Last word

Last word

February 05, 2004

NOW OR NEVER

Twelve-year-old Mattie J.T. Stepanek, a New York Times best-selling poet and a frequent Oprah guest, makes a stop in Annapolis at 2 p.m. Sunday at Borders bookstore.

Mattie, who has muscular dystrophy, has written a number of books, including Loving Through Heartsongs, his newest, which expresses his feelings of love for his family, friends, country and faith. He's the Maryland state and national goodwill ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Borders Annapolis is at 1115 Annapolis Mall. For more information, call 410-571-0923.

COMING UP

The Producers made Broadway history when it won a record-breaking 12 Tony Awards in 2001, and on Tuesday night it'll make Baltimore history as the first show in the renovated Hippodrome Theatre at the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center.

Based on Mel Brooks' 1968 movie about a pair of shady producers who try to make a killing by staging a deliberate Broadway flop, the musical has a score by Brooks, a book by Brooks and Thomas Meehan (Annie and Hairspray), and direction and choreography by Susan Stroman.

The touring production at the Hippodrome stars Bob Amaral, whom Brooks describes as a "Jackie Gleason-type guy ... with black hair and a big smile and an away-we-go attitude," and Andy Taylor, whose Broadway credits include Moon Over Buffalo and Titanic. "They're fabulous," says Brooks. "I know that they are going to be a jewel in the crown of the new Hippodrome."

Show times at the Hippodrome, 12 N. Eutaw St., are 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays and 6:30 p.m. Sundays, with matinees at 2 p.m. Saturdays and 1 p.m. Sundays, through March 14. Tickets are $34-$79. Call 410-481-SEAT. (Tickets to Tuesday's opening-night gala are $250 and $550 and benefit the Hippodrome Foundation's theater-education programs; call 410-243-3400.)

-- J. Wynn Rousuck

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