A Standout Performance

April/May, 2016
Volume 4, Issue 4
From left: Brian Marable (Sly), Sarah Nealis (Caroline), Amari Cheaton (Lank), and Michelle Wilson (Chelle) in Center Stage’s production of Detroit ’67

Dear Reader,

Sometimes, the best way to understand history is by telling a story.

Center Stage has hit another home run with their latest theatrical production, Detroit ’67, which explores issues of race, urban identity and American history in a way that captivates its audience.

It’s no surprise, given Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah’s brilliant ability to put a finger on the pulse of our collective consciousness (last year’s Marley is just one example).

This story, written by Dominique Morisseau, centers around the relationship between siblings Chelle (played by Michelle Wilson) and Lank (played by Amari Cheatom), as they come of age in the tumultuous environment of Detroit in the year 1967. While Motown sounds from their record player (and boy is the music wonderful), the city around them erupts in violence. Detroit was the scene of a 5-day riot that began when police raided an unlicensed bar in the city’s West Side.

Michelle Wilson (Chelle) and Amari Cheaton (Lank), photo by Richard Anderson

The entire story takes place in the basement of Chelle and Lank’s childhood home, where they often throw parties. One night, Lank carries home a white woman he discovered bruised and bleeding in the ‘wrong side of town.’ They allow Caroline (played by Sarah Nealis) to stay with them while she recovers, but her presence both transforms and threatens to tear the family apart.

Director Kamilah Forbes masterfully juxtaposes pathos and humor. Childhood friend Bunny (played by Jessica Frances Dukes) provides levity with her wild stories and psychedelic outfits that could have come out of Austin Powers. Sly (played by Brian Marable), compels Lank to invest the family savings in a nearby bar, to Chelle’s chagrin. But his motives are pure, as he wants the family to own the legitimate small business they deserve. He expresses his adoration for the reserved Chelle in an absolutely touching scene.

I won’t give away the entire plot, but the story takes a tragic turn during the height of the unrest, forever changing each character. There is no happy ending, and there shouldn’t be. There are no easy answers, just as the questions raised in this production have much relevance to Baltimore today. The siblings begin to find healing through dialogue with each other, serving as a microcosm of their larger community, and ours.

I’m looking forward to seeing it again.

While Center Stage’s Calvert Street theaters undergo renovations, performances of Detroit ’67 are taking place at Towson University’s Center for the Arts (1 Fine Arts Drive, Towson, MD). The show runs through Sunday, May 8 and tickets are available by clicking this link.

Center Stage plans to be back in its Mount Vernon home for the 2016-17 Season, after work has been done toward creating a redesigned 400-seat Head Theater, new lobby and entrance place, a new, 99-seat theater space, and a dedicated education and community programming studio. Learn more and subscribe to its 2016-17 Season by clicking here.

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
1212 Cathedral Street | 410-783-8000 | Website

The Lone Bellow

BSO Pulse: The Lone Bellow
Thursday, April 28 | 8:30 PM
The Meyerhoff

Happy Hour @ 5:30-7 PM
Lobby Activities @ 7 PM
Concert @ 8:30 PM

Expand your musical horizons with Pulse, a new concert series that brings together the classical world and the indie rock scene on one stage. Each concert will explore connections that cross genres, opening with members of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, followed by a performance by the featured band and culminating with a unique collaboration. Start the evening off with food from some of the area’s best restaurants, happy hour specials, local vendors and live pre-concert entertainment!

Pulse is made possible by a generous grant from The Wallace Foundation.

Click here for more information or to purchase tickets.

Jeremy Denk

Beethoven’s Emperor
Thursday, May 12 | 8 PM
The Meyerhoff

John Adams, conductor
Jeremy Denk, piano

Post-minimalist conductor-composer John Adams returns to the BSO podium to conduct Beethoven’s grandiose “Emperor” concerto and his own intensely expressive Harmonielehre, the symphonic essay that helped him become one of the most performed and important composers alive.

 The appearance of guest conductor and composer John Adams is made possible through the major support of the Alvin and Fanny Blaustein Thalheimer Guest Artist Fund.

Click here for more information or to purchase tickets.

Enoch Pratt Free Library
400 Cathedral Street | 410-396-5430 | Website

Annette Gordon-Reed

Writers LIVE:
Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter S. Onuf, “Most Blessed of the Patriarchs”: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination

Thursday, April 28 | 6:30 PM
Central Library, Wheeler Auditorium

In this groundbreaking work of history, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Annette Gordon-Reed and the country’s leading Jefferson scholar Peter S. Onuf present an absorbing and revealing character study that finally clarifies the philosophy of Thomas Jefferson. Tracing Jefferson’s development and maturation from his youth to his old age, the authors explore what they call the “empire” of Jefferson’s imagination – his expansive state of mind born of the intellectual influences and life experiences that led him into public life as a modern avatar of the enlightenment. Jefferson often likened himself to an ancient figure – “the most blessed of the patriarchs.”

