Line up for season's lineups

Spring Arts Guide

March 19, 2009|By From Baltimore Sun staff reports

As spring approaches - it officially begins tomorrow - it's a good time to check on what's in season in the area's arts scene.

The next few weeks bring such classics as an appearance by John Waters at the Maryland Film Festival and a performance of Mahler's Ninth Symphony by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. There's surprising fare, too, like an exhibit at the Contemporary Museum exploring culture, science and the environment (Reverse Ark: In the Wake), and a surreal comedy at Everyman Theatre (The Soul Collector).

Then there will be concerts including American-Idol-reject-turned-Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson at the Lyric Opera House and pop comeback queen Britney Spears at Washington's Verizon Center.

Read a sampling of coming arts events on the next two pages.

But that's not all that's happening this season; there are also a number of interesting family-themed events headed our way.

First up is the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus, which returns to Baltimore on Wednesday.

This year, the circus presents Over the Top. In the show, clown Tom Dougherty (who has Baltimore roots) vies against ringmaster Chuck Wagner for a magical top hat that makes their wildest imaginations real.

Along the way, there are Bengal tigers, skipping Asian elephants, flying dogs and more.

"The circus is a wonderful way for families to enjoy a spectacular show," said spokeswoman Edie Brown. "In tough economic times, the circus has been one of the great bonuses."

The annual elephant march begins at 3 p.m. March 23 at the B&O Railroad Museum, 901 W. Pratt St., and heads east on Pratt Street to the 1st Mariner Arena, 201 W. Baltimore St., the performance site.

Over the Top opens March 25 and runs through April 1. Showtimes and ticket prices vary. Call 410-547-7328 or go to ticketmaster.com. For information about the show, go to ringling.com.

Here are some more family-friendly offerings:

April 24-26 and May 1-3: Take a ride on Thomas the Tank Engine when Day Out With Thomas: The Hero of the Rails Tour stops at the B&O Railroad Museum, 901 W. Pratt St. $18 for ages 2 and older. 410-752-2490 or borail.org.

May 1-2: Shop at plant and other vendor displays, take part in a hat contest and check out lots of family entertainment options at this year's FlowerMart, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. each day around the Washington Monument. flowermart.org.

May 2: The American Visionary Art Museum presents its 11th annual Kinetic Sculpture Race, featuring elaborately decorated human-powered vehicles racing 15 miles around the Inner Harbor and more. kineticbaltimore.com.

May 2-3: The 42nd Towsontown Spring Festival offers food, children's activities, an antique car display and four entertainment stages and celebrates the 350th anniversary of Baltimore County. The festival takes place 10 a.m.-7 p.m. May 2 and 1 p.m.-7 p.m. May 3 in Towson from York Road to Bosley Avenue and from Susquehanna Avenue to Allegheny Avenue.

May 3: Port Discovery's fifth annual MayFair runs 1 p.m.-5 p.m. The Western-themed event includes a cookie-decorating contest, cowboy hat and bandanna-decorating contest, square dancing and a performance by the Kindersinger. Port Discovery is at 35 Market Place. $25 per person; free for those younger than 2. 410-864-2672 or portdiscovery.org.

May 23-Sept. 27: Maryland Science Center hosts the new exhibit Chinasaurs: Dinosaur Dynasty, which features the skeletons of more than 20 dinosaurs as well as six robotic dinosaurs. The center is at 601 Light St. $10-$14.50. 410-685-5225 or marylandsciencecenter.org.

May 25: Learn all about jellyfish and how their health is affected by the bodies of water they live in when the new exhibit Jellies Invasion: Oceans Out of Balance opens at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, 501 E. Pratt St. $21.95; $20.95 for seniors; $12.95 for ages 3-11; free for ages 2 and younger. 410-576-3800 or aqua.org.

May 29-31: Baltimore's Showcase of Nations festival season kicks off with the Polish Festival, featuring polka bands, handmade dolls and afghans at Patterson Park at Linwood and Eastern avenues. Other festivals, including the Ukrainian Festival, African American Heritage Festival, Korean Festival and more continue through fall. bop.org.

BUDGET CHOICE

Baltimore for Less, April 25-26

See the city on a budget during Baltimore for Less weekend, which features a free entertainment festival at the Inner Harbor on April 25 and free family events, including yoga classes, concerts and a petting zoo, at West Shore Park on April 26. baltimore.org/moreforless.

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