Auditions for The Hostage at Church Hill Theatre


The Hostage, by Brendan Behan, set in a bawdy boarding house in mid-20th century Dublin is coming to the Church Hill Theatre stage. A refuge where one-time Irish revolutionaries relive past glories and air grievances, the “house” becomes the logical setting for the unfolding of an IRA plot to exchange a callow British conscript – the Hostage – for an IRA youth sentence to be hanged in a Belfast jail. The IRA’s plot and the lives of the denizens in the “house” force everyone to struggle with their value systems, from morality and religion to honor and loyalty as they collide with life, love and hate. Production dates at CHT are November 2 through 18, with performances on Friday and Saturday at 8, Sundays at 2.

The Hostage has excellent roles for men and women, bringing to life the traditions of “the common man/woman” in British theater from Shakespeare to Pinter. Behan lays bare the joy, sorrow and undeniable humor that are at the core of life’s deepest values.

Auditions on the Church Hill Theatre main stage will be held on:
– Thursday, July 26 at 6:00 pm
– Saturday, July 28 at 11:00 am
– Tuesday, July 31 at 6:00 pm

Directed by Pat Patterson, those who audition will be asked to participate in “cold” readings from the script. Although The Hostage is not a musical, auditioners may be asked to sing a verse of song of their choosing, such as “Danny Boy” or “When the Saints go Marching In”, without accompaniment. On-stage experience is not essential to be part of The Hostage!

Characters break down as follows (ages refer to the age that the actor can portray):
Pat: (male 50s & up) Gregarious ex-IRA fighter; now the manager of the boarding house
Meg: (female 30s-50s) Runs the house. She & Pat have been “almost married” many years
Monsewer: (male 60s-70s) Dotty owner of the house. Plays the bagpipes! Raised “British” but switched to the IRA “cause”in 1917, Speaks a bit of Gaelic
Teresa: (female 18-early 20s) a country girl, housemaid, cares for the Hostage
Leslie: (male 18-20s) a young, cockney British soldier – the Hostage
Mr. Mulleady: (male 30s-up) a seedy but proper (sometimes) boarder
Miss Gilchrist: (female 30s-up) Mulleady’s “social worker” friend
Coletteand Ropeen: (female, one young and one older) prostitutes
Rio Rita and Princess Grace: (male any age) “male tarts”
An IRA Officer/extremist (any gender; 20s – up)
The Pianist: (any age) accompanies the singing and dancing and sometimes more
Others: Several roles for individuals (any age/gender) to play roles as house residents, IRA fighters, British military etc.

Contact the Church Hill Theatre office at 410-556-6003 or reach out directly to Pat Patterson at 571-215-7973 or with any questions.

Green Room Gang to Perform at Church Hill Theatre


The sounds of singing and dancing are filling the Church Hill Theatre as talented local youngsters rehearse for their productions of Winnie the Pooh, Kids and Shrek the Musical, Jr. that they will perform on Thursday, July 19 through Saturday, July 21. For the past nineteen years, Green Room Gang campers have honed their acting, singing and dancing skills to produce fully staged musical productions. Winnie the Pooh, Kids is adapted for children from the classic book by A. A. Milne and Disney Film. Shrek the Musical, Jr. is based on the book by William Steig, the 2001 film and the Broadway musical featuring Sutton Foster, which tells the tale about an ogre who finds happiness.

Photo: Members of the cast of Shrek the Musical, Jr. From left to right, they are Eamon Murphy as Farquaad, Abby Reynolds as Fiona, Caleb Ford as Shrek, and Lindsey Jones as Donkey. Photo by Steve Atkinson.

Becca Van Aken directs younger performers in Winnie the Pooh, Kids and Kyle Lindenberger directs the middle and high students in Shrek the Musical, Jr. Interns Mark Christie and Iz Clemens ably assist both directors in all aspects of the classes and rehearsals.  Production staff includes Tom Rhodes, Carmen Grasso for set construction, Tina Johnson and Erma Johnson who are creating the costumes, with Nic Carter and Kat Melton working on lighting.  Volunteer interns are Courtney Adams, Sydney Christian, Olivia Giuliano, Jesse Goodman, Lynsey Hildebrand, Christina Lewis, Maya McGrory, Elliott Morotti and Jen Johnson.  Ginger Ellis is stage manager for the Jr. group and Lynsey Hildebrand does the same duty for the Sr. group.  Shelagh Grasso and Sylvia Maloney serve as producers and mentors.  Many parents and other volunteers helped with costumes, sets, and props, making this annual show a real community effort.

