Open Auditions for Annie at the Garfield


Auditions for the upcoming production of Annie begin on Sunday, July 28th at the Garfield Center for the Arts. The auditions will be divided into two groups, with children’s auditions July 28th @2pm, and 29th & 30th @5pm. Adult auditions will be held August 4th @2pm, and 6th & 8th@7pm. Based on the popular comic strip by Harold Gray, Annie has become a worldwide phenomenon and was the winner of seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The beloved book and score by Tony Award winners, Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin, features some of the greatest musical theatre hits ever written, including “Tomorrow.”

With equal measures of pluck and positivity, little orphan Annie charms everyone’s hearts, despite a next-to-nothing start in 1930s New York City. She is determined to find the parents who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of a New York City Orphanage that is run by the cruel, embittered Miss Hannigan. With the help of the other girls in the Orphanage, Annie escapes to the wondrous world of NYC. In adventure after fun-filled adventure, Annie foils Miss Hannigan’s evil machinations… and even befriends President Franklin Delano Roosevelt! She finds a new home and family in billionaire, Oliver Warbucks, his personal secretary, Grace Farrell, and a lovable mutt named Sandy.

1. Come prepared to sing 16 bars of a song from a musical other than ANNIE. Please bring sheet music for the accompanist. You may refer to your sheet music or a lyric sheet, if necessary – but it would be preferred if you could avoid doing so.
2. A dance audition will be included, please wear shoes that will enable you to move. No sandals or flip flops. Bare feet will not be permitted.
3. Script sides will be provided.
4. Auditions will be held Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday – 8/4 @ 2pm, 8/6 & 8/8 @ 7pm. If other arrangements are necessary, please email the director prior to 8/4: Jennifer Kafka Smith at
5. Callbacks (scheduled for 8/8 at 8:30pm) will be asked to sing a selection from the ANNIE score based on the audition character (Warbucks: “Something Was Missing”; Men: “NYC”, Lily, Women: “Easy Street”; Hannigan: “Little Girls”). An electronic copy of the sheet music can provided via email upon request. Please contact the director, per #4 above.

Adult Male Only (Specified ages are a guideline, not a requirement)

1. Oliver Warbucks:
• Must be able to appear age 40-65.
• A powerful billionaire, who always has his mind on business, but has a kind heart looking for someone to love. Sings “NYC”, “Something Was Missing”, and “I Don’t Need Anything But You”.
• Vocal Range: Baritone to a high F.
• The role involves a very small amount of dance.
• May be required to SHAVE head.
2. Rooster:
• Must be able to appear age 35-50.
• Miss Hannigan’s greedy and dishonest brother.
• Sings “Easy Street”
• Vocal Range: Tenor to high G.
3. Roosevelt:
• Age 40-65.
• The President of the United States of America, who takes an immediate liking to Annie and her optimism. Must be able to imitate Roosevelt.
4. Bert Healy**:
• Must be able to appear age 30-55.
• A popular radio announcer.
• Sings “You’re Never Fully Dressed without a Smile”.
• Vocal Range: Tenor to F#.

5. Bundles McCloskey**:
• Age 25-60.
• The laundry man who flirts with Ms. Hannigan and aids Annie’s attempt to escape.
• Spoken (no singing).
6. Jimmy Johnson**:
• Must be able to appear age 25-55.
• Silly radio personality on Bert Healy’s radio show.
7. Fred McCracken**:
• Must be able to appear age 25-55.
• Puppet wrangler, uses a dummy on Bert Healy’s radio show.
• Baritone.
8. Harold Ickes**:
• Age 25-60.
• An associate of President Roosevelt.
• Must be able to sing harmony (optional)
9. Louis Howe**:
• Age 25-60.
• An associate of President Roosevelt.
• Must be able to sing harmony (optional)
Additional speaking characters requiring audition:
10. Drake**: Male.
• Head butler in the Warbucks’ home.
11. Lt. Ward**: Male.
• NYPD officer who is suspicious of Annie.

