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Stage is Set for Hairspray, the Concert

John Waters had enough of hitchhiking and headed back to the stage. To commemorate the 25th anniversary of his film set in his hometown city, he will launch Hairspray: In Concert! next year, according to Broadway World.

Hairspray: In Concert! will premiere with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Jan. 11-13, 2013, and with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Jan. 24-27, 2013, writes Broadway World.

The cast includes Broadway stars Nick Adams, Marissa Perry and NaTash Yvette along with Waters himself. Read more about it in Broadway World

Amateur Musicians Attend BSO Music Camp

Last month the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra gave 104 amateur musicians a taste of what it's like to be a part of a professional orchestra. These individuals participated in BSO Academy, a weeklong camp of lessons, rehearsals, master classes and, finally,  a concert at Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.
The New York Times profiled many members of the BSO Academy, including a cold-war-era Navy pilot; a judge’s assistant who took up the viola just three and a half years ago; and a French horn player who was able to make it through the vigorous preparation and performance despite a tremor from her Parkinson’s disease.
“It was a musically enthusiastic, even obsessive, bunch. Most spend countless hours a week practicing and playing in wind bands or community orchestras or chamber groups, in many cases more than one,” writes the New York Times. “It’s an older group. Many returned to music with fervor in retirement or in homes recently emptied of growing children. For some, music-making is the backbone of their social ties or an escape from the pressures of work.”

You can read the entire story here

The Wire, The Musical?

Ten years after HBO first aired The Wire, Funnyordie.com brings us The Wire: The Musical. This musical parody turns the gritty show about inner-city Baltimore into a laugh-inducing musical.  

The voice over boasts, “Experience The Wire’s realistic portrayal of America’s decaying inner cities through the magic of song.”
The Wire: The Musical brings back many actors from the series including Michael Kenneth Williams, Sonja Sohn, Andre Royo, Larry Gillard Jr. and Felicia “Snoop” Pearson. The video has gone viral with more than 400,000 views.

John Lennon's Son Shops in Hampden

Sean Lennon, the son of late music legend John Legend, recently paid a visit to a Hampden store Charlotte Elliott. 

Lennon was accompanied by his model/actress/musician girlfriend Charlotte Kemp Muhl, writes Baltimore Fishbowl.

"The pair showed interest in an antique rug, on which [Owner Charlotte] Hays Murray’s father Fred Hays, her co-owner, offered the young man a great deal," Fishbowl writes. "His girlfriend picked up a cookbook penned by Vincent Price."

You can read the rest of the story here

Baltimore Gets its Own West Side Story

"Maria. I once knew a girl named Maria."

Oh wait, wrong West Side Story.

Hutzlers. I once knew a store named Hutzlers. 

A new play that tells the story of Baltimore's west side retail history premiered March 25 at the Hippodrome. 

"The performers, part of Fluid Movement, a Baltimore group best known for its elaborate and creative water ballets, staged a play on skates commemorating the area's history as "The Hub," the center of city shopping in the era before malls," writes the Baltimore Sun in its review

The performances for "HOWARD & LEX: The Way We Roll!" continue March 31 and April 1. Westside Renaissance Development, PNC Bank, the Weinberg Foundation, and the office of Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake are sponsoring the show.

Diddy Signs Baltimore Rapper

It is really just Diddy now? P Diddy? Sean Puffy Combs? Sean Diddy Combs?

For Baltimore rapper Los, it's ka-ching!

Diddy's Bad Boy Records has signed up Baltimore rapper Los, writes MTV News in its RapFix blog. 

"We're trying to put that young, youthful energy out in the air and do it the only way that Bad Boy can do it," Diddy tells MTV. 

Billboard Ranks First Mariner a Top Grossing Arena

First Mariner has remained true to its name.

Billboard magazine has named it the top-grossing arena of its size. It grossed nearly $16 million this year, making it No. 1 among arenas that seat between 10,000 and 15,000 people, writes the Baltimore Sun. It's the second year in a row that First Mariner has been first.

Recent acts at the arena include Sade, Kanye West and Jay-Z. You can read the rest of the story here.

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Performs "Joan of Arc" at Carnegie Hall

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's most recent performance at Carnegie Hall tells the story of French heroine Joan of Arc and gets a nice review in the New York Times.

The newspaper writes that BSO Music Director Marin Alsop led a "tightly wrought performance" of "Jeanne d'Arc au Bucher," or Joan of Arc at the Stake, by Swiss composer Arthur Honegger.

Musicians from the Peabody Children’s Chorus, the Morgan State University Choir, the Peabody-Hopkins Chorus and the Concert Artists of Baltimore also took the stage. You can read the whole review here.

Sade Kicks Off Tour In Baltimore to Rave Reviews

Soul singer Sade chose Baltimore to kick off her first North American tour in almost a decade and Evan Serpick was there to review it for Rolling Stone.

