On Sunday December 9th and 23rd, Castle of our Skins, a concert and educational series that is dedicated to celebrating Black artistry through music, will present a tribute to Roland Hayes here at Lyric Stage.
The celebration will include spiritual and art songs that were championed by Hayes and world premiere work that was created with youth in Boston. A reception will also follow.
The event will take place from 1:00-1:30 on both days and tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for seniors and children under 12.
Before there was Marian Anderson, there was Roland Hayes – one of the first world-renowned African-American classical vocalists. Breath & Imagination is a play with music that chronicles the amazing journey of this pioneer from the plantation in Georgia to singing before kings and queens in Europe. At the heart of the story is Roland’s loving, complex relationship with his mother – his Angel Mo’. Employing spirituals and classical music, Breath & Imagination is an inspirational exploration of one man’s determination to be an artist despite seemingly insurmountable odds.
We sat down with Spiro to learn more about why he chose to direct The Roommate this season!
Why this play? Jen Silverman is an amazing writer and this play seemed right for us. I also get to work with some of the wealth of women actors (of a certain age) here in Boston.
Why the Lyric Stage? It’s my home and I love it when I can open the doors on a new play.
Why now? In a world filled with stories about men, here we have a play written by a woman, telling the story of two specific women faced with the need to change, to rethink their lives, and hopefully, to find companionship. And it’s a comedy – how can you go wrong?
About The Roommate
Sharon, middle-aged and recently divorced, welcomes a roommate into her Iowa home: Robyn, a free-spirited, mysterious lesbian slam poet from the Bronx who’s looking to start over. But as Sharon begins to uncover Robyn’s secrets while sharing music, books, and an occasional toke, she discovers a deep-seated desire to transform her own life.
It’s a subversive, absorbing comedy about what it takes to re-route your life – and what happens when the wheels come off.
“Deeply satisfying” – Boston Globe
“Tugs at the heartstrings and tickles the funny bone.” – Louisville.com
What Lyric Stage shows have you appeared in before? Adrianne Krstansky: Barbecue and November. Paula Plum: Too many to count, starting in 1975 when I was still in college and in one of the first Lyric Stage shows. And of course, many directed by Spiro: Death of a Salesman, Sideman, 33 Variations, Blythe Spirit.
What excites you about The Roommate? AK: I’m very excited to work with Spiro for the first time. And I’m really excited to be in a play about middle-aged women where I’m not the wife or the mom. PP: I always love Spiro’s take on gritty plays and I’m blessed to be working with Adrianne as my scene partner.
What challenges do you find in the script? AK: Robyn is challenging because she does not actually reveal anything about herself until about halfway through the play. I have to figure out how to stay open and available without being duplicitous at the same time. PP: Sharon is challenging because she seems like an open book but her intentions are hard to figure out and she’s hard to decipher. Is she naïve or is she a con?
Throughout the play, Robyn and Sharon make many discoveries about the other that change who they are. How has a roommate helped you to change? AK: I had a roommate who was the queen of the party circuit and every weekend we would have about 30-50 people in our apartment. At these parties, I would pick one or two people who I thought were cool and take them up to a crawl space in the attic. What I learned how to do as a result of that is how to become the cool, quiet person at the party.
PP: My college roommate Eve — we were roommates 4 – 5 times — helped me renew my interest in meditation. And she eats healthier. She was a good influence. I’m not sure Sharon and Robyn are necessarily a good influence on each other.
What do you and your character from The Roommate have in common? AK: I think we’re both quiet thrill seekers. We’re both unassuming enough that no one would ever suspect us of much. I would be a great spy because no one would ever suspect me of anything other than being a nice, unassuming person. PP: Iowa! My father was from there and I spent 14 summers there. And I think I’m impulsive. I am. And experimental.
What is something you hope the audience will look out for? AK: I think we tend to label relationships that we are in (love, parental, marriages, etc.) and what this play exposes is that there are relationships in our lives that are beyond definition — and that our instincts to label and put these interactions in a box actually can keep us separated from each other. PP: I hope that they’re drawn in to the mystery of this relationship. Because it’s unique — it’s about two women who really need each other.
How do you feel about working with each other? AK: I love working with Paula Plum. Working with Paula is like coming home. PP: Adrianne is so deep, real, and honest. There’s not an ounce of performance in her performance. You can always count on the truth from her.
The Roommate opens October 19th. Get your tickets today here or 617.585.5678!
The cast just got a first look at the set of The Roommate. Enjoy this sneak preview! Scenic design by Jenna McFarland Lord.
The Roommate opens October 19th
Sharon, middle-aged and recently divorced, needs a roommate to share her Iowa home. Robyn needs a place to hide and a chance to start over. But as Sharon begins to uncover Robyn’s secrets while sharing music, books, and an occasional toke, she discovers a deep-seated desire to transform her own life completely. It’s a subversive, absorbing comedy about what it takes to re-route your life – and what happens when the wheels come off.
The Lyric Stage Company of Boston and City Stage Co. have announced a new collaboration, along with their plan to merge this season. This union will bring together two companies with decades of experience in theatre and theatre-based education. Working together, more youth and families in the City of Boston will have access to their programs.
Update! Thank you so mucht to everyone who entered– we have a winner!
