Tag: baltimore center stage

Baltimost: Stephanie Ybarra

Photo courtesy of Baltimore Center Stage

Stephanie Ybarra

Stephanie Ybarra hasn't just picked up the reins at the state theater of Maryland. Like a modern-day arts admin horse-whisperer, she's retraining staff, audiences and greater Baltimore about what it means to be a producer of civically resonant stories and a true conversation starter. 

Last month, when 197 Republican lawmakers--including President Trump--were in town for the 2019 House Republican Member Conference, Ybarra sent a formal email inviting them to Baltimore Center Stage's season-opening show, "Miss You Like Hell," a musical about an undocumented Mexican mother and her U.S.-born daughter. The theater even sent a truck with the invitation on its side to drive around Harbor East, where the conference was being held. When not a single lawmaker responded, the theater gave away the seats, all of which had a reserved sign with each lawmaker's name, to the community.

In her first curated season, Ybarra has booked a slate of contemporary shows that speak to her socio-political interests rather than pandering to a safe formula of classics with name recognition and maybe a contemporary play here or there. She is part of a new wave of younger, engaged theater leaders, and happens to be the first female Latinx artistic director of a major regional theater.

She's created new staff positions like "director of artistic partnerships and innovation" and "director of learning and social accountability," along with a company-wide anti-racism initiative. She has jumped head first into being a part of the Baltimore community in her first full year in the city after being at the Public Theater in New York for years.

"I'm all in on Baltimore… The last year has been full of personal and professional highlights for me, not the least of which have been exploring Baltimore's unique personality," she says via text (because she's ultra-accessible, too). "I'm most excited by the opportunities to collaborate across disciplines. There are already so many possibilities ahead, and I'm just getting started."

Back to main Baltimost page

People BaltiMost

‘How to Catch Creation’ is a charming exploration of art and love

Shayna Small, left, and Stephanie Weeks in “How to Catch Creation.” Photo by Paola Nogueras.

Playwright Christina Anderson’s lyrical and ambitious “How to Catch Creation” at Baltimore Center Stage is a charming exploration of art and love told through a stellar cast, lively direction and sensory-pleasing design elements.

The creation of children, relationships, art and literature are the primary issues spinning between six successful, well-rounded characters whose coincidental intersections across two generations make the play feel akin to NBC’s “This Is Us.”

‘Indecent,’ a play about a play, can be thought-provoking, but also begs more questions

Credit: Stanley Photography.

Paula Vogel has made a career of tackling uncomfortable topics. The Maryland playwright won a Pulitzer in 1998 for “How I Learned to Drive,” which centers on pedophilia and incest. Other works put AIDS, pornography and domestic violence on Vogel’s stage.

With “Indecent,” co-created by Rebecca Taichman, Vogel turns her attention to a controversial play from an earlier time: “The God of Vengeance,” which debuted in 1906.

‘Fun Home’ at Center Stage strikes a chord with anyone making peace with their past

From left to right, Andrea Prestinario, Molly Lyons and Jeffry Denman in “Fun Home.” Credit: Bill Geenen.

“Fun Home” strikes a chord by creatively showing, often through song, how defining moments in our childhood and formative years shape who we become as adults.

Q&A: Stephanie Ybarra discusses her vision for Center Stage, diversity in the arts and more

Photo courtesy of Baltimore Center Stage.

Stephanie Ybarra is only a couple of months into her full-time role as the artistic director at Baltimore Center Stage, but already she has met for listening sessions and meet-and-greets with dozens of leaders in the Baltimore community, been named the keynote speaker of Maryland Arts Day in Annapolis on Feb. 14, and completely rearranged the admin offices at 700 N. Calvert St.

Comic Lisa Lampanelli to bring show ‘Losin’ It’ to Center Stage in November

Image via Facebook

For the second time in as many years, insult comic Lisa Lampanelli will come to town and perform, not at a club or one of the big halls that sometimes host stand-up comedy but at Center Stage, the State Theater of Maryland.

Center Stage hires new artistic director Stephanie Ybarra from New York’s Public Theater

Photo via press handout

Several months after the departure of Kwame Kwei-Armah, Baltimore Center Stage has announced its pick to fill his shoes as artistic director. Enter Stephanie Ybarra, currently special director of artistic projects for the Public Theater in New York, and soon to be the creative leader of Baltimore’s largest professional producing theater.

The Play’s The Thing: Shakespeare In Love Brings Love, Humor to Baltimore Center Stage

Shakespeare In Love at Baltimore Center Stage. Video still via Baltimore Center Stage

Baltimore Center Stage has continued its fall season with Shakespeare In Love, a theatrical adaptation of the Oscar-winning film of the same name, directed by Blake Robison, Artistic Director of the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.

Kwame Kwei-Armah to Step Down as Baltimore Center Stage’s Artistic Director

Photo via Baltimore Center Stage

Center Stage Baltimore’s upcoming season will be artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah’s last with the organization.