See the Magic of Willy Wonka and Dr. Seuss at Church Hill Theatre

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Talented local youngsters will entertain audiences of all ages in performances of Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka KIDS and Seussical JR. at Church Hill Theatre from Thursday, July 20 through Sunday, July 23. For almost 20 years, Green Room Gang campers have honed their acting, singing and dancing skills to produce fully staged musical productions.

Mischievous Oompa Loompas put naughty children in sticky situations in CHT’s Green Room Gang Junior production of Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka KIDS.

Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka KIDS is a colorful musical adapted for children from Roald Dahl’s unforgettable book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” as well as the 1971 film “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” starring Gene Wilder.

Looks like somebody found a Golden Ticket! Join Green Room Gang Junior as they journey into Willy Wonka’s magical factory in Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka KIDS.

The cast of CHT’s Green Room Gang Senior production of Seussical JR. welcomes audiences to the wonderful world of Dr. Seuss.

Seussical JR. is a fantastical musical adventure co-conceived by Eric Idle (of “Monty Python” fame) that transports audiences to the wonderful world of Dr. Seuss and includes such memorable characters as the Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant, and the tiny Whos of Whoville.

The colorful characters of Dr. Seuss come to life in the CHT’s Green Room Gang Senior production of Seussical JR.

Becca Van Aken served as director to younger performers in Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka KIDS and Shannon Whitaker directed the middle and high schoolers in Seussical JR. Interns Georgia Rickloff and Iz Clemens ably assisted the directors with instruction and production. Shelagh Grasso and Sylvia Maloney, retired educators and avid CHT volunteers, served as producers for the camp. A small staff provided overall technical support for the productions, including Carmen Grasso and Brian Whitaker who designed and built the set, Tina and Erma Johnson who created the costumes, and Nic Carter who was responsible for the light design.  S.G. Atkinson was the photographer. Several past GRG students volunteered as camp helpers, and many parents and other volunteers helped with costumes, sets, props, and backstage responsibilities, making this annual production a true community effort. 

Horton the Elephant searches frantically for a very special clover in the CHT’s Green Room Gang Senior production of Seussical JR.

Shows will be on the evenings of Thursday, July 20 and Friday, July 21 at 7 pm and there will be matinee performances on Saturday, July 22 and Sunday, July 23 at 2 pm. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students; only cash or check will be accepted for this production. At these shows, audiences will also have the opportunity to participate in Church Hill Theatre’s “Sweets for Stucco” fundraiser to support their historic exterior stucco restoration, which is a $19,000 project.

The theatre is located at 103 Walnut St. in Church Hill, MD, 21623

Reservations for CHT’s Green Room Gang 2017 performances can be made by calling the Church Hill Theatre office at (410) 556-6003.

For more information, visit the theatre website, contact theatre manager Nina Sharp by email at execmanager@churchhilltheatre.org or call the Church Hill Theatre Office 410-556-6003

Lewin’s “Orlando Rising” Debuts at Church Hill Theatre

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BC Productions proudly announces the premiere of Orlando Rising, the latest script by Chestertown playwright Earl Lewin. Set in November 1963 on the heels of the Kennedy assassination, this drama in two acts will have its premiere at Church Hill Theatre Friday, July 28.

Wally (Chris Rogers) and Ruth Kristine Kinlock ruminate over Wally’s grandmother’s visit and the memories created by Orlando Rising. (Photo by Jane Jewell)

The script conveys the contorted journey of Wally, a college professor, and his wife Ruth as they play temporary host to the family matriarch, Nana. This high tension drama unravels when events surrounding the Kennedy assassination open a festering family secret that has lurked in Wally’s subconscious since childhood.

Wally teaches literature with a current focus on the plays of Henrick Ibsen. As he prepares his lectures through study of Ibsen’s dark and disturbing themes, something unspoken begins tugging at his childhood memories and his image of his Uncle Orlando. Can Wally find a way to confront Nana and to obtain the truth about Orlando? Is Orlando really secure in the mental hospital that he walked away from so many times in the past, or is he going to suddenly appear and cause havoc in their lives?

Nana, a product of the Victorian Age, has hidden these events for three generations. Why is Orlando kept in a mental hospital? Why does no one ever discuss it or visit him? Wally remembers visits to the hospital with his mother and Nana when he was very little. He remembers Orlando’s uncontrollable rage about the government and his anger with Nana; his threats to kill her.

