Past Productions

Kiss of the Spider Woman

August 31, 2018 — October 7, 2018 Book by Terrence McNally, Music by John Kander, Lyrics by Fred Ebb Based on the novel by Manuel Puig Directed & Choreographed by Rachel Bertone Music Direction by Dan Rodriguez Scenic Design by Janie E. Howland Costume Design by Marian Bertone Lighting Design by Frank Meissner Jr. Sound Design by Andrew Duncan Will Projection by Johnathan Carr Production Stage Manager: L. Arkansas Light Assistant Stage Manager: Nerys Powell This production is 2 hours and 30 minutes including one 15 minute intermission. Tickets & More Information

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Gypsy

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Music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by Arthur Laurents.
Directed and choreographed by Rachel Bertone
Music direction by Dan Rodriguez

Season Sponsored by Lee & Diana Humphrey and Bank of America
Production Sponsored by Barry Bluestone
Music Director Dan Rodriguez sponsored by Jo-An Heileman
Leigh Barrett sponsored by Paul & Liz Kastner

Running time:  2 hours and 45 minutes with one intermission.

Please note that this production includes a mild use of strobe light effect.

Box Office: 617-585-5678 | boxoffice@lyricstage.com
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Click Here to Read the Program Note

Summary

Featuring one show-stopping song after another — “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” “You Gotta Have a Gimmick,” “Let Me Entertain You,” and more! — Gypsy is based on the real-life memoirs of burlesque mega-star, Gypsy Rose Lee, and her stage-mother behind the curtain, Mama Rose.  In the tradition of My Fair Lady, Avenue Q, Into the Woods, and Sweeney Todd, Gypsy will once again prove that the intimate Lyric Stage is the perfect place to experience the very best of the American musical theatre.

“The greatest of all American musicals!” — NY Times.

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Press & Reviews

“[Barrett’s] Rose (monstrous though the character is), coupled with the initially timorous twosome of the untalented Louise and the human doormat that is Herbie, all somehow manage to make us root for them against all odds, and despite their flaws. Was there ever such a trio of difficult and demanding roles? And all three nail them.”

Lyric Stage’s “Gypsy”: How Gypsy Rose   —South Shore Critic

 

“Maybe the best part of the production was the Burlesque House number, “You Gotta Have a Gimmick,” featuring strippers Tessie Tura, Mazeppa, and Electra in their horrible and wonderful garb. Actress Kathy St. George, playing Mazeppa, hit every beat on the nose and had the audience roaring.”

“Gypsy” in fine form at Lyric Stage   —The Raider Times

 

“Brady Miller’s dance prowess is particularly graceful and energetic, and Anderson-Song, a natural for the stage, is perfect as Baby June. Barrett’s rich voice fills the theater as forcefully as Mama Rose’s outsized personality. Salpini’s performance almost sneaks up on the audience; she skillfully enlivens the script’s gradual reveal of Louise as more than a long-suffering second banana. She’s resourceful, strong, and ultimately self-possessed.”

Leigh Barrett Excels As Mama Rose, The Stage Mom From Hell, In Lyric Stage’s ‘Gypsy’   —WBUR The ARTery

 

“As a splendid artifact of the so-called Golden Age of the Broadway musical, “Gypsy’’ allows us to savor the craftsmanship that went into the best shows of that era while also evoking, through its story, the fading twilight of the vaudeville era.”

Leigh Barrett offers a thorny and memorable Rose in Lyric Stage’s ‘Gypsy’   —The Boston Globe

 

“Rachel directs, choreographs and blocks this talented cast excellently.”

“Steven Barkhimer does a marvelous job as Herbie, the sympathetic booking agent who falls madly in love with Rose. He gives the role great depth with his acting prowess.”

“Kira Troilo is splendid as Dainty June. Her marvelous voice and dancing skills are observed as she dances up a storm with the boys.”

“GYPSY” at Lyric Stage   —The Theater Mirror

 

“Janie E. Howland’s designs, notably her decaying proscenium that frames the stage and her use of curtains, are a model for small productions such as this one – handsome to the eye and nicely scaled to the production’s demands. It is augmented by Franklin Meissner, Jr.’s often shadowy lighting and Rafael Jaen’s droll period costumes. The able musical direction by Dan Rodriguez captures the score’s brassy edge with a small backstage band that sounds twice its size.”

