Editor: I am a local actor who has worked in Baltimore for six years. I have just returned from New York after spending three years there. The problem that most actors, directors and designers in New York face is a lack of space. Nowhere to work. The same is true in Baltimore.
The idea of spending $25 million to build an up-to-date ''Broadway'' theater is extremely depressing to me.
Why should we build a theater to showcase works that are going to be on television or in video stores within a year?
''Broadway'' shows will not save American theater from the pit of mediocrity that it is slowly but surely sliding into. We need a theater(s) that will nurture and support new, original material.
Baltimore still has no professional theater that supports local actors. I have friends who have moved to New York because they could only get hired at Center Stage if they were considered ''New York'' or ''out-of-town'' actors.
Is the Abell Foundation aware of how many top-notch theaters could be set up with $25 million? And by top-notch I don't mean theaters where helicopters could land onstage or felines could be hydraulically lifted into the heavens.
No, what I mean are intimate theaters where process could be considered just as important as product. Where the audience could see the expressions on the actor's faces and not have to pay $50 for that luxury. Where we could get back to the roots of American theater which have always been risk taking and a genuine desire to effect some sort of change in a society that we are not 100 percent satisfied with.
And what about the idea of developing a play in Baltimore and sending it to New York instead of the other way around? That is something that could really put Baltimore on the theater map.
In the long run, supporting the arts locally will put more money into the local economy -- something that Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh are not the least bit interested in.
Fire the Bumblers
Editor: "Bumbling" is the first word that comes to mind when reading the Nov. 6 article, "Oversight Costs Patuxent Teachers Their Jobs." While this is certainly not an isolated occurrence of bureaucratic inefficiency, it does make one pause. Why is it that the people who do their jobs well suddenly find themselves victims of our state's economic crackdown, while bumbling administrators without impressive credentials continue in their positions, drawing their executive salaries?
Maybe another "oversight" could result in the removal of such ineffective individuals from their positions and allow for the reinstatement of those who do their jobs well. Unless, of course,
we hold them accountable for their "mistakes."
Helen R. Mashbaum.
Editor: This is to relate to the public the less-talked-about career of the dynamic R Adams Cowley. I was fortunate to be one of the cardiology fellows at the University of Maryland Hospital during the pioneering days of open heart surgery led by Dr. Cowley. It was my pleasure to be with this remarkable man when open heart surgery was in its infancy, and when he would spend countless days and nights trying to perfect the procedure.
During those days, in the early and mid 1960s, patients who had terminal or pre-terminal valvular and congenital heart diseases would almost certainly die if they did not undergo open heart surgery. Unfortunately, many of these early patients did die while the procedures were being perfected. It was physicians and scientists like Dr. Cowley who refused to acquiesce to the disappointments and sometimes harsh criticism from medical and nursing staff as well as the families involved.
Nevertheless, he was able to motivate a group of young people, such as myself, to believe that advances were made in medicine by perseverance. Thus, he made the University of Maryland Hospital heart surgery program one of the first and best in the country to perform the several very complicated open heart procedures. It was only later that he became involved in his well-known shock trauma program and, of course, the rest is history.
MA I thought I would pay tribute to this remarkable human being.
Elijah Saunders, M.D.
Editor: Joanne Nathans and George B. Laurent obviously missed the point of Michael Olesker's column on Baltimore Neighborhoods' lawsuit against Sterling Homes. Filing a lawsuit to remedy actual discrimination is fine. Unfortunately, Baltimore Neighborhoods never bothered to see if Stering Homes discriminated against anyone. Baltimore Neighborhoods simply filed a $1-million lawsuit against Sterling Homes complaining about nine real estate ads that were published over a two-year period. Prior to the suit, no one in the entire Baltimore metropolitan area ever complained about any of these ads. Indeed, no one ever called Baltimore Neighborhoods to complain about the ads.