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The Lyric Stage Company of Boston Announces Its 2020-21 Season

Artistic Director Courtney says, “In my short time here at the Lyric Stage, I’ve come to feel so connected with our audiences. They care so deeply about the characters onstage and the actors who inhabit them.   Their investment in theatrical art makes every night a celebration.”






Evita

Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber  
Lyrics by Tim Rice
Directed & choreographed by Rachel Bertone
August 28 – October 4

This Tony-winning musical charts Eva Peron’s meteoric political climb that unites her native Argentina while nearly driving it into a military coup.

Fabulation or, the Re-Education of Undine

By Lynn Nottage
Directed by Dawn M. Simmons
October 16 – November 8

Successful African-American publicist Undine stumbles down the social ladder after her husband steals her hard-earned fortune. Broke and now pregnant, Undine is forced to return to her childhood home in the Brooklyn projects, where she must face the challenges of the life she left behind.
A co-production with the Front Porch Arts Collective

The Book of Will

By Lauren Gunderson
Directed by Courtney O’Connor
November 20 – December 20

In the wake of Shakespeare’s death, his company of actors unite to preserve the plays they performed, narrowly rescuing the iconic playwright from obscurity. A love letter to Shakespeare, the power of art, and the stage.

Fires in the Mirror 

By Anna Deavere Smith
Directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian
January 8 – February 7

Actor Maurice Parent animates 26 characters in Anna Deavere Smith’s epic play, helping us to understand the African-American and Jewish frissons leading to the 1991 Crown Heights riot.

Be Here Now

By Deborah Zoe Laufer
Directed by Courtney O’Connor
February 19 – March 14

A romantic comedy in which two damaged souls ask themselves how much they’re willing to risk for love and meaning.

All My Sons 

By Arthur Miller
Directed by Rebecca Bradshaw
March 26 – April 25

In Arthur Miller’s classic, a young couple is kept apart by the ghosts of family and the sins of a father.  A story of lies, greed, love, and loss.

Legally Blonde

Book by Heather Hach
Music and Lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin
Based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer motion picture
Directed by Leigh Barrett
May 7 – June 13

In this frothy musical, Elle Woods proves that blonde is a state of mind, as she accomplishes much more than anyone – herself included – thought possible. 

Subscriptions are now on sale for the 2020-21 season which runs from August, 2020 through June, 2021.   Patrons can choose 3, 4, 5, 6, or all 7 plays. Prices start at $138 and offer savings of up to 27% off regular ticket prices and free ticket exchange privileges.  7-play subscribers get a special loyalty bonus worth up to $160.  
Call or email the Box Office for details. 

The Lyric Stage Company of Boston Announces the Third Generation of Leadership

Courtney O’Connor, Artistic Director and Matt Chapuran, Executive Director

Ron Ritchell and Polly Hogan, Founders (1974), Artistic Directors (1974-1997)

Spiro Veloudos, Producing Artistic Director (1998-2019)

The Lyric Stage Company of Boston announced today that Courtney O’Connor has been named as the third Artistic Director of the Lyric Stage Company of Boston.   Matt Chapuran continues on as Executive Director, a position he attained in August, 2019.

Matt Chapuran and Courtney O’Connor both came of age in the Boston theatre community at the same time as the Lyric Stage and they have a rich history with the company. In the 1990s, Matt performed at the Lyric Stage as part of the US Improv Theatre League, and he was an intern for Lyric Stage’s Teen Neighborhood Theatre during the tenure of Ron Ritchell and Polly Hogan. Courtney was given some of her first directorial opportunities by Spiro Veloudos, including acting as Associate Director on the award-winning production of Nicholas Nickleby, Parts 1&2, and directing numerous productions herself including the recent The Cake.

Goals to be expanded upon by the new leadership:

  • Building on the intimacy, variety, and excellence that Lyric Stage audiences have come to expect.  
  • Leading the way in creating an inclusive, diverse, multi-generational, open atmosphere
  • Continuing to create a space for actors to pursue careers in Boston, and expanding that opportunity to other artists who work behind the scenes.  
  • Creating a program through which seasoned design professionals mentor new designers.  
  • Growing the Lyric Stage’s commitment to representation for women and people of color on-stage and behind the scenes (designers, stage management).   
  • Entering into the world of new play development, and actively exporting Boston’s theatrical voices nationally. 
  • Continuing partnerships with The Front Porch Arts Collective, Fresh Ink Theatre, Pao Arts Center 
  • Committing more resources to City Stage (now under the auspices of the Lyric Stage) and its educational programming, bringing live theatre to more schools and classrooms in the city of Boston and continuing the rich program at the Children’s Museum.