Adult Female Only (Specified ages are a guideline, not a requirement)

1. Grace Farrell:
• Must pass as age 25-35
• Loyal and intelligent private secretary to Oliver Warbucks. She brings Annie and Warbucks together.
• Vocal Range: Soprano to high G
2. Miss Hannigan:
• Must pass as age 35-60.
• Desperate and unhappy with her lot in life, she is the alcoholic orphanage matron who is Annie’s nemesis. Sings, “Little Girls” and “Easy Street”
• Vocal Range: Alto A to D
• The role involves a very small amount of dance.
3. Lily St. Regis:
• Must be able to appear age 25-35.
• Shady, floozy girlfriend of Rooster.
• Sings “Easy Street”
• Vocal Range: Soprano up to a high G
4. The Lovely Boylan Sisters**: (Connie, Ronnie, Bonnie)
• Ages 20-40+.
• Singing group that sing back up to Bert Healy. MUST be able to sing well and harmonize.
5. Star to Be**:
• Age 18-25.
• Aspiring Broadway actress who sings during NYC.
• Mezzo.
6. Cecille and Annette**:
• Maids at Warbucks’ home.
Additional speaking characters requiring audition –
7. Mrs. Greer**:
• Oliver Warbuck’s head housekeeper.
8. Mrs. Pugh**:
• Oliver Warbuck’s cook.

Adult Male or Female (Specified ages are a guideline, not a requirement)

1. Perkins:
• Age 25-60.
• An associate of President Roosevelt.
• (Vocal Range: Baritone or Soprano)
• This role is possibly doubled with chorus.
2. Hull:
• Age 25-60
• An associate of President Roosevelt.
• (Must be able to sing harmony.)
• This role is possibly doubled with chorus.
3. Morganthau:
• Age 25-60
• An associate of President Roosevelt.
• (Must be able to sing harmony.)
• This role is possibly doubled with chorus.
4. Adult Chorus:
• Age 15 and up.
• Male and Female.
• Townspeople who appear in “Hooverville”, “NYC”,
• May appear as servants at Warbuck’s Mansion.

There are also a number of characters with single lines that will be chosen from those who audition for chorus only. Please visit for more information. This production of Annie is sponsored in part by Chesapeake Bank & Trust. The Garfield Center for the Arts is located at 210 High Street in Chestertown.

Hedgelawn Summer Performance Series Announced


Each year a portion of the Playmakers Summer Theatre Camp 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.

This year the Playmakers are putting together a production of Roald Dahl’s,  Fantastic Mr. Fox and the Hedgelawn series compliments the themes of playful innovation and prejudice present in the story. On Wednesday, July 17th at 2 pm, the Garfield Center will be hosting a presentation by Chicago Improv Productions. This professional ensemble of actors from the birthplace of modern improvisational theatre leads hilarious, highly interactive improv games that teach as they entertain. The actors emphasize the “who/what/where” of improv, giving a fresh understanding of how to create characters, settings, and stories while offering lots of opportunities to join the fun.

Chicago Improv Productions

Wednesday, July 24th at 2 pm, the Garfield is hosting “Curtis Blues: Upcycling: Turning Junk into Musical Instruments from Africa to America”. Curtis Blues is a talented multi-instrumentalist, roots musician, and educator. His performances keep the tradition of acoustic American roots music alive and demonstrate the origins of modern Rock and Hip Hop for students. Curtis has three critically-acclaimed CDs and is passionate about passing this musical heritage down to the next generation.

An instructive assembly on fair play with Box Out Bullying concludes the series on Wednesday, July 31st at 2 pm. Box Out Bullying is a national touring organization that specializes in combining research-based bullying prevention with dynamic live theatre. Audience members walk away with important tools and insight to empower them to be stand-up citizens and key players in ending bullying.

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 ( for more information. In addition, don’t forget to mark your calendars for the “Fantastic Mr. Fox” shows, scheduled for Friday, August 9th at 7 pm, Saturday, August 10th at 7 pm and Sunday, August 11th at 2 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 17, 24, and 31.  Tickets $5 – no charge to current campers in the Playmaker program.

Sally Sells Sea Shells at the Garfield July 12


MUSICAMP returns to the Garfield Center for the Arts in Chestertown for its seventh year, featuring local talent ages 8 to 15. This year the production is, “Sally Sells Sea Shells (And You Can Too!).” Written by Denver Casado and Kerry Kazmierowicztrimm, and directed by Julie Lawrence. 

