Delmarva Review Selects Cover For Tenth Anniversary

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Regional photographer Calvin “Cal” Jackson’s color image “Recycle” was selected for the tenth anniversary cover of the Delmarva Review, to be published on November 1.

“We’re excited to feature cover art from the strong work of regional artists, including photography and paintings,” said Emily Rich, editor of the review. “The richness of regional art provides a compelling folio for the quality of stories and poetry we publish annually.”

Cal Jackson’s cover image “Recycle” shows shucked oyster shells, in rustic bushels, to be spread on bay oyster beds, providing a solid hold for oyster larvae to grow into the future.

The photographer, from Easton, is exhibiting at the BWI Airport gallery, by the International Terminal, and in a Maryland Federation of the Arts “Global Perspectives” online collection during August. His photos are among exhibits at galleries in Easton, Cambridge and Chestertown, Maryland, as well as Brooklyn, New York.

Mr. Jackson is a retired accountant and former audit manager for information technology with the U.S. Army.

Academy Art Museum Announces September Events

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Bennett Bean, M# 1806 Triple on Base, 2015 Pit fired, painted and gilded earthenware clay Photographed by Barbara Livar.

EXHIBITIONS

Exhibitions are generously supported by the Maryland State Arts Council, the Talbot County Arts Council and the Star-Democrat.

Bennett Bean: Be Careful What You Fall in Love With
September 16–November 5, 2017
Curator-Led Tours: Wednesday, September 20, 11 a.m. Wednesday, November 1, 11 a.m.
Bennett Bean (1941) is an American ceramic artist best known as a ceramicist for his treatment of vessels post firing. He works in a range of media including stone, precious metals, wool and silk weaving, and painting. The Easton exhibition, his first solo museum exhibition.

David Driskell: Renewal and Form, Recent Prints
September 16–December 31, 2017 (with interruption from October 18–22 for Craft Show)
Noted artist and scholar, David Driskell, PhD, (1931) is widely respected as an artist, curator, educator, and scholar of African-American art. He is Professor Emeritus of Art at the University of Maryland, College Park, and where the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora honors his contributions to the field. The exhibition comes to Easton from the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, in Rockland, ME, and was curated by Greenhut Galleries in Portland, ME.

David Driskell, The Hibiscus, Linocut.

Helen Siegl: Fantasy Creatures from the Museum’s Collection
September 16–November 26, 2017
Helen Siegl (1924–2009) used an unusual printmaking technique—often combining various kinds of blocks and plates to create an image, including handmade plaster blocks. She designed these when wood was scarce in Vienna during World War II. Siegl gained a reputation for both her individual signed and numbered prints and for her book illustrations.

Annual Members’ Exhibition
Continuing through September 4 (Labor Day), 2017
The Academy Art Museum’s Annual Members’ Exhibition is an exceptional tradition which represents the best of the region’s artists and offers an opportunity to view the creative talents of colleagues and friends.

SPECIAL EVENTS

Academy Art Museum Instructors’ Open House
Saturday, September 9 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Come meet the Museum instructors, view their work, watch art demonstrations, and enjoy refreshments while learning about fall courses at the Museum.

Helen Siegl, Goose Waddle, Woodcut on tissue paper, AAM 2012.012.34.

Craft Show Luncheon Lunch with Bennett Bean
Friday, September 15, 2017, Noon–2 p.m.
Scossa Restaurant
$140 per person (Limited Seating)
Enjoy an intimate lunch of classic northern Italian cuisine prepared by award-winning chef and owner Giancarlo Tondin of Scossa Restaurant and listen while ceramic artist Bennett Bean shares his inspiration for his prolific body of work.

Open MIC
September 11, 7 to 9 p.m.
Theme: Changes
The Academy Art Museum’s Open Mic is a monthly occasion for our community to share and appreciate the rich tapestry of creativity, skills and knowledge that thrive in the region. Contact Ray Remesch at RayRemesch@gmail.com for additional information.

LECTURES

Kittredge-Wilson Lecture Series

These lectures feature an exciting array of speakers who impart a diversity of perspectives on subjects such as art, architecture, history and literature. Series Tickets: (6 lectures) $125 Members, $150 Non-members. Pre-registration is suggested. Register online at academyartmuseum.org.

