PFLAG Mid-Shore Hosts Transgender Day of Remembrance November 18

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PFLAG Mid-Shore (Chestertown and Easton) and Washington College will be hosting its annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, as it continue its mission to build on a foundation of loving families united with LGBTQ people and allies who support one another until all hearts and minds respect, value and affirm LGBTQ people.

PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays ) is a national organization that provides peer support through advocacy, education and public speaking. PFLAG’s is made up of and acts as the extended families , as well as unites families and allies with people who are in our LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning) community.

Sunday, November 18
5:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Norman James Theatre 
Washington College
Chestertown 

 

The Hostage Closes November 18 at Church Hill Theatre

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Brendan Behan’s The Hostage is, “bright and bawdy, irreverent and tender” at CHT says Peter Heck in his review. Pat Patterson directs this dark Irish comedy that runs through November 18, with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 2 pm. Reservations can be made by calling 410-556-6003 or online at churchhilltheatre.org.

Set in 1960 Ireland, between the glory days of Easter Uprising and the horrors of the Troubles, Irish nationalism flourishes but is without firm direction. Pat and Meg, who run an informal brothel in Monsewer’s house, reluctantly agree to house a British hostage seized by the IRA in hopes of saving a condemned Irish terrorist. But the ensuing mix of part-time militiamen, prostitutes, and nostalgic patriots leads to confusion and misunderstandings. Heck notes that, “The Hostage is an exhilarating experience with a talented cast delivering a script that ranges from the scurrilous to the poetic – sometimes hitting both extremes in a matter of moments.”

Photo: Residents of the boarding house see the Hostage (Max Hagan, center, forward) for the first time. From L-R they are, Eamon Murphy, Christopher Wallace, Maya McGrory (behind) Christine Kinlock, Natalie Lane, Hester Sachse, Michelle Christopher, Herb Ziegler, Julie Lawrence (behind), Charles Michael Moore, Howard Mesick, Kellan Paddy. Photo by Steve Atkinson

Christopher Wallace plays Pat, the landlord; Christine Kinlock plays his consort, Meg; and Herb Ziegler plays Monsewer, the Anglo-Irish owner of the house. Max Hagan portrays the hostage, Leslie Williams. Residents include two prostitutes (one mostly retired), played by Natalie Lane and Michelle Christopher; a seedy civil servant and an improbable social worker, played by Howard Mesick and Hester Sachse; and a couple of promiscuous men of fluid gender, played by Michael Moore and Kellan Paddy. Maya McGrory plays Teresa, the young and innocent housemaid. An extremist IRA officer is played by Paul Briggs, assisted by an eager volunteer played by Eamon Murphy. Troy Strootman is a Russian sailor, perhaps the only one in the house with money in his pocket.

Julie Lawrence, the show’s Music Director, and Phil Dutton take turns playing Kelly, an onstage presence throughout the play, providing piano accompaniment for songs, a friendly place to sit, and even cash when the beer runs out.

Patterson’s production team includes Producer Sylvia Maloney, Set Designer Michael Whitehill, Choreographer Cavin Moore, Costumer Juanita Wieczoerck, Lighting Designer Douglas Kaufmann, Dialect Coach Sally Borghardt, Photographer Steve Atkinson and Sound Designer Kat Melton. Stage Manager Sheila Austrian and her assistant Speedy Christopher work behind the scenes. Randy Welch, the bagpipe consultant, recorded music especially for the show and provided a full piper’s kit for Monsewer.

Academy Art Museum Announces New and Retiring Board Members

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The Academy Art Museum has announced changes to its Board of Trustees. Outgoing trustees who have devoted six years or more of service to the Museum include Warren Cox, Rodanthe Hanrahan, Simma Liebman, Patricia Saul and Bruce Wiltsie. Trustee Katherine Allen has given four years of board service. Ben Simons, Director of the Museum, comments, “It is fitting in our anniversary year to commend these individuals who have demonstrated remarkable commitment, leadership and devotion to the well-being of the Museum to help prepare it for the next 60 years.”

