Category Archives: Theater

Stoop Storytelling @ Centerstage Tonight

After their one-off show at Hopkins a few weeks ago, The Stoop is back in its regular home at Centerstage tonight to present Culture Shock: Stories about confronting the new, strange, and often scary.

Here's a scene from Pleasantville, a movie all about confronting scary new culture shock.

We’ve written about the Stoop enough times now that we’re having trouble coming up with new angles. We thought we might just blog a story of our own about ‘confronting the new, strange, and often scary,’ but all the ones that came immediately to mind were ones we don’t really feel like putting up online. Some way to run a personal blog, yes.

So instead, for further reading go over to B-More Cultured, where Katie recently posted an interview with Stoop producer Jessica Henken.

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Centerstage is at 700 N. Calvert St. in Mount Vernon. Tickets for tonight’s show are sold out.

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Stoop Storytelling @ JHMI Turner Auditorium Tonight

Since its inception five years ago, the Stoop Storytelling Series has become a fixture at Centerstage, and a favorite among consumers of Baltimore culture. Its format of seven diverse storytellers each telling seven minute stories has proven wildly popular, and in its time has covered topics as diverse as race relations, romantic misadventures, surviving a war and surviving high school.

Tonight the Stoop will change things up a bit, presenting on a Friday instead of its usual Monday, and straying temporarily from its home at Centerstage to visit the Turner Auditorium on the campus of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Tonight’s stories are presented in partnership with Hopkins’ office of cultural affairs, and the theme for the evening is Hopkins Medicine: A World Inside a City.

Is your ass ringing? All kinds of interesting things happen in hospitals.

It’s a fitting title, because Hopkins is a world inside a city. Between the hospital, Bayview campus, Homewood campus and grad school it’s at least a small town inside a city. As such, it can tend to be a fairly insular community, and tonight’s program is sure to be a rare look at its inner workings for the rest of us.

There is certainly no shortage of dramatic and compelling stories that come along with such a sizable medical institution, accounting for the continuing popularity of televised medical dramas like ER, Grey’s Anatomy, et al. It makes sense… inside those walls there’s all the pathos of life and death, pain and suffering, struggle, triumph, and what is sometimes described as miracles. We’ve seen the Hollywood versions of all this, but the stories you’ll hear from first-hand narrators tonight are all entirely true.

If you can’t make it tonight you can still listen to all of the stories being presented in the comfort of your own home, office, car, treadmill at the gym or wherever with the Stoop Podcast. All of their previous stories and storytellers (301 and counting) are now available for free on iTunes.

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Turner Auditorium is at 720 Rutland Ave, 21287. Tickets are $15 advance and $20 at the door with a maximum of 2 per customer, as a sell-out is expected. A Hopkins ID will save you $5. on admission.1-800-838-3006 or brownpapertickets.com to purchase.

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2011 Theater Subscription Series’ in Baltimore

Anyone who paid even a little bit of attention to print and online media during the Christmas season has surely by now heard the phrase “give the gift of theater.”

You can’t blame the thespians for trying to claim their share of the huge figgy pudding that is Christmas shopping receipts, especially with so many people now committed to shopping locally. A theater subscription does make a great gift if there’s someone on your list who you know is regularly seeing theater anyway, but it’s something we’re much more likely to buy for ourselves.

It got us to thinking that the new year is an excellent time to take a look around the local stage scene to see what’s playing, which subscriptions and memberships are available, and how much it will cost.

Centerstage
Centerstage offers very flexible memberships. Patrons can build their own custom package of tickets for four or more shows and become a member automatically. You get your choice of specific shows, dates, and seating sections, and with a membership you receive receive 25% off the total face value of your order. Prices run from $10-$60 per seat, meaning memberships start as low as $30. Highlights for 2011 include Second City Does Baltimore (on now), Snow Falling on Cedars, and Crime and Punishment.

