March 30, 2007

It's going on

It's nice to be spending some time at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA these days while we are in Persephone rehearsals.

After having spent well over a year of my life back in 2003-2004 getting this place built and open it's nice now to just come in and visit, make theatre, and experience all of the exciting things going on around here. It's a busy place with an amazing variety of activity from youth programs, classes, parties and corporate events, to the real fun of rehearsals and live performances.

The Huntington operates and manages the Pavilion. My staff provides technical support for the four performance venues here under the supervision of Production Coordinator Eric Kelley.

Sondra Katz, Austin Nathaniel and their staff do all of the booking and provide Front of House and event support for our clients here.

Our box office and marketing departments run which provides ticketing services to all of the users of the eight venues that compromise the Calderwood Pavilion, BCA Plaza Theatres, and the BU Theatre stages. Tonight they will service curtains for six different performances. Not too shabby!

I encourage you to take a look around and see what's happening in Boston theatre this month, and if you are looking for an event or performance space... let us know.

What do you like about the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA? I like the dining options in the neighborhood. Too many choices... and that's a good thing!

Sneak Peeks

It's been a while since I brought you any sneak peeks. Here you go!

Here's a closeup of the Act I Persphone set; a sun drenched sculptors studio. Scenic design by David Korins, Costumes by Jenny Mannis, Lighting by Ben Stanton, and Sound and Original Music by Mark Bennett. We begin previews tonight and, as with all of our new plays here at the Wimberly, we'll perform nightly while continuing to rehearse until our press opening on April 11th.

We received the set model for Present Laughter this week and I brought it down to the Pavilion so director Nicholas Martin could take a look. This beautiful Art Deco set is being designed by Alexander Dodge.

Costumes are designed by Mariann Verheyen and here's a peek at some of those sketches.

What kind of advance information about our productions do you value?

March 28, 2007

Noah to the Rescue

Here's an article (and photo) on Persephone playwright Noah Haidle from the Phoenix. The reporter barely survived the interview.

We had a few of those moments, where laughter catches you by surprise, today in rehearsal. We needed someone as the statue for a few hours while we rehearsed some blocking and read lines. Noah sat in. It's always interesting to hear a writer read their own words, and we knew we could count on Noah to discover some new meaning for us. He did.

Even more fun happened during the first dress run of Act II tonight. The actors change costumes many many times. Seth got held up in a quick change leaving Mimi out on stage (as a doped up hooker) for about three minutes. Did we stop? Noooooo.... she explored every nook and cranny of the stage and played with every piece of trash (set dressing) there was. In character. I wish I had been able to tape it for you... by the time Seth made it onstage he had to wait for all of us to recover from our fits of laughter.

And then eight out of nine pidgeons died on cue.


Comedy with a Side of Darkness

I don't have much time these days to write my own content, so you'll have to suffice with my just passing things along for a while.

I borrowed this post's title from the Boston Globe, who published a
nice feature article on Persephone today.

I do have an update to the article. We had a casting change just yesterday and the role of Demeter is now being played by Boston actress and Huntington Playwriting Fellow Melinda Lopez. Melinda joined us yesterday for our second tech and her first rehearsal. It's tough to come into a production at this stage of the game and Melinda is doing wonderfully. I think you'll really enjoy her performance.

Here's a photo of the Act I set under construction this week.

Breaking Ground 2007 schedule

Here's the Breaking Ground line up for 2007. The readings are free, but reservations are required. As soon as I have that info I'll pass it along. Donations appreciated. Readings are held at the Calderwood Pavilion in Deane Hall, 527 Tremont St. Boston, MA

Thurs. 4/19 - 7:30 PM
ALEXANDROS by Melinda Lopez
Directed by Justin Waldman

Fri. 4/20 - 8:00 PM
GEOMETRY OF FIRE by Stephen Belber
Directed by Lucie Tiberghien

Sat 4/21 - 2:00 PM
PARALLELOGRAM by Kate Snodgrass
Directed by Susan Fenichell

Sat 4/21 - 8:00 PM
Directed by Justin Waldman

Sun 4/22 - 2:00 PM
Directed by Matt August

Sun 4/22 - 7:00 PM
Directed by Daniel Goldstein

March 22, 2007

Well Video

Video previews, reviews and slideshows all up now at

Ticket sales are strong, but good seats remain for the rest of this week. Click here to buy

March 21, 2007

Persephone et al

You might have noticed that the cast list below shows "et al" as the roles for Mimi, Seth and Jerry.