Museum Instructor

Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry
Arthur K. Wheelock Jr. Curator of Northern Baroque Paintings, National Gallery of Art, Washington
Friday, September 29, 6 p.m.
Individual Tickets: $24 Members, $29 Non-members

ARTS EXPRESS BUS TRIPS
Andrew Wyeth: In Retrospect
Brandywine River Museum of Art
Wednesday, September 6
Cost: $72 Members $87 Non-members (includes admission, guided tour)

Black, White & Abstract: Callahan, Siskind, White
Baltimore Museum of Art
Wednesday, September 27
Cost: $55 Members $66 Non-members

Vermeer

CHILDREN’S PROGRAMMING

Mini Masters Academy
An Early Enrichment Program for Children ages 2–4
In Partnership with the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center
Morning or Full-Day Program – Classes begin September 6, 2017
Mini Masters Academy introduces young children to new ideas through a thematic approach to learning that emphasizes relationships and the ability to make meaningful connections. The rich resources of the Academy Art Museum offer a wonderful venue for teaching these sensory explorations. Enrollment is ongoing. Contact Janet Hendricks for program details at jhendricks@academyartmuseum or (410) 822-2787.

Home School Art Classes
Fridays from 1:00-2:30 p.m.

Early Fall Session: September 8–October 13, 2017
Ages 6 to 9 years (Please do NOT register 5-year olds in this class)
Constance Del Nero
Ages 10+
Susan Horsey

Andrew Wyeth Winter, 1946 (detail) Tempera on board North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh.

Fall Session: October 27–December 15, 2017 (Note that there are NO classes on November 10 or 24)
Ages 6 to 9 years (Please do NOT register 5 year-olds in this class)
Constance Del Nero
Ages 10+
Susan Horsey
Cost (per session): $90 Members, $100 Non-members
After the first full-priced tuition, siblings attend for $60/67! Pre-registration is advised as space is limited in each group.

After-School Art Clubs
Students Grades 1 – 8
Instructor: Susan Horsey
Students Grades 4–8
Eight Thursdays: September 21–November 30 (No class on October 19, November 9 or 30)
3:45–5:00 p.m.
Cost: $120 Members, $130 Non-members

Mini Masters at the Academy Art Museum

Li’l Kids After-School Art Club
Students Grades 1–3
Eight Fridays: September 22–December 1 (No class on October 20, November 10 or 24)
3:30–4:30 p.m.
Cost: $115 Members, $125 Non-members

ADULT PROGRAMMING

Workshops

Photographing the Log Canoe Races
Instructor: Jay Fleming
1 day: Saturday, September 9
Cost: $335 Members, $402 Non-members (includes the boat fees)

Botanical Watercolor Workshop
Instructor: Hillary Parker
3 days: September 22, 23 and 24 Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Cost: $225 Members, $270 Non-members

Jay Fleming

Adult Classes

Drawing

Introduction to Basic Drawing
Instructor: Katie Cassidy
6 weeks: September 12–October 17 Tuesdays, 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Cost: $185 Members, $220 Non-members

Intermediate Drawing: Interiors and Still Life
New Instructor: Daniel Riesmeyer
5 weeks: September 20–October 25 (no class October 18)
Wednesdays, 10 a.m.–1 p.m.
Cost: $175 Members, $210 Non-members

Portrait Drawing
Instructor: Brad Ross
5 weeks: September 21 – October 26 (no class October 19)
Thursdays: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Cost: $165 Members, $198 Non-member

Matthew Hillier

Painting

Beginning Painting: Studies in Color
Instructor: Sheryl Southwick
September 12, 14, 19, 21 and October 3 and 5
Tuesdays and Thursdays: 9:30 a.m.-Noon
Cost: $135 Members, $162 Non-members

Painting Birds in the Landscape
Instructor: Matthew Hillier
6 weeks: September 16–October 28 (no class Oct. 21)
Saturdays, 10 a.m.–1 p.m.
Cost: $190 Members, $228 Non-members

The Next Step – Oil Painting for New or Returning Painters
Instructor: Diane DuBois Mullaly
3 weeks: September 16, 23, October 7
Saturdays, 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
Cost: $150 Members, $180 Non-members

Sheryl Southwick

Pastels

Still Life in Pastel
Instructor: Katie Cassidy
4 weeks: September 13–October 4
Wednesdays, 10 a.m.–1 p.m.
Cost: $160 Members, $192 Non-members

