EDGAR ALLAN POE is an indelible fixture within our community. Baltimore, being home to his final resting place, allows its residents to truly claim him as their own. Through theatrical presentations, readings, and musical performances of his work, his legacy is kept alive and vibrantly accessible to the surrounding community of fans and audiences of all ages.
THIS ANNUAL POE BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION not only serves as a fitting homage to this iconic literary giant, but also lends an affirmative nod in recognition to the city in which he is buried. This event has its own track record, and brings with it a loyal following as well as newcomers attending for the first time. Over the years this has become the "go to" Poe event in January!
THIS JANUARY 18TH we are presenting "Poe-pourri!" presented by the Poe Project. The Poe Project created a staged adaptation, with music and narration, featuring three different, yet equally powerful and timeless poems by Poe: The Coliseum; Eldorado; and perhaps the world's most famous and recognizable poem, The Raven! Through the pairing of theatre and music, the Poe Project's purpose is to discover the new and creative ways of dramatically presenting the brilliantly macabre combination of darkness and beauty within Poe's works for live audiences. The Poe Project is the collaborative effort of violist Peter Minkler and actor director Tim Marrone. This segment includes a world premiere of a new musical piece!
Actor Don Mullins as Fortunado being walled up during a theatrical reading of The Cask of Amontillado.
THE COLISEUM (1833) The music chosen, Mascagni's Intermezzo, will help convey the peripheral balance between spectacle and decadence.
ELDORADO (1849) was written during the last year of his life and is probably one of his few final works. Jonathan Leshnoff's original composition, Eldorado, will receive its world premiere in a newly arranged version for two violas.
THE RAVEN (1845) is Poe's most famous poem! It made him a rock star of the time period! The music, Lament for Two Violas by Frank Bridge, will add depth and nuance to the physical and psychological darkness of Poe's verses.
PETER MINKLER AND MARY WOEHR violists for the Baltimore Symphony will be the musicians for these three pieces. While Tim Marrone narrates the poems.
THE SECOND HALF of the celebration will be beloved actor Tony Tsendeas who will perform excerpts from his acclaimed Poe interpretation The Poe Show!
The many faces of Tony Tsendeas!
HIS SEGMENT will include Poe's classic horror tale The Black Cat along with other Poe creations. Please note that no cats will be harmed in the telling of this story and I assure you Tony is not insane nor is he a crazed murderer but he plays one damn well!
AT THE CONCLUSION of the music and performances, Jeff Jerome, former curator of the Poe House and originator, since 1982, of the Poe Birthday Celebration will conduct the world famous Toast to Poe! Cider and glasses will be provided.
A GIVE-AWAY WILL BE HELD at the conclusion of the event, the prizes include dinner for two at the Annabel Lee Tavern, Raven Beer glasses, original 11 x 14 Poe artwork by June Ponte of Poe and Raven Galleries, collected works of Poe and other prizes! Please note prizes will vary for each show.
THE BIG PRIZE will be a Poe themed Birthday Cake designed by Jeff Jerome! Anyway you slice it this celebration is not to be missed!
This was one heavy cake! It took two people to hold it! A family of five won it! This was The Cask of Amontillado cake! A cake to die for!
AT THE CONCLUSION of this segment the audience will proceed to the Poe Monument to witness the mysterious Poe Toaster make his appearance at the Poe Monument and leave his special tribute!
The Poe Toaster walking into the darkness after his visit to the Poe Monument...
ABOUT THE VENUE. Westminster Hall was formerly The Westminster Presbyterian Church built in 1852 on top of the historic Westminster Graveyard. The cemetery dates from 1787 and contains the remains of Revolutionary War and War of 1812 veteran's including fifteen general's from these wars and many lesser officer's of lesser ranks. Edgar Allan Poe along with members of his family are buried here. Poe's grandfather, Quarter Master General David Poe was one of the original lot owners thus being the reason Poe is buried in this hallowed ground. The church closed in 1978 and the University of Maryland School of Law assumed ownership of the building and grounds and provided extensive renovation to the building and it reopened as The Westminster Hall, It quickly became the "get married in" site in the Baltimore area! The Westminster Preservation Trust provides stewardship of the building and continues to showcase one of Baltimore's most unique venue's for weddings, receptions and other public/private events. We are indeed thankful for their support since 1982 in allowing us to promote and host our Poe events all these years. For more information regarding this site visit www.westminsterhall.org.
Thanks to all of you who support us and the programs we produce to honor Poe, his life and works! Your donations help keep these programs going strong.
IF YOU WISH TO DONATE but prefer to do it off line please mail your donation to: Jeff Jerome, PO Box 1226, Severna Park, Md. 21146. If you want your donation noted on this page I can acknowledge you if not you can remain anonymous.
We would like to acknowledge The William G. Baker Jr. Memorial Fund, creator of Baker Artist Portfolios. bakerartist. org for their support of this event and their support of the arts!
QUESTIONS? [email redacted].
- Friends of Poe
- James Fitzpatrick
- Daniel DiFranco
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