Six new trustees have been appointed to the Board: Donna Alpi, Max Farrell, Trish Malin, Jill Meyerhoff, Courtney Clark Pastrick, and Mary Ann Schindler. Donna Alpi of Oxford and Arlington, VA practiced tax law with the firms of Skadden Arps and then Hogan and Hartson in Washington, DC. She is a graduate of the Law School of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn State. She also has an LLM in Taxation from Georgetown University Law Center. She is actively involved in the Tred Avon Yacht Club and was a member of the TAYC Junior Sailing Committee, serving as the Junior Sailing Fundraiser Chair and the Registration Chair. She was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Arlington Free Clinic, which provides health care to uninsured Arlington residents.

Pictured are five of six new Trustees on the Board of the Museum. Standing, L-R: Catherine McCoy, Board Chair; Jill Meyerhoff, Mary Ann Schindler, and Ben Simons, Director. Pictured seated are Trish Malin, Courtney Clark Pastrick, and Donna Alpi. Absent from the photo is Max Farrell.

Max Farrell of Easton and Chicago, IL served as Director of Corporate Contributions for Kraft Foods and President of Kraft Foods Foundation. She also served as Corporate Relations Director at Allstate Insurance Company, and as President of the Allstate Foundation. She attended Clemson University and received an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. After leaving the corporate community, Farrell became engaged in civic and community endeavors in Chicago. She currently serves as a board member of the Lyric Opera of Chicago where she served as President; and as a board member of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Field Museum, The Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago, Northwestern University and The Joffrey Ballet.

Trish Malin of Easton is a retired Marketing Director for a range of blue-chip food and packaging companies. She has a master’s degree in Business Studies from University of London. She has volunteered for Best Friends, a non-profit animal sanctuary in Utah, and was president of her Homeowners Association in Palos Verdes, CA. Malin has an active interest in DC theatres and the Washington Ballet, and is a member of the Cosmos Club in Washington, DC. She is on the board of Chesapeake Music, helping to run the Monty Alexander Jazz Festival in Easton.

Jill Meyerhoff of Easton has been involved in both community service and business in Talbot County for over 30 years. She and her father owned and operated the powerboat business Tidewater Yacht Sales. Since then, Meyerhoff has focused on education, serving as an assistant at Easton Montessori School, volunteering at The Country School, and serving as head of the Parent Association and as a trustee for Gunston School. She has also held Executive Board positions in the Garden Club of the Eastern Shore and currently serves as its President. The Meyerhoffs tend to their farm on the Miles River and their flock of sheep, which yields heirloom blankets, throws and fine crafts.

Courtney Clark Pastrick of Easton and Chevy Chase, MD has led her family’s philanthropic giving as President of the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation and today as Chairman of the Board. She is active in the Washington, DC-area community where she has served in leadership roles with several local non-profit organizations, including as former Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Washington Jesuit Academy, a middle school for at-risk boys in DC, and as a trustee for Collegiate Directions, Inc., a college access program for low-income, first-generation-to-college students in Maryland. Pastrick currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Vanderbilt University and DC-CAP, a college access program for public and charter school students in DC. She also serves on the board of Clark Enterprises, the private investment firm founded in 1972 by her father. She holds a JD from the Catholic University of America and a bachelor’s degree from Duke University.

Mary Ann Schindler of Easton is an artist who has pursued painting, sculpture, mixed media and installation. Her work has appeared in several regional and DC Metro area galleries, and is represented in private collections throughout the United States. She had a career in commercial art and illustration, as well as her own marketing business. She has a bachelor’s degree from Trinity College, Washington, DC. Schindler has been involved in volunteer work for many local organizations, including ESCMF (now Chesapeake Music), the Cinema Society, ArtWorks for Freedom, Empty Bowls, Festival of Trees, and the Main Street Arts District initiative in Cambridge. She is a sponsor of the Museum’s new Artist-in-Residence program, co-chaired the 2017 ArtWorks for Freedom/Easton exhibit at the Waterfowl Building, and is the co-founder of the Artistic Insights Fund of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation.

