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Updated: Aug 4, 2021

The Cumberland Theatre continues its 33rd Season of live entertainment this weekend with the comedy Moonlight and Magnolias. The play is based on the Hollywood legend of the making of the classic film Gone With the Wind, in which the producer, David O. Selznick, quarantines the screenwriter, Ben Hecht, and director, Victor Fleming, in his office to write the entire screen play in only five days on a diet of bananas and peanuts.

Set in 1939, the script includes many pop culture references of the time including Judy Garland’s infamous slap in The Wizard of Oz, Vivian Leigh’s relationship with Lawrence Olivier and Clark Gable’s extracurricular activities off-set. The show runs under two hours and includes a 15 minute intermission.

The show is being directed by CT Co-Artistic Director, Kimberli Rowley and features the acting talents of Sam Little (David O. Selznick), Bill Dennison (Ben Hecht), and Seth Thompson (Victor Fleming). Rowley also makes a cameo appearance as Selznick’s frazzled secretary, Miss Poppengahl.


Sam Little last appeared with the Cumberland Theatre as Oberon/Theseus in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, for which he also served as director. He also directed the 2019 CT production of Dracula. He spent most of his performance career in Orlando, Fl. where he was seen regularly at venues such as Universal Studios, Pirates Dinner Adventure, the Orlando Repertory Theatre and the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre. Currently, he resides in Hagerstown where he serves as the Artistic Director of Maryland Entertainment Group.

Bill Dennison was last seen on the CT stage in 2016 in Every Christmas Story Ever Told and has also appeared in Little Shop of Horrors, The 39 Steps and and Beau Jest. A Cumberland native, Dennison currently resides in Baltimore where he has taught Acting, Shakespeare, Physical Comedy, and Stage Combat to schools in Baltimore and Annapolis. He is a former company member of The Annapolis Shakespeare Company, and is a current member of The Theatrical Response Team and D.C. Actors' Workshop.


Seth Thompson is returning for his third CT production having appeared in American Son, The House of Yes and A Midsummer Night’s Dream this past year. He began his acting career in Hagerstown, MD with Authentic Community Theatre. Since then, he has worked at the Washington County Playhouse and The Totem Pole Playhouse. He also served as Production Manager for Maryland Entertainment Group where he worked in various capacities for 4 years.


The creative staff for Moonlight and Magnolias also includes CT Co-Artistic Director, Rhett Wolford (set and sound design), Jennifer Clark (costume design), Matthew Georgeson (lighting design), Little (fight director), Bekah Brown (stage manager) and Hayden Kline (assistant stage manager).


The show runs August 5th – 15th with performances Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm and Sundays at 2:00 pm. Tickets are available at www.cumberlandtheatre.com or by calling 301.759.4990. Group rates are available for parties of 20 or more.


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The Cumberland Theatre continues its 33rd season this weekend with the opening of the juke box musical Ring of Fire. A biographical musical revue, the show tells the story of Johnny Cash through award-winning music. More than two dozen classic hits —including “I Walk The Line,” “A Boy Named Sue,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” and the title song — performed by a multi-talented cast, paint a musical portrait of The Man in Black that is appropriate for all ages.


The cast features a blend of local stage veterans, returning guest performers and actors making their CT debut performances. Returning to the stage following their recent performances in Shakespeare in the Park: A Midsummer Night’s Dream are Adam Marino and Alexandra Shephard. Marino is a native of Rochester, NY and has performed in various regional productions, theme parks, cruises and concerts. He also serves as a tenor for the 1950's doo wop rock group The Diamonds. Shephard is originally from Williamsburg, VA and has appeared in theatres and theme park shows throughout the east coast. She currently resides in New York City.


Also returning to the Cumberland Theatre is Kai B. White who now resides in Virginia Beach, VA. She was last seen on the CT stage as Dionne in Hair. Since then, she has worked as lounge singer/performer at The Greenbrier Resort, a mainstage singer with Disney Cruise Lines, and several theatres throughout the region.


Local performers Hayden Kline and Mikayla Dodge are making their return to the local stage. Kline was last seen in the April production of The Great Gatsby and has also speared as Tommy Ross in Carrie the Musical and Wolfe in Hair. Dodge has graced the CT stage in Little Shop of Horrors, Young Frankenstein and, most recently, as Abigail Adams in 1776.


