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The Cumberland Theatre is pleased to announce the next installment of the 2019 Main Stage Season, Legally Blonde the Musical.  The show will be performed July 11th – 28th with Thursday – Saturday performances at 8:00 pm and Sundays at 2:00 pm. 

 Based on the adored movie starring Reese Witherspoon, Legally Blonde The Musical, follows the transformation of Elle Woods whose life is turned upside down when her boyfriend Warner dumps her so he can attend Harvard Law.  Determined to get him back, Elle ingeniously charms her way into the prestigious law school. While there, she struggles with peers, professors and her ex. With the support of some new friends, though, Elle quickly realizes her potential and sets out to prove herself to the world.


The musical premiered on Broadway in April of 2007 received seven Tony nominations and ten Drama Desk nominations.  It has since been produced frequently all over the world.

Heading the cast as Elle Woods is Mackenzie Newbury, who is making her debut at the

Cumberland Theatre.  She is a graduate of The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, earning a Bachelor of Music degree in Musical. Since graduating she has lived and worked in the DMV, New York City and the Philadelphia area.  Favorite credits include:  Shrek (Fiona), Evita (title role),  Kiss Me Kate (Lois/Bianca), Catch Me if You Can (Brenda Strong), City of Angels (Mallory/Avril).


Rhett Wolford will appear as Emmett Forrest and newcomer Bryan Austermann will play Warner Huntington III.  Wolford is the Co-Artistic Director of CT and was last seen as Ralph in Reefer Madness the Musical.  Austermann recently toured nationally with The Sound of Music and also performed on  board the Disney Cruise Line. 


Returning to the theatre in the roles of Vivienne Kensington and Enid Hoops will be Kristina Huegel and Alexandra Hemphill.  Huegel  was last seen on the CT stage as Betty Haynes in White Christmas.  Hemphill was part of the cast of last summer’s record-breaking production of Mamma Mia! 


The role of Elle’s new and unlikely best friend Paulette will be played by Kimberli Rowley and exercise guru Brooke Wyndham (who is on trial for murder!) will be portrayed by Marin Rose, also making her CT debut.   Rowley is the Co-Artistic Director of CT and last appeared as Blanch DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire.  Rose is originally from Dallas, TX and has performed with Pittsburgh Musical Theater and Busch Gardens, Tampa.


Other CT debut performers include Dara Orland as Serena, Alexandra Garcia as Margo and Brianna Lopez as Pilar.  Orland is an actress and choreographer holding a BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She has toured nationally in the casts of Cruel Intentions and Cirque Dreams Holidaze. Garcia graduated from Temple University with a Master’s Degree in Musical Theater and has performed in regional theatre production of The Producers, Evita and Rock of Ages.  Lopez also received her degree from Temple and has appeared in regional production of A Chorus Line and 9 to 5.


Shawn Cox, last seen in CT’s 2018 production of Night of the Living Dead LIVE, will play Professor Callahan and Nate Smith, a newcomer to the CT stage is cast as Kyle the UPS guy.


The large cast also includes Lorenzo Ballesteros, Timothy Bambara, Tai Baumann, Melynda Burdette, MacKenzie Cutcliffe, Courtney Feiman, Emily Haworth, Patience Loscomb, Brendon McCabe, Connor McCabe, Whitney O’Haver, and Adrian Williams in a number of featured and supporting roles.


Two local canine stars will also make their debut “Lilly” will play “Bruiser”, Elle’s famous chihuahua and “Frank the Tank” will appear as “Rufus”, Paulette’s bulldog.


The show is under the direction of Kimberli Rowley with music direction by Chris McCabe and choreography by Danny Durr and MacKenzie Cutcliffe.  The design staff includes Jennifer Clark (costume design), Rhett Wolford (set design), Braxton Cooper (lighting design) and Madison Dolchan (props design).  Rebecca Brown is serving as the stage manager with Sarah Sandifer acting as assistant stage manager.