Catherine Collins McCoy, Chair of the Museum’s Board of Trustees comments, “We are thrilled to have this talented group join our Board of Trustees as the Museum builds on its achievements by expanding the reach of its educational programs and the excellence of its exhibitions and collections.”

Garfield Center Announces the Cast of Tiny Tim’s Christmas Carol

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On November 30th director Bonnie Hill will be opening a new show at the Garfield Center for the Arts; Ken Ludwig’s reimagining of a holiday classic, Tiny Tim’s Christmas Carol. A veteran actress and director on local stages, Hill has directed the recent Garfield productions of Vanya, Sonia, Masha & Spike, A Delicate Balance and Sylvia.

In this version of Dickens’ classic, Tiny Tim hatches a plan to get his father home for Christmas day. With the help of some kindly sellers at the market and his friend Charlotte, Tiny Tim stages a spectacle filled with ghosts and Christmas cheer to convince Scrooge to give his father the day off. It all seems to be going according to plan until a little bit of real Christmas magic catches everyone by surprise.

The cast is as follows:

Tiny Tim………….……………….…………………………………………………………….…John Crook
Charlotte…………………….……..……………………………………………………….……Raven Miller
Scrooge………………………………….…………………………………………………Jim Landskroener
Puppet Seller………………….…………………………………………………………….…….Jane Jewell
Pie Seller……………….……………………………………….………………………………….David Ryan
Book Seller……………………..……………………………………..…………………Bryan Zajchowski
Gravedigger, Fred, Stevens………………………..…………….…………….………… Robbie Spray
Young Girl …………………………………………..……………………………………….Alden Swanson
Boy………………………………………………..……………………………………………………Caleb Ford
Carolers…………………………..……………Kathy Jones, Cornelia Fallon, Michelle Genovese

The show runs for two weekends, with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 3pm, November 30 – December 9.

Tiny Tim’s Christmas Carol is sponsored in by Eastman Chemical Company and is a proud partner with the Chestertown Dickens Festival.

Tickets are $20 general admission, $15 for seniors 65+and members of the US Military, and $10 for students. They are available online at www.garfieldcenter.org or by calling the Garfield Center box office at 410-810-2060.

Church Hill Theatre’s “The Hostage” – Bright and Bawdy, Irreverent and Tender

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High-stepping at the brothel. “The Hostage” at Church Hill Theatre – Photo by Jane Jewell

Brendan Behan’s The Hostage, currently playing at Church Hill Theatre, is a rowdy, irreverent look at an Irish pub and brothel in mid-20th century Dublin. Filled with drunks, rebels, prostitutes, and the occasional innocent, the play is a wild document of a time when imagination was hard-pressed to keep up with reality.

The Hostage is an expansion, in English, of a one-act play in Gaelic (the Irish Celtic language) by Behan, which debuted in Dublin in 1958. The author translated it into English for performance at Joan Littleton’s Theatre Workshop at Royal Stratford East later that same year. The Royal Stratford performance involved a good deal of improvisation, which Behan incorporated into the script for subsequent productions in London and on Broadway.

Behan, born in 1923 to a family strongly committed to Irish independence, was a prolific writer, with novels, short stories and poetry in both English and Gaelic to his credit. He joined the Irish Republican Army at age 16, and spent time in prison both in England and Ireland on account of his activities. Released in 1946 as part of a general amnesty, he spent the early 1950s in Paris, where he matured as a writer. With the production of his play The Quare Fellow in 1954 – which opened on Broadway the following year – he became an international celebrity, moving to New York and rubbing shoulders with the likes of Arthur Miller, Dylan Thomas, and the young Bob Dylan. Poor health, exacerbated by years of heavy drinking, led to his death in 1963.