 Annette Gordon-Reed is the author of The Hemingses of Monticello, which won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. She is the Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard Law School.

 Peter S. Onuf is the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia.

Click here for more information.

Ron Tanner

Writers LIVE:
Ron Tanner, Missile Paradise

Sunday, May 1 | 2 PM
Central Library, Meyerhoff Children’s Garden, Night Room

In the Marshall Islands, an island-nation in the middle of the Pacific Ocean that was once a testing ground for nuclear bombs, American engineers and programmers are making and testing missiles while their “hosts,” the indigenous Marshallese, sweep their streets and clean their houses. It’s 2004, the Iraq war is heating up, and 9/11 is fresh in everyone’s minds.

 Following four interconnected story lines – the meltdown of a burned-out cultural liaison who has “gone native” and bitterly resents his role in keeping the Marshallese down; a young programmer who has lost his leg in a reckless solo sailing journey; the struggles of a young widow with two children whose husband drowned in a mysterious diving accident; and the destructive spiral of a Marshallese teenager whose American girlfriend rejects him when she returns to the States – Missile Paradise is an epic, heartbreaking, and satirical novel about the clash of cultures between the Americans trying to realize their American Dream in this seeming paradise, and the Marshallese who are both angered and bedazzled by that dream.

 Ron Tanner’s awards for writing include a Faulkner Society gold medal, a Pushcart Prize, a New Letters Award, a Best of the Web Award, a Maryland Arts Council grant, and many others. He is the author of A Bed of Nails (stories), Kiss Me Stranger (illustrated novel), and From Animal House to Our House (memoir). He teaches writing at Loyola University Maryland and directs the Marshall Islands Story Project.

Click here for more information.

Maryland Historical Society
201 W. Monument Street | Phone 410-685-3750 | Website

The Preserve the Baltimore Uprising
2015 Website Has Launched

Images From Website Will Become Part of a Video Installation at the
Maryland Historical Society

Baltimore Uprising image
Portrait of young demonstrator during student led protest taken by Jack Flame Sorokin, April 19, 2016

The Maryland Historical Society announces the launch of a website containing thousands of images documenting the unrest and cleanup efforts in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death. 

A video installation of these images will be displayed as part of the Maryland Historical Society’s newest exhibition, entitled “The What and the Why: Collecting at the Maryland Historical Society” which will open to the public on June 29, 2016.

“We have an obligation to record all aspects of Maryland’s diverse history, not only its distant past but its current events as well,” says Maryland Historical Society President and CEO Mark B. Letzer, “This material will be a seminal contribution to the collections of the Maryland Historical Society.”

The Maryland Historical Society believed that the events unfolding around the city in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death were important and historic. With many people plugged into the instant technologies of social media and cell phone photography, more people than ever before could participate in recording and preserving history as it unfolded. “We sensed the importance of what’s going on and sensed that people would study this event for years to come,” says Digital Projects Coordinator Joe Tropea.

More than 12,000 images were submitted, including photographs taken from cell phones and cameras, audio segments, oral histories, and more than 2,000 intergovernmental emails surrounding the unrest that were released by Baltimore City. The images depict activists, demonstrations, the presence of the National Guard, police officers, military hardware, and more.

Interns worked on processing the images. They included Michael Stone, grad student of UMBC, Angela Koukoui, an undergraduate from the University of Baltimore, and Jennifer Montooth, a grad student from UMBC (both pictured). They spent two days per week working on the project.

Angela and Jenn
Interns Angela Koukoui and Jennifer Montooth

“There’s a lot of material on the Internet, but no guarantee that those locations will exist indefinitely, says Denise Meringolo, Associate Professor of Public History at UMBC, “It’s important to ask people to think about what will survive into the future, and what organizations will survive. It was fantastic to have the Maryland Historical Society say ‘let’s partner here,’ to make sure those voices survive regardless what happens to Youtube or Twitter.”

The video installation will be part of an exhibit called “What & Why: Collecting at the Maryland Historical Society” that will open June 29, 2016. The exhibit spans four centuries of Maryland Historical Society acquisitions. “What & Why” will also contain objects recovered after the unrest such as burnt brick, a melted tail pipe from a bus and a lighter found in a looted convenience store.

About The Website

The effort behind the creation of the baltimoreuprising2015.org website, called Preserve the Baltimore Uprising, is a joint effort by Maryland Historical Society, faculty from University of Baltimore, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Coppin State University, Morgan State University, MICA, Johns Hopkins University, and staff from the Maryland State Archives to preserve and make accessible original content that was captured and created by individual community members, grassroots organizations, and witnesses to the protests that followed the death of Freddie Gray on April 19, 2015.  Submissions are still being received.

