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Everyman Theatre enjoys exuberant opening

After the final bows were taken during Everyman Theatre's inaugural opening night performance of "August: Osage County," an exhuberant yell could be heard from behind the closed curtain.

It was an expression of the actors' relief at having survived the challenges posed by playwright Tracy Letts' Tony Award-winning black comedy, "August: Osage County." And it was an expression of delight in finally having a performing home suitable for an established ensemble theater troupe.

That sense of accomplishment was the theme of the theater's official opening this weekend, which included a cocktail party and post-performance cast party on Friday; a gala dinner and performance on Saturday, and a Sunday brunch.

"Twenty-two years ago, I got into my old, broken-down car and left my dorm room at Catholic University and came to Baltimore," Everyman's founder and artistic director Vincent Lancisi told a sold-out crowd before Friday's performance.

"My mentor, Bill Graham [the former head of Catholic University's theater department] said to me, 'Give yourself permission.' I did -- And, look what happened."

Attendees Friday included such local cultural leaders as Fred Lazarus, president of the Maryland Institute, College of Art; Tom Hall, cultural director of WYPR-FM and music director of the Baltimore Choral arts Society, and Stoop Storytelling founder Laura Wexler.

They sipped Champagne and nibbled on an elegant sampling of hors-d'oeuvres prepared by Spectrum Catering that included jerk shrimp with mango nectar; butternut squash bisque with truffle oil; and creamy grits with manchego cheese, chorizo and bay scallops.  Cupcakes -- frosted in Everyman's signature aubergine -- were served during the second intermission.

"I think the theater is really beautiful, and it's a great tribute to Vinny's persistence," Hall said. "It's one thing to have a vision, and quite another to hold onto it for 22 years and execute it so beautifully."


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