May 27, 2010

2010-2011 Huntington Playwriting Fellows: Apply NOW!

Contributed by Lisa Timmel

We are pleased to announce that we are accepting applications for the 2010-2011 Huntington Playwriting Fellows. The deadline is June 23, 2010.

“But wait!” you exclaim. “Didn’t you just do this last fall? It hasn’t even been a year!”

Well, dear Playwright, you're right! When the HPF program was started, the playwrights’ tenures were intended to coincide with the theatre season. Over the years, we got a bit off track and it shifted to calendar year. Charles Haugland and I realized that we needed to return to the season-to-season cycle putting the bulk of the reading into the summer months when things slow down here a bit. So the time to apply is NOW.

You can find all the information you need here:

There are a few important changes to note:

· You may submit either a full-length play or a one-act

· If you have submitted a play to us since May 1, 2009 there is no need to send an additional play.

· Please send us everything via email, and most importantly,

· You may not resubmit work that was previously considered by the Huntington, this includes 2009 HPF application scripts.

We are more interested in learning about your voice or sensibility than reading polished scripts, so we encourage you to send whatever you are currently working on, even if you do not consider it completely “finished.”

We had a great time reading the applications last year and we’re really looking forward to what you all have got for us now.

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May 26, 2010

Expanding the Idea of New Work - Part IV

Contributed by Literary Associate Charles Haugland, responding to Lisa Timmel (Huntington's Director of New Work) in their recent posts about new work. Click here to read the entire conversation.

Okay, it’s up to me to wrap up the conversation. I’m going to provide a quick summary, and then leave us with a few provocations and things I will be continuing to think about.

I take you as defining three categories. (Art Hennessey also theorized three categories when he did his exhaustive tally on his blog, though he defined the categories differently)

Artists are actively doing developmental work during their HTC production, particularly of text. Playwright is in residence.

Plays that we have no relationship to the development. Usually they are written in the last 20ish years, but more often in the last one or two. (This definition also means that sometimes a contemporary play can be the same distance from its premiere as a new play being developed in its second production.)

Plays that are older or canonical (i.e., We think of FENCES as classic and PRELUDE as contemporary even though they are separated by only two years.)

These categories are not represented in our theatre haphazardly. As I discussed in my last post, we think of new work and classic work as different kinds of pleasure - active nostalgia versus active synthesis - that we try to balance. A season that we think will be both embraced and challenging to our audience includes both. (Challenging goes both ways; I think there are new work devotees, you included Lisa, who can find the idea of going to see and revisit classics “challenging” to your expectations and your taste.)

What is the breakdown of our new season then?
Classic: BUS STOP, RICHARD III/COMEDY OF ERRORS, and EDUCATING RITA (Though I’m sure some would say RITA feels more contemporary than classic, it is from 1980, and has been so widely performed that I’d say it is canonical.)

A couple of wrenches that I can throw in the works:
- Many audience members told me that they had never seen ALL MY SONS. How does that effect reception? Is it “new” if it is new to you (a belief held strongly by our marketing department)?
- A good chunk of our audience had seen the Boston workshop presentation of A LONG AND WINDING ROAD or the New Haven production of A CIVIL WAR CHRISTMAS. Does it matter that they aren’t “new” to them? (In both cases, they were substantially different from their earlier productions.)
- In Peter’s first season, four out of seven plays were new and in development during their production cycle, though our audience does not remember that season as being heavily focused on new work. Why? (One thought I have is that they were all period pieces, which I believe influences reception.)

May 22, 2010

Huntington @ Boston Theatre Marathon starts TODAY!

contributed by Boston Playwright's Theatre and Lisa Timmel
The Boston Theater Marathon XII and the Warm-Up Laps

The Warm-Up Laps - Saturday, May 22
Presented in association with the Boston Center for the Arts at the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Free and open to the public - limited to 100 seats - no reservations necessary.

Huntington Theatre Company presents
A Live Dress by Huntington Playwriting Fellow Martha Jane Kaufman
Directed by Charles Haugland - Huntington's Literary Associate.
Reading begins at 1 pm

SpeakEasy Stage Company presents
The Baptisms of St. Genesius by Richard Snee
Reading begins at 4 pm

The Publick Theatre presents
The Gift Horse by Huntington Playwriting Fellow Lydia Diamond
Reading begins at 7 pm

Boston Theater Marathon XII - Sunday, May 23
Presented in part by the Boston University Humanities Foundation.
At the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts
Ten Hours - Fifty  Plays: $25 tickets in advance - $30 tickets at the door

Sunday's 10 minute plays feature:
Rosie's Things by Janet Kenney Directed by Thom Dunn, Huntington's Web and New Media Manager, in the 1PM hour