If you are interested in joining our efforts to Preserve the Baltimore Uprising and have questions about how you can join in, please contact Joe Tropea at the Maryland Historical Society by email at remembrance@mdhs.org.

Step into the “Atomic Era” with our 1950s Vintage Pop Up Trunk Show on Wednesday, May 4 at 6:30PM at The Maryland Historical Society! We’re celebrating the 1950s with an evening of curated shopping with local vintage clothing dealers and an Atomic Era fashion primer with Maryland Historical Society Chief Curator, Alexandra Deutsch. Trust us, you’ll need a strapless cocktail dress to wear this spring!

* Fashion Primer: 6:30-7:00 PM, Curated Shopping: 7:00-9:00 PM
* Light appetizers and beverages will be served.
* Silent auction of 1950s era hats worn by Helen Delich Bentley
* Wear your best vintage outfits – we’ll be awarding prizes!

Tickets are just $10 for MdHS Members and $15 for non-Members.
Register for the Atomic Pop Up Vintage Trunk Show by clicking here.

Then join us…

Enjoy vintage cocktails and the smooth sounds of jazz musician Lafayette Gilchrist, who’s been called “an old soul at ease in the modern world” by National Public Radio.

The cocktail party takes place in our beautiful Monument Street Garden on Thursday, May 19 at 6:30PM. Dress in 1950s inspired attire for the possibility to win fabulous vintage prizes.

* Who will be the best…?
* Best Beatnik? Best Celebrity? Best Couple? Best Cry Baby character? Best Rock Star?

Plus you’ll get a peek at objects we’ve acquired from Jazz Great Eubie Blake, including his practice piano! (An exhibit will open in June). Lite fare and vintage cocktails will be served.

Tickets are just $30 for MdHS Members and $35 for non-Members.
Combo tickets (Atomic Era Pop Up + Jazz Cocktail Party) are available.
Register now by clicking here.

The Maryland Humanities Council
108 West Centre Street | 410-685-0095 | Website

Multiple Communities, Multiple Stories

Múltiples Comunidades, Múltiples Historias 
Saturday, April 23, 2016 | Sábado, 23 de abril del 2016 
Creative Alliance (3134 Eastern Ave, Baltimore, MD 21224) 
Community Conversation | Conversación comunitaria: 12:30 P.M. – 2:30 P.M. Digital Storytelling Workshop | Taller de historias digitales: 2:45 P.M. – 4:30 P.M. 
You are invited to join the conversation on April 23rd 
In the aftermath of the death of Freddie Gray in April 2015, we need conversations that bring together a variety of voices and communities to address the intersections of poverty, race/ethnicity, and gender and help create new stories about Baltimore. 
This event will highlight Baltimore communities and stories through conversations about the past, present, and future of the city. Participants will explore questions about equity, identity, immigration, and belonging and discuss how residents’ experiences are shaped in and through their neighborhoods. After the conversation, participants can also learn how to use digital storytelling as a way to record and disseminate their voices. 
Se le invita a que se una a la conversación el 23 de abril La muerte de Freddie Gray en abril del 2015 ha motivado la necesidad de reunir una variedad de voces y comunidades para dialogar sobre la intersección de pobreza, raza/etnia y género, y ayudar a crear nuevas historias sobre Baltimore. 
Este evento traerá a la luz historias de identidad, pertenencia y activismo de varias comunidades de Baltimore a través de conversaciones sobre el pasado, el presente y el futuro de la ciudad. Los participantes explorarán temas de inmigración, cambio, relaciones entre las comunidades, e igualdad social, y hablarán sobre como las experiencias de los residentes se forma dentro y a través de los vecindarios de la ciudad. Después de la conversación, los participantes tendrán la oportunidad de crear historias digitales como una forma de documentar y diseminar sus historias. 

 Information on the program / Informacion del programa
Register / Inscri­base

Ron Tanner

Md Humanities

Journalism & Its Power to Inform: The Environment
Tuesday, May 10 | 7 PM
The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

The Maryland Humanities Council is commemorating the centennial of the Pulitzer Prizes with a year-long series of events highlighting the impact of this award-winning work on our lives. “The Environment” is the final of four panel discussions featuring acclaimed journalists. Featured journalists include Will Englund (Pulitzer 1998), John McQuaid (Pulitzer 1997, 2006), Elizabeth McGowan (Pulitzer 2013), and McKay Jenkins. Panels are FREE and sponsored in part by The Baltimore Sun.

Click here for more information.

Literary Mount Vernon Walking Tour
Tuesday, May 21 | 11 AM
The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

Spring marks the return of the Maryland Humanities Council’s Literary Mount Vernon Walking Tour. Dive into the world of rare books at the Peabody Library, see where the lives of Emily Post and Gertrude Stein intersected, see the desk of legendary novelist John Dos Passos, and more.