Sally is a kid con-artist who explodes onto a quiet beach town with a get-rich-quick seashell-selling-scheme. For a small fee, she trains the kids on how to sell seashells before the annual summer festival, but plans to skip town with all their money before the big event! Sally becomes torn after meeting a local, Tam, who joins the program eager to help her family. The kids in this little beach town will never be the same as they learn the importance of friendship, honesty, and finding a healthy balance between working hard and having fun.

MUSICAMP is a 5-day intensive musical theatre experience where campers sing, dance, act and create scenery for their show. Every camper gets lines in the play and everyone is on stage the entire time. At the end of the week, kids transform into their characters and present an amazing stage production that highlights their varied talents. MUSICAMP is staffed by camp founder and director Julie Lawrence, musical director Helen Clark, art consultant Charlice Culvert and counselors Paul Cambardella and Bella Williams.

Support our local talent with your attendance and applause! The show on Friday, July 12th at 7pm is free and open to the public. Donations are welcome. For reservations and more information call the Garfield Center box office, 410-810-2060 or visit This year’s MUSICAMP was generously sponsored by The Lerner Family.

The Garfield Center for the Arts at the Prince Theatre is located at 210 High Street, Chestertown, MD 21620.

Alicia Olatuja to Headline Chestertown Jazz Festival


Alicia Olatuja, the vocal sensation who stunned millions during President Obama’s second inaugural with her soaring solo during ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic,’ will headline the 2019 Chestertown Jazz Festival’s show in Wilmer Park on Saturday, September 14.

‘Downbeat’ magazine said Olatuja (pronounced oh-la TU-ha) possesses a special instrument: a full-bodied tone, precise pitch and personal engagement at the lowest whisper or highest wail,” and the New York Times called her “a singer with a strong luscious tone and an amiably regal presence on stage.”

Olatuja’s appearance on the banks of the Chester River is clearly a coup for Mel Rapelyea’s popular Chestertown Jazz Festival. She’s played Blues Alley in Washington, D.C. and in the run-up to mid-September, bookings will take her to New Zealand, Germany and England, then to Miami, Denver, Santa Cruz, Carlsbad, Ogden and San Francisco.

The jazz fest tent will be jumping from noon – on, kicking off with 100 Voice Choir of Kent County, reassembled under the direction of Sylvia Frazier. The Washington College Jazz Combo will be up next, directed by pianist extraordinaire Joe Holt. Host of ‘Mainstay Mondays.’ series at The Mainstay in Rock Hall, Holt has been a full-time performer, playing all over the country for 40 years.

Alicia Olatuja and Greg Thompkins

The festival will be in full form by mid-afternoon when Baltimore’s well loved tenor saxophone Greg Thompkins takes the stage with his Greg Thompkins Quintet. Winner of a long list of tributes during his 30 year-year career, Thompkins is known for his tribute to Thelonius Monk, ‘Boo Boo’s Birthday,’ and his celebration of John Coltraine, ‘LSQ,’ both available on the Roland Park Jazz label.

When Gregor Huebner’s ‘El Violin Latino 3’ steps into the jazz festival spotlight next, the sound will shift to the musical traditions of Cuba and South America from jazz to Bossa Nova, occasionally under the influence of Eastern European Klezmer style. Dr. Rapelyea says festival audiences have loved Huebner so much that he’s bringing the violinist group back to Chestertown for the third time.

Can’t get enough Jazz? The fine saxophone player Larry McKenna and his quartet  play Thursday, September 12 at the Mainstay, 8pm.  Friday the Garfield Center will feature the esteemed Joe Holt, accompanying local songstress Barbara Parker. This event will also begin at 8pm.

On Sunday, September 15 at Sumner Hall, the RiverArts Film Society will screen  the famed recording of the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, “Jazz on a Summer’s Day.” Event begins at 4:30, and  includes a talk back.

And, believe it or not, Joe Holt will close out the jazz festival at The Mainstay on Monday when ‘Mainstay Mondays Series’ features Joe, Max Murray and Frank Russo.

For more information, see the Chestertown Jazz Festival page on Facebook or for detailed information and advance ticket sales go to or call 410-810-2060. All events in the park are rain or shine. No pets but lounge chairs are permitted.

