Baltimore’s theater scene includes more than 35 professional and independent theater companies. This month, which includes the fourth anniversary of the Baltimore Uprising in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death, several theaters are presenting shows that touch on social justice topics. Other theatrical offerings include new works, contemporary productions, comedy classics and a range of Shakespeare plays.
“MASS/RABBLE” presented by Submersive Productions, April 3-14 at the Baltimore War Memorial, 101 N. Gay St., info/tickets.
Baltimore’s immersive theater company is presenting a large-scale devised work in the grand hall of Baltimore’s War Memorial. Led by 2018 Baker Award winner Lisa Stoessel, the show tells a story through the movement of audience members engaging with 30 performers. Guests of all levels of physical ability are invited to join the ensemble.
“Pantheon” presented by Happenstance Theatre, April 4-14 at Baltimore Theatre Project, 45 W. Preston St., info/tickets.
The Happenstance quintet delves into ancient Greek mythology with a pared-down 1940s aesthetic. Like Sisyphus, a chorus of workers must endlessly repeat its tasks. The performers invoke the muses, offer sacrifice, suffer hubris, consult oracles and meet fate as they portray an array of mortals and gods whose flaws reflect their own.
“Marooned!” presented by Alex & Olmstead, April 26-May 5 at Baltimore Theatre Project, 45 W. Preston St., info/tickets.
Alex & Olmsted (creators of the Jim Henson Foundation Grant-awarded “Milo the Magnificent”) return to Baltimore Theatre Project with the world premiere of “Marooned!,” which takes place at the outer reaches of space. An astronaut crashes on an uncharted planet and has to face strange creatures, an anomalous atmosphere and isolation with only her Autonomous Task Assistant to help her survive.
Social Justice Stories
“Having Our Say” presented by Arena Players, April 12-28 at Arena Players, 801 McCulloh St., info/tickets.
Trailblazers, activist and best friends, the 100-plus-year-old Delany sisters Sadie and Bessie share their experiences overcoming prejudice in times of social unrest in this comedic and touching family drama, based on the bestselling memoir by Sarah L. Delany and A. Elizabeth Delany, with Amy Hill Hearth.
“Snapshots” presented by ArtsCentric, April 18-20 at Baltimore Theatre Project, 45 W. Preston St., info/tickets.
ArtsCentric opens its 2019 season with a reprise of its original 2015 show, “Snapshots,” a story told entirely through dance that follows the life of Damon, a kid obsessed with photography, and his tragic death at the hands of law enforcement. The emotionally charged show incorporates elements of ballet, jazz, hip-hop, step and tap.
“Janet Langhart Cohen’s ‘Anne & Emmett'” presented by Morgan State University Theater, April 26-May 4 at Morgan State University’s Carl J. Murphy Fine Arts Center, 2201 Argonne Drive, info/tickets.
The play depicts an imagined conversation between two historical young people who were killed because of racial persecution and hatred–Emmett Till, a young African-American who was lynched at the age of 14 after being accused of offending a white woman; and Anne Frank, a German-born Jewish girl who died at 15 in a Holocaust concentration camp.
“Dinner with Friends” presented by Everyman Theatre, through April 7 at Everyman Theatre, 315 W. Fayette St., info/tickets.
Everyman presents “Dinner with Friends,” the 1999 drama about two well-to-do middle-aged couples. At a dinner party in the home of food writers Gabe and Karen, Beth shared that her husband Tom wants out of their 12-year marriage. Both couples find themselves grappling with questions of loyalty, individuality and commitment through flashbacks and the dramatic present-day dinner party.
“And Baby Makes Seven” presented by the Strand Theater, April 5-21 at The Strand Theater, 5426 Harford Road, info/tickets.
Baltimore audiences who love the work of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel have been spoiled this year, with Baltimore Center Stage’s production of her “Indecent” in February and March, and the Strand Theater’s April production, which tells the story of gay parents-to-be with overactive childlike imaginations.
“Pink Milk” presented by Single Carrot Theatre, April 24-May 19 at Single Carrot Theatre, 2600 N. Howard St., info/tickets.
Single Carrot presents the regional premiere of “Pink Milk” as the company’s final production at its brick-and-mortar Remington theater before starting a new turn as a traveling theater company. “Pink Milk” is an imaginative take on the life of pioneering British mathematician and Nazi codebreaker Alan Turing, who took his life by cyanide-infused apple rather than suffer chemical castration for the “gross indecency” of being homosexual.
