Rob Sivak | WYPR

Rob Sivak

Senior Producer, Midday

Rob Sivak is senior producer of Midday, with host Tom Hall.  Rob joined WYPR in 2015 as senior producer of Hall's previous show, Maryland Morning (which aired its final show on September 16th, 2016).  Before coming to the station, Rob enjoyed a 36-year career at the congressionally funded global broadcaster, Voice of America.  At VOA, he honed his skills as a news and feature reporter, producer, editor and program host.

After reporting stints at VOA's New York City, United Nations and Los Angeles bureaus, Rob spent two decades covering international food, farming and nutrition issues for VOA's 180-million worldwide listeners, and created and hosted several popular VOA science magazines.  At Midday, he continues to pursue his passion for radio and his abiding interests in science, health, technology and politics.

Rob grew up as an ex-pat "oil brat" on the Persian Gulf coast of Saudi Arabia, and studied and traveled widely in the Middle East, Europe and Africa.  He attended Hofstra University in New York and Boston University's School of Public Communications.  Rob and his wife, Caroline Barnes, live in Silver Spring, Maryland, where they've raised three daughters.

Photo by Bill Geenan

It's Thursday, and that means theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom in the studio with her weekly review, today spotlighting a new production at Baltimore's Center Stage.

From the playwright of Detroit ’67, Skeleton Crew (the third play in Dominique Morisseau’s acclaimed Detroit Trilogy) tells the story of four workers at the last exporting auto plant in Detroit struggling to survive as their way of life disappears.  Directed by Nicole A Watson, the play's cast includes Stephanie Berry as Faye, Sekou Laidlow as Reggie, Brittany Bellizeare as Shanita, and Gabriel Lawrence as Dez, portraying a team of loyal and proud workers trying to navigate their uncertain futures.

Part of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival

Skeleton Crew continues at Baltimore's Center Stage through March 4th.

AP Photo by Wilfredo Lee

Joining Tom for the NewsWrap today are White House correspondents Ayesha Rascoe of Reuters and Tamara Keith of NPR.   

In the wake of another massacre at an American high school, politicians who oppose any move toward gun regulation are keeping the families in Parkland, Florida in their thoughts and prayers, and keeping the NRA satisfied that no significant changes to federal gun policy are likely.

The Senate fails to find a fix for DACA, and resignation of White House aide Robert Porter’s raises questions about how casually President Trump and his staff handle top secret intelligence. 

Nearly 40% of the President’s original picks for his cabinet have been involved in ethical controversies in the last year.  The latest is the head of the Veterans Administration.

Ayesha Rascoe and Tamara Keith join us on the line from NPR studios in Washington, D.C.

Photo by Katie Simmons-Barth

Theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins us today with reviews of two plays now running in the region:  Red Velvet, by the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, and All She Must Possess, a world premiere at Rep Stage, on the Howard Community College campus.

Chesapeake Shakespeare's Red Velvet (profiled on Midday's January 31st showtells the story of Ira Aldridge, a celebrated and controversial African American actor who won international renown for his groundbreaking portrayal of Shakespeare's Othello at a London theater in 1833.  The play by Lolita Chakrabati is directed by Shirley Basfield Dunlap, and features Christian R. Gibbs as Ira Aldridge and Yuri Lomakin as a London theater manager.

All She Must Possess, directed at the Rep Stage by Joseph Ritsch, is the world premiere of a play by Susan McCully, who portrays the lives of Baltimore's Victorian-era Cone sisters -- Dr. Claribel and Etta Cone.  The iconic pair's passion for collecting art and curios from around the world brings them into the rarified company of many of the artistic and literary geniuses of their day, including avant-garde writer Gertrude Stein.

Red Velvet at Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, and All She Must Possess at Rep Stage in Columbia, both continue through February 25.

Baltimore Police Department

Tom's guest today is the newly appointed chief of the Baltimore Police DepartmentDarryl De Sousa is the Commissioner-Designate.  His confirmation hearing at the Baltimore City Council is slated for a week from today.  Mr. De Sousa has been on the job for less than a month, but he’s been a member of the Baltimore Police Department for more than 30 years.  Prior to his elevation to Commissioner, he served as the top commander in the patrol bureau. 