As with much Irish literature, The Hostage runs the gamut from broad comedy to political commentary to heartbreak. The characters frequently break into song and dance – assisted by an on-stage pianist – with numbers ranging from music-hall favorites to IRA anthems to bawdy parody. It’s an overwhelming two-hours-plus experience, made even headier by the thick Irish dialect adopted by the actors.

The plot is simple: Pat, who runs the pub, is a former IRA commander who still has ties to the movement. Prime among them is an elderly IRA officer known as Monsewer who actually owns the property. In response to the scheduled execution of a young IRA soldier in Belfast, the IRA kidnaps a young English soldier who is brought to the house as a hostage. The action takes place in the afternoon and evening of one day.

Director Pat Patterson recounts his own experience in an early 1970s production of the play, when tensions between the English and Irish were on the rise. The program book also includes a brief history of the conflict between the two nations by John Haas, and a glossary of some of the unfamiliar terms and references in the script. It’s both helpful and interesting and I suggest reading it either before or after seeing the play.

Christopher Wallace as Pat, the Irish Resistance fighter and his consort Meg, played by Christine Kinlock. She sees right through him! – Photo by Steve Atkinson

The play has a large cast, with 15 characters including Kelly the pianist, a role shared by Julie Lawrence and Philip Dutton. (Lawrence took the role the night we saw the play.) Randy Welch, offstage for most of the production, provides bagpipe music for Monsewer.

Christopher Wallace plays Pat, the hard-drinking caretaker of the house. He is in some ways the moral center of the play, especially toward the end where he shows himself a good bit more humane than the fanatical nationalists around him. A member of the CHT board, Wallace has appeared in a number of productions – this is definitely one of his best performances yet.

“The Hostage” at Church Hill Theatre – Photo by Jane Jewell

Pat’s consort Meg is played by Christine Kinlock, most recently seen in Earl Lewin’s Hitched. Meg is the practical inn- and brothel-keeper who sees life clearly. Unlike her man and fellow innkeeper Pat, she is no longer full of dreams of past and future glory in the Irish Resistance. Though still an Irish patriot, she is very aware of day-to-day realities. She wants the rent paid! Yet Meg is still sympathetic, especially to young lovers. Kinlock brings out all these qualities very nicely. This represents a different kind of role than Kinlock usually plays and she definitely rises to the occasion.

Herb Ziegler returns to the Church Hill stage in the role of Monsewer, the kilted, bagpipe-playing former IRA officer who owns the house and is just a little touched in the head. He slowly marches into and out of the room, turning precise military corners and “reviewing” the house’s residents as if they were his platoon. It’s a character that could easily be overplayed, but Ziegler nicely balances the absurdity of the character with the serious political viewpoint he represents. His name, actually a title/nickname, is a satiric mispronunciation of the French honorific “monsieur“. And in another clearly intentional ironic twist, the Irish patriot character Monsewer is actually English born and bred. There’s no zealot like a convert! It’s good to see Herb back on the boards!

Miss Gilchrist (Hester Sachse) gets her moves on while innkeeper Meg (far right, Christine Kinlock) and the ladies of the house watch.  “The Hostage” at Chruch Hill Theatre –  Photo by Jane Jewell

The hostage after whom the play is named, an English soldier named Leslie Williams, is played by Max Hagan. Making his CHT debut. Hagan is convincing as the innocent victim of political gamesmanship, and he deploys a Cockney accent effectively – never quite surrendering clarity to authenticity. A nice job – let’s hope he returns to CHT often.

Maya McGrory is well cast as Teresa, the young maid who falls in love with the hostage Leslie. Petite and blonde, she looks perfect for the part of the orphaned country lass who gives her heart to the captured enemy soldier. Still a Queen Anne’s High School junior, McGrory has been a regular CHT cast member. She conveys shyness, sweetness, and innocence—or as much innocence as a maid in brothel can have. An excellent job.

