Local playhouses team up to show off their shows

October 28, 1994|By Mike Giuliano | Mike Giuliano,Special to The Sun

There's a lot of theater in Baltimore beyond the mainstage offerings at the Mechanic Theatre, Lyric Opera House and Center Stage. Pick a neighborhood and chances are you'll find a community- or college-based theater there.

"Baltimore may not have as many Equity theaters as some other cities, but we do have more community theaters and dinner theaters than most other metropolitan areas," says one veteran of the local scene, F. Scott Black, whose theater involvement includes being managing director of Cockpit in Court Summer Theatre at Essex Community College.

Realizing there is strength in numbers, Mr. Black would like to see Baltimore's independent-minded little theaters occasionally come together for collaborative events.

"The local theater community should work together to exercise a little clout and to share resources," he says. "The actors already go from place to place, but we need to do more at the producers' end."

With that in mind, he has helped put together "The Best of Baltimore Theatre," a program featuring selections by 13 theaters that takes place this Saturday in the theater at Essex Community College. Cockpit in Court Summer Theatre is the sponsor and beneficiary of this event.

Participating theaters are: Theatre Hopkins from North Baltimore, Vagabond Players from Fells Point, Phoenix Festival Theater from Harford Community College, Liberty Showcase Theatre from Randallstown, Heritage Players from Pikesville, Matthew Players from northeast Baltimore, Pasadena Theater Company jTC from Millersville, Cockpit in Court Young People's Theatre from Essex, Barnstormers from Catonsville Community College, Spotlighters from Mount Vernon, Theatre Terese from Belair-Edison in East Baltimore, Encore Theater from Northwest Baltimore, and Fell's Point Corner Theatre.

Each theater will be given an eight- to 10-minute segment in which to do a current or recent production excerpt. These range from a musical number from "Bye Bye Birdie" to a reading from "Love Letters," to a sliver of "Snow White."

Introductory banter for the entertainment snippets will be provided by WBAL-AM's Alan Walden and his wife, Jeannie, with John Bruce Johnson of the Vagabond Players sharing in the host duties. A souvenir program and lobby booths will provide further information about participating theaters, and a post-show reception wraps up the evening.

Mr. Black hopes this will become an annual event "to show what we all have to offer," and anticipates the addition of seminars and workshops.

THEATER SAMPLER

What: The Best of Baltimore Theatre

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Where: Essex Community College

Tickets: $10

Call: (410) 780-6534

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