Baltimore has more than 30 independent theater companies, not including professional and semi-professional establishments like Baltimore Center Stage, Everyman Theatre, the Hippodrome Theatre and Chesapeake Shakespeare Company. It’s ripe with talent and innovative interpretations for an affordable night (or afternoon matinee) out, especially during the dead of winter.
Here are some options worth braving the cold for in Baltimore City this February.
New, Newish or Rarely Told
“Everything is Wonderful” presented by Everyman Theatre, through Feb. 24 at Everyman Theatre, 315 W. Fayette St., info/tickets.
This new play, which debuted at the Contemporary American Theatre Festival in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, in 2017, looks at a repentant driver who seeks forgiveness from the Amish family whose sons he killed in a fatal collision. Faith guides them to welcome him into their community and their home. But as inconvenient truths from the family’s past are discovered, their outpouring of empathy is tested. Resident company members Bruce Randolph Nelson and Deborah Hazlett plumb the depths of an outlying culture in this enthralling, critically acclaimed drama about a peaceful community wrestling with regret, redemption and contradiction.
“Fun Home” presented by Baltimore Center Stage, through Feb. 24, at Baltimore Center Stage, 700 N. Calvert St., info/tickets.
A coming-out musical told through the eyes of Alison—at ages 9, 17 and then 42. We meet her ever-shifting and sometimes unreliable memories of her brothers, mother and above all repressed father, along with recollections from the family funeral home. Based on the best-selling illustrated memoir, this poignant tale harnesses every facet of music and theater to explore and unravel the mysteries of childhood and the surprising secrets that shape a life. Winner of the 2015 Tony Award for Best Musical, from the composer of “Caroline, or Change” and the writer of “2.5 Minute Ride.”
“God’s Trombones” presented by Arena Players, Feb. 8-24 at Arena Players, 801 McCulloh St., info/tickets.
The show features a spirited series of sermons styled from the late 19th century to the 20th century complemented by a choir and spiritual music. “God’s Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse” is a 1927 book of poems by James Weldon Johnson and a tribute to black preachers, which Arena Players presented as part of its 40th anniversary season in 1992.
“Concrete Island: A Play of J.G. Ballard’s Novel,” Feb. 8-17 at the Mercury Theater, 1823 N. Charles St., info/tickets.
Directed by Connor Kizer and adapted by Nick Vyssotsky, “Concrete Island” focuses on Robert Land, who recklessly crashes his car while speeding down the highway. Wounded, he is stranded for days until he is discovered by two people living on the concrete island where he’s been abandoned. Worlds collide, and no one will be the same again. Producers advise that the show deals with intense situations.
“Homebodies” presented by Alex & Olmsted, Feb. 14-17 at Baltimore Theatre Project, 45 W. Preston St., info/tickets.
Back for an encore production at Baltimore Theatre Project, the Jim Henson Foundation Grant-awarded company Alex & Olmsted (Happenstance Theater company members Alex Vernon and Sarah Olmsted Thomas) return with their hit comedy that explores the concepts of house and home. Centered around a 30-cubic-inch puzzle box that has trick doors and amenities, Alex & Olmsted combines physical comedy and puppetry to unlock the house of the imagination.
“Rock of Ages” presented by Broadway Across America, Feb. 15-16 at the Hippodrome Theatre, 12 N. Eutaw St., info/tickets.
Broadway’s homage to glam metal, “Rock of Ages,” stops in Baltimore during its 10th anniversary tour. Nominated for five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, “Rock of Ages” captures the music and lifestyle of 1980s Hollywood with hits like “Know What Love Is,” “Feel the Noise” and “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.” Featuring the music of bands such as STYX, Poison, Twisted Sister and Whitesnake, among many others.
“The King and I” presented by Broadway Across America, Feb. 19-24 at the Hippodrome Theatre, 12 N. Eutaw St., info/tickets.
Two worlds collide in this Rodgers & Hammerstein musical with a score featuring such beloved classics as “Getting To Know You,” “I Whistle a Happy Tune,” “Hello Young Lovers,” “Shall We Dance” and “Something Wonderful.” Set in 1860s Bangkok, the musical tells the story of the unconventional and tempestuous relationship that develops between the King of Siam and Anna Leonowens, a British school teacher whom the modernist king, in an imperialistic world, brings to Siam to teach his many wives and children.
“The Effect” presented by Fells Point Corner Theatre, Feb. 22-March 17 at Fells Point Corner Theatre, 251 S. Ann St., info/tickets.
The contemporary play is the classic story of boy meets girl. Boy likes girl and girl likes boy. They fall in love. But why? Connie and Tristan are test subjects in a clinical trial for a new antidepressant in development. Their immediate and fevered love ends up risking the integrity of the trial while they wrangle with the very origin and nature of their feelings. Are they truly meant for each other, or is it just the effect of some drug?
“Sojourners” presented by The Strand Theater, Feb. 22-March 10 at The Strand Theater, 5426 Harford Road, info/tickets.
