We recently sat down with The Treasurer director Rebecca Bradshaw to discuss her experience with the production. Find out what various aspects of the show mean to her and how she approached the rehearsal process!
Rebecca Bradshaw on…
Seeing The Treasurer for the first time
I saw it at Playwrights’ Horizons about two years ago. Wow, it was great. I found the story eerily similar to my own dad’s struggle with my grandmother going through dementia — him working overtime then spending evenings visiting with her. Some nights she couldn’t place him exactly – son, husband, neighbor? Meanwhile, it was the recession and my parents were taking on the extra burden of financially putting my grandmother in (and out) of Lutheran homes when she would forget about the kettle being on. He would lean into humor when he could and quietly keep “the bad” to himself and my mom — something that I respect much more now as an adult. So, yes. This play hit a VERY real place for me when I saw it in New York. It haunted me for weeks after. It’s the type of play that makes you want to change how you operate in the world with your loved ones.
Directing this production
I wanted to make sure we saw heart in these people. There are a lot of scars in this family – some remember them vividly, others do not. Hate and spite is a very easy outlet to run to in this play (and in life). The Son has moved (or run) away from what has hurt him and created a life of his own. He has surrounded himself with a new family of kindness and respect. Now, he has to face an estranged relationship which caused him to run in the first place. And his mother is acting as if nothing has changed. Does she not remember the hurt? That struggle is palpable in this play and I wanted to make sure we exposed both masks.
The cast of The Treasurer
Ken Cheeseman was a professor of mine at Emerson. He’s now a dear friend and is such a shape-shifter on stage. He is somebody that I’ve been wanting to work with for years, and I never thought I’d be fortunate enough to work with him in this capacity. Cheryl McMahon is a delight. She has a great sense of humor and lightness, but don’t be fooled, she has a frankness and boldness to her that feels “so Ida”. I wanted these two characters to be equal contenders onstage and I couldn’t be happier. Rob Najarian, who has been in our community for a while, and I had yet to find a project to work with each other on! I directed Shanaé Burch in her first production post-college before she went off to get a Master’s AND a PhD! Rob and Shanaé have a juggling act between surreal comedians and hyper-naturalism. It’s a lot to embody, but they are handling it wonderfully.
What she hopes audiences will take away from The Treasurer
My goal is that in a week from seeing the production, audiences are still thinking about it. That’s success for me. And I mean, the uber-success is that people reach out to family, connect with an elder in line at the grocery store, or talk to their peers about the logistics of end of life. It’s a reality Americans do not talk about outside of the walls of their own homes. We don’t have to be so siloed in this world. Ultimately, it takes a village to raise a child, but it also takes a village to help our elders in their late stages. Why does society forget about that? Why do new parents get a societal “pass”, but a son taking care of his dying mother, does not? And why do we handle it alone?
The “restaurant scene”
This is the first scene the Son sees his mom. Before this they have been communicating thousands of miles away on the phone or secondhand, through his brothers, on the phone. Ida is post-stroke and at her most fragile. He has so much to say but also cannot say anything. He does not play along with her fantasies of her riding a bike in the morning. He responds frankly and coldly. Does being “The Treasurer” even matter any more? Why can he not forgive her? Is it too late? Every conversation may be his last with her, and he just cannot get out of his way and open up. This feels the most real to me. Reality is mundane, scary, and awkward. This scene is the most uncomfortable to watch because it is the most uncomfortable to live.
The script of The Treasurer
The script is written like a poem. One of Max Posner’s influences was Allen Ginsberg. I read a lot of Ginsberg in my prep for this project. Posner, like Ginsberg, is able to thread thoughts together that don’t really land until you finish the poem. I also love his use of humor. I love seeing young people connect with octogenarians on stage. I am part of a generation of people who dismiss anyone who cannot use an iPhone – why?! It baffles me.
Telling the story of The Treasurer
I felt very alone during my prep for this project. I did not want to have to bring my own family’s baggage to the table. However, this process has been a gift. Our rehearsal room was a three-week long “storytime” about life, family, and loss. I am extremely grateful for this experience and I hope the public can walk away with a new perspective as well.
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.”
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.
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.
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!”
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
“We strongly believe that art belongs to all people and we’re so pleased to be part of the BPL’s Museum Pass Program, which we hope will help provide access to live theatre for many members of the Boston community.”
Boston Public Library provides educational and cultural enrichment free to all for the residents of Boston, Massachusetts and beyond, through its collections, services, programs, and spaces.
