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February 3, 2011

Center Stage salutes Irene Lewis after opening night of 'The Homecoming'

The opening night audience for Harold Pinter's "The Homecoming" Wednesday night at Center Stage was invited to stay put after the house lights came on.

Cast member Larry O'Dwyer then came out to start a tribute to the company's artistic director, Irene Lewis.

Although she will see this season through, the Pinter play is her last directing assignment of her two-decade tenure.

O'Dwyer singled out many qualities that he admired in Lewis, including "her insanity, with a tendency to anarchy." It was a warm-hearted, charming speech, concluding with Puck's curtain speech from "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

Lewis then took a spot in front of the stage, standing next to a

large vase that was brought out (at first, I thought it was a big old urn -- maybe a dark touch to reflect the Pinter work, or the feelings of those sad to see Lewis go).

A procession that included current and past performers and staffers started from the back steps of the house; each person was bearing a single white rose. They presented Lewis with the flowers, slowly filling the vase as a voice-over listed all the productions she directed for the company.

Even folks long dismissive of Lewis and her work here must have been at least a little impressed by the gesture of her admirers.


Posted by Tim Smith at 3:34 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Center Stage, Drama Queens

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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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