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Kwame Kwei Armah

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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.
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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.
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By Mary Carole McCauley, The Baltimore Sun | May 13, 2013
Kwame Kwei-Armah is turning up the floodlights on Center Stage . It's been not quite two years since the British-born playwright became artistic director of Maryland's largest regional theater. With his production of two button-pushing dramas nicknamed "The Raisin Cycle," the beams emanating from 700 N. Calvert St. are strong enough to be spotted in distant places, from the Big Apple to the Badger State. Articles about the cycle, in which both plays run in repertoire and have the same casts, have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
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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)
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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | February 28, 2011
Center Stage announced Monday that British playwright, actor and director Kwame Kwei-Armah will be the company's new artistic director. He succeeds Irene Lewis, who steps down at the end of this season after 19 years. "I've just fallen in love with Center Stage and fallen in love with Baltimore," Kwei-Armah said from London. "When the position became available, I felt it might be somewhat disrespectful to Irene to throw my hat in the ring, but she said it was a wonderful idea.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | February 20, 2013
It looks like a full-fledged trend -- Baltimore theater companies adding performances of productions thanks to popular demand this winter. First to announce was Everyman Theatre, which  extended the run of "August: Osage County. "  Two more companies have likewise found themselves with hits. Katori Hall's "The Mountaintop" isn't for everybody, but this serious/humorous/surreal look at Rev. Martin Luther King's last night, April 3, 1968, has turned out to be "one of the highest grossing plays" in the 50-year history of Center Stage, the company reports.
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By Mary Carole McCauley, The Baltimore Sun | August 24, 2013
For Kwame Kwei-Armah, all the world - or at least, all of Baltimore - really is a stage. Center Stage 's artistic director announced a new program Thursday that would bring cutting-edge and experimental works to unconventional venues around the city. "Third Space(s) productions will allow Center Stage to engage audiences in new, innovative ways that explore what theater can be," Kwei-Armah said in a news release. Three productions will kick off this season. The first, a play by Clare Bayley called "The Container" which will be performed the last weekend of September during the Baltimore Book Festival, is about five refugees who are willing to risk everything to find a new life in England.
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By Dave Rosenthal | September 19, 2012
The Baltmore Book Festival, which runs Sept. 28-30, will stretch further east this year, to reach Center Stage.  Mary Carole McCauley reports in the Baltimore Sun that the shift was driven by Kwame Kwei-Armah, Center Stage 's new artistic director.  "When my family arrived in Baltimore a year ago, one of our first days out was to walk up the hill to the Book Festival. We heard any number of brilliant speakers. When I came back, I asked my staff why Center Stage wasn't part of this wonderful celebration of the word," he said at a news conference.
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By Richard Gorelick and The Baltimore Sun | August 2, 2012
The Creative Alliance has released the line-up of this fall's edition of its Art to Dine For fundraising dinners. The schedule includes some 30 dinners, brunches, cocktail parties and get-togethers, taking guests inside artist studios, private homes, galleries, public parks and even a cemetery. The first event, on Sept. 10, is Backstage Scoop, "an evening, white wine and high energy" with Center Stage artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah, held at the Roland Park home of Creative Alliance trustees Ed Peres and Lindy Lord.
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 | 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.
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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By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | October 25, 2013
These are hard times for PBS. Vast changes in technology and lifestyle, coupled with withering economic forces and timid leadership, threaten the existence of public television as we've known it for the past 43 years. So on the rare occasions these days when the Public Broadcasting Service does something bold and gets it mostly right, it's a cause for celebration by all those who believe that America should have at least one national channel that isn't commercial. “A Raisin in the Sun Revisited: The Raisin Cycle at Center Stage,” a documentary that traces the arc of Lorraine Hansberry's 1959 drama from its setting on Chicago's South Side to Baltimore's Center Stage in 2013, is one of the bolder and better things PBS has done this TV season.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Mary Carole McCauley, The Baltimore Sun | August 24, 2013
For Kwame Kwei-Armah, all the world - or at least, all of Baltimore - really is a stage. Center Stage 's artistic director announced a new program Thursday that would bring cutting-edge and experimental works to unconventional venues around the city. "Third Space(s) productions will allow Center Stage to engage audiences in new, innovative ways that explore what theater can be," Kwei-Armah said in a news release. Three productions will kick off this season. The first, a play by Clare Bayley called "The Container" which will be performed the last weekend of September during the Baltimore Book Festival, is about five refugees who are willing to risk everything to find a new life in England.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Chris Kaltenbach and The Baltimore Sun | June 3, 2013
Having a big-time Hollywood star, not to mention one of the most prominent figures in live theater today, stop by to see your play is a pretty big deal. Bummer when you're not even there to enjoy the visit, though. Kevin Spacey -- that's Kevin Spacey the two-time Oscar winner, artistic director of London's Old Vic and star of Netflix's shot-in-Baltimore series "House of Cards" -- paid a visit to Center Stage Saturday, to watch its current production of "Beneatha's Place. " Also in the audience was Joi Gresham, of the Lorraine Hansberry Properties Trust.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | May 17, 2013
The multifaceted issue of race continues to cling to this country. Every sign of progress in relations seems to come with an opposite move, so that it often seems as if little has ever really, fundamentally changed since the age of Jim Crow, or even Reconstruction. There is much in this black-and-white vortex for playwrights to mine. I'm not sure if anyone will ever demonstrate that more movingly than Lorraine Hansberry did in 1957 with her incisive drama “A Raisin in the Sun,” but it sure is interesting to see what happens when others try. Two writers have taken “Raisin” as a starting point.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | January 11, 2013
Center Stage welcomes the New Year with Katori Hall's "The Mountaintop," a play set in the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis on April 3, 1968. The main characters are Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and a maid who stops by his room. The production, directed by Center Stage artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah, starts previews next week, opens Jan. 16 and runs through Feb. 24. The run coincides with MLK Day on Jan. 21, so the company is adding a performance that night to mark the occasion. Pricing will be different, too -- there's a pay-what-you-can policy for 100 tickets.
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Mary Carole McCauley, The Baltimore Sun | May 13, 2013
Kwame Kwei-Armah is turning up the floodlights on Center Stage . It's been not quite two years since the British-born playwright became artistic director of Maryland's largest regional theater. With his production of two button-pushing dramas nicknamed "The Raisin Cycle," the beams emanating from 700 N. Calvert St. are strong enough to be spotted in distant places, from the Big Apple to the Badger State. Articles about the cycle, in which both plays run in repertoire and have the same casts, have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | March 11, 2013
For his first full season as Center Stage artistic director, Kwame Kwei-Armah focused on works that could spark conversation about a variety of heady issues. Midway through that season, he has unveiled a very different theme for the next one. "If this season is cerebral, with the join-the-conversation message, [2013-2014] is one of spirit and joy and fun, I'm hoping," Kwei-Armah said. "I have been traveling a lot and looking at productions across the country. I have seen audiences react to several of these plays, which gives me the security to present them.
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