Everyman Theater
The Everyman is currently offering subscriptions to the remaining 3 productions of their 2010/2011 season (Shooting Star, Stick Fly, and Pygmalion). They allow you to subscribe to a particular day of the week (Friday Nights, Thursday Previews, Sunday Matinees, etc) with prices ranging from $75 to $115 depending on the day. Subscriptions also come with a number of benefits, such as the waiving of service fees, ability to trade in tickets, and insurance against lost tickets.

Theater Project
For their 2010/2011 season Theater Project has chosen five shows, and lets the subscriber choose from one of eight of their other shows (including the annual High Zero Festival) for a six ticket subscription. Total cost is $80, with discounts for seniors and artists ($70) as well as students ($55). Unfortunately, there are only 2 shows left in the series, but one imagines 2011/2012 subscriptions will be similar in nature.

Single Carrot Theater
There are still three shows remaining in Single Carrot’s season for 2010/11 (The Other Shore, The Long Christmas Ride Home, and Linus and Alora). Pro-rated subscriptions are available for Thursdays-Sundays at a rate of $55 for adults, $40 for artists, seniors and students. If you really want to show the Carrots some love, and enjoy several extra benefits, you can avail yourself of a pro-rated membership for $99.

Mobtown Theater
Up at Clipper Mill, the Mobtown Players have four shows remaining in the current season (She Stoops to Conquer, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Epicoene, Welcome to the Good Life, Baby.) Their website does not offer any subscription information, but adult tickets are available for $15 at brownpapertickets.com.

Audrey Herman Spotlighters
The Spotlighters are running a long season this year, with six productions remaining stretching all the way to August. They’re currently offering a choice of two subscriptions; a ten-ticket ultra flexible family pack for $135, or a pick-5 subscription at $72. Highlights this year are A Streetcar Named Desire, Approaching Zanzibar, and The Great American Trailer Park Musical.

Strand Theater
The Strand’s season subscription offers excellent value, consisting of five shows for $45. Unfortunately the only two shows remaining this year are The Year of Magical Thinking and One Flea Spare. Individual tickets for those productions can be had for $15 apiece.

Fell’s Point Corner Theater
FPCT has scheduled five productions between now and June with highlights including Reasons to be Pretty and their 10×10 short plays series. Their site hints at discounts and benefits for subscribers, but their actual subscriptions page seems to be currently under construction. We’d suggest using the contact form on their site for more information.

Vagabond Players
Currently in the run of their 95th season, Vagabond Players is offering a 3-play mini-subscription choice among their four remaining productions. Patrons can choose three from Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, Death of a Salesman, Six Degrees of Separation, and Abducting Diana for just $30.

We say shop around now and find a subscription that suits you, or just pick up a few sets of single-show tickets if you want to mix and match. Some of these theaters are downright diminutive, and they all continue to enjoy growing popularity and subscriber bases. Make it your new year’s resolution to buy theater tickets now, before they’re sold out, and you won’t end up watching some tripe starring Michael Cera or Emma Stone on date night this spring.

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Stoop Storytelling: War Stories @ Centerstage Tonight

Well, it took a while, but the Chop has finally got our act together enough to buy a pair of advance tickets to something. We’re big on the pop-in, the drop-by, and the go-around-the-way. Whether it’s a band or a book signing or a baseball game, we don’t like to get locked into anything. Something’s happening? Maybe we’ll come by and check it out.

Nice as it is to keep your options open, it kind of sucks to miss your guess and show up to a packed house or a sold out event. The Stoop has fooled us before. We’ve been wanting to check out the Stoop for a long time now. We’ve even blogged about it before. Hell, we’ve actually shown up to Centerstage on time and heard the dreaded “We can put you on the waiting list.” Well, fool us twice, won’t get fooled again. Or something like that.

Stop me if you've heard this one before. The Stoop tells war stories at Centerstage tonight. 7 pm doors.

