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By Mary Johnson, Special to The Baltimore Sun | January 15, 2011
Colonial Players' current production of "The Diviners" is a powerful, poetic one. Winner of the 1979 American College Theater Festival, and written by Jim Leonard while in his mid-20s, "The Diviners" raises profound questions about faith, fear and family that remain relevant. Set in the fictional Indiana town of Zion during the Great Depression, the play centers around 14-year-old farm boy Buddy Layman, who has special abilities and handicaps. When the boy appears in the opening scene, he is about to discover underground water with his divining rod, seemingly a miraculous talent to the witnessing neighbors.
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By Mary Johnson and For The Baltimore Sun | September 12, 2014
Colonial Players is not only launching its new season with its current production of "Rocket Man" but has also flipped the switch on impressive new staging technology that gives this show a distinctive touch of flash. The show by Steven Dietz relates the adventures of a protagonist in his mid-40s who transcends oppressive boundaries for a second chance at a better life. But the audience, too, blasts off into a season that celebrates Colonial's improved facilities, including a new lighting grid and instruments producing spectacular new effects.
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NEWS
By Mary Johnson and Special to The Baltimore Sun | January 17, 2010
W ith Colonial Players' latest, "The Lion in Winter," director Mickey Handwerger again proves why he collects awards for CP, Bowie Community Theatre and others in the 20 Maryland theater productions he has directed over the past 15 years. Handwerger somehow makes James Goldman's drama, set around Christmas 1183, current and alive. The play centers around King Henry II of England and his estranged wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, released from prison to celebrate Christmas with him and their three sons in Chinon, France.
NEWS
By Mary Johnson, For The Baltimore Sun | July 10, 2014
After Colonial Players recently closed a season that offered bold, horizon-broadening shows, the company is offering theatergoers even more with its new "This or That" One-Act Play Festival opening July 17 at Colonial Players Theatre on East Street. Colonial Players volunteers have been working on the biennial short play festival since mid-April. Described as "offering something to suit everyone's taste, including comedy, drama with poignant moments, and history," this eight-day series of nine short plays includes works that range from 10 minutes long to about a half-hour.
NEWS
By Mary Johnson, Special to The Baltimore Sun | March 31, 2011
For its annual musical this season, Colonial Players chose the award-winning "Company," which runs through April 16 at its theater at 108 East St. in Annapolis. An inspired choice and Stephen Sondheim's first major success, "Company" first appeared in 1970 to change the Broadway musical from a standard integrated book format to an episodic structure. The production was based on a collection of one-act plays by George Furth. It seems appropriate that this new twist in the Broadway musical was devised by Sondheim, who is the legitimate successor to giants Cole Porter and Leonard Bernstein in his ability to create haunting melodies wedded to brilliant lyrics.
NEWS
By Mary Johnson, Special to The Baltimore Sun | May 21, 2010
For its next-to-last show of the 2009-2010 season, Colonial Players is presenting Doris Baizley's "Mrs. California," which depicts a televised contest of 1950s homemaking skills. Although the play is a better choice than the previously scheduled "Kitchen Witches," it lacks the substance of CP's first five shows of the season. Baizley, who wrote the play in 1986, sets the action in 1955, a decade after millions of veterans had returned to their careers and their wives had left their wartime jobs for full-time home and family care duties.
NEWS
By Mary Johnson, For The Baltimore Sun | June 13, 2013
Colonial Players' 64th season has been a banquet of stimulating plays, and the season closes this month with a delightful dessert in British playwright Alan Ayckbourn's 1979 farce "Taking Steps. " The show is indeed a comic confection, and seems to have been destined for Colonial Players, presented in-the-round on a single level designed to simulate a three-story Victorian home with attic, bedroom level and living room area. Here, the cast of two couples, a solicitor and a real estate agent continually run up and down imaginary stairs while avoiding each other - all in the span of one night.
NEWS
By Mary Johnson, For The Baltimore Sun | June 19, 2014
It's doubtful anyone attending Colonial Players' 65th season closer would react with "been there, done that" to playwright Sarah Ruhl's "Dead Man's Cell Phone. " Having enjoyed a bowl of lobster bisque in a cafe, a young woman answers the ringing cellphone of the man at the next table, who has just died of a heart attack, and she is drawn into the lives of his family and others who call his phone while it is in her possession. In trying to console them, she finds her life changed.
NEWS
By Mary Johnson, Special to The Baltimore Sun | May 14, 2012
In "Going to St. Ives," Colonial Players offers a powerful story about two women becoming acquainted over tea — a discussion that touches on dictatorships in post-colonial Africa while offering insights into the plight of two grieving mothers reminiscent of classic Greek drama. The first act of Lee Blessing's drama is set near Cambridge, England, where two powerful women meet. World-renowned British eye surgeon Dr. Cora Gage has invited May N'Kame, empress of an African country ruled by her ruthless son, for a consultation to consider the benefits of laser treatment for glaucoma.