Wally harbors a disquieting memory of Orlando rising like a specter in the darkened living room of his childhood home following an escape from the hospital. Wally lives with the suppressed fear that one day Orlando will once again appear to threaten their lives.

The cast includes Chris Rogers as Wally. Rogers is a well-known, local actor and cofounder of the Shore Shakespeare Company. He recently made his directorial debut with the Company’s summer production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. 

Portraying his wife Ruth is Christine Kinlock who was recently seen in Shore Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Church Hill Theatre’s Jake’s Women. Nana, Wally’s grandmother, is played by Kathy Jones who is a familiar talent on stages at Chesapeake College, Church Hill Theatre, and Colonial Players in Annapolis.

Howard Mesick portrays Wally’s father Jack. Mesick is both a playwright and a familiar face on local stages playing lead roles at both the Garfield Center for the Arts and Church Hill Theatre.

Jean Leverage, who plays Alyson, Wally’s mother, has appeared in several musical productions atChurch Hill Theater. Childhood Wally is played by Aaron Sensnsig, and his childhood friend Dick is portrayed by John Crook. Orlando is portrayed by local actor Tom Dorman who has played a wide range of roles at Church Hill Theatre. Eddie Dorman and Jan Eliassen round out the cast playing police officers.

Assisting Lewin with the production is an equally experienced and accomplished crew: Eliasson (Stage Manager and Copper); Eddie Dorman (Stage Crew); Lewin (Set Design/Construction); Patrick Fee (Sound Design); Doug Kaufmann (Lighting Design/Operation); and Barbi Bedell (Costumes).

Most recently, BC Productions collaborated with Church Hill Theatre to present Lewin’s dramatic comedy, Saint Georges Blues in 2016, the dark comedy Accidentally Wealthy in 2015, and the romantic comedy, Visiting Sam in 2014. Orlando Rising marks Lewin’s fourth production to be staged at Church Hill Theatre in as many years.

Lewin, a published playwright, having had two one act plays published by Baker’s Plays, brings his extensive experience to directing his own script. Church Hill Theatre has a collaborative history with Lewin having provided a venue for original scripts including two musicals She Stoops to Conquer, The Musical and Celluloid, both featuring musical scores by Dick Durham. Celluloid played Off Broadway in 2010. His murder-musical The Burgundy Wine Mob also debuted at CHT to go on to an Off-Off Broadway production in 2012. Lewin’s short script entitled Not Responsible was also featured in the Short Play Lab’s MidTown Festival in New York City in 2013.

Please plan to join Lewin and his accomplished cast and crew as they unveil the layers of Wally’s memory to reveal Orlando Rising. Performances of Orlando Rising will be held at Church Hill Theatre from  Friday, July 28 to Sunday, August 6. Friday and Saturday performances begin at 8 p.m., and Sunday matinees begin at 2 p.m.

All tickets are $15 (cash or check only) and may be picked up prior to performance at the box office. Reservations are suggested. Call Church Hill Theatre at 410.556.6003.

Garfield Announces Hedgelawn Summer Performance Series for Kids

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Each year a portion of the Playmakers experience at the Garfield Center for the Arts at the Prince Theatre includes three interactive performances in addition to putting on their own production.  These shows, sponsored by The Hedgelawn Foundation, feature multicultural artists who introduce Playmakers to a variety of theatrical arts. Past performers have included dancers, musicians, storytellers, and puppeteers.

B.I.G. Baltimore Improv Group Wednesday, July 19 at 2:00 pm at the Garfield Center

This year the Playmakers are putting together The Princess Bride and the Hedgelawn series ties loosely into that theme. On Wednesday, July 19th at 2 pm, the Garfield Center will be hosting a presentation by The Baltimore Improv Group. “B.I.G.” is dedicated to advancing the art of improvisational theater through an active program of performance, instruction, and outreach. B.I.G .is celebrating its 11th Season of spreading comedy, communication, and empathy throughout Maryland.

Wednesday, July 26th at 2 pm, the Garfield is hosting a performance by Gabriel Stone, who will be showing the campers a variety of traditional medieval instruments and their uses. Gabe Stone earned his Master of Music Education from the University of South Carolina and his Bachelor of Music and Certificate in Tuba Performance from Shenandoah Conservatory.  He has performed as a low brass specialist throughout the East Coast as a chamber musician on Tuba, Serpent, and Ophicleide.  Mr. Stone is a musician in Colonial Williamsburg, playing a variety of instruments including Serpent, Baroque Guitar, Baroque Flute, and Hurdy-Gurdy. His performances have been a regular treat during the annual Chestertown Tea Party Festival.