Left to right: Matthew Clark, Mikayla Dodge, Hayden Kline, Shane Lynn, Adam Marino, LIllia Rose, Thomas-Matthew Elijah Shands, Allie Tamburello, Alexandra Shephard, Kai B. White

Frostburg native Matthew Clark joins the cast after last year’s Assassins the Musical in which he played John Hinkley. He has also recently worked with West Virginia Public Theatre, Great Plains Theatre and the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire.


Making their Cumberland Theatre debuts are Allie Tamburello, Thomas-Matthew Elijah Shands, Shane Lynn and Lillia Rose. Tamburello is a singer-songwriter and musician who was born and raised in New York. She holds a B.A. in Musical Theatre from Cortland State University and is a proud alum of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting’s professional conservatory program. Shands is originally from The Poconos of Pennsylvania and now calls East Orange, NJ home. He has recently appeared in shows with the Shoestring Theatre Company and Cocoa Village Playhouse. Lynn was born in North Carolina and raised in Michigan, where he performed in several regional theatres. He now resides in Bedford, PA. Rose is from Oakland, MD where she dances with Brenda’s Body Shop.


The show being directed and choreographed by Danny Durr with musical direction by Chris E. McCabe, who also the leader of the five-piece band that is featured in the show. The design team includes Rhett Wolford (set/lighting design) and Jennifer Clark (costume design). Bekah Brown is serving as the production stage manager.


Performances are July 8th, 9th, 15th, 16th, and 17th at 8:00 pm and July 10th, 11th, and 18th at 2:00 pm. The show is approximately two hours with an intermission and is appropriate for all ages. Tickets are available online at www.cumberlandtheatre.com.

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Cumberland Theatre collaborates with Maryland Entertainment Group


The Cumberland Theatre is proud to once again be presenting free Shakespeare in the Park to local residents. This year, the theatre has partnered with Maryland Entertainment Group of Hagerstown to embark on three-week tour of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The show opened last weekend with three performances in Hagerstown and will continue its run this weekend in Waynesboro, PA on Saturday, June 19th and at the Grantsville Town Park on Sunday, June 20th at 6:00 pm. The tour will conclude in Cumberland in the garden of the Gilchrist Gallery on Washington Street for two performances on Friday, June 25th and Saturday, June 26th beginning at 7:00 pm. Admission is free and residents are encouraged to bring their own blankets and lawn chairs.


A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of Shakespeare’s most recognized, celebrated and produced comedies. Theseus and Hippolyta, about to marry, are figures from mythology. In the woods outside Theseus’s Athens, two young men and two young women sort themselves out into couples—but not before they form first one love triangle, and then another.


Also in the woods, the king and queen of fairyland, Oberon and Titania, battle over custody of an orphan boy; Oberon uses magic to make Titania fall in love with a weaver named Bottom, whose head is temporarily transformed into that of a donkey by a hobgoblin or “puck,” Robin Goodfellow. Finally, Bottom and his companions ineptly stage the tragedy of “Pyramus and Thisbe.”

The cast features a diverse group of actors including several veterans from both CT and MEG, as well as some newcomers to the region. The four lovers are played by Western Maryland residents Bailey Hovermale (Helena) and Jacob Reese (Demetrius), and Adam Marino (Lysander) and Alexandra Shephard (Hermia) who currently reside in New York, NY.


Appearing as the residents of the Fairy Realm are Sam Little (Artistic Director of MEG) as Oberon, Kimberli Rowley (Co-Artistic Director of CT) as Titania and Seth Thompson as Puck.


The merry band of mechanicals are lead by Sean Besecker of Chambersburg, PA as Bottom and include Andrew Shifler (Quince), Andrew Payne (Snout), Adam Wennick (Flute), Jacob Waeyaert (Starvling) and Richie Dobson (Snug).


The cast also features Emily Haworth (Hippolyta), McClairen Eisenhour (Cobweb), Madeleine Davis (Peasblossom), Jillian Dugan (Mustardseed) and Maverick McKee (Egeus).


In the true spirit of collaboration, the creative team features key personnel from both companies. The show is under the direction of Little with assistance from Rowley. Bekah Brown serves at the stage manager. The design team consists of Robin Shaner (costume design) and Jennifer Clark (props design and assistant costumer) with set design by Rhett Wolford and David DiFalco.


The show is performed with one short intermission and is appropriate for all ages.


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