Starting off a musical 2002

Saturday: Chesapeake Music Hall presents the `Best of Broadway,' and the Annapolis Chorale does an encore production of the operetta `Die Fledermaus.'

January 03, 2002|By Mary Johnson | Mary Johnson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Two Annapolis groups will kick off a new year of music Saturday.

Chesapeake Music Hall presents as its seventh anniversary celebration Best of Broadway - Gotta Sing, Gotta Dance featuring songs from such hits as Mame, Damn Yankees, Grease, Oklahoma!, A Chorus Line, Little Shop of Horrors and others.

Also that night, the Annapolis Chorale presents its second production of Johann Strauss' Die Fledermaus at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts.

The music hall cast includes actors who have grown from budding talents to stars during the past five years.

Song-and-dance man Joe Rose became a star as Curly in the hall's 1997 production of Oklahoma!, and increased his star status as Joe Hardy in Damn Yankees in 1998, brightening many shows that followed. Mary Armour Kaiser was unforgettable as Lucy in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and has added effervescence to Damn Yankees, Nunsense, Gypsy and Fiddler on the Roof.

Music hall owner Sherry Kay Anderson finally seems able to reap the rewards of six years of hard work. It's been a joy watching her daughter Nicole grow from a talented fifth-grader in 1997's A Christmas Carol to her stand-in star performances as Dorothy in last season's Wizard of Oz.

The music hall's indisputable star, David B. Reynolds, won't be available, so his songs will be delivered by baritone Jason Fulmer. Actress Carol Cohen will again light up the stage for this performance.

Everyone in the cast, including Shannon Benil, Kevin Cleaver, Dean Davis, Jeff Davis, Andrea Elward, Lynn Garretson, Jessica Hyman, Glenn Jeffries, Tere Fulmer, Peter Kaiser, Lesley Rauch, Jerry Vess, Kevin Wheatley, Mia Williams and Amber Wright, contributed high moments to Chesapeake's past hits.

After opening night, Best of Broadway runs through Jan. 26 with shows Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons, with some Wednesday matinees.

As in years past, Chesapeake Music Hall has designated January as customer appreciation month. Tickets for shows that normally sell for $29.50 to $32.50 are reduced to $25.

Information and reservations: 410-626-7515.

With Die Fledermaus on Saturday, chorale music director J. Ernest Green promises a "rollicking romp to usher in the new year."

Pleased with last year's Fledermaus performances, Green said he expects this one to be even better.

"Every year we'll try to do it differently with a new cast bringing out new facets, and this year we have an exciting cast to give this performance new color," he said.

Die Fledermaus is a frothy Viennese farce where the characters assume other identities. The operetta begins as philandering von Eisenstein is about to leave home to serve a short jail sentence while his wife, Rosalinda, remains behind to deal with her would-be lover, Italian tenor Alfred, and her maid, Adele, who has been invited to Count Orlofsky's ball.

Von Eisenstein's friend Falke has also invited him to Orlofsky's ball. Soon Adele's visitor Alfred, mistaken for von Eisenstein, is taken off to prison.

In Act 2, everyone disguised in costume meets at the ball, and the fun begins. Act 3 finds most of the partygoers visiting jail, where von Eisenstein has arrived.

Falke will be played by Ryan de Ryke, recently heard in The Messiah, Adele by Sarah Blaskowski, who also was in The Messiah, Rosalinda by Priscilla Gale of last year's Fledermaus, and von Eisenstein by Michael Calmes. Andre Bierman, last year's Alfredo, will repeat the role.

Thomas King of HMS Pinafore plays Frank, and Elizabeth Saunders will be Orlofsky, with Laurie Hays playing Ida and James Knost playing the triple roles of Blind, Ivan and Frosch.

Preceded by a champagne reception at 6 p.m. with a silent auction, the performance begins at 8 p.m.

Ticket prices are $25 for adults and $12 for students. Tickets can be ordered by calling the Annapolis Chorale box office at 410-263- 1906.

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