They've not got it easy. Here's a sampling of the "et al" roles they are playing:

Mimi - Celia, dead Gus, Hooker, Liberty, Singer, Miss Certainty, Girl, Persephone

Seth - Giuseppe, EMT, Cop, Homeless Man, Old Man, Snowball Boy, Grafitti Boy, John, Rapist

Jerry - Alfonso, Harpist, Mouse, EMT, Priest, Businessman, Wino, Drug Dealer, Rat and corpse(s).

The role of Demeter, while not involving so many costume changes, has it's own challenges. You try sitting still for 45 minutes.

Persephone Cast


Seth Fisher (Giuseppe et al) – was seen in the Huntington’s 2006 production of “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” and appeared on Broadway in 2005’s “Julius Caesar.” Other credits include “Big Wyoming” (New York Stage & Film) and “Hamlet” (Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre). Fisher co-wrote and starred in the film “The Wine Bar.”

Jeremiah Kissel (misc. characters) – is a Huntington favorite who has appeared in the company’s productions of “The Cherry Orchard,” “The Sisters Rosensweig,” “Sonia
Flew,” and “Betty's Summer Vacation,” all directed by Nicholas Martin. A veteran of Boston theatre, he received a 2003 Elliot Norton Award for Sustained Excellence.

Mimi Lieber (Celia et al) – a Huntington favorite, Mimi Lieber last starred as Pfeni in the 2006 production of “The Sisters Rosensweig” directed by Nicholas Martin, and hosted the Spotlight Spectacular! gala that year. She appeared on Broadway in the 2005 production of “Brooklyn Boy” and the 2002 revival of “I’m Not Rappaport.”

Melinda Lopez (Demeter) – is equally acclaimed for her playwriting (the Elliott Award-winning plays "God Smells Like a Roast Pig" and "Sonia Flew," (which premiered at the Calderwood Pavilion in 2004) and her acting (the Huntington's "The Rose Tattoo" in 2004 and "A Month in the Country" in 2002, and the film "Fever Pitch”).

March 20, 2007

Catching up

Here's a number of newsy bits, reminiscences, and some desert:

Ann McLaughlin, who is better than any search engine I've found yet, sent this along today. We have only a few more days before Ann abandons us. See you for sheet cake on Thursday, buddy!

Persephone sound designer and composer Mark Bennett gets great reviews for his work on Stoppard's Coast of Utopia. Take a look AND listen here.

Poetry Out Loud Massachusetts semifinals were snowed out last weekend, so Regis College stepped up and offered some space for an expanded day of combined finals. Thanks, and good luck to all of the competitors. For more info click here.

Meredith, our Marketing Manager, passed along some pics of Huntington alumni Matt and Melinda at their recent wedding. Congrats you two!

Donna Glick sent along this email from a grateful student:

I was a student in Steve Barkheimer's "Acting II" and Bobbie Steinbecks "Scene Study" classes at Huntington. I recently completed a film which will be released in June 07 and the website is up and online. I just wanted to let you at Huntington know that you are credited on the site for teaching me acting. I included you in my "bio" on the site.

I loved my teachers at Huntington and learned so much from them in the


I heard from Frank Simpson, who is apparently still having nightmares:


I woke this morning thinking of the Huntington, due perhaps to a dream not remembered. The phrase "we had it good for a while there" keeps floating through my mind. When I tell Theatre stories to others in the industry, more often than not they feature people and events from my time at the Huntington, which, seven years later, is still the most fun I've had working in Theatre. I miss the people, the sense of community, the beautiful sets, and the old BU Theatre.

I wish there was a spot we all could go and catch up, I'd love to know what the old gang is up to. Folks Like Andrew Cancellari, Jen Brown, John Duncan, and just so many more people who are prominent in my memories, but alas who's names are only half-remembered. I suppose I could set up something on some website but I doubt we'd all find our way there.

