Get your fill of live theatre this summer

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Carol Sorgen

While many area theaters are dark for the summer, there are still opportunities for you to get your fill of comedy, drama and musicals over the next several months.

Here are a few local and regional offerings that are worth considering.

In our own backyard

Baltimore’s Run of the Mill Theater will present BMORE 1-ACTS, a collection of four one-act plays by local authors.

Henry’s Holiday, by Julie Lewis, runs from July 1-3; Empires Fall, by Mark Scharf, also from July 1-3; A Girl Called Alice, by Kimberley Lynne, from July 7-10, and Sphere: The Thelonius Monk Story, by Max Garner, from July 7-10 as well.

Performances July 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9 are at 8 p.m., and July 3 and 10 at 7 p.m. There will also be a 3 p.m. matinee on July 2. Tickets are $15 at the door or online at www.brownpapertickets.com. The theater is located at LOF/t (Load of Fun Theater) at 120 W. North Ave.

Cockpit in Court Summer Theatre at Community College of Baltimore County-Essex has a full slate of shows for its 2011 season: From June 17-July 3 is the family-friendly production of The Secret Garden; June 24-July 3 is Over the River and Through the Woods; July 8-17, Disney’s Camp Rock; July 22-Aug. 7, Hairspray; and July 29-Aug. 7, The Edge of Darkness. Tickets range from $24-$36.

Visit www.ccbcmd.edu/cockpit or call (443) 840-2787 for more information. The theater is located at 7201 Rossville Blvd.

At Toby’s Dinner Theatre at Best Western Hotel & Conference Center, 5625 O’Donnell St., the surprise Broadway hit Xanadu comes to town through Sept. 4. The musical, based on the infamous Olivia Newton John film, was supposed to be a smash hit follow-up to Newton John’s star turn in the movie musical Grease.

Unfortunately, the film was vilified by critics and actually was the reason the Razzie Awards for the Worst Films of the year were created. It became a cult classic and is cherished by many film buffs for its sheer awfulness.

The Broadway production, however, won rave reviews and ran for more than 550 performances. The show was nominated for four Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and won the Drama Desk Award for Best Book of a Musical.

Performances run Thursdays through Sundays; there are select Tuesday and Wednesday evening and Thursday matinee performances as well. Doors open at 6 p.m. for evening shows (5 p.m. on Sundays) and 10:30 a.m. for matinees. Reservations are required. For reservations or more information, call (410) 649-1660 or visit www.tobysdinnertheatre.com.

In Columbia

Speaking of Toby’s, Cole Porter’s musical romp across the Atlantic in Anything Goes continues at Toby’s Dinner Theatre in Columbia through August 28.

When the S.S. American heads out to sea, etiquette and convention head out the portholes as two unlikely pairs set off on the course to true love.

But sometimes destiny needs a little help from a crew of singing sailors, an exotic disguise. and some good old-fashioned blackmail. Peppering this hilariously bumpy ride are some of musical theater’s most memorable standards, including “I Get a Kick out of You,” “It’s De-lovely,” and, of course, “Anything Goes.”

Tuesday through Saturday evenings, doors open at 6 p.m. for the all-you-can-eat buffet dinner, and the show starts at 8 p.m. On Sunday evenings, doors open at 5 p.m. for dinner, with a 7 p.m. show time. For Wednesday and Sunday matinees, doors open at 10:30 a.m. for brunch, and the show begins at 12:30 p.m. Prices, which include the meal and show (alcoholic beverages are extra), range from $47 to $52 for adults and are $33.50 for children.

The theater is located at 5900 Symphony Woods Drive, Columbia. For more information, call (410) 730-8311. 

Now celebrating its ninth year at the ruins at Patapsco Female Institute (PFI) Historic Park in Ellicott City (3691 Sarah’s Lane), Chesapeake Shakespeare Company presents two popular plays in repertory, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) through July 24.

In The Complete Works, three of CSC’s comic actors — Scott Graham, Frank Mormon and John Miller — perform a two-hour comic version of Shakespeare’s greatest hits. Pre-show entertainment includes musicians, jugglers and stage combat demonstrations.

The gates open 90 minutes before show time for picnicking. Tickets can be purchased online at www.chesapeakeshakespeare.com or by calling (410) 313-8661. Tickets range from $15 to $36.

Further afield

A perennial favorite for residents and visitors alike, Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre has two popular shows on tap for the summer.

Featuring your favorite songs from the ‘50s and ‘60s, The Marvelous Wonderettes is a trip down memory lane to the 1958 Springfield High School prom. It runs from June 30 to July 24.

The 2011 season will close with the Baltimore-based musical Hairspray, which inspired a major motion picture and won eight 2003 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. It runs Aug. 4 to Sept. 4.

Curtain time for all performances is 8:30 p.m. Each show has performances Thursday through Sunday. Call the box office at (410) 268-9212 for more information. Tickets are $18 each. The theater is located at 143 Compromise St.

At Olney Theatre Center, Opus, by Michael Hollinger, runs on the Mainstage through July 3. In the play, a nationally televised performance at the White House looms, and a world renowned string quartet is missing its volatile fourth player. Opus explores the intimate balance between these extraordinary individuals as their ambitions and passions are ignited by the pressure to perform.

From July 27-Aug. 21, also on the Mainstage, Grease will bring you back to the days of drive-ins, rock ‘n roll and high school romance. Tickets range from $26 to $54; patrons 65 and older receive $5 off (excludes Saturday evenings and Sunday matinees; subject to availability).

Olney Theatre Center is located at 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Rd. For more information, call (301) 924-3400 or visit www.olneytheatre.org.

The well-regarded Contemporary American Theater Festival returns once again to West Virginia’s Shepherd University in Shepherdstown from July 8-31, with new works in repertory by playwrights David Mamet, Kyle Bradstreet, Sam Shepard, Tracy Thorne and Lucy Thurber.

The festival is well known for presenting thought-provoking new plays. This year’s dramas focus on sex, race, friendship and family. For more information, call 1-800-999-2283 or visit www.catf.org.