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June 15, 1998


BALTIMORE - The Maryland Stage Company , the resident professional theatre company of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, returns to Baltimore's Center Stage this summer to present Anton Chekhov's The Sea Gull. The play opens Wednesday, July 8, and runs every day except Mondays through July 26.

The Sea Gull is a brilliant and bittersweet portrait of life on a Russian country estate a hundred years ago. Offering profound insights into human nature, the play is about love, art and the creative process, and the evolution through time of hopes, ideals, and dreams. By turns funny and sad, cool and passionate, The Sea Gull was Chekhov's first great play, and remains, on the hundredth anniversary of its first performance by the Moscow Art Theatre, one of the most beloved and deeply moving dramas in the dramatic repertoire.

With The Sea Gull's performance by the Moscow Art Theatre in 1898, Chekhov began a collaboration that was to revolutionize Russian theatre and have a profound impact on theatre throughout the world in the century that followed. The Maryland Stage Company's centennial production is directed by Xerxes Mehta, artistic director and founder, and features some of the most powerful professional actors in the Baltimore-Washington region, including Wendy Salkind, Sam McCready, Peggy Yates, Kyle Prue, John Lescault and 1997 Helen Hayes Award Nominee, Bill Largess. The Maryland Stage Company's award-winning associate artists Elena Zlotescu and Terry Cobb bring their vivid, eye-catching styles to the play design.

According to Mehta "The play is set around a lake, which is populated by seagulls and has a magical presence. The lake surrounds and infuses the plays action." The Sea Gull is offered in the much praised English translation by the distinguished British playwright Pam Gems, a version commissioned and first performed by the Royal National Theatre, London, in 1994.

The performance, generously supported by a $50,000 grant from The Abell Foundation, marks the second year that the Maryland Stage Company will produce a work in Center Stage's Pearlstone Theater. The Company's performance of Molière's Tartuffe at Center Stage was thought by the Baltimore/Washington Theatre Review to be "bulging with bold strokes of the kind of toothsome inventiveness that has given the Maryland Stage Company so much critical acclaim since its inception," and Rosette Lamont of Theatre Journal said, "Mehta's metatheatrical production of Tartuffe proved to be the most thought-provoking and visually opulent interpretation of the play I have ever seen in the United States."

Once again, as a contribution to the city's cultural vitality, the Maryland Stage Company invites all Maryland high school students to attend The Sea Gull throughout its run free of charge. In addition on July 9, 10, 11, & 12, teachers (elementary through university), artists of all kinds -- including actors, writers, dancers, visual artists, photographers, film-makers and musicians -- and UMBC alumni will be admitted for half price. Tickets are available through ProTix by calling 410-481-6500 or 800-955-5566, at all Waxie Maxie's stores in the Washington and Baltimore area and at all Record & Tape Traders in the Baltimore area.

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Posted by dwinds1 at June 15, 1998 12:00 AM