Hester Sachse, executive director of CHT, takes to the stage as an overbearing social worker, Miss Gilchrest – and does a fine job in the part. She amusingly handles the transition from the character’s stiff-necked peddling of shallow pieties to her considerably looser persona after she’s had a few pints of Guinness.

“The Hostage” at Church Hill Theatre – Photo by Steve Atkinson

Howard Messick, also fresh from an appearance in Hitched, is cast as Mr. Mulleady, a civil servant who spends most of his time in the brothel. Paul Briggs is quite convincing as a fanatical IRA officer who brings the prisoner to the house. Charles Michael Moore and Kellan Paddy are cast as a gay couple, Rio Rita and Princess Grace, who liven the stage with bawdy song and dance – including “We’re Here Because We’re Queer.” They’re wittily sarcastic and dressed to the nines in sexy styles in bright colors.

Natalie Lane, in her first role at CHT, and Michelle Christopher, who has stage-managed numerous plays at the theater, play two of the prostitutes, Collette and Ropeen. They saunter around the stage in sexy, skimpy bustiers and negligees, the perfect image of world-weary prostitutes who have seen it all. Eamon Murphy, a graduate of the CHT Green Room Gang, does a good job as an IRA soldier sent to guard the hostage, and Troy Strootman, last seen on the CHT stage in Biloxi Blues, has an amusing part as a drunken Russian sailor.

Ordinarily, I might complain about some of the singers being a bit out of tune at times, but in the context of this play it’s exactly right – in fact, if they sounded too professional it’d undercut the effect. The Irish accents are thick enough that it’s sometimes hard to follow the dialogue. But it’s well worth listening – there’s plenty of meat underneath the colorful exterior.

Monsewer (Herb Zeigler) in his kilt lectures Pat (Christopher Wallace) while the hostage, Leslie, Max Hagan) looks on. “The Hostage” at Church Hill Theatre – Photo by Jane Jewell

All of the action takes place in one large barroom, with a stairway leading up to various rooms. However, a bed in the center of the stage represents the room where Leslie is kept. It’s a comparatively simple set, which the production makes good use of. Kudos to set designer Michael Whitehill.

On the whole, The Hostage is an exhilarating experience, with a talented cast delivering a script that ranges from the scurrilous to the poetic – sometimes hitting both extremes in a matter of moments. In the tradition of Irish writers from Johnathan Swift to James Joyce, the play is at once hilarious and deeply serious about the contradictions of human nature, especially as it manifests itself in the struggle for freedom.

The Hostage runs through Nov. 18, with performances at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and matinees at 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for CHT members and $10 for students – though the play’s language and subject matter may not be suitable for very young students. For more information or to make reservations, call 410-556-6003 or visit the theater website.

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Open Auditions for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

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Auditions for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee will be held at the Garfield Center for the Arts on Thursday, November 15th at 6pm, Saturday, November 17th at 10am and Tuesday, November 20th at 6pm. Directed by Gil Rambach, the play runs three weekends from February 8th-24th.

George, a professor at a small college, and his wife, Martha, have just returned home, drunk from a Saturday night party. Martha announces, amidst general profanity, that she has invited a young couple—an opportunistic new professor at the college and his shatteringly naïve new bride—to stop by for a nightcap. When they arrive the charade begins. The drinks flow and suddenly inhibitions melt. It becomes clear that Martha is determined to seduce the young professor, and George couldn’t care less. But underneath the edgy banter, which is crossfired between both couples, lurks an undercurrent of tragedy and despair. George and Martha’s inhuman bitterness toward one another is provoked by the enormous personal sadness that they have pledged to keep to themselves: a secret that has seemingly been the foundation for their relationship. In the end, the mystery in which the distressed George and Martha have taken refuge is exposed, once and for all revealing the degrading mess they have made of their lives.

