January 31, 2007

Toot Toot

They like us! They really like us!

We had a few Sally Field moments today when we learned that the Huntington had garnered 20 IRNE (Independent Reviewers of New England) nominations. I'll revise this post in a day or so to include all of the details and links. Here's the quick rundown;

Mauritius and Radio Golf each came in with 6 nods, including Best Play AND Best Drama or Comedy for each.

Nicholas Martin was nominated as Best Director for Love's Labour's Lost. Actors Marin Ireland, Michael Aranov, Anthony Chisholm, Eugene Lee, Hassan El-Amin and Geneva Carr all received nominations.

A total of seven productions (out of eight eligible) received nominations in at least one category, seven of those nominations for Design (I'd like to thank my Mom, of course all of my staff, and... um... my goldfish "Snuggles").

The nominated productions (in chronological order) are: Les Liaisons Dangerouses, The Hopper Collection, Forbidden Broadway:Special Victims Unit, Love's Labour's Lost, Radio Golf, Mauritius, and Rabbit Hole.

The IRNE awards are March 19th, hosted this year by our BCA friends at the Cyclorama, right next door to the Calderwood Pavilion. I found the entire list of nominations at the StageSource website. I also found a couple of errors there (Michael Friedman is the Composer for Love's Labour's Lost, not the set and/or sound designer) so I'm not calling it the definitive list yet.

Which Huntington productions get YOUR vote? Click here and take our poll.


We've been passing this video around the office for the last week or so. It's definitely good for the winter blues.

Temple saw this performer, Ennio Marchetto, somewhere in her travels and she just had to share. For more info visit enniomarchetto.com

What do you think? Click on the "comments" link below and tell us.

January 26, 2007

Special Visitors!

This past Thursday morning was our student Matinee performance of the Cherry Orchard. These performances always have a unpredictable magic to them and this time was no exception. The fun kicked off with a talk show like give away, with attending hoots and hollers from the capacity crowd, as Director of Education announced a new student matinee initiative "The Dramatic Returns Card". Every student attending our student matinee series this season will receive a card good for a return visit, with a parent, to use for any Huntington production within the next 12 months. This program is generously sponsored by Fidelity Investments. For more information about our student matinee program please visit our website.

Steve Kaus, our production Stage Manager, wrote the following about the show: A rather lovely student matinee this morning. The cast had some trepidations about Chekhov for a younger crowd but their worries were proved unnecessary as this turned out to be one of our best audiences yet. The show was solid as well this morning to all of our surprise. The end of the play was a new experience today. The crowd burst into applause while the shutters were being nailed. When Mr. Latessa entered they burst into laughter. The applause for curtain call came as soon as the lights started to fade and roared throughout curtain call with many screams for Ms. Burton.

Amanda Rota, from our education program, reported the following:
We had 23 schools attending, with a total of 850 students & teachers.
90 students from three schools (Dedham High, Charlestown High, Sterling Middle in Quincy) attended a pre-show discussion at the theatre that morning with me. We were fortunate to steal 15 minutes with Pat Austin, Andrew Deshazo, and Jenni Russell (a few of our run crew staff). The students heard a bit about what each person's role was for this production. One student asked about any big problems or mistakes on the tech side during a performance. Pat told the kids about the pool breaking during DEAD END - a story they thoroughly enjoyed. He talked about one set being taken away by the Boston Police Department for their firing range (can't recall the play, sorry).

We also had our biggest post-show audience of the season - 450 kids filling the orchestra to hear the entire cast talk about their rehearsal process, experience with Chekhov, and of course a bit about Grey's Anatomy. The cast applauded the students as possibly the best audience they'd had so far.

Kate Burton's cousin (Mary O'Sullivan - actually her cousin-in-law) was in attendence with her students from from University Park Campus School in Worcester. Kate stayed after the post-show for another 15-20 minutes to have a more intimate chat with these students.

It sounds like it was a great experience for both the students and the company!

Saturday afternoon we held an "Audio Described" performance for the visually impaired and had a record crowd of about 38 patrons partake in this program. Patrons wear headsets and listen to the action of the play being described right along with the performance. Special thanks to the Citizens Bank Community Connections program for sponsoring $14 tickets to the access community. We began working with Citizens on this program last season and they have generously continued it this year.

Saturday night also brought a few more special guests....

Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Dana Ivey, and Victor Garber visited Kate Burton (center) and the cast in the green room following Saturday night's performance.

I hear that this show is getting better and better as the run continues, with the cast putting their all into it. I plan on seeing it again later this week... and there are still tickets available. We close on Sunday.

Were you here for one of these special performances? Click on "comments" below and tell us about it.

January 24, 2007

Ghost Hunt

This might be filed under "you had to be there" but when Ben Emerson, our Sound Supervisor, walked into my office looking like this I just had to chuckle.

Turns out we've been having a fair amount of interference on our back stage wireless headsets. Computers and other electronics generate this noise, so Ben was searching for a quiet location to place our transmitters.

Here is an MP3 clip of Ben wandering the stage. The noise you hear is the interference. I'm still trying to figure out a slicker way to do this but for now click this link and then click on the MP3 file. If anyone knows how write the html to link directly to this file, please let me know.

Is that you, Henry Jewett?

January 23, 2007

Tuesday Check in

I always forget how busy it gets around here in January/Feb. Must be some sort defense mechanism. I haven't been posting much of the backstage production news lately, so here's a little catch-up of what's going on and what you will be hearing about for the next few months.

Cherry Orchard
is up and running, starting it's final two weeks tonight. Keep an eye on our web site for continuing updates, reviews, and media clips.

Well is next up chronologically, we've picked up the Broadway props and costumes, by Miranda Hoffman (Mauritius), and are sorting through those. The set, by Tony Walton, will arrive next week. We'll be making some alterations, checking that it all works, looks good, and fits well in our space. We'll have to do a fair amount of work for costumes, as 5 actors are new to the production. Rehearsals begin Feb 13th.

The purchase of the Well set cleared up the shop schedule so that we could build a fully realized production for Persephone, and that is well underway in our shops. If you've been paying attention you've noticed that our winter and spring productions in the Wimberly have so far been shows that have been fairly small in scale. We thought we would try and mix it up a little this season. Persephone should be fun. And challenging. The lead role, after all, is a statue.

The Huntington shops, in April, build La Boheme for the BU Opera Institute. This production is designed by the BU Theatre program student designers and directed by Sharon Daniels. It's a unique opportunity for us to mingle with the students. This year, for the first time, the production is part of the Celebrity Series.

Present Laughter, in May, is the last build of the season. We're working on the final details of putting together a design team and should be underway with build in the shops in April.

Artistic is working on some great casting for these productions, and we're working on finding some additional Wimberly programming for later this season. Next season is shaping up nicely and we'll have a solid selection to tell you about come subscription renewal time.

So that's what you can look forward to for the next 5 months. Stay tuned.

In other news; I've updated a couple of posts with more news about Eugene Lee, and a few more opening night photos (from Boston Magazine). Late add: My Google Reader turned up this Nicholas Martin interview in the Edge

January 18, 2007

Dr. Footlights

It's a video day today... here are a few video clips of Kate Burton chatting with Artistic Director Nicholas Martin. These are the backstage conversations and you'll only find them here.


Laugh Lines

Dr. Footlights

It’s so peculiar

For more video and media clips visit our Cherry Orchard Media Gallery. More of these interviews, too, will be posted there soon. Or search for Huntington Theatre at You Tube for all of our current video content.

January 17, 2007


Three or four items today:

1) The Cherry Orchard received some very nice attention from the New York Times in today's Arts section, with a nice review and a slide show, both available online.

2) from Ilana Brownstein more news about our playwrighting fellows:

I wanted to alert you all to a lovely review in the Globe for Huntington Playwriting Fellow Kate Snodgrass' one act, "Haiku," which is playing at BPT (Boston Playwrights' Theatre) on a joint bill with fellow Boston writer Rosanna Yamagiwa Alfaro's "Amazon."

Info about the show can be found here. It runs through this Sunday, January 21.

Congrats to Kate!

In other HPF (Huntington Playwriting Fellows) news, Melinda Lopez's "Sonia Flew" is about to get another production, this time at the Miracle Theatre Group in Portland, Oregon - it will be the Northwest premiere of the play.

Congrats, Melinda!

Cheers to All,

3) The Huntington will again be hosting Jacqui Parker's African American Theatre Festival, presented by the Our Place Theatre Project, this year at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts in January/February. The main event is FROM THE MISSISSIPPI DELTA by Endesha Ida Mae Holland, Ph.D and there's plenty more.