Mr. De Sousa takes the reins of the department as it is reeling from revelations that surfaced at the trial of two officers who were convicted Monday night on racketeering and fraud charges.  Ironically, and much to everyone’s delight, for 12 consecutive days, as the trial was underway, Baltimore experienced no new homicides.  Ericka Bridgeford, the founder of Baltimore Ceasefire, tells us that the city hasn’t gone that long without a homicide since 2014.  The Baltimore Sun reported that an unidentified man was shot and killed in Belair Edison yesterday afternoon, in a district that the Commissioner Designate served as Commander years ago.

Against the backdrop of a city still beset by crime, hopeful of a turnaround, and in urgent need of a police force it can trust, Darryl DeSousa joins Tom in Studio A.

photos courtesy RealNewsNetwork; LEAP

Following his interview with Baltimore City Police Commissioner-Designate Darryl D. DeSousa in the first half of today's Midday, host Tom Hall welcomes to the studio two guests with keen insights on the many challenges facing Mr. DeSousa and his beleaguered department.

Joining Tom is Maj. Neill Franklin (ret.), the Executive Director of the Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP), a national organization that advocates for criminal justice reform and healing police-community relations.  In his 34-year career, Major Franklin served in both the MD State Police and the Baltimore City Police Department.

Stephen Janis joins Tom as well.  He’s a journalist with The Real News Network, who has covered the city for many years as an award-winning investigative reporter for the Baltimore Examiner and WBFF (Fox 45) Television.

Photo by Stan Barouh

It's Thursday and time for our weekly visit with theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck, who joins us today with her review of the new production of Eugene O'Neill's dark classic, Long Day's Journey Into Night, now on stage at Baltimore's Everyman Theatre.

Director Donald Hicken​ helms a seasoned cast of resident company* and guest actors in O'Neill's iconic, semi-autobiographical play that recounts a summer day and night in 1912 in the Connecticut home of the Tyrone family.  A stream of interactions quickly reveals the family members' deep emotional wounds and long-simmering conflicts.  James Tyrone (played by Kurt Rhoads, in his Everyman debut), his morphine-addicted wife Mary (Deborah Hazlett*), and their two sons, Jamie (Tim Getman*) and Edmund (Danny Gavigan*), struggle to connect with each other through their tangled webs of drug addiction, alcoholism, anger and love.  The production also features actress Katherine Ariyan as Cathleen, the Tyrone's housekeeper.

Long Day's Journey Into Night continues at Baltimore's Everyman Theatre til Sunday, March 4.  For ticket information click here.

Cover photo courtesy Farrar, Straus, Giroux

Few musical artists of our day have had a more sustained impact on contemporary culture than Canadian singer-songwriter, Joni Mitchell.

As a composer, Mitchell’s harmonic language and literary sophistication are unparalleled.  As a performer, she has riveted audiences for decades from her days as a willowy, guitar-slinging soprano, to her long career as an exacting and imaginative bandleader whose opus runs the gamut from popular idioms to modern jazz. 

David Yaffe is Tom's guest today.  He’s a professor of humanities at Syracuse University, and an award-winning music critic.  He’s the author of an acclaimed biography of Bob Dylan, and for his most recent book, he’s turned his attention to Joni Mitchell, tracing her life from her beginnings in rural Canada to her position in the upper echelon of creative artists.  The book is called Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell.

David Yaffe joins us on the line from public radio station WAER in Syracuse, New York.

From a photo by Paul McGeiver

It was clear from watching Super Bowl 52 this past Sunday -- regardless of which team won -- that the tradition of companies spending millions of dollars for a 30-second Super Bowl advertisement to promote their brands is still going strong.  

