Open Auditions for the Musical “Animal Crackers”

Auditions for the Garfield Center for the Arts’ production of the musical comedy Animal Crackers will be held at the Garfield on June 26th at 7pm, June 28th at 7pm and June 30th at 11am. No previous acting experience is required. This musical marks Jennifer Kafka Smith’s directing debut at the Garfield, after being seen on stage in many productions including My Fair Lady, Short Attention Span Theatre, and Sylvia. Kafka Smith has also served as the props mistress for nearly every Garfield Center production since the spring of 2016.

In Animal Crackers, the well-known explorer and hunter Captain Spaulding has just returned from Africa, and is being welcomed home with a lavish party at the estate of influential society matron Mrs. Rittenhouse when a valuable painting goes missing. The intrepid Captain Spaulding attempts to solve the crime with the help of his silly secretary Horatio Jamison, while sparring with the anarchic Signor Emanuel Ravelli and his nutty sidekick The Professor.

“Delicious… A nonstop riot – a profusion of puns, gags, and hysteria with only an occasional pause (or maybe, gasp) for breath.” – The Washington Tribune

– Prepare an up-tempo song either from a Broadway musical or from the era of the 1920/30s. Please bring sheet music. We need to hear you sing with piano accompaniment.
– Come prepared to move. Please wear closed shoes and clothing appropriate for dancing.

Director Kafka Smith is seeking a cast of 14, with some extras. Age is not a key factor. The cast includes:

Captain Jeffrey T. Spaulding (Groucho) – He is funny and fierce, with incredible verbal dexterity. He’s the anchor of the team; a charming wiseguy. A strong character actor, must be extremely comfortable with physical comedy and be able to sing and dance. This does not require a Groucho impersonation, but certain characteristics of voice, movement, and delivery are part of the role. Tenor.

Horatius Jamison (Zeppo) – The straight man to Groucho’s antics. Tenor.

Emanuel Ravelli (Chico) – Ravelli is a band leader; the musical actor in the ensemble. Ideally seeking an actor who plays the piano and/or other instruments. A loose cannon with great improv sensibility. A character singer. Must be able to speak with old world Italian accent. Baritone.

The Professor (Harpo) – Has an uninhibited, playful, childlike demeanor with an irrepressible libido, seems oblivious but knows what is going on around him, carefree and innocent he does not observe boundaries of class, status, gender, age, and property, steals things but it seems like more of a game than a malicious or desperate act, must be extremely adept at physical comedy, while an exact impersonation of Harpo is not necessary certain characteristics of movement and delivery are a part of the role, experience with mime/clowning a plus. (Male/Female).

Mrs. Rittenhouse – The host of the party, a wealthy society matron who is always put together, a real dame, money is no object, preserving and asserting her status is an ongoing occupation; must have strong dance/movement ability and be adept at physical comedy; strong vocal skills, able to sing in the 30s style; Mezzo-Soprano.

Hives – Head Butler of Mrs. Rittenhouse. Hives is extremely witty and great with status. Verging on stuffy. Very Jeeves-like the servant who can insult you to your face, but you take it as a compliment. Baritone.

M. Doucet – Doucet is an art-loving Frenchman/woman, cultured and dripping with arrogance, a bit of a drama queen. Tenor/Soprano. (Male/Female)

Arabella Rittenhouse – Arabella is Mrs. Rittenhouse’s daughter, an educated debutant who has been out in society for two months, smart as a whip and knows what she wants, she and Wally Winston make a sophisticated and erudite couple. Soprano.

Mrs. Whitehead – Mrs. Whitehead is a neighbor and rival of Mrs. Rittenhouse, a conniving socialite trying to thwart Mrs. Rittenhouse’s success, she’s sharp, smart, sarcastic and clever, lacks ethics and morals. Soprano.

Grace Carpenter – Grace is Mrs. Whitehead’s sister and partner in crime, sexy and worldly-wise. Soprano.

Wally Winston – Wally Winston is a hard-working newspaper columnist, sexy, sarcastic and full of charm, an intellectual with a great love of life. Tenor.

John Parker – John Parker is an earnest young lover. A traditional leading man interested in Mary Stewart. Tenor.

Mary Stewart – Mary Stewart is the earnest ingénue, has a big heart and believes in a brighter future. Soprano.

Roscoe W. Chandler – Roscoe W. Chandler is a wealthy, single tycoon, has millions, supports the arts and wants to marry Mrs. Rittenhouse; must be able to do some physical comedy and have strong movement skills. Baritone.

