Maryland Ensemble Theatre presents virtual series ‘Loving Frederick’

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews 'Loving Frederick' (Part 1)

Frederick, Maryland, has a very strong case as the coolest town in the state, and this weekend, Maryland Ensemble Theatre kicks off its virtual series “Loving Frederick.”

The interactive Zoom show streams at 8 p.m. Saturdays: April 17, April 24 and May 1.

“We had this idea back in January,” Producing Artistic Director Tad Janes told WTOP. “Having an interactive Zoom presentation where the audience could take polls, drop stickers visually on an image, where there could be a live chat. The Q&A feature in Zoom allows people to ask questions, so if we have guests on, we can do this interactive.”

“Why is Frederick cool? Why do people like it?,” Janes said. “There’s a lot of history; there’s a lot of culture; there’s really great communities; it’s very diverse; the restaurants are great — so let’s ask people what they like about Frederick.”

Which special guests might we see?

“We’re bringing in Sen. [Ron] Young to talk about how the Carroll Creek Project started because he was the mayor,” Janes said. “We’ll have William Cochran, who was the artist for the community bridge. … We also have a quiz show partnering with people connected to the history of Frederick and Schifferstadt Museum and the Historical Society.”

Each episode will run roughly 50 minutes and end by highlighting a video by a local band. Janes cited Silent Old Mountains, “kind of an alt-roots band” with a video for “Dead Again” that includes “a lot of Frederick landscape.”

MET’s last in-person production was “Admissions,” which wrapped March 1, 2020. The company was busy rehearsing for “Angels in America” when the pandemic hit.

Still, the comedy and improv Friday and Saturday nights, as well as the theater’s classes, have gone online. “We’ve been busy!” Janes said.

“Loving Frederick” is the fifth installment of a six-part series to ride out the pandemic. Other works included a film, an audiobook of ‘A Christmas Carol,’ a livestream performance of ‘The Tempest’ with two actors live in the theater and the rest on video, a series of speeches from the suffrage movement. Their next piece will be a play staged in the woods, Janes said.

Founded in 1996, Maryland Ensemble Theatre is in downtown Frederick.

“It’s known as Theater Row because there are three theaters right across the street,” Janes said. “The Weinberg Center is a 1,200-seat theater. We have two theater spaces, a 100-seat space and a 70-seat space. Right next door to us is New Spire, a 200-seat space. It’s a really nice variety of places for audiences to congregate and see great theater.”

Not only will it make Fredericktonians proud; it will attract outsiders to discover the town.

“It should be really intriguing to folks outside of Frederick,” Janes said. “Frederick is really a crossroads.”

Tickets are $10 per episode or $24 for all three episodes. Sign up here.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews 'Loving Frederick' (Part 2)

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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