ETrade, Mars' M&Ms, Procter & Gamble, Amazon and Netflix, and more than 60 other companies all took the expensive plunge.  Beer and cars, not surprisingly, were well-represented too.  Perhaps the most controversial ad was for Dodge Ram Trucks, whose appropriation of a sermon by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., drew swift criticism online.  Some ads were very funny, some much less so, and a few even used important global issues, such as scarce drinking water, to connect with audiences.  Virtually gone from the ads yesterday were the frequent  Super Bowl themes of sex and heavy social drinking.

Tom's guest today calls the Super Bowl the “high holiday” of advertising, but he predicts that because of the many new ways we have to rid our lives of ads -- at least on all of the days that are not SuperBowl Sunday -- the advertising we know and love (or hate) today will soon be changing.

Andrew Essex is the former CEO of Droga5, an advertising agency in New York that won multiple “Agency of the Year” awards.  Its clients have included Under Armour, Google, and Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid.  Essex, who is sometimes described as a "recovering" ad man, published a book last summer called The End of Advertising: Why it Had to Die, and the Creative Resurrection to Come (Penguin/Random House) 

Andrew Essex joins us on the line from Argot Studios in New York, and takes listener calls, emails and tweets.

Photo by Stan Barouh.

Everyman Theatre’s new production of Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Eugene O’Neill’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning masterpiece (premiered posthumously in 1956), begins on a bright summer day in the Connecticut home of the Tyrone family.  But the play soon sweeps us into an emotionally tortuous night in which the family begins to confront long-buried secrets of drug addiction and dysfunction, and then struggles, despite their love for each other, to cope with the truth.

Joining Tom in the studio to discuss the challenges of bringing this play’s characters and its powerful themes to life, is Everyman resident company actor Deborah Hazlett, who plays the drug-addicted matriarch, Mary Tyrone; and Jonathan K. Waller, Everyman’s managing director.  They explore how O’Neill’s dark classic seems especially resonant today, as an epidemic of opioid addiction and abuse tears at the fabric of millions of American families, here in Baltimore and across the country, and how the company is reaching out to address that issue with its audiences and the wider community.

Long Day's Journey Into Night, directed by Donald Hickencontinues at the Everyman Theatre through March 4.

Photo courtesy 20th Century FOX.

It's another edition of Midday at the Movies, our monthly get-together with Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday and the Maryland Film Festival's founding director, Jed Dietz, who's just back from the 2018 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. 

They join Tom in Studio A with a report on the mood at Sundance, as the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements continue to be a force at festivals and awards ceremonies.

With the March 4  Oscars ceremony a little more than a month away, our movie mavens also talk about which films live-up to their pre-Oscar hype, and whether or not the organization that awards the Oscars --the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences -- has yet become as inclusive as the industry it represents. 

Photo by Joan Marcus

It's Thursday again, so it's time for the weekly review from our peripatetic theater critic, J. Wynn Rousuck. This week, she spotlights Waitress, the new touring production of the hit Broadway musical, that's now on stage at Baltimore's Hippodrome Theatre.

Based on the popular 2007 movie of the same name, the musical stage version of Waitress is energized by an all-female creative team, with original music and lyrics by 5-time Grammy nominee Sara Bareilles, book by screenwriter Jessie Nelson and direction by Tony Award laureate Diane Paulus.

Waitress tells the story of Jenna (Desi Oakley) - a pregnant waitress and a gifted pie maker who dreams of escaping from her small-town and a loveless, stifling marriage. Her hopes for a happier life are stirred by a baking contest in a nearby county, the arrival of the town's new doctor (Bryan Fenkhart), and the encouragements of her fellow waitresses (Charity Angel Dawson and Lenne Klingaman). 

Waitress continues at Baltimore's Hippodrome Theatre until Sunday, February 4.  Ticket info here.

Photo courtesy mrs.sog.unc.edu

Today, another edition of the Midday Healthwatch with Dr. Leana Wen, the Health Commissioner of Baltimore City.  Lawmakers in Annapolis and Washington are wrestling with competing views on prescription drug affordability, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, legislation to stem the rising tide of opioid addiction, and changes to the Affordable Care Act, among other issues. 

What are the feds and the state willing to do to help cities like Baltimore, who are strapped for cash, and who have no shortage of people in need?