From the source:

"In many ways, it seemed that little had changed. When the British-Nigerian singer came onstage, her hair was in the familiar tight ponytail, augmented by bright red lipstick, hoop earrings and a sheer black turtleneck. And that luxurious, smoky voice -- the one that earned Sade (the singer, also the name of the band) a reputation as an aural aphrodisiac, the female counterpart to Barry White -- is as glorious as ever."

Read the full review here.

We love DC hearts the Baltimore Rock Opera Society

There's no fat lady belting out tunes here. Baltimore Rock Opera Society is spreading its gospel through local festivals and word of mouth.

Here's an excerpt:

"On Saturday, the H Street Festival introduced me to, as a friend put it, "the greatest thing since things became good." What is this wonder of awesomeness you ask? The Baltimore Rock Opera Society, my friends."

Here's the entire article.

Baltimore couple turns home into "alternative" venue for jazz lovers

Baltimore's no longer known as a hotbed for jazz musicians, but one couple is doing what they can to showcase local talent.

Here's an excerpt:

"Jazzway 6004 rests in a tiny enclave dotted with mansion-esque dwellings just past the Baltimore city limits. A renovation in 2005 trimmed the original six bedrooms to four and created a performance space that seats 65 and houses a 6-foot Baldwin grand piano and a sound system. Matheny-Katz recalls how the couple didn't initially intend to hold concerts, but their desire to showcase local talent moved them to open their home to the public. The first concert in June 2007 sold out. "People started calling us and asking, 'When is your next concert?'" says Matheny-Katz, a vocalist who was prepping for a Billie Holiday tribute show in mid-July."

Read the entire article here.

Loyola students author new book chronicling Baltimore's forgotten jazz history

New book from eight Loyola University students, including Cathleen Carris of Hasbrouck Heights, NJ, uncovers Baltimore's jazz history.

Here's an excerpt:

"Much of the book centers on four iconic Baltimoreans. There's Eubie Blake, the ragtime composer whose 1921 "Shuffle Along" was the first African-American Broadway hit. There's Chick Webb, the diminutive drummer whose hot licks turned the Savoy Ballroom into Harlem's jitterbug central. There's Cab Calloway, the hi-de-ho man who ruled The Cotton Club. And there's Billie Holiday, who rose from the Baltimore slums to become the most memorable voice in jazz history.

But what Carris primarily ended up researching was a much more obscure � and intriguing � bit of local history."

Read the entire article here.

Baltimore's Kelly Bell Band making a name for itself among college circuit

Baltimore-based The Kelly Bell Band continues to conquer audiences with its off-the-chart performances.

Here's a peek at what the band's been up to recently:

"The band plays at numerous colleges and festivals every year and performs "phat blues" music.

"We call it phat blues which basically gives us license to do whatever we want to do," said Kelly Bell, male vocalist and bandleader.

KBB's musical influences are diverse and include Muddy Waters, Black Sabbath, Nighthawk and Run-DMC.

"If you look at our iPods, the music we listen to is all over the place," said Freddie Loudon, KBB's bassist.

Originally, the band formed to travel with and open for famous musician Bo Diddley, but Kelly Bell is the one who brought everyone together.

Onstage, the band is full of energy and performs covers of Journey, Bob Marley, Pink Floyd, Clearance Clearwater Revival, Michael Jackson and The Jackson Five as well as several original pieces."

Read the entire article here.

What's up with Wye Oak?

Wonder what's going on with Baltimore's popular country band Wye Oak? The duo sits down for a Q&A with the DCist.

Here's an excerpt:

"The best thing about the explosion of Baltimore music on a national level is that it's really easy to catch very good bands and catch them regularly since the trip isn't hard for fans or band. Although it's really easy to point to neon green skulls or noisy art-rock when looking at Baltimore bands, one of the Charm City's best acts plays more straightforward yet more nuanced rock-and-roll.

Wye Oak's onstage energy is undeniable. Even when they've slowed from intense shredding to a downtempo with a dash of swirling ambience, they're never boring. Jenn Wasner's voice is as expressive as her lyrics, which is saying something if you've ever read Wye Oak liner notes. Plus, we will never lose our amazement with the fact that Andy Stack is playing drums with three limbs (two legs and an arm) but still playing another instrument (usually the keyboard) with hand number two. That impresses us every single time. Oh, and he sings some of the harmonies, too. We talked to Jenn Wasner about the best parts of the Baltimore music scene, touring with a living legend and playing on the new Titus Andronicus record."

Read the entire article here.

Bmore's art scene does it the Charm City way

Living in Baltimore, it's easy to see that the arts play a huge role in the city. As with eveyrthing that's created here our artists do it with a flair found only in Charm City. The Washington Post captures the style in a series of articles focusing on everything from art to theater.

Here's an excerpt:

"Baltimore brews its own arts scene, with a taste of what America was and what it will be."

Read the entire series of articles here.
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