Announcing the 15th Short Attention Span Theatre 10-Minute Play Festival


Producers Diane Landskroener and Mark Sullivan invite you to the 15th year of Short Attention Span Theatre at the Garfield Center for the Arts at the Prince Theatre.

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!

The plays selected for this year’s SAST production are:

The Superhero – Written by Brent Lewis (Live Playwrights Society member) – Directed by Diane Landskroener

Don Vito’s Method – Written by Rich Pauli (Live Playwrights Society member) – Directed by Nic Carter

Mistranslations – Written by Jack Rushton – Directed by Jim Landskroener

Park & Play – Written by Kara Emily Krantz – Directed by Zac Ryan

Power Nap – Written by Steve Arnold (Live Playwrights Society member) – Directed by Tia Glomb

Everyone Says I Love You – Written & Directed by Mark Sullivan (Live Playwrights Society member)

Old Aquatics – Written by Steven Korbar – Directed by Brad Chaires

Wedding Belles – Written by Brett Hursey – Directed by Jennifer Kafka Smith

“Wedding Belles” Cast

Featured actors in this year’s play fest are:

Brianna Johnson, Paul Cambardella, Tom Dorman, and Dan Guidice in The Superhero, Brad Chaires and Lyle Pinder in Don Vito’s Method, Jim Landskroener and Diane Landskroner in Mistranslations, Christine Kinlock, Sharon Herz, and Lyle Pinder in Park and Play, Paul Cambardella, Brad Chaires, Ian Ellison and Phebe Wood in Power Nap, Amanda Fry, Nic Carter, Jen Friedman, and Dan Guidice in Everyone Says I Love You, Sharon Herz and Robert Holt in Old Aquatics and Shannon Whitaker, Zac Ryan and Jim Landskroener in Wedding Belles.

Joining SAST for the first time is the Garfield Improv Group, which offers actors, writers, and creative thinkers, the opportunity to develop and grow their individual voice and technique through improvisation. GIG will be performing in the Kohl Lobby at 7 p.m. before the Friday night performance of Short Attention Span Theatre on July 5th. The Garfield Improv Group is lead by Lyle Pinder and meets on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month at 8pm. All are welcome to join!

Short Attention Span Theatre opens Friday, June 21, and runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday through July 7. Thank you to those who have chosen to support SAST through the Name in Lights campaign!

Performances are 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 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

Community Open House at the Garfield for First Friday


The Garfield Center for the Arts staff and board of directors would like to invite you to a community open house on Friday, June 7th from 5-6:30pm. The community is encouraged to stop by the theater and take a quick survey to help with our strategic planning process. Meet our board, get a free glass of wine, and enjoy snacks from Above the Salt catering. Featuring a special performance by the Garfield Improv Group! The Garfield Center for the Arts is located at 210 High Street in Chestertown.

Open Auditions for Circle Mirror Transformation at the Garfield


Auditions for Circle Mirror Transformation, Annie Baker’s Obie Award-winning play will be held at The Garfield Center for the Arts on Tuesday and Thursday, June 4th and 6th at 6PM, and Saturday, June 8th at 10AM. Directed by Bonnie Hill, the play runs three weekends from August 21st – September 8th.

In an artsy small town, a quirky collection of strangers assembles to take a six-week-long acting class in the local community center. The students engage in theatre games and warm-ups, and end up exploring their lives through tiny leaps of faith and creativity. This delightful and delicious comedy landed on the Top Ten lists of The New York Times and The New Yorker for 2010. It is an absolute feast for both actor and audience alike!

Casting needs: 3 (F) and 2 (M)

Marty – Instructor of the adult drama class   – Female – Age 50 – 65

James – Marty’s husband, a student in the class   – Male – Age 50 -65

Schultz – a carpenter, and vulnerable divorcee   – Male – Age 35-50

Theresa – a flirty former actress from New York   – Female – Age 30 – 45

Lauren – an awkward high school student   Female – Age 16-20

Familiarity with the script is beneficial, and scripts are available at the Garfield for your perusal, but must be returned. Agility is a benefit, “hooping” (using a hula hoop) is necessary for Theresa and James. Be prepared to do cold readings from the script and dress casually. Anyone interested in assisting backstage is encouraged to come to auditions. If you cannot come to auditions and are interested in reading for a role, or if you have any questions about the production, please contact the Garfield (410-810-2060) or the Director by email or by phone (410-348-5181; ©410-708-2870) . The Garfield Center for the Arts is located at 210 High Street in Chestertown.

