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Diverse season set for Everyman


Four Baltimore premieres and a revival of an American classic will make up the 10th anniversary season at Everyman Theatre.

The five-play roster includes one more production than has been the norm for the theater's past four seasons. And, as a further sign of growth, Everyman is adding a second weekly matinee.

The plays, all dating from the second half of the 20th century, take theatergoers from a small South African village to the Harlem Renaissance and will include the theater's first co-production with the Baltimore School for the Arts -- a collaborative mounting of Arthur Miller's "The Crucible."

Expanding the season "allows us to diversify our offerings to our audience," said artistic director Vincent M. Lancisi. "It will also allow us to diversify our casts. Now we have more plays, more roles and we can bring in more actors from the outside."

Besides adding a 2: 30 p.m. Saturday matinee to the performance schedule, Everyman is changing the Wednesday and Thursday curtain times to 7: 30 p.m. to allow theatergoers to return home at an earlier hour during the work week. Subscriptions to the five-play season range from $60 to $80.

Here's the 2000-2001 lineup:

"The Road to Mecca," by Athol Fugard (Sept. 8-Oct. 1). Set in South Africa's desolate Karoo region, this uplifting drama is based on an Afrikaner visionary artist named Helen Martins, who will be played by Everyman resident actor Tana Hicken, under the direction of her husband, Donald Hicken.

"The Crucible" (Nov. 17-Dec. 10). This production of Miller's play about the Salem witch hunts will be a rare co-venture between a regional theater and an arts high school. The production will feature students, faculty and Everyman company members.

"As Bees in Honey Drown," by Douglas Carter Beane (Feb. 2-25, 2001). A mid-Atlantic premiere, this 1997 off-Broadway hit focuses on a mysterious and flamboyant woman who hires a young novelist to write a screenplay about her life.

"Blues for an Alabama Sky," by Pearl Cleage (March 23-April 15, 2001). Set in Harlem in 1930, Cleage's ensemble drama explores the intertwined lives of a costume designer, a former singer at the Cotton Club, a doctor, a staff member at a family planning clinic (to be played by company member Elauna Griffin) and a recent arrival from Alabama.

"Visiting Mr. Green," by Jeff Baron (May 11-June 3, 2001). To fulfill a community service sentence, a young corporate executive is assigned to assist a Jewish octogenarian, and they form an unlikely friendship. Company members Kyle Prue and Stan Weiman will portray the characters, who have diametrically opposing personalities.

In other news, Everyman has scheduled its second annual fund-raising gala, "Salut! Everyman," for 7: 30-midnight, June 10. Tickets to the gala are $125.

The event includes a gourmet buffet supper, swing dancing and silent and live auctions of items including trips, rare wines and sports packages. Denise Koch and Marc Steiner are co-hosts. For information, call 410-752-2208.

Bash for Culman

Center Stage held a farewell bash for departing managing director Peter W. Culman last Monday, highlighted by a "dramatic pageant" in the Head Theater. An impressive group of Center Stage alumni showed up to perform.

Among the highlights: director/playwright Marion McClintonreading a monologue cut from the 1992 production of his play, "Police Boys"; Stan Wojewodski Jr., former Center Stage artistic director and current head of the Yale School of Drama and the Yale Repertory Theater, reciting a poem by Seamus Heaney; and Center Stage associate artists Laurence O'Dwyer and Robert Dorfman (on Broadway in "The Lion King") gleefully clowning their way through a scene from "Waiting for Godot."

After the presentation, the crowd assembled in the scene shop, which was dedicated to Culman. "The majority of the spaces in the building have names," technical director Tom Rupp kidded in his introductory remarks. "We didn't have much left."

Also present at the festivities was trustee emeritus T. Edward Hambleton, co-founder of off-Broadway's legendary Phoenix Theatre -- and the man who recommended Culman to Center Stage 34 years ago. "It's lucky that it turned out as it did," Hambleton quipped. Culman officially turns the reins over to his successor, Thomas Pechar, on June 30.

'Action Cabaret 3'

The latest installment in Action Theatre's cabaret series will be presented on May 12. "Action Cabaret 3" will feature three short theater pieces ("Field of Study," by Tony Tsendeas; a trio of sketches by Harold Pinter; and "The Heirs of Diogenes," by Peter Barnes) and three sets of music performed by Radiant Pig, a rock group whose subject matter will range from inch grubs to supernovas.

Show time is 9: 30 p.m. at the Groundfloor, 1726 Thames St. Tickets are $8, or $6 for members of the Fells Point Creative Alliance.

Dinner is available at 7 p.m. for a separate charge. Call 410-276-1651.

Workshop at Fell's Point

Director Barry Feinstein will teach an acting workshop on scene study at Fell's Point Corner Theatre, 251 S. Ann St., from 7 p.m.-10 p.m., May 10-June 7. The fee for the six-week course is $50. Call 410-276-7837.

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