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UMES Dinner Theater returns April 12-13

  • Thursday, March 14, 2013

    Dr. Della Dameron-JohnsonUMES Dinner Theater set for April 12 and 13

    PRINCESS ANNE, MD - (March 15, 2013) - University of Maryland Eastern Shore's drama director is set to stage one last play-as a full-time professor and director, that is-before retiring after 38 years.  The play by Vernel Bagneris slated for UMES' annual Dinner Theater is appropriately named, "One Mo' Time".  

    Dameron-Johnson describes those years as a dream. 

    "Coming to work every day to teach, direct and perform never felt like a job to me," she said.  "I love my students, first and foremost, and my colleagues on campus.  I've had a good run." 

     It's obvious the sentiment is returned.  Dameron-Johnson is nestled in her office, a nook in the Ella Fitzgerald Center for the Performing Arts.  A bulletin board is so full of photographs from past productions and former students that it spills onto the surrounding walls. 

     "They send me cards with wedding and baby pictures," Dameron-Johnson said.  "Some will stop by so their children can meet me."  Students-past and present-affectionately call her "Mama-D." 

     "There's only one thing I dread (about her retirement), having to pack up my office after 38 years.  I've accumulated a lot of stuff," she said as she glances around the room.  The sea of photos are but part of a collection of gifts from students, plaques, play bills and other memorabilia from her career. 

    Dr. Ronnie Holden, vice president for administrative affairs and Dinner Theater committee chair, has known her for 36 of those years.  "She has always put on outstanding performances-this will be her grand finale." 

    April 12 and 13 the university's drama society, under Dameron-Johnson's tutelage, takes to the stage in the Richard A. Henson Center for the Dinner Theater production.  The musical, she said, is set in New Orleans in the 1920's and is "presented in lively vaudeville and burlesque styles." 

    The menu fits the setting.  UMES' Dining Services will treat audience members to a Soul Food buffet, which it is known for regionally. 

    "We want each customer to have a premium experience," said David Scott, director of dining services.  Don't let the words "Soul Food" cause hesitation, he said, "there will be something for everyone." 

    Dinner seating starts at 6 p.m., with curtain time at 8 p.m.  Tickets are $45 for Friday night and $50 for Saturday night.  Call 410-651-6230 for tickets or for more information. 



    Gail Stephens, assistant director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-651-7580.