Watercolor

Watercolor: Beginning Watercolor Painting
Instructor: Heather Crow
5 weeks: September 12 – October 10
Tuesdays, 1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Cost: $160 Members, $192 Non-members, (plus, a $10 Materials Fee payable to instructor at first class)

Collage

Mulberry Paper Collage Workshop: Scrap Happy Mornings
Instructor: Sheryl Southwick
1 day: September 20, Wednesday, 2–4:30 p.m.
Cost: $45 Members, $54 Non-members, (plus materials fee of $6 due to the instructor at first class)

Printmaking
Printmaking Exploration Evenings
Instructor: Sheryl Southwick
3 sessions of 4 weeks: Session I–Sept. 12, 14, 19, 21, Session 2–October 10, 12, 17, 24, Session 3–November 7, 14, 16, 21
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5:30–8 p.m. Cost: $80 Members per session, $96 Non-members per session (plus $25 materials fee paid to instructor on first day.)

Digital

iPhone Class
Instructor: Scott Kane
Class 1: 2 Days, Wednesdays, September 6 and 13
Wednesdays: 6–8 p.m.
Cost per class: $50 Members, $60 Non-Members

Organizing, Taking, Storing and Sharing Photos with Your Smart Phone
Instructor: Scott Kane
Class 1: 2 Days: Wednesdays, September 20 and 27
Cost per class: $50 Members, $60 Non-members

For additional information, visit academyartmuseum.org or call the Museum at 410-822-2787.

Folk Duo at the Garfield August 26th

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Start with two compelling voices, an uncanny sense of harmony and a deep grounding in traditional American music. Add in stunning guitar work and a warm, intimate performance style, and what do you get? Martin Grosswendt and Susanne Salem-Schatz. This dynamic duo will be appearing at the Garfield Center for the Arts on August 26th for a 7 p.m. concert, and you don’t want to miss it. As Andy Wallace, the former program director of the National Folk Festival says, “Martin and Susanne make beautiful music together.”

Martin is internationally known as an interpreter of pre-war blues and other roots music. He started his career recording with and accompanying legendary folk musicians such as U. Utah Phillips, Rosalie Sorrels, and Jim Ringer and Mary McCaslin. Susanne is a veteran of the Boston roots music scene.  A life-long singer, she slips seamlessly into any genre, making it her own; soulful blues singer one minute, sassy honky-tonk gal the next. Together they embrace a deep love and respect for the roots of classic blues, old time, early country, and honky tonk. At the same time, they make the music their own, presenting it with style, grace and wit.

Martin and Susanne played and sang together for three years in Honky Tonk Masquerade, a honky tonk/western swing band, before striking out as an acoustic duo. Their performances have delighted audiences from Maine to Georgia.  Their first CD together, Old Songs, New Hats, was released late in 2015.

Tickets are $15 general admission and are available by calling 410-810-2060, online at www.GarfieldCenter.org or at the box office. The Garfield Center for the Arts is located at 210 High Street in Chestertown.

 

The Princess Bride Opens this Weekend at the Garfield

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Rehearsing a duel for “The Princess Bride”

This weekend, the kids and counselors of the 2017 Playmakers Summer Theatre Camp invite you to join them for their final performances of the cult classic, “The Princess Bride.”

For the last four weeks, the 31 campers and 10 staff members have been in rehearsal at the Garfield Center for the Arts. These last 3 shows are a culmination of their hard work. The camp is directed by Tess Hogans, Catherine Bushby and Bryan Betley; with Paul Cambardella and Bridget Copp as counselors, Annie Herron as a junior counselor, Tia Glomb as a script editor and Brad Chaires, Ariane Colson and Paulina Panas as volunteers.

The cast of “The Princess Bride:”

Grandmother – Nicole Reed                                                   

Kid 1 – Mariner Schut

Kid 2 – Anna Jayne Murphy

Mother / Queen Bella / Dancer – Cyanea Sloan

King Lotharon – Devin Merton

Buttercup – Merritt Connor

Westley – Shane Saunders

Prince Humperdink – Severin Schut

Ralph – Tessa Schut

Count Rugen – Claire O’Brien

Fezzik – Joe Diggs                               

Vizzini – Ben Anthony                                                                                  

Inigo Montoya – Thomas Martinez

Yellin / Original Dread Pirate Roberts – Quentin Bergenholtz

The Albino – Alex Raimond

Minion 1 (Albino Assistant) – Fantaye Kehm

Minion 2 (Albino Assistant) / Dancer – Erin Baldwin

Miracle Max – Sarah Herron

Valerie – Kayce Titus

Boo Lady / Dancer – Josie Merton

Clergy – Delaney McCreary     

Pirates:  Elizabeth Pupke, Jamie Baldwin, Yeabi Kehm, Lily Babylon, Savannah Quinn