Established in 1848, the Boston Public Library is a pioneer of public library service in America. It was the first large free municipal library in the United States, the first public library to lend books, the first to have a branch library, and the first to have a children’s room. As a City of Boston historic cultural institution, Boston Public Library today features a central library and twenty-five neighborhood branches, serving nearly 4 million visitors per year and millions more online. Boston Public Library is a department of the City of Boston, under the leadership of Mayor Martin J. Walsh.
This startling, entertaining, and thrilling masterpiece puts a cap on Spiro Veloudos’ multi-year Sondheim Initiative. An unlikely friendship is forged between a samurai, Kayama, and an Americanized fisherman, Manjiro, during Commodore Matthew Perry’s 1853 mission to open trade relations with isolationist Japan. The two friends are caught in the inevitable winds of change and tell the story of Japan’s painful and harrowing Westernization. A highly original, inventive, powerful, and surprisingly humorous theatrical experience.
“Musical theater at its most intellectually challenging. Extraordinary songs!” – NY Times
“It’s enthralling to see Sondheim’s songs work so magically well!” – Huffington Post
About Janie E. Howland, Scenic Design
Janie E. Howland** (Scenic Design) has called the Lyric Stage home for 25 years, having recently designed Little Foxes and Anna Christie. Other recent designs: Nat Turner in Jerusalem (ASP), Caroline or Change (Moonbox), Art Makes Sense CONSENSES Exhibit (Mass MOCA), Madeline’s Christmas (BCT), Urban Nutcracker (City Ballet). Other venues: Lynn Redgrave Theatre (NY), Emerson Majestic, New Rep, Weston Playhouse, North Shore Music Theatre, Odyssey Opera, Central Square Theatre, Gloucester Stage, SpeakEasy Stage, Ohio Star Theatre, A.R.T. Institute, Boston Conservatory, Company One, Greater Boston Stage Company, Seacoast Rep, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, and Huntington Theatre Studio 210. Brandeis University M.F.A.; four-time Elliot Norton Award winner, four-time IRNE Award winner, adjunct faculty at Emerson College, Wellesley College. USA Local 829. janiehowland.com
Eddy Cavazos made his Lyric Stage debut as Molina in Kiss of the Spider Woman. He most recently appeared in his solo cabaret, #Masc4Mascara, at Don’t Tell Mama in NYC. Other credits include Manuel vs. The Statue of Liberty (The Gallery Players), White Christmas(Arts Center of Coastal Carolina), Junie B. Jones (Theatre Aspen), Peter and the Starcatcher (Theatre Aspen), Hairspray (All Star Theatre), and The Little Mermaid (Fiddlehead Theatre Company). He would like to thank the entire cast and creative team for their hard work, his family and friends for encouraging him to tell stories, and everyone who continuously supports the arts! M.F.A. from the Boston Conservatory. @yayitseddy
About Yewande Odetoyinbo
Yewande Odetoyinbo* (Angel Mo’) is a native of Detroit, MI and a proud graduate of Howard University, where she earned a B.F.A. in Musical Theatre and became a member of Sigma Alpha Iota. She also holds a shiny new M.F.A. in Musical Theatre Performance from the Boston Conservatory at Berklee. She returns to the Lyric Stage having appeared in The Wiz last spring. Some of her favorite performances include roles in Fannie Lou at Carnegie Hall, the national tour of Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds (Adventure Theatre), Trav’lin: The 1930s Harlem Musical (Seven Angels Theatre, Waterbury, CT), Show Boat (Reagle Music Theatre and Fiddlehead Theatre), and In the Heights, and Seussical at Wheelock Family Theatre. She has been seen in various staged readings with The Front Porch Arts Collective and Goodspeed Opera House. It is her lifelong dream not only to perform and teach theatre to inner-city youth but also to open up a performing arts school in Nigeria. She thanks the Lord for His many blessings and her family and friends for their love and support. She would also like to thank Maurice Emmanuel Parent, the Front Porch Arts Collective, and the Lyric Stage family! Ase!
About Johnathan Carr
Johnathan Carr returned to the Lyric Stage for Production Design for Kiss of the Spider Woman after designing By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, Into the Woods,Red Hot Patriot, City of Angels, and Hold These Truths. Boston design credits include An Octoroon (Company One), HEAR WORD!, Pippin (American Repertory Theater), The Man Who (Harvard), Searching for Signal (ToUch Performance Art). New York: H4 (Resonance Ensemble), Same River (Strike Anywhere Performance Ensemble). He currently teaches at Harvard College’s Theater, Dance, and Media concentration with fellow show designer Andrew Will.