4) Marketing passed along a few links from public radio including a piece with WBUR's Andrea Shea, Kate Burton, and playwright/adapter/translator Richard Nelson focus on the new adaptation the Huntington commissioned for this production.

January 16, 2007

"The Cherry Orchard" Reviews

The raves and reviews are flooding in, with a near record quantity of commentary on this show. I have found them to be incredibly interesting in that almost every reviewer is discovering something wildly different in this production. The one thing they seem to agree on is that this play is worth seeing.

Blogger and Arts critic Thomas Garvey on the Hub Review kind of summed it up for me.

"Comedy and tragedy are like two sides of the same ruble; which one you see depends on your perspective. Only the perspectives are so legion, and so shifting, in Chekhov’s last masterpiece, The Cherry Orchard – now in a richly appointed production at the Huntington Theatre - that even defining the great play’s tone has remained elusive. Its central event (the destruction of that famed orchard) is so poignant that the play’s original director, Stanislavski, directed its premiere as tragedy, straight up. This only appalled the dying Chekhov, however, who insisted his swan song was “a comedy – even in places a farce!”

The debate continues – although because of it, sometimes we can't see the Orchard for the trees."

The legion of perspectives (reviews) that I've read, and they are certainly shifting, take the debate way beyond the comedy versus tragedy issue.

So come see the show, and consider your own point of view.

I'd like to know what you thought. You can do that by commenting here (click the comments link below) or by sending us an email.

Then, if you like, read the reviews for yet another angle.

January 13, 2007


Here are a couple of news items from my inbox:

From Illana Brownstien (Literary Manager):

Huntington commissioned playwrights Melinda Lopez (right) and Steve Belber (as well as Breaking Ground playwright Tommy Smith) have been included in photographer Peter Bellamy's online gallery of recent playwright portraits. Check it out, they're in great company!

Also, Huntington playwrights David Lindsay-Abaire and Lisa Kron are featured on another page of his site.

From Donna Glick (Director of Education):

Huntington Theatre CompanyEducation Department Updates in January of 07

THE CHERRY ORCHARD student matinee - Thursday, January 25th is sold out and has been since the fall. That means nearly 880 students and teachers from Boston and surrounding communities will see the show, some of them for free. Every school will receive a pre-show talk in their classroom as well as a curriculum and study guide and copy of the script. This performance will be audio described for blind students.

Citizens Bank Community Connections Program - We are very busy contacting new community groups, reaching out to people who may not have been to the Huntington before or need free or reduced tickets to be able to enjoy the theatre. Community groups are so appreciative of these tickets - groups include: Boston Public School Homeless Initiative, Boston Center for Youth and Families, Bridge Over Troubled Waters, Hyde Park YMCA, Aids Action Committee, Dept. of Youth Services, Somerville Youth Program, Big Brother, Big Sisters, just to name a few.

Young Voices Playwriting Program - 10 very engaged young playwrights worked with Literary Manager, Ilana Brownstein, to become prepared to writing a 10 minute play. These students are being mentored by Boston playwrights, as well as Huntington Playwriting Fellows, Melinda Lopez, Rebekah Maggor, John Shea, Lydia Diamond and Ginger Lazarus to name a few.

Our facilitation as representative of the Massachusetts Cultural Council of the state and national Poetry Out Loud competition is in process. In 06, the contest's first year, there were 12 students from local and greater Boston high schools participating. This year we are expanding the program to state-wide representation with schools from Boston, Malden, Wellesley, Pittsfield, Worcester, Belmont, Everett, Newburyport, and South Hadley (again, to name a few!) At this point, we have over 25 schools participating. The semi-finals for Poetry Out Loud are on Saturday, March 17th. The state finals will occur the following Saturday, March 24th, in the Roberts Theatre at BCA's Calderwood Pavilion.

If you would like further information on any of these programs, or have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me. For more information about our education programs click here or send an email to education.

At the Calderwood Pavilion this coming week: Olympia Dukakis plays Rose. Believe it or not tickets are still available. Visit our sister site, BostonTheatreScene.com, to get a seat.

Final item: The Huntington Theatre Blog gets a mention/review on The Mirror up to Nature. Find links here for other theatre blogs too.

