Photo by Don Hunstein

In 2011, long-standing pushers of the theatrical envelope Run of the Mill Theater disbanded. Their last hurrah was a workshop production of a new Baltimore play, Sphere: The Thelonious Monk Story. The performance was reprised at Theatre Project during last year’s Artscape, and this was witnessed by Donald Owens, the Artistic Director of Arena Players. He brought the show to his venue, where it developed further and enjoyed a successful three week run a few months ago.

Director Rosiland Cauthen, and actors David D. Mitchell and LaShawn Sharp, are taking this play (written by Max Garner) to the DC Black Theatre Festival June 30th and July 1st. This is a feather in Baltimore’s theatrical cap not seen since the appearance at Edinburgh Fringe of the Impossible Industrial Action troupe, some something-teen years ago.

Where from here? There’s word from the producing organization, Rapid Lemon Productions, of a submission for the National Black Theatre Festival in 2013. Sphere’s author, Max Garner, is also working on another quasi-biographical stage piece, Marvin’s Trial – a play about the shocking/tragic death and enigmatic life of soul superstar Marvin Gaye.

Sphere: The Thelonious Monk Story appears Saturday June 30th at 1pm and 5pm and Sunday July 1st at 3pm at Woolly Mammoth Theatre, 641 D Street, NW, Washington DC 20004. Information and a link to advance ticket sales at