Performances will be on the evenings of Thursday, July 19 and Friday, July 20 at 7 pm and on Saturday, July 21 at 2 pm. Tickets are $10 for adults and  $5 for students. Reservations can be made by calling the box office at (410) 556-6003.

The Annual Cherry Tree Young Writers’ Conference July 18 and 19


The Cherry Tree Young Writers’ Conference, which invites high school students to Washington College to work with esteemed writers, will feature readings on July 18 and 19 highlighting the conference’s faculty. On July 18, James Allen Hall, conference director and director of the Rose O’Neill Literary House, will join poet Jehanne Dubrow in a reading, while H.G. Carrillo and Julie Marie Wade will read on July 19. Both events, held at the Lit House, begin at 7 p.m. and are free and open to the public.

Jehanne Dubrow was born in Italy and grew up in Yugoslavia, Zaire, Poland, Belgium, Austria, and the United States. She is the author of six poetry collections, including most recently Dots & Dashes (Southern Illinois University Press, 2017), winner of the Crab Orchard Series Open Competition Award, The Arranged Marriage (University of New Mexico Press, 2015), Red Army Red (Northwestern University Press, 2012), and Stateside (Northwestern University Press, 2010). She is a co-editor of the anthologies The Book of Scented Things: 100 Contemporary Poems about Perfume and Still Life with Poem: Contemporary Natures Mortes in Verse (Literary House Press, 2014 and 2016). Her poems, essays, and book reviews have appeared in The Southern ReviewNew England ReviewThe Hudson ReviewPleiades, and Virginia Quarterly Review. She is an associate professor of creative writing at the University of North Texas.

Top: Jehanne Dubrow and James Allen Hall; Bottom: H.G. Carrillo and Julie Marie Wade

James Allen Hall is an associate professor of English at Washington College, where he also serves as director of the Rose O’Neill Literary House. His book of lyric personal essays, I Liked You Better Before I Knew You So Well, won Cleveland State University Poetry Center’s Essay Collection Award. Also a poet, Hall is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation of the Arts, the University of Arizona Poetry Center, and others. His first book of poems, Now You’re the Enemy (University of Arkansas Press, 2008), won awards from the Lambda Literary Foundation, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the Fellowship of Southern Writers. His work has appeared in Best American Poetry 2012A Public SpaceThe American Poetry ReviewBoston ReviewNew England ReviewStory QuarterlyBennington Review, and in other national literary magazines and journals.

H.G. Carrillo is the author of Loosing My Espanish, a novel. His short stories have appeared in Kenyon ReviewConjunctionsThe Iowa ReviewGlimmer TrainNinth LetterSlice and other journals and publications. He is the 2018 Writer in Residence for The Kratz Center for Creative Writing at Goucher College, and sits on the executive board of directors of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation.

Julie Marie Wade is the author of ten collections of poetry and prose, including Wishbone: A Memoir in Fractures, Small Fires, When I Was Straight, Catechism: A Love Story, and SIX. Her newest collections are Same-Sexy Marriage: Poems (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2018) and The Unrhymables: Collaborations in Prose (Wild Patience Books, 2018), co-authored with Denise Duhamel. Wade teaches in the creative writing program at Florida International University and reviews regularly for Lambda Literary Review and The Rumpus. She is married to Angie Griffin and lives on Hollywood Beach.

For more information on this and other events, view our annual Literary Events Calendar brochure here: The 2018-19 brochure is forthcoming this summer. For more information on the Literary House, visit

For more information on the Cherry Tree Young Writers’ Conference, visit

KCAC Announces FY19 Officers, Names Carla Massoni to Board


The Kent County Arts Council (KCAC) elected the following officers at its June 10, 2018 annual meeting to serve two-year terms:

Clark Bjorke, president
Charles Taylor, vice president
Meredith Davies Hadaway, secretary
Jason Claire, treasurer

The board also unanimously welcomed Carla Massoni of Massoni Art Gallery to a three-year term, effective July 1, filling a vacancy created by long-time member Marilee Schumann’s retirement.

