We launched our storytellers project to highlight the extraordinary individuals who make us what we are — the patrons, artists, students, faculty and donors who share with us a belief in the power of the performing arts.

Read their stories below, and share your own story in our Story Booth located our Grand Pavilion.

Sharon and Lawrence Rothman, Storytellers

Photo by Mike Ciesielski

Sharon and Lawrence Rothman
Patrons and University of Maryland Alumni

What does the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center mean to you?

The Clarice Smith Center was a major change to the cultural life of the University of Maryland. I think it’s the best venue I’ve been to since I had an affiliation with the university.

Jane Hirshberg, Storyteller

Photo by Alison Harbaugh

JANE HIRSHBERG, Community Engagement Manager, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

A while back I was working on a project with a 200-year-old shipyard located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. We asked people to share personal stories and historical events from the shipyard. One of the groups we worked with was the Officers’ Wives Club, who had all kinds of stories about the challenges of being in military families, especially when their husbands were on submarines for months at a time.

One day, as he was standing next to a friend at the open locker, the friend asked, “What in the world is all that??” The officer/husband said, “That’s my baby!”

Dr. Howard Kaplan and Romana Laks Kaplan, Storytellers

Photo by Mike Ciesielski


The Center’s presentation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream this season brings back memories of my first date with Romana. We go back to 1954 for that one. I was a young man in the army, stationed at Walter Reed, and I read whereby the Old Vic Company and the Saddlers Wells Ballet had put together a joint performance of Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. Being in the military, I ran right down to the USO and got a pair of tickets, which I found out later were scarcer than hen’s teeth.

I called a friend of mine up in New York (where I'm from) and said, “Look I’ve got two tickets to this performance, do me a favor — get me a special date.”

Bobby Asher, Storyteller

Photo by Alison Harbaugh

BOBBY ASHER, Associate Director of Artistic Initiatives, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

When I was five years old, a man joined the church where I went with my parents. He played the trumpet during services, and as soon as I heard that sound I knew that I wanted to play. A couple of weeks later I cut up an old water hose and made a trumpet. A few months after that, my parents bought me a used cornet from a pawn shop. I was on my way.

All of the experiences in my life…can in some way be traced back to that moment.


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