Baltimore 2018/2019 Season In Review by Amy Bernstein
The Baltimore region continues to punch above its weight when it comes to producing great theatre—the new, the tried and true, and the absurd. This round-up of new work and regional premieres produced this season is not all-encompassing, but it conveys the breadth and depth of talent and innovation taking place in between the bigger markets of Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
Callie Kimball’s Things That Are Round received a world premiere at the Studio Theatre at the Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Center in Howard Community College. Directed by Baltimore-based Lola B. Pierson, herself a prolific presence on our theatre scene, the play features a dentist specializing in existential terror and an aspiring opera singer who just might be the worst babysitter ever. The women-centric two-hander riffs on Beckettian absurdity.
Bob Bartlett’s The Accidental Bear was produced at The Avenue Laundromat in Annapolis—the venue is an actual laundromat, not a cutely named theatre. The story revolves around the accident-prone Bear, a guy, and Chance, a gal who’s just there to do her laundry. As one reviewer noted, “You can smell the lint in the air.”
Everything is Wonderful by Chelsea Marcantel is a story of loss and seeking redemption. The production at Everyman Theatre in Baltimore centers around an Amish community who must dig deep into their own “well of forgiveness” to cope with violence and loss in their midst.
A new musical, Judy and the General, written by long-time playwright but first-time musical creator Rosemary Frisino-Toohey debuted at Spotlighters Theatre in Baltimore. It’s a flip take on the Biblical Book of Judith—rife with love, death, sex, and violence. Frisino-Toohey collaborated with local arranger Michael Tan to bring this new musical to life.
Mark Scharf had two local productions this season. An adaption of The Time Machine by H.G. Wells included a large, kid-friendly cast and was produced by the Twin Beach Players in North Beach, Maryland. Scharf’s The Quickening was a new co-production between The Collaborative Theatre and Fells Point Corner Theatre.
This Little Light by Jennifer Faletto received a regional premiere at Venus Theatre in Laurel, MD. Billed as a comedy, the play explores the life of the same person over 400 years through the meandering mind of a millennial who is waking for the first time to her human needs for meaning and understanding.
Lola B. Pierson created Putin on Ice in collaboration with The Acme Corporation and Single Carrot Theatre, which hosted the show. This world premiere offered the world a new look at Putin, blending counterfeit ancient texts, falsified scientific data, and manipulated video evidence to create something entirely new and strange.