic garment district—among others. (See below for comprehensive listing.)

The cast of Intimate Apparel reunites several cast members from Ruined, including Resident Company Member Dawn Ursula* (Esther), Jade Wheeler* (Mayme) and Bueka Uwemedimo* (George). Rounding out the cast is Jenn Walker* (Mrs. Dickson), Resident Company Member Beth Hylton* (Mrs. Van Buren), and Drew Kopas* (Mr. Marks) and Steve Polites (Understudy-Mr. Marks).

The Intimate Apparel design team includes director Tazewell Thompson, Donald Eastman (Set Design), Stephen Quandt (Lighting Design), David Burdick (Costume Design), Fabian Obispo (Sound Design & Composition), Gary Logan (Dialects) and Denise O’Brien (Wig Design).

Intimate Apparel runs October 18 through November 19, 2017. Tickets ($10-65) are now on sale online (everymantheatre.org), by phone (410.752.2208), or at the Everyman Theatre Box Office (315 W. Fayette Street, Baltimore, MD).

*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States

On View in the Lobby/Mezzanine

Fashion Exhibit: Boudoir Vignettes
Ongoing (October 20 – November 19, 2017)
Independent designers and matriculating students from MICA, Baltimore School for the Arts and Baltimore Design School have crafted this visual response to the story and setting of Intimate Apparel, which combines their local viewpoint with elements of clothing, including lingerie and boudoir attire. Curated by Caprece Jackson-Garrett.

Event Listings

TNT: Theatre Night for Teens
Tuesday, October 17, 2017 at 6:00 PM
Students in grades 9-12 enjoy a dynamic night out at the theatre featuring pre-show dinner sponsored by Noodles & Company, an Intimate Apparel artist meet-and-greet, and a 7:30 PM preview performance followed by post-show discussion and dessert. Tickets: $10 each (space is limited).

Pay-What-You-Can Preview Performance
Tuesday, October 17, 2017 at 7:30 PM
Pay-What-You-Can to see the first preview performance of Intimate Apparel. Tickets: By donation (cash only), available on a first-come, first-serve basis at the Box Office beginning at 5:30pm. Seating is general admission.

Everyman at the Parkway: Middle of Nowhere
Tuesday, October 24, 2017 at 7:00 PM (at the SNF Parkway Theatre)
One-night-only film screening presented in partnership with the Maryland Film Festival: Written and directed by Ava DuVernay, who won the 2012 Sundance Film Festival Best Director Award for her work,Middle of Nowhere chronicles a woman’s separation from her incarcerated husband and the journey to maintain her marriage and her identity amidst crisis and chaos. Resident Company member Dawn Ursula (Intimate Apparel) will introduce the screening and host an informal discussion following the film. Tickets: $8-10 each (available at mdfilmfest.com).

Taste of Everyman: Classified Cravings
Thursday, October 26, 2017 at 6:00 PM
Taste of Everyman is an artful pre-show experience that combines smarts and samples from some of the hottest talent in Baltimore’s dine and drink scene, including expert knowledge and sample-sized pairings designed (cheekily) to complement the show. Hush-hush hankerings? Top-secret tastes? For even the “foodiest” foodies among us, keeping our favorites quiet is par for the course. In the secret-keeping spirit of Intimate Apparel, join one of Baltimore’s most knowledgeable and passionate food and drink insiders, Amy Langrehr (aka Charm City Cook) for an “off the record” dish on some of Baltimore’s most-loved nosh — including some well known and others still a little bit under the radar. Featured restaurants include Dylan’s Oyster Cellar, Ekiben and Lobo, paired with local beers from Brewer’s Art, Monument City Brewing and Union Craft Brewing. Tickets: $60 each (includes event and 7:30pm performance) or $30 each (event only).

Confessions of a Designer
Friday, October 27, 2017 at 6:00 PM (Reception at 5:30 PM)
Join host, bespoke menswear designer Stephen Wise of SWB Atelier (City Paper 2016 Tailor of the Year), and esteemed local/regional designers, for a community conversation exploring the “inner lining” of the independent fashion design world and its artistic, professional and personal impacts. Participating designers include: Earle Bannister, Adira Bunch, John Cash, Brian Collins, Sally DiMarco, Crystal Joines, Dino Hartfield, Sehar Peerzada, Seleh Rahman, Stacey Stube, Richard Swartz, and Brandon Warren. Tickets: Free to attend, reserve in advance at Box Office.

