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Stage: theater, music, dance

April 22, 2004

Five one-acts by `Tenn'

When scholars David Roessel and Nicholas Moschovakis were researching their 2002 book, The Collected Poems of Tennessee Williams, they discovered a cache of 20 unpublished scripts in Williams' archives. Now three of those plays - These Are the Stairs You Got to Watch, Escape and And Tell Sad Stories of the Death of Queens - are receiving their world premieres at Washington's Kennedy Center as part of an evening of one-acts jointly titled Five by Tenn.

Opening tonight, this first production in the four-month-long festival, "Tennessee Williams Explored," also includes another world premiere, The Municipal Abattoir. The fifth, and only previously staged, one-act is I Can't Imagine Tomorrow. The selections range thematically from a precursor of The Glass Menagerie's mother-son relationship (Escape) to Williams' only openly homosexual play (And Tell Sad Stories).

Direction is by Shakespeare Theatre artistic director Michael Kahn; the cast is headed by Kathleen Chalfant, Thomas Jay Ryan and Joan van Ark.

Show times at the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater are 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays (except April 24 and 25), and 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays (except April 25), through May 9. Tickets are $35-$60. Call 800-444-1324.

- J. Wynn Rousuck

Billie Holiday

See Baltimore's own version of American Idol at the 15th annual Mayor's Billie Holiday Vocal Competition Saturday.

Semifinalists at Center Stage's Head Theatre will perform a Lady Day song and one song of their own choosing. Maysa Leak, Gary Ellerbe and Eric Conway are the judges.

The winner will take home $1,500 and the opportunity to perform at Artscape. Second place will receive $1,000, while third place will receive $500.

The competition will also honor Baltimore singing star Ruby Glover, who has judged this event from its beginning.

Free tickets are required and can be picked up the day of the show starting at 10 a.m. The show runs from noon to 4 p.m.

The Head Theater is at 700 N. Calvert St. Call 877-BALTIMORE or visit www.promotionandarts.com.

- Greg Romano

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