Rebecca Pryce dresses actors, from wingtips to...


Rebecca Pryce dresses actors, from wingtips to buttons

Hours before dress rehearsal, it's business as usual in the Center Stage costume shop. A shirt boils in purple dye on the stove. An actor clamors for a pocket in his cape. And the last costume -- an extra-extra-extra-large shirt and trousers for a 6-foot-4-inch percussionist -- has been found. Finally.

Rebecca Pryce, the new manager of the shop, surveys the scene and smiles. Never mind that she has only been in town for two months, she's already learned some of Baltimore's best-kept secrets, including where to find orthopedic wingtips and vintage orange buttons.

"My job is to make the designer's vision work," says Ms. Pryce, 39, who lives in Mount Washington. "I have to know everything about the clothing."

For this production, "Servant of Two Masters," she has brought a dozen sketches to life, using bright silks, felt hats and assorted wigs to convey the humor of the Italian farce.

"The process is so creative. It's different every time. I enjoy the sense of getting things done . . . while plagued with deadlines and setbacks," she says.

Before coming to Baltimore, Ms. Pryce faced even greater challenges -- dressing 500 extras for a TV special about Babe Ruth and helping alter 140 outfits in three days for Calvin Klein's fall shows.

She first realized she was interested in theatrical costumes as a child, when she and friends would stage neighborhood shows. She never remembered much about the plays themselves afterward.

"To me," she says, "the product was always the clothes."

9/Jeffrey Kent's work brightens the neighborhood If you're admiring more art along North Charles Street these days, thank Jeffrey Kent.

The abstract paintings, pen and ink drawings and enamel sculptures that dot once-dormant store windows from the 100 to 1200 blocks are his handiwork.

As curator of the quasi-exhibit coordinated by Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, Mr. Kent spent the last month finding 10 artists whose work would brighten one of the city's busiest thoroughfares.

"It was almost like putting a puzzle together," says Mr. Kent, 29, who also lives on Charles Street. "What I'm trying to say is art is beautiful, and we can't live without it."

A painter himself, he doesn't subscribe to the tortured artist philosophy. His talent did, however, grow out of frustration with his career as a clothing store manager.

"I began painting in my spare time and got addicted," he says. "I love it. When I'm sitting down in front of a plain canvas, all I'm thinking about is having fun."

Although he is quickly gaining a reputation as a curator, having organized exhibits at Henry & Jeff's and Cafe MonTage, he says his heart still belongs to his own art.

He's currently creating murals for several nightclubs and an apartment complex. His dream, he says, is to one day sell his work in Europe.

What goes through his mind these days when he walks along Charles Street?

"I keep thinking," he says, "I wish these windows were clean."

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