Welcome Home, Center Stage!

December, 2016
Volume 4, Issue 7

Dear Reader,

‘Tis the most glorious season of the year for our Mount Vernon Cultural District! Our neighborhood is the setting for two special happenings this month: The first is Downtown Partnership’s Annual Monument Lighting Ceremony, which takes place tomorrow beginning at 5 pm (details are below). And Center Stage’s historic Calvert Street building reopens to the public with the debut of a scintillating new performance of Les Liaisons Dangereuses.

Fulfilling Its Mission to Become Our Community’s Best Theatrical Hub

Center Stage Reno
Click here for a look at the renovation underway.

Since January, Center Stage has been transforming its historic theater through a $28 million renovation which will result in a new theater, a redesigned lobby and additional space for community and educational programs.

The Head Theater on the fourth floor is being completely redesigned by Charcoalblue, a theater design company based in London. Center Stage is adding a new 99-seat Third Space to be able to produce more cutting-edge work, as well as family programming. The Deering Lobby will be much more open and welcoming. There will be a new education center (the Eddic C. and C. Sylvia Brown Education Center) and a new costume shop (the Terry H. Morgenthaler Costume Shop), as well as a new café and bar (the Sherman Café and Bar). The project’s architect is Cho Benn Holback and its contractor is Whiting Turner.

“With this renovation, Center Stage will be able to fulfill its mission to be the best possible theatrical hub for our community, meeting people wherever they may be to engage and entertain,” Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah says, “Through this transformational investment, we will be able to continue to offer diverse programming that reflects and supports our community and our times. For me, every inch of our theater is the stage. From the moment you walk in, you’re engaging with art. Let’s open up this space to everyone.”

Center Stage’s grand reopening will be on March 3, 2017, but starting on Dec 2, audiences can glimpse a peek at the renovation and enjoy the redesigned lobby and Pearlstone Theater, which has been updated with improved sound and lighting, making it a fitting location for the classic tale of love and betrayal, Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons).

Les Liaisons Dangereuses

Two French aristocrats, Marquise de Merteuil and her ex-lover, the Vicomte de Valmont, challenge each other to seduce unsuspecting innocents in this story of revenge, debauchery, and hidden motives. Set just before the French Revolution, Les Liaisons is a glimpse into the lives of beautiful people poised to denigrate and control everyone around them, including each other. But when one of them actually falls in love, the real betrayals unfold.

Les Liaisons is a compelling story for contemporary audiences, says Center Stage Associate Artistic Director Hana S. Sharif. “The story is set at a moment right on the cusp of the French Revolution, a time when there had been no greater divide between the haves and the have-nots, the aristocracy and the common man,” she says.

“But inside the world of the play, people feel very isolated from the poverty and the dangers of a world on the edge. And that resonated with me in 2016,” she continues. “As a director, I wanted the production to be both period but contemporary in its energy, to be sleek and sexy, and to challenge us and illuminate something about our own nature.” Click here to read her full interview.

Click to view video.

Befitting a production set in 18th century France, the costumes are both interesting and over the top. Award-winning costume designer Fabio Toblini details the time-intensive process he and his staff employed to create each dress-and which show-stopper is his favorite.

Previews of the performance are happening tonight and tomorrow, and Opening Night is Friday, Dec 2. The show runs through Friday, Dec 23 with a special Meet the Actors Night on Friday, Dec 16. Click here for full details and tickets.

Center Stage is located at 700 North Calvert Street in Baltimore’s Mount Vernon Neighborhood. Call 410-332-0033 or click here for more information.

Washington Monument

The 45th Annual Monument Lighting Is Thursday!

Our beloved yearly tradition continues tomorrow! The Downtown Partnership Monument Lighting celebration will begin at 5 PM and run through 8 PM when the monument is illuminated with thousands of sparkling, energy-saving LED lights.

The Monument Lighting will feature dozens of food and craft vendors, local entertainers, delicious eats, a Kid’s Corner, and a spectacular fireworks display and laser show. If you haven’t seen it, you must check it out!

The Morgan State University Choir will be on hand as well as a family from the Ronald McDonald House, who will help us count down to the finale

Click here to check the Downtown Partnership’s website for all of the latest.


Baltimore School For the Arts
712 Cathedral Street | 443-642-5167 | Website


Child's Christmas

A Child’s Christmas in Wales
Thursday, Dec 15 | 6 PM

Join us for a cabaret at Germano’s to celebrate the holiday season. Donald Hicken will read this heartwarming classic, and BSA theatre faculty and friends join in for a sing-a-long to cap the evening.

Dylan Thomas’ prose/poetic recalling of his boyhood in the coastal village of Swansea is a humorous, touching, and deeply human story of one particularly fabled Christmas seen through the eyes of the children who populate the poet’s memory. Renowned director Donald Hicken narrates this delightful Christmas classic. Following the reading, he will be joined by Nancy Krebs and Becky Mossing, who will lead the audience singing seasonal favorites.

Show at 7:30 PM. Doors open at 6 pm for pre-show dining.
Cabaret at Germano’s, 300 S. High Street. Call for reservations 410-752-4515.

Click here for more information or to purchase tickets ($15). The $15 charge is a tax-deductible donation to The Baltimore School for the Arts.


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


A Swingin' Nutcracker

A Swingin’ Nutcracker à la Ellington Featuring Step Afrika!
Friday, Dec 9 | 7:30 PM
Saturday, Dec 10 | 2 PM
Saturday, Dec 10 | 7:30 PM
Sunday, Dec 11 | 2 PM
The Meyerhoff

Nicholas Hersh, conductor
Step Afrika!, dancers

Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker, composed and arranged by Ellington/Strayhorn/Murtha

STEP into the holiday season with this fully realized jazz version of the timeless Nutcracker. Riffing off of Ellington’s dazzling reimagining of a portion of Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece, jazz composer Paul Murtha has created an entire “Swingin Nutcracker” with both an Act 1 and Act 2.