NOTE: Meet outside the Enoch Pratt Free Library Central Branch, 400 Cathedral St, Baltimore, MD 21201

Click here to purchase tickets for $10.

Peabody Institute
1 East Mount Vernon Place | Phone: 410-234-4500 | Website


Peabody Symphony Orchestra performs Mozart and Rachmaninoff
Saturday, April 30 | 8-10 PM
Miriam A. Friedberg Concert Hall

Peabody Symphony Orchestra
 Leon Fleisher, Guest Conductor
 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphony No. 41 in C major, K. 551, “Jupiter”
 Sergei Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27

Tickets: $15 Adults, $10 Seniors, $5 Students. To purchase tickets, click here or call 410-234-4800.

Spotlighters Theatre
817 Saint Paul Street | Phone: 410-752-1225 | Website


Apr 15 – May 15, 2016

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics: Tim Rice
Direction: Fuzz Roark
Musical Direction: Michael Tan

Synopsis: Evita tells Eva Peron’s passionate and unforgettable true story. Eva used her beauty and charisma to rise meteorically from the slums of Argentina to the presidential mansion as First Lady. Adored by her people as a champion for the poor, she became one of the most powerful women in the world – while her greed, outsized ambition, and fragile health made her one of the most tragic.

Tickets: Adults $20; Seniors (60+) $18; Students & Military $16.
 Ten Spot Thursday – ALL TICKETS JUST $10: April 21, 2016 at 8 PM (no other discounts apply). Purchase tickets by clicking here.

Talk Back with Cast & Director: May 1, 2016 immediately following the performance.

Performance Dates: Apr 15, 16, 17; 21, 22, 23, 24; 29, 30, May 1; 6, 7, 8; 13, 14, 15. Ten Spot Thursday: April 21 – 8 PM.

After-School Academy

The 2016 Young Actors Academy Registration is Open!

Lower School Academy – 2016 (grades K-5)
 Program is divided in to Lower School I (grades K-2) and Lower School II (grades 3-5)

 Five one week modules are designed to provide an approach to acting, play writing, and the general craft of storytelling; students come away with notions of dramatic structure, character development, monologue and scene work, and more.

 A morning snack, lunch and afternoon snack are provided through the Baltimore Summer Lunch Program (a joint mission of the Department of Agriculture, Baltimore Housing Authority, and Baltimore Food and Nutrition Services). Limited before & after care is available.

Upper School Academy – 2016 (grades 6-12)

 A five week theatre intensive providing a range of education for both the Classical Theatre student and the Musical Theatre student. Classical Theatre students will have workshops in Acting Methods, Improv, Stage Combat, Movement, and Make-up. Musical Theatre students will have workshops in Voice, Dance, Music Reading, Stage Combat and Make-up. All classes are taught by regional and national theatre professionals.

Click here for more details, or to register your child. You may also email the Academy or call 410.752.1225 for more information or to register.

The Walters Art Museum
600 N. Charles Street | Phone: 410-547-9000 | Website

Expression through Fashion

Expression through Fashion
Thursday, May 5, 2016 | 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Fashion has been an important mode of expression in cultures from ancient eras until today. Join Manager of Docent Programs, John Shields, and Baltimore fashion designer Margie Troy as they use the Walters collection to discuss how garments were constructed and what they meant to their respective societies.

Click here for more information or to register.

Peabody on the Court Music Series

Peabody on the Court Music Series: Andrew Marino
Friday, May 6, 2016 | 12 PM – 1 PM

Please join us for this Peabody on the Court Music Series concert featuring guitarist Andrew Marino. Held on the Sculpture Court, these free concerts are presented on select First Fridays in partnership with the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.

Click here for more information.

World's Longest Game of Telephone

World’s Longest Game of Telephone
Sunday, May 22, 2016
10 AM – 12 PM: Check-in/Registration
12PM – 3 PM: Longest Game of Telephone
Please note that this event will be filmed for record-keeping purposes.

Break the Guiness World Record for the Longest Game of Telephone. More than 1,330 volunteers are needed to form a line through the Museum’s galleries and pass a message – based on the Museum’s history – from beginning to end. Be a part of history by participating in this large-scale art game that nods to the original Guinness Record set in Baltimore for World’s First Instant Telecommunication in May 1844. This event will feature activities and presentations along the game path, and the opportunity to experience the Walters Art Museum like never before!

 This program is produced in partnership between the Walters Art Museum and Baltimore artist Lexie Mountain. It is funded in part with a grant from the Awesome Foundation.

Click here for more information.

 Until next month,

 Laura Rodini
 Executive Director, The Mount Vernon Cultural District

The Mount Vernon Cultural District Is
A Proud Partner of Downtown Partnership of Baltimore and Visit Baltimore

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