“I am honored that Carla agreed to join our board,” said KCAC Director John Schratwieser, praising Massoni’s three-plus decades of commitment to arts and culture in Kent County. “She is one of those people who when we first met, I knew she ‘got it’. She shares the KCAC’s vision for the role of the arts in education, community development and economic vitality, and we shared the desire to maximize this role for the future of Kent County and its residents.”

Massoni has over 40 years of experience as an entrepreneur. A resident of Chestertown, Md., since 1985, she has been actively involved in community arts and humanities projects. She established a premier contemporary craft and fine art gallery (Massoni-Sommer) in 1990 and continues to provide educational programming and exhibitions featuring established contemporary artists at MASSONIART. In 2016, she opened CREATE in Chestertown with five partners – all award-winning craft artists.

Previous career highlights include: partnership in a pioneering human resources firm; founder and partner of a training program and school for women re-entering the job market, and owner of a boutique hotel and restaurant. She was the 2014 recipient of the William Donald Shaefer Helping People Award for Kent County.

Carla Massoni was eager to step up to support the Arts Council’s work. “I have long admired John Schratwieser. His commitment to the arts and the communities he serves is inspiring,” said Massoni. “I have great faith that John will continue Leslie Raimond’s dedication to serve those in Kent County who are often overlooked. John’s skills have been developed in numerous arts organizations and his work as Executive Director of Maryland Citizens for the Arts enables him to move with credibility on the both the state and national stage. The board he is developing is diverse and skilled. I look forward to working with all under his leadership.”

She continued by saying, “My particular focus will be the next generation. I hope to work closely with Kent County Public School teachers and students. There is no reason why Kent County cannot have the BEST schools in the State of Maryland. The arts provide the STEAM for the engine of social progress.”

Carla was a founding member on the Board of Directors for the Sultana Education Foundation; a member of the Board of Trustees at the Academy Art Museum in Easton, Md.; a member of the Board of the National Music Festival; a founding member of the Greater Chestertown Initiative; a member of the Washington College SANDBOX Advisory Board; and served on the Advisory Board of the Art of Stewardship Foundation.

Massoni founded the Women Helping Women annual concert to benefit migrant workers in Marydel, Md., and served as Southeast regional representative for the Beyond War Foundation’s Breakthrough Project US/Soviet Union. She previously served as a juror for the Academy Art Museum most recently for their 17th Annual Craft Show, has been a juror for numerous arts institutions in Maryland, and served as a juror for Philadelphia Museum of Art 2017 Craft Show.

The Kent County Arts Council was founded in 1975 and is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts service organization. KCAC’s mission is to invest, infuse, and inspire the arts for all in Kent County.

The High & Wides at the Riverfront Concert Series July 26


Back by popular demand,the legendary High & Wides rock the stage at the Riverfront Concert series on Thursday, July 26.  Hosted by the Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience at Washington College, the final 2018 riverfront concert is free and open to the public. The program begins at 6:30 p.m. on the lawn of the Custom House at 101 S. Water Street, Chestertown.

We invite you to bring friends and family (all ages are welcome), a picnic, and your own chairs or blanket. Or just relax on the grass and partake of free lemonade and cookies. Either way, come and enjoy the energetic sounds of this innovative band recently described by the Washington Post as “apostles of hillbilly boogie.”

The High & Wides, like the large-haul trains for which the band is named, project a big, driving sound—mountain musical traditions re-imagined for a new century. Formed on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in 2015, the band makes music about arson and hourly motels, dystopian love songs, and ballads of violent history. The High & Wides draw from members’ extensive backgrounds in bluegrass and take the music to a place all their own, recalling an era when old-time, rockabilly, and proto-rock’n’roll coexisted in a murky soup of hillbilly string band music. The High & Wides include Marc Dykeman (guitar and vocals), Sam Guthridge (banjo, mandolin and vocals), Nate Grower (fiddle), and Mike Buccino (upright bass). Their new album, titled Lifted, was released this spring to popular acclaim.

