'Ruthless!' to open Theatre on the Hill season


June 17, 1996|By Lois Szymanski | Lois Szymanski,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

TINA DENMARK seems like the perfect 8-year-old. She's cute and bubbly and full of ambition -- maybe too much ambition. Being a star has become an obsession for Tina, an obsession that will drive her to do anything to get the lead in her third-grade production -- even murder.

That lead character in the 1992 off-Broadway hit "Ruthless!" will be played by 9-year-old Owings Mills resident Allison Weiner when Theatre on the Hill kicks off its 1996 season at Western Maryland College. According to producer Ira Domser, the production will be the Baltimore-area premier of "Ruthless!"

Between scenes at a recent rehearsal, Allison danced around the set like a normal 9-year-old. Yet she exuded confidence when she delivered her lines.

Listening carefully to suggestions from director Josh Selzer, Allison quickly put them to use, turning her sometimes sweet, sometimes malevolent character into a believable one.

"She doesn't get nervous," Donna Weiner said of her daughter, who first received recognition for her talents when she sang at her kindergarten graduation.

At age 6, Allison played Mollie in a Baltimore-area production of "Annie." She has danced in "The Nutcracker," but this is her first leading role.

"Ruthless!" promises to be fun and funny, a show for the family. Performances will be Friday, Saturday and June 27-29 and July 5-6. All performances will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are $17 for adults, $13 for seniors and $9 for children under age 12.

Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling 857-2448 or 857-2599. They also will be sold at the door.

Mystery game

On Wednesday, a cast of overdressed characters -- 16 men and women dressed in 1890s costumes -- arrived at the Finksburg home of David and Susan Brower. It may have looked odd, but according to Mrs. Brower, "It was a lot of fun." It was a murder mystery game.

Brower is past president of the Carroll County Toastmasters. She and her husband built the sets, including an abandoned shack with wheelbarrows and digging tools, simulating an archaeological dig for the game.

Club members had decided that they would not suspend summer meetings as they usually do. Instead, they would plan fun things to do. The murder mystery game was suggested by Toastmasters President Aimee Higgins. She was the host of the game and the only one who knew who the murderer was.

"Even the murderer didn't know she had done it," Brower said. Before the event, each player was given a booklet about his or her character and the setting. They used the information to know how to dress and who their character was.

"Then, the game was played in four different rounds," Brower said. "We listened to a tape and looked at a map. In the rounds the characters conversed with each other, trying to pick up clues. Soon, accusations started going around.

"Everyone really got into their characters," Brower said. "That is what made it so much fun."

Costumes included the murderer's long black gown. She was played by Mount Airy resident Debbie Dean.

One woman wore a long red velvet skirt and Victorian blouse.

"Some were in safari hats and khaki for the dig," Brower said. "Mount Airy resident Marcus Chapman looked like Abe Lincoln, complete with whiskers and a cape."

The evening included refreshments, suspense and a ton of fun. "We have one of the best groups. It's a great group of people," Brower said.

The Carroll County Toastmasters helps people develop public speaking skills. The group welcomes new members. It meets at the Carroll Community College Annex building on Center Street at 7 p.m. the second and fourth Wednesday of the month. Information: Higgins at 795-1508 or Susan Brower at 549-6277.

Lois Szymanski's Central Carroll neighborhood column appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

Pub Date: 6/17/96

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