Vol. 10, No. 35

August 29 - September 4, 2002

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On Stage, Ringing In a New Year

Most weeks in this space, we exhort you to take advantage of the natural resources of Chesapeake Country. This week, it’s human resources we’re recommending.

Not all of us were out boating, fishing and swimming all summer. The many people who make community theater a lively art in Chesapeake Country have been hard at work all summer to make sure we’re entertained when we move our leisure-time fun from outdoors to in.

Theaters were traditionally shuttered in summer, which was thought to be too infectious, as well as too stifling, a time for indoor make-believe. That tradition has been changing, and this summer Bay Country’s theater-goers have enjoyed not only theater under the stars at Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre but also the air-conditioned diversions mounted by Chesapeake Music Hall and Talent Machine.

Now, with Labor Day, we ring in a theatrical new year.

Twin Beach Players, named by Bay Weekly readers as last season’s most promising community theater, opened last weekend with Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple, which you’ll find reviewed in this week’s calendar.

The reviewer, you’ll note, is Brent Seabrook, who, assisted by April Falcon Doss and Martha Blume, is attempting to fill Carol Glover’s shoes as Bay Weekly’s theater reviewer. The indefatigable, theater-loving Glover committed us to community theater, never missing a production and finding something wonderful in each one.]

This week, two more community theater groups raise their curtains. Colonial Players opens its 2002–2003 season with, yes, Neil Simon’s God’s Favorite. At the same time, 2nd Star Productions opens with London Suites, proving Chesapeake Country can’t play without Simon.

September begins a three-month run of a couple of the 20th century’s favorite musicals. Chesapeake Music Hall opens Fiddler on the Roof September 7 and plays it through Thanksgiving. In November, 2nd Star revives Meredith Wilson’s Music Man.

Of course what many call the best music in town starts about the same time, as the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra returns to its regular subscription season of concerts. September 27 and 28 promising cellist Daniel Lee joins the orchestra on Haydn’s elegant Concerto in D Major. The orchestra will also perform Wagner’s dramatic Rienzi overture and excerpts from Prokofiev’s masterful ballet, Romeo and Juliet. The concerts should be crowd-pleasers, though Haydn’s a tad sophisticated.

In mid-October, Colonial Players adds a new course on our dramatic menu, with wordsmith Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia, a play that’s likely untasted by many in the company’s audience.

As the season chills, we’ll warm our hearts at more familiar fires. Colonial Players lives up to our traditional expectations with its beloved A Christmas Carol, chosen by Bay Weekly readers once again as their favorite play of the year. Chesapeake Music Hall’s own version of Dickens’ beloved holiday redemption keeps us warm a longer season, from November 30 through the day after Christmas. And Pasadena Theater Company returns with another seasonal favorite, It’s a Wonderful Life.

Around that time, we’ll lose a tradition, as well, as Anne Arundel Community College’s Bob Kauffman retires, closing his 30-year run with Moonlight Troupers with Peter Pan. There’s bittersweet irony in going out on a play about never growing old. Then again, one of the things theater does for us is make time stand still.

For all those gifts and more to come, join us in applause. And as you clap your hands, send your appreciation behind stage as well, to the dozens of thespians who work unseen to enliven Chesapeake autumns by filling our stages with lively stories.

Copyright 2002
Bay Weekly