Gypsy   —EDGE Media Network

 

“Spiro has found a great Gypsy, with Barrett, Salpini, Troilo, Barkhimer, and company lighting up the Lyric Stage. If you miss this production you are making a huge mistake.”

“Accept this gift from this wonderful man. He knows how to Light the Lights!”

“Barrett fully embraces the part with a powerful performance. she’s got what it takes.”

“Ms Bertone gets it all just right in this scaled down but amazing production of what has been called the greatest of all Broadway musicals.”

“Seeing this in the intimacy of the Lyric Stage Theatre brings us close not only physically but emotionally to the story.”

The Lyric Stage Finds Its Gypsy   —Boxing Over Broadway

 

There are some words and phrases that suffer from overuse in theater reviews, diminishing their impact, and sometimes achieving the boy-who-cried-wolf status. Think of the musicals casually referred to as iconic, the performances hyped as tour de force, and the productions loudly labeled as MUST SEE. As much as a critic may enjoy many shows, these terms ought to be carefully rationed, or else run the risk of failing to generate the excitement deserved by that one truly outstanding production. Friends, let me proclaim, without hyperbole, that the Lyric Stage Company has hit the trifecta with their season opening iconic musical Gypsy, a virtual must see production, thanks to Rachel Bertone’s direction and choreography, and Leigh Barrett’s tour de force performance as Mama Rose.

GYPSY Takes Off at Lyric Stage   —Broadway World

 

“Now premier Hub actress Leigh Barrett is giving a powerhouse Lyric Stage Company of Boston performance in the part worthy of comparison with those of the likes of Angela Lansbury, Tyne Daly and Patti Lupone. At the same time, gifted director-choreographer Rachel Bertone (‘The Wild Party,” “Barnum,” among others) is giving one of America’s greatest musicals the kind of inspired revival it deserves.”

“Brady Miller demonstrates Tulsa’s singular dancing talent on ‘All I Need Is the Girl” while Kirsten Salpini makes Louise’s unrequited crush on him very clear. Salpini is rivetingly vulnerable on the touching solo “Little Lamb,” and Troilo and Salpini are fully convincing as siblings-especially on the insightful duet “If Momma Was Married.” Barrett and Steven Barkhimer as Mama Rose’s group agent and candy salesman boyfriend Herbie do well with the ups and down of their relationship. Barkhimer’s understated singing fits Herbie’s more reserved responses with highly extroverted Mama Rose. Barrett, Barkhimer and Salpini have the feel of a real family unit on a very winning rendition of “Together, Wherever We Go.” Shannon Lee Jones as Tessie Tura smartly combines insightful attitude and good-natured mentoring with novice burlesque performer Louise. Kathy St. George is a hoot as a deep-voiced horn-touting Mazeppa.”

A luminous Gypsy   —MySouthEnd.com

“The beauty of theater is how it so powerfully reflects our humanity in all of its strengths and weaknesses. Our job is to hold that mirror up so that the audience might learn something about their own journey through life.”

Here Comes Gypsy…And Here Comes Director/Choreographer Rachel Bertone   —HuffPost

 

It goes without saying that Rose’s complexities are what make her one of the most coveted roles for actresses of a certain age. But Rose’s strength is what can also make her a difficult pill for audiences to swallow: She’s loud, she’s direct, and she’s driven, but if her vulnerabilities don’t shine through, the show loses its soul; it’s the right mix of domination and torment that make for a home run. But it’s not easy.

Mama’s Gonna Show It To You   —digboston

 

The challenge, says Barrett, is making sure she builds a character towards a performance worthy of the show.

“I think ‘Gypsy’ is a masterpiece,” says Barrett. “There really was no strong female character before her, and the story takes us through an extraordinary psychological exploration.”

Not to mention some impressive vocal work.

In ‘Gypsy,’ Leigh Barrett relishes playing a Rose with thorns   —The Boston Globe

  —Robert Israel: Writer

Cast & Crew

 

* denotes member of Actor’s Equity Association
** denotes member of United Scenic Artists (USA-Locat 829)
*** denotes member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC)

Souvenir

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A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins

by Stephen Temperley
Directed by Spiro Veloudos
Music direction by Will McGarrahan

Featuring Leigh Barrett & Will McGarrahan recreating their acclaimed performances.

