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Performing Arts

Women fight their Civil War as ­battlefield reenactors in this comedy with conscience

       How aptly Colonial Players’ season-opener reflects current events the company could not have predicted a year ago, when Doris Baizley’s Shiloh Rules was booked. As the nation continues to struggle with issues left over from the Civil War, this light-hearted 2009 drama is art imitating life in a world where art imitates life: the venue of battlefield reenactors. It’s called Shiloh Rules because in this game, as in battle, there are no rules (that anyone obeys).

Behind this regal persona is a man of many faces

     It’s opening weekend at the Maryland Renaissance Festival, when the magical 16th century English village of Revel Grove awakens for its annual harvest festival — attended as always by the magnanimous Henry VIII, portrayed by Glen Burnie’s own Fred ­Nelson.      Heads turn as the entourage approaches. King Henry VIII, courtiers in tow, has come to the countryside to visit the faire. 

In a dramatic turn, playwright’s dreams come true

A million may or may not be an exaggeration. Strictly speaking, Andrea Fleck Clardy was chosen Colonial Players’ Promising Playwright from a talent pool of 230 applicants in the theater company’s biennial competition.     But when you consider all the twists and turns of chance that led to this singular moment, the odds rise.     Clardy, a writer in life’s eighth decade, took up playwriting only after three or four careers.

Jeanne Kelly’s Encore Chorale proves music can reverse aging

Silence falls. All eyes are focused on Jeanne Kelly. At her signal, the Encore Chorale bursts into song. Senior citizens one and all, the singers are primed, vibrant and ready for adventure.     “Is that your best?” Kelly asks. “Can you give me more excitement?” Of course they can, and they do; Jeanne Kelly brings out the best in every singer.     But is it true what she says? Can performance singing truly slow down the aging process?

Scandalously good in the nearly nude

By doing nudity-in-the-round while preserving the players’ and audience’s modesty, Colonial Players accomplishes the nearly impossible.

Still dazzling after 35 years

Let me describe the spirit of Christmas: It’s the wonder in a child’s eyes when Scrooge talks to them as they wait in line November 19 with their parents for a ticket to Colonial Players’ 35-year Annapolis holiday tradition, A Christmas Carol. It’s another child’s giddy excitement when Ebeneezer pulls them from the audience to dance as he joyfully transforms from cold-hearted humbug to warm, genial benefactor.

Midshipmen take on Shakespeare on youth, war and relations between the sexes

Megan Geigner, the new director of the U.S. Naval Academy’s midshipman theater group The Masqueraders, grabbed the helm with deft touch and a focused vision, staging a delightfully energetic version of Shakespeare’s popular comedy, Much Ado About Nothing. She chose the play because it’s about young people, more specifically young people coming home from war, and about gender relations.

World Artists make themselves at home in Annapolis

Betty Mcginnis dreamed big. She wanted to bring together not just her community but the whole world. That’s how World Artists Experiences was born as an all-volunteer effort to bring international arts to Annapolis.     That’s a nice way of saying that World Artists Experiences depend on human resources rather than money. Especially as you see and hear all performances for free.

Back to the ’80s

To celebrate its 50th season bringing musical theater to Annapolis, Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre has chosen this summer to stage, in reverse order, The Producers, Rent … and The Wedding Singer. The Producers won 12 out of its 15 Tony nominations, setting the nominations record and joining the short list of musicals winning in every nominated category. Rent was nominated for 10 Tonys and won four, plus the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The Wedding Singer … five nominations, no wins and critical yawns.

An impressive troupe of young people takes on one of the most challenging races in theater

Producing a Shakespeare play is similar to running a marathon. It’s grueling, frustrating, thrilling and exhausting — and that’s just training.  Maintaining forward motion through the entire course is an accomplishment for any age.     Twin Beach Players youth production of Much Ado About Nothing has taken on that challenge with great success.