January 12, 2007

Congrats to Eugene Lee

I swore I wasn't going to post today. Too many errands to do.
Here I go anyway...
Eugene Lee, photo left, who designed scenery and props for our fall production of Mauritius will be inducted to the Theatre Hall of Fame on January 29th. You can find more info on Trinity Rep's blog. I think there is a profile piece coming in the Boston Globe. I'll keep an eye out for it.

Addendum (1/21/06) Here's Catherine Foster's Globe article "The Joy of Sets".

Reviews for The Cherry Orchard are coming in but I'm not going to start posting those just yet. Maybe Sunday, maybe not...

Ticket sales are very strong, but there are still plenty of good seats still available for this weekend and beyond.

January 11, 2007

Opening Night

Curtain Call

The company of The Cherry Orchard takes a bow.
Opening Night, January 10, 2007

Later, at the cast party, the company mingled with staff and friends in celebration.

Will LeBow (Lopakin) and Emily Robinson

Gene Farber (Yasha) and Jessica Dickey (Dunyasha)

Jessica Rothenberg (Anya) and Enver Gjokaj (Tromfimov)

Huntington friends Deb Monk, Brooks Ashmanskas, and Megan Sikora.
Deb and Megan will be starring in the new Broadway Musical Curtains (set at Boston's Colonial Theater).

Stage Manager Steve Kaus, and friend Michelle.
Nice suit, dude!

Janet Zarish (Head of Acting at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts) and Mark Blum (Gaev)

Gene Farber (Yasha) and Dick Latessa (Firs)

Andrea Martin, Jeremy Beck (Yephikhodov), Nicholas Martin and Kate Burton

More Party photos available at Boston Magazine

Tell us Your Story

We sent the following message to our subscibers last week:

TELL US YOUR STORIES We're collecting from our subscribers their stories and remembrances about 25 years of the Huntington. Have a special memory of a production or a performance? Tell us about it. Just email your story to thehuntington@huntingtontheatre.org and we'll send you a coupon good for one concessions treat the next time you're in the theatre. Thank you!

The stories have started to roll in. I wanted to share this one with you from subscriber Lynn Thornton:

My friend June and I have to be among the longest longtime-subscribers. I believe that the very first season of the Huntington (Sept. 1982 or was it 1981?) it was not called the Huntington. Wasn't it The Hartman Theater first, then they changed the name for the second season? At any rate, my friend June and I began attending when we were living in Boston and I was about to be married. We have attended every season from the beginning. We are agreed that Arcadia is our hands down favorite production but Sonia Flew and the Rabbit Hole are in strong contention. I have seldom been so moved by a production as I was by Rabbit Hole--I cried every time I discussed it with anyone. Another memorable performance was Terra Nova which we remember because its theme of futility and bleakness, enhanced by the real chill produced by the higher-than-usual air conditioning, mirrored June's feelings on being recently divorced. Since that unhappy play, we have thrilled to many wonderful productions and our lives have continued apace as we created our families and moved through different stages in our lives (get it?). The Huntington has woven a rich tapestry of theater experiences into our minds and souls over this quarter century. In this age of technology-enhanced entertainment and blockbuster-sappy Broadway, what a joy it is to see live and intimate theater so beautifully produced. Keep up the good work.--Sincerely, Lynn Thornton

Thanks Lynn! Terra Nova was back in 1985 (missed that one, I was still in college), Arcadia was in 1996 (and one of my favorite Tom Stoppard plays... who knew chaos theory could be so much fun), Sonia Flew was our inaugural production on our brand new second stage, the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, a few years ago in 2004. Rabbit Hole was just a few months back.

Please tell us your story. Again, the email address is thehuntington@huntingtontheatre.org

Zabryna Guevara as Pilar and Will LeBow as Orfeo in the Huntington Theatre Company's world premiere production of Sonia Flew by Melinda Lopez, at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA(2004). Photo: T. Charles Erickson.
Izzy (Geneva Carr, l.), Becca (Donna Bullock, c.) and Nat (Maureen Anderman) cut Izzy's birthday cake in the Huntington Theatre Company's production of Rabbit Hole by David Lindsay-Abaire, at the Boston University Theatre (2006). Photo: Eric Antoniou.

January 9, 2007

Kate and Joyce

So Joyce Kulhawik got some video before I did. Don't worry, I'm ok, I'm not jealous. She does, after all, have a few more viewers.

