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'Mamma Mia!' has dad dancing with joy

THE BALTIMORE SUN

A GREAT Yiddish word is kvell. It means "to glow with pride." Charles Shubow has a really serious case of the kvells. He's been kvelling all over the East Coast. He's a big-time kveller, this one.

Who is Charles Shubow?

He's "Britt Shubow's dad," and if that means nothing to you now, please hold all tickets. This could be the start of something big.

Seems like only yesterday Charles Shubow was telling -- and kvelling! -- about his daughter's great experiences in high school, at Carver Center for the Arts in Towson. Next thing I know, he's at the 56th Annual Tony Awards in New York City watching this same Britt dance with the rest of the cast of Mamma Mia!, the Broadway hit based on the '70s pop songs of ABBA. Shubow and his wife, Lisa, were kvelling in their seats at Radio City Music Hall. Their 22-year-old daughter, in a green top and ponytail, was on national television.

Kind of amazing, when you consider how tough it must be for a young performer to snag even a small part in a Broadway hit.

So we all kvell a little with this news of Britt Shubow of Baltimore. This spring she graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. She got to sing "God Bless America" during the seventh-inning stretch at Shea Stadium on Mother's Day, and Saturday she will perform with the cast of Mamma Mia! on the Today show.

All of this makes Charles "The Kveller" Shubow very proud.

But it also gives him a great excuse to make trips to New York City -- and to increase his chances of close encounters with your bona fide show business big shots. (Please deploy hard hats now as Charlie Shubow drops names, at this columnist's urging.)

"I got to meet one of the composers of Mamma Mia! from ABBA, Bjorn Ulvaeus, at the post-Tony party, shared the men's room with Urinetown's Tony-nominated John Cullum, and met Arthur Miller.

"I went to services at the beautiful Central Synagogue on 55th Street. I was standing in the back in the last row as the bar mitzvah boy marched around with the Torah followed by his parents -- Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan. I said to the usher, 'I can't believe this.' He says, 'Welcome to New York.' I met Michael afterwards. I patted him on the shoulder and said, 'Mazel tov,' and he replied, 'This is one of my proudest moments.' I then asked him if he'd seen Mamma Mia!, and he said no, but he would love to. I then gave him my card and told him if he needs tickets, 'Give me a call, my daughter's in it.'"

Britt Shubow's dad offering to get Michael J. Fox tickets to a show. Beautiful.

Make my day, punks

Clarence Mitchell IV, the state senator from West Baltimore, said of a couple of Sun reporters: "If we see these punks, we'll deal with them the way Druid Hill deals with them." Wow. Who knew C4 dealt with punks? I thought he just drove past them (you know, assuming he kept up the lease payments.) I guess I was wrong.

Sounds like C4 has insight into some parochial form of payback. Maybe he leads the secret life of an avenging superhero and he wears a superhero costume under those nice suits and goes around ridding the streets of punks with a Druid Hill Avenue brand of justice. My keen spider senses tell me there's a bigger story here. Watch this space.

Salute to patriotic teens

Joey Amalfitano reporting: "Since the terrorist attack on the U.S., I've been watching how some people express themselves -- bumper stickers, window decals, American flags displayed the right way and the wrong way. (Hey, you patriots, the American flag should not touch the ground or flap tattered over your SUV!) My favorite expression remains written across a chain-link fence on the grounds of North Harford High School, within sight of Route 165 motorists. Etched across the fence in huge letters: 'Land That I Love.' The students put it up, and Joey sends a snappy if belated salute to them."

Majestic Wye Oak

A friend and his family happened to be in eastbound Kent Island traffic last week when the remains of the Wye Oak came slowly westbound, led by a state police escort. The giant trunk of the four-century-old tree rested on a big flatbed, American flag flying. The oak had majesty in death. It was a sad spectacle for those who slowed along Route 50 to rubberneck, but also inspiring that the state would pay so much attention -- and such homage -- to one of nature's great survivors.

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