OCTOBER 2013 — BALTIMORE BEACON
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Style Arts &
Local colleges stage more than 100 art exhibits each year. Shown above is an installation at the gallery of the Maryland Institute College of Art.
Toby’s robust, masterful Les Miserables the human spirit the lush score explores. The timing is ironic, as this bold production coincides with the sudden closing of Toby’s sister theater in Baltimore. Like the quiet passing of drive-in theaters from the American landscape, dinner theaters are edging ever closer to extinction, a victim of...what, exactly? Changing demographics? A bad economy? Have people stopped enjoying the comforts of an ample buffet and drinks on the table in addition to seeing a show? I’m not sure why some self-styled theater aficionados (and a certain daily newspaper which itself is going the way of the drive-in) view dinner theater as something not deserving of attention. But let them miss out, as long as you go see this show. Enjoy the brunch or dinner that’s included in your ticket price, too. And then, when the show picks up some coveted Helen Hayes Award nominations, you can brag that you were there.
A gritty opera lite This is the Cameron Mackintosh production of Victor Hugo’s 250-year old novel, adapted into a sung-through musical in which many of the songs encompass entire
Two Amazing Shows You Won’t Want To Miss! NOW PLAYING
OPENING NOVEMBER 15
PHOTO BY CHRIS CHRISTIANSEN
By Michael Toscano Garishly sentimental, and with a score that’s fully drenched in overheated melodrama, the musical Les Misérables could be a long, three-hour slog for theatergoers who appreciate subtlety. Almost all of the songs are mighty anthems, with only a rare break for a ballad or fun tune; characters are drawn with a broad brush; and it is a significant challenge for singers, as it relentlessly tries to grab you by the heartstrings and shake you all about. And yet, as we know, Les Misérables is a magnificent, sumptuous feast of a show when it is performed properly. So, good news! All the strengths of the Boubil and Schönberg Tony Award-winner are on full display in a robust, colorful and full-throated production at Toby’s Dinner Theatre in Columbia. They’re touting it as their most ambitious show ever, and while scenic elements are necessarily constrained because of Toby’s in-the-round layout, a newcomer to the show will get a deep appreciation of why this is now the world’s longest-running musical. And longtime fans will enjoy another chance to wallow in the epic passions, broken dreams and redemption of
In its inspiring production of Les Miserables, Toby’s Dinner Theatre creatively accommodates its in-the-round stage by using see-through scaffolding as a barricade. The epic musical continues through Nov. 19.
long scenes. It’s not light opera, but with almost no spoken dialogue, and with the heavy subject matter explored in technically demanding singing, it could be called opera lite. Les Misérables pulls us back in time to the grim prisons, raucous inns and gritty factories, the sewers and streets of France
from 1815 to 1832. Saint-like Jean Valjean (Daniel Felton) has been jailed for 19 years after stealing bread to feed a starving child. Finally released, but under the watch of an obsessed police inspector Javert (Lawrence See LES MISERABLES, page 35
MOVE IN BY END OF THE CURRENT MONTH AND GET A 32” FLAT SCREEN TV
OPEN HOUSE Oct. 19 10 am to 2 pm
A Must See in-the-round
A true classic; this joyous, heart-warming musical is perfect for the holidays.
TOBY’S DINNER THEATRE OF COLUMBIA • CALL 410-730-8311
Based on availability. Due to the nature of theatre bookings, all shows, dates and times are subject to change.
ner & S h o w
RESERVE YOUR SEATS TODAY!
300 Cantata Court • Reisterstown, MD 21136 www.firstcentrumcommunities.com
October 2013 Baltimore Beacon Edition