I'm out here in the middle of the desert, Las Vegas to be exact. I've been working as a Rigger and Fabricator on Cirque Du Soleil's "KA'" at the MGM Grand for the last three years. I get to work on and maintain rigged units that weigh as much as a 747, and many of my actions each day have life and death implications for everyone in the theatre, it's exhilarating. I'm very proud of my work on this show, but I find that I miss the Theatre, and the changing shows and sets of the Huntington.

I enjoyed reading your blog, it brought my nostalgia to a head, and I had to write and say hello. Please feel free to pass this along to anyone who might remember me. Jollina and I and the girls are doing quite well. Let me know how things are there.

Frank Simpson

Frank! Great to hear from you. Things here are well - someday you and Jollina (also Huntington Alumni) have to come visit the new theatre and catch up, if Cirque can spare you some time. I'll pass the picture of you and your angels around to the staff.

Frank's note came in towards the end of my stay in Phoenix where I had the pleasure of talking with many many people with fond memories of, and respect for, the Huntington. I've also heard, in recent days, of word from designers Ralph Funicello, David Gordon, and Eugene Lee crowing about what wonderful experiences they've had here.

It's a great opportunity to remind everyone that we are collecting these great stories as part of our 25th Anniversary Season. There are hundreds of staffers and guest artists, as well as tens of thousands of subscribers, who have all had unique and memorable experiences at the Huntington, and we hope that a few more of them will find their way to share these stories with us. You can mail yours to

If your still with me after all of that;

One of my favorite things to do when visiting a new city is to check out the botanical gardens. Phoenix has a beaut. I grabed my camera, braved the 92 degree desert, and took a few photos this past Sunday. Click here if you'd like to take a look. Yes - I doctored the color saturation.

IRNE awards

StageSource has posted the IRNE award results. Thanks Jeff!

Temple took photos. Maybe she'll insert a few here...

Congrats to Theresa Rebeck, Eugene Lee, Erin Chainani, Geneva Carr, Anthony Chisholm, Marin Ireland, and the Huntington and all our staff for their well deserved wins.

March 15, 2007

Have you seen WELL?

Everyone's talking about Well! Here's the cast taking their bows.

Have you seen it? We'd like to know what you thought about the experience. We've been holding coffee chats following the preview performances and had some fun and lively discussions. I thought we'd try to get a little discussion going here.

Was Well what you expected it to be?

Which character did you root for, or relate to, the most?

Which turn of events surprised you the most?

What do you admire about your mother? What is it about your Mother that frustrates you? How are you like your mother?

Just click on Join the conversation below and tell us all about it...

Breaking the Silence

It's been five days since I've posted, and it's not because there is no news. Earlier in the week I was pulling long days in order to get a grant proposal done, and make sure we're on track for the Well Opening and Persephone rehearsals in order to get to ready for my trip to Phoenix for USITT and PMF.

I'm here now... and I'm going to enjoy it because Michael has already warned me about the mountain of budget work we'll be reviewing next Tuesday.

I'm hoping that Temple Gill will do a little blogging over the next few days to tell you about the Well Opening Night, which I sadly missed but heard was a GREAT performance, and also to let you know about our cast for Persephone. Hint Hint Temple!

In misc news - you East Coasters have about an hour left to enjoy a free coffee at Starbucks.

The Exhibitionist is continuing to report on the saga of the ICA's elevator. If he's looking for more elevator drama - I've got it: Calderwood Pavilion, 18 months, hydraulic fluid and rag fibers. It's heady stuff. Maybe I'll write a play.

March 10, 2007

Sounds Good

A while back I was whining about having no inspiration for a blog post about Composition or Sound Design. I guess that was enough to inspire my muse to dig up these items for you:

One of our favorite composers, Michael Friedman, was featured in the New York Times today. Michael has a history with us going back several years serving in a variety of musical capacities on Blue Demon, Falsettos, Love's Labour's Lost, and The Cherry Orchard. Seems Michael has some great projects currently in development. Congrats Michael!

