The Stillpointe Theatre Company has made a reputation for itself by being innovative and cutting-edge. And this year’s Gala was no exception. How clever was it to invite the company’s biggest fans and partiers to help choose the next season’s slate of plays by doing a selection from each of six contenders and – by popular vote – picking the top four that will comprise the upcoming season? Very cool and very entertaining.
Once again, the Gala was held at Wishbone Reserve, the quirky and celebrated antique/previously owned and original art store where Stillpointe’s Artistic Director Ryan Haase is a partner. Amidst the artwork, glassware, furniture, rugs, lamps, dishes, posters, knick-knacks and, well you get the picture, the crowd circulated and enjoyed the open bar, the great spread catered by Rouge Catering and the funky vibe of an opening night.
The way it worked was, the attendees were given tickets (the kind you get at raffles) and were asked to write their names on them. Some of the most talented entertainers in the city would present one song from each of the six shows and at the conclusion of the entertainment, you could vote for any or all of them, putting all your tickets in one jar, or divvying them up as you saw fit. Top four vote getters are the 2019 – 2020 Stillpointe season.
After a suitable amount of time for the guests to mix and mingle, the show got started with a selection from “Pop: The Who Shot Andy Warhol Musical,” the musical “whodunit” with book and lyrics by Maggie-Kate Coleman and music by Anna K. Jacobs. The effervescent Christine Demuth sang ‘Up Your A**’ and was bold as a brass monkey and twice as much fun.
I had no idea there was such a thing as a musical called “Nevermore,” written and composed, by Matt Connor, and designed by Bretta Gerecke, based on the relationships Edgar Allen Poe (homeboy!) had with some of the women in his life. The ensemble performed the song ‘Annabelle Lee’, and it was sublime. Sarah Burton, Katie Rey Bogden, Danielle Robinette, Christine Demuth, Adam Cooley, and Rachel Cooper Bland each should really lobby for parts if this production is given a green light.
Next up was “Carrie,” based on the Stephen King novel, with a book by Lawrence D. Cohen, lyrics by Dean Pitchford, and music by Michael Gore. There are some seriously scary themes on display in this tale of a girl with some impressive telekinetic powers and a mother who is a religious fanatic and crazy as a bedbug. Danielle Robinette as the mother was riveting in the song ‘Eve Was Weak.’”Amelie,” a musical based on the 2001 romantic comedy film with music by Daniel Messé, lyrics by Messé and Nathan Tysen and a book by Craig Lucas was a real crowd favorite. With Katie Rey Bogden, Christine Demuth, Rachel Cooper Blank and Adam Cooley sharing duties in the song, ‘A Better Haircut’, this one was a standout.
After the success of Stillpointe’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Company,” it is no wonder they are hoping to tread those same waters with Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music.” Katie Rey Bogden sang one of my favorite songs from this charming, turn of the last century period piece, ‘The Miller’s Son.’ Her phrasing was spot on and her voice is absolutely captivating.
The final entry was worth waiting for. “Next to Normal” is in some danger of being overdone in the Baltimore area, but if it became part of Stillpointe’s lineup for the upcoming season, it would still be a welcome addition. Max Cortezi and Compton Grace sang ‘Perfect for You’ and Adam Cooley followed with ‘I’ve Been’, and all three were so good that the hair on the back of my neck stood up. And cheered.
The entertainment was followed by more drinking, more schmoozing, more fun and then, the top four were announced. After the popular vote was tallied the four winners chosen to represent Stillpointe’s commitment to bringing theatrical excellence to life will be:
(Drum roll, please!)
“A Little Night Music” (yay!)
“Carrie, The Musical.”
And surprise!, “Pop: The Who Shot Andy Warhol Musical” will be included in a concert version after all. There is also on the schedule a Disco Karaoke Night, 4 over 3: A Night of Musicals and Mixers, and the annual Christmas Kiki. Their season runs October 2019 – June 2020. What a lineup! I can hardly wait for this fabulous roster to hit the boards. Congrats to Stillpointe in advance for bringing us so much great theatre. Let the shows and the season begin!