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April 10, 2001


UMBC's Department of Theatre presents a Main Stage Production of Macbeth. For his final production at UMBC, Sam McCready will direct Shakespeare's classic tale of witchcraft and murder. Showtimes are 8 p.m. on April 25, 27, 28 and May 3, 4, 5 and 4 p.m. on April 26, 29 and May 2. Post-performance discussions will be held on April 28 and 29 and on May 2 and 4. Tickets are $10 general, $8 UMBC faculty/staff and $5 students/seniors. EARLY BOOKING IS ADVISED. SOME PERFORMANCES HAVE ALREADY SOLD OUT! FOR MORE INFORMATION AND RESERVATIONS CALL THE BOX OFFICE AT (410) 455-2476.

This production of Shakespeare's great tragedy will explore the seductive and destructive power of evil in a contemporary world. Vivid expressionistic techniques combined with modern technology will chart the precipitious descent of Macbeth, an archetypal noble hero, into a deep, emotional chasm from which he is unable to escape. Set and costume design are by Elena Zlotescu; lighting and sound design are by Terry Cobb; and original music is by Richard McCready.

McCready came to UMBC in 1984, a year after he emigrated to the United States and made his American debut as writer, director and actor in A Fantastic Voyage with W.B. Yeats at the White Barn Theatre in Westport. Since then he has directed off-Broadway and in summer stock. Formerly Head of Drama at Stranmillis, a constituent college of Queen's University, Belfast, he was at the same time a leading actor with the BBC and artistic director of the Lyric Theatre, Northern Ireland's most important professional theatre.

President Freeman Hrabowski says, "Whether on the stage or in a meeting, Sam's passion and commitment to excellence are very clear. His strong voice and keen intellect have allowed him to have a significant and positive influence on the UMBC campus and beyond. He is a symbol of the best at UMBC."

Wendy Salkind, chair of the Department of Theatre, adds, "Sam McCready is extraordinary in his unlimited source of creative energy. He has always been devoted to the growth of our students as they learn about this art, and he takes genuine delight in their discoveries. He has made a tremendous contribution to this department and remains an inspiration to our students."

One student who was moved by McCready's passion for theatre is Carl Fruendel, Theatre '86, now assistant professor of theatre and speech at the Community College of Baltimore County-Essex. Fruendel, who appeared in many of McCready's productions, recalls, "Sam inspired us all to make a difference, even when it demanded courage. We discovered the dangerous and wonderful ability to touch the world with creativity. Every role I played pushed me to new heights of understanding and emotion. I found myself leaping for goals because of his belief in me."

But UMBC isn't the only place that has recognized McCready's talent. Three of his UMBC productions: The Importance of Being Oscar, Spring's Awakening, and The Diary of a Scoundrel were selected to perform at the American College Theater Festival's national showcase at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. From 1984 through 1994, McCready was director of the summer touring program Shakespeare on Wheels, and his direction was recognized by the Maryland Association for Higher Education and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Higher Education. He has also received "Best Director" accolades from numerous publications, including Baltimore Magazine, Baltimore Sun, City Paper, Catonsville Times, and the Belfast Telegraph.

McCready is also principal actor with the Maryland Stage Company, UMBC's professional resident theatre company. Just last September, he received rave reviews from the German press for his performances with the Company at the Beckett in Berlin 2000: International Theatre Festival.

He continues to maintain a busy directing schedule in the professional theatre in Ireland. During the past three years, he has lectured and directed at the prestigious Yeats Summer International School in Sligo, Ireland, where he also performed his Songs of Wandering Aengus, a dramatic performance about the life and work of W.B. Yeats he created and continues to perform with his wife Joan and their son Richard.

In addition, he has written a bio-bibliography of the New York play producer Lucille Lortel, the Queen of off-Broadway (1993), and A William Butler Yeats Encyclopedia (1997), both published by Greenwood Press. He is currently working on a history of the theatre in Northern Ireland since 1968 and will continue to perform and direct.

Robert Burchard, professor emeritus of biological sciences and a well known advocate for the arts at UMBC, no doubt speaks for the campus when he says, "Sam's genius for the multiple dimensions of stagecraft will be missed in the cultural life of the UMBC community."

Posted by dwinds1 at April 10, 2001 12:00 AM