The fall always brings excitement to Baltimore’s theater scene, as local venues begin their new seasons and announce the shows to come. This season, Center Stage has a diverse range of literary and contemporary shows. Whether you’re a sports per- son, a Shakespeare buff or an Austenite, Center Stage has a show to appeal to your interests.
“Pride & Prejudice” (September 11 – October 11)
The first show of the season is a new adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Pride & Prejudice.” Most of you have probably seen at least one adaptation of the classic romance between the fiery Elizabeth Bennett and the aloof William Darcy. Maybe you read, or at least studied, the original text in high school.
Christopher Baker wrote this stage version, trimming characters and subplots where necessary, and adding a contemporary soundtrack that echoes Sofia Coppola’s “Marie Antoinette.” In an article published in the Baltimore Sun, director Hana S. Sharif maintained that despite some changes, the adaptation keeps Austen’s “voice” and comedy. It’s no surprise that tickets for this show are going quickly, so act fast if you want to catch it before the run ends on October 11.
“The Secret Garden” (October 30 – November 29)
“The Secret Garden,” another literary show, follows “Pride & Prejudice.” This show is a Tony-nominated musical adaptation by Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon. It follows the story of Mary, an orphaned girl who moves from India to England, where she lives with a distant and grieving uncle. Eventually – no spoilers here – she discovers a locked and secret walled garden to escape from her desolate daily life. Given the absence of parents in this classic story, it is bound to be a sad show. Nonetheless, it’s worth checking out, especially if you enjoyed the book or movie as a child.
“X’s and O’s” (November 13 – December 20)
The season makes a big shift with its next show, “X’s and O’s,” which is a moral exploration of the sport of football. A joint commission with Berkeley Repertory Theater, the show is built around interviews with real players, families and fans. It challenges the viewer to consider the increasingly pressing questions regarding the dangers of the sport, but not without acknowledging the power of the game. Whether you are a sports fan who rarely attends theater, or a theatergoer who couldn’t care less about football, why not see how this show can change the way you think about theater and sports?
“As You Like It” (January 15 – February 14)
After a thoroughly modern show, Center Stage will return to the most classic of theater: Shakespeare. “As You Like It” follows Rosalind and Orlando through banishment, mistaken identity and romance all in the pastoral surroundings of the forest of Arden. It includes lots of witty rapport as well as the famous “All the world’s a stage” speech. This production of the traditional comedy, however,takes a new route away from the typical Shakespearean male casting to an all-female cast. Get your tickets to see how the gender dynamics transform the impact of this classic work.
“Detroit ’67” (April 8 – May 8)
The final production of the season will be performed at the Mainstage Theater at Towson University. In 1967, a brother and sister host parties in their basement following the death of their parents. With the backdrop of Motown music, and the increasing social tension of the late sixties, this play explores the highly relevant subjects humanity, race and family, making it a strong finish to the 2015- 16 season.
And all at fairly affordable prices. Though you may think that professional theater is outside your measly student budget, remember that Center Stage works hard to make their productions accessible. This means that you can attend big, professional productions at relatively affordable prices. Catching the cheapest tickets can be tricky, so consider joining their mailing list so you are notified when tickets go on sale. If you are in the 18-34 age bracket, look into the GoPass, which offers tickets to all five shows in a season for an incredibly low rate of $49.