The Starr Center’s riverfront concerts — a summer tradition for the past eight years — present American music in all its breadth and diversity, with performers in a variety of genres from across the region and beyond. As part of each event, Starr Center program manager Michael Buckley, who is also a longtime radio host on WRNR-FM, leads a Q&A with the visiting artists.

For more information, visit or contact Michael Buckley,, 410-810-7156. In case of rain, the concert will take place in Hynson Pavilion, Wilmer Park.  Special support for the summer concert series is provided by Yerkes Construction and Washington College Student Events Board.

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at

6th Annual Art in Bloom Supported Camp Scholarships


People’s Choice Award Winner, “Fit to be Tied” by Jessica Coner

On Sunday, June 24, the RiverArts Galleries were filled with floral arrangements inspired by the artworks exhibited by RiverArts’ June exhibition, “Fine Arts and Contemporary Craft,” a multi-media juried show of paintings and 3D artwork.

Guests at the champagne reception viewed floral arrangements featuring everything from sunflowers to a giraffe sanctuary to a design incorporating part of a combine, while enjoying gourmet hors d’oeuvres, and a raffle featuring garden-themed gifts. Participating floral designers were Ronn Akins, Sydney Brookes, Zane Carter, Jessica Coner, Frank Creegan, Darla Downer, Galena Blooms, Inspired Creations artist Kelley Thayer, Latrina, and Carol Neimand. The People’s Choice award went to Jessica Coner, for her design, “Fit to Be Tied.”

The event raised $1000 in support of the RiverArts Summer Camp scholarship fund, enabling 6 children to participate in art camp. Sponsors included Figg’s Ordinary, The Finishing Touch, Kingstown Farm, Home and Garden, and The White Swan Tavern.

For more information on RiverArts Events, Summer Camp, Exhibits and Classes, visit, or call RiverArts at 410-778-6300.  Gallery: 315 High Street, Suite 106. Open Tuesday-Friday, 11-5:30, First Friday open until 8pm, Saturday, 10-5:30, Sunday 11 am – 3 pm.

Garfield Announces 2018 Summer Performance Series for Children


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.

Fredy Granillo

This year the Playmakers are putting together Alice in Wonderland and some pieces of the Hedgelawn performances will be incorporated into their play in August. On Wednesday, July 18th at 2 pm, the Garfield Center will be hosting a presentation by Arianna Ross about “The Magic of the Sea”. Discover the many magical, mysteries of water and how the Indonesians rely on it for their existence. Explore life above and under sea level through song, story, and dance. Become a manta ray and a shark as you listen and participate in folk tales and true stories from Indonesia. Students gain a better understanding of world cultures and marine biology in this storytelling assembly!

Wednesday, July 25th at 1 pm, the Garfield is hosting a mural painting workshop with local artist Fredy Granillo. Granillo is a Salvadoran musician, painter and ceramist. He graduated from El Salvador’s Autonomous National University in 2012 with a degree in ceramics. In this workshop he will be leading the Playmakers campers (and any other participants) in a large-scale mural painting exercise. The finished product will serve as one of the main backdrops during the Playmakers performance of Alice in Wonderland.

Marti Gould Cummings

A workshop on The History of Stage Makeup concludes the series on Wednesday, August 1st at 1 pm. Lead by Marti Gould Cummings, participants will engage in a makeup application demonstration as well as a lecture on the many different roles that makeup has played on stage over the years. Cummings grew up on a small farm in Kennedyville. At the age of 17, he moved to NYC and appeared in the Off-Broadway-Drama Desk nominated show “Twist,” which threw him into the drag comedy scene. His career as a drag artist has taken him all over the world. He has played sold out shows at 54 Below and through his talk show “Stage Fright,” he has interviewed hundreds of Broadway stars, sharing the stage at his shows with over 20 Tony Award winners and nominees. Through his drag persona Cummings has promoted awareness for many LGBT charities including The Ali Forney Center, GMHC, The Hetrick Martin Institute, and Bailey House. He is currently co-producing and starring in “Shade: Queens of NYC” on Fusion and serving as President of the Hells Kitchen Democrats.

