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By Tim Smith | tim.smith@baltsun.com | January 21, 2010
It's harder than ever to prove that beauty is only skin-deep, since so much skin is routinely nipped, tucked, exfoliated, moisturized and colorized, all at enormous expense, in the eternal quest for looking hot. But the message of self-acceptance espoused so nobly more than a century ago in Edmond Rostand's play about the nasally gifted Cyrano de Bergerac can still resonate today, if given half a chance. Resonate it does in "Cyrano," an adaptation of Rostand's original five acts currently getting a breezy treatment at Center Stage, part of the company's "Short Work" series, and presented in the Head Theater.
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By Jacques Kelly and The Baltimore Sun | September 18, 2014
Vivienne Shub, who played eccentric personalities as she delighted Baltimore theater audiences during a long and lauded run here, died of heart failure Thursday morning at the Edenwald retirement community in Towson. The former Liberty Heights resident was 95. "Vivienne was one of the most talented actresses on the Baltimore scene," said Rhea Feiken, the television personality who performed with her. "You learned a lesson every time you watched her. Her dedication to the theater was enormous.
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FEATURES
By Sloane Brown, Special to The Baltimore Sun | May 16, 2010
Board member Terry Morgenthaler was a standout at the Center Stage gala in a grrr-ly Dolce & Gabbana number. The 55-year-old Ruxton resident loves fashion but knows where she can push the envelope and where she can't. Her style? "Classic with an edge — that's what everybody says. ... I like to be chic, but appropriate for my age," the Friends School badminton coach said. The look : Tan and red two-tone leopard print chiffon Dolce & Gabbana sheath dress. Black satin peep-toe Jimmy Choo pumps with multi-color crystal flowers.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith and The Baltimore Sun | September 12, 2014
In a letter to his father, a 25-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart declared: "I pay no attention whatever to anybody's praise or blame. … I simply follow my own feelings. " This self-confidence is just one of the revered composer's traits explored in Peter Shaffer's play "Amadeus," which Center Stage is reviving for its season-opener. A few other Mozart characteristics, including behavior still not considered kosher in polite society, also pepper this colorful mix of fact and fiction.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Mary Carole McCauley, The Baltimore Sun | April 18, 2010
The actress and singer E. Faye Butler blazes away on stage like a human campfire. Audience members want to draw close, sit shoulder to shoulder in a ring around her and warm their hands. This is true when Butler is playing characters who are likable, such as the legendary blues singer Ella Fitzgerald, or as the African-American actress battling racial stereotypes in Alice Childress' "Trouble in Mind." But it is equally true when she's playing a role less likely to draw the audience's sympathies, such as the dour maid and title character Butler portrayed in Tony Kushner's "Caroline, or Change," or the at-times ruthless diva at the center of the production of "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" now running at Center Stage.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith and The Baltimore Sun | September 12, 2014
In a letter to his father, a 25-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart declared: "I pay no attention whatever to anybody's praise or blame. … I simply follow my own feelings. " This self-confidence is just one of the revered composer's traits explored in Peter Shaffer's play "Amadeus," which Center Stage is reviving for its season-opener. A few other Mozart characteristics, including behavior still not considered kosher in polite society, also pepper this colorful mix of fact and fiction.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith | tim.smith@baltsun.com | December 10, 2009
In 1992, David Sedaris rose - almost elf-like, you might say - into the spotlight by reading from his essay "The Santaland Diaries" on NPR's Morning Edition. With his soft-grained voice and disarmingly understated style of delivery, Sedaris broke a lot of people up recounting his experiences at Macy's in New York, dressed as one of Santa's helpers, guiding kids and their control-freaky parents toward the place where Christmas gift wishes could be expressed and, at least theoretically, granted.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | October 8, 2011
In the age when a 140-character tweet is about as literary as some folks get, and when the most obvious of observations or lamest of jokes can elicit a "LOL" response, there's something doubly refreshing about the opportunity to indulge in the long, luscious feast of language and humor currently on the boards at Center Stage . Richard Brinsley Sheridan's "The Rivals" follows in the daunting footsteps of Shakespeare's most sparkling and plot-thick...
