Center Stage

Behind the scenes

June 27, 1999|By Karin Remesch

Mission: To engage a theatrical audience in the work of the artist. Values integral to the mission are the centrality of the artistic vision to all institutional decision making; the courage to take artistic risks; a commitment to diversity onstage, in personnel and in the audience; and fiscal integrity. The award-winning resident professional theater, located in Baltimore's historic Mount Vernon Cultural District, was founded in 1963.

Accomplishments: Center Stage completed its 35th season this month. New records for attendance and single-ticket sales were led by August Wilson's "Jitney," which sold more than $300,000 in single tickets -- nearly twice as much as the previous record. Fiscal year 1998-1999 was also the theater's 22nd consecutive season without an operating deficit.

On the horizon: In the 1999-2000 season the theater's budget will top $6 million for the first time. Next year also marks managing director Peter W. Culman's 33rd and final season at Center Stage. In addition to a Mainstage season that includes works by Oscar Wilde, William Shakespeare and Ntozake Shange, the theater will present a new production of Brendan Behan's "The Hostage" and "Griller," a new play by Eric Bogosian. The Off Center Festival, featuring performance artists, also returns in the fall. The theater will complete its $12 million campaign to increase the theater's endowment during the coming year, and renovations of the main lobby and box office are planned for next summer.

About Center Stage: Attendance: 113,000 in the 1999-1998 season, including 13,600 subscribers and more than 4,000 donors. Operating budget: $6.1 million. Endowment: nearly $20 million.

Where and when: 700 N. Calvert St. Season runs September to June. Summer box-office hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday (hours expand in September). Web site: www .centerstage.org. Call 410-332-0033. James T. Bready, board president: "We have just come off one of our most successful seasons. We broke attendance records, and although we always offer challenging productions, this year we had a higher number of productions with a broad interest. I feel good about the quality and reception of the past season. ... I feel good about where we are and where we are going."

Executive Committee Members

Alma Thompson Bell

C. Sylvia Brown

Suzanne F. Cohen

Lynn Deering

Jane W. I. Droppa

T. Edward Hambleton

JoAnn G. Hickey

Hillary Aidus Jacobs

John J. Keenan

E. Robert Kent Jr.

Jonna Gane Lazarus

Marilyn Meyerhoff

Terry H. Morgenthaler

J. William Murray

A. MacDonough Plant

Carol D. Reckling

Nancy K. Roche

Monica Sagner

George M. Sherman

James J. Winn Jr.

Pub Date: 06/27/99

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