Pseudoephedrine by HPF Ken Urban/Pilgrim Theatre, in the 1PM hour

The Shit Stirring Machine by HPF Ronan Noone/Bad Habit Production, in the 4PM hour

Wasteland by HPF Kate Snodgrass Directed by Chris Carcione, Huntington's Assistant to the Artistic Director, in the 5PM hour

Confirmed Sighting by HPF Patrick Gabridge/Fort Point Theatre Channel, in the 7PM hour

Bad Santa by HPF Melinda Lopez & M. Lopez-Keough/Theatre on Fire,  in the 9PM hour

Sunday's entire line up here: 

About the Boston Theater Marathon
The BTM is a program of Boston Playwrights' Theatre and is funded by a grant from the Humanities Foundation at Boston University. We would like to thank the Huntington Theatre Company once again for donating space for this annual charity event in their new Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts.

The Boston Theater Marathon is "astonishing," "exciting," "extraordinary," and, most of all, "fun." In its first seven years, the Boston Theater Marathon played to standing-room-only crowds for all 10 hours of 10-minute plays by Boston's best playwrights -- the famous, the great, the unknown, and the soon-to-be-successful. In 2004 the BTM was awarded "Boston's Best" by the Improper Bostonian for "Best Original Programming." (read more in The Buzz)

In addition to Boston’s best playwrights, you will see Boston’s best actors and directors in this celebration involving the entire Boston theatre community. All net proceeds from this charity event go a fund for actors & theatres in need called the Theatre Community Benevolent Fund. You can find out more about this fund on the StageSource website.
The plays begin at 12 noon and are performed one after the other continuously until 10 PM.
The Boston Theater Marathon is supported by a grant from The Humanities Foundation of Boston University, enabling all net proceeds to benefit The Theater Community Benevolent Fund.

In 2000, the BTM received a special Elliot Norton Award for "Enlivening Local Theatre." Read the article to learn more about this wonderful charity theatre festival.

The Judging Process - A letter from Artistic Director Kate Snodgrass

Check out Baker's Plays to order a collection of these plays: BTM1, BTM2, BTM3, BTM4.

May 21, 2010

Prelude Review, Interview, Slideshow

Here's a slideshow courtesy of BU Today with Cassie Beck and Brian Sgambati.

Watch this video on YouTube

And a review from the Boston Globe

And a great interview with Peter DuBois on Edge Boston

Have you seen the show? Did you stay afterward for post show conversation? What did you talk about on the way home. Please leave your thoughts about the play, performances, and production right here on our blog for others to respond to.

Click here to comment!

May 19, 2010

Theatre Hero - Michael Maso

Delivered by Michael Maso to the Boston Theatre Community at the Paramount Theatre
May 17, 2010

Thank you Jeff, Kate and Paul, to the StageSource board for this very generous recognition, and to the Norton Committee for bringing us all together again.

I want to thank our host tonight, Rob Orchard – here in his new position at Emerson after decades of leadership at ART. About ten years ago Rob and I were the co-recipients of the Norton prize, which the great Karen MacDonald will receive tonight. I was very honored, though it was the only time two people were honored together. Apparently it takes two managing directors to make up one . . . anything else. I want to recognize Rob’s long service to our field, locally, nationally and internationally. When the true history of Boston theatre is written – including the critical role of the ART for the past 30 years – Rob’s contributions will not be forgotten.

Tonight I also get to thank my family, starting with my wonderful wife Lisa, whose job in life seems to be both to love me and to expand my horizons, breaking through my theatre geek limitations in a thousand ways. We just had the pleasure of spending a week on the west coast with our sons, Alexander, who graduated from college last Sunday, and Graham, who is a sophomore at BU, and it reminded me once again that I need to get out more. They give me love and laughter, keep me humble and teach me perspective. Lisa and Graham are here tonight. I love you both.

Thanks to our friends at BU past and present for thinking that BU should invest in a major regional theatre, to my former partners Peter Altman and Nicky Martin for years of great work – and of course to Peter DuBois. Peter is in my opinion the archetype of the new artistic director – artist, administrator, communicator extraordinaire – and so full of the joy of life that keeps us all going.

We will soon witness the changing of the guard of board leadership at the Huntington, but what will not change is the extraordinary commitment of the Huntington board to our work and to this broader community. When we were searching for a way to build a second stage, the Huntington board had a choice to make: build a small space, perhaps linked to the BU Theatre, keeping expenses and risk to a minimum, or build the Calderwood Pavilion, committing additional millions to build the theatre and almost a million in operating expenses in order to serve dozens of other companies and another 100,000 non-Huntington patrons each year. They chose the larger vision and the leadership position, and so led by Chairman David Wimberly and President Bill McQuillan my board wrote themselves into the history of Boston Theatre. They are among our heroes tonight.

