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Bobbi Smith

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By Phil Greenfield and Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | February 8, 2001
As I walked into Key Auditorium to see Talent Machine's production of "Singin' In the Rain" in the late summer of 1994, I knew that Bobbi Smith was an exceptionally talented director and choreographer. I had seen her leggy, high-kicking "42nd Street" the year before, complete with Bobbi's vintage-1930s "Shuffle Off to Buffalo" montage in which the entire stage was transformed into a fleet of sleeper car berths. Smith's "Grease" and "Black Patent Leather Shoes" of previous years had been zingy affairs, and each of her Talent Machine Revues had left me shaking my head in wonder at the impact her tutelage was having on young song-and-dance man Matt Garrity, and on 12-year-old dancer Jessica Crouse.
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By Mary Johnson, Special to The Baltimore Sun | August 18, 2011
The Talent Machine Company's summer production of Cole Porter's "Can Can," showcasing its 14- to 18-year-old cast members, ran two weekends, Aug. 5 to 14, at St. John's College Key Auditorium. As in past TMC summer shows, this event could be compared to a major talent competition and graduation ceremony for exceptional teens who have become disciplined, polished professionals. Developing raw talent is a Talent Machine tradition dating back to the company's founding in 1987 by Bobbi Smith.
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NEWS
By Jacques Kelly and Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF | January 31, 2001
Bobbi Smith, a choreographer who taught scores of children to dance, died Monday of pancreatic cancer at her Edgewater home. She was 60. Miss Smith founded the Talent Machine Company, an Annapolis youth troupe. She also taught dance to students at Stageworkz, a Millersville studio she operated with her sister, and at the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts in Annapolis. She was remembered for her exuberance and high professional standards. She often urged students to "Catch the energy."
NEWS
By Mary Johnson, Special to The Baltimore Sun | December 4, 2010
During his five-day Thanksgiving holiday return to Severna Park, David Grindrod might actually have had two homecomings. The performer, 20, was on break from his role as Mark in the national "A Chorus Line" tour when he returned to his Talent Machine roots to rehearse the young cast of dancers for the troupe's holiday show. Interviewed during a brief rehearsal break the day before he returned to Richmond, Va., for a performance, Grindrod — the youngest Mark ever cast by this tour of "A Chorus Line" — said, "I have to do this because this is how I got there.
NEWS
By Jackie Powder and Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF | February 1, 2001
Choreographer, dancer and director Bobbi Smith - a force in the county's performing arts scene for more than 15 years - had a sixth sense when it came to putting on a show, according to former students and colleagues from Smith's Annapolis youth troupe, the Talent Machine Company. They say that Smith, who died Monday of pancreatic cancer, saw talent where others didn't, envisioned the perfect combinations of dance steps and knew how to shape a group of kids into a disciplined musical theatre ensemble.
NEWS
By Phil Greenfield and Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | July 2, 1998
There's a new cog in the gears of the Talent Machine and, thanks to her, director Bobbi Smith's production of "Peter Pan" is running very smoothly indeed.She is Ally Lichtenfeld, a 14-year-old who studies at the Park School outside Baltimore and at Peabody's Preparatory Division. She plays Peter and is wonderful.Ally is the picture of poise on stage. She flies through the air gracefully in her unobtrusive "Inventorprises" harness, re-creating James M. Barrie's timeless fantasy anew with each aerodynamic twist.
NEWS
By Phil Greenfield and Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | June 7, 1996
It's summer, so crank up the machine. The Talent Machine, that is.Bobbi Smith's award-winning Talent Machine Company, which has provided us with some of the finest entertainment we've seen in seasons past, opens this season on June 16 with two reprise performances of last summer's production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" by Andrew Lloyd Webber.Talent Machine's Justin Brill will star again as the biblical hero who sported that famous coat of many colors, while Karen Zucco, formerly of Arundel High School and now a sophomore at Hartt College of Music in Hartford, Conn.
NEWS
By Mary Johnson and Mary Johnson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | June 21, 2001
A cast of 45 Talent Machine Company members is in final rehearsals for the June 28 opening of a variety show - the company's first without founder and director Bobbi Smith, who died five months ago. TMC returns to its origins by presenting "The Talent Machine," a show written by Michael Gillis and Steve Evans with Bobbi Smith, who developed it as a vehicle for her young performers in 1987. By my count, the latest production makes an even dozen of this show that debuted in 1987 at Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre.
NEWS
By Judith Green and Judith Green,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | December 11, 1997
On a recent Saturday morning at Buddy's Late Night in Parole, five little elves went through their paces, singing and dancing for an audience of families stuffing themselves on scrambled eggs, french toast fingers, sausage, juice, cereal, fruit and pastries.When the music stopped and the adults carried away their offspring to the mall for Christmas shopping, the elves -- as well as the reindeer, the mouse, the bear, Raggedy Ann and Frosty the Snowman -- turned into the cleanup crew.They bused tables, stacked chairs and gathered colored streamers from the stage floor.
