Baltimore Center Stage’s 2023/2024 season will feature a tribute to a Baltimore-raised jazz singer, a classic fairytale story, an earnestly comedic play, and more, the theater announced Thursday.
The season will be the last one curated by outgoing Artistic Director Stephanie Ybarra, who will step down from her role with Baltimore Center Stage on April 1 to serve as the program officer in Arts and Culture at the Mellon Foundation.
“I’m proud to watch the last season I’ll curate come to life under the leadership of my friend, Ken-Matt and the entire BCS team,” Ybarra said in a statement. “This constellation of plays and artists represents so much of what I love about theater; it’s filled to the brim with music, laughter and hyper-theatricality delivered by way of world premieres, fresh takes on classics, local and national partnerships and so much more.“
Ken-Matt Martin, who directed Center Stage’s production of “Tiny Beautiful Things,” will serve as the theater’s interim artistic director during a nationwide search for Ybarra’s permanent replacement.
“Stephanie has done tremendous work at BCS, culminating in a season that’s as vital as it is entertaining, led by some of the most talented artists working today,” Martin said in a statement. “I feel grateful to have been entrusted with carrying the torch while BCS seeks future leadership that will continue its exciting evolution.”
Baltimore Center Stage’s upcoming mainstage season will kick off with a production of “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill,” about the life of Billie Holiday. Born in Philadelphia, Holiday – or “Lady Day” – was raised in East Baltimore. The show will run Sept. 14 through Oct. 8, 2023.
Next up will be ArtsCentric’s production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella (Enchanted Edition),” from Nov. 25 through Dec. 23, 2023. Based on the Cinderella fairy tale, the show is the only musical that duo Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II wrote for television. Originally starring Julie Andrews in 1957, then Lesley Ann Warren in 1965, the musical’s 1997 version famously starred Brandy Norwood as Cinderella and Whitney Houston as her fairy godmother. A Broadway adaptation premiered in 2013.
Following that show will be a production of “Mexodus,” a co-production with Mosaic Theater Company. The show, which will run March 14 through April 7, 2024, is about the thousands of enslaved people who fled the American South and moved to Mexico.
From April 11-23, 2024, Baltimore Center Stage will present “The Hot Wing King,” produced in association with Hartford Stage. This comedy is about a man preparing to enter his hot wings in the “Hot Wang Festival” with the support of his friends, but family dynamics complicate his plans.
Rounding out the mainstage season will be a production of “The Importance of Being Earnest” from May 9-26, 2024. The play by Oscar Wilde satirizes Victorian social expectations and shows how far the protagonists will go to keep up false identities. Baltimore Center Stage describes their show as a “reimagined, ‘Bridgerton-ized’ version” of the classic.
The theater’s season will also feature the inaugural Locally Grown Festival on Oct. 20-22, 2023, where community members can meet and be entertained by Baltimore-area performers, artists, and makers.
The civil dialogue series Baltimore Butterfly Sessions will return, as will a presentation of the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” with Chocolate Covered Rocky Horror and Creative Alliance.
Audiences will be able to purchase tickets for the 2023/2024 season in the coming months.