Finally, lets really talk about heroes. Over the past few decades the Boston theatre community has grown and come closer together, in part through occasions like this one (the Norton Awards) and the IRNE’s, in part through expanded press coverage of small companies, in part through the addition of new facilities such as the Calderwood Pavilion and the new Paramount, but always through the dedication of thousands of people like you here tonight who have made a commitment to this field, and chosen passion over paychecks every time.

And over the past two seasons those sacrifices have only deepened, as almost every one of you has had to make additional financial sacrifices in the form of furloughs, layoffs, or salary reductions. People like me get recognized, but the sacrifices are made by all --- by those who show up every day in the scene shop, or the box office, backstage or front of house, marketing, development or finance, in the rehearsal hall or on the lighting grid. Many of you do all those jobs, and hold down a so-called real job as well. We love our donors, but the people of the theatre make up our greatest benefactors – that applies to the extraordinary staff of the Huntington who make me look good every day, and to all of you.

This is a room full of heroes.

Why do you do it? My most recent answer comes from a blackboard in the lobby of Berkeley Rep during the run of the Green Day musical “American Idiot.” They put the board up so audience members could write their reactions to the show – controlled graffiti -- and among many messages in white chalk someone wrote in orange across the middle of the board:

"Art Makes Life Suck Less."

Indeed it does. And whether you look at the glass half-empty or half-full, your work matters to hundreds of thousands of people who understand the vital role of theatre in our lives. But it is hard work, and isn’t getting any easier in the near future.

So I leave you with a thought from philosopher Michael Walzer, who was pondering why Jews return each Passover to retell the story of the Exodus. His answer was that in that tale is an eternal lesson in politics and action in three parts:

- first, that wherever you live, it is probably Egypt;
- second, that there is a better place, a world more attractive, a promised land;
- third, that there is no way to get from here to there except by joining together, and marching.

Thank you allowing me to join you on that journey.

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May 17, 2010

Norton Awards live continued

It was great to see Alice Duffy presenting tonight, just back from the Broadway run of "Present Laughter". Nancy E Carroll, also recently returned from NYC, can be seen nightly in "Prelude to a Kiss",
currently playing.

Jeff Poulos, Kate Snodgrass, and Paul Daigneault co-presented the Theatre Hero award to our very own Micheal Maso. Funny and brief, as usual, Micheal paid tribute to the Huntington's board for having the
vision to create the Calderwood Pavilion - second stage for us and home to dozens of other local companies.

He also thanked the staff of the Huntington - his Theatre Heroes - for their collective body of work and their individual financial sacrifices of the last few years. Congrats Micheal!

Peter accepted the "Norty" for outstanding production ("Fences") and I had to stop typing for a sec to wave to the crowd as he shouted out to the Huntington's production staff. Thanks Peter!

Karen MacDonald ("All My Sons") graced the stage to accept the Norton Award for Sustained Excellence. I hate to start rumors but can you say "Bus Stop"? We are thrilled to have her back on our mainstage next season. "Change is good".

Michael also gave us a quote (courtesy of Berkeley Repertory Theatre) worth ending the night with;

"Art makes life suck less".


Live from the Norton Awards

We're here at the Norton Awards. So far it's a great night with the Boston theatre community. Things kicked off with glitter and high heels courtesy of the Gold Dust Orphans.

The best new script category nominees are all HPFs and congrats to John Kuntz for taking the prize.

Peter DuBois just took the Stage to accept best actress on behalf of Crystal Fox ("Fences").

Gonna hit send now so I can watch Speakeasy perform from "Adding Machine".

Prelude to a Kiss - Video

Here's is our "mini-doc" for Prelude to a Kiss

and a bit of the Wedding scene featuring Brian Sgambati, Cassie Beck, Ted Hewlett, Ken Cheeseman, Cheryl McMahon, Nancy E. Carroll, Michael Hammond, Timothy John Smith, Jason Bowen, Georgette Lockwood, Alex Schnepps, and MacIntrye Dixon.

click here for more video, audio, and photos

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The Huntington Theatre Company production of Prelude to a Kiss by Craig Lucas plays May 14 through June 13, 2010 at the Huntington's Mainstage - The Boston University Theatre, 264 Huntington Ave Boston MA 02115. Tickets and information available online 24/7, by visiting our box office locations, or by calling 617 266-7900.

Student Matinees - the Teachers like them too!

Contributed by Donna Glick

Recently, the Huntington's Department of Education decided to try a "pay what you can" ticket offer for the student matinee of Prelude to a Kiss on Thursday, June, 3, 2010. We asked Bill Deschenes, a teacher from Pierce Middle School in Milton, to describe the student matinee experience for us, from the teacher's point of view. His enthusiasm really took us by surprise - thanks Bill!

