October 25, 2007

Boston talks "Brendan" at the Calderwood Pavilion

Audiences at the Huntington Theatre Company production of Brendan talk to us about their experience!

Video by Laura Haughey & Paul Lyzon of CDIA

Note the appearance of HPF Lydia Diamond - who snuck in unrecognized by our audience wranglers.

Tell us what in the play moved you - or how you liked the video. Click the comments link below.

I attended last night's opening and managed to squeeze myself into the very full house. I sat near Boston theatre notables Jeff Poulos, Tony McLean, Jill Pearson, and Naheem Garcia. Their guffaws and gasps, sighs and hoots, were all nearly as much fun to experience as the performance itself. Watching an audience lose themselves completely in a performance is my best and favorite paycheck. I have to fess up to tuning in and adding a sob and sniffle to the mix. The post show festivities were also very well attended and everyone was having a great time. And I still managed to make it home by the fourth inning.

The reviews hit today and it's great to see that our press also had a genuinely enjoyable experience. Today's reports were also full of notices that Nicholas Martin may accept the Artistic Director position at Williamstown Theatre Festival starting with this summer's season. Nicky sent a nice note to staff and board members yesterday giving us a heads up. He is a busy , busy man and yet is still keeping me running with advance planning on She Loves Me well underway. Anyone have a decent dance studio in the neighborhood that we might use for a few weeks in April/May?

October 18, 2007

Brendan - Dress Rehearsal Photos

JMK came through with a few pics tonight after all.... enjoy!

Dashiell Eaves as the title character in “Brendan”

Brendan (Dashiell Eaves) gets a lecture on friendship and loyalty from bartender Josh (Tommy Schrider) as his mother (Nancy E. Carroll) looks on.

Brendan (Dashiell Eaves) confronts his ever-present mother (Nancy E. Carroll) in the Huntington’s world premiere production of “Brendan” by Ronan Noone, running thru Nov. 17 at the Calderwood Pavilion. All Photos: T. Charles Erickson.

I've seen the production about 5 times now - but not since last Saturday, our second performance, when the company turned out a stellar performance. They have since been making good use of our preview period to fine tune the play. When you have a month of rehearsal, four designers, and lots of well meaning supporters around, there are a lot of ideas and suggestions to be considered. Now it's just Justin, Ronan, and the cast working together for a few hours a day to whittle that pile of ideas down to those that best support the play. I am looking forward to next Wednesday, our official Opening/Press Night, when I'll go back to see what they have accomplished without us!


Our Public Relations Director clearly has not yet recovered from the demands of yesterday's Streamers photo shoot. I asked him today for some production shots from Brendan. This luckycharmish illustration is what showed up in my email instead.

What the heck. I'll post anything... but where's the Pot o' Gold? Would you settle for a bit of dramaturgy? Click on the photo and see what you find.

October 17, 2007

Streamers Boston

Our cast, which started rehearsals in Boston yesterday, took a few moments today for a photo.

Here are the young cast members playing the five recruits in Boston's Huntington Theatre Company revival of "Streamers," by David Rabe and directed by Scott Ellis. Left to right, they are: Ato Essandoh (Carlyle), Hale Appleman (Richie), J.D. Williams (Roger), Charlie Hewson (Martin), and Brad Fleischer (Billy).

October 11, 2007

Streamers Cast and Creative Team Announced

THE CAST in alphabetical order:

Hale Appleman (Richie) is a student at Carnegie Mellon University, where he is pursuing a degree in acting. Featured in two independent films (2007’s “Teeth” and 2006’s “Beautiful Ohio” with William Hurt, directed by Chad Lowe), Appleman appeared in two Chautauqua Theater Company productions, “The Art of Coarse Acting” and “100 Saints You Should Know.”

M. Zach Bubolo is a 2006 Boston College graduate with numerous local theatre credits including “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and “Beauty and the Beast” with The Reagle Players, “Richard III” at the Vokes Theatre and “Urinetown” with the Newton Country Players.

Larry Clarke (Cokes) – Clarke’s professional debut was in "A Map of the World" at Baltimore's CENTERSTAGE theatre, where he also appeared in “Hamlet” with Boyd Gaines, and other productions. He starred on Broadway in “The Full Monty” and has numerous TV credits. Clarke had the lead role in the premiere of David Rabe's "The Dog Problem” at Long Wharf Theatre.

John Diket (PFC) is a Boston University theatre student making his debut with the Huntington.

Ato Essandoh (Carlyle) was last seen in “Measure for Measure” at Manhattan Theatre Source and in George C. Wolfe’s production of “Mother Courage and Her Children” at the Public Theater with Meryl Streep. He appeared in New York productions of “The Three Sisters,” Ronan Noone’s “The Blowin of Baile Gall,” and had major roles in the films “Garden State,” and “Blood Diamond” with Leo DiCaprio.