Slightly off topic - Michael's sister, Marion, was our stage manager for Radio Golf which is now preparing for a short run with a new cast at the McCarter (opens 3/18) before heading off the the great white way later in April. Dan Moses Schrieir, the sound designer, helped us work out a plan to upgrade our aging sound system at the BU Theatre when he was here this past fall. I just received a letter of support from him for a grant proposal we are working up. Thanks Dan! The Broadway folks have offered our subscribers a great deal on tickets, see the sidebar for more info.

Our composer for Persephone, Mark Bennett, just completed months of work on The Coast of Utopia at Lincoln Center. He spent the last several weeks in the recording studio where he was working on a CD release of his original Music for the production. That's a great souvenir! Congrats Mark! NEW 3/20/07 read this NY Times feature and listen to Mark's work.

John Gromada, who wrote the original music for our current production of Well, this fall's Rabbit Hole, and last season's Carol Mulroney, received a nice nod from critic Charles Isherwood in the NY Times review of Prelude to a Kiss, which just opened at the Roundabout. His original music (and sound design) for Well is a lot of fun; he's got a great sense of humor which comes out in the music, while always supporting what's happening onstage. Congrats John!

March 9, 2007

Well Previews

Not a lot, really, to report about the remainder of tech/dress for Well. We've had several days of pleasant and productive work in the theatre, followed by a nice invited dress last night. The small crowd of about 100 who braved the record setting cold enjoyed the show immensely.

Tonight we begin previews... and many papers and publications put out their preview posts today. Here they are:, Boston Globe, In Newsweekly, and Bay Windows.

March 7, 2007

Persephone in da house

This week we dive head first into all there is to discover in Noah Haidle's Persephone. We'll not be bored. Here staffers Mary Lauve, Adam Roberts and Austin Nathaniel contemplate the set model, designed by David Korins. They're good sports. I made them pose after I missed the shot the first time. Such intensity and verisimilitude, no?

Here's a photo of the model. This is the Act I set. The first act happens 500 years ago, in an artists studio. A statue is being carved. And she has a crush on her creator. Go scene...

Some models come painted, some don't. Those that don't come with research and/or renderings. Below are some research photos for the texture, look and color of the studio interior. As usual, click on the photos for enlargements.

Next are some of the research pix for the statue:

And lastly; a mock up of the Demeter costume, modeled by statuesque stitcher Polly Fossey. Polly is seated on our version of the above chair, part of what will become the real statue base. We will build two complete statue costumes, chairs and pedastals. One for each Act. Why? Five Hundred years pass between Acts... things age. Some well and some not so well. Then there's acid rain and pidgeons.

A large confab was recently held with our costumers, properties artisans, and costume designer Jenny Mannis reviewing the work so far and laying out the plans for the next steps. Thanks every one, it's looking great.

March 6, 2007

Well Treats - Reader Rewards

These cupcakes, cookies, and pie might look good enough to eat but I would not recommend it. They're props, and they've never even been ANYWHERE near an oven.

I do, however, have a treat just for you - our loyal blog readers.

The Huntington has allowed me to extend our online offer for $25 tickets to Well for performances March 9 through March 16. The catch... well no catch really, but we'd love it if you'd tell ALL of your friends about WELL once you've seen it. Head to our website here, choose your performance (3/9-3/16 only) and then click the select seating link. You should then log in using promo code 1132 to get the $25 tickets. Enjoy!

We are now 1/2 way through our second day of tech. Sunday went very well and today we are taking our time reviewing what we did then, with a few improvements and changes. The hospital beds that move on and off stage were not moving quite fast enough on Sunday. We made some adjustments yesterday, and now they are zipping right out there. I'm going to refrain from telling you much about the technical elements of this show before we open. I'd like you to see it first... then we can talk.

We have an invited dress rehearsal on Thursday Eve and, knock wood, we will be in great shape and ready for an audience.

March 4, 2007

Breaking Ground 2007

Someone sent me an email today asking about this year's Breaking Ground Festival.

This is the early word:

Dates: April 19 -22

at the Calderwood Pavilion


Alexandros by Melinda Lopez
The Cry of the Reed by Sinan Unel
Parallelogram by Kate Snodgrass
Three more plays to be announced

I'll be sure to point you to further information when it becomes available.