I've been taking my kids to the Huntington's student matinees for many years now and am happy to report that the Huntington does it right! They are serious about exposing young people to the theater and providing an enriching experience for them.

Attending such high quality shows is a terrific opportunity for the kids. Most theaters, especially those of this caliber, do NOT offer morning performances at all, so to be able to take students to the theater during the school-day is a real treat. Plus, the Huntington does everything possible to make it affordable. A $12 ticket at the student matinee might cost about $70 for the same performance in the evening. An incredible and very generous deal.(Now with this new "pay what you can" offer, it is made even more affordable.)

If you do decide to take your students to see PRELUDE, however, take advantage of the other services the Huntington offers:

--Their curriculum guides are excellent--packed with information on the play including historical and cultural context, overarching themes, activities, lesson plans, vocabulary, theater etiquette, etc. It's a tremendous resource.

--The Huntington will help you prepare your students for the play by sending someone to your school to lead your students in pre-show activities. Or you may opt to take your kids to the theater before the matinee for a pre-show talk and tour.

--Another great resource is the Huntington's website, where blogs, interviews and video clips are posted. Visit the site with your students and click around.

--The Huntington's Teacher Preview Night allows you to see the production for free before you take your class. This allows you to enjoy the show as an audience member first so that you can better prepare your students for the matinee.

--After the performance, stay! The post-show Q&A session with the cast members is well worth attending and a wonderful way for your students to fully process the experience. Plus, it's terrific way for your kids to interact with real, working, professional actors.

And now for a non-Huntington related tip: After the show there's no need to rush back to school... Have your kids bring bag lunches and go enjoy them by the reflecting pool at the Christian Science Church Park--safe, peaceful, picturesque. A perfect way to wrap up the day!


Bill Deschenes
Pierce Middle School, Milton

If you would like more information about our Student Matinees, or the June 3rd Pay What You Can offer,contact Meg Wieder at 617 273-1558 or

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May 15, 2010

Prelude to a Kiss - Sneak Peek Photos

Photos from Thursday's Dress rehearsal. The play has 14 scenes in 9 different locations. We make good use of our automation equipment as well as a crew of five moving and flying things around back stage. The transitions are quick, cinematic, and with the character of Peter providing narration, they help move the show along nicely.

Cassie Beck (Rita) and Brian Sgambati (Peter) in Rita's apartment. After a whirlwind romance they decide to marry.

Brian Sgambati (Peter) and Cassie Beck (Rita). During their honeymoon, on a beach in Jamaica, Peter attempts to find the Rita he fell in love with.

MacIntyre Dixon (Old Man) and Brian Sgambati (Peter). After the honeymoon, Peter are Rita separate. The Old Man, who first appears at their wedding, returns and confirms that Rita is not who she once was.
The Huntington Theatre Company production of Prelude to a Kiss by Craig Lucas plays May 14 through June 13, 2010 at the Huntington's Mainstage - The Boston University Theatre, 264 Huntington Ave Boston MA 02115. Tickets and information available online 24/7, by visiting our box office locations, or by calling 617 266-7900.

May 14, 2010

Getting Ready to Emerge

contributed by Anne Morgan

This weekend is the first annual Emerging America Festival. The festival is a unique collaboration between the Huntington, the A.R.T., and the I.C.A. The weekend will be filled with performances of all kinds all over Boston and Cambridge.

On Saturday, the Huntington will present “Two Emerging Voices/One Double Bill” at 1 and 4pm. The double bill features Love Song In Two Voices, a compelling one-woman show written and performed by Amy Herzog, and Seven Minutes in Heaven, a dynamic comedy by Steven Levenson about a middle school party.

Also join us on Sunday for the Join The Conversation! Brunch, where you can mix and mingle with brunch food (sponsored by Panera Bread) and drinks and see exciting theatre pieces from Huntington Playwriting Fellows Ryan Landry (The Gold Dust Orphans perform selections from Showgirls), John Kuntz (with Rick Park, The Superheroine Monologues), and Martha Jane Kaufman (dance theatre piece Are Now Friends) as well as performances from Company One’s ARTiculation and the music of the Cello Chix.

For more information about these or other festival events visit

The thing about this project that has been the most exciting is the number of people who’re involved. At the Huntington, this festival is being supported by all departments – production is helping us gather the props, artistic is coordinating the performers, marketing is getting the word out any way they can. But outside the Huntington, exciting talents are joining together to make this happen. For each of us working in a department at the Huntington, we are supported by our counterparts hard at work at the ART and the ICA. Our artists too are crossing boundaries. Huntington Playwriting Fellow Ryan Landry wrote an iPlay, he and his troupe The Gold Dust Orphans will delight guests at the Join the Conversation! Brunch, and he will be appearing in the ART’s presentation of Mrs. Smith Presents… A Benefit For the Carlyle Foundation Empowerment School For People and Cats with Severe and Persistent Challenges.