And with influenza season in full swing, what can you do to protect yourself and the ones you love, particularly children and the elderly, who are most at risk for a disease that can be fatal?

Baltimore's Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen spends the hour discussing how the city is responding to its most pressing public health concerns, and answering your questions and comments.

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

On today's Midday NewsWrap, Tom begins with a review of some of the week's major national and international developments, from President Trump's "America First" speech this morning to the World Economic Forum in Davos, to the bombshell New York Times report that the President ordered  the firing of Special Counsel Robert Mueller last June, but then backed off.  Tom is joined on the line by journalists Ron Elving --Senior editor and correspondent on the Washington Desk at NPR News -- and Karoun Demirjian, defense and foreign policy correspondent for the Washington Post.

Then, we switch gears and focus on the week's top local news, from Mayor Pugh's shakeup of the city's police department and the continuing mystery surrounding Detective Suiter's violent death...to why Baltimore lost its bid for Amazon's coveted HQ2 . Tom is joined in the studio by Andy Green, Opinion Editor at the Baltimore Sun, and community activist Bishop Douglas Miles, pastor of the Koinonia Baptist Church and Co-founder Emeritus of BUILD (Baltimorians United In Leadership Development).

Photo by Rob Clatterbuck

Every Thursday, our resident theater critic, J. Wynn Rousuck, joins Tom in studio to regale us with her review of a local theater production. This week, she spotlights a new production of the opera Trouble in Tahiti at Stillpointe Theatre.

Originally composed and conducted by the legendary Leonard Bernstein (whose other works include "West Side Story"), this opera centers on a young suburban couple who live a seemingly perfect and beautiful life. In reality, both husband and wife are suffering a numbing discontent with their lives and relationship. Claire Galloway Weber and Peter Tomaszewski play the lead roles of Dinah and Sam.

Trouble in Tahiti is directed by David Schweitzer, with musical direction by Ben Shaver.  For ticket info, click here.

Photo courtesy Baltimore Sun

Today, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh joins Tom in Studio A.  Like Mayor Martin O’Malley, Mayor Sheila Dixon, and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake before her, last Friday, Mayor Pugh fired the city's police commissioner.  Kevin Davis was an outsider who had come to Baltimore after tenures in Prince George’s and Anne Arundel Counties.  He was replaced by a 30-year veteran of the Baltimore Police, Darryl DeSousa.  The Mayor’s mandate to her Commissioner-designate is clear: improve violence reduction, and turn around our city’s crime numbers, which are at historic levels. 

The first few weeks of this New Year have not been easy for the city: multiple maintenance crises in city schools, the announcement by Amazon that we are out of the running for their new headquarters, the shuttering of the only big box department store in West Baltimore, and hovering above it all: murders on our streets that continue at an alarming rate. 

Mayor Pugh points to several areas in which the city is making progress. The Police training academy has a full class preparing to join the force. Bloomberg Philanthropies has invested millions to improve technology for law enforcement, and to train young entrepreneurs.  The Safe Streets program is being expanded, and a new violence reduction program that has shown promise in Boston is being bought to Baltimore. 

The Mayor has spoken of changing the narrative about our city.  She talks about how she plans to do that in today's Midday with the Mayor.  And she takes questions and comments from the Midday audience.

Today's program was streamed live on WYPR's Facebook page, where you can now watch the complete video.

Photo courtesy Rapid Lemon Productions

It's Thursday, and that means theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom in the studio for her weekly review of one of the region's many thespian offerings.  This week, she spotlights Love Is a Blue Tick Hound, Rapid Lemon Productions' regional premiere of a collection of four short plays by Audrey Cefaly, three of which have received New York premieres, and all of which have won festival awards throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Cefaly's suite of four intimate one-act duets -- Fin & Euba, Clean, The Gulf, and Stuck -- explores the many ways we struggle to cope with the complicated dynamics of life and love.

