Center offers bargain rate for 4 shows

Plays include `Tom Sawyer,' `Glass Menagerie'


January 05, 2007|By Mary Johnson | Mary Johnson,Special to The Sun

The folks at the Chesapeake Arts Center are starting 2007 with what they describe as "the best theater deal in town": four shows for $38 for center members and $42 for everyone else.

The bargain prices, available through Jan. 21, earn a quick return on investment. The first show, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, opens tomorrow and closes Jan. 21.

It will be followed in March by Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie, a sophisticated comedy by comedian Steve Martin in June and an original show in August, to be chosen from submissions to the 26th annual Baltimore Playwrights Festival.

Charlotte Chorpenning wrote the adaptation of Mark Twain's classic novel about growing up along the Mississippi in the 1840s.

Tom, who loves skipping school and playing pranks, wins and loses the heart of Becky Thatcher. Then, after witnessing a killing in the graveyard, he and his friend, Huck Finn, run away to Jackson Island to become pirates. Feared dead, they return home to interrupt their funerals and eventually to face the villain, Injun Joe.

Tom Sawyer is directed by Cybelle Pomeroy, who said children could still imagine enjoying such adventures.

"It's been terrific to work on this family-friendly story with a bunch of friendly families," she said. "I can't say enough about the devotion, talent and support of the cast and their families. Every time I turned around someone was offering to do yet another thing for the show. It's a fabulous team effort."

Josh Feist, the arts center's education and membership coordinator, added: "Anyone who is young at heart will certainly love this show. I have never had the pleasure of working with so many bright young actors."

Feist, who plays a supporting role in the production, noted the show is a family affair. The director's son, Garrett Pomeroy, plays Huck Finn. Daniel Swann plays Tom, and his father is in the cast.

Fatima Umanzor plays Becky Thatcher. Sarah Tighe plays Injun Joe, and Chesapeake Arts Center's favorite actress and teacher, C.J. Crowe, is Aunt Polly. Many cast members are former students in arts center drama classes.

Debuting in December 1944, The Glass Menagerie was Williams' first successful play. Told by Tom in flashbacks to the 1930s, the story centers on his aging Southern belle mother, Amanda Wingfield, who lives with her daughter Laura and Tom in a dingy St. Louis apartment.

Amanda works in a department store, Tom in a shoe factory. He spends his free time drinking and going to the movies. Afraid of the outside world, Laura has dropped out of college and retreated into her world of miniature glass animals.

At his mother's insistence, Tom invites Jim, a co-worker, to dinner to meet Laura, unaware that she had a crush on Jim in high school. After briefly hoping to find a relationship with him, Laura learns that Jim is engaged.

Picasso at the Lapin Agile is a 1993 play written by Steve Martin. The play is set in a bar in Montmartre, Paris, where Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso discuss genius and art. The year is 1904, when Einstein is a year away from publishing his Relativity: The Special and General Theory, and Picasso is three years from painting Les Demoiselles D'Avignon.

Picasso and Einstein debate the value of genius and talent with a variety of other characters, including one from the future who could be Elvis Presley in blue suede shoes. A colorful cast provides insight and laughs in language that earns a PG-13 rating,

The last show of the season will feature a work chosen from those submitted to the Baltimore Playwrights Festival.

From more than 100 submissions, a limited number of plays are selected and performed at Baltimore area theaters, including the Chesapeake Arts Center. Theatergoers can participate in history and support local artists by attending.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer runs at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and 2:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays at the center, 194 Hammonds Lane in Brooklyn Park. Subscription tickets may be ordered in advance or at the box office. Individual tickets cost $12 for arts center members, seniors and children and $15 for nonmembers. Information: 410-636-6597.

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