World of the Play: Unraveling the Threads of Labor and Love, Then and Now
Saturday, November 4, 2017 at 4:30 PM
The characters of Intimate Apparel and their professions provide us with the thematic threads of labor and intimacy to spark discussion with an expert panel, including a local labor historian, a contemporary African-American tailor and menswear designer, and a member of SWOP (Sex Workers Outreach Project). Hosted by Marc Steiner (The Center for Emerging Media). Tickets: Free to attend, reserve in advance at Box Office.

Cast Conversations
Thursday, November 9, 2017, Post-show
Chat with participating cast members following the 7:30 PM performance of Intimate Apparel, or follow along (and submit questions) via Twitter courtesy of @BWW_Baltimore. Tickets: N/A (free to attend, with ticket to accompanying performance).

Threading History and Place: Bromo District Walking Tour
Sunday, November 12, 2017, 11:00 AM-12:30 PM
Explore invisible public spaces and storied buildings that reflect the history of Baltimore’s fashion industry, department stores and garment district and learn about past and present efforts that shape the neighborhoods contained within the Bromo Arts and Entertainment District. Tour begins and ends at Everyman Theatre (315 W. Fayette St. entrance), where attendees may stay for the 2pm performance at an exclusive discounted rate. Produced in partnership with New Public Sites, Bromo Arts and Entertainment District, and Market Center Merchants’ Association. Tickets: $15 each (tour only), advance purchase required (space is limited).

Boudoir Couture Showcase
Sunday, November 19, 2017, 5:00-6:30 PM
A live activation of the fashion exhibit (Boudoir Vignettes) on view during Intimate Apparel.
Tickets: Free to attend, reserve in advance at Box Office.

About Everyman Theatre

Everyman Theatre is a professional Equity theatre company celebrating the actor, with a Resident Company of artists from the Baltimore/DC area. Founded in 1990 by Vincent M. Lancisi, the theatre is dedicated to engaging the audience through a shared experience between actor and audience seeking connection and emotional truth in performance. Everyman is committed to presenting high quality plays that are affordable and accessible to everyone. The theatre strives to engage, inspire and transform artists, audiences and community through theatre of the highest artistic standards and is committed to embodying the promise of its name, Everyman Theatre.

Intimate Apparel is sponsored in part by Vic & Nancy Romita and the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, with media support from The AFRO News, The Baltimore Sun Media Group and WYPR. Everyman Theatre’s Pay-What-You-Can nights are supported by Dr. E. Lee & Bea Robbins. The 2017/18 Season is generously sponsored by LifeBridge Health. Everyman Theatre is supported in part by grants from the Maryland State Arts Council and the Baltimore County Commission on Arts and Sciences.

Everyman Theatre is a proud member of the Bromo Tower Arts and Entertainment District, the Market Center Merchants Association and the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance.

Vincent M. Lancisi is the Founding Artistic Director of Everyman Theatre; Jonathan K. Waller is the Managing Director. For information about Everyman Theatre, visit everymantheatre.org, call 410.752.2208, or connect via Facebook (@everymantheatremd), Twitter (@everymantheatre), YouTube (@everymantheatre) and Instagram (@everymantheatre).

 

#bmoreeveryman

Review: Julius Caesar at Chesapeake Shakespeare Company

By Jason Crawford Samios-Uy

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Running Time: Approx. 2 hours and 45 minutes with two 10-minute intermissions

It seems that today, politics rule the airwaves and television screens. Something is always happening and no matter what, there are people who are unhappy or vehemently disagree with whatever’s going on. Well, it’s good to see some things never change (of course, I’m being sarcastic) and people have been following and fighting over politics since we were first able to form our own thoughts. Of course, people have been writing about politics and current events for as long as we could write, as well, and Chesapeake Shakespeare Company‘s season opener, William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Directed by Michael Tolaydo, with Set Design by Audrey Bodek, Lighting Design by Michael Lonegro, Sound Design by David Crandall and Costume Design by Kristina Martin, gives us a glimpse into The Great Bard’s view of ancient Roman politics and how they handled things. Certainly one of Shakespeare’s classics, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company has managed to pull this piece into the 21st century and presents it in a way that is easy to follow and enthralling making it one of the best productions of this piece that I’ve seen yet.