NEWS
By Mary Johnson and Mary Johnson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | July 5, 2001
The Talent Machine youth performance company moved along in fine style at St. John's College's Key Auditorium last weekend. Under the direction of Lea Capps, the daughter of Talent Machine Company's late founder, Bobbi Smith, the 45-member cast brought all the crackling energy and sparkling talent the audience has come to expect. Bobbi Smith changed forever my conceptions of what children's shows are by discovering, developing, rehearsing and showcasing the exceptional talents of many young people.
NEWS
By Mary Johnson, Special to The Baltimore Sun | July 16, 2010
The Talent Machine Company presents two musicals during the summer, one featuring a teen cast and another with a younger cast. The current show features cast members 14 and younger in the fairytale musical favorite "Cinderella," which continues at St. John's College's Key Auditorium through Sunday, July 18. Still purring along in its 23rd season and nearly 10 years after the death of founder Bobbi Smith, the Talent Machine continues to reflect her...
NEWS
By Mary Johnson and Mary Johnson,Special to The Sun | August 7, 2008
A worthy production of Evita requires casting three leads - Eva and Juan Peron, and Che Guevara - with strong acting and vocal talent and mature understanding, a challenge for most companies and a major one for the Talent Machine Company, where the oldest performer is only 18. But there is no doubt that this young cast is up to the challenge - in fact, I soon forgot how young they actually were. Evita debuted in 1976 and marked the last Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice collaboration. Their first was Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in 1968, followed in 1970 by Jesus Christ Superstar - three mega-hits usually described as rock opera.
NEWS
By Mary Johnson and Mary Johnson,Special to The Sun | August 3, 2007
Circuses and kids, dancing and singing: That's what has led to the revival of Barnum, the Circus Musical on community stages. It's opening today at the Talent Machine in Annapolis, where the talent is teenagers. The lead performer, Kory Kinney as P.T. Barnum, is 16. With its circus theme, the 1980 Tony Award-winning musical Barnum seems to be an ideal vehicle for a cast ages 14 to 18, which danced, clowned and tumbled during a recent rehearsal. For this show, cast members were also getting "lessons in fire eating and stilt walking from Talent Machine alumni," said Lea Capps, daughter of TM founder Bobbi Smith.
NEWS
By MARY JOHNSON and MARY JOHNSON,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | July 21, 2006
The Talent Machine is purring along 42nd Street this weekend. The company's younger cast, ranging in age from 4-year-old Emme Sayers (who studies ballet, tap and jazz) to 14-year-old veterans, opened its super-charged show last weekend with performances continuing tonight, tomorrow and Sunday at St. John's College Key Auditorium. Next month will feature older children in Grease, opening Aug. 4 and running through Aug. 13. The Talent Machine was formed about 20 years ago by dynamic director-choreographer and teacher Bobbi Smith to develop young peoples' dancing and singing talents and provide a performance vehicle for them - something she did for hundreds during her lifetime.
NEWS
By Phil Greenfield and Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | July 8, 2004
It's July in Annapolis and the summer theater season is about to rev into high gear, powered in no small measure by the Talent Machine Company - founded by director, choreographer and showbiz dynamo Bobbi Smith, who died in 2001. Talented junior thespians appear in a pair of productions each summer, one populated by the troupe's younger members, the other by the gifted performers who attend area high schools. This year, the younger set takes the stage first at Key Auditorium on the campus of St. John's College for Li'l Abner, the 1950s musical that brought cartoonist Al Capp's daffy and delightful denizens of Dogpatch to Broadway and, later, the silver screen.
NEWS
By Mary Johnson and Mary Johnson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | September 25, 2003
Dance teacher and choreographer Vicki Smith has a mission to get everybody in Anne Arundel County from age 3 to 93 who might want to dance to start now. This petite dynamo has found a slot in her packed schedule where she can concentrate her efforts on recruiting dancers older than age 55. Smith has intensified her teaching efforts since the death in 2001 of her sister Bobbi Smith, Talent Machine Company's founder and a gifted choreographer, whose skills...
NEWS
By Phil Greenfield and Phil Greenfield,Special to The Sun | December 19, 1995
The season's jazziest, fizziest, show-bizziest Christmas show, "Santa's Frosty Follies," is being presented by choreographer Bobbi Smith's Talent Machine Co. this week in Annapolis.As with all Bobbi Smith shows, this Yuletide revue features strong dancing and prodigious stage presence from the young and very young, plus lots and lots of shtick, color and pizazz.Elegant tuxedos, full-length gowns, ornately dressed toy soldiers, cuddly little pandas, human Christmas trees, a major snowfall, and a certain red-nosed reindeer who shall remain nameless were just a few of the things eliciting non-stop oohs and aahs from Sunday afternoon's large Key Auditorium audience.
NEWS
By Mary Johnson and Mary Johnson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | June 27, 2002
Annie Get Your Gun already looks like a winner for the young Talent Machine Company cast moving into its final two weeks of rehearsals. Featuring a cast of 50, ages 7 to 14, this classic Irving Berlin retelling of the Annie Oakley story opens July 12 and runs through July 28 at Key Auditorium at St. John's College in Annapolis. The Talent Machine is a youth performance group started by dancer-choreographer Bobbi Smith in 1968 with a variety show of the same title to spread the message that kids can do anything they think they can do. Under the founder's direction, the Talent Machine offered high-energy, fast-paced shows featuring performers no older than 18 who consistently delivered highly professional performances.
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