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Nov. 07 2022

“Mystery on the Docks” at Towson’s Kaplan Hall

By Gavin Witt | Posted in Interviews, WBJC Programs | Comments Off on “Mystery on the Docks” at Towson’s Kaplan Hall


I had the welcome opportunity to talk with multi-talented, multi-faceted Courtney Kalbacker, Lecturer in Voice and Opera Stage Director in Towson’s Department of Music, about the production of the charming opera-for-all-ages Mystery on the Docks, which will be performed by Towson’s Children’s Opera Outreach Ensemble Saturday Nov. 12th at both 9.30 and 11.00 a.m.

This 35-minute work uses elements of classic radio drama, film noir, puppetry, and operatic pastiche to bring to the stage the story from Thacher Hurd’s beloved children’s classic in a musical adaptation by Edward Barnes.

As Kalbacker notes in our conversation, a tale that features at its heart an opera-loving rat and his favorite diva (whose mysterious abduction he must solve), and draws on melodic quotations from Puccini to Wagner, is bound to be a treat for everyone. And with $12 tickets and free adjacent parking, what else could anyone want?

As Towson’s promotional materials puts it,

Mystery on the Docks, by award-winning composer Edward Barnes and based on a story by Thacher Hurd (that appeared as a featured book on the Reading Rainbow TV show years ago) highlights the power of music to help us all work together and solve problems.


Synopsis: Ralph is a short-order cook in a diner on the dock. He loves to pass the time listening to opera on the radio. But soon, two mean-looking rats slink into Ralph’s diner– and they’re pretty tough customers. Before the night is over, the villainous rats have kidnapped Ralph and the world-famous opera star, his idol Edwina Bombastina. The rats will stop at nothing. But Ralph and Edwina have at least one trick up their sleeve. Music will save the day!


Admission $12. Tickets available online at TUBoxOffice.com or at the door
More information available at events.towson.edu


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WBJC listeners and Baltimore audiences may know Gavin from his nearly 20 years as dramaturg and associate artistic director at Baltimore Center Stage (in which capacity he was a frequent guest on WBJC to talk about programs and events), or from regular appearances alongside Jonathan Palevsky at the Charles Theater for Cinema Sundays discussions. A director, dramaturg, producer, translator, and adaptor who also teaches on the theater faculty at Towson University, Gavin is a recent addition to the WBJC team and delighted to play this new role.

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