Browsing category: Profiles/Q&A

At the theater with Lucinda Merry-Browne

Originally published in Annapolis Home Magazine in November 2018. Lucinda Merry-Browne, an energetic visionary, is rarely at home. Her demanding job as founding artistic director of Annapolis’ nonprofit theater, Compass Rose, keeps her on the go. When she’s not raising funds for a new building for the theater, she is directing plays where she takes pains to nurture synergy between professional actors and child-actors-in-training. Currently, the 11-year-old Compass Rose has no fixed address; recent performances have been held in area hotels to rave reviews. But the theater’s temporary “homelessness” has not deterred Merry-Browne from guiding the theater’s intense and steadfast mission, which is to provide evocative and entertaining theater while maintaining the utmost educational and artistic standards. We recently caught up with Merry-Browne to learn more about her deep roots in theater and how they continue to expand throughout Annapolis.  It seems as if acting is in your blood.

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Filmmaker Follows Baltimore Step Team in New Documentary

Amanda Lipitz grew up loving musicals and learning how to give back. These passions — plus a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theater from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, an internship at Nickelodeon and a post-graduate job with a Broadway producer — put the 36-year-old Owings Mills native on the entertainment industry fast track. By 24, Lipitz had produced Broadway’s “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” followed by the Tony Award-winning “A View from the Bridge” and “The Humans,” also a Pulitzer finalist, among others. Lipitz also created and produced the groundbreaking MTV series “Legally Blonde the Musical: The Search for Elle Woods.” But Lipitz’s foray into creating documentaries led to her most significant achievement to date. The feature-length documentary “Step,” directed and produced by Lipitz, follows the first graduating class of an all-girls high school in inner-city Baltimore as they compete on the school’s step team and strive to be the first in their families to

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Two-Sport Wonder

Originally published in the Towson Times on September 5, 2018. Of the nearly 8 million high school athletes in the United States, only a small fraction — about 2 percent — will earn a college athletic scholarship, according to the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Then, there’s Towson native Julia Dorsey, a rising 12th-twelfth grader at McDonogh School. She falls into a category of high school athletes so unique that statistics reflecting her circumstances don’t even exist. Dorsey has been recruited to play both lacrosse and soccer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a Division I athletic powerhouse. Extraordinary talent and commitment on two different playing fields have earned her this rare place in the world of collegiate athletics. That she’s managed to navigate the youth sports culture on her terms, not succumbing to the push so many young athletes feel to “specialize” in a single sport, makes Dorsey’s feat even more remarkable. Her parents,

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On The Record: Jewish Media Stars in Our Midst

Originally published on Jmoreliving.com on September 29, 2017. What makes a successful media professional? At Jmore, in honor of our media company’s one-year anniversary, we talked with five of Charm City’s leading Jewish media personalities to find out. Interestingly, several common themes emerged. For starters, many of the media folks we interviewed are proud natives of Baltimore. And even when given the opportunity to tackle their respective professions in bigger, more high-profile markets, they chose to either return to Baltimore or to eschew the offers to leave altogether. Almost unequivocally, they credit their parents for providing unconditional support and role modeling that allowed them eventually to thrive in the careers of their choice. Also, regardless of how skilled they are today, these seasoned media professionals reported doing whatever it took — from accepting jobs in off-the-beaten-path markets to working less-than-desirable shifts to completing lengthy or

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Annie Milli Wants You to Live in the City

Originally published on Baltimorefishbowl.com on July 26, 2017. Earlier this summer, 36-year-old Owings Mills native Annie Milli made the impressive leap from nonprofit Live Baltimore’s marketing director to executive director. But when you consider Milli’s intense work ethic and fierce love of Baltimore City, the shock of her rapid-fire professional trajectory eases. Milli joined the workforce at the tender age of 14; she worked at Scoops, a candy shop in Owings Mills Mall. In college, while other students slept in, Milli would arrive at her 8:30 a.m. class after having worked a seven-hour shift at a local coffee shop. While carrying a full-time course load, she took over as general manager at the independent coffee shop before graduating from the Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio with a degree in Advertising and Graphic Design. For the next decade, Milli took on professional roles with increasing responsibility in design and marketing, most recently

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Longtime Instructor at Towson Y Wows Students at Age 73

