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Out on Stage

Out on Stage

Friday, June 24, 2016

Realer than Real

Baltimore native stars as Baltimore native in Toby’s Hairspray

As Hairspray continues to “unleash the beat” on local audiences at Toby’s Dinner Theatre, Baltimore OUTloud recently sat down with actress Kelli Blackwell to discuss her role as Motormouth Maybelle. This marks the third time the Baltimore native has played the lovable force to be reckoned with on stage. Blackwell shared both her insight, as well as the cultural impact, of the character.

Last Thursday night, I was treated to a wonderful dose of Shakespeare in one of the most innovated ways imaginable – a bingo game. Chesapeake Shakespeare Company hosted a group of five theatre artists (and one guest) in their production of A Fool’s Paradise. This independent group boasts 30 Shakespeare scenes in 60 minutes all using the devise of a bingo game. Audience members call out the numbers, which are associated with various Shakespearean scenes and monologues. Stand-out performances were “Titus Andronicus: A One Person Titus summary” where the actors literally performed a “dumb show” of the bloody plot of one of Shakespeare’s most violent plays. Another featured performance was Logan Davidson’s portrayal of Bottom / Pyramus in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I still feel haunted by Lisa Hodsoll’s “Out Damn Spot” speech from Macbeth. Sabrina Sikes Thorton’s Cordelia from King Lear was heartbreaking. Finally, Jenna Rossman’s Gloucester from the same play was arresting. Director and actor Sarah Curnoles, whose brilliance and ingenuity brought this piece to life, round out the company.

Forty-four years ago, Virginia native F. Scott Black had a dream to bring quality theatre and exciting performing opportunities for artists to the Baltimore area in the summer. He, along with his other colleagues at Essex Community College (now CCBC), began this experiment called, Cockpit in Court Summer Theatre. While theatre trends and tastes have changed over the last four decades, countless thespian folk (including this writer) walked the boards of the Cockpit stage that has expanded over the years to include three venues on the Baltimore County Campus. At one time boasting eight performances a season, which included everything from Shakespeare to Rogers & Hammerstein, now, Cockpit presents five productions a season. Under the leadership of Cockpit veteran actor, director, and choreographer, James Hunnicutt, this season is boasts some very exciting and crowd-pleasing theatrical offerings.

Grab your Aqua Net and teasing comb because Hairspray returns to Maryland this month at Toby’s Dinner Theater. Actor and performer Larry Munsey, recently sat down with Baltimore OUTloud to discuss his return as Edna Turnblad, the lovable Baltimore housewife who has charmed the hearts of both Charm City and the world.

Cirque du Soleil’s “Toruk – The First Flight” soars into Baltimore this month bringing with it a stunning cavalcade of vivid characters from the world of Avatar. The mythical tale, set thousands of years before the events in James Cameron’s Academy Award-nominated film, tells the story of Ralu, Entu, and Tsyak who must search out Toruk in order to save the sacred Tree of Souls from a natural catastrophe.

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