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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | May 14, 2013
Rep Stage, the fine professional company in residence at Howard Community College (the emphasis is on Equity, not college), will explore vintage and contemporary works during its 21st season. And Michael Stebbins, who just wound up his nearly eight-year tenure as artistic director of Rep Stage, will still be a presence, at least for part of the 2013-2014 lineup. He said he decided to leave the administrative post to concentrate more on acting and directing, and he'll do both with his former troupe.
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Tim Smith and The Baltimore Sun | October 8, 2014
Judging by the spicy, sophisticated production of David Ives' “Venus in Fur," it's going to be an interesting year for the Columbia-based professional company Rep Stage, now in its first full season planned by recently appointed co-producing artistic directors Suzanne Beal and Joseph W. Ritsch. "Venus in Fur," a hit on Broadway in 2011, manages a neat little trick of turning tables and shifting centers of gravity as it confronts issues of desire, passion, sexuality and domination.
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By Mike Giuliano | April 22, 2013
Not every play strives to deliver profound insights into the human condition. Marc Camoletti's "Boeing Boeing" only seeks to prove that the human condition is silly. Judging from the laughter at the Rep Stage production, the audience gets the point. This French play neatly fits within that culture's tradition of farce, in which the complications of amorous misbehavior reach ridiculous extremes. Set in an apartment near an airport in Paris, "Boeing Boeing" has a classically farcical premise.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | August 29, 2014
If there's one thing theatergoers like more than a play, it's a play about theater. The colorful world of backstage goings-on has fueled such absorbing dramas as Ronald Harwood's "The Dresser," which was a hit at Everyman Theatre last season, and "The Understudy," a recent Theresa Rebeck comedy that opens the company's season this weekend. At the helm of "The Understudy" is Joseph Ritsch, in his directing debut at Everyman. With credits that include several years as an ensemble member of New York's Jane Comfort and Company, Ritsch arrived in Baltimore from New York in 2008 to work on a graduate degree in theater at Towson University.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | April 5, 2013
Michael Stebbins, who has guided Rep Stage since 2005, has resigned as producing artistic director, effective May 5. "I have decided to go back to being a freelance actor and director," Stebbins, 47, said Friday, "which is something I have wanted to do for some time. " Although Stebbins has directed and acted in Rep Stage productions -- he will be featured in the season-closing revival of "Boeing Boeing" that opens April 17 -- much of his attention has been focused on the administrative and fund-raising duties expected of an artistic director.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | March 13, 2014
Rep Stage, the professional theater company based at Howard Community College in Columbia, has announced its 2014-2015 season, the first planned by its new co-producing artistic directors Suzanne Beal and Joseph W. Ritsch. Themes of transition and transformation are woven through the season, which includes two works new to the region. Ritsch will direct the season-opening production of "Venus in Fur" (Oct. 1 to 19), a 2010 play by David Ives about a writer/director who experiences a kind of role reversal when he auditions an actress for an adaptation of a 19th century erotic novel dealing with sadomasochism.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | May 6, 2014
If life and love were easy, we wouldn't have theater. Few stage works get so quickly, so simply to the hard truths about growing up and getting by as "The Fantasticks," the musical that opened off-Broadway in 1960 and ran for a record-setting 42 years.  Once in a while, it's nice to remember how we all have to go through complication, disappointment and disillusionment in the process of gaining a taste of something like wisdom. That's what this modest little show does so well.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | September 18, 2013
Most works by the ancient Greek playwright Menander did not survive the passage of time, but fragments survive. One of them, translated by Francis G. Allinson in 1921, contains a line making this insightful little point: "Property covereth a multitude of woes. " That sentiment underlies much of Horton Foote's slender drama from the mid-1950s, "A Young Lady of Property," which Rep Stage has given a mostly effective revival to open the 2013-14 season. Fifteen-year-old Wilma Thompson believes that she owns the house where she grew up, the house where her mother died much too young.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | April 23, 2013
The only thing missing from “Boeing-Boeing,” the 1960s farce about a man practicing polygamy-before-marriage with three flight attendants from three different countries, is a disembodied voice announcing “severe turbulence ahead.” Even without that warning, it's obvious from take-off exactly where Marc Camoletti's play is heading. It sure takes its sweet time getting there. To rise above the broadly drawn and belabored parts of the script and generate something memorably comic requires more flair and propulsion than is summoned in Rep Stage's so-so season-closing revival.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | September 13, 2013
When Rep Stage opens its season this weekend with a production of Horton Foote's "A Young Lady of Property," a nostalgic piece by the author of "The Trip to Bountiful," it may seem like business as usual. The cast features some company regulars, such as Christine Demuth. And the play's director is Michael Stebbins, who ran Rep Stage for the past eight years. He'll be back again next month to star as the East German transvestite in Doug Wright's "I Am My Own Wife. " But if that makes the onstage offerings look familiar at the two-decade-old professional theater company based at Howard Community College, there's been quite a change offstage.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | May 6, 2014
If life and love were easy, we wouldn't have theater. Few stage works get so quickly, so simply to the hard truths about growing up and getting by as "The Fantasticks," the musical that opened off-Broadway in 1960 and ran for a record-setting 42 years.  Once in a while, it's nice to remember how we all have to go through complication, disappointment and disillusionment in the process of gaining a taste of something like wisdom. That's what this modest little show does so well.
