Daring to be different

Area theaters bring fresh, offbeat fare to season


September 09, 2005|By J. Wynn Rousuck | J. Wynn Rousuck,SUN THEATER CRITIC

From the assassinations of Malcolm X and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to an interactive retro prom, Baltimore theatergoers can look forward to the daring and different in 2005-2006. The ways in which stories are told on stage often will be as daring as the stories themselves.

For example, in Israeli playwright Motti Lerner's The Murder of Isaac, Rabin's 1995 murder is reenacted by patients suffering from post-traumatic stress, as part of their therapy. The play will make its U.S. and English-language premiere at Center Stage Feb. 3-March 12.

Center Stage will also treat its audiences to the mid-Atlantic premiere of August Wilson's Radio Golf (March 24-April 30). A drama about Pittsburgh real estate developers in 1997, Radio Golf is the final installment in the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright's unprecedented, decade-by-decade chronicle of 20th-century African-American life.

Fresh, offbeat fare is standard at the Theatre Project, and this season will feature a number of edgy political pieces, including some foreign imports. In Julius X (Feb. 9-19), performer/playwright Al Letson and Baltimore director Troy Burton will combine original poetry, music and Shakespeare's Julius Caesar to examine conspiracies leading up to the killing of Malcolm X.

New York's Bond Street Theatre, which specializes in shows that cross-cultural boundaries, returns to the Theatre Project Nov. 3-13 with Beyond the Mirror, a multimedia collaboration with Exile Theatre of Afghanistan. The mostly nonverbal production will use puppets, masks, film, music and traditional dances to recount the stories of Afghan people, including some of the actors themselves.

At Everyman Theatre, British playwright Caryl Churchill tackles the impact of human cloning in her two-person play, A Number (March 14-April 16). It also takes only two people to explore the politics of romance in Jason Robert Brown's musical, The Last Five Years, whose Baltimore premiere opens at Everyman Sept. 9 and continues through Oct. 16.

Finally, the newest of the big musicals to grace the stage at the Hippodrome will be the adaptation of Louise May Alcott's Little Women (April 11-23), with Maureen McGovern repeating her 2005 Broadway role of the mother. Those who prefer to dance to a swifter beat will be able to when The Awesome 80s Prom takes up residence in the Hippodrome's M&T Pavilion Sept. 27-Nov. 19. Party on - if you dare!

Information: Center Stage, 410-332-0033; Everyman Theatre, 410-752-2208; Theatre Project, 410-752-8558; Hippodrome: 410-547-SEAT.

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