Townsfolk: Lily Babylon, Lia Schut, Jamie Baldwin, Savannah Quinn, Kendall McCreary

Shrieking Eels:  Penn Sleightholm, Zuzu Kusmider, Malorie Reed, Lia Schut, Kendall McCreary

Soldiers: Yeabi Kehm, Penn Sleightholm, Malorie Reed, Zuzu Kusmider, Elizabeth Pupke

Fire Demons: Penn Sleightholm, Lia Schut, Elizabeth Pupke, Savannah Quinn, Jamie Baldwin

Rodents of Unusual Size: Zuzu Kusmider, Malorie Reed, Kendall McCreary, Yeabi Kehm, Lily Babylon        

Playmakers campers relax between rehearsals

 

The final performances are Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. All shows are free, but donations to the Playmakers are encouraged. Theatre doors will open 90 minutes before each performance. Call the box office for more information – 410-810-2060 or visit www.garfieldcenter.org.

Playmakers Summer Theatre Camp is supported in part by The United Way of Kent County, The Kent County Arts Council and The Hedgelawn Foundation. The campers were also grateful to receive donated pastries each day of camp from Evergrain Bread Company and Just Right Treats. The Garfield Center for the Arts is located at 210 High Street in Chestertown.

Open Auditions for “Carrie the Musical” at Church Hill Theatre and Chesapeake College

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Calling all performers, no experience necessary! Carrie the Musical, a musical based on the unforgettable Stephen King novel with book by Lawrence D. Cohen, music by Michael Gore, and lyrics by Dean Pitchford, will be coming to the Church Hill Theatre and Chesapeake College’s Cadby Theatre stages. This collaborative production will be directed by Dr. Robert Thompson, instructor of theatre at Chesapeake College, and will run October 27th through November 12th, 2017—just in time for Halloween! Performances will play opening weekend at the Cadby Theatre at Chesapeake College, then travel to the CHT stage for the remaining two weekends.

This chilling musical tells the story of outcast Carrie White and the bullying she faces not only with her high school peers, but also from her unstable mother. Catchy and sometimes haunting music and an unsettling story make Carrie the Musical a Halloween treat. When a young woman confronted with social pressures discovers hidden powers fueled by her emotions, her senior prom is bound to be “A Night We’ll Never Forget!”

Open auditions for Carrie the Musical will be held at Church Hill Theatre on Saturday, August 19th at 12:30 p.m. and at Cadby Theatre at Chesapeake College on Wednesday, August 23rd at 6:00 p.m.

Casting needs will include 2 female leads, 4 supporting roles (2F/2M), 2 male feature roles, along with at least 3 male and 3 female parts in the ensemble. Please note that the script does involve mature themes and some language, and parents should consult with the director prior to auditions to discern if their child should audition.

Please come with sixteen bars of a prepared song and sheet music if possible (two copies). Sides from the script will be available for cold readings—no audition monologue required. Technicians for the production are also needed and should attend auditions to submit their interest.

Carrie the Musical will play weekends from Friday October 27th through Sunday November 12th, 2017. For more information, email the director Rob Thompson at rthompson@chesapeake.edu. For more information on auditions, performances, and membership opportunities, please contact the Church Hill Theatre office at 410-556-6003, via e-mail at office@churchhilltheatre.org, or visit the  Church Hill Theatre Facebook Page.

Rhythm Future Quartet at The Mainstay Saturday August 5

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Rhythm Future Quartet

The acoustic jazz ensemble, Rhythm Future Quartet has a straightforward mission: to keep the spirit of Gypsy jazz alive and growing. A group of virtuosos named for a Django Reinhardt tune, they offer a new sound, influenced by Reinhardt’s classic Hot Club of France, yet wholly contemporary. They play classics and their own compositions all with a compelling, joyful abandon.

Led by violinist Jason Anick and guitarist Olli Soikkeli, the quartet performs dynamic and lyrical arrangements of both Gypsy jazz standards and original compositions that draw on diverse international rhythms and musical idioms. With Max O’Rourke on second guitar and Greg Loughman on bass, Rhythm Future is dedicated to expanding the boundaries while keeping the soaring spirit of Gypsy jazz intact.