NEWS
April 25, 2014
In August 2012, the long awaited Symphony Woods Park was close to becoming a reality. However, on Feb. 14, 2013, the Columbia Association Board suspended its rules, ignored questioners, closed off debate, and with stunning speed, voted 8-2 to accept a scheme termed Inner Arbor (IA). Its supporters call it visionary, bold and exciting. Critics call it a costly misuse of a treasured public asset. Among the myths posited for IA are: Myth 1: The Howard County Planning Board rejected the original plan.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | March 13, 2014
Rep Stage, the professional theater company based at Howard Community College in Columbia, has announced its 2014-2015 season, the first planned by its new co-producing artistic directors Suzanne Beal and Joseph W. Ritsch. Themes of transition and transformation are woven through the season, which includes two works new to the region. Ritsch will direct the season-opening production of "Venus in Fur" (Oct. 1 to 19), a 2010 play by David Ives about a writer/director who experiences a kind of role reversal when he auditions an actress for an adaptation of a 19th century erotic novel dealing with sadomasochism.
NEWS
By Mike Giuliano | September 20, 2013
Horton Foote crafted gentle dramas about ordinary lives. The late playwright's "A Young Lady of Property," which opens the Rep Stage season, is set in a Texas town in 1925. Although it's such an insular place that it seems unlikely the small-town gossip would even travel as far as the next town, Foote taps into dreams and disappointments that have universal application. A prolific writer whose plays included "The Trip to Bountiful" and the Pulitzer Prize-winning "The Young Man From Atlanta," Foote also won Academy Awards for his adapted screenplay for "To Kill a Mockingbird" and original screenplay for "Tender Mercies.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | September 18, 2013
Most works by the ancient Greek playwright Menander did not survive the passage of time, but fragments survive. One of them, translated by Francis G. Allinson in 1921, contains a line making this insightful little point: "Property covereth a multitude of woes. " That sentiment underlies much of Horton Foote's slender drama from the mid-1950s, "A Young Lady of Property," which Rep Stage has given a mostly effective revival to open the 2013-14 season. Fifteen-year-old Wilma Thompson believes that she owns the house where she grew up, the house where her mother died much too young.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | September 13, 2013
When Rep Stage opens its season this weekend with a production of Horton Foote's "A Young Lady of Property," a nostalgic piece by the author of "The Trip to Bountiful," it may seem like business as usual. The cast features some company regulars, such as Christine Demuth. And the play's director is Michael Stebbins, who ran Rep Stage for the past eight years. He'll be back again next month to star as the East German transvestite in Doug Wright's "I Am My Own Wife. " But if that makes the onstage offerings look familiar at the two-decade-old professional theater company based at Howard Community College, there's been quite a change offstage.
ENTERTAINMENT
Tim Smith and The Baltimore Sun | October 8, 2014
Judging by the spicy, sophisticated production of David Ives' “Venus in Fur," it's going to be an interesting year for the Columbia-based professional company Rep Stage, now in its first full season planned by recently appointed co-producing artistic directors Suzanne Beal and Joseph W. Ritsch. "Venus in Fur," a hit on Broadway in 2011, manages a neat little trick of turning tables and shifting centers of gravity as it confronts issues of desire, passion, sexuality and domination.
ENTERTAINMENT
By J. Wynn Rousuck | January 30, 2003
Legendary monologist Ruth Draper's signature piece was a 1926 tour de force called The Italian Lesson. In this comic work, a society matron juggles conversations with servants and children, and deals with a variety of other interruptions, while she attempts to learn Italian. Beginning tomorrow, Rep Stage in Columbia will offer a double bill of Draper's spoken monologue (performed by Valerie Lash) followed by composer Lee Hoiby's opera version (performed by Deborah Kent). The combined production is titled The Italian Lesson and Other Divertissements.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | July 2, 2013
Rep Stage, the two-decade-old Equity theater company based at Howard Community College, has named two Marylanders to succeed Michael Stebbins as artistic director. Suzanne E. Beal and Joseph W. Ritsch will serve as co-producing artistic directors. Beal, who has directed several Rep Stage productions in the past, is current board chair, resident director and associate artist of the Maryland Ensemble Theatre in Frederick. She is also a playwright and educator. Ritsch is co-founder and former associate artistic director of Baltimore's Iron Crow Theatre Company, which focuses on LGBT works.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | May 14, 2013
Rep Stage, the fine professional company in residence at Howard Community College (the emphasis is on Equity, not college), will explore vintage and contemporary works during its 21st season. And Michael Stebbins, who just wound up his nearly eight-year tenure as artistic director of Rep Stage, will still be a presence, at least for part of the 2013-2014 lineup. He said he decided to leave the administrative post to concentrate more on acting and directing, and he'll do both with his former troupe.
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