Part of the 2018 Women's Voices Theater Festival, Love Is a Blue Tick Hound is on stage at Baltimore's The Theatre Project now through Sunday, January 21, and at Washington's Trinidad Theatre/Capital Fringe from February 9-17.   Click here for Theatre Project tickets and here for Trinidad Theatre/Capital Fringe tickets.

Photos courtesy AP; Mansfield Foundation

An international conference on the Korean crisis is underway today in Vancouver, Canada, without representatives from Russia and China.  Have months of militant rhetoric between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jung Un brought the world to the brink of an unthinkable war?  Will the talks between North and South Korea in advance of the Winter Olympics help ease tensions?

Tom explores those questions today with two astute foreign policy observers:

Frank Jannuzi is a US-Asian affairs analyst and the President and CEO of The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes understanding between Asia and the US. 

Josh Lederman covers the State Department and foreign affairs for the Associated Press.  

photo courtesy biography.com

On this Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday -- marking what would have been the slain civil rights leader's 89th birthday -- we are talking about Dr. King’s legacy, and how the movement for racial and economic equality and justice is positioned moving forward.

This year, we’ll also mark the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination, as well as of the Fair Housing Act, which President Lyndon Johnson signed into law just a week after King’s death, as cities across the country were enveloped in violence.

Violence in many forms remains part of the American landscape, and with the political rise of Donald Trump, violent and abrasive rhetoric now permeate public discourse to a heart-breaking degree, from Charlottesville to the Oval Office.  

Joining Tom on this MLK Day edition is a panel of guests with keen insights into the long, continuing quest for racial justice in America:

DeRay Mckesson is a civil rights activist and the host of a podcast called Pod Save the People;  

Michael Higgenbotham teaches at the University of Baltimore Law School.  He’s the author of Ghosts of Jim Crow: Ending Racism in Post-Racial America;  

Taylor Branch is the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Parting the Waters, the first volume of his seminal history of the civil rights movement, America in the King Years

And joining the conversation on the line from Frederick, where she is on the history faculty of Hood College: Dr. Terry Anne Scott.  She teaches African American history and writes about African American social and cultural history.

Tom and his guests also respond to listener comments and questions.

Photo courtesy BSO.

Today on Midday on Music, Tom is joined by Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Music Director Marin Alsop, who has been working hard to make the BSO as accessible and appealing as it can be. She began her historic tenure at the BSO in 2007, and in 2012 she also became the principal conductor of the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra in Brazil.  

Courtesy of Bruce F Photography

Today, Midday's intrepid theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck reviews the courtroom drama Inherit the Wind, now on stage at Vagabond Players.

Based on the 1925 Scopes "Monkey Trial," Inherit the Wind explores themes of science, religion, and intellectual freedom, as they swirled together in a historic courtroom debate over whether Charles Darwin's theory of evolution should be taught in public schools. Written in 1955 by playwrights Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, the play was a broadside at the contemporaneous McCarthy hearings, the infamous Senate campaign to purge suspected communists from jobs in the US government, industry and the arts.

Inherit the Winddirected by Sherrionne Brown, continues at Vagabond Players through Sunday, February 4, with show times on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased here or at the door.

Courtesy of Monica Reinagel and Dan Ariely

It’s the beginning of a new year, and for many of us, that means following up on resolutions to shed those extra pounds. Today, on this edition of Smart Nutrition, Monica Reinagel, the Nutrition Diva, joins Tom in Studio A to talk about a few weight loss strategies. They also check in with Duke University behavioral economist Dan Ariely about a strategy he’s developed to ease the angst of weight reduction.

Then, Monica and Tom discuss CRISPR-Cas9, a powerful new tool for genetically altering our foods, a new ranking of the best diets for 2018, and which ones might be worth trying.

Monica Reinagel is an author and a licensed, board-certified nutritionist.  She blogs at nutritionovereasy.com and she joins Midday for our Smart Nutrition segment every other month.  

Dan Ariely is the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, and is the founder of The Center for Advanced Hindsight and co-founder of BEworks, Timeful, Genie and Shapa.

