DONALD’S ARTISTIC DIRECTOR BLOG
WELCOME TO SEASON 63 2016-2017
We need the public support to keep this institution going. Lets not be the ones saying “another black historical institution gone”, when we did nothing to keep it alive. You can’t blame the man for everything. Most of the time the fate of institutions is really in your hands. Tickets are available online and group purchases can be gotten by calling 410-728-6500.
Well we certainly opened the 63rd season with a brilliant production of “SMOKEY JOE’S CAFE” featuring the songs of Leiber and Stoller. This production was masterfully directed by Randolph Smith with a cast of outstanding performers. However this splendid production was not really supported by the audience it deserved. We work hard to present first class productions. At times that means we will have to spend a huge amount just for the royalties and scores. You say you want these shows but we can only go by your support. I am sure that more will come out and support the upcoming “RADIO GOLF” by August Wilson. It is being directed by David D. Mitchell, Associate Artist Director and Executive Board Member of Arena Players, Inc.. Mr. Mitchell is also the Creative Director of Motor House. “RADIO GOLF” runs from October 14th thru October 30th. Friday and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sunday at 4 pm. The general admission is $20.00 with students and seniors admission at $15.00.
In November we will again be blessed with the marvelous Sandra Meekins in “MOMS MABLEY: MY ONE LAST NERVE“. So we have theater for everyone. Come out and enjoy.
The second half of our 63rd season opened with “A FATHER’S LOVE
” a modern updated urban version of the prodigal son. It was written by Baltimore native Deitra Wilson and it was very exciting to work on this production with her. The cast was brilliant with some actors familiar with Arena Players audiences like Marc Stevens and Dominic Gladden. The rest of the cast are new to our stage. I thank all of them for their dedication. A shout out to Lauren Krystal Waters, Jason A. Hunter, James Doggett, Stephon Davenport, Aliya Mitchell, Monyai Stukes, and Jonathan David Hancock for job well done. I am looking forward to working with all of these actors again. Byron “Tony” Rodger, Sr. Constructed a very imaginative set that was easy to change. As usual Randy Smith, Felicia Chapple and Charlene Williamson gave their top notched skills to make sure everything was perfect. Let me just say that Ja Lisa Sample is a life saver.
The audience reacted a good 90% percent positive to the production and the message.
Next up is “COLORBLIND: THE KATRINA MONOLOGUES” opening February 17th thru February 26th
Mari Andrea did an excellent job of directing this very powerful work. Her set design was very simple and effective with additional touches of scenic design by Andrea R. Crews. Mari has great directorial instincts and delivers magic. Her cast was excellent and brought life to everything that was both tragic and at the same time comedic in terms of human errors.
From now on when I think of (and I will) of Benny Pope, William Walker and Jason Hunter, the word will be FIERCE!!! 3 GUYS IN DRAG: SELLING THEIR STUFF was hilarious. These actors let you see three men fulfilling their social obligation of a yard sale in order to raise funds for an urn. This play takes both a comedic and a serious look at friendship, its downs and up, and the turn of events that has landed everyone at this point in life. Benny Pope’s Diva was funny without going over the top. As a matter of fact his pain and his joy were both just so real. William Walker’s Lillian was so touching , lost and funny at the same time. I learned more about Timothy Leary did I wanted to thanks to Lillian and the punch. Jason Hunter’s Tink was Madam in a wheel chair keeping you up with what was really happening as she was putting the face of reality on this farce. Great job done by all. You were a joy to work with.
Langston Hughes’s LITTLE HAM was brought to life by director Robert Russell and assistant director Tyrone Chapman and what looked like a cast of 1,000 with musical direction by Grafton Gray. It was definitely funny and well received by the audience. The entire cast shined with each having great moments. It was good having a Langston Hughes play being performed at Arena Playhouse again.
Now the gospel musical, CROWNS, about a young African American girl trying to figure out her identity. her place in the world , and her place in her own culture opens on May 12th thru June 4th. Kwame Kenyatta Bey directs this production of the musical written by Regina Taylor.
DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER, TODAY’S (12/08/2013) PERFORMANCE OF “WAITING TO BE INVITED” IS CANCELLED. TICKETS FOR TODAY CAN BE USED ON JANUARY 26TH FOR “GOD’S TROMBONES”. Keep up to date by checking our website or calling 410-728-6500.read more
This is the last weekend for WAITING TO BE INVITED. Don’t miss this production. Tonight, Friday, December 7th audience is great.read more
Okay, Arena Players finished Tambourines to Glory, East Texas Hot Links and Fall From Heaven in great style. We could use some more audience. This is the last weekend for Waiting to be Invited. On Friday , December 6th tickets are available. Plenty of tickets are available. Take advantage of this offer.read more
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