Other roles include: Sgt. Hennessy, Second Policeman, Dream Dancer, Scouts, Harem Girls, Ensemble

All parts will sing and dance (move).

Performances of Animal Crackers are scheduled for three weekends: September 14-16, September 21-23, and September 28-30, Fridays and Saturdays at 8PM, and Sundays at 3PM.

For more information visit garfieldcenter.org or call the GCA Box Office at 410-810-2060. The Garfield Center for the Arts is located at 210 High Street in Chestertown, Maryland.

Free Crashbox Theatre Troupe Performance June 21

The talented performers in the Crashbox Theatre Troupe have been selected to perform at Walt Disney World in Florida on June 27th. The Troupe is a selected group of performers ages 11 to 18 from across the Eastern Shore who have shown their talents and dedication to theatre and the performing arts. Throughout the year, the Crashbox Theatre Company has provided them with experiences, instruction, Master Classes, performances, lessons, and workshops to help them further expand and build their skills and talents. The group is led by Executive Director Richard A. Vitanovec and his wife Amber. To prepare for the Walt Disney World performance, the Troupe also worked with Ellen Grunden on music and Erinne Lewis on the choreography.

While at Walt Disney World, Vitanovec also has arranged for the Crashbox Troupe to have two workshops with the Disney Theatrical Team. Vitanovec explains, “The performers in the Crashbox Troupe have worked extremely hard on their performance for Walt Disney World. Through everyone’s hard work, we also received a personal memo wishing Crashbox Troupe the best for our Disney performance from Lin-Manuel Miranda, writer and composer of the hit musical Hamilton. As director of the Crashbox Troupe, I could not be prouder of each of these student’s accomplishments, dedication, and talent. I can not wait for “The Happiest Place on Earth” to get even happier with the energy and talents of these wonderful young men and women.”

The Crashbox Theatre Troupe is offering a free preview performance on Thursday, June 21 at 7:30 pm and is open to the public. Doors will open at 7:00 pm. The performance will be held in the Cadby Theatre on the Chesapeake College campus in the Kent Humanities Building. The performance is approximately 30 minutes long and features a compilation of Disney music from Disney films, Disney on Broadway, as well as Disney Park Exclusive music. Seating is limited, so early arrival is suggested.

For more information contact Jen Wagner at 443-521-4084 or email at crashboxtheatremd@gmail.com.

Candleberry Gallery Hosts Cambridge Artists

An eclectic assortment of art by the members of the Wednesday Morning Artists of Cambridge will be on exhibit at the Candleberry Gallery in St. Michaels during the month of July. The gallery show will include work by painters, photographers, writers, glass artists, sculptors and textile artists.

“Candleberry Gallery is generous in scheduling the Wednesday Morning Artists for the second year,” said WMA spokesperson Nancy Snyder. “We have a talented and vibrant group of artists in the Cambridge area and it is wonderful to be able to show their work during the lively tourist season in St. Michaels.”

WMA has gathered at more than a dozen artists who will show their work in Candleberry Gallery’s upstairs venue at 210 Talbot Street where you can see the exhibit and cast your vote for the show’s People’s Choice Award.

“The lineup is exciting,” Ms. Snyder said. “For example, well-known basket maker Heidi Wetzel has been busy creating brand new weavings for this show; Peg McCormack’s animal sculptures are exquisitely rendered; painter Betty Papson mixes media to produce creative romantic art; a number of well-known photographers are presenting fine, high-quality works; Will Dennehy’s portraits are breathtakingly realistic; Terry White is bringing her unusual pencil drawings and fanciful dolls; and Paul Winter’s fused glass creations are not to be missed. With too many artists to list all here, this is just a sampling of what you will find. Make the Candleberry your destination during July.”

“We are thrilled to host the Wednesday Morning Artists for a second annual show,” said gallery owner Marianne Stallsmith. “This gallery exhibit is a highlight of summer for us. We can’t wait to see the show the folks in the Wednesday Morning Artists will create.”

WMA artists meets at Creek Deli in Cambridge at 8 am on Wednesday Mornings and welcomes anyone interested on a Wednesday morning or to an e-mail ncsnyder@aol.com or call 410.463.0148.

The gallery is open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information about Candleberry Gallery and this show, call 410.745.2420.

Last Chance to See Pippin at Church Hill Theatre

The Church Hill Theatre’s production of Pippin continues the international crowd-pleasing reputation of this fantastic musical.  With music by Stephen Schwartz, and a book by Roger O. Hirson, the CHT revival, directed by Sylvia Maloney is not to be missed!  The talented cast, Musical Director Ray Remesch, and Choreographer Cavin Moore present a production that is wowing audiences and has garnered praise from Peter Heck in his recent review.

