www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/readersrespond/bs-ed-theater-letter-20130705,0,5141762.story

baltimoresun.com

Baltimore's overlooked entertainment landscape

2:00 PM EDT, July 5, 2013

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The media constantly reminds us of what is wrong with Baltimore. There is the pervasive crime problem, stories of political corruption and educational and environmental issues. But there is something very right about Baltimore that gets very little press and certainly not enough attention from the populace at large.

We have several outstanding small theaters in our city. They include but are not limited to Everyman, Spotlighters, Vagabond and Fells Point Corner Theatre. There are others such as Single Carrot, Mobtown and Performance Workshop. Of course, there are also Center Stage and the Hippodrome. But these are large, professional theaters that don't have problems filling the house or charging top prices for their excellent shows.

My husband and I attend over 20 performances in a given theater season. Most are in the four theaters mentioned above. Many times we experience performances that are stark, real, thought provoking, funny and superbly acted and directed. Sometimes, the sets are intricate and imaginatively constructed in the smallest of spaces. Our favorites of the last two seasons were "A Behanding in Spokane," "Superior Donuts," and "Glengarry Glen Ross" at Fells Point Corner Theatre; "Agnes of God," "Equus" and "A Delicate Balance" at Spotlighters; "God of Carnage," "Fifty Words," and "The Beau Stratagem" at Everyman and "Frost/Nixon" and "Wait Until Dark" at Vagabond. You gain entry to these marvelous shows for a small amount of money, even smaller if you are a student or a senior.

And yet often these plays are poorly attended. I simply don't understand this. It is heart-rending to see actors pouring out their hearts and souls on stage for what is sometimes a very emotional portrayal to an almost-empty house. What could be the perfect date night or Sunday afternoon activity seems to be overlooked for the high ticket costs of big production plays and musicals (and even Spotlighters does do musicals), sporting events and concerts at other venues. And yet people often complain of these high ticket prices.

I am also discouraged at the lack of coverage of these events in The Sun. Perhaps people are unaware of the existence of these theaters. I know people who have lived in the area for many years who have never attended a play at one of our small community theaters. This is a resource that The Sun should support with reviews and notices. And we, the people, need to show our support for the hard work, creativity and entertainment offered to us at these small theaters.

They are a bright spot in our city.

Linda Rains Allman, Phoenix