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July 27, 2011

Cast change coming to Arena Stage's 'Oklahoma' as E. Faye Butler prepares next role

E. Faye Butler, one of the region's most popular and respected actresses, will soon hand over the role of Aunt Eller in the Arena Stage revival of "Oklahoma," which is back at the venue for a summer-into-fall run after its much-praised premiere last season.

Terry Burrell, whose credits "Show Boat" at Signature Theatre and "The Women of Brewster Place" at Arena Stage, steps into Aunt Eller's shoes on Aug. 9.

Butler will then head into rehearsals for "Trouble in Mind," a 1950s play-within-a-play by Alice Childress about a cast preparing to perform an anti-lynching drama on Broadway.

This production, which will ...

open the 2011-12 season at Arena Stage in September, will be familiar to Baltimore theater-goers; it was performed in 2007 at Center Stage and directed by the company's then artistic director, who will direct the Arena Stage production as well.

Meanwhile, "Oklahoma" continues its remarkable reprise. The revelatory revival directed by Molly Smith proved to be quite the sensation when it opened the marvelously renovated Arena Stage in November and quickly sold out, so the company brought it back this summer.

I wouldn't be surprised if this incisive version of "Oklahoma" eventually makes its way to that big city in the north where they say the neon lights are bright.

Posted by Tim Smith at 9:49 AM | | 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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