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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 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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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, 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.
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, 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.
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 | 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...
SPORTS
By Arda Ocal | December 10, 2013
The Slammy Awards will always have a special place in WWE history. Not only do they have a nostalgic feel (with the first Slammys awarded in 1986), but they also plant seeds for future rivalries. On this edition, we saw a slight dissension among members of The Shield, while Daniel Bryan and Shawn Michaels shared an extended stare down that had fans buzzing about a possible future matchup between the two. Much of the 2013 Slammy Awards made me more excited about potential matchups that may be coming in 2014 than matches that will happen Sunday at WWE's TLC pay-per-view.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | March 13, 2014
Center Stage will offer a mix of new, nostalgic and musical for the 2014-2015 season. The new includes a double-header next spring of works by celebrated young American playwright Amy Herzog. "After the Revolution" and "4000 Miles" which set off glowing notices when they received Off-Broadway productions in 2010 and 2011, respectively, will be performed in repertory with shared casts. "I just think Baltimore deserves to know who the most exciting playwrights are now in this country," Kwei-Armah said, "and Amy's one of the bright stars in the firmament.
NEWS
By Jacques Kelly and Richard Gorelick, The Baltimore Sun | March 8, 2014
Laurence "Larry" O'Dwyer, who delighted Center Stage audiences with his theatrical irreverence and memorable performances, died of cancer Feb. 28 at his home in Knox City, Texas. The former Mount Vernon resident was 77. A local favorite, he was often greeted with applause when he stepped on a stage. He was the 2009 recipient of a Helen Hayes Award for his role in "The Fantasticks. " He was recalled for his eye-catching costumes and the red tennis shoes he wore in "A Midsummer Night's Dream.
NEWS
By Mary Johnson, For The Baltimore Sun | February 27, 2014
Two weeks ago, we could only preview the coming attraction of the Ballet Theater of Maryland's full-length production of "Swan Lake. " Now, after seeing its debut performance last weekend, it's safe to say artistic director Dianna Cuatto has made good on her goal to redefine innovative choreography and dance artistry at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts. Viewing Cuatto's study of the enchanting mythical characters battling evil and discovering the power of love, it's easy to see why this ballet ranks high on every balletomane's list.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | February 23, 2014
Five months before Kwame Kwei-Armah's initial three-year contract as artistic director of Center Stage was to expire, the board of directors has extended this tenure through June 2018. The company's managing director, Stephen Richard, who started in 2012, has received a similar contract extension. "We hired Kwame with the hope that it would be for a longer-term relationship than three years," said Jay Smith, president of the board of trustees. "And when we hired Stephen, we thought that gave us a great team.
NEWS
By Nayana Davis, The Baltimore Sun | February 6, 2014
J. Ernest Green, musical director of the Annapolis Chorale, has been performing with his group at the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts since 1985. And for those nearly 30 years, Green has thought the facility has needed significant help. "Oh, I noticed it immediately," he said. "As soon as I got there. " Maryland Hall is housed in the former Annapolis High School building on Chase Street, constructed in 1932. The community arts hub took over the space in 1979, and its leadership team is now planning a five-year, $18 million renovation for the building, which has seen few updates in its history.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | January 24, 2014
No one can beat the Irish when it comes to spinning a yarn. And when they weave threads of satire and bittersweetness in between the humor, we're talking a little bit of verbal heaven. "Stones in His Pockets" is a cool example. The witty work from 1996 by Belfast-born playwright Marie Jones receiving an exhilarating production at Center Stage, is, above all, a great yarn. If you only heard the lines spoken - on the radio, say - this story about the collision of a rural Irish town and a big, dumb movie company from the States would easily spring to life.
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.
NEWS
By Leonard Pitts Jr | September 26, 2010
Perhaps now, the rest of us will have our say. If there is an overriding hope for the Oct. 30 "Rally to Restore Sanity" that "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart is holding in Washington, surely that's it: a simple prayer that maybe the rest of us will finally be able to get a word in edgewise. The comedian's rally — a "call to reasonableness" it says on the "Daily Show" website — promises a welcome antidote to the tide of craziness now engulfing this country. My colleague, cartoonist Jim Morin, did this great animation on The Miami Herald's website (www.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | January 17, 2014
"Stones in His Pockets," a play about an American film company invading a community in rural Ireland, has more than a dozen characters, but only two actors. That means a lot of quick switches between genders, ages and, above all, accents. For its production of this work by Irish playwright Marie Jones, Center Stage started with a pair of versatile performers - Clinton Brandhagen, an Everyman Theatre resident member; and New York-based Todd Lawson. Then the company brought in a dialect expert to help those disparate voices ring true.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | December 17, 2013
There has been a change in the spring lineup at Center Stage. Instead of "The Liquid Plain" by Naomi Wallace, the company will present the Baltimore premiere of Christopher Durang's comedy, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," which won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Play. The production will begin previews on April 16; the regular run is April 23 to May 25. "I was so looking forward to 'Liquid,' so this is a regrettable change," said Center Stage artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah, who was to have directed the Wallace play -- he directed its world premiere last summer at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
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