Gabriel Stone will demonstrate a variety of traditional medieval instruments on Wednesday, July 26, at 2:00 pm at the Garfield

A showcase of Irish dance by the Hester Academy of Irish Dance concludes the series on Wednesday, August 2nd at 2 pm. Lead by J.J. Hester, a fully certified Irish Dance Adjudicator, the school opened its doors in September 2014 and is fully certified and registered with An Coimisiun le Rinci Gaelacha and the Irish Dance Teachers Association of North America. They aim to share the love of Irish dance with both Irish and non-Irish students alike in a family-oriented environment where each student creates goals for themselves and learns how to achieve those goals through discipline and hard work.

Hester Academy of Irish Dance on Wednesday, Aug 2, at 2:00 pm at the Garfield

These shows are family-friendly and open to everyone.  Tickets are $5 and group rates are available (no charge to current Playmakers). Please call the Box Office at 410-810-2060 or email Tess Hogans (thogans@garfieldcenter.org) for more information. In addition, don’t forget to mark your calendars for the “The Princess Bride” shows, scheduled for Friday, August 11th at 7 pm, Saturday, August 12th at 7 pm and Sunday, August 13th at 3 pm.

The Garfield Center for the Arts at the Prince Theatre is located at 210 High Street, Chestertown, MD, 21620.  For more information please visit the website.

All are invited to the special kid-friendly Hedgelawn performances on three Wednesdays at 2:00 pm, July 19, July 26, and  August 2.  Tickets $5 –  no charge to current campers in the Playmaker program.

 

Guitaras Americana in Concert at Custom House July 6

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Washington College’s Riverfront Concert Series continues on July 6 at 6:30 p.m. with a special performance by guitarists Fredy Granillo and Jonathan Stone. Bring your own picnic, blankets, and chairs, and enjoy a magical evening with friends, family, and neighbors on the shores of the Chester River. All are welcome: the free concert takes place at the Custom House lawn on the corner of High and Water Streets.

Fredy Granillo

Jonathan Store

Local favorites, Granillo and Stone combine to present “Guitaras Americana: Music of the Americas, Salvadoran to Samba.” A Salvadoran musician, painter, and ceramicist, Granillo played with the band Yarabi and recorded his first album Todo Esta Normal in 2012. He has performed in El Salvador, California, New York, Chestertown, and the D.C. area.

Annapolis-based, fingerstyle guitarist Jonathan Stone is dedicated to performing Brazilian sambas and Brazilian jazz.

Produced by the Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, the 2017 Riverfront Concert Series highlights America’s diverse musical heritage from traditional folk music to contemporary Latin-influenced guitar, to the enduring sounds of gospel music. At each performance, Starr Center Program Manager and concert series host Michael Buckley will provide brief commentary and some cultural context. A 20-year veteran of the music world, Buckley’s eclectic weekly radio program on Annapolis-based WRNR, 103.1 FM includes the popular interview series “Voices of the Chesapeake Bay.”  

On Thursday, July 20 Kent County’s Gospel Shepherds long with the Mighty Men of Mount Olive A.M.E. Church will conclude the series with “Down by the Riverside: A Glorious Evening of Eastern Shore Community Gospel Music.”

In case of inclement weather, “Guitaras Americana” will be held at Hynson Pavilion, Wilmer Park, Chestertown.

For more information, visit the Starr Center website  or contact Michael Buckley, 410-810-7156. Additional support for the 2017 Riverfront Concert Series is provided by Yerkes Construction, the Kent County Arts Council, and Washington College Student Events Board.

Joey DeFrancesco and Katie Thiroux Headline Chestertown Jazz Festival

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Get ready, jazz lovers, Chestertown’s four-day festival in September, dubbed “Jazz lives…in Kent County,” will fill the county with genuine headliners from legendary jazz organist Joey DeFrancesco (a three-time Grammy Award nominee) to rising star bassist/vocalist Katie Thiroux and a sultry, soulful young singer from Easton who knows how to belt out  song.

Katie Thiroux

The Mainstay’s Rory Trainor booked Thiroux for Thursday, September 7, the festival’s opening night, just before he moved back to Milwaukee. Lucky he did. Quincy Jones just booked Thiroux and her quartet for a two-month gig at Quincy’s club in Dubai this summer, so she might not be available for more Eastern Shore dates any time soon.