These past few days have been very busy. We hope you’ll check out the Emerging America Festival and enjoy everything we’ve been working on.

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May 11, 2010

Prelude to a Kiss; Shop Photo Album

The back wall of the sets - with a base coat of paint
Do you miss the photos of our scenery, props and costumes under construction? We've moved them to our Facebook page. It's a much better interface for photos. And you don't need have a Facebook account or log in (only if you want to comment). See these photos and more! Enjoy.

The skeleton for a handmade paper lantern. Nice to have a props person with a degree from MIT!

The Huntington Theatre Company production of Prelude to a Kiss by Craig Lucas plays May 14 through June 13, 2010 at the Huntington's Mainstage - The Boston University Theatre, 264 Huntington Ave Boston MA 02115. Tickets and information available online 24/7, by visiting our box office locations, or by calling 617 266-7900.

May 8, 2010

Huntington's 2010-2011 Season Announced

Contributed by Temple Gill

Our 29th Season will include two world premieres directed by Artistic Director Peter DuBois, an American classic, two Shakespeare plays in repertory, a three-play festival from a breakout writer, and the 2009 winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

The season will include William Inge’s classic romantic comedy Bus Stop; the previously announced Circle Mirror Transformation as part of the Shirley, Vermont Plays festival; the world premiere of Bob Glaudini’s latest play, Vengeance is the Lord’s; the previously announced Ruined; a revival of Willy Russell’s warm comedy Educating Rita; the world premiere of Stephen Karam’s Sons of the Prophet; and a special engagement of William Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors and Richard III performed in repertory by Edward Hall’s UK-based Propeller Theatre Company and presented in association with Boston University’s School of Theatre.

“Smart. Fun. Those two words kept coming up as we approached programming this season at the Huntington,” says Huntington artistic director Peter DuBois. “We have created a season of plays that promise to engage audiences deeply throughout the year – comedies with sharp perspectives, dramas with searing centers, and stories about families and relationships that stir, inspire, and leave us feeling more alive. Each play in next season’s mix builds emotionally, intellectually, and stylistically on the shows that surround it. "

In William Inge’s classic American romantic comedy Bus Stop, a snowstorm strands a bus outside of Kansas City, and its passengers – including a stubborn, lovestruck cowboy and the nightclub singer he hopes to marry – seek shelter and warmth at a roadside diner. The motley crew spends one night together, filled with bluster, heartache, and laughter, while searching for love. The Wall Street Journal calls Inge an “indisputably major artist, one of this country's half-dozen greatest playwrights.” “William Inge had a timeless sense of humor,” says DuBois, “and this play, perhaps his greatest, has a very modern feeling of openness and honesty. Inge was celebrated in his time, but I believe his plays are just hitting their finest moment. I know that Nicholas Martin will bring his terrific sense of comedy and warmth – so appreciated by Boston audiences – to bear in our production.” Bus Stop, directed by former Huntington Artistic director, Nicholas Martin, will play at the Huntington’s main stage, the Boston University Theatre, September 17 – October 24, 2010, replacing the previously announced You Can’t Take It With You.

In Circle Mirror Transformation, Annie Baker’s 2009 Off Broadway hit, the four students in Marty’s creative drama class experiment with theatre games as hearts are quietly torn apart and tiny wars of epic proportions are waged and won. Set in the Shirley, Vermont community center, this gentle and beautifully crafted new comedy mixes antic sadness and hilarious detail, and became a runaway hit Off Broadway. The New York Times called the play, “absorbing, unblinking, and sharply funny.” Circle Mirror Transformation is the Huntington’s offering in The Shirley, Vermont Plays festival of plays by the breakout writer Annie Baker, which also includes Body Awareness from SpeakEasy Stage Company and The Aliens from Company One. The plays will have staggered openings beginning October 15 but run concurrently, providing audience members the opportunity see all three between October 30 and November 14. Special same-day “marathon” scheduling is being designed so that one will be able to attend the entire festival in one day. Subscribers to each of the three participating companies will receive discount offers on the other two festival productions.