Originally published in the Towson Times on June 21, 2017. “Curl. Roll. Give me first position, legs at 90 degrees. Now 60. Thirty." For an hour, the diminutive Pilates instructor at the front of the packed class calls out commands in a loud and controlled voice. While instructing and bellowing messages of encouragement to the class, she demonstrates each exercise in perfect form, even as participants occasionally wince, flounder or flop on their mats in exhaustion. At 73, Towson resident Barbara Schuler is older than most of the exercise enthusiasts she's been instructing at the the Y in Towson for the past 35 years. But it's clear that she's not slowing down. Just ask Erin Rothwell, a 40-year-old Towson mother of two who works out daily, was a college athlete and considers herself in fairly decent shape. The first time Rothwell walked into a Friday morning barre class (a low-impact form of exercise that combines principles of Pilates, yoga and ballet) at the YMCA and

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Caroline Blatti Takes Over as Head of All-girls’ Roland Park Country School

Originally published on October 11, 2016 in the Baltimore Sun. On the first day of the 2016–2017 academic year, as students at Roland Park Country School filed into the building, they were greeted by two contrasting figures: bagpiper musicians, a longstanding "first-day-back" tradition at the school, and new Head of School Caroline Blatti, the first in 25 years and only the seventh in the school's 100-plus-year history. Blatti, who was formally installed on Oct. 7, succeeds long-term former head and alumna Jean Brune, who led the school to growth and expansion over a 24-year period. Following Brune's departure, Blatti is tasked with a delicate balancing act: equipping the student body of the all-girls' independent school with the complex tools demanded by a 21st-century education model while respecting decades of enduring tradition and expectations that have come to define the school. "I feel like she's just ready to go," said Jenny Hovermill, a 1985 graduate of Roland

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Meet the locals: josé-luis novo

Originally published on Naptownlocals.com, March 2, 2015 Annapolis is proud to be home to the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra (ASO). Now in its 53rd season, it continues to flourish as a dynamic artistic force within the region. Music director and conductor Maestro José-Luis Novo, now in his tenth season with the ASO, deserves much credit for the symphony’s growing success. Hailing from Spain, Maestro Novo began studying violin at the conservatory of his hometown, Valladolid, when he was just 10. He continued his studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels before coming to the U.S. as a Fulbright Scholar, earning both a Master of Music and a Master of Musical Arts degree from Yale University. Only afterwards did he pursue studies in orchestral conducting, via a fellowship at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Since then, he’s enjoyed a rich career throughout Europe and the U.S. as a violinist, conductor and music director, and educator. Recently, Maestro Novo spoke to

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Meet dr. leana wen, baltimore city’s new health commissioner

Originally published in Baltimorefishbowl.com, March 30, 2015 Last January, Dr. Leana S. Wen took the reins from Dr. Oxiris Barbot as Baltimore City Health Commissioner.  Being responsible for the health of the entire city seems like a gargantuan charge, especially for someone barely 30. But given Wen’s accomplishments to date—she entered college at 13, studied public health and health policy as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, served on an advisory commission to Congress regarding graduate medical education, worked as an attending physician in a busy emergency room, gave four popular TED and TEDMed talks, wrote a critically-acclaimed book When Doctor’s Don’t Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests, to name a few—she’s probably up to the task. Dr. Wen came to the U.S. from China at age eight and was raised in some of the toughest neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Along with her impressive academic credentials and vast experience, she brings to the job a

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If these walls could talk: artist brings flair to home design

Originally published in the Baltimore Business Journal, June 22, 2009 Susan Perrotta’s current job may not be as glamorous as her former role as art director for CBS Inc., where she enjoyed a panoramic view of New York City from her three-window corner office. But she’s happy with her career move, even when she is painting walls for hours on end. In the early 1990s, a few years after Perrotta moved to Baltimore to accept a job as a designer at the Baltimore Sun, the single mother realized she needed greater flexibility to successfully blend her family and work life. So she left the corporate world behind and built up a business as a freelance artist. Over the years the 52-year-old’s career branched into a real estate niche that allows her to do what she loves best: turn a client’s design ideas into reality. BBJ: What is your home design specialty? Perrotta: Color and faux finishes on walls. I can make a wall look exactly like stone, or crown molding look like wood. You can’t

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