Thiroux, a compelling composer as well as a powerful performer, won ‘best debut album’ awards from The Huffington Post, NPR Jazz Critics, All About Jazz and the Jazz Journalists Association in 2015 for her album, “Introducing Katie Thiroux.” So far this year, she’s performed at the Blue Note, Birdland and the San Jose Summer Jazz Fest.

“Jazz lives…” will move to Chestertown on Friday, adding great sound to the town’s dedication of David Hess’ large and graceful playscape, “Broad Reach,” at 5:30 in Wilmer Park. “Broad Reach” is Chestertown’s first public art project since 1899 and the jazz will be top-flight with saxophonist John Thomas and guitarist Mike Benjamin. They’ll set the right mood as the town honors arts activist Alex Castro.

After a dinner break, “Jazz lives…” will fill the Garfield Center with the voice of 20-year old phenom Hanna Gill.  The festival’s founding spirit Mel Rapelyea, who’s been scouting jazz talent most of his life, says he’s excited about the way Gill delivers blues and jazz, channeling the legends of the genre.

Hannah Gill and Brad Hammonds

“Hannah’s dad knew she had a  way with a song, so he took her to New York as soon as she finished high school,” Rapelyea said. He introduced her to the talented guitarist and arranger Brad Hammonds and the two clicked instantly.

Gill and Hammonds formed a band called The Hours, and life’s been good ever since. A debut CD and singles have won the attention of VH1, the Boston Herald, Easter Surf Magazine and NPR All Songs TV (“Gill is a belter, and when she sings, she sings,” said NPR’s Sophie Kemp). “Hannah Gill’s a bad-ass belter and our audience is going to love her,” says Rapelyea.

On Saturday, “Jazz lives…” will be in the enormous tent the Chestertown Jazz Festival puts up each year in Wilmer Park, just steps from the Chester River.  Trumpeter Dave Robinson from Northern Virginia will lead a combo from a group of promising young musicians, Capital Focus.  After a Master Workshop in the Chestertown Middle School, they’ll take off with a repertoire of diverse mixture of Latin inspired rhythms.

John Thomas, the saxophonist who played at the Broad Reach unveiling. will follow them with his quartet.

The Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet, a dynamic vocal group from Northern Virginia performed at two previous Chestertown Jazz Festivals. These four vocalists, two men and two women, perform superb standard jazz  tunes. If you’re familiar with the sound of The Manhattan Transfer, you’ll love their harmony and vocalese at its best.

The Jazz Academy of Music, directed by the renowned Paul Carr, will be represented by one of their premier combos from Takoma Park. These fortunate and very talented children take classes and workshops and learn to perform in small combos.  They’ll spend much of their summer developing improvisational skills.

Joey DeFranceco

The headliner for the mid-day-to evening show will be the internationally renowned jazz organist Joey DeFrancesco, and loyal locals as well as festival fans from DC, Baltimore and Philadelphia will doubtless be back to hear him play.

This will by DeFrancesco’s second appearance at the Chestertown Jazz Festival. He wowed the audience in 2005, according to Rapelyea.

The Chicago Tribune wrote that the Philadelphia native “has dominated the instrument as no one of his generation has,” and the New York times says, ‘Mr. DeFrancesco is a deeply authoritative musician, a master of rhythmic pocket, and of the custom of stomping bass lines beneath chords and riffs.”

DeFrancesco will perform with the group he calls Joey DeFrancesco + The People and he’s sure to add vocals and trumpet solos to his show.  A second generation organist, DeFrancesco started playing the trumpet years ago after touring with Miles Davis.

“I can’t wait to experience this again,” says Rapelyea.

The  “Jazz lives…” weekend ends Sunday in Kennedyville at Crow Vineyard’s Third Annual Crowfest.  The event will start at 11:00 and run until 5:00, and the music will be by Phil Dutton and The Alligators, Adult admission is $12. There’s no charge for children under 5.

Tickets for Katie Thiroux at The Mainstay can be obtained by calling The Mainstay at 410-639-9133.

Tickets for both Hannah Gill at the Garfield Center and the Saturday festival in Wilmer Park can be purchased at www.Garfieldcenter.org or by calling 410-810-2060. The Hannah Gill and the festival tickets are $25. Tickets at the gate on Saturday are $30. Students with ID pay $15 and children under 12 are free.

Find more about the Chestertown Jazz Festival on Face book and Twitter. Attendees should bring chairs to the Wilmer Park festival and umbrellas if need be to all events, as all are rain or shine. No pets are allowed.

