Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hairspray @ Toby's

My father's firm was one of the sponsors for tonight's fundraiser for Columbia Festival of the Arts at Toby's Dinner Theatre.  He couldn't use his tickets so he offered them to Indiana Jane and I.  From the ages of 14 to 16, I worked as a bus boy at Toby's, and looked forward to actually seeing a show rather than asking whether or not people were finished with their salad, so we quickly said "yes."

Ken Ulman was there (almost literally ran into him, actually) and gave a great speech before the show about how the arts were always meant to be a valued component of Columbia's downtown, and how Toby Orenstein had worked with the Council in making sure the new plans for our "there there" incorporated that mission.  He then noted how, on a personal level, the arts had played a large role in helping his own daughter's self esteem.

I've never been a hard hearted conservative, but I would normally put myself in the camp that says when cuts need to be made, the arts are not sacrosanct.  However, I will say that Ken's speech gave me a tilt of the head to remind me why the arts are critical for our youth.  I am more than happy to give credit where credit is due, and I think Ken was able to "bring it home" for the people that were there as to why it is important to support this organization.  

The show itself was fantastic.  During my time as a bus boy, I saw many a show in the Octagon, but this one was one of the most vibrant and active I had ever seen.  We had to leave early due to Indiana Jane's paper grading schedule, but I can highly recomment the first act.  If the second act is depressing and drab, not my fault.


  1. I've been to quite a number of the shows at Toby's and was actually a little disappointed with their version of Hairspray. I saw the Hairspray show shortly after it opened at Toby's a few weeks ago and honestly thought it ranked near the bottom for shows I've seen at Toby's. My fiance agreed with me as well.

    It won't stop me from going to future shows by no means, I love going to and seeing shows at Toby's and usually get to most of them as they chage through the year. Been going since I was in High School....

  2. The Arts (visual, literary, and performing arts)
    in many communities in the Baltimore/Washington, DC region are one of the most vital key components in keeping communities together and engaging youth and education. People got to have something to look forward to and enjoy which contributes to healthy, happy, productive communities. Art crosses cultural, generational, economic, and systemic boundaries and expectations...Plus the arts contribute to
    economic vibrancy.

    Howard County Center for the Arts
    Ellicott City, Maryland

  3. The arts should not be subsidized with tax dollars. We have a $20 million budget deficit and cutting arts seems like a no-brainer. If the arts are so critical for the youth, parents need to pony up and pay for the arts themselves. Please, parents, stop using your children as an excuse to pick my pockets.