We’ve learned our lesson. The Stoop is popular. Storytelling is popular. Here in Baltimore, we tell ours on stoops, but out in San Francisco they do it by porchlight. In Portland they gather at the back fence, and down in DC they speak easy. Whatever you call it though, it amounts to the same thing… people relating to each other in the way they have since the beginning of time; no art, no artifice, just telling their stories.

If stories have been around since the beginning of time, then war stories have been around almost as long. There’s no shortage of stories close in to a battlefield. We’re sure that tonight’s topical tales will run the gamut from the heroic and inspiring to the heartrending and bittersweet, on down to the vulgar and absurd.

We only regret that we won’t hear the one story we want to hear most: the one about all the wars being over and done.

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Centerstage is at 700 N. Calvert St. in Mount Vernon. 410-332-0033 for tickets.

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Tragedy: a Tragedy @ Single Carrot Theater Tonight

When the young thespians behind Single Carrot Theater decided to find themselves a home they searched far and wide before settling on Charm City. It goes without saying that we think they’ve chosen wisely, and their arrival here has illustrated something that we often say about Baltimore: it’s probably a crummy place to visit but it’s a wonderful place to live. That’s true not only for people, but for theater productions as well. While many touring productions that come through are artistically questionable and barely profitable (looking at you, Hippodrome), local productions are consistently interesting and unique.

Tragedy opens at Single Carrot tonight. Film at 11.

That’s as true at SCT as anywhere. Baltimore is certainly a city of niches, and the Carrot has found theirs and settled into it quite well. They’ve quickly become a cornerstone of the Station North neighborhood and have been winning awards and new fans at such a consistent rate that it’s almost hard to imagine when there wasn’t a Single Carrot. That’s how naturally they fit into Baltimore’s cultural landscape.

Tonight’s sold-out show marks the official opening of Will Eno’s Tragedy: a Tragedy (with sneak previews having been staged this week). The New York Times famously called Eno a “Samuel Beckett for the Jon Stewart generation.” While the Chop doesn’t pretend to know too much about theater, we do pretend to know about news. Or fake news. Or news that is dumb enough to be fake. We watch plenty of it anyway; like watching Tony Hayward on the Hill as we type this avoiding questions about an actual tragedy, and let us tell you, it is certainly tragically absurd. So we’re excited to see art imitate life on stage tonight… and more than a little scared that life will out-ridicule the ridiculous.

We’d love a chance to get to the theater more often, and to cover it in this space. It seems to us though that it’s generally not the sort of event to which you drag all your old punk-rock buddies, and it would be awkward to go alone. To us the stage is best appreciated with a date. Not just any date will make a great theater date though. She’s got to like theater of course, as well as being all-around wonderful and someone we’d want to see a lot more of. Lucky for us, we found a great theater date for tonight.

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Single Carrot Theater is located at 120 W. North Ave in Station North. 443-884-9253. Tragedy opens tonight and runs until July 11.

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The New York Times Dumps on Baltimore Again, But Local Artists Are Too Busy Making Art to Notice

The Baltimore Chop was none too thrilled on Wednesday when we read on the Midnight Sun that the New York Times is looking down its nose at us again. They seem to see Baltimore as little more than a source for so-so regional cuisine, a great inspiration for campy Broadway musicals, and a crummy baseball team for the sweeping.

This time around they’re making us out to be a bungling, artless money-pit who is stuck in the Schmoke era and wants to copy Manhattan. We really, really wish the Times would mind their own fucking business a little more, and publish these cheap, quickie drive-by stories about Baltimore a little less.

The truth is that there’s already more creativity going on in Baltimore than the Chop can possibly keep up with. We saw an outstanding opening last night, and we’re torn between two events that deserve our full attention tonight.

Cezanne and American Modernism closes at the BMA tonight. 7-10:30 pm.