“All New People” presented by The Green Globe Theatre, April 26-May 4 at Breath of God Lutheran Church, 141 S. Clinton St, info/tickets.
Written by Zach Braff (of “Garden State” and “Scrubs” fame) and directed by Jen Sizer, the comedy centers on Charlie, a 35-year-old man trying to hide out from his issues in a beach house on the Jersey Shore. But a succession of unlikely house crashers disturbs his getaway.
“Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” presented by Fells Point Corner Theatre. April 5-May 5 at Fells Point Corner Theatre, 251 S. Ann St., info/tickets.
Fells Point Corner Theatre presents the absurdist existential comedy by Tom Stoppard that features virtually every character who died in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” The company says “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” balances the monotony of being a bit player in someone else’s story and the profound meaning of simply being alive.
“Blithe Spirit” presented by Vagabond Players, April 12-May 12 at Vagabond Players, 806 S. Broadway, info/tickets.
Vagabond Players is presenting playwright Noël Coward’s popular comic play on the socialite and novelist Charles Condomine, and a love triangle with his naive living wife and the ghost of his feisty dead wife, brought back through a seance led by the eccentric medium and clairvoyant Madame Arcati as inspiration for Charles’ new novel.
“Henry IV, Part II” presented by Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, through April 7 at Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, 7 S. Calvert St., info/tickets.
Rarely performed individually or together, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company is presenting in repertory, “Henry IV, Part I” and”“Henry IV, Part II,” which features the roguish Prince Hal, who is pulled between the magnetic, funny and dissolute Falstaff and his dutiful and despondent father, King Henry.
“Hamlet” presented by Baltimore Shakespeare Factory, April 12-May 5 at St. Mary’s Community Center, 3900 Roland Ave., info/tickets.
Theater companies love putting new spins on Shakespeare–from setting his stories in present day to rewriting his prose for modern audiences. Not Baltimore Shakespeare Factory. With its spring production of “Hamlet,” the company is going old-school, and presenting the classic story of a grieving son finding revenge in original old English pronunciation.
“Timon of Athens,” April 19-May 5 at Mercury Theater, 1823 N. Charles St., info/tickets.
In one of Shakespeare’s least-performed plays, the generous Athenian Lord Timon showers his friends with gifts and parties, but despite his servants’ warnings, his money runs out and none of his “friends” will help him. Timon retreats to a cave, starts hating on all of humanity, finds gold, funds the demise of Athens and dies.
“Romeo and Juliet” presented by Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, April 22 at Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, 7 S. Calvert St., info/tickets.
The company is presenting a special, one-show-only public performance of its production of “Romeo and Juliet,” which is traveling around to area schools for student performances. The classic tale of star-crossed lovers will be followed by an actor talk-back.
“Beehive, The ’60s Musical” presented by Spotlighters Theatre, through April 21 at Spotlighters Theatre, 817 St. Paul St., info/tickets.
Including hits from Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Janis Joplin and The Supremes, this musical is billed by Spotlighters as “the ultimate celebration of 1960s female empowerment.” Featuring classics like “My Boyfriend’s Back,” “Be My Baby,” “Respect,” “Proud Mary” and “Me and Bobby McGee,” the show is told from the perspective of baby boomers looking back on a host of issues ranging from their first Beehive Dance to the civil rights and women’s rights movements.
“Book of Mormon” presented by Broadway Across America, April 2-7 at the Hippodrome Theatre, 12 N. Eutaw St., info/tickets.
From the minds of “South Park” creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, this nine-time Tony Award-winning musical comedy follows the misadventures of a mismatched pair of missionaries, sent halfway across the world to spread the good word.
“Come From Away” presented by Broadway Across America, April 23-28 at the Hippodrome Theatre, 12 N. Eutaw St., info/tickets.
The true story of the small town of Gander in Newfoundland that welcomed 7,000 stranded passengers in the week following the Sept. 11 attacks, when 36 planes were ordered to land unexpectedly. The characters in the musical are based on real Gander residents as well as some of the travelers they housed and fed. The musical has been received by audiences and critics as a cathartic reminder of the capacity for human kindness.
Do you have a theatrical production coming up in Baltimore in May? Great! Email writer Cassandra Miller with a full description, show information and a link to the event/ticket page by the end of April. [email protected].