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All the world's a stage for Rowland

December 14, 2009|By JANET HEIM

HAGERSTOWN -- Named for a character in the original "Mission Impossible" TV show, Cinnamon Rowland said she didn't have to come up with a stage name -- her parents gave her one when she was born.

As an elementary school teacher and longtime Potomac Playmakers performer, Rowland, 41, is on "stage" every day.

"I think of teaching as almost performing. You have to be onstage to keep them entertained," Rowland said.

Rowland has taught vocal music at Emma K. Doub School for Integrated Arts & Technology for 18 years, the first 10 years splitting her time between Emma K. Doub and Winter Street Elementary School.

Her love for live theater is evident in the collection of posters that decorate her classroom, all representing productions she has seen.

Rowland was 10 when she first performed with Potomac Playmakers. She auditioned with her aunt, Ruth Ridenour, who directs many of the productions of the all-volunteer nonprofit performing group and teaches at the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts.

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Rowland's first role was as one of the children in "Annie Get Your Gun," performed at The Maryland Theatre in 1980, Rowland said.

"She (Ridenour) reminds me that I knew not only my lines, but hers as well. I caught the bug right then," Rowland said.

Rowland was raised in Halfway, graduated from Williamsport High School in 1986 and Shepherd College, now Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, W.Va., in 1991.

Potomac Playmakers has become a family affair for Rowland, as her son, Brett, 19, is now involved. Her parents, Carol and John Rowland, and brother, John Rowland, also are part of the group.

Cinnamon Rowland said some of her students have seen her perform and a former student is a regular with the group, which is in its 84th season.

Rowland said she considers her fellow thespians more than friends.

"They have become part of my family," Rowland said.

Over the years, Rowland has been on stage acting, singing and dancing, and has done choreography. This weekend, she will be in the Potomac Playmakers' production of "A Christmas Portrait," a musical revue directed by Ridenour, at the Academy Theatre at 58 E. Washington St.

When she's not teaching or onstage, Rowland handles the ticket sales, answers phone calls to Potomac Playmakers and is responsible for the advertising. She is vice president of the group's board.

"I wear many hats. It's not just me, it's other people, too," Rowland said.

In her "spare time," Rowland helps choreograph and teach show-dancing to students at Barbara Ingram and sings with the choir at her church, Benevola United Methodist near Boonsboro.




If you go



What: Potomac Playmakers "A Christmas Portrait," a musical revue

When: Friday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 3 p.m.

Where: Academy Theatre, 58 E. Washington St., Hagerstown

Cost: Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased by calling 301-797-8182 or by making reservations at www.potomacplaymakers.com.

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