The Leading Player (Mackenzie Campbell) holds aloft the Crown of Charlemagne whilst Pippin (Mark Wiening, left) and a guard (Max Brennan) look on.

Both Pippin and his father, Charlemagne, are historic figures from the early Middle Ages. In the fictional plot, with the help of a troupe of minstrel players, Pippin embarks on a quest to find life’s purpose. The “outstanding” Mackenzie Campbell portrays the Leading Player, head of the mysterious troupe. Mark Wiening plays Pippin and Bob Chauncey is Charlemagne.  Heck noted Wiening’s “strong voice and solid acting chops” along with Chauncey’s ability to “bring out [his] character’s comic side”.  Becca Van Aken “gives her character a solid reality” playing Pippin’s love interest, Catherine, with Debra Ebersole, “a highlight of the first act” playing his grandmother, Berthe. Bryce Sullivan plays Pippin’s half-brother Lewis, Lori Armstrong is “deliciously wicked” as Pippin’s stepmother Fastrada, with Cullen Williams plays Catherine’s son, Theo.

The “energy of the production gets a definite boost” from the ensemble. Comprised of many young people from the area, they are the performance troupe that take on all other characters; they are Delaney McCreary, Grace McCreary, Maya McGrory, Ellie Merton, Katie Staley, Erin Tomassoni, Quenton Bergenholtz, Max Brennan, John Crook, Elliott Morotti, and Cody Turner.

L-R: Bryce Sullivan, Cody Turner, Delaney McCreary, Erin Tomassoni, Quentin Bergenholtz, Katie Staley, Mackenzie Campbell, Mark Wiening (behind), Maya McGrory, Cullen Williams, John Crook, Ellie Merton, Grace McCreary, Elliott Morotti.

Live music is a key part of CHT musicals. Ray Remesch, who conducts from the piano (and sometimes with a guitar), leads a talented orchestra. Peter Cailloux plays the French horn, Susan Dabney and Jane Godfrey are on violins, Ron Demby shares his talent on reeds, David James and Rich Matties take on trumpet and trombone, respectively, while Jordon Stanley handles percussion, with Quinn Parsley on bass.

The production staff and crew provide additional theater magic. Sam Angelini, Steve Atkinson (also the production photographer), and Jim Johnson share duties as Stage Managers. Brian Draper created the Art Set Design and collaborated with Michael Whitehill on set design and execution. Doug Kaufmann helms lighting whilst Tina Johnson, Erma Johnson, and Liz Clarke create the costumes. Christian Graham serves as Magic Consultant

Pippin runs through June 24th, with performances at 8 pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and at 2 pm on Sundays.  Reservations (strongly advised in advance) can be made by calling the box office at 410-556-6003 or online at www.churchhilltheatre.org

Author John Reisinger to Speak at St. Michaels Library June 30

Local author John Reisinger will present excerpts from his latest work of fiction, The Secrets Behind the Structures, on Saturday, June 30, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. at the St. Michaels Library. He will share the bizarre facts about popular travel destinations. The world’s great landmarks and travel destinations have stories to tell and secrets to reveal. Even the most inviting tourist spots have been shaped by geniuses, dictators, politics, upheavals, con men, and just plain weirdness. Your next vacation spot just might have more to it than you realize.

John Reisinger lives in Easton, and is a former Coast Guard officer and a retired engineer. He is the author of a dozen books on historical themes, such as Master Detective, and the Max Hurlock Roaring 20s Mysteries. He has given presentations on various subjects to college classes, civic groups, and the local cable network. John has appeared on a segment of the Travel Channel’s Mysteries at the Museum as well as WJZ-TV and WBOC-TV. For more information call 410 745-5877.