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Ron Heneghan, Caitlin Carbone, Briana Manente, Michael P. Sullivan, Lesley Malin, Mehul Gulati, Vince Eisenson and Mary Coy. Photo by Robert Neal Marshall.

Audrey Bodek’s Set Design is minimal but absolutely breath-taking. She uses her space wisely and keeps the to traditional Shakespearean design with the balcony and all that, but her choice of gold coloring to cover this set works well and fits nicely with the piece. Her artistic ability is apparent with the random but beautiful cross-section pattern that make up the railings and coverings that are subtle but make up the perfect background.

Costume Design by Kristina Martin is quite appropriate, and, though fashionable, breezy, and fun, you won’t be seeing any togas on this stage. All attire is modern business attire or modern casual and all of the actors seem rather comfortable in their wardrobe. Though using a traditional design for a Shakespeare work is all well and fine and, of course, works, it’s nice to see that Martin uses an updated design that is just as effective, if not more effective in bringing a modern day audience to a better understanding of the piece.

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Octavia (Caitlin Carbone), who is Caesar’s heir, and Mar Antonia (Briana Manente), who is Caesar’s loyal supporter, will avenge the death of Caesar. Photo by Robert Neal Marshall.

Lighting and Sound Design by Michael Lonegro and David Crandall, respectively, work in tandem and create a superb atmosphere throughout the piece. Each scene is lit just about perfectly and each sound is deliberate and spot on. It’s worth noting the storm lighting and sound is some of the best I’ve seen in any production. Both Light and Sound Design blend so well into the production, one doesn’t notice them directly, which is exactly what an audience is supposed to do, but when you notice it… it’s on point and adds an authenticity to the production.

Michael Tolaydo takes the helm of this production of Julius Caesar and he knows exactly what he wants and executes it beautifully. He has a definite comprehension of the text and the way he tells this story is easy to follow even for those who are not familiar with the work of William Shakespeare. The care he took with the modern day theme while staying true to the text is apparent and his casting is top-notch. While a piece like this can be drawn out, the pacing for this piece is spot on as Tolaydo keeps the action moving smoothly, with purpose.

IMG_7389 Brutus face off with Cassius

Following the assassination, as civil war erupts, Brutus (Ron Heneghan) quarrels with Cassius (Vince Eisenson) as soldiers look on (Molly Moores, Seamus Miller, Lesley Malin). Photo by Robert Neal Marshall.

Moving on to the performance of this production, the entire ensemble works well together and each actor seems understands his or her role and how they fit into the piece. With such a large cast (even with folks doubling or tripling roles), it’s a lot to keep track of, but that’s the beauty of it… you don’t have to! Whether a supporting or leading player, each gives 100% effort and dedication making for a quite an entertaining evening of theatre.

Among the many supporting players, Kathryne Daniels, who takes on various roles, including a couple of Senators and a Poet, is a joy to watch because of her versatility and apparent grasp of each contrasting character she plays. This lady knows her stuff and gives us her all.

As Portia, the dutiful but strong willed and intelligent wife of Marcus Brutus, Caitlin Carbone knocks it out of the park with strong, confident performance as does Imani Turner as Lucius, another supporting, but rather important character as personal servant to Marcus Brutus. Turner gives a dedicated performance and gives this character purpose.

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On the Ides of March, Julius Caesar (Michael P. Sullivan) arrives to meet with senators including Metellus Cimber (Lee Conderacci) and Casca (Mary Coy). Photo by Robert Neal Marshall.

Keith Snipes and Mary Coy tackle the roles of Cinna and Casca, respectively, and both actors are great assets to this production. Snipes, with his booming, clear voice and great stage presence gives a pristine performance while Coy, who has a clear understanding of the text and her character, gives a confident, distinct portrayal of a conflicted, but determined conspirator.