 

 

Loads of Laughs at Garfield’s SAST

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Short Attention Span Theatre, the Garfield Center’s annual festival of ten-minute plays, is back – and if you need a few good laughs, this ought to be on your to-do list for the next couple of weekends.

Lovers quarrel in “Spirits,” one of the 10-minute plays in the Garfield Center’s Short Attention Span Theatre festival.

The format, as always, is eight short plays by various hands – this year, all of them are by authors with local connections — a great testimony to the talent pool in our arts community. The emphasis is on comedy, covering a range from outright slapstick to subtler satiric pieces. As the festival’s unofficial slogan has it, if you don’t like what’s happening at any point, just wait a few minutes and something different will come along.

The first offering is Steven Arnold’s “Spirits,” directed by Sarah Crump. Arnold was the former executive director at Church Hill Theatre. The play begins on Halloween, when a young man named Alan, wearing a Superman costume, walks into a bar called “Spirits,” where all the customers are in costume, and orders a drink. His girlfriend, dressed as Wonder Woman, follows him and a loud argument ensues before she stomps out. Poor Superman is left to commiserate with the bartender and one of the bar’s patrons. Imagine his surprise when he finds out the spirits in the bar are real spirits! This one is perhaps the most philosophical of the plays, a humorous look at issues of life and death and the decisions we all face at critical moments. Brad Chaires is well cast as Alan, and Mark Weining, playing a patron who died in the 1800s, is an effective foil to his angst. Cameos by Jacob Marley (Robert Note) and Clytemnestra (Jennifer Kafka Smith) add to the unworldly aura.

Adrienne Dawes’ “How to Talk to a Girl Wearing Headphones” is a slice of modern life set in a coffee shop, directed by Bryan Betley. The plot consists of two young men trying to get the attention of the title character. Betley, Kirby Powell and Georgia Rickloff play the three characters, and they do a nice job of capturing the scene – which one could readily picture taking place in one of the local cafes.

Getting your roommate out of the shower is sometimes a bigger problem than expected.

“Singing in the Shower” is a brisk absurdist piece written by Howard Mesick and directed by Jim Landskroener. David (Ian Ellison) and Pierre (Weining) are roommates; the plot crisis erupts almost immediately when Pierre tells David he intends to stay in the shower so he can keep singing. Of course, David needs to take a shower before work, but none of his arguments to get Pierre out of the stall has any effect – Pierre has brought along food and wine, and has rigged a lock so David can’t get in. Playwright Messick, who is also one of the area’s most versatile actors, brings a fertile comic invention to the situation, and Weining’s faux French accent and Ellison’s growing frustration ratchet up the humor. As a bonus, Weining has a fine singing voice, even with the comic accent.

George Smart’s “The Philosophy of Dogs,” directed by Diane Landskroener, is another gem. Dan Guidice and Chaires, wearing floppy ears and tails, play two dogs discussing the great issues of their lives – whether to chase a nearby rabbit, what it really means to be a dog, why they let humans have control of their lives. Guidice and Chaires do a great job of acting, giving a genuinely amusing physical rendition of their characters – twitching legs as they sleep, and panting with excitement when the rabbit appears.

Two dogs consider the meaning of life.

Mark Sullivan, one of the co-producers of SAST, wrote and directed “And That’s How I Met Your Mother,” in which a strange man (Weining) enters a train compartment occupied by a woman (Jen Friedman) and asks her to pretend they’ve been together the entire trip. The reason for the request becomes clear when a policeman (Guidice) enters the car searching for a fugitive – obviously Weining’s character. The interplay among the three as the interrogation continues is hilarious – Friedman is especially good – as Sullivan’s plot takes one improbable twist after another. Watch carefully at the end for the final comic twist – it could slip past you.

Hester Sachse directed “Guru of the Alps,” written by Keith Thompson, another local playwright. The play starts with a mountain climber (Powell) reaching an alpine peak to find a guru (Zachary Ryan) whose advice he seeks. But nothing turns out as expected – the guru’s wisdom is far from satisfactory, and the situation deteriorates to the point where the characters call on the director (Kafka Smith), playwright and stage hand (both played by Guidice) to unravel their plot and provide some kind of ending. The conclusion deploys one theatrical in-joke after another in rapid sequence – kudos to Guidice for keeping up the frantic pace of physical gags his role requires.