These shows are family-friendly and open to everyone. Tickets are $5 for the Magic of the Sea performance on July 18th and $10 for the performances on July 25th and August 1st (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 “Alice in Wonderland” shows, scheduled for Friday, August 10th at 7 pm, Saturday, August 11th at 7 pm and Sunday, August 12th 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

Zach Lambert Wins The Mainstay 2018 Music Scholarship


Rock Hall, Md. . . . .Zachariah Lambert, a recent graduate of Kent Island High School, has won The Mainstay’s 2018 music scholarship competition.  Zach will perform at the venue’s Rendezvous au Cabaret fundraising gala on July 14 this year at Hodson Hall Commons on the Washington College Campus.

The Mainstay – the premier live music performance venue in Rock Hall, Kent County, opened its $3,000 scholarship competition to senior music students attending a public school in Kent, Cecil and Queen Anne’s counties who plan to pursue music study in higher education.  The scholarship is funded by the proceeds from The Mainstay’s July 14 gala.

Zach has played the guitar for 10 years and intends to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Jazz Studies and minor in Music Industry with a goal toward becoming a professional musician.  He has been part of his high school’s jazz band, concert band, pit orchestra and marching band, playing the guitar, trombone and percussion, bass guitar and snare drum respectively.

His numerous community activities include playing with the Community Jazz Band at Anne Arundel Community College and Priddy Music Academy as a leader of bands, and playing at area festivals and fundraisers for local charities.

“It’s an honor to receive the Mainstay Scholarship,” said Zach.  “As a guitar player, I hope to continue the legacy of great jazz musicians like Charlie Byrd.”

In addition to letters of recommendations from their primary music teachers and letters outlining their experience, interests and plans for further study, each candidate in the competition submitted an audition video posted to YouTube to showcase two pieces of music of contrasting styles.  Judging was based on technical abilities and musical interpretation.

The Mainstay’s program manager, John Thomas, led the scholarship committee judging the competition. “Zach displays a lot of maturity in his playing.  Based on that and the sparkling recommendations from his mentors, I think Zach is a great example of the kind of young ambitious musician we want to be supporting with this scholarship,” said Thomas.

In addition to presenting an eclectic mix of extraordinary live music at its popular venue in Rock Hall, The Mainstay is committed to providing educational experiences and opportunities to students.  Carol Colgate, managing director, notes that “music education develops other attributes as well, such as creativity, discipline, perseverance, composure and collaboration.  We hope the scholarship encourages and fosters not only a high level of technical and performance abilities, but a lifelong appreciation of music for a whole generation of students. “

To purchase admittance to the Rendezvous au Cabaret gala to hear Zach’s spotlight performance, in addition to the Classical Conservatory Jazz Band with vocalist Lena Seikaly, please go to:, or call, 410-639-9133.  Food by Occasions Catering, live and silent auctions, room for dancing, a Mainstay libations bar, and valet parking are all part of the evening’s offerings and festivities.

Free MUSICAMP Performance on July 13th


MUSICAMP returns to the Garfield Center for the Arts in Chestertown for its sixth year, featuring local talent ages 8 to 15. This year the production is, “Steamboatin’: A Musical Journey Along the Mississippi.” Written by Jill & Dr. Michael Gallina and directed by Julie Lawrence.  Join us in this family friendly show as we celebrate the advent of the steamboat in the southern United States during the 19th century.

About the playwrights: Dr. Michael and Jill Gallina have achieved national prominence as award winning composers of musical plays and choral music for youth in elementary, middle, junior and senior high schools. Their clever creations in story and song have consistently won awards from the Parents Choice Foundation, American Library Service and ASCAP. Their music has been featured and performed on the Disney Channel, The World’s Largest Concert, PBS, The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Sing for the Cure, The New York Philharmonic, The Boston Pops, and in a documentary on children’s rights for the United Nations. In addition, the Gallinas are recipients of the Stanley Austin Alumni Award from the College of New Jersey for their many accomplishments in the field of composition.

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 Rachel Craig, art consultant Charlice Culvert and counselor Paul Cambardella.

Support our local talent with your attendance and applause! The show on Friday, July 13th 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 United Way of Kent County and Mr. Charles Lerner.

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