Baltimore's Center Stage launches its 37th season and newly renovated space with the Oct. 11 opening of Oliver Goldsmith's She Stoops to Conquer. The comedy, in performance since Oct. 6, will run through Nov. 5 in the Pearlstone Theater. Center Stage artistic director Irene Lewis (An Ideal Husband, The Hostage) directs.
In She Stoops to Conquer, Kate Hardcastle and Charles Marlow are meant for each other, if only they could overcome their problems. Charles can't speak gracefully to any woman of quality, but can charm the stockings off of any tavern wench with his learned mind. Will Kate, said woman of quality with high intellectual standards for her man, be forced to don an apron to discover the one she can truly love? Mistaken identities, Kate's meddling half brother Tony Lumpkin, his doting mother and a whole mess of servants trying to look sophisticated for the newly arrived city folk all work to prevent romance in this classic comedy from the 18th Century.
Aside from She Stoops to Conquer, the Irish born Goldsmith also penned the poem "The Deserted Village" and the novel The Vicar of Wakefield.
Carrie Preston stars as Kate Hardcastle with Reese Madigan as Charles Marlow. Preston played Miranda opposite Patrick Stewart in Broadway's The Tempest. Madigan performed on Broadway in Abe Lincoln in Illinois and Holiday. Obie-winner Jefferson Mays is Tony Lumpkin, Center Stage artistic associate Laurence O'Dwyer is Mr. Hardcastle, Patricia O'Connell (Broadway's Break a Leg, Coastal Disturbances) is Mrs. Hardcastle, Anne Louise Zachry (Waste) is Constance Neville and James Joseph O'Neil (Look Back in Anger) is Mr. Hastings.
Also in the cast are Roland Bull, Eric Bruton, Andy Patterson, Gabriel Zucker, Liam Hughes, Craig Peddicord and Vivienne Shub. Set designer John Conklin has crafted a combination of classic Palladian windows and a barnyard atmosphere to create the confusion for Marlow and Hastings that they have not entered a private home, but a country tavern. Candice Donnelly has designed the costumes, Tony Award winner Pat Collins did the lights and Mark Bennett is the production's sound designer and composer.
Tickets are $45-$10. The Pearlstone Theater at Center Stage is located at 700 North Calvert Street. For reservations, call (410) 332-0033. Center Stage is on the web at http://www.centerstage.org.
-- By Christine Ehren