Thompson directed “Somewhere Tonight, The Washington Senators’ Last Game Plays On,” by Dwayne Yancey. Jim Landskroener plays a baseball fan who’s been arrested for breaking and entering by a local cop, played by Paul Cambardella. The fan unfolds his story, revealing how the legacy of the woeful Senators last game – which was interrupted in the 9th inning by fans rushing the field to grab souvenirs – lingers on. It’s a clever bit of historical whimsy, and Landskroener does his usual fine job of bringing the character to life.

Walter demonstrates his “super power” of seeing all his experiences as film noir.

The evening concludes with “The Maltese Walter,” written by John Minigan and directed by Diane Landskroener. Jim Landskroener returns as the title character, who’s come to a psychiatrist (Chaires) for help with his “super power” — the ability to turn every situation into a film noir scene. Walter’s fiancée, Vera (Melissa McGlynn) has threatened to cancel their marriage unless he abandons his power – as she explains, she’s a pure and simple girl who finds his dark fantasies disturbing. Landskroener switches periodically between the troubled patient and a wise-guy private eye commenting on the other characters. The combination of three strong actors and a witty script makes this one a good conclusion to the evening’s entertainment.

Playgoers who arrive early can enjoy a bonus presentation of one-minute plays in the lobby. Directed by Tia Glomb, the “Hey, Wait a Minute!” festival brings to the stage a violin lesson in an unexpected context, a lecture on strange prehistoric creatures, a woman mourning a dead cat, a commercial for a painkiller, an encounter in a shoe store and a look at an unexpected dimension of a pirate’s life. All but one of the pieces are by local playwrights, including Sullivan, Mesick, Yancey and Glomb herself. The cast members are Chaires, Ellison, Audrey Betley, Zac Ryan, Juanita Wieczoreck, and Severin Schutt.

As always, this year’s SAST offers something for every taste, and every theater-goer will find some offerings more to their taste than others. My particular favorites this year were “Singing in the Shower,” “The Philosophy of Dogs” and “The Last Washington Senators’ Game,” along with “Rosa’s Eulogy” from the one-minute plays, but others may be more to your taste. A couple of the selections ran longer than the premise seemed to justify – that’s the playwright’s fault, not the actors’. In fact, except for a couple of actors who still hadn’t gotten their lines down, the acting was consistently strong. This is a show you don’t want to miss!

SAST runs for two more weeks, through July 9, with shows at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sundays. On Fridays and Saturdays, early birds can catch the one-minute plays at 7 and 7:20 p.m. in the lobby. Tickets are $15 general admission and $5 for students. Call 410-810-2060 or visit the theater website for reservations or for more information.

Photos by Jane Jewell.

Music & Magic – A Vibrant Weekend in Chestertown!

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The Honey Dewdrops, Kagey Parrish & Laura Wortman, sang songs of America and played clawhammer banjo, mandolin, and guitar, Thursday, June 22, 2017.

What a weekend in Chestertown!  It started Thursday night.  At 6:30 pm, Washington College’s free Riverfront Concert series kicked off with folk music by The Honey Dewdrops.  It was a lovely evening – a little hot but with a breeze off the river.   The concerts take place beside the Chester River at the foot of  High Street, on the lawn behind the Custom House, home of Washington College’s  Starr Center for the American Experience.  Just shy of a hundred people were there, sitting on the grass, leaning against the trees, or relaxing in the folding canvas chairs they brought with them.  There were quite a few kids dancing on the lawn.  You could watch the river flow gently by.  The only glitch was the humidity causing the PA system to short out.  After a couple of tries, the performers invited everyone to come up closer and then they played unamplified.  That actually made the concert feel more intimate.  Wortman’s voice rang clear on both originals and well-known folk songs.   There are two more in the Riverfront Concerts.

Listeners relax in lawn chairs for the Starr Center concert

The schooner Martha White made a scenic background for the Custom House concert.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But the Riverfront Concert was just the beginning of the music and magic.  On Friday, June 23, you had your choice of indoor theater or outdoor theater. At the Garfield Center for the Arts on High Street, it was opening night for Short Attention Span Theatre , in which eight short plays, each about ten minutes long, were performed. The idea is that if you don’t like one, if this play loses your attention, well, the next one will be along in under ten minutes!

While Short Attention Span was just opening it’s three-week run indoors at the Garfield, over at Wilmer Park, Shore Shakespeare was celebrating the end of their triumphant tour of the Eastern Shore with a magical production of  A Midsummer Night’s Dream, full of fairies, enchantments, love triangles, and noble passions.  The weather cooperated beautifully with nearly 200 in attendance at each of the weekend’s performances, Friday and Sunday.  The tour took A Midsummer Night’s Dream to six locations on the Eastern Shore, finishing up this past weekend with two free performances at Wilmer Park in Chestertown.