Courtney and Matt say that Season 2020-21, their first curated season, will be joyous, relevant, open. Seven productions – two large musicals and five plays – will all be directed by women. The inherent intimacy of the Lyric Stage’s 240-seat venue demands that the audience enter into a relationship with characters.  So, the stories that the Lyric Stage likes to tell are character-driven, intense, layered, complex human stories from many points of view – stories that come from the heart. The 2020-21 season will be announced in late February.

Members of the Lyric Stage community weighed in on this important announcement:

Jo-An Heileman, President of the Lyric Stage Board of Directors

“The Lyric Stage board and I are thrilled that the third generation of leadership for the Lyric Stage is now in place.   Matt and Courtney come to us with new ideas, new energy, and a sense of tradition and renewal in equal parts.   We look forward to their first curated season, which should be announced in a little over a month.

Dawn M. Simmons Co-Founder of The Front Porch Arts Collective

“It has been my great honor to work with the team at Lyric Stage Company over the last decade.  The Lyric Stage has been an artistic home, giving me my first professional show and championing my work.  The partnership with The Front Porch has been a model for collaboration and the future of theater in Boston.  Our co-production “Breath and Imagination” was the inaugural production for The Front Porch Arts Collective and set the tone for the quality of work we want to produce and the opportunities we want to open to Boston’s theatre makers of color. We are so excited for the future of the Lyric Stage with Courtney shaping the artistic vision of this influential institution. 

Pam Eddinger, President of Bunker Hill Community College:  

“From its inclusive casting to play choices that reflect a multiplicity of voices, the Lyric Stage has been a leading cultural institution. I expect those commitments to only deepen under Matt and Courtney’s leadership. Just as Bunker Hill is a home for local students, the Lyric Stage is a home for local artists.  Buckle up for thought-provoking, sometimes uncomfortable, but always timely rides!”

Bios:

Matt Chapuran, Executive Director, was the Managing Director of the Lyric Stage from 2014 to 2018.  He was previously Managing Director of Stoneham Theatre, where he co-produced over 70 plays, musicals, concerts, and educational productions for an annual audience that grew to over 50,000. During his tenure, Matt ran the 2010 Boston Marathon with Producing Artistic Director Weylin Symes in support of Stoneham Theatre’s educational mission. At the Nora Theatre Company, Matt was Managing Director during the inception of a capital campaign that ultimately led to the construction of the Central Square Theater. Matt also managed institutional giving for the Huntington Theatre Company, and was most recently the Director of Development for Conservatory Lab Charter School Foundation in Dorchester. A graduate of Boston College with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Emerson College, Matt has performed, taught, and directed improvisation for over two decades, most recently as a part of Babson College’s M.B.A. program, as one half of the improv team The Angriest Show in the World, and as the director of Improvised History. He lives in Roslindale with his wife and their three daughters.

Courtney O’Connor is the Artistic Director of the Lyric Stage and a senior affiliated faculty member in performing arts at Emerson College. She has directed with several theatres in the Boston area, including the Lyric Stage, Plays in Place, The Nora Theatre, UBU Theater, The Bostonian Society, AIM Stage, Coyote Theatre, Emerson Stage, UMass Boston, Suffolk University, Brandeis University, and Commonwealth Shakespeare Company (intern company). Lyric Stage productions she has directed include The Cake, Buyer & Cellar, Stage Kiss, Red Hot Patriot, Stones in His Pockets, and The Miracle Worker. Courtney received the Elliot Norton award for her work as the Associate Director on the Lyric Stage’s production of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby and the Alan L. Stanzler Award for Excellence in Teaching. She received her B.A. from Cabrini University and her M.A. from Emerson College. courtneyoc.com

The Theater Mirror: Theater Mirror Editors Favorite Theatrical Experiences of 2019

This post is an excerpt from The Theater Mirror.

Lillian Hellman’s “The Little Foxes”, presented by Lyric Stage. Bravo to the Lyric for taking on Lillian Hellman, who doesn’t get produced enough anymore. And what a taking on it was.  From Janie E. Howland’s set design to Gail Astrid Buckley’s costumes to the first-rate ensemble acting of this excellent cast, “The Little Foxes” was one of the more engrossing shows of 2019. High stakes and hidden motives were well played by all, but I have to give a special shoutout to Anne Gottlieb, who somehow managed to make me empathize a bit with her, despite some heinous behavior.