Baltimore’s female-centric Strand Theater presents the regional premiere of “Sojourners” by Mfoniso Udofia, directed by Cheryl J. Williams. Abasiama came to America with high hopes—for her arranged marriage and for her future. She was intent on earning a degree and returning to Nigeria. But when her husband is seduced by America, she must choose between the Nigerian and the American dream.
The Classics: Shakespeare, Shaw, Shelley and Simon
“The Odd Couple” presented by Guerrilla Theatre Front, Feb. 14-16 at a secret location in Highlandtown (address provided to ticket buyers), info/tickets.
Each performance only allows up to 24 audience members in “Oscar’s apartment” to witness this take on the Neil Simon classic comedy featuring divorced Oscar Madison, the messy one, and his neat-freak counterpart Felix Unger, who has just been separated from his wife. Fastidious, depressed and none too tense, Felix seems suicidal, but as the action unfolds, Oscar becomes the one with murder on his mind when the clean freak and the slob ultimately decide to room together with hilarious results.
“Hamlet” presented by The Organic Theatre, Feb. 14-23 at Motor House, 120 W. North Ave., info/tickets.
New company the Organic Theatre presents a 90-minute contemporary adaptation of the classic “Hamlet.” The company asserts that the ideas written by Shakespeare’s pen are just as valid in 2019 as they were in the 1500s, and this production intends to prove it.
“Cymbeline” presented by Baltimore Shakespeare Factory, Feb. 15-March 10 at St. Mary’s Community Center, 3900 Roland Ave., info/tickets.
Set in ancient Britain, “Cymbeline” is among Shakespeare’s final triumphs. Blending comedy, tragedy, romance and adventure—and featuring one of the early modern stage’s strongest female leads—”Cymbeline” considers the implications of jealousy run wild, and the healing powers of forgiveness.
“Henry IV, Part I” presented by Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, Feb. 15-March 30 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 feature the roguish Prince Hal, who is pulled between the magnetic, funny and dissolute Falstaff and his dutiful and despondent father, King Henry. See Part I in February and come back for seconds (Part II) in March.
“Pygmalion” presented by Spotlighters Theatre, Feb. 15-March 10 at Spotlighters Theatre, 817 St. Paul St., info/tickets.
Spotlighters presents George Bernard Shaw’s story of the relationship between Eliza Doolittle, an intelligent but poor woman who sells flowers, and her mentor Henry Higgins, an insensitive but brilliant linguist who studies phonetics. What starts as a phonetic experiment becomes a social experiment. As these two headstrong people spar, the play follows Eliza through to her emotional and financial independence, as Eliza herself realizes she was already a lady.
“Frankenstein” presented by Cohesion Theatre Company, Feb. 21-March 10 at United Evangelical Church, 923 S. East Ave., info/tickets.
The Robert Kauzlaric adaptation of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” opens Cohesion Theatre Company’s fifth season, transforming the classic horror tale from a story of a man and his creation to one of a grieving woman reinventing her father. The play features the use of puppetry (Baltimore LOVES puppets, I’ve learned) as Victoria Frankenstein mourns the death of her father and constructs a monster in his place–a monster that begins to consume her life.
For a Little Variety, or Cabaret
“One Night Stand” presented by Interrobang Theatre, Feb. 9 at Fells Point Corner Theatre, 251 S. Ann St., info/tickets.
The company is back from a hiatus with this cabaret, sponsored by Hampden sex shop Sugar. Hosted by company co-founders Katie Hileman and Kiirstn Pagan, the cabaret features drag acts, fetish performers, comedians, burlesque acts and the premiere of a new, short play by Hileman about Pagan’s recently single life featuring an all-female cast in almost all-male roles, plus the character of “Tinder.”
“Midwinter Midway: A Submersive Soiree” presented by Submersive Productions, Feb. 9 at the Peale Center, 225 N. Holliday St., info/tickets.
The immersive theater company is presenting an early-20th century themed night of vaudeville entertainment featuring Alex & Olmsted (also in “Homebodies” at Baltimore Theatre Project this month) and other past performers of Submersive productions. In addition to performances, there will be games, activities, beverages and light bites. Attendees are encouraged to dress in theme.
“The Recital Comedy Variety Show” presented by A++, Feb. 15 at Motor House, 120 W. North Ave., info/tickets.
“Baltimore’s funniest (and newest… and only) Asian improv team” presents an evening of vaudeville entertainment, including comedic original songs about growing up Asian in America; audience participation, interactive sketch comedy and scripted storytelling.
“UnPresidented! A Political Variety Show & Spectacular for Haters & Losers” presented by Single Carrot Theatre, Feb. 16 at Single Carrot Theatre, 2600 N. Howard St., info/tickets.
A political variety show spectacular for haters and losers. With President’s Day around the corner, Single Carrot presents a cabaret variety show spectacular that includes musical parodies, a politically fueled strip tease and a cappella renditions of erotic poetry by former presidents, hosted by Miss Sadie.
Did your theater show not make the list for Baltimore city productions this month? Let’s not have that happen again. Email writer Cassandra Miller with all of your upcoming show details at [email protected].