Following the July 12th performance will be wine and cheese party where patrons can meet the cast and crew.


Tickets can be purchased online at www.cumberlandtheatre.com or by calling the theatre at 301-759-4990.  The VIP Star Box is available for parties of eight or more and includes food, beverages and private balcony seating.  Group rates are also available for groups of 10 or more.  To book the Star Box or inquire about group rates, email info@cumberlandtheatre.com.

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The Cumberland Theatre is pleased to announce the return of the Golden Gays of NYC to the theatre for a special show to celebrate Cumberland Pride Weekend.  This year the gals will be teaming with the award-winning Bette Midler  and Winnie Sanderson tribute artist Jennica McCleary, who appeared at the Cumberland Theatre last November with Winnie’s Rock Cauldron Cabaret – a tribute to the character in the film Hocus Pocus.

The Golden Gays NYC (GGNYC) burst onto the scene in 2017- first at RuPaul's DragCon

then at the famed Rue-La-Rue Cafe. What began as a flash mob extravaganza has skyrocketed to sold-out engagements, tours, and cruises all over New York City and beyond.  In the summer of 2018, their hit musical "Hot Flashbacks" premiered to rave reviews Off-Broadway at Theatre Row.  The Golden Gays NYC (GGNYC) burst onto the scene in 2017- first at RuPaul's DragCon then at the famed Rue-La-Rue Cafe. What began as a flash mob extravaganza has skyrocketed to sold-out engagements, tours, and cruises all over New York City and beyond.  In the summer of 2018, their hit musical "Hot Flashbacks" premiered to rave reviews Off-Broadway at Theatre Row.  The Golden Gays NYC stars Jason B. Schmidt (as Dorothy), Andy Crosten (as Blanche), and Gerry Mastrolia (as Rose) along with Musical Director, Mason Griffin.

Jennica McCleary is an award winning Bette Midler and Winnie Sanderson Tribute Artist and was the first woman tapped by Disney to portray the iconic character created by Midler. In 2015 she debuted in ‘The Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular’ (a now viral video) at The Magic Kingdom in Orlando, FL and has also worked for Pattycake Productions and Legends in Concert. She has been featured on MTV, VH1, Entertainment Tonight and was featured in The Hocus Pocus 25th Anniversary Bash on Freeform.


The show will play for just two performances:  Saturday, July 13th at 2:00 pm and Sunday, July 14th at 8:00 pm.  The evening will feature three distinct shows for one price.  The opening will be a flashback journey to Bathhouse Betty featuring McCleary and pianist Mason Griffin. The Divine Miss M tribute will give audiences a Betteducation (tm) of their favorite Miss M music and banter!  


Next, the Golden Gays NYC will take the stage as favorite pals and confidants Dorothy, Blanche, and Rose must travel down the road and back again across America to find Sophia.  The hip old grannies take a musical journey through The Golden Girls’ favorite game shows!  Lucky audience members will become contestants, interacting directly with the cast, while competing to become the next #TokenSophia.


Finally, McCleary is back as favorite soul sucking sirens of Salem, Winifred, Sarah and

Mary Sanderson, return to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Hocus Pocus in a brand new theatrical rock concert!  An evening filled with music and parodies covering many decades and genres, the Sanderson Sisters will close the evening with singing, dancing and comedy.  This show may not be appropriate for younger children.


The end of the show will feature a grand all-star finale with all the performers.  After the show, a meet & greet option is available to audiences and there will be an after party in the theatre’s lobby.  Tickets are on sale at www.cumberlandtheatre.com.  Those purchasing their tickets before July 1st will receive a notable early bird discount.  

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ALLEGANY MAGAZINE ONLINE EXCLUSIVE

REVIEW: Cumberland Theatre's Streetcar Named Desire


BY SHANE RIGGS Managing Editor, Allegany Magazine


There is a reason the works of Tennessee Williams continue to be produced more than 70 years after most of them were first written. That reason can no more be felt than the latest production of his work currently running at the Cumberland Theatre and Performing Arts Center.


