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Arena Players Present Sphere: The Thelonious Monk Story

March 8, 2012

Thelonious Sphere Monk, despite being largely self-taught, is one of the seminal figures in the history of jazz. His innovations once earned him a spot on the cover of Time magazine. Now he’s getting some recognition on the local level: Baltimore playwright Max Garner took a shine to the work and life of the notable jazz musician and composer in 1982, when he heard that Monk had died. He went on to write Sphere: The Thelonious Monk Story, a dramatized portrait of the man. The play highlights the challenges of a black musician in the 1950s. Under the direction of Rosiland Cauthen, Sphere is a mix of fact and fiction that puts the spotlight on the life of an influential but often misunderstood musician.

The play, which ran as part of Run of the Mill Theater’s farewell production last summer, was reprised at Theatre Project during Artscape last year. The current production is showing at Arena Players, 801 McCulloh Street, from March 10-25. For more information visit the event’s Facebook page; for tickets, visit Brown Paper Tickets or call 410-728-6500.

Also playing at Arena, in rotating repertory: Happy Ending and Day of Absence, both by Douglas Turner Ward. Happy Ending concerns two sisters who work as a maid and a laundress in Harlem. Days of Absence is a satire about an imaginary Southern town where all the black people have suddenly disappeared. For tickets, visit Brown Paper Tickets.

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