Lyric Stages’ “Little Shop of Horrors” – This one may not have the emotional weight of the other musical favorites on the list, but it was easily the most fun musical of the year on a mid-size stage (“Six” was a blast over at the A.R.T. too). Rachel Bertone and her creative team worked their magic again in the intimate setting of the Lyric, accentuating thecomic ingenuity of this underrated musical and making the most of its rockin’ score, much of which is delivered/augmented by the dynamite “Greek chorus” girl group featuring Crystal (Lovely Hoffman), Ronnette (Carla Martinez), and Chiffon (Pier Lamia Porter).Katrina Z Pavao killed in the role of Audrey, both comically and vocally, in what one hopes is a breakthrough role.

Lyric Stage’s “The Little Foxes” – Most years, there is at least one production of a play or musical that feels more like a theatrical achievement than simple entertainment, and in 2019 it was the Lyric Stage’s masterful staging of the Lillian Hellman classic. Superbly directed by Scott Edmiston, with a beautifully detailed set by Jane E. Howland in the intimate space of the Lyric, this portrait of a wealthy but soulless Southern family was a stunning reminder of the effect that the pursuit of money and power has on ethics and morals. The entire cast was exceptional, and nine months later I can still see and feel the horrifying demoralization experienced by Birdie, the alcoholic sister-in-law played so despairingly well by Amelia Broome. It may well have been the year’s best supporting performance – on any stage.

The Boston Globe: For new faces, a key role in 2019

This post is an excerpt of The Boston Globe’s Theater Pages.

In September, just a few months after Katrina Z Pavao received her MFA from Boston Conservatory at Berklee, she stole the show as flower-shop clerk Audrey in “Little Shop of Horrors’’ at Lyric Stage Company of Boston. The poignantly yearning quality Pavao, 25, brought to the character culminated in her heart-piercing, you-could-hear-a-pin-drop rendition of “Somewhere That’s Green.’’

WBUR The Artery: 12 Plays And Musicals That Mattered In Boston This Year

This post is an excerpt of The Artery.

The Wolves

Lyric Stage Company of Boston

The cast of Lyric Stage Company's "The Wolves." (Courtesy Mark S. Howard)
The cast of Lyric Stage Company’s “The Wolves.” (Courtesy Mark S. Howard)

This 2016 play, a finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize, marked an impressive dramaturgical debut by writer Sarah DeLappe, who used her youthful experience on a girls’ soccer team to create a microcosm of female adolescence. In the playwright’s words, the work is “a portrait of teenage girls as human beings” that, in the Lyric staging, proved a stretching, kicking, jumping-jacking whole and the sum of its idiosyncratic parts. Taking the form of a series of chatty warm-ups by the titular team, neatly packed into the 90 minutes allotted a soccer match, the play features random, overlapping dialogue that pings around faster than even the most deftly propelled ball. But what is most striking about it, even if you don’t catch every word amid the shifting alliances and butt kicks, is that it takes its nine strong, budding personalities seriously even as it lays out the near-comic cacophony in their heads — fed by parents, politics, schoolwork, social media and a lifetime of shared pop-cultural references. A. Nora Long was at the helm of the fast-moving, high-prancing production set on an AstroTurf slope surrounded by protective netting. And the nine Wolves, most portrayed by recent graduates of respected actor-training programs, were convincing in both their ferocity as a huddled, howling pack and their vulnerabilities as individuals bravely groping toward adulthood.

— Carolyn Clay

The Metro West Daily News: Shows that lit up area stages this year

This post is an excerpted from The Metro West Daily News’s Best Theater of 2019

“The Little Foxes,” Lyric Stage Company of Boston

Director Scott Edmiston assembled a superb cast – including Anne Gottlieb as manipulative Southern matron Regina, Remo Airaldi as her morally bankrupt brother Ben, and Amelia Broome as her kindhearted, heartbreaking sister-in-law Birdie – for a perfectly wrought production of the 1939 Lillian Hellman classic that is destined to be talked about for years to come.

The Arts Fuse: Best Stage Productions of 2019

This post is excerpted from The Arts Fuse Theater Feature.

The Little Foxes by Lillian Hellman, staged by Lyric Stage Company, Boston. Scott Edmiston directed this blemish-free production starring the sublime Anne Gottlieb as Regina Giddens, who, circa 1900, engages in psychological warfare to reclaim her share of the American dream. Hellman planned to write a trilogy about this pernicious Southern family, but completed only two entries. Her prequel, Another Part of the Forest, hasn’t been performed in Boston in years (read: decades). The Lyric Stage production of Foxes was a critical and financial success. Will someone conscript Edmiston (and cast) to stage the Hellman prequel in 2020?

Kinson Theodoris, Amelia Broome, Cheryl D. Singleton in the Lyric Stage production of The Little Foxes. Photo: Mark S. Howard.
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We have postponed our production of Fabulation or, the Re-Education of Undine.Read about how we are responding to the coronavirus.
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