Puck (Avra Sullivan) enchants Bottom the weaver (Patrick Fee) in Shore Shakespeare’s production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”  Another fairy (Jane Terebey) watches from behind a tree in the magical woods near Athens.

On Saturday, there was a ribbon-cutting for the re-naming of the neighborhood park in the Washington Park area of Chestertown.  Formerly just referred to as “Washington Park” – which would make it redundantly “Washington Park” Park – it is now officially the “Louise D. Carpenter Park”. Councilman Sam Shoge was on hand to help cut the ribbon along with community members who had worked hard to upgrade the facilities.  There is a basketball court, new benches, and a large swing and climbing set. In its own way, it was a magical moment for community members who helped bring it about.

Council members Sam Shoge, Liz Gross, and Marty Stetson join Washington Park residents and members of the town Recreation Commission for the ribbon-cutting at newly-named Louisa D. Carpenter Park

Children swinging and climbing on playground equipment in refurbished and renamed Louisa D. Carpenter Park in the Washington Park neighborhood of Chestertown.

Later on Saturday morning, the Fort Delaware Coronet Band, dressed in authentic Civil War uniforms, joined the Kent County Community Marching Band and local re-enactors in a short parade, followed by a ceremony recognizing the veterans of America’s Civil War.  Thomas Hayman, who organized the event, laid flowers at the 1917 Civil War Monument and the more recent 1999 monument to the USCT, United States Colored Troops from Kent County.  Then the Fort Delaware band played songs from the Civil War Era on period instruments.  Nearby was a “living history” exhibit with uniforms, guns, items for camping and cooking, and other items, all originals or authentic reproductions from the era.

The Fort Delaware Cornet Band played music of the Civil War Era on period instruments

 

The Kent County Community Marching Band plays “Maryland, My Maryland” before the wreath-laying at the Civil War monuments.

 

Civil War re-enactors stand at attention as three wreaths are laid at the monuments honoring those who fought in that conflict.

If that wasn’t enough music for you, not to worry.  At 7 p.m., the inaugural concert for the 2017 summer season of Music in the Park started with The Andovers Trio presenting “A Half Century of Hits.”  It was a lively evening of good old rock-n-roll plus a few country tunes!

John Barrett and Aaron Maloney of the Andovers Trio played for Music in the Park on Saturday evening.

 

Juanita Wieczoreck gives a heart-felt eulogy for Rosa the cat in the “Hey, Wait a Minute” series of one-minute plays.

The Short Attention Span Theater 10-minute play festival at the Garfield is a perennial favorite with local theater-goers, with plays “just long enough.”  And if your attention span is even shorter, why the one-minute plays in the lobby of the Garfield might be just your thing!  Hey, Wait a Minute was a set of five “One-Minute” plays in the lobby for the audience to enjoy while waiting for the doors to open for the main attraction. Short Attention Span Theatre has two more weekends, Friday and Saturday evenings with 3:00 pm matinees on Sunday.

Yes, the weekend in Chestertown, Thursday through Sunday, June 22-25, was a wondrous one – full or music and magic for everyone.

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“Short Attention Span Theatre” 10-Minute Play Festival Opens at The Garfield Center This Weekend!

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Short Attention Span Theatre 10-Minute Play Festival Opens At The Garfield Center This Weekend!

Howard Messick, Jen Friedman, and Mark Weining

Join us for an engaging evening of 10-minute plays, designed to hold your attention for just. long. enough. The Play Fest will showcase a range of actors, directors, and authors – featuring original works by local playwrights! Starting this weekend, Friday, June 23 and Saturday, June 24, at 8:00 pm and Sunday, June 25, at 3:00 pm.  The Festival will continue for two more weekends.

