Theater in Annapolis may be dominated by troupes of longstanding presence in the community, such as Colonial Players and the Summer Garden Theatre, but even at the top, there's room for more talent.
That's the animating spirit behind the Bay Theatre Company, a fledgling dramatic ensemble seeking to become the Capital City's first nonprofit professional theater company.
The brainchild of artistic and managing director Lucinda Merry-Browne and associate artistic director Janet Luby, Bay Theatre is striving to become a force on the local cultural scene.
"In September, it will be one year that we've been in business," says Janet Luby, "and the energy is still going strong."
That energy certainly was felt in February, when the company brought two of the area's premier actors, Jim Gallagher and Lauren Kirby, together for David Mamet's Oleanna, an affecting study of power, arrogance, victimization and the way tables can turn so suddenly in our litigious, politically correct, hypocrisy-ridden age.
Bay Theatre's mixture of artistic and entrepreneurial spirit will be celebrated again June 20 at the Boat House on the campus of St. John's College, when the company will present "Light Fare and a Short Play," a gathering to benefit its future productions.
In addition to food and live music, Bay Theatre well-wishers will get to see Here We Are, a short Dorothy Parker play about the awkward and endearing moments shared by a newly married couple en route to their honeymoon.
Parker was the wickedly clever epigrammatic columnist for The New Yorker magazine whose witty insights from the 1920s and 1930s still inspire laughter decades after they were written.
Rebecca Ellis, who will star in Here We Are, set Annapolis on its ear with her heartbreaking performance as Holocaust survivor Lusia Weiss Pechenik in Colonial Players' searingly intense production of Barbara Lebow's A Shayna Maidel last season.
She will be joined by Ian Wade, an actor known for his work with the Montgomery Players and Silver Spring Stage.
Music and refreshments will be offered from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The play will begin at 9 p.m., and coffee and dessert will close out the evening. Tickets are $60, or $100 for a pair.
The company also has plans to conduct its first Student Production Workshop this summer for high school-age actors.
From July 14 to Aug. 2, the teen-agers will be coached by visiting actors from Washington and New York in improvisation, audition techniques, casting decisions, speech projection and Shakespearean poetry.
The participants will conclude their workshop by performing Thornton Wilder's perennially popular Our Town under a tent in the sumptuous surroundings of Paca Gardens in the Annapolis Historic District.
"We have 10 wonderful kids signed up already," Janet Luby says, "and we'd love to have more."
For the schedule and tuition costs for the Student Production Workshop, call Bay Theatre at 410-263-6671.
Theater lovers interested in attending the benefit gathering and the performance of Here We Are should call the same number.