Season Sponsored by Lee & Diana Humphrey and Bank of America

Production Sponsored by Liz & Paul Kastner
Director Spiro Veloudos sponsored by Mary K. Eliot
Leigh Barrett sponsored by Mary Shaw
Will McGarrahan sponsored by Jon-Daniel Durbin

Running time:   2 hours with one intermission.

Box Office: 617-585-5678 | boxoffice@lyricstage.com
Click Here for Directions, Parking Info, and Local Restaurant Info

Summary

Spiro Veloudos is thrilled to be able to remount one of his favorite productions in celebration of his 20 years as Producing Artistic Director.  Souvenir is an affectionate portrait of Florence Foster Jenkins, one of the finest coloratura sopranos in history — but, alas, only in her own mind! Despite being called “majestically awful,” her concerts in the 1930s and ’40s, including a legendary appearance at Carnegie Hall, were not only sold-out but were attended by the crème de la crème of Manhattan society. Told affectionately through the eyes of her longtime accompanist Cosme McMoon, Souvenir is the sweet, inspiring, hilarious portrait of a passionate music lover who believed that “what matters most is the music you hear in your head.”   Featuring Leigh Barrett & Will McGarrahan recreating their acclaimed performances.

“A brilliant performance by Leigh Barrett!” — Boston Globe        “Will McGarrahan is the best!” — Theater Mirror

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Press & Reviews

“Her costumes were among the wildest ever to grace a stage: audience favourites included her giant pair of wings (the “Angel of Inspiration”) and a tent-like 18th-century ball gown. She would often accessorise her ensembles with a parasol that she would enthusiastically twirl, or ostrich feathers with which she fanned herself.”

10 reasons we love Florence Foster Jenkins   —The Telegraph

“Everyone, from the stars to director Veloudos to costume designer Gail Astrid Buckley, seems to be having a grand time in “Souvenir.’’ Buckley has done outstanding work in creating an array of lavishly eye-popping outfits for Barrett’s Florence”

An exquisite duet in Lyric Stage’s ‘Souvenir’   —The Boston Globe

 

“For the apt balance of mockery and tenderness we should give McGarrahan much credit. A somewhat under sung hero of the Boston stage, he not only acts but also sings and plays piano effortlessly, in the case of “Souvenir” dotting the recollected proceedings (and offering a palate cleanser after Foster Jenkins’ assaults) with popular period tunes.”

The Soprano Who Couldn’t Sing — A Hilarious ‘Souvenir’ Is Reprised By The Lyric Stage Company   —WBUR

 

Go get a ticket. You’ll wince, you’ll cringe, and you’ll love every shattered, crushed, and mutilated note.

Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins   —Edge Media Network

 

Souvenir works on many levels, and the fact that both actors play it straight enhances the beauty and warmth of the story. It also happens to be really funny, but the audience is not encouraged to laugh at Florence’s singing; rather, the humor is spawned by her personality, her foibles, and some of the situations that Temperley shows us. McGarrahan doubles as the show’s music director and, in addition to all of the operatic pieces he plays to accompany Barrett, he tickles the ivories with style (and without benefit of sheet music) on a number of popular tunes of the period. It’s almost like being in a piano bar, only without the bar, and it’s delightful. With the skills and experience brought to the table by Barrett and McGarrahan, Veloudos took the opportunity to add depth to their characterizations. He lets us feel the genuine affection between Florence and Cosmé, perhaps shining a light on why she was so popular and how her music truly was a joyful noise.

SOUVENIR Redux: A Joyful Noise   —BroadwayWorld

 

“Over at the Lyric Stage Company of Boston, the revival of “Souvenir” is so bad it’s funny. And that’s just the way they want it.”

Souvenir’ on Lyric Stage in Boston strikes a chord on the funny bone   —Wicked Local

 

“Skip Curtiss’s set is simple and elegant, serving mostly as Florence’s rooms at the Ritz, with the removal of a few pieces transporting it to a recital hall. Gail Astrid Buckley’s marvelous period costumes run the gamut from exquisite to gaudy, which Florence was prone to.”

Lyric’s “Souvenir” a Keeper   —Theater Mirror

 

“Barrett and McGarrahan are older and probably wiser, and they’re able to easily slip back into the roles just as if they were donning a pair of warm slippers, and the warmth and chemistry they project from the stage will have you admiring their artistry all over again, under the capable direction of Spiro Veloudos.”