Mar Antonia, one of the leading characters and loyal friend to the unfortunate Julius Caesar, is portrayed by Briana Manete and she gives a stellar performance of this sly, clever character. Manete plays this character as the one you love to hate. The character is full of pure politics and plays all the angles she needs to accomplish her goals and Manete plays the role with a snarky quality that takes her performance to the hilt. She comfortable and confident, making her a definite highlight in this production.

Rounding out this remarkable cast Michael P. Sullivan as Julius Caesar, Vince Eisenson as Caius Cassius, and Ron Heneghan as Marcus Brutus. These three gentlemen carry this piece beautifully and emote all of the emotions of anger, sadness, and even love that the characters require.

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(clockwise) VInce Eisenson as Cassius, Michael P. Sullivasn as Julius Caesar, and Briana Manente as Mar Anotnio. Photo: Robert Neal Marshall.

Sullivan, as Caesar, seems to have a good grasp on this character and carries his pseudo-humbleness nicely and this character’s confidence is well portrayed. He has a strong stage presence and his delivery is near flawless making for an overall worthy performance.

Eisenson, a highlight of this production, takes the role of Caius Cassius and makes it his own. The conflict is clear in his gestures and delivery making for a very believable character. His comprehension of the text is apparent and he articulates the lines clearly and with confidence making the dialogue easy to follow. His brooding quality and good chemistry with his fellow actors, especially Heneghan, adds to this character making for an excellent performance.

Lastly, Ron Heneghan tackles the gut-wrenching role of Marcus Brutus, the best friend, but loyal Roman who must decide between his love for a person or his love for a country. Heneghan captures these emotions and tribulations perfectly in this thoughtful and well-played performance. He’s completely comfortable with the character and his confidence in his choices of subtle gestures, clear, intonated delivery of dialogue, and chemistry with his cast make his portrayal seem effortless and makes him a standout in this production.

Final thought…Julius Caesar is a classical piece presented in a very modern style that is easy to follow, well-paced, and fantastically entertaining. With original text, the performances are rich and spot on and the technical aspects of light and sound just adds to this phenomenal production. The actors are well versed in the text and have a good comprehension of both character and story. Whether your familiar with the work of William Shakespeare or experiencing it for the first time, you will easily follow this timeless story and you will not be disappointed. Run, don’t walk, to get your tickets now!

This is what I thought of Chesapeake Shakespeare Company’s production of Julius Caesar… What did you think? Please feel free to leave a comment!

Julius Caesar will play through October 29 at Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, 7 South Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21202 For tickets, call the box office at 410-244-8570 or purchase them online.

Email us at backstagebaltimore@gmail.com

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Review: An Inspector Calls at Laurel Mill Playhouse

By Jason Crawford Samios-Uy

Running Time: Approx. 2 hours and 45 minutes with two 10-minute intermissions

What kind of person are you? Do you have empathy for others or do you look out for number one? How diverse is your circle of friends, if at all? These are all rhetorical questions and no one has an obligation to answer, but they are certainly questions one might ask him or herself occasionally. Sometimes, we keep the answers to ourselves, even from our own families and when the answers are revealed, they can, sometimes, be earth shattering. In Laurel Mill Playhouse’s latest offering, An Inspector Calls by JP Priestley, Directed by Ilene Chalmers, with Set Design by Ilene Chalmers and Costume Design by Linda Swann, try to answer these questions that are raised by a visiting, mysterious Inspector as they pertain to a particular family who seem to live in their own little bubble in the Gilded Age England. The complex story has one common denominator… a dead girl in the morgue… but did one of these fine folks kill her?

