WYPR Programs

It’s summer! A week from today thousands of young people in Baltimore will start a summer job – work that not only keeps boredom at bay, but teaches skills that can lead to careers. The city of Baltimore has lined up close to 8-thousand jobs, the same number it organized for YouthWorks last year in response to the unrest. It’s a big challenge. We talk to the head of the city’s jobs effort about how YouthWorks works, why businesses are interested in offering summer jobs, and why more don’t take part. We also meet an employer, a couple of the young workers, and a strategist behind a new set of jobs that teach work skills to young teens.

Sheri Parks

Culture Commentator Sheri Parks on reactions to the mass shooting in Orlando.  Was the shooter a self-radicalized terrorist, a deranged abuser, a virulent bigot, a self-loathing gay man, or some combination thereof?  As the dead are remembered and buried, what will we remember months and years from now about how this tragedy changed the conversation about the fight against terrorism, access to firearms, and bigotry against the LGBTQ community, Latinos, and Muslims?  Sheri Parks is an associate Dean and associate professor at the University of Maryland College Park.  She’ll help us unpack lessons from the massacre at Pulse nightclub.

Plus, Theater Critic J Wynn Rousuck reviews Godspell at Cockpit in Court.

Sheri Parks

Sheri Parks is a culture critic, associate professor in the Department of American Studies and Associate Dean for Research, Interdisciplinary Scholarship and Programming at the College of Arts and Humanities at the University of Maryland College Park.

She joins Tom to discuss the massacre in Orlando and how issues of terrorism, gun control and bigotry against the LGBTQ, Latino and the Muslim communities intersect.  Dr. Parks also discusses presidential politics and how President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and other politicians are reacting to the Orlando massacre. 

Photo by Tom Lauer

Godspell is a high-spirited, musical re-telling of the life and passion of Jesus Christ, created in 1971 by a 23-year-old wunderkind named Stephen Schwartz (who would later go on to score many more musical hits), with a book by John-Michael Tebelak. Since its Off-Broadway debut, Godspell has become an iconic and seemingly timeless work, played in numerous community theaters, touring companies and revivals, including a successful 2011 run on Broadway. Now, a new production of Godspell by Cockpit in Court is playing through Sunday (June 26) at the Essex Campus of the Community College of Baltimore.  Maryland Morning theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck caught the show and joins Tom in the studio with her review.


Jun 19, 2016
John Tornow/Flickr Creative Commons

  Chef and Tony talk about entertaining outside.



As Maryland Morning focuses on the arts, Liz Lerman, a MacArthur award winning dancer and choreographer joins Tom to discuss her new appointment as a Professor in the Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts at Arizona State University.

Then, Donald Hicken, longtime head of the theater department at the Baltimore School of the Arts is retiring. He joins to share his reflections after three and a half decades of changing young lives.  And, Sharayna Christmas is a dancer, writer and the executive director of Muse 360, an organization that works with youth to cultivate their interests in the arts. Next month, Muse 360 will be taking a group of young people from Baltimore City to Havana, Cuba where for two weeks they’ll study history, Spanish and dance. The trip is being put together in conjunction with The African Diaspora Alliance and Frederick Douglass High School. Sharayna and two of her students share their thoughts about the upcoming trip. 

Wikimedia Commons

This Sunday is Juneteenth, the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery. It’s observed across the country, but it marks the day in 1865 when slavery ended in Texas. That was more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Contrary to popular belief, the proclamation did not eradicate slavery. It applied only to slave-holding rebel states. Slaves in Union states like Maryland remained captive. It wasn’t until 1864 that Maryland elected to free the state’s slaves through a referendum, by a margin of just 375 votes. How did it happen? And what was life in this divided state like for newly emancipated slaves? The end of slavery in Maryland.

MacArthur Foundation

MacArthur Award-winning dancer and choreographer Liz Lerman is the author of Hiking the Horizontal: Field Notes from a Choreographer and founder of the Dance Exchange

Lerman is also the creator of the Critical Response Process, a system of feedback that is designed to make artists want to go back and work. She’s dedicated her career to challenging notions of who can be a dancer and what dance can mean.  In August, Lerman will be leaving Baltimore to accept an appointment as a Professor in the Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts at Arizona State University. Liz Lerman joins Tom in-studio to discuss her work as an artist and her new job at Arizona State University. She also explains why she believes that much of the public response to last year's Uprising has been misguided. 

Baltimore School for the Arts

Donald Hicken -- one of the most admired figures in the Baltimore theater community -- is retiring this week after a 36-year career heading the Theater Department at the Baltimore School for the Arts.  He helped plan the school back in the late 1970s, and in the years since, as the school has gained national renown, he’s worked to inspire and cultivate countless young talents. Some of his most well-known students include Jada Pinkett-Smith, Tupac Shakur, Tracie Thoms, and Josh Charles.  But for generations of School for the Arts graduates who landed in careers that didn’t put their names in lights, the experience of studying with Donald Hicken still shines brightly.  Donald Hicken joins Tom in the studio to reflect on his nearly four decades at the BSFA, and on the creative new projects that lie ahead.

Sharayna Christmas

Next month, 14 African-American young people will travel to Havana, Cuba to study dance, Spanish and history. The trip is being coordinated by Muse 360 and The African Diaspora Alliance.  According to a study by the Institute of International Education, only five percent of study abroad students are African-American at the college level, for high school students the numbers are even lower.  

To prepare for the two-week excursion students are taking classes and workshops to facilitate conversations about complex issues like systemic racism, health disparities, and manifestations of self-hate within communities of color. The program is designed to expose students to the world outside of Baltimore City while connecting them with the larger African Diaspora.