‘Souvenir’: A Repeat Very Much Worth Watching   —On Boston Stages

 

“…the utmost praise is due to that triple threat of Barrett, McGarrahan and Veloudos, responsible for an uncanny cascade of mind-boggling side-splitters, rib-ticklers and knee-slappers galore. Your attitude toward musical performance may never be quite the same after you’ve experienced this souvenir of a bygone era. (Or error).”

Lyric’s “Souvenir”: A Legend in Her Own Mind   —South Shore Critic

 

“Incredibly funny, poignant, wonderfully directed.”

WGBH Arts Editor Reviews Souvenir   —WGBH Morning Edition, Thursday, November 9, 2017

I wanted to do something for my 20th anniversary season that was really special to me,” said Veloudos. “There were a number of shows that I could have chosen, but I chose Souvenir for two reasons: One, I find the story fascinating; the other reason is that I get to work with two of my favorite actors. And it’s grown up a little bit.

A Lovely Souvenir   —Dig Boston

Cast & Crew

 

* denotes member of Actor’s Equity Association
** denotes member of United Scenic Artists (USA-Locat 829)
*** denotes member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC)

About Florence Foster Jenkins

Has a singer ever performed with the vitality and passion of Florence Foster Jenkins? A Carnegie Hall audience has certainly never witnessed such a splendidly horrible performance. Somehow, her powerful voice never seemed to find the right notes. Yet, she sang on with conviction, and somehow it worked.

Born in 1868 as Florence Foster, she was the daughter of Charles Dorrance Foster, a banker and member of the Pennsylvania legislature. Charles Foster instilled a deep passion for music in his daughter at a young age. She started out a piano player, but an arm injury shifted her attention to singing. When her father would not allow her to pursue her dream of studying and performing music, Florence eloped with Dr. Thomas Jenkins. Together, they settled in Philadelphia. The couple was divorced in 1902 and Florence subsequently moved to New York City. After her father’s death in 1909, Florence used her inheritance to enhance her city life. In addition, she finally began to pursue her passion for music and performing.

Florence Foster Jenkins Singing

 

As portrayed in Stephen Temperley’s “fantasia” on her life, the majority of her performing career consisted of annual benefit recitals and small concerts given for the numerous charities she supported. Audiences were limited by the capacity of the Ritz-Carlton Ballroom, her preferred venue. Early patrons were friends and acquaintances, but as word spread about her “talent,” strangers, as well as the crème de la crème of New York Society came, too. Fans included Cole Porter (who wrote a song for Florence), Beatrice Lillie and Thomas Beecham, who played her songs on the British radio.

Laughter in the audience was contagious; audience members would stuff their mouths with their handkerchiefs to keep from laughing. “At that time, Frank Sinatra had started to sing, and the teenagers used to faint during his notes and scream. She thought she was producing the same kind of an effect, and when these salvos of applause came, she took them as great marks of approval,” observed Cosme McMoon, her talented piano accompanist at all performances. “She would pause altogether and bow, many times, and then resume the song.”

In 1944, Florence succumbed to the pressure of her admirers and announced she would give a concert at Carnegie Hall. One of the most important music venues in the world, musical luminaries Duke Ellington and Leonard Bernstein made their first appearances there just one year earlier. Within weeks of her announcement, all 3,000 tickets to Florence’s October 25 debut were sold and 2,000 ticket-seekers were left disappointed. On November 26, just one month after her performance, Florence died of a sudden heart attack. Some say that the stress of the performance at Carnegie Hall at her age led to her decline in health and death. She was 78.

The legend of Florence Foster Jenkins includes many hilarious and fascinating stories: in performance, she made a habit of changing into different costumes –all self-designed – between numbers. One of her most famous, depicted on the cover of the posthumously released album The Glory (????) of the Human Voice, included a large pair of angel wings attached to her back. In one performance, she threw flowers about the stage. When the crowd cheered enthusiastically at the end, she retrieved the petals and repeated the number again. One of the most famous tales was that she claimed that experiencing a minor taxi accident enabled her to sing a high F. She tipped the driver generously and subsequently expand her repertoire to include music with the higher range. Though she claimed to be in her sixties throughout the bulk of her career, she was actually in her seventies.

Perhaps people paid attention to Florence because of her sincerity and passion about music. She was always happiest when she sang and her self-confidence seemed never to falter. Some accounts suggest that Florence never knew how she sounded to the critics. Others say that she knew, but simply did not care. She was quoted as saying, “People may say I can’t sing, but no one can ever say I didn’t sing.”

