December 30, 2011

Huntington Theatre Company tops honors lists for 2011

As 2011 comes to a close, we're thrilled and honored to see Huntington productions staged here and elsewhere recognized:

The Boston Globe - Don Aucoin
#1: Ruined
#2: Candide
#5: Richard III

The Boston Phoenix - Carolyn Clay
#2: Candide
"Obie-winning director Mary Zimmerman returned to Voltaire's 1759 novella to devise a new book for the Leonard Bernstein satiric operetta based on Candide. The result was a witty and imaginative production with shape as well as irony that fielded, in Lauren Molina, a daffily narcissistic Cunégonde glittering and being gay in a bathtub."

Zainab Jah, Carla Duren, and Pascale
Armand in Ruined. Photo: Kevin Berne
 #3: Ruined
"Even if it did not ride piggyback on the mighty shoulders of Bertolt Brecht, Lynn Nottage's 2009 Pulitzer winner, Ruined, would stand tall. Inspired by Mother Courage and set amid civil conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the play vividly depicts the way in which women's bodies serve as battlefields in war. Liesl Tommy's production for the Huntington Theatre Company was exotic, chaotic, and controlled, with an earthy, steely turn by Tonye Patano as equal-opportunity profiteer Mama Nadi." 

December 22, 2011

GOD OF CARNAGE in Rehearsal

We're now 10 days into rehearsals for God of Carnage.

In the room: Director Daniel Goldstein and a team of top-notch actors. Brooks Ashmanskas (a.k.a. Brooksy) and Christy Pusz play the visiting couple, Alan and Annette Raleigh. Stephen Bogardus (a.k.a. Bogie) and Johanna Day are the home team couple, Michael and Veronica Novak. There’s also Stage Manager Kevin Fitzpatrick, Assistant Stage Manager Amy Spalletta, and Production Assistants Kevin Schlagle and Jessica Wolf. Brooks jokes that there is one person on the stage management team for every actor. And then there’s me, Emily Ranii, I’m Danny’s assistant.

We’ve been working through about 10 pages of the script per day and then reviewing all that we have done so far at the end of rehearsal. Yesterday afternoon, we completed 100% of the script! (Kevin is very specific and likes to calculate -- as of Tuesday, we'd completed 84.4%.) It was very exciting to see it all put together!

We work in the rehearsal hall upstairs at 254 Huntington Ave. while the set is being loaded into the theatre downstairs at 264. We peaked our head into the theatre yesterday just as the carpenters were installing the stairscase of the Novak home. Designed by Dane Laffrey, the space is modern with high-rise ceilings and exposed staircases -- rich with chic industrial architecture. The inspiration for the yellow glass paneling was the cage for the Novak children’s deceased hamster, Nibbles. Indeed, the offstage children of God of Carnage control their pets as well as their parents.

After tomorrow, we'll be taking a three-day break for Christmas, but I'll be back next week with more news from inside the rehearsal room.

Emily Ranii is the assistant to the director for God of Carnage. She is a graduate student in directing at Boston University.

December 8, 2011

POETRY OUT LOUD Registration Continues through Dec. 23

Registration for Massachusetts’ seventh annual Poetry Out Loud is open through December 23. All Massachusetts high schools are invited to participate. To register or learn more about how to bring POL to your school, visit

Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation competition that celebrates the power of the spoken word and a mastery of public speaking skills while cultivating self-confidence and an appreciation of students’ literary heritage as they take poetry from the page to the stage. The Huntington Theatre Company supports high schools as they stage classroom and school-wide competitions, and then hosts semi-final and state final competitions for the winners. In 2010-2011, a record 19,000 students from high schools in 78 towns participated. The Massachusetts winner receives an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC next spring to compete in the national finals. The Huntington facilitates the Massachusetts competition with support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Since its inception seven years ago, Poetry Out Loud has inspired hundreds of thousands of high school students to discover and appreciate both classic and contemporary poetry.