NEWS
By Mary Johnson, Special to The Baltimore Sun | March 29, 2012
The folks at Colonial Players have found a foolproof recipe for feel-good entertainment at "The Spitfire Grill. " The players' current musical presentation is based on TV writer/director Lee David Zlotoff's 1996 Sundance Film Festival's Audience Award winning film. The musical version won the Richard Rogers Production Award in New Jersey before opening on Broadway in September 2001. It closed after four weeks, a victim of 9/ll. Over the past decade "The Spitfire Grill" has spread its uplifting message of renewal and redemption, reinforced by its intriguing score to a growing number of appreciative audiences.
NEWS
By Mary Johnson, For The Baltimore Sun | June 19, 2014
It's doubtful anyone attending Colonial Players' 65th season closer would react with "been there, done that" to playwright Sarah Ruhl's "Dead Man's Cell Phone. " Having enjoyed a bowl of lobster bisque in a cafe, a young woman answers the ringing cellphone of the man at the next table, who has just died of a heart attack, and she is drawn into the lives of his family and others who call his phone while it is in her possession. In trying to console them, she finds her life changed.
NEWS
By Mary Johnson, For The Baltimore Sun | May 15, 2014
Colonial Players' current production of Melanie Marnich's "These Shining Lives" tells the story of four young women in the early 1920s and 1930s who seize their chance at the American dream by finding employment at the Westclox Radium Dial Company. Marnich's poetic rendering of this true story had its world premiere six years ago at Center Stage in Baltimore, where it became a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and the Weissberger Award. The play's opening lines introduce its full dimensions: "This isn't a fairy tale, though it starts like one. It's not a tragedy, though it ends like one. It's something else.
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By Susan Reimer, The Baltimore Sun | May 2, 2014
When Joe Marsala was a kid in Texas, an excitable neighbor would call him over regularly to see a special new plant she had found. After a career as a computer scientist and a mathematician, primarily for the Department of Defense, the Lothian retiree can correct his neighbor. "All plants are pretty special," the master gardener said. Carol Youmans was working in an Annapolis framing store when someone from a local theater group came in to get a poster framed. What were the requirements to work at the Colonial Players, the former teacher asked idly.
NEWS
By Mary Johnson, For The Baltimore Sun | April 10, 2014
"Bat Boy: The Musical" may not be what one expects - there's not a baseball in sight - but it's still a must-see show in all aspects, captivating Colonial Players audiences since it opened in March. Set to a melodic pop-rock score, this tabloid tale - direct from Weekly World News - is set in a small West Virginia town where a half-human, half-bat mutant is found in a cave by the spelunking Taylor siblings, Ron, Rick and Ruthie. The tale unfolds as Bat Boy learns to behave most civilly toward towns folk - who respond less civilly toward him. The Colonial Players production of "Bat Boy" compares well to another renowned version of the show: the 2001 off-Broadway run at Union Square Theater, which captured several off-Broadway musical awards.
NEWS
By Mary Johnson, For The Baltimore Sun | November 26, 2013
How successful is Colonial Players' current production of "Annie?" Well, after the first weekend, available seats for this heart-warming family-friendly show were all but sold out — including a recently added matinee performance on Sunday, Dec. 8. All was not lost, though. Colonial Players noted that some standby seats were available, and the troupe's website noted that "we are very frequently able to seat several standby ticket holders for each performance. " Sold-out shows are rare in community theater, so why is this show — which opened 36 years ago on Broadway and has been seen numerous times by many of us — a 2013 sellout in Annapolis?
NEWS
By Mary Johnson, For The Baltimore Sun | September 26, 2013
The Colonial Players troupe is opening its 65th season with an invitation for audiences to embark on an adventure of new voices and broad horizons — namely a time travel adventure written by prolific British master of farce, Alan Ayckbourn. "Communicating Doors" is a daring departure from Ayckbourn's comedy, "Taking Steps," which closed Colonial Players' previous season. The show asks us to suspend disbelief — or at least stretch it to accept what may be possible through time travel.
NEWS
By Mary Johnson, For The Baltimore Sun | June 13, 2013
Colonial Players' 64th season has been a banquet of stimulating plays, and the season closes this month with a delightful dessert in British playwright Alan Ayckbourn's 1979 farce "Taking Steps. " The show is indeed a comic confection, and seems to have been destined for Colonial Players, presented in-the-round on a single level designed to simulate a three-story Victorian home with attic, bedroom level and living room area. Here, the cast of two couples, a solicitor and a real estate agent continually run up and down imaginary stairs while avoiding each other - all in the span of one night.
NEWS
April 12, 2013
Triathlon The seventh annual Emily Schindler Memorial Triathlon will be held Saturday, April 20, at the Community Center in Severna Park. The 800-yard swim, 9.5-mile bike ride and 3-mile run will be held at the SPY Aquatics Center, 623 Baltimore/Annapolis Blvd. and the Baltimore/Annapolis Trail. Participants can also sign up for the Flamingo Feat distance, consisting of a 1,600-yard swim, 18-mile bike and 6-mile run. Check-in begins at 6 a.m. and the first wave of swimmers will hit the pool at 7 a.m. Cost is $50 for individuals, $90 for a relay team of two and $135 for a three-person relay team.
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