Maryland Hall kicks off an intense lineup of entertainment on Wednesday with the ’90s swing band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and continuing to the Annapolis Songwriter Festival in September.

The 10-week run is a shift for the Annapolis arts center, where summer is usually a sleepy time filled with kids at arts camp and resident performance companies on vacation. This year’s shows could be a glimpse of the future once Maryland Hall completes a $5.6 million campaign for renovations in 2025, allowing it to put on two shows at once.

“After that work is done, then not only will the entire building be air-conditioned, which is really exciting, but we will be able to use both the Bowen [Theater] and the main stage at the same time,” Executive Director Jackie Coleman said.

Maryland Hall occupies the old Annapolis High School, which has been renovated and upgraded and renovated again since it opened in 1979. In addition to air conditioning, dressing rooms and lighting upgrades, the planned work will improve sound barriers between the small and large stages. Currently, if there’s a performance in one, you can hear it in the other.

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This summer, there is no major show in the Bowen. Combined with staffing getting back to pre-COVID levels and higher demand for stage time from outside production partners, that opened room for a summer of 12 performances in the 750-seat main theater.

If these shows pull in sufficient crowds, Maryland Hall could make ambitious summer schedules a part of its future.

“Well, we’re gonna see how it goes this summer,” Coleman said. “I think part of what is interesting for us to learn right now is, is our audience going to come back the way they did pre-COVID?”

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At 8 p.m. Wednesday, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy brings its updated take on mid-20th-century swing music to Annapolis through Rams Head Presents. The Southern California group has had some hits over its 30-year life, but its last new album was in 2017. Instead, it’s evolved into a live performance group with a 23-city national tour this year. Tickets are $45-$50 plus fees.

Rams Head has nine shows at Maryland Hall this summer, including the all-ages Yächtley Crëw performance of early ’80s soft rock and power ballads on July 19, comedian Tom Papa on Aug. 2, The Marshall Tucker Band on Aug. 4, and The Sixties Show on Aug. 7.

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Four more shows from the Annapolis music promoter will be there during the Annapolis Songwriters Festival from Sept. 12-15, opening with the folk duo JohnnySwim. Festival tickets go on sale Friday.

Maryland Hall Presents is the center’s own series and continues this summer with two shows. On July 20, Pascuala Ilabaca Y Fauna will perform Chilean folk mixed with jazz, pop, and rock via the cultures of India and Mexico. Baltimore jazz saxophonist Brent Birckhead performs next, with works from his latest album “Cacao (Deluxe)” on Aug. 10. Tickets for each show are $35-$55, plus fees. Under 18 tickets to Pascuala Ilabaca Y Fauna are $10.

The big stage summer lineup also includes a conversation with best-selling author Jodi Picoult on Aug. 22. Presented by Park Books, Picoult will discuss her newest work, “By Any Other Name” with journalist Elizabeth Winkler. Tickets are $40-$50, with only a few dozen seats remaining.

Here are other things to do in the coming week.

Carnival season

6-11 p.m. Thursday

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Summer means many things, and one is finding a carnival. The Earleigh Heights Volunteer Fire Department kicks off its annual collection of rides, games, and carnival food through July 20 in Severna Park. Admission is free. Ride tickets start at $1.75 per ticket and go up to $32, for an all-day ride bracelet.

What fools these mortals be!

7:30 p.m. Thursday

Classic Theatre of Maryland premieres its summer production indoors, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Shakespeare’s classic romantic comedy is full of wit, whimsy, and wilds — told in rhymed verse — make this 424-year-old play a delight on stage. Performances continue through July 28 at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays; and at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $55-$75 for adults, plus fees, with discounts for seniors and young adults.


10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Historic London Town & Gardens stages its annual “Revolutionary London Town” with a glimpse of what life was like for the settlement in 1776. Reenactors include villagers, a colonial Marine and militia members. There also are crafts, games and food trucks at the county-owned museum and garden on the South River in Edgewater.

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Main Street music

5 p.m. Saturday

Normally, you have to drive 40 minutes south of Annapolis to Deale to catch Loose Change Duo, where they frequently play at The Boathouse, the outdoor bar and restaurant.

But Saturday, in what may be a first, Austin and Lewis Poretz, along with their band, will perform at Reclaimed Annapolis, a high-end furniture store on Main Street. Free.

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Ending the stigma

6-10 p.m. Saturday

Speak Your Truth, a mix of performance and visual arts aimed at ending the stigma of mental illness, returns to ArtFarm Studios in Annapolis for the eighth year. Five-minute performances include song, poetry, comedy, and dance and will be streamed live on YouTube, along with a collection of submitted video clips. This year also includes a vendor area. Tickets are $15.

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Itzall Good

7:30 p.m. Monday

The Rachel Hall Band travels from Baltimore to Annapolis for the Itzall Goode Concert Series with Pete Best at 49 West Coffee House. $20 plus fees, or $23 at the door.