Short Attention Span Theatre Opens At The Garfield Center June 22

Producers Diane Landskroener and Mark Sullivan invite you to the 14th 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:

All Over But The Shouting – Written by Brent Lewis (LPS) – Directed by Mark Sullivan

Binged There, Done That – Written by Ken Preuss – Directed by Hester Sachse

Just Desserts – Written by David MacGregor – Directed by Diane Landskroener

Kung Foolery – Written by Brett Hursey – Directed by Jim Landskroener

LA 8 AM – Written by Mark Harvey Levine – Directed by Bryan Betley

Misfortune – Written by Mark Harvey Levine – Directed by Kirby Powell

The New Me – Written by Rich Pauli (LPS) – Directed by Melissa McGlynn

The Stand In – Written by Brett Hursey – Directed by Brad Chaires

Featured actors in this year’s play fest are:

Brad Chaires and  Jim Landskroener in All Over But The Shouting, Lis Engle, Jennifer Kafka Smith, Bryan Betley, Dan Guidice, Bryan Zajchowski & Robbie Spray in Binged There, Done That, Jennifer Kafka Smith, Zac Ryan, Phebe Wood & Melissa McGlynn in Just Desserts, Dan Guidice, Gretchen Sachse, Diane Landskroener in Kung Foolery, Melissa McGlynn, Paul Cambardella, Tilly Pelczar & Kirby Powell in LA 8AM, Zac Ryan, Georgia Rickloff & Beverly Hall Smith in Misfortune, Lis Engle & Dan Guidice in The New Me and Brianna Johnson, Jen Friedman & Thomas Martinez in The Stand In.

Joining SAST for the 5th year is Hey, Wait A Minute! our one-minute play fest directed by Tia Glomb. HWM will be performed in the Kohl Lobby at 7 p.m. before the Friday and Saturday night performances of Short Attention Span Theatre. The HWM cast features Ian Ellison, Jen Friedman, Brianna Johnson, Brownie Southworth, Annie Southworth, Isabella Southworth & Robbie Spray.

Short Attention Span Theatre opens Friday, June 22, and runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday through July 8. 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 3 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 www.garfieldcenter.org.

Auditions for The Sisters Rosensweig at Church Hill Theatre

Shelagh Grasso is set to direct the humorous and insightful play The Sisters Rosensweig by Wendy Wasserstein at Church Hill Theatre and seeks actors to bring this admired play to life. The show, originally directed by Daniel Sullivan was produced at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater in New York City, opened in October 1992; it tells a story about the transformative power of love, of sisterhood, and of life. Performances of the CHT production will be September 7 – 23rd.

The Sisters Rosensweig has excellent roles for men and women, with particular focus on the sisters, pushing against the boundaries of their own lives in order to define themselves.Set in 1991, the richly woven dialogue of the three Jewish-American women not only tackles their personal struggles and triumphs, but also makes real several social and political issues that gave shape to the time. Wasserstein raises questions about the fall of the Soviet Union, Reaganomics, and the plight of the homeless with a deft, human and wit-filled play.

Auditions, on the Church Hill Theatre main stage will be held on:
Monday, June 26 at 6:00 pm
Thursday, June 28 at 6:00 pm
Saturday, June 30 at 10:00 am

Characters break down as follows:

Sara Goode: (female 50-60) An elegant and dignified successful international banker living in London

Tess: (female 17-22) Sara’s daughter. Quite the revolutionary

Pfeni: (female 40-45) A journalist and world traveler

Gorgeous: (female 45-55) A radio “doctor” Overdone and definitely “gorgeous”

Geoffrey: (male 45-50) A theatre director. Attractive, contemporary and bisexual.

Mervyn: (male 60ish) a synthetic furrier and friend of Geoffrey

Nicholas: (male 60ish) Very well groomed, influential and British ( must have formal British accent)

Tom: (male 20-25) Tess’s boyfriend. A rough and ready young revolutionist. Needs a Liverpool accent

Actors are asked to prepare a short monologue that shows your ability to develop a character. There will also be readings done from the script.Contact the Church Hill Theatere at 410-556-6003 or office@churchhilltheatre.org with any questions.

Katie Cassidy Wins First Place in Maryland Pastel Society Juried Member’s Show

“Colors of Summer” by Katie Cassidy

The Maryland Pastel Society recently held their annual juried exhibition, reception and awards at the AM Gravely Gallery 408 S. Talbot Street in St. Michaels, MD. Local artist, Katie Cassidy won first place with her artwork, “Colors of Summer.”  The judge of selections and awards for the show, John Morrell, remarked, “This painting has a great sense of light and surface texture. Excellent progression of space from the foreground through the trees to back. Beautiful color notes in the laundry.”

Other awards included a second-place award for Lyn Laviana’s “At the Shore,” a third-place award for Monna Kauppinen’s “Two of a Kind,” and a merit award for Laura Era’s “Brea.”

Cassidy teaches pastel classes at the Academy Art Museum in Easton.

The Maryland Pastel Society, founded in 1977 is a non-profit organization devoted to the promotion and development of professional, original works of art in the medium of soft pastel.