While the band’s self-titled debut album re-visited classic jazz and Gypsy jazz favorites, Travels, the quartet’s current release, concentrates on group originals that make captivating use of musical sources from outside the conventional Gypsy jazz terrain. Travels reflects both the knowledge garnered from the group’s worldwide touring and the international influences that inspired new rhythmic and harmonic possibilities in their compositions and arrangements.

Travels was picked as one of the best jazz albums of 2016 by All About Jazz and the Huffington Post.

Jason Anick, an award-winning composer and one of the youngest professors at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, has shared the stage with an array of artists including Grammy award winning guitarist John Jorgenson, Stevie Wonder, The Jim Kweskin Jug Band, and Tommy Emmanuel.

Olli Soikkeli (dubbed “the Finnish boy wonder”) recently moved from Scandinavia to New York City, where he quickly became a top call guitarist in the Brooklyn jazz scene. He has performed alongside  Cyrille Aimee,  Gypsy guitarist Stochelo Rosenberg, Bucky Pizzarelli and many others.

Max O’Rourke was the winner of the 2015 Saga Award from DjangoFest Northwest, and at 21 has already toured/recorded with many of the top American Gypsy Jazz musicians including John Jorgenson and Gonzalo Bergara.

Greg Loughman is a top call bassist in Boston and has been heard with such luminaries as Sheila Jordan, Curtis Fuller and George Garzone.

The Mainstay (Home of Musical Magic) is committed to presenting local, regional and national level talent, at a reasonable price, in an almost perfect acoustic setting. Wine, beer, sodas and snacks are available at the bar.

Admission is $17 if purchased in advance and $20 at the door. Information and advance ticket sales are available at the Mainstay’s website http://www.mainstayrockhall.org. Reservations to pay at the door can be made by calling 410-639-9133.

 

3Divas at The Mainstay Saturday July 29

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3Divas, the jazz trio of Sherrie Maricle on drums, Amy Shook on bass and Jackie Warren on piano will bring their exuberant, stylish sound to The Mainstay in Rock HallSaturday July 29  at 8 p.m.

3Divas are Sherrie Maricle on drums, Amy Shook on bass and Jackie Warren on piano. They are a powerhouse jazz trio that plays originals as well as traditional and contemporary standards with unique style, innovative arrangements, and unified musical joy. They combine exuberance and creativity to create a swinging, highly energized musical experience.

A few years ago, as part of Sherrie Maricle’s larger ensemble, the Diva Jazz Orchestra, the trio’s blistering hot sound ignited the acclaimed award-winning show “Maurice Hines is Tappin’ Thru Life.” A reviewer for Broadway World said they “had a large percentage of the audience remaining until the end of the show’s exit music, most of them screaming for an encore at the finish. There were great moments for Jackie Warren (piano) and Amy Shook (bass), and when Maricle takes over for an extended solo, she wildly shakes up the place.”

Sherrie Maricle leads 3Divas from the drum set as she does her other groups in the Diva family, The DIVA Jazz Orchestra, the quintet FIVE PLAY and The DIVA Jazz Trio. She performs with The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall and is the music director for Broadway star Maurice Hines. Sheis also a busy freelance performer and a published composer/arranger.

Amy Shook has become one of the most in-demand upright bassists in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. area, coveted for her huge sound and infectious, driving groove. She is a versatile musician who enjoys playing jazz standards as well as new music and is an accomplished composer. She co-leads her own band, The Shook/Russo Quartet, with drummer Frank Russo, and her husband, Pat and is a regular in The Fred Hughes Trio.

Jackie Warren is a native of Colorado who came east to study at Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio. She received her MM from Cleveland State and has resided in Cleveland ever since. She performs regularly as a soloist and has her own jazz trio.. She also arranges and plays salsa and Latin jazz with percussionist Sammy Deleon y Su Orquesta.

The Mainstay (Home of Musical Magic) is committed to presenting local, regional and national level talent, at a reasonable price, in an almost perfect acoustic setting. Wine, beer, sodas and snacks are available at the bar.

Admission is $17 if purchased in advance and $20 at the door. Information and advance ticket sales are available at the Mainstay’s website http://www.mainstayrockhall.org. Reservations to pay at the door can be made by calling 410-639-9133.