– By Meg Cook and Rebecca Curtiss

 

About Cosmé McMoon

Cosmé McMoon,  Florence Foster Jenkins’s faithful accompanist, first became acquainted the “dire diva of din” in 1927.

Jenkins asked this concert pianist and aspiring composer to play for her first private concert. He continued, accompanying her for private shows at The Ritz-Carlton Ballroom, The Birdy Club, on recordings, and at her first and only performance at Carnegie Hall. Although Jenkins’s audiences were often doubled over with laughter, McMoon always played with a straight face and tried his best to highlight what little talent Jenkins had. On her recordings, McMoon can be heard adjusting the rhythm of his playing to accommodate Jenkins’s vocal shortcomings. He also composed songs for her, such as “Serenata Mexicano” and “The Ant and the Grasshopper.” Their partnership lasted until her sudden death in 1944.

– Notes by Katie Kierstead

Hold These Truths

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by Jeanne Sakata

Directed by Benny Sato Ambush

Choreography by Jubilith Moore

Featuring Michael Hisamoto*, with Khloe Alice Lin, Gary Thomas Ng*, Samantha Richert*

Hold These Truths is the true story of Gordon Hirabayashi, the American son of Japanese immigrants, who resisted internment during World War II, a policy which continues to be cited and debated today.  Michael Hisamoto (Stage Kiss) plays Hirabayashi, a college student and a Quaker, whose hope and unquenchable patriotism over 50 years will leave audiences cheering.

Theatrical magic will be created by the use of three kurogos, “invisible” on-stage attendants found in Japan’s Kabuki theatrical tradition. 

The production’s aesthetics will reflect both Gordon Hirabayashi’s Japanese ancestry and his Quaker upbringing.

Summary

Told through flashbacks, Hirabayashi takes us through his early life, challenging the curfew and exclusion orders in 1942. In a virtuosic turn, Hisamoto portrays not only Hirabayashi, but also his parents, college friends, lawyers, military leaders, Supreme Court justices, Hopi Indians he meets in prison, and the Arizona prison boss who can’t figure out why he has hitchhiked down the California coast for his own imprisonment. His storytelling is assisted by a trio of kurogo — traditional Japanese stage hands — choreographed by Jubilith Moore and directed by Benny Sato Ambush.

He may have lost his case when he was alive, but Hirabayashi, a Quaker (“God is in each heart, not in a church”) and a University of Washington student who was active in the YMCA leadership training program, was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012 by President Barack Obama. Paving the way to Hirabayashi’s ultimate victory, legal historian Peter Irons discovered myriad military documents, letters, and memos admitting that confining Japanese Americans to camps had not been a necessary security measure: The camps, they implied, were created out of hysteria and racism. Full of theatricality and humanity, Hold These Truths celebrates resistance and offers startling parallels for contemporary politics.

Season Sponsored by Lee & Diana Humphrey and Bank of America

Production sponsored by Mary and Doug Woodruff

Approximately 100 minutes with no intermission

Box Office: 617-585-5678 | boxoffice@lyricstage.com
Click Here for Directions, Parking Info, and Local Restaurant Info

“An extraordinary relevant message for today!” — Chicago Star Tribune

“Absorbing, rewarding, surprisingly humorous and openhearted!” — Seattle Times

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Press & Reviews

Surprisingly funny at times, nearly always profound and of course resonant, the play has great power. Its force is dependent on the skill of Hisamoto, and he commands the stage, first with his wide-eyed innocence, then with growing disenchantment, finally with righteous anger.

South Shore Critic   —South Shore Critic

 

“Ambush is not only an invested director but a good one. The droll and delicate Lyric production tells Hirabayashi’s tale in a fashion in which his combined cultures gracefully dovetail. The kurogos capture both the modesty and fluidity of Japanese theater, Hisamoto Hirabayashi’s touching belief in both Japanese family values and the American rights he learns are far from unalienable.”

A Solo Exploration Of Japanese Internment, Lyric Stage’s ‘Hold These Truths’ Is Timely And Relevant   —WBUR The ARTery

 

“Replete with passion and outrage, but also solace and hope. a play that’s intended not to berate, but to liberate.”

