A Successful “Maya” @ The Waxter Center

Boy, the performance by Ebony Jackson as “Maya Angelou” at the Waxter Center was out of this world good. Spooky good. Much as I love the sound of applause for my own work, the applause for our interpretation of Maya Angelou’s life was — almost as rewarding.

Maya #2  The script worked like a charm because Maya’s poetry was prominently featured. I felt so incredibly proud in trying to do justice to the spirit of Maya Angelou. How many people get asked to write about her on a daily basis? I’m guessing the number is small. I hadn’t seen any rehearsals, but I trusted the material. Sometimes that’s a leap of faith. And then times like this it’s a no-brainer. Ebony, though slight, was a little powerhouse. We had the biggest audience we’d ever had for the series.

Full House at Waxter Center

As you can see, we had a full house. And watching the audience I thought how lucky I was to have this kind of turn our for something I contributed (in no small part, might I add) to. There were all generations, and all sorts of folks who just wanted to see a dramatic presentation about one of their all-time greats.

Trust me, I could do a lot worse…….

Here’s Ebony taking a bow with Tyrone Champman (below) coming onstage. Tyrone is producing the series in conjunction with the Arena Players. Tyrone and I go back. We had a Q&A session afterwards, but all I did was stand there. The questions went to Maya. As they should. I believe Ebony would like to perform the show again. Fine with me. I think it should be seen as much as possible. I tried to show (based on Erick Kelly’s original script) that Maya rose from her beginnings, in thought, spirit, mind and body. Her poetry reflects this, and the sensations she generated from her writing completely elevated her. So HOORAY!

Ebony Jackson When this project started out, I had no idea we would touch so many folks. I envisioned 20-30 people drifting into the audience. Curious, but that’s about all. But I should slap myself upside the head. Little did I know that theatre STILL had the ability to reach out and grab you right where you live. And that’s what happened at the Waxter Center.

Ebony reading

So this production isn’t really about my writing the script. It’s not even about my involvement. What it’s all about is right here……right there in those seats.

Full House #2

Why Can’t Every Month Be Like June?

I’m back! Been away for ages, but here I return. Nicole and I travelled to Savannah, GA and Charleston SC. earlier this summer. Oh boy. The food. The architecture. The sights. THE FOOD! We tooled around town by foot. Took in every single “square” Savannah had to offer. No carriage rides, bus tours, pedicabs, segways — we hoofed and hoofed and hoofed. So when we ate, we were good ‘n hungry.

I have other pictures but the beauty of Forsyth Park on a Sunday morning…it makes you take a step back. Can you get a reward for living? If so, I think Forsyth Park is in that equation. I’ve always liked the south. Always had a wonderful time there. Been to Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia (man times), Florida (but Florida isn’t “south,” it’s just kinda — sorta — Florida. I never believe the stereotypes about the south that I hear so much of “up North”. The people are polite and cordial, and when you sit down for a meal anywhere, there’s just a sense of humanity. You can find BAD anywhere, it’s not like Maryland is BAD-PROOF (i.e. See: murder rates, reputation, recent events), but the south for me has been…………an easier experience.

Forsyth Park

But enough yammer — who’s that dapper dandy, and why’s he looking so snappy? I’m guessing the answer is pretty obvious.

More Alonzo

But today I’m celebrating JUNE. Good news abounds. Nicole and I have been working LIKE DOGS with our neighborhood association, the Callaway Garrison Improvement Association. And, here’s some kind words from Jacques Kelly from of the Baltimore Sun.

FINAL Jeannie N Alonzo

But first, that’s Jeannie Howe, President of the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance (GBCA), and one of my Callaway Garriswon neighbors. I worked with her husband Alan Kreizenbeck when I was at the University of Maryland Baltimore-County AGES ago. Well, Jeannie’s the one who started making connections between our apple “orchard” and the Baltimore Orchard Project, and that’s part of how our apple trees got in the news. With the help of Jacques Kelly, longtime writer at the Baltimore Sun, we saw our story get out to the entire city. 

Me Again at MSAC

OK, didja guess what’s up? YES! I’m back again — receiving another grant from the Maryland State Arts Council. This time the play I turned in for judgment was “B-SideMan”. It just had a reading back in February at Single Carrot Theatre. And here we are today. I applied for the grant last summer — and here we are today. Positive thinking, baby. Winning don’t get old. It. Never. Gets. Old. It was a lovely night. Food and lots of music accompanied the MSAC Awards ceremony. Well, the moola came awhile back, but it’s all about the ceremony, the pomp, the circumstance.



I call this picture “Hell Yeah”. Cause it’s like “Hell Yeah I won that grant!” Absolutely. You don’t wanna spend 364 days b eating yourself up as a Playwright. Trust me, you’ll have time to do that, but when you win something it’s time for some “Hell Yeah!”Hell Yeah!

So, I ALWAYS dress when I’m getting an award. Can’t say that about other winners (the folks who do Arts & Crafts didn’t get that memo), but whenever I’m getting an award, whenever someone’s calling out my name — rest assured I’m not coming casual up to any stage. As they say, “you best believe.”

Tomorrow is the performance of “Maya Angelou” at the Waxter Center, this is my 2nd Waxter Wisdom dramatic profile.REV WAXTER WISDOM

I didn’t have to direct this time — just co-wrote the script with another writer, Erica Kelly. Maya’s poetry is so DANG powerful I know it’ll will win over anyone within earshot. Will let’cha know how it turns out. Summer’s been grand so far. And this Sunday I’m doing another “Tour ‘Dem Parks”.

Tour Dem Parks

(Poster designed by Adam Miller)

Will let you know how this year turned out, too. Gotta say, so far I’m loving me some JUNE.