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.

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