“I fell in love with the characters in these plays and with the idea of creating a fictional New England town at the Calderwood Pavilion and the BCA campus,” says DuBois. “Each of Annie’s plays stand on their own with their imagination and subtle humor, and seen together they form a striking portrait of Shirley, Vermont. The same is true for this festival; each company has their own identity and audience, but together we hope to bring out the richness of a writer’s vision in the creation of this fully imagined community. Annie’s writing makes you happy to be in the theatre.” Circle Mirror Transformation, directed by Melia Bensussen  at the Wimberly Theatre, the Huntington’s second stage in the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, October 15 – November 14, 2010

Vengeance is the Lord’s is a world premiere from smart, edgy, and insightful playwright Bob Glaudini, a John Gassner Playwriting Award recipient. The Horvath family forgives their trespassers - all but one. A mother's call for mercy clashes with a father's need for retribution when their daughter's murderer comes up for parole. Sharp jokes and tough love drive this searing and funny new drama, which unfolds at dinners from Thanksgiving to Easter. A modern American family asks a classic moral question: what can we do when “justice” is not enough? DuBois reunites with Glaudini to direct, having previously collaborated on Jack Goes Boating with Philip Seymour Hoffman for LAByrinth Theater Company and A View from 151st Street, also with LAByrinth. “I love directing Bob’s work. He writes with a muscular, spare lyricism and creates deep, meaty roles for actors," says DuBois. “This play is propelled by magnetic characters, and takes place at the holidays when the quirkiest dynamics of everyone's family come out at full tilt. Bob imbues this darkly comic domestic drama with a soul-stirring poignancy.” Vengeance is the Lord’s, directed by Huntington Artistic Director Peter DuBois, at the B.U. Theatre November 12 – December 12, 2010

As previously announced, the Huntington, in cooperation with La Jolla Playhouse and Berkeley Repertory Theatre, will produce Lynn Nottage’s 2009 Pulitzer Prize Winner Ruined, directed by Liesl Tommy (Ruined, Eclipsed). Savvy business woman Mama Nadi knows how to survive in the midst of the Congo civil war: don’t take sides. She sells beers and girls to any man who'll leave his gun at the door. The good-time atmosphere of the canteen and her sharp wits can’t always protect her and her girls from the atrocities afflicted on them, but their courage, humor, and hope live on in this gripping drama. The Chicago Tribune wrote, “Sincere, passionate, and courageous, Ruined is a remarkable theatrical accomplishment.” “The first time I saw Ruined, I was simply unable to hold back tears,” says DuBois. “ Lynn Nottage has created an astonishing, enduring piece of writing that should be seen by everyone. The play is unflinching, emotionally cathartic, and absolutely revelatory.” Ruined, directed by Liesl Tommy, at the B.U. Theatre January 7 – February 6, 2011.

Educating Rita, by Willy Russell (Shirley Valentine, Blood Brothers), is the 1980 Olivier Award winner for Best Comedy and enjoyed a highly acclaimed London revival this spring. Rita, a young, brash hairdresser, wants more out of life. With a newly discovered passion for English literature, she enrolls in the local university despite the disapproval of her husband. Rita’s tutor, Frank, is a middle-aged poet and professor, and her fresh, unschooled reactions to the classics cause him to question his own understanding of his work and himself in this warm and witty tale of self-discovery. "Re-discovering Educating Rita was a delight as I was planning the season,” says DuBois. “I found the play as intelligent, surprising, and funny as ever. The play's warmth and sense of self-discovery radiates. In a city celebrated for its centers of learning, I expect the play to pop with particular meaning." Educating Rita, a revival of Willy Russell’s warm and witty tale of self-discovery, March 11 – April 10, 2011 at the B.U. Theatre.

Sons of the Prophet, a world premiere by acclaimed young writer Stephen Karam (Speech and Debate, Columbinus), will be the second play directed by DuBois next season. Charles and Joseph are having one hell of a year. When a prank-gone-wrong in the small town of Nazareth, PA leads to the death of their father, the two brothers struggle with their health, livelihoods, and sanity as a series of unfortunate events spiral into operatic miseries. In an age where most people look to faith, finances, or even modern medicine to solve any unpleasantries in life, Sons of the Prophet takes a brutally funny look at unresolved chronic pain and the many ways we cope with the overwhelming. “Stephen Karam comes through as a writer whose voice is clear, and laugh-out-loud funny," says the NY Daily News. DuBois says, “The depth of feeling in Stephen Karam’s writing is ravishing. His play is fresh, bracing, and alive. He takes the mess of our lives and turns it into phenomenal comedy.”  Sons of the Prophet, directed by Peter DuBois, March 25 – April 24, 2011 at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. Sons of the Prophet was commissioned and is produced by special arrangement with Roundabout Theatre Company.