We asked all of our directors this season the question “why?” Here are the answers from the director of our upcoming show, Twelfth Night. Photo of Paula Plum by Gary Ng.
Because we love love stories when they’re both comic and sad. These characters are all looking for love in the wrong places. And for me, it’s send in the clowns: the ASP company members in this play are all the clowns.
Why a co-production with Lyric
Spiro has said that the future of theatre in this city is collaboration not competition. We all benefit by sharing resources. And plus, I’ve been working at the Lyric Stage since I was 20 and I’m a founding member of ASP. It’s a perfect fit.
I can’t read or think about this play without thinking that Viola is a refugee who has to disguise herself because she can’t be who she is. It’s such a contemporary theme: the immigrant/refugee who has to change their identity in order to survive.
About Director Paula Plum
Paula Plum (Director) is a founding member of Actors’ Shakespeare Project and has worked as an actor and director with the Lyric Stage since 1975. She has been Artistic Director of WGBH’s A Christmas Celtic Sojourn since its inception in 2003, touring concerts throughout New England during the holiday season. She has directed in Paris, New York, and Boston and is the 2009 recipient of the Fox Actor Fellowship. In the last year she has directed the Leonard Bernstein Centennial Celebration for the Boston Pops and Reclaiming Lucretia for Boston Lyric Opera. Paula is the recipient of the Elliot Norton Award for Sustained Excellence, five IRNE Awards, three Elliot Norton Awards for Outstanding Actress, and was the 2003 Distinguished Alumna of Boston University’s College of Fine Arts. paulaplum.com
About Twelfth Night
Twelfth Night is a tale of unrequited love – hilarious and heartbreaking. Twins are separated during a shipwreck and are forced to fend for themselves in a strange land. The first twin, Viola, falls in love with Orsino, who dotes on Olivia, who falls for Viola but is idolized by Malvolio. Enter Sebastian, who is the spitting image of his twin sister… is it possible for this to all end well? Well, it IS a comedy!
Amelia Broome, Craig Mathers, and Anne Gottlieb in The Little Foxes. Photos by Mark S. Howard.
If Regina Giddens is the complex and compelling anti-hero at the heart of Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes, her sister-in-law, Birdie is her charming dramatic foil.
We sat down with Ameila Broome to learn how she brings Birdie to life in this great American hurricane of a play!
About Amelia Broome
Ameila Broome* (Birdie) has appeared at the Lyric Stage in Sweeny Todd, Rich Girl, and Kiss Me, Kate. Recent credits: Fiddler on the Roof, Master Class (New Rep), Spring Awakening, My Old Lady (Gloucester Stage), Steel Magnolias (Next Door Theatre), Next Fall, Adding Machine: a Musical, The Light in the Piazza [IRNE Award, Best Actress], Jerry Springer-The Opera, (SpeakEasy Stage), Two Wives in India(Boston Playwrights’ Theatre), and Tea at Five (Worcester Foothills Theater). She holds an M.F.A. from Boston University and is currently on the acting faculty at Emerson College. Originally from Georgia, Ms. Broome resides in Wilmington with her husband, John Silberman.
The Little Foxes stars Michael John Ciszewski and Rosa Procaccino sat down for an installment of Theatre Talk and were brilliant! Check out the full interview above and then see them on stage, now through March 17th!
About Michael John Ciszewski – Leo
Michael John Ciszewski (Leo) is making his Lyric Stage debut. Recent credits: Peter and the Starcatcher (Hub Theatre Company of Boston), Midsummer Night’s Dream, Three Sisters (Apollinaire Theatre Company), Antigone (Flat Earth Theatre), Citizens of the Empire (Boston Public Works), A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Holiday Memories (New Rep). Michael trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and is a proud graduate of Boston University’s B.F.A Theatre Arts program. michaeljohnciszewski.com@micjcis
About Rosa Procaccino
Rosa Procaccino (Alexandra) is making her Lyric Stage debut. Rosa’s New York credits include Appointment with Death (The Gallery Players), Jerry Finnegan’s Sister (Emerging Artists Festival), Express, and A Fine Line (Manhattan Repertory Theatre). A recent graduate of Northeastern University her other credits include The Glass Menagerie, After Miss Julie, After the End, Mr. Burns, and Romeo and Juliet.