Congratulations to Vicki Kaplan who won our Kander & Ebb contest and lunch with Spiro! We loved your enthusiasm for Cell Block Tango and all of Kander and Ebb and can’t wait to share Kiss of the Spider Woman with you!
Kiss of the Spider Woman director Rachel Bertone has a history of taking incredible musicals and turning them into unmissable experiences. Here are just a few of our favorites!
Kimberly Fife, Katrina Pavao, Phil Tayler, Joy Clark and Caroline Workman in Cabaret. Photo by Sharman Altshuler.
From DigBoston’s Review of Moonbox’s production of Cabaret:
Taking on iconic material is always a risky thing, particularly something as well known and oft revived as Cabaret. But if there’s anything the 1966 masterwork has demonstrated over the years, it’s that it is not a musical resistant to reinvention. (Bob Fosse proved this with his 1972 film adaptation, as did Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall with their landmark 1998 revival). And while Moonbox Productions’ brand-new revival of Cabaret, running through April 28 at the Calderwood Pavilion, isn’t conceptually much different (they are using the 1998 version of the script, after all), it is full of such startlingly original moments that the whole experience feels brand new.
It is without an ounce of hyperbole that I say that this searing revival of Cabaret, directed and choreographed by the extraordinary Rachel Bertone, is the best theatrical production so far this year. What’s more, it’s the best Boston-born revival of a musical in recent memory.
There is hardly a scrap of this production that feels routine, which is part of the reason that it feels so fresh. Despite polite nods to the choreography of Fosse and Marshall (Those elbows! Those ankles!), the staging is new and inventive without being derivative.
With its teeming canvas, incisive character portraits, and a gem-studded score that blends hip-hop and salsa with Broadway balladry, “In the Heights’’ showcased elements of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s signature style years before he built the blockbuster “Hamilton’’ on the foundation of similar creative components.
But even though “In the Heights’’ is probably destined to be remembered as Miranda’s other musical, a full-throttle production at Wheelock Family Theatre, superbly directed and choreographed by Rachel Bertone, offers a dazzling reminder that this was no mere warm-up exercise for Miranda.
We sat down with Kiss of the Spider Woman Director Rachel Bertone for the first installment of our new series: Why3, a directorial take on why this production is important, why it should be performed at the Lyric Stage, and why we should see it now.
Why this play?
We need to see more representation of queer people of color on our stages.
We need to give a voice to minority groups who are oppressed and seemingly powerless.
To show us that toxic masculinity is a learned behavior and that love and knowledge can overpower it.
To remind us that love is what we are born with, fear is what we learn, and love is the ultimate cure for fear.
Why the Lyric Stage?
Because Lyric’s mission of diversity and inclusion allows us to cast the show accurately and tell the story truthfully.
Because Lyric’s intimate space forces us to closely examine and reflect upon the challenging themes and subject matter of the play. (i.e. homophobia, toxic masculinity and discrimination)
We need this play right now because we must be able to turn to our fellow neighbor and love them despite our differences in race, gender, politics, and beliefs. We need to show compassion and empathy for everyone around us for we never truly know someone’s whole story. We must not be bystanders anymore—we must be UPstanders.
The Lyric Stage Company of Boston’s Producing Artistic Director, Spiro Veloudos, Managing Director, Matt Chapuran, and its Board of Directors today announced that they have named Courtney O’Connor as the company’s new Associate Artistic Director. She assumed her full-time duties at the Lyric Stage on July 9, 2018
Spiro Veloudos commented on Courtney’s appointment: “Courtney and I have been friends for some time (it’s been so long, I don’t event want to say). She has directed a number of plays at the Lyric Stage and throughout Boston, and was my associate director for our production of Nicholas Nickleby, parts 1 & 2. With 75 applications for this position, the choice was anything but easy. But Courtney’s background in theatre production, administration, and education made her the logical choice.”
Matt Chapuran added: “I fondly recall Courtney’s production of Sin at the Coyote Theatre, produced back when we were all much younger. She’s lost none of her vibrancy and wit, and shares our commitment to local talent.”
And Courtney O’Connor wrote: “The Lyric Stage has been an artistic home to me as a director here in Boston — a place that has challenged and supported me like no other. And as I have grown during that time, the Lyric Stage has also grown and expanded greatly. With their new programs and partnerships, the continuing deep commitment to supporting local artists, and the dedicated and vibrant staff, the Lyric Stage is an invigorating and thriving company. I am thrilled to be joining in this new role, and look forward to discovering what we can create as we grow together.”
Winner of 7 Tony Awards, including Best Musical & Best Score
Book by William F. Brown Music and Lyrics by Charlie Smalls From the story “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum
Directed by Dawn M. Simmons Music Director, Allyssa Jones Choreography by Jean Appolon
May 18 – June 24, 2018
“Radiates so much energy you can hardly sit in your seat!” — NY Post
A soulful retelling of L. Frank Baum’s beloved The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Wiz combines fairy-tale glamour with street smarts to make a classic fantasy sparkle for today. And our directors and choreographer will bring a blast of New Orleans Creole magic to this production! Winner of seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Score, The Wiz ingeniously mixes rock, gospel, soul, and jazz, and features hits like “Ease on Down the Road,” “A Brand New Day,” and “Home.”