'Labor of Love' celebrates 10th year Benefit: Funds from 'Jesus Christ Superstar' will help the Howard County AIDS Alliance Emergency fund.


November 23, 1998|By J. Wynn Rousuck | J. Wynn Rousuck,SUN THEATER CRITIC

"A Labor of Love," the annual fund-raiser for the Howard County AIDS Alliance Emergency Fund, will celebrate its 10th anniversary a week from tonight with a benefit concert performance of "Jesus Christ Superstar."

The cast, which includes a number of Broadway and Hollywood actors -- many with local ties -- will be headed by Odenton-based Larry Friedman, who understudied and played the title role in the Ted Neeley international tour of this Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical. Michelle Rios, who plays Mary Magdalen, is a Marylander who made her Broadway debut in Paul Simon's "The Capeman" and is currently appearing in the Broadway revival of "The Sound of Music."

Among other area performers returning home for this performance are Michael Tilford, of the Capitol Steps; Abe Reybold, currently touring in "Anything Goes"; and Tico Wells, who was a regular on "The Cosby Show." The 50-member concert cast will be directed by Toby Orenstein.

The concert is dedicated to the memories of late Columbia residents Dr. Mary-Lou Clement-Mann, long-time director of vaccine research at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, and her husband, Dr. Jonathan Mann, founder of the World Health Organization's AIDS program, who were killed in the September crash of Swissair Flight 111.

Past "Labor of Love" benefits have been held on Labor Day at Howard Community College. In this anniversary year, the fund-raiser is moving to the larger Jim Rouse Theatre for the Performing Arts at Wilde Lake High School, 5460 Trumpeter Road, Columbia. Show time is 7: 30 p.m. The suggested ticket donation is $25; $10 for performers, students and seniors. For information, call 410-740-8080.

Livent upheaval

The drama at theatrical producing company Livent Inc. reached new heights (depths?) last week when the Toronto-based company filed for bankruptcy protection and fired co-founders Garth Drabinsky and Myron Gottlieb, who had been suspended in August for alleged accounting irregularities.

The move was the latest development -- though not entirely unexpected -- in a series of events that began when former Walt Disney Co. president Michael Ovitz and U.S. investment banker Roy Furman took control of the company last April.

Among Livent's current musicals are "Ragtime," "Show Boat" and "Parade," now in previews in New York.

The Livent turmoil is not expected to affect "Parade" or the company's subsequent Broadway show, "Fosse: A Celebration in Song and Dance," now playing in Los Angeles and scheduled to open in New York in January.

However, a touring production of "Ragtime" closed suddenly in Minneapolis on Saturday. (The Broadway and Chicago productions are still running.)

The fate of the touring production of "Show Boat" -- scheduled to play the Mechanic Theatre in January -- was uncertain as of late last week, according to Michael J. Brand, executive director of Jujamcyn Productions, which books and manages the Mechanic.

The musical's Baltimore run was recently shortened by one week, with the dates changed to Jan. 8-24. "We are trying to save the tour. So far, it has been moving forward," Brand said.

Meanwhile, also last week, Livent held a workshop of a new musical. Ironically, it's none other than a stage version of the 1957 movie "Sweet Smell of Success."

'Rugrats' on stage

First came the TV show, then the movie, which opened over the weekend and now there's the stage show.

"Rugrats -- A Live Adventure" is coming to the Lyric Opera House, Jan. 6-10. The musical, which made its debut at New York's Radio City Music Hall last spring, features a mix of actors, puppets and projections, with music by Mark Mothersbaugh, former singer and keyboard player with the rock band Devo.

Show times at the Lyric, 140 W. Mount Royal Ave., are 7 p.m. Jan. 6-9, with matinees at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Jan. 9 and 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Jan. 10. Tickets are $15-$25 and go on sale at 10 a.m. Nov. 29. Call 410-494-2712.

Educational theater

Those attending Goodwill's 43rd annual Thanksgiving dinner at the Convention Center Wednesday will get more than stuffing and gravy with their turkey. They'll also get to meet Nutri-Beast, Scumble and Boring G. Boring. These are three of the characters in "Professor Bodywise's Traveling Menagerie," a show created by Kaiser Permanente's Educational Theatre Program.

The show uses actor-educators, puppets and music to teach health lessons. Nutri-Beast, for example, stresses good nutrition; Scumble delivers an anti-drug message; and Boring G. Boring emphasizes the importance of exercise and motivation. "Professor Bodywise" is one of three educational theater programs produced by Kaiser Permanente.

For more information about the shows, which perform for young audiences at no cost, call 301-816-6402.

Pub Date: 11/23/98

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