Wow. Suddenly it seems we can hardly keep up with all the amazing goings on at Center Stage. Last week we were all atwitter because the PBS documentary on the Center Stage-based “Raisin Cycle” is about to air. But before we can even plan our outfits for the viewing party on Friday, October 25, these folks just go ahead and raise the curtain on Marcus Gardley’s dance of the holy ghosts, which runs through November 17th.
And leading the cast are Michael Genet (whom you might recognize from Spike Lee’s 25th Hour and She Hate Me)and Denise Burse (best known as Claretha Jenkins on Tyler Perry’s House of Payne). The production is directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah, Center Stage’s new Artistic Director who so far is a non-stop marvel of the is-there-anything-this-guy-can’t-do variety. So between the rock stars in the lead roles, Kwei-Armah’s impassioned direction, and Gardley’s masterful writing– this one is clearly on the must-see list this fall.
Dance of the Holy Ghosts follows the story of Oscar Clifton, a blues man living through his memories of the past until his estranged grandson Marcus pays a visit. It’s a poetic family drama following a saga of love, regret, and missed opportunities. “I am continually moved and inspired by Marcus’s work,” say Kwei-Armah. “His writing is poetic, entwining themes of spirit, history, and manhood in a way that brings to mind the work of August Wilson. We are thrilled to have actors of Michael and Denise’s caliber join us for this production, and that we have assembled an extraordinary cast that can bring Marcus’s poetry to life.”
Of course, we wouldn’t expect anything less from Baltimore’s beloved regional theater. Now in its 51st season, Center Stage is proudly looking toward its “next fifty years.” How will they build on, or differ from the first fifty? Only time will tell. But if this production (and indeed, this season) are any indication, we can certainly look forward to Kwei-Armah bringing us even more riveting, relevant, and beautifully executed theatre in the years to come.
Dance of the Holy Ghosts runs until November 17. Tickets start at $19 and can be purchased by calling 410.332.0033, or visiting www.centerstage.org.
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