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October 14, 2010

Actors from 'The Wiz' at Center Stage add their voices to 'It Gets Better' campaign

Before the loss of promising violinist Tyler Clementi, whose recent suicide after a college roommate invaded his privacy caught the attention of the nation, a fresh effort was underway to provide encouragement to young gay people. The campaign, called "It Gets Better," was launched by columnist Dan Savage in the wake of another suicide, a 15-year-old who grew despondent over relentless bullying. Of course, that was but one such case of so many that occur every year. The toll from the hateful is vast.

This project, using a YouTube channel, features videos of men and women of all ages, places and backgrounds (celebreties are in the mix). They talk about their own experiences in the depths of teenage angst and their realization that it does, in fact, get better. One of these hope-filled message was just made here in Baltimore.

Last week, actors in the new production of "The Wiz" at Center Stage were given flip cameras and an invitation to film whatever they liked. Among the submissions this week was one by two members of that dynamic cast, Tym Byerz and MaShawn Morton, who decided to use the opportunity to create their own "It Gets Better" message. I thought you'd like to see it:

Posted by Tim Smith at 6:10 AM | | Comments (0)

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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