Brad Fleischer (Billy) made his Broadway debut in “Coram Boy” this year. Previously, he appeared in “Pig Farm” at South Coast Repertory Theatre and the Roundabout Theatre Company. He has appeared in the film “The Good Shepherd,” and the television shows “Prison Break,” “The Unit,” and “Law & Order.” He holds an M.F.A. in acting from UC-San

Charlie Hewson (Martin), a Princeton University graduate who won the coveted Faculty Prize, will be seen in the upcoming films “Camp Hope,” “The Understudy” and “Made for Each Other” in 2008. He appeared in the 2007 film “The Nanny Diaries.” For New York’s Old Kent Road Theatre collective, he starred in “Children of Truffaut” and had the title role in “The Bad Bruise of Billy MacBean.”

Augustus Kelley (PFC Hinson) lives in Waltham, Massachusetts, and has appeared in the films “Late Summer” (2001) and “Night Deposit” (1999). His local theatre credits include SpeakEasy Stage Company’s “Porcelain,” “Bug” and “Matter Familias” at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, and more.

Cobey Mandarino (M.P. Lieutenant) has several regional theatre credits, and his Off Broadway
credits include “The Red Box” (Square Peg Theatre), “Singin' Inside the Hurricane” (American Theatre of Actors), and “Dotted Line” (Trilogy Theatre). His films include “Pennyweight,” a winner at the Nashville and Atlanta Film Festivals, and “Michael and Me.”

John Sharian (Rooney) graduated from the Old Vic Theatre School in Bristol, England. He will be seen in the 2008 film “Staten Island” with Ethan Hawke and has appeared in numerous films and television shows including “Waz,” “Romasanta,” “Love, Actually,” “Saving Private Ryan,” and “Lost in Space.”

J.D. Williams (Roger) has had lead roles in four feature films, including “Thugz 4 Life,” “Nite Tales,” “Mr. Smith Gets a Hustler,” and “Popcorn Shrimp.” He was featured with Chris Rock in the film “Pootie Tang,” and as a regular on the television series “Kill Point” (Spike TV), “The Wire” and “Oz” (both HBO), and more.

Playwright David Rabe is the Tony Award-winning author of “In the Boom Boom Room” and “Hurlyburly,” and the screenplays for “The Firm,” “Casualties of War,” and “I’m Dancing As Fast as I Can.” After graduating from college, Rabe began work on a graduate degree in theatre at Villanova University, but dropped out and was drafted into the Army. He spent the next year on a tour of duty in Vietnam, which profoundly affected his subsequent career as a writer. Although assigned to a hospital group and not directly engaged in combat, Rabe was disturbed by the sacrifice of
young Americans in what seemed to many to be a pointless war. After returning to the U.S. he reentered Villanova and finished his degree in 1968. He began writing about his Vietnam experiences—first as a journalist for the New Haven Register, then as a playwright.

Director Scott Ellis has received nine Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations and is the winner of a Drama Desk Award as Outstanding Director of a Musical for 1991’s “And the World Goes ’Round” and “A Little Night Music.” He helmed the recent Broadway production “Curtains” with David Hyde Pierce and Debra Monk, the Broadway and national touring productions of “Twelve Angry Men,” and the acclaimed New York productions of “1776,” “Steel Pier,” the Tony Award-winning “The Little Dog Laughed,” and many more. He also has helmed episodes of the television series "30 Rock" (Emmy Nomination), “The Closer,” and "Frasier." Ellis is Associate Artistic Director of New York’s Roundabout Theatre Company.

ARTISTIC and PRODUCTION TEAM The “Streamers” set designer is Neil Patel. Costume design is by Tom Broecker. Jeff Croiter is lighting designer. Sound is designed by John Gromada. Fight director is Rick Sordelet. Stephen M. Kaus is Production Stage Manager; Katie Ailinger is Assistant Stage Manager.

this news can also be found on TheaterMania and Playbill.

October 9, 2007

39 Steps Boston - last chance

Our new friends from The Roundabout have been a few times in the last week, and we're expecting a few more visits. The production will move to their American Airlines Theatre for a nice three month run on Broadway sometime around New Year's. We look forward to working with you!

We've been working once a week or so with our understudies and they have been doing a fabulous job. The challenge has been that there is only one understudy for the two clowns. That makes sense for performance, but it's a little tough for rehearsals where the other half of the team is the same guy! Luckily the stage crew have been stepping into the act and helping out. I hear that many of them have stepped in and performed a role during the rehearsals to help out . Sounds like fun! I hear Ryan, Pat and Christine have all taken star turns. Wish I had video on that...

We're going to miss this gang, but we're also looking forward to Streamers which began rehearsals today. Maybe we'll all take a field trip to NY in January or February and see how our The 39 Steps friends are doing on Broadway.