The locally-written works selected for this year’s SAST production are:

Singing in the Shower – written by Howard Mesick*, directed by Jim Landskroener

The Philosophy of Dogs – written by George Smart, directed by Diane Landskroener

John Schratwieser in “How to Talk to a Girl Wearing Headphones”

How to Talk to a Girl Wearing Headphones – written by Adrienne Dawes, directed by Bryan Betley

Spirits – Written by Steven J. Arnold, directed by Sarah Crump

And That’s How I Met Your Mother – written & Directed by Mark Sullivan*

Somewhere Tonight, The Washington Senators’ Last Game Plays On – written by Dwayne Yancy, directed by Keith Thompson

Guru of the Alps – written by Keith Thompson*, directed by Hester Sachse

The Maltese Walter – written by John Minigan, directed by Diane Landskroener

*Many of this year’s selected playwrights are members of the Garfield’s Live Playwrights’ Society, a group that meets monthly with the goal of fostering a community of playwrights, actors, and critics, but the competition is open to all aspiring playwrights in the area. For more info on LPS visit the website. http://liveplaywrightssociety.org/

Featured actors in this year’s play fest are:

Ian Ellison and  Mark Wiening in Singing in the Shower; Dan Guidice, Brad Chaires, Jim Landskroener and Diane Landskroener in The Philosophy of Dogs; Georgia Rickloff, Kirby Powell and Bryan Betley in How to Talk to a Girl Wearing Headphones; Paul Cambardella, Brad Chaires, Mark Wiening, Amanda Fry, Robert Note, John Schratwieser and Jennifer Kafka Smith in Spirits; Mark Wiening, Jen Friedman, Dan Guidice, Robert Note and Tessa Schut in And That’s How I Met Your Mother; Jim Landskroener and Paul Cambardella in Somewhere Tonight, The Washington Senators’ Last Game Plays On; Kirby Powell, Zachary Ryan, Jennifer Kafka Smith and Dan Guidice in Guru of the Alps; Jim Landskroener, Brad Chaires and Melissa McGlynn in The Maltese Walter.

Joining SAST for the 4th year is Hey, Wait A Minute! our one-minute play fest directed by Tia Glomb. HWM will be performed in the Kohl Lobby at 7 p.m. before the Friday and Saturday night performances of Short Attention Span Theatre. The HWM cast features Ian Ellison, John Feldman, Tia Glomb, Jane Jewell, Gracie Jordan, Zachary Ryan, Severin Schut, and Juanita Wieczorack.

With one exception (Rosa’s Eulogy) all works selected for this year’s HWM production are locally written:

Dan Guidice

Behold the Valindoraptordon – written by Mark Sullivan

Rosa’s Eulogy – written by Richard Strand

When in Rome – written by Tia Glomb

Some People Just Like to Look – written by Dwayne Yancy

Blackbeard the Pirate, Superstar – written by Howard Mesick

Ezopen – written by Howard Mesick

Short Attention Span Theatre opens Friday, June 23, and runs Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through July 9.

Performances are 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $15 and $5 for students with ID (plays include some adult content, and may not be suitable for children under 13). Take advantage of the Garfield’s recurring opening night discount and get $5 off when you wear your Garfield t-shirt!  Call 410-810-2060 or visit  Garfield website

Final Weekend for “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” at Church Hill Theatre

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This weekend is your final chance to see Church Hill Theatre’s production of You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown, based on Charles Schulz’s beloved “Peanuts” comic strip with music, lyrics and book by Clark Gesner. This catchy and family-friendly musical directed by Sylvia Maloney will play one final Friday and Saturday June 23rd and 24th at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday the 25th at 2:00 p.m.

Charlie Brown (Matt Folker) seeks help from “Doctor” Lucy (Becca Van Aken)

The CHT cast of outstanding adult actors quickly escorts the audience into the magical world created by Charles Schulz. As reviewer Peter Heck states, “The premise of the comic strip – children performing their normal activities while expressing deeper, more adult thoughts – nicely translates to the stage, with adults cast in the role of the “Peanuts” characters… [Charlie Brown is] a delightful story of childhood and a little boy with a big heart… a show that delivers a lot of laughs and sends the audience home with a warm feeling.”

Snoopy (Julie Lawrence) celebrates the very best time of day: SUPPERTIME!

You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown runs through June 25. Discounts are available for CHT Members and groups of 10 or more. Reservations are strongly advised and can be made by calling 410-556-6003 or online at the theatre’s website.

: Charlie Brown (Matt Folker) gives it his all at the baseball game in CHT’s production of You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown.

: Charlie Brown (Matt Folker) gives it his all at the baseball game in CHT’s production of You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown.

Sally (Maya McGrory) lets the audience in on her newest philosophies .

Valentine: Woodstock (Katie Sardo) and Snoopy (Julie Lawrence) enjoy their Valentines, as Charlie Brown (Matt Folker) mourns his empty mailbox.

Schroeder (David Ryan) & Sally (Maya McGrory)

Snoopy (Julie Lawrence) tells the story of raging a battle with the Red Baron