Tom Piccin as Inspector Goole and Kyle Kelley as Eric Birling. Photo: Larry Simmons

If you haven’t attended a performance at Laurel Mill Playhouse, walking in, the intimate space is quite inviting and there’s really not a bad seat in the house. It’s old, but it’s comfortable. The Set Design for this production, by Ilene Chalmers (one of the many hats she wore for this production), is simple but functional. A few pieces of elegant furniture are used to represent a dining room of well-to-do English family and the furnishing choices do this quite well. This piece is a mystery/thriller and I understand that it is a darker piece, but the curious choice for simple black walls started getting to me as the production moved on. Paintings and prints adorned the walls, but there was no color with was a bit distracting, oddly enough. Otherwise, Chalmers’ design is precise and fits the piece very well.

Costume Design by Linda Swann is impeccable. This isn’t s large ensemble (only six characters) but each is costumed brilliantly. Swann’s attention to detail is splendid as the gentlemen are fitted with formal tuxedos that (mostly) fit well and the Inspector appropriately dressed in a plain, but neat suit that fits the part perfectly. The gowns for the ladies are true to the era, formal, and gorgeous, including the maid’s outfit and precious maid cap. Kudos to Swann for a job well done.

Ilene Chalmers, among many other duties, according to the program, takes the helm of this piece and it’s clear she has a complete vision for and comprehension of this twisting story. Her casting is superb and she tells the story without a lot of bells and whistles, which I can immensely appreciate. She sticks to the text in which the piece was written but still presents her vision clearly. Though there is a Dialect Coach listed in the program (Richard Atha-Nicholls), some of the actors are definitely struggling but not so much that it deters from the production as a whole. Overall, Chalmers produces a commendable presentation of this piece.

(l-r) Matt Leyendecker, Kyle Kelley, and JilliAnne McCarty. Photo: Larry Simmons

The entire ensemble works well together and the chemistry is absolutely apparent and all are giving 100% effort in their performances. Tracy Dye, as Enda, the maid to the Birling family has but a handful of lines, and some of them only one word, but her performance is top-notch. Though she is a character of few words, her expressions and gestures tell her story and Dye makes it clear her character is of a different world than those for whom she works. Her non-verbal skills make for a terrific performance.

Taking on the role of Eric Birling, the dependent-but-wants-to-be-independent son of the Birlings, is played by Kyle Kelley. Of the entire ensemble, Kelley is probably the weakest but that’s not to say he doesn’t do an admirable job. The character himself is nervous and anxious but that seems to be the only emotion Kelley emotes throughout the entire production. His darting eyes and shaky voice is appropriate for some of the dialogue but overall, he portrays Eric Birling as nothing more than a bag of nerves when he could bring more out of the character. Again, this isn’t to say Kelley gives an inadequate performance for it does seem to have a great grasp of his character and his tribulations.

Matt Leyendecker takes on the role of Gerald Croft, the fiancé to the Shiela, the Birling daughter, and his character is spot on. He embodies this character wholly, though I see Gerald Croft as a slightly younger man. Leyendecker certainly portrays an air of a man of the upper class during the time setting of the piece and it plays nicely. He gives a strong, confident performance that works well for this character.

The role of Sheila Birling is tackled by JilliAnne McCarty and she plays this role with gusto and is a highlight of this production. She has a good comprehension of her character and the change in views she portrays is superb. She gives us just enough emotion to express her anguish while still upholding her elegance as an upper-class lady. This character is desperately trying to make the others see the err of their ways (while all along admitting her own) and one can see the desperation in her face and gestures. Overall, McCarty gives an outstanding performance.

The matriarch, Sybil Birling, is portrayed by Sam David and she is the epitome of the sophisticated, rich mother of the Gilded Age (or a little after, rather). David takes this role, chews it up, and spits out a phenomenal performance. Her non-verbal work as well as her delivery is exquisite making for one of the standout performances in this piece.

Jeff Dunne takes on the character of Arthur Birling, the patriarch of the Birling family and he does so with 100% commitment. Dunne has a very strong stage presence and makes one take notice. He gets his character and understands the burdens of this man as he tries to work out a way to keep his family safe, even if it’s just from gossip. The air he portrays is absolutely appropriate for the character and he is consistent throughout.