Broadway by the River Gala Fundraiser Surpassed $10,000


It is with great pride and tremendous gratitude that we share with you that we have surpassed our goal of $10,000 through our Broadway by the River Gala Fundraiser! We are truly humbled by the generosity of this community, and especially to you for making Broadway by the River such a success!

Photo Credit: Jeff Weber

Because of you, The Garfield Center for the Arts will continue to provide quality programming and performances in the heart of Chestertown, and we couldn’t be more excited about what lies ahead. Through our Educational Outreach Program, children from Kent and Queen Anne’s county can see world-renowned taiko drummer Mark H. Rooney for free. We’re partnering with our neighbors at the Mainstay for a concert featuring Haint Blue.  And talented local directors, actors, and stage crew are working hard before the opening of our 15th year of Short Attention Span Theatre on June 21st.

Ensuring that our community has a special gathering place to make and enjoy art is important work, and there is always more to do. We hope you’ll stop back in for the next performances and events in this fantastic season, consider sponsoring an upcoming production, join our team of wonderful volunteers, and of course, save the date of April 3, 2020 for our next Broadway by the River Gala!

Thank you again for affirming that at the Garfield, artists and the arts not only come alive here, they thrive here. Hope to see you soon!

Colonial Conjurer, Crankies, Ona Judge & Spirit of Freedom at the Garfield Center



Levram the Great, Colonial Conjurer, has traveled all over the world, and performed for heads of state, as well as their feet! He portrays magic from the 18th Century by using all materials, props, and costumes that would have been available at the time.  Levram the Great is based on real-life American 18th Century conjurer, Jacob Meyer, otherwise known as Philadelphia. Audience members are encouraged to participate- are you ready for a stage appearance as a magician’s assistant? Two performances at the Garfield Center, 11 am and 1 pm.

What is a Crankie, you say? Katherine Fahey, an award-winning Baltimore artist, and her musician friends will perform this old storytelling art form at 11:30 am and 3 pm at the Garfield Center for the Arts. A long illustrated scroll is wound onto two spools. The spools are loaded into a box which has a viewing screen. Then the scroll is hand-cranked and accompanied by music. Fascinating storytelling for all ages.


Crankie panorama. Old Fashioned Storytelling accompanied by music, 11.30 am & 3 pm at the Garfield Center for the Arts

Your Chestertown Tea Party colonial music adventure is not complete without listening to Stephen Christoff. He brings to life the ballads and song lyrics that helped build American independence and define a nation. He will captivate families with the jaws harp, banjo, guitar, mandolin, hand whistle, the musical saw, and even the bottles. The Colonial times were filled with music and Christoff explores the fun.

Stephen Christoff. Colonial period musician. Garfield Center for the Arts at 1.30 and on the Main Stage 

Ona Judge and the Spirit of Freedom.  Much of our country’s African American history is unknown to most Americans:  hidden, unexplored, and ignored.  That history includes acts of courage during the American Revolutionary times.  The story of Ona Judge, enslaved personal servant of Martha Washington, illustrates one woman’s quest for freedom. Ona  Judge Staines served as personal servant to Martha Washington until she escaped from the President’s Mansion in Philadelphia and relocated to Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 1796. Judge’s escape from the President’s Mansion in Philadelphia was most likely inspired and facilitated by her exposure to free blacks in a city with fervent abolitionist spirit. On May 21, 1796, while the household was preparing to retreat to Mount Vernon for the summer, Judge prepared her escape; she simply walked out of the house while the family was eating dinner. Her motivation was clear: complete freedom from slavery. Judge had learned that she would be given to Elizabeth Parke Custis upon Martha Washington’s death. This family-oriented program sheds new light on the meaning of freedom in America. Featuring Karen Somerville solo vocals, a choir and dancers accompanied by percussion, 12:30, Garfield Center for the Arts.

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