We Hold These Truths   —Edge Media Network

 

“Superb! Surprisingly uplifting!” “If you’re looking for a way to find some holiday spirit but aren’t ready to take in one of the many fine productions of ‘A Christmas Carol’ being offered throughout the region, this may be the answer.”

Lyric’s ‘Hold These Truths’ Brings Light to Dark Chapter of American History   —The Theater Mirror

 

“[Michael Hisamoto] immerses himself in the character of Hirabayashi, delivering a subtly textured portrayal that conveys a vivid sense of the personality, as well as the fervent idealism, of a man who was willing to sacrifice his freedom for a cause.”

In ‘Hold These Truths,’ how a country turned on its own people   —The Boston Globe

 

“Gracefully staged by director Benny Sato Ambush, who is aided mightily by the adroit, feathery movements of the kurogos (Khloe Alice Lin, Gary Thomas Ng, and Samantha Richert). The trio’s actions as stagehands (and, on occasion, pantomimists) are deftly choreographed by Jubilith Moore.”

Theater Review: “Hold These Truths” — A Vital Lesson   —The Art Fuse

 

“Scenic designer Shelley Barish has set the play against a backdrop of sliding screens, as if the action were taking place in a traditional Japanese home. White fabric floats above the stage to serve as a screen for Jonathan Carr’s projections, which alternate between the WWII battles and the bleak landscapes where the camps were located. The music and sound score, created by Arshan Gailus, add to the Japanese-style aura.”

Hold These Truths   —Theater Mania

 

It was wonderful to see Spiro stride confidently onto the stage with just a cane. He seemed the strongest he’s been since the illness and his voice was back to its old self. My best to you and him and everyone at Lyric for a happy, healthy holiday season.

A HUMAN ‘NAIL’ TRIUMPHS IN ‘HOLD THESE TRUTHS’   —On Boston Stages

 

When the lights first illuminate the stage for the opening act of We Hold These Truths now playing at the Lyric Stage, Michael Hisamoto in the role of Gordon Hirabayashi is sitting in a chair facing the audience. There is a very long pause before he begins to speak. This creates an expectation that what we are about to hear from Mr. Hirabayashi is going to very important. In fact, not only what develops on that stage important, it is also deeply moving.

A Powerful Work About A Principled American Standing Up To Hatred And His Government   —Boxing Over Broadway

 

PREVIEWS & INTERVIEWS

“It’s the case for a lot of historical figures in the Asian-American community that they’re not widely known,” said Michael Hisamoto, who stars as Hirabayashi. “He’s a testament to being brave and standing up for your principles even though you fear what you might lose.”

One-man play tells the story of a man who resisted the internment of Japanese-Americans   —Wicked Local Reading

 

Director Benny Sato Ambush describes “Hold These Truths” as a “one-man show with a cast of thousands.” To augment actor Michael Hisamoto’s performance, Sato Ambush has enlisted the help of choreographer Jubilith Moore, who has integrated kurogos, traditional stage attendants in the Japanese theater forms of kabuki and noh, into the play.

A ‘Dream’ team for New Rep’s ‘Man of La Mancha’   —Boston Globe

 

“Gordon was the picture of principled resistance, sustained over a lifetime,” said director Benny Sato Ambush. “He insisted he was an American citizen — who looked like he did and had an ancestry like his — and that he be treated equally.”

‘Hold These Truths’ brings Japanese-American internment to center stage   —Sampan

Cast & Crew

 

* denotes member of Actor’s Equity Association
** denotes member of United Scenic Artists (USA-Locat 829)
*** denotes member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC)

Road Show

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Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by John Weidman
Co-Directed by Spiro Veloudos and Ilyse Robbins
Music direction by Jonathan Goldberg
Choreography by Ilyse Robbins

 

Production sponsored by Nina & Don Berk
Co-Director Spiro Veloudos sponsored by Richard & Sally Zeckhauser
Co-Director and Choreographer Ilyse Robbins sponsored by Glenda & Bob Fishman
Music Director Jon Goldberg sponsored by Jo-An Heileman
Orchestra Sponsored by Dick Rousseau

Runtime: Approximately 90 minutes with no intermission
Box Office: 617-585-5678 | boxoffice@lyricstage.com
Click Here for Directions, Parking Info, and Local Restaurant Info

Summary

On his continuing journey through the works of Stephen Sondheim, director Spiro Veloudos brings us Sondheim’s latest work, Road Show, the true boom-and-bust story of two of the most colorful and outrageous fortune-seekers in American history. From the Alaskan Gold Rush to the Florida real estate boom in the 1930s, entrepreneur Addison Mizner and his fast-talking brother Wilson were proof positive that the road to the American Dream is often a seductive, treacherous tightrope walk.   As the Guardian said, “Road Show is lyrically witty, musically rich, and has the sardonic satirical appeal of the Sondheim-Weidman Assassins.”