The renowned British Propeller Theatre Company will perform Shakespeare’s history Richard III in repertory with Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors in a special residency to end the season. Richard III centers on one of the great characters of world literature, the Machiavellian Richard, Duke of York and his jealousy-driven ambition to unseat his brother and become the King of England. One of Shakespeare’s funniest and most youthfuil plays, Comedy of Errors tells the story of two sets of identical twins separated at birth who are surprisingly reunited, but not before a series of slapstick mishaps of mistaken identity and more occur. The much beloved story has been adapted for centuries into opera, film, and musical theatre.

The all-male Shakespeare has drawn international acclaim for its rigorous approach to the text with a modern physical aesthetic. The New York Times declares, “The daring, the dazzle, and the pure craft of this company is absolutely exhilarating.” Propeller Artistic Director Edward Hall (Two Men of Florence, Rose Rage) says, “I want to rediscover Shakespeare simply by doing the plays as I believe they should be done: with great clarity, speed and full of as much imagination in the staging as possible.” “Edward Hall’s production of Two Men of Florence was such a monumental experience for all of us my first season, and I’m delighted now to bring his dynamic company to Boston," says DuBois. "Propeller’s actors are incomparably talented; they hit the darkest notes of the drama and the antic shenanigans of the comedy. These productions are not to be missed.” Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors and Richard III performed in repertory  May 18 – June 19, 2011 at the B.U. Theatre, presented in association with Boston University’s School of Theatre.

Subscriptions now on sale - visit for more information.

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May 5, 2010

Huntington Friends and Family do well in Tony Nominations

Contributed by Todd Williams

Awards season continues with yesterday's announcement of the Tony Awards. Congrats to everyone - we're especially proud this year of Kenny Leon (Fences), and Alexander Dodge (Present Laughter). Here's the short list of our friends and family who received nominations:

[Name, Name of Broadway Play for nomination, (Name of Huntington Production of which you may remember them for)

Viola Davis, Fences, (Seven Guitars)

Kate Baldwin, Finian’s Rainbow, (She Loves Me)

Stephen McKinley Henderson, Fences, (Jitney)

Christopher Fitzgerald, Finian's Rainbow, (Springtime for Henry)

Kenny Leon, Fences, (Fences, Stick Fly)

Marcia Milgrom Dodge, Ragtime, (Ain’t Misbehavin’)

Daryl Waters, Memphis, (A Civil War Christmas)

Rob Ashford, Promises, Promises, (Marty)

Alexander Dodge, Present Laughter, (Present Laughter… and many more)

Derek McLane, Ragtime,  (Becky Shaw, Bad Dates)

Martin Pakledinaz, Lend Me a Tenor, (The Game of Love and Chance)
Constanza Romero, Fences, (Gem of the Ocean, Seven Guitars)

Paul Tazewell, Memphis, (Ah, Wilderness )

Kevin Adams, American Idiot, (The 39 Steps, The Rose Tattoo)
Donald Holder, Ragtime, (Radio Golf, The Cherry Orchard, Falsettos)

Dan Moses Schreier, Sondheim on Sondheim and A Little Night Music (Radio Golf, Gem of the Ocean,)

Judith Krupp, American Idiot - Producer, (Huntington Theatre Co Trustee)

Spectacular! Huntington Fundraiser

Contributed by Lisa McColgan

A “spectacular” evening was had by all on Sunday evening, April 24, at the Sheraton Boston Hotel at this year’s Spotlight Spectacular! fundraiser.

“The look this year is fun and happy,” said event producer Bryan Rafanelli, who served as Spectacular! Event Co-Chair with Carol Deane. In keeping with that theme, the Sheraton’s Grand Ballroom was bright and festive, with potted orange begonias and trays of green wheatgrass serving as centerpieces for the tables. Many guests left with begonias, but a few creative souls were also seen departing with the grass. We didn’t ask.

At this year's event, The Wimberly Award, the Huntington's highest honor, was presented to recent Tony Award nominee Kenny Leon, who completed his seventh production for the Huntington with the hugely popular and acclaimed Stick Fly. Also honored was Bank of America, the Huntington's Education and Access Partner, which has been a dedicated, long-time supporter of the Huntington and has recently deepened its commitment to our Education and Access programs.

Once again, the Huntington offered a wide array of exciting items and packages for its Live and Silent Auctions, including a party for 30 guests on the set of the PBS hit America's Test Kitchen, specially-created paintings from area artists, and a walk-on role in the upcoming 20th Century Fox comedy What’s Your Number? As in years past, our “Auctioneer Extraordinaire” was Board President Bill “the Velvet Hammer” McQuillan, who strode majestically into the ballroom dressed like a sheik as the theme from “Lawrence of Arabia” boomed overhead. Now we must figure out next year’s getup. Hee-hee!

