It was an expression of the actors' relief at having survived the challenges posed by playwright Tracy Letts' Tony Award-winning black comedy, "August: Osage County." And it was an expression of delight in finally having a performing home suitable for an established ensemble theater troupe.
That sense of accomplishment was the theme of the theater's official opening this weekend, which included a cocktail party and post-performance cast party on Friday; a gala dinner and performance on Saturday, and a Sunday brunch.
"Twenty-two years ago, I got into my old, broken-down car and left my dorm room at Catholic University and came to Baltimore," Everyman's founder and artistic director Vincent Lancisi told a sold-out crowd before Friday's performance.
"My mentor, Bill Graham [the former head of Catholic University's theater department] said to me, 'Give yourself permission.' I did -- And, look what happened."
Attendees Friday included such local cultural leaders as Fred Lazarus, president of the Maryland Institute, College of Art; Tom Hall, cultural director of WYPR-FM and music director of the Baltimore Choral arts Society, and Stoop Storytelling founder Laura Wexler.
They sipped Champagne and nibbled on an elegant sampling of hors-d'oeuvres prepared by Spectrum Catering that included jerk shrimp with mango nectar; butternut squash bisque with truffle oil; and creamy grits with manchego cheese, chorizo and bay scallops. Cupcakes -- frosted in Everyman's signature aubergine -- were served during the second intermission.
"I think the theater is really beautiful, and it's a great tribute to Vinny's persistence," Hall said. "It's one thing to have a vision, and quite another to hold onto it for 22 years and execute it so beautifully."