 

“Orlando Rising” by Earl Lewin at Church Hill Theatre

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Cast of “Orlando Rising”: Back Row – Alyson ( Jean Leverage); Orlando (Tom Dorman); Police Officer (Eddie Dorman); Jack, (Howard Mesick) Seated – Wally (Chris Rogers); Ruth (Christine Kinlock); Nana (Kathy Jones) In Front – Young Wally (Aaron Sensenig ), his friend Dick (John Crook).

Do you remember the day John Kennedy was killed? “Orlando Rising,” a new play by Earl Lewin, depicts what happens in one family whose own domestic drama starts to unfold on the day the president is assassinated.

Based on a true story, “Orlando Rising” represents a change of pace for Lewin, whose previous plays have been predominantly light-hearted whodunits with a generous splash of humor. As he observes in his director’s note in the play’s program, this one examines the bottling up of “emotional dynamite” characteristic of the Victorian era. Those taboos began to break down in the late 1800s as shown in the plays of Henrik Ibsen, who shocked his contemporaries with his treatment of sexuality and equality. But many Victorian attitudes survived into the 1960s, when Lewin’s play is set. It is the survival of those taboos that fuels the drama of “Orlando Rising.”

When the play opens, it is the morning of Nov 22, 1963. Ruth and Wally are a young couple. Wally is getting ready to leave for his job at the local college where he teaches literature. Wally’s grandmother – his Nana – has come to stay with them for a few days. Her arrival stirs memories of Wally’s childhood, especially of his uncle Orlando, whose very name is painful for him to hear.

Wally and Ruth discuss ways to get Nana to talk about family secrets

Ruth pushes Wally to tell her about this mysterious uncle, asking what causes him so much anxiety and fear. We learn that Orlando is in a veterans’ hospital where he is being treated for mental illness – attributed by the family to a blow on the head he received while serving in World War I. She says there must be more to the story for the family to have erected the wall of silence and secrecy it has maintained about Orlando. Ruth urges Wally to confront Nana so they can know the truth.

Nana – played by Kathy Jones

Nana is predictably reluctant to tell the family secrets, even to her own grandson. A woman in her 90s, she holds fast to the belief that some things are best left unspoken. But under pressure, she reveals enough to make Wally begin to question many things he has taken for granted.

Finally, Wally has to leave for his classes, where he is teaching the plays of Ibsen. Shortly after his departure, Ruth receives news that Kennedy has been shot – and the whole emotional tone of the day changes. But that is only the first shock, as the next phone call comes with the news that Orlando has walked away from the hospital – and may be on his way to the old family home where Wally and Ruth now live. With that revelation, the trauma level rises dramatically – and the remainder of the play traces the consequences of the two physically unrelated but emotionally synchronous events of the assassination and the escape.

Chris Rogers, a familiar figure from Shore Shakespeare and local theater, plays Wally. He is just right for the academic earnestness of the college professor who loves his Nana but is frustrated by her old-fashioned reticence in discussing important family issues.  This makes it very believable when his surface calm begins to break under the emotional strain of the events.

Christine Kinlock, who was a delight as Hermia in this summer’s Shore Shakespeare production of “Midsummer Night’s Dream” is cast as Ruth.  She is very convincing as the socially progressive woman of the early ‘60s.  Somewhat more liberal than her professor husband, Ruth is embracing the evolving values of the new era and patiently encourages Wally to ask Nana for answers.

Kathy Jones, another veteran of CHT, takes the role of Nana.  Jones quickly establishes the dual character of Nana.  On the one hand, she is clearly a good, loving, kind, outgoing matriarch of the Victorian era.  On the other hand she is very insistent on hiding all the shameful family secrets and preserving respectable appearances as good Victorian matriarchs must.

Tom Dorman, who has numerous credits in local productions, takes the role of Orlando, the crazy uncle and Nana’s son.  The intellectual calm of the household vanishes and the energy level takes a quantum leap when he walks onstage.  He lives up to the label of “crazy” uncle, moving with ease from manic and scary to calm and apparently reasonable, but always manipulative.  Dorman has been good in previous roles but he has risen to a new high here.

Howard Messick plays Wally’s father Jack, and he makes the role memorable. He is a take-charge guy.  Clearly affectionate to his wife and children, Jack takes no nonsense from anyone outside that circle.  He handles the emergencies created by Orlando with swift practicality. A good job in a small role.