Here's one more glimpse of The 39 Steps brought to you courtesy of the Boston Phoenix. I like how they assembled our b roll - see for yourself below.

One last reminder: I was talking to Jim Torres at SpeakEasy Stage tonight while writing this post here in the Calderwood Pavilion lobby. He mentioned, in addition to The 39 Steps, their production of Zanna, Don't! also closes on Sunday with an additional performance. Both shows can be purchased at BostonTheatreScene.com

Inbox: Tuesday

More news from Ilana on the Huntington Playwriting Fellows:

Hello All,

It's already a busy month for updates, and it's only the second week of October!

I wanted to let you know about a few exciting programs on NPR. LA Theatre Works is theatre company that records plays for radio broadcast, often with all-star casts. Here in Boston, we only get broadcasts once a month on WGBH, and it's difficult to track down the schedule for what they're going to air. Luckily, KPCC (Southern California Public Radio) airs programs from LA Theatre Works every week and online, and they now have a podcast you can subscribe to. So, why am I telling you this?

On October 20, LA Theatre Works/KPCC will begin broadcasting their production of Melinda Lopez's "Sonia Flew," which was recorded in the spring, starring Hector Elizando (photo on right) and Elizabeth Pena. You can get the podcast by subscribing here:http://www.scpr.org/programs/latw/podcast.php

Or you can listen online using RealAudio, between Oct 20 and Oct 26, here: http://www.scpr.org/programs/latw/

Shows are usually only available for a week, even via iTunes, so if you want to hear it, it's wise to subscribe and downlo
ad in order to save it for later.

In mid-November, LA Theatre Works will record their production of Lydia Diamond's "Stick Fly," starring Dule Hill and Justine Bateman. They haven't set a broadcast date yet, but I expect it will be a few months. When I find out, I will let everyone know. http://www.latw.org/live/detail.aspx?title=Stick%20Fly
Image courtesy of mccarter.org

But wait, there's more!
If you haven't caught it already, some Huntington faves have been making appearances on WBUR's Weekend Edition Sunday for the last several months. Will LeBow, John Kuntz, and Melinda Lopez are cast members of "11 Central Ave," a weekly radio comic strip. (Don't ask me what a radio comic strip is, I haven't really figured that out yet. But it's nice to hear these folks on the air every week!) Here's the website: http://www.11centralave.org/Home.html
You can also subscribe to the podcast via iTunes.

Best to all,

October 7, 2007

Brendan: Cast and Creative Team


Nancy E. Carroll and Dashiell Eaves

The cast of “Brendan” includes new-to-Boston actors and returning faces from previous Huntington productions. In alphabetical order:

  • Nancy E. Carroll (Woman) is an Eliot Norton Award-winning actress who has appeared at the Huntington as Miss Erickson in “Present Laughter,” the Strega in “The Rose Tattoo,” and Mrs. Martin in “Dead End”;

  • Ciaran Crawford (Steveo) appeared in two Ronan Noone plays in New York and was seen in the Breaking Ground Festival reading of “Smiler Becoming Yank”;

  • Dashiell Eaves (Brendan) was in the Huntington’s “Observe the Sons of Ulster,” and appeared on Broadway in “Coram Boy,” “The Lieutenant of Inishmore,” “James Joyce’s The Dead,” “The Sound of Music,” and “1776”;

  • Natalie Gold (Rose), a TV regular, was seen on Broadway in “Festen” (understudy) and Off Broadway in productions of “Howard Katz,” “Twelfth Night,” and “Unfold Me”;

  • Kelly McAndrew (Maria et al) appeared in the recent Broadway production of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” She’s worked Off Broadway and in regional theatres;

  • Kathleen McElfresh (Daisy, et al) graduated from Yale Drama School, appeared Off Broadway in “The Frugal Repast,” and has several regional credits, including Dallas Theatre Center’s “Pride & Prejudice”;

  • Cliff Odle (Fred) understudied two August Wilson productions for the Huntington including “King Hedley II,” during which he performed seven shows;

  • Tommy Schrider (Josh) previously appeared as Costard in the Huntington’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost.” His Off Broadway credits include “Acts of Mercy”; and

  • Bradley Thoennes (Bum) was seen in “King of the Jews” at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre and in New Repertory Theatre’s “The Pillowman.”


Director Justin Waldman is the Huntington’s Artistic Associate and the producing artistic director of Next Stages, which he founded. He recently directed Ronan Noone’s “The Atheist” starring Campbell Scott for the Huntington. Other Huntington credits include assistant director of “Present Laughter,” “Persephone,” “The Cherry Orchard,” “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” “Sonia Flew,” and “The Rose Tattoo,” and director of readings “Alexandros,” “The Cry of the Reed,” “Mauritius,” “Persephone,” “Two Days at Home, Three Days in Prison,” and “Stabbing.”

