March 4, 2008

Ghosts, Dervishes, and Cavemen

What a day! It's not often that we kick off three shows in one day, but we did today. I figure I'm due a little procrastination (in the form of this blog post) before getting back to my budget spreadsheets tonight.

Our stellar Chicago cast and Director Bob Falls arrived for the first day of tech rehearsals for Shining City today, and unfortunately brought a touch of the flu with them. But we are otherwise off to a great start with a relaxed rehearsal schedule over the next few days leading up to an invited dress on Thursday and our first preview on Friday. The buzz from Chicago on this production is great and excitement is growing here in Boston.


We always look for a outside project to bring in this time of year as our spring schedule is so tight, and when Nicky heard that the Goodman was interested in doing something with us, and that Bob Falls was doing this project, it was really a no-brainer. This is a great story, fantastic acting, and a brilliant new play by Conor McPherson. And I love getting shows from the Goodman - I know there won't be any scary surprises and the work will be first rate.

Let's hope our resident BU Theatre ghost and the one in Shining City decide to go along with the "no scary surprises" premise that I'm going with here.

Meanwhile - down at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA rehearsals for The Cry of the Reed got off to a great start - first with a little design meeting with the legendary scenic designer Eugene Lee and director Danny Goldstein to nail down a few outstanding issues. Those who like to see designs that shake things up a little may well enjoy this Wimberly Theatre experience. The Huntington goes down and dirty. I really want you to be surprised when you walk in the space, so I'm not going to publish much in the way of preview visuals. As a sidenote: I seriously hope that Eugene writes his memoirs someday soon - he is an outstanding raconteur and I would love to hear a few more of his entertaining stories.

I heard the read-through in Deane Hall was amazing today (had to go back the the BU Theater, ya know). Tommorrow the company is digging right in, talking with a few local experts about Sufism, and learning the intricacies of the Dervish Whirling. It has been an interesting design process, and promises to be an exciting rehearsal and tech period, and I am anticipating (with measured enthusiasm) some scary surprises for this production. See you in the South End (I always like that) in about three weeks.

While The Cry of the Reed rehearses Theatre Mogul will make use of the Wimberly presenting Rob Becker's Defending the Caveman.

If Irish ghosts and Islam aren't your cuppa perhaps you'll enjoy a good old fashioned battle of the sexes. Our house crew and the Caveman gang are busy getting ready for performances starting tomorrow through March 16 only.

There are three more things that I am really excited about, and I hope to write more about in the future, are the casting for She Loves Me, having Peter Dubois in house with us for two weeks this month, and our 5th Anniversary Breaking Ground Festival in April.

I'm don't start rumors often but I'm going to let it slip - hope I won't get slapped too hard - and drop a few She Loves Me cast names; Jessica Stone, Marc Vietor, Dick Latessa, Nancy Carroll, Jeremy Beck, and Brooks Ashmanskas are a few of those coming and (along with Nicky) are sure to deliver an amazing evening of classic American musical theatre.

Peter is here to wrap up season planning for next year and we are aiming for a season announcement in the next month. It looks exciting - a few classic gems, some new works, some international and NY hits, and definitely a sampling of Peter's directing. It will undoubtedly be a transitional season for us as Peter gets to know us, our Audience, and the larger Boston theatre community (and we get to know him). I expect that the real institutional work and Peter's footprint won't be readily visible for a while - but I am encouraged and enthused about what is coming down the pike thus far.

Breaking Ground is April 3 - 6 and is coming together nicely. I hope to get a couple of new bloggers on board to tell you more about these new plays. There will be a combination of Huntington Commissions (national), works by our Huntington Playwriting Fellows (regional playwrights including a new work by Melinda Lopez), and some gems we've found along the way.

As always - feel free to comment and send me your questions. My muse has been on vacation and could use a little encouragement in getting me back to the blogosphere.

Photo Credits: Top - John (John Judd, l.) confides in therapist Ian (Jay Whittaker) the circumstances that led to his wife's death in the Huntington Theatre Company's production of Shining City, written by Conor McPherson and directed by Robert Falls. Runs March 7–April 6, 2008 at the Huntington's B.U. Theatre. Photo: Peter Wynn Thompson. Middle - Mevl├óna mausoleum, Konya, Turkey.


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