Bay Theatre announces new season

August 20, 2010|By Mary Johnson, Special to The Baltimore Sun

Bay Theatre Company is alive and well in Annapolis. Bay's production of "Mauritius" in March was rated third in DC Theatre Scene critic Steven McKnight's list of 16 plays that made their debut this season. Bay, the only theater on the list not in D.C. environs, was praised for "being smart enough to present this 2007 crackling drama here first."

Recently, Bay Theatre announced its coming 2010-2011 season. After the resignation of co-founder and artistic director Lucinda Merry-Browne, co-founder Janet Luby immediately became artistic director, with the intention of keeping the theater operating at its current West Street location.

In a recent interview, Luby said, "We're going to devote our efforts to strengthening and enhancing what we've begun here in establishing a first-rate professional regional theater company. We also want to become more firmly rooted in our community by becoming better neighbors to the Annapolis arts community." She said they would do that initially through their partnership in ACT, Annapolis Consortium of Theaters, which comprises such theaters as the well-established Colonial Players and the relative newcomer, Standing O.

"We had fun at West Street First Sunday this month, where we had a booth and met lots of people who knew about Bay Theatre — and just as many others who'd never heard of us," Luby said. "We even recruited a few volunteers there, and learned we have work to do getting the word out."

Bay's 2010-2011 season is all about comedy.

•Opening Oct. 8, esteemed American playwright Terrence McNally's comedy "Lips Together, Teeth Apart" is a must-see for everyone disappointed at the cancellation of the much-anticipated April 2010 Broadway revival.

This 1991 tale is about two affluent, middle-age couples spending a weekend in a luxury beach house, where they discover flaws exist even in this near-paradise. Chloe babbles in French and sings show tunes to her mildly amused husband, John, who is the brother of new beach house owner Sally, a sensitive painter whose husband, Sam, is a contractor with simpler tastes. All look for love and truth and share their secrets, providing adult laughs along the way.

•Second on tap is Larry Shue's mid-1980s farce, "The Foreigner," scheduled as a family holiday treat running Dec. 10-Jan. 8.

Gentle, self-described "no personality" magazine proofreader Charlie Baker is persuaded by his friend Froggy, who conducts demolition classes at a nearby Army base, to share a weekend vacation at a Georgia fishing lodge. Charlie's shyness prevents him from socializing with guests, so Froggy tells them that Charlie doesn't speak English. Guests discuss their scandalous secrets with this foreigner, who invents his own crazy language in response.

•With the third offering, Feb. 11-March 12, Bay Theatre returns to its roots in Christopher Durang's 1981 comedy, "Beyond Therapy" — the show that launched the company in December 2002.

Durang's comedy about a mismatched couple who involve their therapists in their relationships has become a staple in the two decades since its professional debut. Lawyer Bruce and magazine writer Prudence meet in a restaurant after Prudence responds to Bruce's personal ad, but things do not go well. Everything worsens after the pair retreats to their respective therapists. Prudence's therapist, Stuart Framingham, once seduced her and wants to resume the affair. Bruce's therapist, Charlotte Wallace, is hardly helpful, mired in Freudian slips that make her consultations meaningless.

•The season concludes with Lee Blessing's 1999 one-man show, " Chesapeake," running April 15-May 14.

In this fable, the star actor plays several comic roles, including a Southern right-wing U.S. senator and a liberal performance artist who undergoes several transformations. Subjects discussed include marriage, politics, art and understanding a dog's life. With this show, another talking dog returns to Bay's stage, not to seduce the audience as A.R. Gurney's "Sylvia" did last season, but as a conscience-driven Chesapeake Bay retriever to discuss art and its value.

If you go

Ticket prices remain the same as last season: $30 for adults, $25 for seniors older than 65 and students with a valid ID. Subscriptions are available at $110 for adults and $90 for seniors. Call the box office at 410-268-1333 for information.

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