This semi-staged production features the vibrant and percussive dancing of Washington based company, Step Afrika! Join the BSO for this very special world premiere.

Click here for more information or to purchase tickets.

It's a Wonderful Life

Movie and Music:
It’s a Wonderful Life

Thursday, Dec 15 | 7 PM
Friday, Dec 16 | 7 PM
The Meyerhoff

Justin Freer, conductor
Handel Choir of Baltimore

George Bailey’s extraordinary Christmas Eve journey with an Angel Second Class is a story we turn to year after year. As the BSO performs the score live to accompany the film, you’ll experience the warmth of this cinematic classic as never before.

Click here for more information or to register.

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


MDHS Holiday Shop


A Sampling of Gifts Under $25


Tote Bag - MD Old Bay Soup Mug
Home State Apparel Tote Old Bay Soup Mug
$14.99 $14.99

Visit all of its new, consigment and Maryland-made gift items by clicking here!


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


Maryland Humanities

Maryland Humanities & The University of Maryland College Park Present Worldwide Arts & Humanities Dean’s Lecture: The Pulitzer 100
Tuesday, Dec 6 | 7-9 PM

The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
8270 Alumni Dr, College Park, Maryland, 20742

What is the impact of the humanities on American life? As part of the Pulitzer Prizes’ Centennial Celebration, Maryland Humanities has partnered with the College of Arts and Humanities to present Pulitzer Prize-winning author-historians Taylor Branch and Isabel Wilkerson. NAACP’s Sherrilyn Ifill will moderate an engaging discussion between the two on the historical context behind their Pulitzer Prize-winning work and its relevancy to our lives today. A book signing and reception will follow the event. Tickets are free, but reservations required. Tickets will be available soon at www.mdhumanities.org.

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


Peabody Concert Orchestra

Peabody Concert Orchestra with the Peabody Singers and the Peabody-Hopkins Chorus
Tuesday, Dec 6 | 8 PM
Miriam A. Friedberg Concert Hall

Tickets are FREE but required. Call 667-208-6620 or click here for more information or for tickets.

Now Hear This

Now Hear This
Wednesday, Dec 7 | 7:30 PM
Leith Symington Griswold Hall

Courtney Orlando, artistic director
David Smooke, faculty advisor
Works by Salvatore Sciarrino, Georg Friedrich Haas, and current Peabody students

Tickets are FREE but required. Call 667-208-6620 or click here for more information or for tickets.

Harlan D. Parker

Peabody Wind Ensemble
Saturday, Dec 10 | 7:30 PM
Miriam A. Friedberg Concert Hall

Harlan D. Parker, conductor
Ricson Poonin, trombone
Works by John Leszczynski, Johan de Meij, John Mackey, and Morton Gould

Tickets are FREE but required. Call 667-208-6620 or click here for more information or for tickets.

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


Game's Afoot

(or Holmes for the Holidays)

Nov 17 – Dec 18, 2016

by Ken Ludwig
directed by Fuzz Roark
with Danny Romeo

Winner – 2012 Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allen Poe Awards – Best Play!

Synopsis: It is Dec 1936 and Broadway star William Gillette, admired the world over for his leading role in the play Sherlock Holmes, has invited his fellow cast-members to his Connecticut castle for a weekend of revelry. But when one of the guests is stabbed to death, the festivities in this isolated house of tricks and mirrors quickly turn dangerous. Then it’s up to Gillette himself, as he assumes the persona of his beloved Holmes, to track down the killer before the next victim appears. The danger and hilarity are non-stop in this glittering whodunit set during the Christmas holidays. A WhoDunnit with twists and turns and murderous pandemonium!

“An inspired whodunit…a snappy, clever drawing-room mystery. There are twists… that cause the audience to gasp.” – The Cleveland Plain Dealer

Tickets: Adults $22; Seniors (60+) $20; Students & Military $18.
Ten Spot Thursday – ALL TICKETS JUST $10: Dec 8, 2016 at 8 PM (no other discounts apply). Purchase tickets by clicking here.

Post Show discussion with Cast, Director & Creative Team: Sunday, Dec 4, 2016 immediately following the performance.

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



Sunday, Dec 4, 2016 | 10 AM to 5 PM

Have you ever thought about how to describe the smell of your neighborhood? Sillage is a collaborative art project that asks you to do just that. Contribute your thoughts about your neighborhood’s scents to the Sillage survey, and artist Brian Goeltzenleuchter will distill the submissions into ten new fragrances that represent Baltimore. Visit the Museum on Dec 4 with friends and family, and you can experience your neighborhood scent! Throughout the day a collective scent of Baltimore will fill the museum.

Inspired by the special exhibition

A Feast for the Senses.

Make Night: Scented Candles

Make Night: Scented Candles
Thursday, Dec 15, 2016 | 6-9 PM

Participants in this workshop will explore the diversity of scent while making two of their own scented candles. Local artist Letta Moore of Knits, Soy & Metal will teach attendees about an array of smells to fill your home with, ranging from floral, to earthy, to food inspired.

Inspired by the special exhibition A Feast for the Senses.

Make Night is an evening blending good wine and craft beer, great company, and fantastic art-making experiences led by local creative minds. Each workshop begins with a free drink and a visit to the galleries. Advance registration required.

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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