“Some­thing wicked this way comes”

PHAN­TAS­MAGO­RIA RE­TURNS TO BAL­TI­MORE WITH ITS BRAND NEW TOUR­ING SHOW

The Avenue News - - FRONT PAGE - BY LISA HAR­LOW

If you’re up for a good, old­fash­ioned hor­ror show, you’re in for a wicked treat. The Vic­to­rian hor­ror troupe Phan­tas­mago­ria will bring its new tour­ing show “Wickedest Tales of All” to Bal­ti­more for a lim­ited en­gage­ment Thurs­day – Sun­day, July 27 – 30 at the The­atre Pro­ject. This is the sec­ond time that the Or­lan­dobased troupe has come to Bal­ti­more.

“Wickedest Tales of All” is an im­mer­sive stage show fea­tur­ing dance, live mu­sic, ex­plo­sive stage com­bat, large scale pup­petry and cre­ative sto­ry­telling of the most pop­u­lar hor­rific folk tales, leg­ends and myths from around the world. And Bal­ti­more­ans will be very fa­mil­iar with one of the fea­tured au­thors, Edgar Al­lan Poe.

“We can’t wait to get back to Bal­ti­more,” said John DiDonna, Phan­tas­mago­ria cre­ator, writer and di­rec­tor. “We al­ways do Edgar Al­lan Poe sto­ries. They are just per­fect, like you are sit­ting by the camp­fire telling hor­ror sto­ries. Every year we do a new Poe.”

This year, the troupe will present one of Poe’s most well known works, “The Masque of the Red Death,” in which a prince and 1,000 of his clos­est friends take refuge in a large abbey to avoid the “red death,” a plaque that has been killing peo­ple swiftly across the land. Other tales in­clude Charles Dick­ens’ “A Mad­man’s Manuscript,” the Hindu “Tale of the Churel,” and the ma­cabre of­fer­ings of cen­turies old nurs­ery rhymes from “Gam­mer Gur­ton’s Gar­land.”

Over the past eight years, Phan­tas­mago­ria has cov­ered 90-100 sto­ries. “Wickedest Tales of All” fea­tures the best of those sold out shows that have en­joyed rave re­views, all in newly ap­proached and reimag­ined ver­sions.

“It’s al­most like a circus. There’s a lot of danc­ing, like waltzes and belly danc­ing. It’s a ta­pes­try of so many dif­fer­ent things,” said DiDonna, who founded the troupe in 2010.

Phan­tas­mago­ria per­forms 12 months of the year at spe­cial events, ap­pear­ances, and tour­ing shows, and pro­duces their main full length orig­i­nal show each year in Or­lando. Phan­tas­mago­ria is also in the process of form­ing an At­lanta troupe. There are 40 ac­tors in the Or­lando troupe and 14-15 will be com­ing to Bal­ti­more.

“Wickedest Tales of All” is an all ages show, though DiDonna rec­om­mends chil­dren are 8 and older. “The kids will be fine as long as par­ents un­der­stand and ex- plain this is a hor­ror show. But this is fright­en­ing Vic­to­rian hor­ror, not ex­ploita­tion hor­ror, and there is noth­ing overtly sex­ual,” he said.

As di­rec­tor, DiDonna will oc­ca­sion­ally act in the shows, and this is one of those oc­ca­sions. He plays the role of By­ron.

“We have be­come the char­ac­ters. They are ex­ten­sions of our own per­son­al­i­ties,” he said.

“Bal­ti­more brings a great crowd. The at­mos­phere, the ar­chi­tec­ture of the old build­ing. It’s an old world city. We feel like we are in the right time and place,” said DiDonna. “Come and have a rol­lick­ing good time. It’s not just hor­ror. We’ve got some com­edy. We im- merse our­selves in the sto­ries. We be­come the sto­ries. So our au­di­ence is part of the story as well.”

For more in­for­ma­tion, go to www.Phan­tas­mago­ri­aOr­lando.com or www.face­book.com/Phan­tas­mago­ri­aOr­lando.

Phan­tas­mago­ria “Wickedest Tales of All”

Thurs­day, July 27 & Fri­day, July 28 at 8 p.m.

Satur­day, July 29 at 2 & 8 p.m.

Sun­day, July 30 at 3 p.m.

The­atre Pro­ject 45 West Pre­ston Street, Bal­ti­more, MD 21201

$25 Gen­eral Ad­mis­sion / $20 Se­niors, Mil­i­tary / $15 Stu­dents

For tick­ets, go to http://www.the­atre­pro­ject.org/wickedest-tales-of-all/.

PHOTOS BY CHRIS BRIDGES

PHOTO BY CHRIS BRIDGES

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