Supporters and friends enjoyed performances by renowned stage, film and television performer Jasmine Guy (who was beautifully accompanied by members of the Boston Pops Gospel Choir), and heard a recitation from “Poetry Out Loud” finalist Amose Pierre, a student at Dorchester’s Codman Academy (the Huntington, as you may know, has had a longstanding partnership with this charter school.). New this year was the addition of a live band, Eye2Eye, who played throughout the evening. Guests, honorees and staff ended the night with a raucous impromptu dance party (Event Co-Chair Carol Deane even took the stage with the band to sing along on Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy.” I was not the only one who was wicked impressed!). Many other Trustees, Overseers and guests were out there getting jiggy with it. Personally, I thought this was a great way to end the night. It’s not often that the whole “family” – staff, Board and supporters – can get together, celebrate our accomplishments, and just have fun.

[Did you miss gettin' your groove on? Enjoy this video medley from EYE2EYE]

The proceeds from this annual benefit help to sustain the programs of the Huntington, including its award-winning Youth, Education, and Community initiatives. And hey -- it’s not too late to help support these vital programs! To make a contribution, please click to visit us here!  Pretty please?

May 3, 2010

HPF iPlays: Boston writers take on audio plays

Contributed by Charles Haugland

For the Emerging America Festival, we issued an audio play challenge to all the current and former members of the Huntington Playwriting Fellows program. In collaboration with the other participating organizations, we gave them a few restrictions and ideas.

The only non-negotiables were that we wanted:
- an audio “play”
- less than ten minutes
- performed in the playwright’s own voice
- designed to be listened to in the close vicinity of one of the three participating venues: the Calderwood Pavilion in the South End, the ART in Harvard Square, and the ICA at the Harbor

Seven playwrights took us up on the challenge. What has been fascinating about the process is how differently each playwright interpreted the challenge. Listening to all seven becomes a tasting menu of these playwrights’ voices, one where the site-specific restrictions of the challenge bring out each playwright’s unique spin and point of view. And, because it is recorded in the playwright's own voice, you get a chance to hear their work just the way they imagine it.

The plays went live yesterday. To listen, download them as podcasts at OR listen to them the weekend of the festival (May 14-16, 2010) by calling 215.525.1043 where an audio menu will guide you. There are also podcasts from our partners at the ICA and (coming soon) the ART.

Here's a sneak peek at each of the HPFs' plays:

I AM NOT INVISIBLE (5:51) by Pat Gabridge (Huntington Playwriting Fellow)
Listen on the brick plaza in front of the BCA.
Maybe you should pay more attention to the people behind you in the supermarket. You might have ignored and pissed off the wrong man, someone who has chosen to creep closer. Much closer.

JILL AND DELILAH (6:59) by Kirsten Greenidge (Huntington Playwriting Fellow)
Listen in Harvard Square, standing next to the Co-op.
Eavesdrop on a private conversation between sisters, and examine the space between checking out of your life and checking back in again.
Performed with actress Marvelyn McFarlane

TEA (7:12) by Martha Jane Kaufman (Huntington Playwriting Fellow)
Listen on the wooden steps behind the ICA, facing the harbor.
Slippage abounds between two very different "tea parties." Found text blurs the line between the dissenters and the terrorists, your patriotism and your ambivalence.

FLANNERY O'CONNOR GOOGLE (7:14) by John Kuntz (Huntington Playwriting Fellow)
Listen on the wooden steps behind the ICA, facing the harbor.
John Kuntz is talking directly to you. But, is that really John Kuntz? And, is that really you? And, what about the things he asks you to do...?

HELEN HANGS UP (10:14) by Ryan Landry (Huntington Playwriting Fellow)
Listen in the Eagle, drinking at the bar.
A few cocktails (and this short monologue) will give you all the courage it takes to drunk dial your ex and let 'em have it!

HAL'S HAVEN (8:20) by Rebekah Maggor (Huntington Playwriting Fellow)
Listen in the passageway adjacent to number 2 Arrow Street in Cambridge between Mt. Auburn Street and Massachusetts Avenue.
Your neighborhood changes when a nightclub moves in. One local grandmother takes a late night stand against ivy-league party kids and drunken professionals.

REAL TIME ENCOUNTER (2:45) by Ken Urban (Huntington Playwriting Fellow)
Listen in the MBTA Station at Back Bay, Dartmouth entrance.
Wait patiently in the station to meet up with Pat. Or, at least he told you that was his name online.

Peter DuBois also gives an irreverent and epicurean walking tour of the South End, where he lives. Check it out, too:

WALKING TOUR (21:29) with Peter DuBois (Artistic Director of the Huntington Theatre Company)
Begin at the Calderwood Pavilion, hub for HTC Emerging America events
Join Peter DuBois for stories about his home turf from stores to parks to restaurants. Watch out for large birds and firefighters. And your waistline.

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