This Friday the Baltimore Rock Opera Society (BROS) debuts their third skull-smashing feature-length production with VALHELLA: The Ragnarøkkoperetta.
A dreamlike depiction of the end of the Norse Gods, VALHELLA follows the journey of three crippled sons of Odin as they are tempted and twisted by the progeny of Loki. Using massively-scaled puppets, hand-drawn animation and the most amazing fantasy sets Baltimore has ever seen, these demi-gods will initiate the foretold apocalypse to a power-metal soundtrack, annihilating the minds of all who gaze as they enact their fate! From the cloud-realms of Æsir to the bowel-churning depths of Hell, prepare yourself for ecstatic fits of epictude!!!
The Baltimore Rock Opera Society was founded in 2007 by a highly energetic troupe of actors, writers, musicians, and artists with the sole mission of producing original, live rock operas in Baltimore. Driven by a vision to unite the talent and energy of Baltimore’s artists in pursuit of producing an art form unlike any other available, BROS has embarked upon a mission of epic proportions.
Essentially plays interspersed with righteous shredding, each BROS piece maximizes production value on a DIY budget. Homemade set pieces and costumes create an awe-inspiring visual context for actors and musicians to tell the story, each song driving the plot while drawing in viewers to interact with performers. BROS thrives on the large scale collaborations that each of their shows cultivate and demand–artists, musicians, designers, and technicians from all backgrounds lend their talents to make these highly involved, face-melting rock operas roar.
When the Baltimore Rock Opera Society (BROS) became the resident theatre organization of the newly-dubbed Autograph Playhouse at 9 West 25th Street in 2010, their goal was not only to develop original, power-packed musical theater, but to work with the Autograph to create an exciting new arts venue for Baltimore City.
The Playhouse building itself has a rich performance history that dates back over 65 years. It opened on May 25, 1946 as Homewood Theatre, which, back in its day, hosted such notable performances as Abbott and Costello, Charlie Chaplin, Louis Armstrong, and Billie Holiday. In 1951 it was remodeled and reopened as the Playhouse Theatre, which stayed open until the mid-80’s. Then, according to City Paper, the 7,500-foot space shuffled between hands for two decades, being put to such creative uses as a church (1989 to 1994), an exclusively African-American-film theater, and a Korean movie house.
In 2010, Billie Taylor saw the opportunity to purchase the building and embrace a lifelong dream. She saw for it a vibrant life waiting to be contained within its walls once again. Since the beginning, BROS has played a critical role in the activation and restoration of the historic theater, producing epic shows since it opened. Which brings us back to the point.
VALHELLA: The Ragnarøkkoperetta will be performed at the Autograph Playhouse located at 9W 25th Street in lower Charles Village with performances May 11, 12, 13, 18, 19 and 20.
To read Philip Davis’ interview with the BROS from earlier this year, please click here