Harold Greenwald's stage presenceSo just how important is...

SUNDAY SNAPSHOTS

February 13, 1994|By Sandra Crockett

Harold Greenwald's stage presence

So just how important is theater to Harold Greenwald?

"I would almost rather do theater than eat -- almost," says Mr. Greenwald, who turns 83 this week.

For about 35 years, Mr. Greenwald's "real" job was a high school history teacher at Baltimore City College. In his spare time, though, he wrote articles and sold ads for playbills, the informational pamphlets distributed at theaters.

Mr. Greenwald retired in 1971. He retired from teaching, that is. He still contributes to playbills for the Morris A. Mechanic and Lyric theaters, including writing the "Curtain Going Up" column.

"I started doing playbills right after I got out of Hopkins, in the 1930s," he recalls.

Those playbills were for an acting troupe called the "University Players" who performed at the Maryland Theater.

Tickets to see performances back then, he recalls, were 50 cents or a dollar.

Those ticket prices were really a bargain considering some of the actors who performed at the theater.

"Henry Fonda and Margaret Sullavan, who later became his wife, were the lead actors," he says.

Because of his playbill job, Mr. Greenwald got to meet some of the theater's greatest celebrities.

"I got to know Henry Fonda on a first-name basis," he says.

But like some of the actors Mr. Greenwald knew so well, the old Maryland Theater in Baltimore is no longer with us. "It was on Howard and Franklin streets. Now it's a parking lot," Mr. Greenwald says. But fortunately, Baltimore has plenty of theater groups to keep Mr. Greenwald busy.

@ After years of casting talent for clients such as the Maryland State Lottery, American Express and "America's Most Wanted," casting agency owner Martha Royall is casting favorable impressions with her own talents as a caterer.

Eight months old, Taylor Royall Catering grew out of clients' request that Ms. Royall supply the food as well as the talent to film shoots. Now she also provides fare for Adrian's Book Cafe in Fells Point, One World Cafe in Federal Hill and Needful Things in Canton, as well as catering private parties.

Her signature foods run the gamut from stylish sweets such as brandied gingersnap cups filled with mango cream to a vegetable chili, says daughter Betsy Royall, who runs the catering business along with her mother and partner Kathy Fokas. Daughter Patty Royall has taken over as director of Taylor Royall casting.

In addition to catering, Ms. Royall, 54, teaches cooking classes in her own Mount Washington kitchen. She also serves as membership chairwoman of the Baltimore chapter of the American Institute of Food and Wine, a chapter she helped found last fall.

A native of North Carolina, Ms. Royall came to Baltimore about 20 years ago with her husband, Richard Royall, a professor of biostatistics at Johns Hopkins University, and their two daughters.

With her blond hair, blue eyes, willowy 5-foot-8-inch frame and large appetite for work, the entrepreneur draws inevitable comparisons to Martha Stewart, comparisons she politely shrugs off.

"I have a great deal of energy and a lot of enthusiasm, and I think that carries you a long way," she says. "I like to do a lot of different things at one time," Ms. Royall explains. "I think that's what keeps me stimulated."

Linell Smith

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