700 N. Calvert St., 410/986-4000,
Baltimore’s  premier theater is also the official state theater of Maryland. Started more than four decades ago by local actors and performance enthusiasts, Center Stage is now a treasured civic jewel, and a theater where the seats are often filled and the playbill is a smart mix of standards, crowd favorites, and even a few offbeat shows.
The plays and performances here also reflect the city’s diversity in a way that feels organic and welcoming. Another reason for this venue’s popularity: low ticket prices, a tribute to their mission to expose as many people, from as many social strata, to the theater as possible. The theater itself was built in the mid-1970s after a fire destroyed the then-small company’s North Avenue home; its age and design era is apparent, but not unpleasantly so.