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Performing Arts

Performers make the magic happen

     They are bedraggled hermits, shouting village sheriffs, enchanting shopkeepers and battle-worn knights. They are crowned, jolly kings and gallivanting princesses and run-down peasant rabblers.      Other times of the year, they are people with everyday lives. During this special season, however, they shapeshift into magical time travelers intent on bringing you with them at the 27-acre Renaissance Festival in Crownsville.

Colonial Players’ stalwart

     Art must be an expression of love. –Marc Chagall  

Lots of heart in this musical ­autobiography of recovery

     William Finn is best known for writing and composing The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Falsettos with his collaborator, writer and director James Lapine. Soon after Falsettos opened in 1992, Finn was rushed to the hospital with what turned out to be arteriovenous malformation: an abnormal formation of blood vessels in the brain. He survived, with A New Brain the result of Lapine’s insistence that Finn keep a record of his own recovery. 

Highschoolers shone as ­highschoolers shining

     School of Rock is a success by all measures.       The 2003 movie starred Jack Black, who won an MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance and was nominated for a Golden Globe Best Actor. In 2015, Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes rewrote the movie for stage with new music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. It was nominated for four Tonys.       Magic happened when Southern High School Drama Company brought the musical spectacular to Harwood.

‘Chi Chi’ Ukeje aims for Poetry Out Loud title

     Indian Creek High School senior Chinyere Ukeje (or Chi Chi, as she prefers) has a title to defend.       Last year, fellow Indian Creek student Cayla Turner represented Maryland at the Poetry Out Loud national finals.      Now it’s Ukeje’s turn. She takes the stage Saturday, January 19, in the Poetry Out Loud regional finals. She will be up against 39 other Maryland high school students competing to win this prestigious national contest.

Promising Playwright’s work addresses the terror about being unemployed and losing one’s place in this world

It’s rare that a new playwright gets to workshop a play with a director, actors and an audience.     Andrea Fleck Clardy of Jamaica Plain, Mass., got that chance last summer when her play, Job Loss Figures, won The Colonial Players’ Promising Playwright contest. Now, Clardy gets to see her play on stage starting July 12.     She says she is “deeply grateful” for Colonial Players’ investment of time, talent, care and money. “It makes an enormous difference in the writing.”
This theater tells its stories in dance, music and fashion
      It’s a Friday afternoon and opening night for Ballet Theatre of Maryland’s Aladdin is just a week away. Artistic Director Dianna Cuatto is working the company, Maryland’s sole professional ballet, on Act II and tweaking little things — the kinds of gestures, head positions and facial expressions — that will make the performance sing.

The acting is tight, the pace is fast, the one-liners fly and people die

      Take some Neil Simon-like one liners, add a dash of the door-slamming slapstick of Noises Off, mix with some World War II political intrigue, a bunch of mistaken identities and hidden passages in a dark mansion, and what do you get? The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940, running through February 24 at the Bowie Playhouse. 

The Colonial Players’ Quartet

        January has its own distinctive doldrums, and above a certain latitude (not everyone retires to the sunny south) and beyond a certain age, these doldrums can feel especially bleak. Talents diminish, good friends move away or pass over, and if those talents and friends were an integral part of your life purpose — especially if they were more of a goad — you can feel quite lost.

Annapolis hears two powerful local African American choruses in one weekend

     The civil rights movement raised its courage and renewed its hope on the music of faith that sustained black America through slavery, Jim Crow and oppression. The national Martin Luther King Jr. holiday makes this a weekend to hear that music loud and clear.       Two local African American choruses sing in Annapolis this weekend, both at St. John’s College.