Waldman’s other recent directing credits include productions at the Boston University College of Fine Arts, and the Summer Play Festival in New York.

The “Brendan” creative design team includes Scenic Designer Alexander Dodge ("Present Laughter", "Love's Labour's Lost", "The Rivals", "Butley"), Costume Designer Mariann Verheyen ("Present Laughter", "Love's Labour's Lost), Lighting Designer Jeff Croiter ("Kiki and Herb", "Trumbo", "A Month in the Country"), and Sound Designer Fitz Patton. Eileen Ryan Kelly is Production Stage Manager, Kelly Beaulieu is Stage Manager.

Click here for more bio info!

In Box - Writers Update

Ilana Brownstein sent this update to the company last Friday. It's news worth sharing!

HPF= Huntington Playwriting Fellows, BPT=Boston Playwrights' Theatre:

It's time for an update on some of the Huntington's favorite writers.

Lydia Diamond has been busy of late, with a production of "Stick Fly" at the McCarter (playing through Oct 14), starring Radio Golf alum Michole Briana White. Variety dubbed it a "well-cut jewel of a play," and noted that "Diamond displays a rare gift for narrative flow and character development." As if that weren't enough to keep her busy, she's been promoted to a full time teaching position in the BU School of Theatre, *and* has enrolled in the first ever class of MFA playwriting candidates through the BU/BPT collaboration.

John Shea's play "Comp" will go up at BPT this November. John has been working on the script diligently as part of the HPF program, and fellow HPF Kate Snodgrass was so taken with it, she's programmed it at her theatre. It opens on Nov 3, and I'll be serving as guest dramaturg.

Melinda Lopez continues to be swept up in a whirlwind of theatrical activity. Her play "Gary," which she began in her HPF days, received a workshop production at the Steppenwolf in August. It was terrific, and she's now refining the script. It will get another outing at the Lark Play Development Center in NY, as part of their annual Playwrights Week - "Gary" will show on Oct 4 at 1p. Furthermore, "Gary" will go into production at BPT in the spring; it will be directed by Huntington alum Bevin O'Gara, and I'll serve as guest dramaturg. Melinda's play "Alexandros," which was featured in last season's Breaking Ground Festival, will premiere at Laguna Playhouse in the spring.

As you already know, Ronan Noone, Sinan Unel, and Rebekah Maggor are being kept busy by us this season with productions at the Calderwood.

John Kuntz is walking the balance beam between his writing and acting endeavors. His play Jump/Rope (which, fyi, was first produced by Justin Waldman's company Next Stages, several years ago) got its New York debut this past summer, and starred both John and local favorite Bill Mootos. You can catch Johnny in January at the ART in a production of "Copenhagen," also starring Will Lebow and Karen MacDonald. What a cast!

Kate Snodgrass is, as you can discern from the previous few paragraphs, quite busy fostering the work of her fellow HPFs John Shea and Melinda Lopez. Her own play, "Parallelogram" (from last season's Breaking Ground), is still in development.

Our next class of Playwriting Fellows will be announced soon, and I guarantee that it's going to be an excellent group. Commissions are coming along as well, and you can expect to hear more from the Artistic Department on that front sometime later this fall. As for commissions from the last round, we're expecting delivery of scripts quite soon from Mat Smart, Danny Goldstein/Michael Friedman, Mark Bennett, and Naomi Iizuka (a co-commission with Yale Rep). Keep your eyes peeled for at least one or two of those to turn up in Breaking Ground this year.

Finally, I'd like to direct your attention to two staggering statistics: by the end of this season, the Huntington will have produced or presented 5 plays by Playwriting Fellows, and 8 plays that have come through the Breaking Ground Festival. Not to mention that we can celebrate "Mauritius" as the first play to go through our development process and progress to Broadway. There aren't many other theatres in this country with that kind of total track record, so it's definitely something we as a whole company can be proud of.

Happy Friday!

October 6, 2007

Noone-athon: buh bye Atheist, hullo Brendan

Here's wishing The Atheist folks a fond farewell. Though it feels like months ago, it closed just last Sunday. It was a great run with many people enjoying Campbell's performance and the work of our fine Design team and crew. Did I mentioned that three of our four designers were from the BU Theatre program?

There were also a few special guests in the house: South Enders got a glimpse of both Steve Martin and Terrance McNally last Saturday. BostonNOW got the details.

Our work with playwright Ronan Noone, however, continues. We begin technical rehearsals for Brendan in the Wimberly Theatre tomorrow. I'm sitting in the theatre now watching Lighting Designer Jeff Croiter and crew focus the lights, photo below.

There is a final run through of the show up in Deane rehearsal hall in a little while which I will watch with Scenic Designer Alexander Dodge and Sound Designer Fitz Patton. Then home I go to get some laundry done. I'll add some links between loads.