Bay Theatre, Infinity join together for summer children's shows

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Bay Theatre Company co-founder and artistic director Janet Luby joined Infinity Theatre co-producing artistic directors Alan Ostroff and Anna Roberts Ostroff last week to announce their summer collaboration on three original shows for children.

The pairing of Annapolis' premier professional theater company and a recently established professional company known for bringing Broadway-caliber shows to the city should ensure entertaining live theater for children ages 3 to 10. The shows run weekends from June 16 to Aug. 4 at Bay Theatre, 275 West St.

At last week's announcement, Luby and the Ostroffs voiced confidence in this initial joint project. Recalling their rapport when they first met last year, Luby said she was immediately aware of their shared artistic goals.

"They're artists who can do what they set out to do, as they proved," Luby said. "The quality of their productions is phenomenal."

Said Alan Ostroff: "Now we have two professional theater companies in town, and Annapolis is emerging as a theater town, with a professional theater identity."

A New Jersey native currently involved in production aspects of theater, Ostroff has enjoyed a successful career in musicals that included touring with children's shows, where he met his future wife, Anna Roberts. Their educational work with children includes his authorship of the interactive shows at Bay Theatre.

Anna Ostroff, an Annapolis native who became interested in theater at an early age, appeared in Children's Theatre of Annapolis productions before acting with Anne Arundel Community College's Moonlight Troupers and other local groups. She studied at New York University before touring in a number of musicals.

Now the Ostroffs divide their time between New York, where they are involved in many aspects of theater, including running their own arts nonprofit focusing on educational programs, and summers in Annapolis, where they continue Infinity's mission of bringing professional New York City-style theater to the city.

"For the past two years, Infinity has brought shows to the [Children's Theatre] stage, and we wanted to expand to downtown Annapolis," Anna Ostroff said.

Alan Ostroff said the partnership between Infinity and Bay is mutually beneficial, with the former supplying the productions and the latter providing the venue. "This collaboration will benefit the Annapolis community of families and children," he added. "Our shows are clever, educational pieces introducing the joys of live theater and the electric interaction between actor and audience that have been praised as providing 'a rich theatrical and educational experience' by [New York City] educators when shows toured at their schools."

"The Tall Tales of Enoch," which will be performed at 11 a.m. Saturdays from June 16 to Aug. 4, is the story of 7-year-old Enoch, who aims to impress his third-grade classmates by telling tall tales about himself. He can eat whatever he wants for lunch because he is a famous chef, he tells them, and he can't play ball at recess because his pro contract won't allow him to risk injury.

At 2 p.m. on those Saturdays, "Stories Live and In Person" will tell three stories that can be told only in front of a live audience of kids. This show is about the importance of fun theater, and audience participation is strongly encouraged.

For tickets, go to infinitytheatrecompany.com or call 877-501-8499.

At 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Sundays from June 17 to Aug. 19, Bay Theatre will stage "Rumple Who?" an encore presentation of the family musical that ran last summer. This musical version of "Rumpelstiltskin" offers humor for all ages and features a greedy queen who wants the miller's daughter to spin more and more gold, as promised by scheming Rumpelstiltskin. The miller's daughter manages to spin a web that ensnares the prince, who no longer wants to obey the dictates of his mother and instead pursue the lovely spinner.

For tickets, go to baytheatre.org or call 410-268-1333 for special offers and group rates.

Infinity's season of two musicals at the CTA Theatre Complex begins with "Sisters of Swing," which tells the story of Andrews sisters LaVerne, Maxene and Patty, who gave their music to the world during World War II. Directed by Jay Brock of Catholic University, "Sisters of Swing" will run Thursdays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m., from June 9 through July 1.

"Dames at Sea" is a lively salute to Busby Berkeley's 1930s Hollywood tap-dancing musicals that tells of small-town Ruby becoming a star. This tap-happy, Navy-crazy musical will be directed and choreographed by Randy Skinner, who has received three Tony nominations, including one for "42nd Street," which redefined Broadway and lifted post9/11spirits. It runs Thursdays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m., from July 13 through Aug. 5.

To order tickets, go to infinitytheatrecompany.com or call 877-501-8499.

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