Rounding out the cast is the title character (kind of), Inspector Goole, played efficiently by Tom Piccin. Aside from the lack of the British accent the rest of the cast is using, Piccin gives a strong, authentic performance. The authenticity in his performance is the lack of emotion and level headed-ness he presents as he interrogates each person in his quest for the truth, just as any real-life inspector or officer would have, putting his emotions aside to get to the facts of the matter. Piccin keeps his piercing glare consistent throughout the production and when his emotions are finally at a point where he cannot contain them any longer, it’s jarring, as it should be, and effective for the character. Major kudos to Piccin for a job well done.

Final thought… An Inspector Calls is a mysterious, intense look into ourselves as human beings as one part of a bigger organism. It forces us to ask questions about our own morals and ways of thinking. The production is well presented and the ensemble works quite well together to tell this cautionary tale carefully. With (mostly) authentic performances and a simple but very appropriate set, it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re in the Laurel area!

This is what I thought of Laurel Mill Playhouse’s production of An Inspector Calls… What did you think? Please feel free to leave a comment!

An Inspector Calls will play through October 1 at Laurel Mill Playhouse, 508 Main Street, Laurel, MD . For tickets, call 301-617-9906 or purchase them online.

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Review: I Hate Hamlet at Fells Point Corner Theatre

By Jason Crawford Samios-Uy

Running Time: Approx. 2 hours with one intermission

As a reviewer, I have the opportunity and honor of seeing the same show at different venues and sometimes I hate the show (not to be confused with the performances) and sometimes I love the show (again, not to be confused with the performances) but it’s rare that I hate the show at one venue but love it at another. However, this is exactly what happened with Fells Point Corner Theatre’s latest offering, I Hate Hamlet by Paul Rudnick, Directed by Mark Franceschini, with Set Design by Christopher Flint. Not my favorite piece of theatre, Fells Point Corner Theatre’s production has changed my opinions and it’s a production I suggest you experience if you get the chance.

(l-r) Gabe Fremuth, Abigail Wright, Kimberley Lynne, and Zarah Rautell. Credit: Shealyn Jae

I Hate Hamlet is about a young television actor, Andrew Rally, who rents the great John Barrymore’s old apartment in New York City as he prepares for the title role in Hamlet for Shakespeare in the Park. The only problem is, Andrew hates Hamlet. With the support of his aging agent, his upbeat, excited girlfriend, a shifty director-friend from L.A., and, oddly enough, his real estate agent, he tries to decide if this is the role for him. It’s then that the ghost of the aforementioned great John Barrymore comes for a visit to help Andrew discover he is good enough and even better than what people (and he, himself) gives him credit for. It’s a good story with a good message of self-worth that plays nicely.

Set Design by Christopher Flint is excellent with levels and an attention to detail. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, it’s quite functional working quite well with the blocking of this piece. Since the set is a major aspect of this show, being the former home of the legendary John Barrymore, it’s important to get it right and Flint has done just that with his choice of furniture pieces to his ornamentations and classic style. For a small (not micro, but small) space, Flint has used his space wisely and has created an appropriate setting for this production.

Mark Franceschini is at the helm of this production and he has hit the nail on the head. His casting is outstanding and his comprehension of the text is apparent. Franceschini understands the witty humor involved in the text and guides his already apt cast in delivering it appropriately. The action keeps moving and the characters are authentic making for a delightful piece of theatre.

Though a Costume Designer is not named in the program, it’s worth mentioning the Costume Design as it was realistic and well thought-out adding value to the production.

Moving on to the performance aspect of I Hate Hamlet, this small ensemble of six really knocks it out of the ballpark. They work well together with good chemistry and seem to have a good grasp of their characters.

Steven Shriner as John Barrymore and J Prunell Hargrove as Gary Peter Lefkowitz. Credit: Shealyn Jae

J. Purnell Hargrove takes on the role of Gary Peter Lefkowitz, the sleazy L.A. directory trying to get Andrew back on to television, and does an admirable job with the role. Though, at times, he’s a bit too much and in your face for the intimate space, Purnell seems to understand the kind of man this character is and plays it with gusto. I will say, the touchy-feely-ness he portrays with Gabe Fremuth gets a little too creepy. Whether it’s an actor or director choice, I totally get the whole “sleazy” aspect, and it totally works for the character but… sometimes, less is more.