First up, Run of the Mill Theater is opening Variations on Beauty tonight in the BBOX space in MICA‘s Gateway Building. The Variations series is an ongoing project for which playwrights assemble and collaborate on various themes, with each crafting a play on the central idea. Tonight’s opening show focuses on Beauty and features eight world premieres by local writers, as well as a chance for the audience to decide on the next theme. Variations only runs 8 performances, and closes May 30 so get your tickets now.

We might have to catch a weekday performance though, because we’re probably going to keep it close to home and head over to the closing party for Cezanne and American Modernism at the BMA.

(Despite the BMA’s website, it looks like the New York Times also poo-pooed this exhibition when it opened in New Jersey.)

We’ve been meaning to get over and see this show since it opened, and for once it looks like our procrastination has paid off. The museum is keeping late hours tonight (until 10:30), and $5 for non-members is a bargain to get dressed up fancy, see the paintings, get access to the snack table and a cash bar too. Not to mention DJ’s and soundscape artists performing live.

Innovate Love auctions art at Silo Point tomorrow. 7-11 pm.

While we’re high on our visual arts horse, we’re also going to mention tomorrow’s Innovate Love art auction at Silo Point. Innovate Love is a joint benefit for Innovate Baltimore and the Baltimore Love Project; worthy causes both. We probably won’t make it out to this because tomorrow is a crazy busy night in Baltimore, but we really wish we could. We haven’t been to Silo Point yet, although we almost went to the last auction they had there. This one’s in the penthouse, so it’s likely to be pretty swank. Then again, Super Art Fight is bound to make sure it doesn’t get too stuffy in there.

We’re still looking to fill our walls up with art, but alas, Big Daddy Barack hasn’t made with our tax refund deposit yet, so an art auction is a temptation we can’t afford at the moment. Just as well. We can always spend Six Dollars! for the Sunday New York Times so they can tell us how crummy and provincial it was.

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MICA’s Gateway Building is at 1601 W. Mount Royal Ave in Bolton Hill.

The BMA is at 10 Art Museum Dr. in Charles Village.

Silo Point is at 1200 Steuart St. in Locust point.

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Bmore Local Rally, Stoop Storytelling in Baltimore Tonight

What’s that Baltimore? You hate Mondays and you worked really hard all day and those reports are due and that meeting was a snoozer and the intern is incompetent and all you want to do is flop down on the couch and eat chocolate Cheerios for dinner and pass out?

Well, forget it. The Chop has plans for you today.

Bmore Local rallies to stop Wal-Mart at City Hall today. 4 pm.

Today, as soon as you get out of work, you’re heading straight down to City Hall to attend the Bmore Local coming out party/ meeting and rally at City Hall, as mentioned in the Mobtown Shank blog late last week. Today’s rally is a direct response to councilwoman Belinda Conaway’s plan to introduce the PUD for the 25th Street Station project, including a 24 hour Wal-Mart.

We can’t say we know too much about Bmore Local as yet, but the Chop definitely aims to show up and find out what they’re about. We’re really hoping this is the larger citywide Wal-Mart opposition we’ve been waiting for.

For more on the Wal-Mart proposal, be sure to check out the Shank as well as the Baltidome Blog.

Stoop Storytelling weaves a yarn at Centerstage tonight. 7 pm.

The good news is that after you sit through most of a boring council meeting, you get to head up Calvert Street to Centerstage for this month’s installment of the Stoop Storytelling Series. You can even get your tickets now to save time and avoid a sellout. Tonight’s topic is ‘Behind the Muse”, in which artists and creative types give their take on the creative process.

You might be wondering what it takes to create a daily blog, but the answer to that is simple: a liberal amount of Scotch, a Google calendar, a touch of internet porn, and a whole lot of righteous indignation.

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Bmore Local rallies on the steps of City Hall, 100 N. Holliday St. at 4 pm. City Council meeting begins at 5 pm.

Stoop Storytelling kicks off with a cocktail reception and live music at 7 pm, show begins at 8 pm. Centerstage is at 700 N. Calvert St. 410-332-0033

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