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Plans in works for Historic Maryland Theatre acts

September 14, 2007

A Pink Floyd cover band and a southern comedy group are a couple of the acts that Maryland Theatre Executive Director Brian Sullivan hopes to bring to the historic downtown Hagerstown theater in 2008.

Acts such as George Carlin, Bob Hope, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, The Temptations and "American Idol" winner Taylor Hicks have performed at the theater in years past.

Sullivan said The Temptations are to perform again in March. He's hoping to fill the 2008 calendar with acts such as The Machine, a Pink Floyd tribute band, Jack Hanna of "Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures" and Southern Fried Chicks, a female comedy group, among others.

Comedy is rich in The Maryland Theatre's history. It opened more than nine decades ago as a vaudeville house.

The theater on Potomac Street was designed by renowned architect Thomas W. Lamb, whose work included Madison Square Garden in New York and the Fox in San Francisco.

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The theater opened as the motion picture industry began producing full-length features, and it remained open as a movie theater after the days of vaudeville. It closed in November 1973.

A fire in 1974 severely damaged the building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. The theater reopened in 1978, according to its Web site.

The opera scene in the 1994 movie "Guarding Tess" was filmed at the theater, which has ornate balconies.

Sullivan said plans are in the works for the theater to host on May 10 the second annual Washington County Teen Idol, a localized singing competition modeled after the popular television show.

He said he hopes to fill the 2008 calendar with acts such as "A Kid's Life!" a touring children's' musical show, the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra, a Croatian orchestra, and Gaelic Storm, a Celtic band that performed in the blockbuster "Titanic."

On the Web: www.mdtheatre.org

Phone: 301-790-3500 or 301-790-2000.

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