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | March 16, 2013
Center Stage seems to have a thing for public accommodations these days. The company's last play was set in a nondescript motel room. The current one is set in a nondescript hotel room. The deja vu feeling is intensified since both productions have been presented in the intimate Head Theatre, with the stage in the exact same position, and by the fact that the first character to enter goes directly into the bathroom. The similarities are all coincidental, of course, but still intriguing, especially when it comes to the mix of humor and some pretty serious stuff that fills each piece.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | June 25, 2014
One of the cool ventures that Kwame Kwei-Armah initiated as artistic director of Center Stage was a project in 2012 to mark the theater's 50th anniversary: "My America," a digital collection of monologues by a cross section of playwrights and actors. More than 20 of those monologues about the American experience have been incorporated into a 78-minute film directed by Hal Hartley that will premiere, appropriately, on the Fourth of July, streamed worldwide on Fandor . It will also be screened July 9 at the IFC Center in New York.    Among the works included in the film: "Space Mountain" by Dan Dietz; "Miss America" by Alena Smith (performed by Christy McIntosh)
NEWS
By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun | August 22, 2014
Tana Hicken, a Baltimore actress and teacher who deftly portrayed a wide variety of characters on stage during a professional career that spanned more than four decades, died Aug. 17 at her home in Sparks of myositis, an autoimmune disorder. She was 70. "I think she was the finest stage actress I've ever witnessed in my life. She was just riveting," said Vince Lancisi, founder of Everyman Theatre , who first saw Ms. Hicken at Washington's Arena Stage when he was a student at the Catholic University of America.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | August 19, 2014
When Center Stage announced its 2014-2015 season months ago, there was one TBA on the schedule. The company announced Tuesday that the missing piece is the world premiere of "Marley," a musical about the Jamaican reggae sensation Bob Marley, written and directed by company artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah. The new work, with a score comprised of Marley's music, will close the Center Stage season, running May 6 to June 14, 2015. "This will not be a jukebox musical," Kwei-Armah said.
NEWS
By Mary Carole McCauley, The Baltimore Sun | June 27, 2014
One of Center Stage Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah's bright ideas has evolved into a feature film that will be unveiled worldwide next week. The project began in 2012 when Kwei-Armah was looking for a way to celebrate his theater's 50 t h anniversary. He asked such nationally known playwrights as Christopher Durang, Neil LaBute and the Baltimore-born Anna Deavere Smith to answer the question, "What is my America?" and then turned their responses into three-minute films.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | June 25, 2014
One of the cool ventures that Kwame Kwei-Armah initiated as artistic director of Center Stage was a project in 2012 to mark the theater's 50th anniversary: "My America," a digital collection of monologues by a cross section of playwrights and actors. More than 20 of those monologues about the American experience have been incorporated into a 78-minute film directed by Hal Hartley that will premiere, appropriately, on the Fourth of July, streamed worldwide on Fandor . It will also be screened July 9 at the IFC Center in New York.    Among the works included in the film: "Space Mountain" by Dan Dietz; "Miss America" by Alena Smith (performed by Christy McIntosh)
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | June 10, 2014
In "Wild with Happy," Colman Domingo's endearing comedy now at Center Stage, cynicism rubs against old-fashioned faith; satire mingles with fantasy; ultra-campy flamboyance snuggles alongside down-home sentiment and wisdom. The characters run away from, and toward, each other, at an alarming speed, hitting or swerving around issues of life, love and death as they go. It all makes for an unusual, eventful ride. At the center of things is Gil (Forrest McClendon), a gay, 40-ish, well-educated actor living in New York without much luck at substantial gigs or lasting relationships.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | May 31, 2014
Journeys of one kind or another - emotional, physical, spiritual - are at the heart of Colman Domingo's 2012 play "Wild with Happy," receiving its Baltimore premiere at Center Stage . There isn't just a road trip in this work, but a car chase. Domingo always seems to be on an eventful ride, too. The Philadelphia-born playwright and actor had a speech impediment as a child, so he retreated into books and writing. He majored in journalism when he entered college, but taking an elective course in acting led him in a whole new direction.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | March 14, 2014
Something is delirious in the state of Illyria. This fictionalized Balkan setting in Shakespeare's antic comedy "Twelfth Night" has been given quite the makeover in a giddy, irresistible revival at Center Stage. It's not surprising to see a Shakespeare work transposed to a more modern era, in this case the late 1930s. What counts is how dynamically the change has been accomplished. Josh Epstein's scenery, dominated by tall, elegantly styled doors, suggests a movie set of the period.
EXPLORE
By Mike Giuliano | February 14, 2012
There's a lot of talk in Irish playwright Martin McDonagh's "A Skull in Connemara," and some of what its characters say may even be true. Sadness and violence also percolate just beneath the surface of the jocular banter, prompting uneasy laughter from the audience at Center Stage. That volatile mix of emotions is something of a trademark for McDonagh, whose credits include "The Beauty Queen of Leenane," "The Lonesome West" and "The Cripple of Inishmaan. " He knows how to pull you into an amusing story and then jolt you with its less amusing undercurrents.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | April 25, 2014
Nothing like a hefty bout of Chekhovian depression to lift the spirits. You can't help but feel better after spending time with "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," the 2013 Tony Award-winning comedy by Christopher Durang currently receiving a snappy Baltimore premiere at Center Stage. Filled with Chekhov references, this tale of three siblings and a stud might try a little too hard and might apply some of its humor with the subtlety of a hammer and sickle. But Durang's clever concoction - a sort of extended, sometimes heady sitcom - entertains consistently.
NEWS
By Erica L. Green, The Baltimore Sun | April 2, 2014
Last year, Elm Creative Arts School in Milwaukee failed to live up to its name. A gallery for student artwork had become a storage area and meeting space. The performance space, dubbed the "great room" with theater-style seating, was used as an alternative route to cut down on hallway traffic. The only arts class students regularly attended was dance. The school's divergence from its mission reflected a time that Milwaukee Superintendent Gregory Thornton says students across Milwaukee's public schools were being "starved" of an educational staple.
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