Young Wally (Aaron Sensenig) and his friend Dick (John Crook)

Aaron Sensenig and John Crook take the role of the young Wally and his friend Dick, seen in a flashback. The kids play and argue like normal kids, calling each other names in a way any parent will recognize.  But young Wally’s life is not just fun and games. He is terrified of his Uncle Orlando.  Jean Leverage comes across as a typical caring housewife and mother of the era in the role of Alyson, Wally’s mother. Both Leverage and Sensenig do a good job of switching from the happy mother and child to the scared child and frightened yet protective mother. Nice job. The cast is completed by Jan Eliassen and Eddie Dorman who do a credible job as two local policemen, swinging their billy clubs.

At dress rehearsal, the play seemed a bit slow starting, probably because of the large amount of back story being laid out in the first scene. There were also a couple of points where the dialogue seemed anachronistic – I’m not sure “share” or “lifestyle” were being used in their modern meanings at the time the play is set. But these are minor problems.

On the whole, Lewin has done a very good job of dramatizing the clash between the Victorian values Nana holds and the more open viewpoint of Ruth, while Wally’s viewpoint is somewhere in the middle.  This is used to good effect when Wally wants Nana to be open about Orlando’s condition and says there is no shame involved, but says that he feels uncomfortable about the emerging societal openness toward homosexuality.  Ruth calmly points out that you can’t have it both ways.  Here and at other points, Lewin’s play makes trenchant comments about life on the cusp of sweeping social change. After the dress rehearsal, Lewin said that, with only one exception, the events of the play and the reactions of the family members are true to the real-life story the play is based on.  We’re lucky to have talented playwrights such as Earl Lewin in our community.

The comfortable-looking set, stretching the entire width of the CHT stage, shows the main room of Wally’s family home. Unlike many productions at CHT, there’s nothing fancy here – just a solid, believable setting for the play. It’s an old family home – lived in for many generations – and the set conveys that well. Similarly, Barbi Bedell’s costume designs bring back the look and feel of the early sixties.  This is not yet the tie-dye, headband, and fringe-jackets with blue-jeans era.  It is more the buttoned-down tailored suit and middle-class version of the Kennedy style.

This is a mature play, with intellectual themes and dialogue, that will appeal to fans of serious drama.   However, young theatergoers will probably fidget.

“Orlando Rising” opens tomorrow, July 28, and runs through August 6. Performances are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $15 – cash or check only – and can be picked up at the box office before the performance. Reservations are suggested. Call Church Hill Theatre at 410-556-6003.

RiverArts Elects New Board Members

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Meghan Efland

RiverArts is pleased to announce the election of Meghan Efland, William Madar, and Tim Fields at the Annual Meeting, held June 20 at the new ArtsAlive! Education Center on High Street in Chestertown.  The new board members bring a wide array of experience and expertise to the organization.

Meghan Efland is director of the supply chain for PRS (Paul Reed Smith) Guitars, and an avid traveler as well as Clay Studio potter and open studio monitor.

William Madar

In addition to serving on the RiverArts board of directors, William Madar is currently a member of the Cleveland Museum of Art Board of Trustees, and honorary strategic development committee chair of Sultana Education Foundation, and formerly a CEO of Nordson Corporation and Executive Vice President of Standard Oil Company.

Tim Fields is Director of Operations and Technology at Washington College, previously Director of Admissions Technology and Web Development at the college. He is a photographer and member of the RiverArts Filmmaker’s group.

President Mary Jo McCulloch and Executive Director Andy Goddard reviewed highlights of the year for members at the annual meeting.  Elizbeth Healy, KidSPOT instructor, described the KidSPOT After School Enrichment Program and the Kids in the Gallery visual literacy program. Clay Studio manager Mike Pugh discussed plans for more special topic clay workshops. After the meeting adjourned, members gathered outside for a ribbon cutting in celebration of the new ArtsAlive! Education Center.

 

Tim Fields

For more information visit RiverArts website or call RiverArts at 410 778 6300.

Chestertown RiverArts is located at 315 High Street, Suite 106, Chestertown, MD  21620 – (in the breezeway).  Gallery hours are Tuesday – Friday, 11 AM to 4 PM, Saturday 10 AM to 4 PM, Sunday 11 AM to 3 PM, and open on First Fridays until 8 PM.