Photo by Jack English

On this month's edition of Midday at the Movies, Tom is joined by our regular movie maven Jed Dietz, the founding director of the Maryland Film Festival, and by special guest Max Weiss, the managing editor and film critic at Baltimore Magazine, who also writes about culture at Vulture.com, the entertainment website of New York Magazine.

Awards season is underway, and our guests weigh in on some of the films in contention for the year's first major awards presentation: the 75th annual Golden Globes, which happen this Sunday (January 7th at 8PM ET on NBC).  They'll talk about a few interesting omissions from the roster of nominees…and a couple of new biopics: one about Britain's World War II-era prime minister Winston Churchill, called Darkest Hourand a second, which opens tomorrow night, about another legendary figure, of a different sort: 1994 Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding, whose gritty backstory is the focus of I, Tonya.

And we field your calls, emails and tweets about the movies on your mind...

Spotlighters Theatre - Shaelyn Jae Photography

It's Thursday, and that means it's time for theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck to bring us her weekly review of one of the Baltimore-Washington region's thespian offerings, and this week it's First Date, a musical comedy now on stage at Spotlighter's Theatre

The minimalist romp finds blind-date novice Aaron (played by Reed DeLisle) set up with serial-dater Casey (Lindsey Litka), and their casual drink at a busy New York restaurant soon turns into a complex and comedic dinner for two that involves a suprisingly large cast of characters.

First Date is stage-directed by Fuzz Roark, with book by Austin Winsberg, music and lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weine, and musical direction by Michael Tan.

First Date continues at Spotlighter's Theatre through Sunday January 21.  For ticket info, click here.

(Adult Language and Situations - Parental Guidance Necessary.)

Photo courtesy Goucher College.

(This program originally aired live on October 17, 2017)

Elizabeth Strout is Tom's guest in this archive edition of Midday.  Strout is the author of six novels and many short stories; her most recent book is a series of linked tales called Anything is Possible.  Linking stories together was a structural device that Ms. Strout also employed in what is perhaps her most well-known work, Olive Kitteridge.  The book earned her the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction , and Frances McDormand starred in an adaptation of the story for HBO that won eight Emmy Awards.

Strout writes about people with big hearts who often live in small towns:  A disgruntled former school teacher, Somali immigrants, a school janitor, a successful writer who returns to rural Illinois to reunite with her estranged siblings.  We meet these and many, many more complicated and brilliant and flawed and eloquent characters who are powerfully and compellingly portrayed by a writer whose tremendous gifts of observation and explication are imbued with great magnanimity and compassion.

Elizabeth Strout was a guest speaker at Goucher College hours after our show and again later the same evening.  For more information, click here or contact the Kratz Center for Creative Writing  at kratz@goucher.edu

On this Friday before Christmas 2017, a spritely and indefatigable 95-year-old raconteur joins Tom in Studio AHis name is Gilbert Sandler, and as WYPR listeners well know, Gil has been telling his Baltimore Stories on this station for the past 15 years.  On this particular Friday afternoon, as he prepares to retire the series next Friday, the story he tells is the story behind this popular and enduring narrative.

Gil and Tom are joined by Fred Rasmussen of the Baltimore Sun, a longtime friend and associate who provides a retrospective on the many quirky and fascinating characters Gil has introduced us to over the years.

photo by Rob Sivak/WYPR

To finish up our week on this Friday before Christmas, we turn to a choir that has recently been formed at Paul’s Place, a service organization in the Washington Village/Pigtown neighborhood of Baltimore.  Paul’s Place has provided services for the people in that neighborhood for more than 30 years, including hot lunches, clothes, health care, and programs for children. Several members of the Voices Rise Choir  -- Marvin, aka "Wolfman;" Luther; Deborah Travers; Chris Nephew; Wanda Lewis; Marc; Deborah and Ser Floyd -- have been kind enough to come to our studio today and sing us a few Christmas carols.  They're accompanied in the studio by guitarist Dr. Jeremy Lyons.

The directors of the Voices Rise Choir are two brothers who are graduates of the Peabody Institute, Douglas Benjamin and his brother, Benjamin Buchanan.  