For those unfamiliar with one of the masterpieces of 21st century playwrighting, Streetcar Named Desire begins as the character of Blanche DuBois – a fading Southern Belle and disgraced high school teacher – arrives morally and financially bankrupt on the dirty New Orleans doorstep of her sister, Stella and Stella’s “brutish” husband, Stanley Kowalski.


This gritty American tragedy can be hard to maneuver for even the most experienced of actors but the cast of this Cumberland Theatre production presents an interpretation that does not shy away from being daring, from being shocking, from being every moment on stage what the playwright must have intended when he penned it in 1947.


Kimberli Rowley as Blanche and Trey Wolfe as Mitch

Other companies have chosen to portray Blanche as the victim – a bystander to a set of circumstances thrust mercilessly upon her. Under the direction of Darrell Rushton with superb acting by Kimberli Rowley, this Blanche DuBois is not a victim but “playing one.” This Blanche is well aware of her machinations and takes full responsibility for them – owning up to her fate almost boldly and daringly. This approach creates an even battle and playing field between Blanche and her toxic rival, the ever brutish and often half naked Stanley.


“A woman’s charm is fifty percent allusion,” she says.

Surrounding herself with fictional glamour and attempting to fashion a sow’s ear into a silk purse has served Blanche well for most of her life. It has been her coping mechanism through a series of tragedies – including the suicide of her husband who kept a secret of his own. And her nemesis Stanley is the only one bold enough to call her out on her act.


Stanley sees Blanche as a threat – to his marriage, his family, even to the neighborhood and he wages a personal investigation to rid his home of his manipulative sister-in-law, ultimately doing the one physically heinous thing to Blanche that she could never do to him.


Stanley is portrayed here as wicked, possessive, controlling, distant and perpetually sultry by John Barker, making his Cumberland Theatre debut with a major iconic role. Blanche compares Stanley to an ape in one scene and to an animal in another. And ultimately, he proves her right. Barker and Rowley make amazing sparring partners who as actors must trust one another in order to make the simmering pot of chemistry between them come to an uncomfortable and shocking boil.


Although Blanche pretends to need the “kindness of strangers,” she is quite bold and strong and fearless, living life on her own terms even if those terms mean a soiled reputation. She is doing what she must to survive, including keeping company with men who catch her eye. One such man is Mitch (played astutely and charmingly here by Trey Wolfe). Blanche even attempts to seduce Mitch by speaking French – knowing full well he does not understand her but would be impressed with her anyway.


Allyson Boate is Stella – the sister who left home to follow her passion – that passion

Allyson Boate as Stella and John Barker as Stanley

being Stanley. Stella’s readiness to believe her husband in the final scene of this production and be able to commit her sibling to a hospital speaks more to Stella as the delusional character living a life of denial than to Blanche.


All of Tennessee Williams’ most famous characters in nearly all of his canon of work walk a tight rope of “hide your crazy” and actual mental instability. And in Streetcar Named Desire those characters don’t just walk that rope – they tap dance on a high wire – 50 feet above the ring with no net.


Williams himself called this play “a ravishment of the tender, the sensitive, the delicate, by the savage and brutal forces of modern society.”


This brave, unapologetic, very adult and full throttle version of Tennessee Williams’ timeless masterpiece is a passionate portrayal of what it means to be an outsider, to want to recreate one’s image and start over, to sometimes seek a life of anonymity and obscurity, to dream of finding unconditional true love but to settle for admiration, and to find a place in a society in which many feel desperately obsessed to belong.


The Cumberland Theatre cast of Streetcar Named Desire also includes Jennifer Clark, Mike Virtis, Lillian Clark, Timothy Bambara and Tai Baumann. The set is brilliantly designed by Rhett Wolford. Performances run Thursday through Sundays beginning now through June 16.

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