See the CBS4 Boston feature on Kate Burton here.

Opening Week

Our preview weekend went very well, with few technical issues and near capacity houses. There are a few more hours of rehearsal time today and tomorrow and Nicky continues to tweak here and there. Tomorrow night is our Opening night performance and we are sold out. Look for the reviews on Friday. We have a dinner at the Colonade for our board, donors and friends, followed by a 7:30 PM performance, followed by a company/cast celebration. We're expecting a lot of special guests and it should be a fun evening. And then there's the upcoming long holiday weekend... yay.

Here are a few more production photos (photo credit T. Charles Erickson) for you.

One of our patrons, C. Shuster, sent us this note via email;
"Please share with Ralph Funicello (Scenic Design) my delight in his work! His sets were gorgeous and added immeasurably to the play! BRAVO!!"

Thank you so much for your comment. It's nice to hear back from our audiences.

I am still looking forward to posting some video content for you soon. It's taking a little longer for us to turn around than we had anticipated. Come back again later in the week...

January 6, 2007

Rabbit Hole lives on... and other news

I'm catching up on a little reading today as I wait for Cherry Orchard rehearsal to end today. Here's a little of the Huntington related news I found:

Rabbit Hole has topped the list of Theatre Mania's Audience Picks

also in Rabbit Hole news... Nicole Kidman to Star in Rabbit Hole Film; Lindsay-Abaire Will Pen Screenplay

The Cherry Orchard advance sales are very good. Not a record, but probably near one, so get your tickets soon. Back Bay and South End Residents get their own special night, and a discount, see our website for details.

The New York Times reports Famed Restaurateur Vincent Sardi Dies at 91

Last week's NY Times Magazine had a very nice piece on Wendy Wasserstein (The Sisters Rosensweig). The website has a nice video too. Look for it on the theater page.

TheatreMania does some "Cherry Picking" and talks about what's coming up in the Boston Area.

Curtains, the new musical (Kander/Ebb/Holmes) directed by Scott Ellis (Streamers) has announced it's cast. There's a few familiar names there, including Deb Monk (Laughing Wild).

Two of my favorite leading ladies, Megan Mullally and Julie White (now in Little Dog Laughed also directed by Scott Ellis), might be looking for work soon.

And Butley, which is also closing soon (next weekend) on Broadway, announced that it's recouped it's initial investment.

Have you seen any news about any of your favorite Huntington plays or people? Let me know...

January 5, 2007

Cherry Orchard Dress Rehearsals

We had a nice preview article in the Boston Globe today. Click here to read it.

During rehearsals the orchestra seating is full of tables and computers for the designers, director, stagemanagers et al. Here's a peek to give you an idea.

Our Final two Dress Rehearsals were on Thursday. Associate TD Adam Godbout snapped a couple hundred photos. Here's one of my favorites.

Ranevskaya (Kate Burton), Gaev (Mark Blum) reminisce as Lopakin (Will LeBow) looks on.

The cast and artistic team take a bow at the end of rehearsal. Way too many peeps (and pooch) here for me to acknowledge... sorry.

and today, enjoying the warm temps outside, House Manager David Newcomb, Marketing Director Temple Gill, and Audience Services Manager Joey Riddle discuss opening night events. I like the camera on my new cell phone.

We've had a record number of new visitors to the blog in the last few days. Welcome!

January 3, 2007

Life is just a bowl of Cherries

Or is it? For those who are looking for a bit of philosophy today, this is what I found when Googling "life is just a bowl of cherries".

It's been a busy couple of days around here as we stumble through Cherry Orchard tech. The show is looking fantastic and I want to thank everyone who is giving 110% or more on this one. We have an invited dress tomorrow night, and with 15 hours of rehearsal time left before then we'll be ready. Just. First preview will be on Friday evening.

If you find some of the scenery in this production enticing you may want to experience it yourself with a stay at ABBEY ROAD FARM BED & BREAKFAST in the heart of Oregon wine country. They have a beautiful cherry orchard, and the generous innkeepers there gave us a few pictures of their farm for use in our production. If you can't get there in person, be sure to enjoy their photo gallery.

Blossoming Cherry Trees at the Abbey Road Farm Bed and Breakfast, Carlton, Oregon.