ClintonBPhotography

It's Thursday, and that means it's time for our peripatetic theater critic, J. Wynn Rousuck, to join  us with her latest take on the region's thespian offerings. Today, she reviews "The Revolutionists," the new play by Lauren Gunderson that's now on stage at Baltimore's Everyman Theatre.

A comic spin on the bloody 18th century uprising known as the French Revolution, the play brings together former queen Marie Antoinette (played by Beth Hylton), assassin Charlotte Corday (Emily Kester), playwright Olympe de Gouges (Megan Anderson), and Caribbean spy Marianne Angelle (Dawn Ursula), as the people of France struggle against an oppressive monarchy and take to the streets for equality and freedom.  The sparks fly in what Everyman Theatre calls "a funny new work about feminism, legacy and standing up for one’s beliefs."

"The Revolutionists" -- directed by Casey Stengl, with costume design by David Burdick -- continues at Everyman Theatre through Sunday, January 7. 

Photo courtesy State's Attorney's Office

(The text of a statement sent Friday, Dec. 22 to Tom Hall by the defense counsel for Keith Davis, Jr., the Columbia man whose recent conviction on second-degree murder charges is discussed in Wednesday's Midday show, is posted  at the bottom of this Web article)

Tom's NewsMaker guest today is the State’s Attorney for the City of Baltimore, Marilyn Mosby.  In the 2014 primary, she defeated her former boss, Greg Bernstein, by ten points, a decisive victory, before running unopposed in the general election.  She was swept into office by tapping into widespread dissatisfaction with increasing crime.  Mosby promised to reduce it. 

Two years into her term, her Office has a conviction rate of 79% in homicide cases.  The clearance rate of cases for the Baltimore Police department has also improved. 

But Baltimore struggles with an epidemic of violent crime that has reached record levels, and the police department has been rocked by internal corruption.     

How do we fix this?  State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby joins Tom, and takes your questions, for the hour.

To watch the conversation we streamed live on Facebook, click here

_________________________________________________________________________ 

Shaé McCoy of Coyophotos

Welcome to another edition of Living Questions, a monthly series we've been producing in collaboration with the Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies  (ICJS), exploring the role of religion in the public sphere.  Today we'll meet three young African-American women with a decidedly spiritual agenda: bringing their conversations about faith, friendship and racial identity in a podcast called “For Collard Girls.” (Think collard greens and pastoral collars.)

Connecting with religious women of color, using touchstones of hip-hop culture, poetry, and biblical interpretation, their frank conversations about faith guide listeners along their spiritual paths. 

Joining Tom in the studio to talk about their project are podcasters Laura Kigweba James, the recently-appointed pastor at the Mt. Vernon Place United Methodist Church here in Baltimore;  Tamika Young Savage, a seminarian studying to obtain her Master of Divinity degree at United Lutheran Seminary in Pennsylvania, who is also a Vicar of Christ Lutheran Church in DC; and Maya Camille, aka Camilla the Killa, a Baltimore-based poet and spoken word artist whose writing addresses aspects of the spiritual in our lives; Maya also works with Baltimore's S.A.N.D. Gallery, an exhibition and event space whose name stands for "Sell Art, Not Drugs."

Photo by Richard Anderson

It's Thursday, so it's time for our weekly visit from theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck, who joins us today with a review of Lookingglass Alice, the new spin on the Lewis Carroll classic that's now on the boards at Baltimore's Center Stage.

In this modern re-telling (which is suitable for audiences age 6 and up), Alice is a young African-American woman (played by Markita Prescott), who falls through the Looking Glass and finds herself on a journey of self-discovery and fulfillment.  Along the way, she encounters the familiar and the fantastical, and comes face to face with the intimidating Red Queen (played by Patrice Covington), along with a surreal parade of oddities that challenge Alice to stand strong and speak her mind.

Lookingglass Alice, directed by Jeremy Cohen and with costumes by David Burdick, continues at Baltimore's Center Stage through Sunday, December 31st.   Ticket info: click here.

Pages