Cindy and Sonia Frank make sisterly harmoniesWhen...


Cindy and Sonia Frank make sisterly harmonies

When Cindy and Sonia Frank make music, as one rock critic put it, "Bruce Springsteen meets the Indigo Girls."

And audiences meet a hot sister act called disappear fear, whose close harmonies and real-life lyrics are creating a buzz on the club and college circuit.

During the five years they've been together, the Franks have released three albums, performed in 45 states and gotten some pretty effusive praise.

"It's wild to be in Huntington, W.Va., and find a strong local fan base," says Cindy, who sings and helps with songwriting. (Sonia writes music and lyrics, plays the guitar and sings.)

Growing up in Baltimore, the daughters of music-loving parents, they made their local debut as teen-agers who lied about their ages to get jobs. Many years and many bands later, they're still hesitant to give that stat. "Professionally, we're 21," Cindy says coyly.

They're more eager to talk about changes in the group. The Franks will play the 8x10 Club in Federal Hill at 9 p.m. Thursday, performing for the first time as part of a six-piece band.

They have no reservations about adding to their ensemble. "It makes for a bigger playground. There's more room to run around," says Cindy, who lives with her sister in Mount Washington.

So far, that much togetherness hasn't created a problem for them, in large part because their personalities mesh.

"Sonia is much more of an abstraction," says Cindy. "I'm more of the earth."

On the way to becoming an actress, Vanessa Stewart has survived falling out of high heels, losing a dress strap and a

serious attack of the giggles.

It's all in a day's work for the Baltimore actress who plays Bess in "Porgy and Bess," coming to the Lyric Opera House Friday.

The Gershwin classic has a special place in her heart. She first became enchanted with performing after hearing "Porgy and Bess" while a student at Dunbar High School. And her rendition of the song "Summertime" helped her win the Miss Baltimore's Best pageant for 1984.

Even after 10 years of performing, though, she still suffers from stage fright. "As soon as I get that first note out, I'm OK. And by the time I've gotten through the first act, I've turned into a ham," says Ms. Stewart, 33, who lives near the Inner Harbor.

Her family saw her showmanship early on. "I was the family's entertainment," she says. "If we were listening to the Jackson Five, I had to be Michael. If it was the Supremes, I was Diana Ross."

The most difficult part of her job is leaving her husband and 3-year-old. "My daughter calls and says, 'Mommy, I want you to come home right now.' . . . Sometimes I cry over it," she says.

Ms. Stewart prefers to leave the audience sobbing.

She says, "When someone comes up to me and says, 'Oh, you made me cry,' then I know I've done my job."

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