March 3, 2007

WELL... it's great!

Ten or so of us (including a few of the crew who sadly never get to see our shows from the audience's perspective) enjoyed a private run-thru of Well up in the rehearsal hall today. This show plays so nicely, even in an ugly gray rehearsal hall with no lighting, sound effects or scenery. It has a way of drawing you right in, and I soon found myself drawing parallels in my own relationships with my parents. Lisa effortlessly takes you along for the bumpy ride, and you will QUICKLY fall in love with Mom Ann Kron. The rest of the cast is delightful! I have not laughed so much in a LONG time. I'm sorry that you have to wait until next Friday to share this experience...

The above photo was taken by Eric Antoniou, and it shows not a scene in the show, but one of MANY moments when Mary Pat Gleason got the better of Lisa and her cast mates during rehearsals. Did I mention she's funny?

Focus went well, and so did our little dry tech. Scenic Designer Tony Walton arrived in time to help us out tonight, and we look forward to seeing the rest of the team here tomorrow for our first full technical rehearsal. I also enjoyed the chance to sit with Director Leigh Silverman tonight and get to know her just a bit... nice sense of humor! I like that in a director.

Tomorrow we'll begin with ten hours of full tech rehearsal, including costumes. I'm sure I'll find something of interest to post about. Until then...

March 2, 2007

TGIF (I think)

The week has roared right by, and it's been busy busy everywhere. Up in the rehearsal hall they have run the play in it's entirety twice now, and I'll join them tomorrow for their final run, and their final day, in the rehearsal hall. The show is about 90 minutes... but it really doesn't ever slow down to breathe. It's going to take us a while to get through all of the tech on this one!

Onstage was also reasonably frenetic; with the lighting install beginning on Monday, scenery on Tuesday, and then set dressing (props) on Thursday. (Photo R: Brandon Ribordy -Asst. Props Master - looking at a photo of the Broadway production and trying to find where the thingy in his hand goes) Today our carpenters put on the full court press to get us ready for Sunday's tech. The masking went up, and all of the automated bits were checked and double checked. We'll have a few folks in tomorrow to tweak this and that. Lighting is also working late tonight to get ready for focus in the morning.

One of the first images you'll see in this production is the living room of Ann Kron's house. Ann is Lisa Kron's mother. Ann is played by Mary Pat Gleason. Lisa Kron is played by Lisa Kron. It's confusing so I'm going to keep repeating it. Anyway - Ann seems to like collecting stuff. LOTS of stuff!

Brandon and Kris Holmes (Props Master) spent most of yesterday dressing the living room. They had the process down pat; they hung up photos of each area, grabbed an item from a box, and then played "Where's Waldo". We are recreating the Broadway production's dressing, and then I'm sure we'll tweak it a little bit. Here are a few more closeups - you're not going to get this kind of view from your seat in row S. Click on the photos for a larger view.

We'll be getting more content about Well up on our regular Huntington Theatre Company website as we approach opening night. Keep a look out. I hear that we might be soliciting some of your best meddling Mom/Crazy Daughter stories in exchange for a chance to win a massage for two up on Newbury Street. Sweet! This contest is now posted; click here to tell us your story.

One of the reasons we're a little slow to get content up on our website is that we're having trouble finding people to administrate it; like a webmaster and a database administrator. Really folks - there has to be someone out there who is great with computers AND wants to work in the fun, albeit challenging environment of a non-profit theatre company. Lots of us manage to afford it. Why not YOU!?! Seriously though... we do have a few jobs open here at the Huntington Theatre Company so check them out and help us spread the word. We also have a new professional internship program and I'll be posting a couple of production positions for next season soon.

I had the pleasure of chatting with a group of visually impaired students in the theatre earlier this week. I apologize that I can't remember where they were from, but I'll add that info here next week. Anyway - one of the kids asked me if "anyone lived here". I told him that sometimes it felt like it! There may be a few days when I won't actually be at one of our theatres this month... but I'll be on duty none-the-less. Same for a few others of us around here. The good news is I should get through a little more of my backlogged desk work AND you will probably see a rise in the quantity of posts.

Have a great weekend!