Zarah Rautell takes on the role of real estate agent-turned-friend, Felicia Dantine. Rautell fits this role like a glove. Her comedic timing is spot on and she seems to embody this rough around the edges type character. The balance of edginess and tenderness she finds and portrays in this character is impressive.

Lillian Troy, the very German and elderly agent to Andrew, is played by Kimberley Lynne and this performance is on point. She has the German accent down pat and her gestures and delivery of her lines are totally authentic. She, too, has terrific comedic timing and knows her character well.

Next up is Abigail Wright as Deidre McDavey, the somewhat naïve, but kind and optimistic actress-girlfriend to Andrew. Wright is an absolute joy to watch in this production. Her upbeat, energized performance adds so much to this production and her delivery is spot on. I’d seen this character performed a very different way in a very different production but Wright has this on in the bag. Her energy alone, as she hops across the stage (and the furniture) gives a certain needed “oomph” to the entire production. I’m looking forward to seeing more from this actress.

Andrew Rally, the television actor on whom this entire story is revolved, is played diligently and aptly by Gabe Fremuth, who embodies this character with a lack of self-confidence. He finds a good balance of fake confidence and vulnerability that makes this character endearing and has you rooting for him. He has a good look for the role and gives a strong, confident performance, comfortable with the text and the character. He has a great chemistry with his cast and does well with this character.

(l-r) Gabe Fremuth, Abigail Wright, and Steven Shriner. Credit: Shealyn Jae

Rounding out the ensemble is the incomparable standout of this production, Steven Shriner, who tackles the complex but common sense role of John Barrymore, who some consider was the best Hamlet to hit the stage. Shriner pulls this role off beautifully and is totally believable as the ghost of Barrymore. His comedic timing is second to none and he seems to have a complete comprehension of this character and the story of I Hate Hamlet. He is confident and comfortable on stage and delivers his lines clearly with purpose. He mixes this character with humor and poignancy and his balance of both is superb. He is certainly one to watch in this particular production.

Final thought… I Hate Hamlet is a humorous, but serious look at and partly analyzes one of Shakespeare’s most famous and popular plays in an easy, understandable way but, through this Shakespearean tragedy, also teaches us a little about ourselves and what we’re capable of doing in today’s modern world when we think the odds are against us. The story moves along nicely and the performances are strong and confident with a sturdy, impressive set and a fantastic costume design that makes for an exquisitely delightful evening of theatre.

This is what I thought of Fells Point Corner Theatre’s production of I Hate Hamlet… What did you think? Please feel free to leave a comment!

I Hate Hamlet will play through October 1 at Fells Point Corner Theatre, 251 S Ann Street, Baltimore, MD. For tickets, call 410-669-0220 or purchase them online

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PRESS RELEASE: The Woman in Black adapted by Stephen Mallatratt from the book by Susan Hill Directed by Patrick Gorirossi

For immediate release:

Fells Point Corner Theatre proudly presents on our Godfrey Stage

The Woman in Black

adapted by Stephen Mallatratt

from the book by Susan Hill

Directed by Patrick Gorirossi

A London lawyer, looking to lay his demons to rest, hires a young actor to help him tell his story of fright and peril. Adapted from the novel of the same name, The Woman in Black has enjoyed a continuous run on London’s West End since its premiere in 1987, proving itself to be a tale of true terror!

“A real theatrical spine chiller…A truly nerve shredding experience.”
 -The Daily Mail

“Provides a pleasurable ripple of fear down one’s spine and an uncomfortable lurch in the pit of one’s stomach.”
Time out New York

Directed by Patrick Gorirossi and featuring the talents of Sean Coe and Grayson Owen, Woman in Black is a thrilling theatrical experience for regular theatre goers and everyone who loves a good scare.

Admission: $19 for Sundays, $24 for Fridays/Saturdays. 

Opens Friday October 13th, 2017 and runs through Sunday, November 5th, 2017

Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m.  Two Saturday matinees at 2pm on October 21st and October 28th.

There is a special Halloween Performance.

*There will also be a Pay What You Can Thursday performance on September 7th, which will be an open dress rehearsal.*