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Baltimore Center Stage season walks the line between real and fantasy

Coming to Baltimore Center Stage this season is a mix between the fantastical and the brutally human as the season tackles the incredibly whimsical world of Alice in Wonderland and Shakespeare in Love while also exploring the more sobering aspects of the real world through dystopian satire and dramatizations of conversations about religion and unemployment.

The season begins with a play called “The Christians,” running from September 7 to October 8. The play begins with Pastor Paul, who leads a megachurch and who has just given a sermon on salvation and eternal damnation, effectively dividing his church in opinion and leaving each churchgoer to decide for themselves what they believe in. “The Christians” will feature performances from church choirs in the Baltimore area.

For any Shakespeare fans — or fans of the 1998 rom-com — “Shakespeare in Love,” an adaptation of the screenplay of the same name, will take the stage from October 19 to November 26. It follows William Shakespeare’s fictional love affair with a woman named Viola de Lesseps as he writes “Romeo and Juliet” and contains plenty of allusions to his other works as well.

Rounding out the year comes David Catlin’s adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” (and other works) from November 30 to December 31. “Lookingglass Alice,” as it is called, is not your typical adaptation, however, as it incorporates gravity-defying aerobatics into the already imaginatively quirky world, adding something new to the beloved classic and to your holiday tradition.

“Skeleton Crew” will run from January 25 to March 4 and tells the stories of four factory line workers at the last auto plant in Detroit. These four make up the skeleton crew, or the minimum staff needed to operate the machinery in the factory, and they are faced with difficult decisions as they deal with the effects of growing automatization and unemployment within the industry.

An adaptation of George Orwell’s dystopian novel “Animal Farm” will run from March 1 to April 1, reminding us of the perils of corruption within leadership, the importance of education and the evils of classism. Finally, from May 3 to June 10, Center Stage’s own artistic director, Kwame Kwei-Armah will present an original play paying homage to the music of the 1960s and ‘70s.

Center Stage’s Off-Center stage will include a Play Lab in September, enabling theatre-goers to contribute to the play-writing process, and a performance of “White Rabbit Red Rabbit” in December, a theatrical experience where a different actor reads the script for the first time at each performance. Finally, in March, Center Stage’s Mobile Unit will return from its tour to present Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” in the theatre’s Third Space.

Tickets for all of Center Stage’s shows are available on their website and run between $20 and $49. Center Stage is located at 700 North Calvert Street.