Winner of the 1963 Tony Award for Best Play.

Actors needed:

Two Women, Ages 18-60

Two Men, Ages 25-50

Familiarity with the play is beneficial, and scripts will be available at the Garfield for your perusal. Be prepared to do cold readings from the script. Anyone interested in assisting backstage and with costumes or props is also encouraged to come to auditions.

If you have any questions about the production, please contact the Garfield (410-810-2060) or Executive Director Tess Hogans at thogans@garfieldcenter.org. The Garfield Center for the Arts is located at 210 High Street in Chestertown.

TAP Holds Auditions for Four Weddings and an Elvis

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The Tred Avon Players will open their 2019 season with Four Weddings and an Elvis, by Nancy Frick, in February. Auditions for the comedy will be held on Sunday, November 11th at 1:00 pm, and Monday, November 12th at 6:30 pm at the Oxford Community Center, 200 Oxford Road in Oxford, MD.

Four Weddings and an Elvis takes place in a kitschy Las Vegas wedding chapel that features and Elvis impersonator as a minister. Director John Norton is looking for four women and six men:

Sandy, the jaded wedding chapel owner (50-70)

Bev, the angry bride (20-50)

Stan, the angry groom (30-50)

Vanessa, a fading Hollywood starlet (40-60)

Bryce, a fading Hollywood star (40-60)

Fiona, the tough ex-con bride (30-40)

Marvin, the mild-mannered groom (40-60)

Fist, Fiona’s scary friend (30-50)

Lou, a gentle minister who was once an Elvis impersonator (50-70)

and of course, Elvis (ageless)

Readings will be cold from the script.

Please bring your calendar, and note any conflict dates between November 15, 2018 and February 24, 2019.

Four Weddings and an Elvis opens on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2019 and runs through February 24, 2019.

Please email any questions to John Norton at john@declarity.com

Academy Art Museum Celebrates Annual Members’ Exhibition: The Museum @ 60

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Sheryl Southwick, Happy Birthday, collage, 2018

The Academy Art Museum is celebrating The Annual Members’ Exhibition: The Museum @ 60 from   

November 16, 2018 through January 13, 2019 with a free reception and awards ceremony for the general public on Friday, November 16, 2018, 5:30 to 7 p.m.

The Academy Art Museum is celebrating its 60th Anniversary. In honor of this milestone, the Museum is suggesting the theme of “60” for its 2018 Members’ Exhibition. Museum members have been invited to get creative, imaginative and experimental around the suggested “60” theme in any medium. The mediums include drawing, painting (oil, acrylic, watercolor, pastel), graphics, photography, mixed media, film, jewelry, sculpture and other applications.

The new dates for the Members’ Exhibition will coincide with Thanksgiving and the holidays, during peak family visits and holiday cheer, as well as many opportunities for art sales. New York Artist Emily Lombardo will serve as Judge for the exhibition and present the exhibition awards.

Anke Van Wagenberg, Chief Curator at the Academy Art Museum, comments, “This is a particularly rich exhibition, showcasing the art of our members. The diversity of submissions increases the show’s interest among our visitors. This year, we are pleased that the show can coincide with the holidays so that families and friends of our artist members can enjoy the show during their visits between Thanksgiving and the New Year.”

The Members’ Exhibition is sponsored by the Talbot County Arts Council, the Maryland State Arts Council and the Star-Democrat. For further information, call 410-822-2787.

Mid-Shore Film Notes: The Wild Ponies of Chincoteague Heads to PBS Stations

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American Public Television is distributing The Wild Ponies of Chincoteague to PBS stations nationwide. The documentary, produced and directed by Mid-Shore filmmaker Kurt Kolaja, tells the story of the famed horses through the eyes of Sabrina Dobbins, a teenager with a dream to buy her own pony. It debuted at the Chesapeake Film Festival last year.

The stations will begin airing the film, at their discretion, starting in November. Check local listings or contact your station for times.