How does it start? With a meet-cute little musical number featuring the cast of seven. How does it last? Those same seven sing and dance and talk and laugh and cry for 100 minutes every Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday afternoon* so that audiences all over Charm City can have an adorable feel-good alternative to the Christmas season’s traditional musical theatre offerings. Despite an unsuccessful run Off-Broadway, the current cast of the Spotlighters Theatre production of First Date is finding second life,
“I ain’t on oith and I ain’t in Heaven, get me? I’m in de middel tryin’ to seperate em, takin all de woist punches from bot’ of ’em. Maybe dat’s whay dey call Hell, huh?”
On a weekend packed with frightening diversions the most terrifying of all is surely Eugene O’Neill’s nearly century old expressionist drama, The Hairy Ape running through 19 November at Spotlighters Theatre. I was at opening night on Friday and I have been haunted ever since by the themes,
Come on and— ease on down, ease on down the road! Pick up your left foot when your right foot’s down, and head to the Mt. Vernon side of Charm City Town. You’ve got to— ease on down, ease on down the road! It’s time to ease on down, ease on down the road! Pick up your tickets— for this show that is— come on down to Spots and see their show of The Wiz!
The line forms, on the right, babe— now that Macheath is back in town! The Audrey Herman Spotlighters Theatre is sending scarlet billowing all over the stage, kicking off 2017 with a flash of those pearly white sharks teeth as they bring the iconic Bertolt Brecht adaptation, The Three Penny Opera to the stage. Directed (with new editing, adapting, and translating) by Michael Blum with Musical Direction by Erica Rome,
Madhouse doesn’t begin to describe the utter shenanigans happening in William Gillette’s New England mansion on Christmas Eve. Scandal! Mystery! Murder! For god’s sake, there are actors present! What else could be expected from Ken Ludwig’s bitingly humorous and boisterously bloody play The Game’s Afoot? Directed by Fuzz Roark, this scintillating madcap comedy with just a dandy drop of blood for the murder mystery enthusiast in us all is the perfect way to ring in the holiday season.
There’s a ring of gold in Texas that hitched a tumbleweed coach to Baltimore and is kicking up more dust than a dozen road-runners aiming to outrun a pack of coyotes. Yeehaw, you dun heard right if what you heard was Das Barbecü, the musical that spins Wagner’s Ring Cycle as a witty Texas fable, coming to the stage of The Audrey Herman Spotlighters Theatre! Sure ‘nuff it done been Directed by Greg Bell with that there Musical Direction by Michael Tan and the result is a dead ringer for comedic performance of the year.
A year lasts forever and a day when you’re on top of the world. The Audrey Herman Spotlighters Theatre production of Evita will only last five weekends but will strike a chord in the hearts of theatergoers across Charm City that will easily resonate for a year. The music of Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics of Tim Rice come together under the Direction of Fuzz Roark and Musical Direction of Michael Tan in a pure and sublime performance of one of the most dizzying historical tales ever told in musical theatre.
Everybody has their truth. Yours may be different from mine, but there’s only one way to the promised land…of theatre…and for the moment that way is through the gates of Spotlighters Theatre as they warm up the winter with their production of Southern Baptist Sissies. Written by Del Shores and Directed by Fuzz Roark, this evocative, heartbreaking tale of reconciling religious truth with reality tugs the heartstrings hard and doesn’t let go until the show’s stirring conclusion.