Academy Art Museum Gala Celebrates 60th Anniversary in Style

The Academy Art Museum in Easton, MD celebrated its 60th anniversary year with one of its most memorable galas. The event featured a concert by acclaimed Mezzo Soprano Denyce Graves, who mesmerized guests with her performance at the Avalon Theatre. Guests then strolled down Harrison Street to the Museum for cocktails and dinner, catered by Gourmet by the Bay.

L-R: AAM Director Ben Simons, Denyce Graves, and Museum Board of Trustees member Holly Fine.

Director Ben Simons, comments, “This was a spectacular event. Guests were enchanted by Denyce Graves and enjoyed mingling, eating and socializing amidst the Museum’s impressive collection of artwork exhibited in the Museum’s galleries. It was an event that will be remembered.”

The Museum’s 60th Anniversary will continue with a 60th Birthday Party, featuring a participatory public art installation in the courtyard, to be held on September 15, 2018; followed by the Academy Art Museum Craft Show, “Dazzled!” to be held on October 19 through 21, 2018; and its Members Exhibition, with the suggested theme of “60” and held for the first time during the holiday season.

Graphite Drawings and Watercolors by Lee Boulay D’Zmura at Adkins Arboretum

“Lichen” by Lee D’Zmura

The pure beauty and precision of Lee Boulay D’Zmura’s botanical drawings and watercolors are astonishing. But in her exhibit Wabi Sabi, on view at the Adkins Arboretum Visitor’s Center through July 28, this Saint Michaels artist departed from the botanical art tradition of illustrating perfect plant specimens in order to explore the ongoing changes plants experience in their life cycles. There will be a reception to meet the artist on Sat., June 23 from 3 to 5 p.m. in conjunction with a reception for the ninth biennial Outdoor Sculpture Invitational.

Two things happened to inspire this show. D’Zmura found a branch from a box elder tree that had fallen in a storm. Although dying, its crinkled leaves still clung to it, as did its samaras, the winged seedpods often called “helicopters,” so that the branch was both dying and giving life through its seeds.

Shortly afterward, she found herself reading a magazine article about wabi-sabi, the Japanese art aesthetic that recognizes beauty in things that are imperfect, impermanent and incomplete. The idea of honoring the ever-changing cycle of growth and decay and the dignity of aging with grace resonated strongly for her.

“I have been on the hunt for the dead and dying ever since,” she said.

Before the advent of photography, scientists relied on botanical illustration to accurately record the distinct characteristics of plant species. Trained as a botanical artist at Brookside Gardens School of Botanical Art and Illustration, D’Zmura has been teaching botanical art classes at the Arboretum since 2006 and has become known for her remarkable skill in accurately reproducing every detail of a plant, from the subtlest colors to the finest webbing of its veins. But in this show, she uses her expertise to capture the fascinating beauty and poignancy of individual plants throughout the stages of their lives, including the death and decay of their blossoms and leaves.

In her graphite drawing of the box elder branch, D’Zmura sketched its clusters of samaras and each elaborately complicated curve of its crinkled leaves with lines finer than a single hair. Likewise, she captured the stages of anemone plants at different times of year, from blossoms through dormancy.

As any gardener knows, decaying plant material is an important nutritional source for other plants. In one of four compelling watercolor studies of bark through the seasons, D’Zmura shows a cluster of fragile, frilly gray-green lichen spreading across a decaying log.

“I came across this while hiking with my daughter and grand dogs,” she said. “I loved the contrasting colors and surfaces of the decaying log and lichen.”

D’Zmura’s extraordinary sensitivity to the myriad kinds of nuanced beauty found in plants is a magnet for looking closer and closer at her work to discover all the extraordinary details she was able to find. Studying her unbelievably fine line work and stunning color range has the quietly exhilarating effect of honing the eye to nature itself. It’s an invitation to see our everyday environment with fresh eyes and deeper understanding.

This show is part of Adkins Arboretum’s ongoing exhibition series of work on natural themes by regional artists. It is on view through July 28 at the Arboretum Visitor’s Center located at 12610 Eveland Road near Tuckahoe State Park in Ridgely. Contact the Arboretum at 410–634–2847, ext. 0 or info@adkinsarboretum.org for gallery hours.

Adkins Arboretum is a 400-acre native garden and preserve at the headwaters of the Tuckahoe Creek in Caroline County. Open year round, the Arboretum offers educational programs for all ages about nature and gardening. For more information, visit adkinsarboretum.org or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.