“Unquestionably worth the trip!  Emotional richness, a spry score, and fiddle-fast lyrics.” — The Telegraph

SYNOPSIS

Road Show was inspired by a New Yorker article Stephen Sondheim read about the real-life Mizner brothers, Addison and Wilson, who were born in California in the late 1800s. Beginning at the deathbed of their father who encourages them to go out and mold the new nation, the musical spans the globe from the Klondike gold rush to India, Hawaii, Guatemala, New York, and eventually the real-estate boom of Boca Raton, Florida. Over 40 years, the brothers seek out the amorphous and elusive American Dream through the booms and busts of the early 20th century, with bouts of brotherly love and hate. The musical travelogue takes a close look at the optimism and opportunism of the time through the lens of two ambitious, eccentric, and charming individuals.

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Press & Reviews

[an often] entertaining take on a quintessentially American story.

the lyrics are clever [enough], sometimes even laugh-out-loud funny.

[this ably sung and acted production] is well worth a look.

“Road Show” — Sondheim’s Latest Gets Its Boston Premiere   —Arts Fuse

 

As I have written before, the team at the The Lyric Stage really knows how to put on these small scale musical productions. Mr. Veloudos and Ms Robbins work very well together. But that should not come as any surprise as both know their craft and have given audiences many great productions.

Road Show At The Lyric Stage   —Boxing over Broadway

 

Collaborating with Ilyse Robbins as co-director/choreographer and Jonathan Goldberg as Music Director, Veloudos does what he does best, which is to make the elements of the musical conform to the parameters of the Lyric Stage jewel box.

Sondheim’s score is the beating heart of Road Show, moving the story forward and helping to define the characters. With about a dozen and a half musical numbers in a 90-minute show, the songs do more than the book to tell the story, and do it better.

Sondheim’s ROAD SHOW: Looking For America   —Broadway World

 

PREVIEWS & INTERVIEWS

“I didn’t look at the season because I thought, There’s nothing for me in “Road Show.”‘ And then I got the call to come in to the audition, and I started doing research. I listened to ‘Wise Guys’ and ‘Bounce’ and ‘Road Show,’ all the different productions, and I thought ‘This is classic Sondheim.’ There’s a game we play in rehearsal: ‘That’s from this play! This is from that play!’ Because everything sounds like Sondheim. But it’s different! It’s weird. I know Sondheim, but this show, there’s, like, one song or two songs that stick out melodically. But it’s really just, like, you get on this ride, musically and dramatically, and you just go from song to scene to song to scene.”

‘Bounce’ing from ‘Wise Guys’ to ‘Road Show’ – Tony Castellanos on Getting Sondheim Right   —Edge Boston

 

“I think Sondheim was originally trying to pack in an enormous amount of information,” says Veloudos, so the earlier versions, called “Bounce” and “Wise Guys,” ran closer to three hours. This version is a tight 100 minutes and runs without an intermission. “The story still works as a memory play, jumping back and forth in time and space, but Cristina Tedesco has created a brilliant set that allows us to open up and then put away articles and locations the way we recall cherished memories.”

Two for the ‘Road’   —The Boston Globe

 

It’s also a story about two very different brothers, who supported and undermined each other. Addison, an architect who was gay, wanted to create beauty as well as get rich and he eventually designed many luxury homes in Florida. Wilson, a professional gambler and womanizer (who in real life also wrote plays and screenplays) cared for little other than himself.

http://hopedale.wickedlocal.com/entertainment/20180111/theater-sondheimss-road-show-travels-to-boston   —Wicked Local

 

“I think it’s much more common now for writers to be willing to take a second look at their shows after the first major production,” said Goldberg, “as opposed to what we might call the ‘golden age’ of musicals, when all of the adjusting was done merely in tryouts … and then the show was usually left as is for posterity.”

Lyric Stage takes a new spin on Sondheim’s ‘Road Show’   —Jewish Journal

Cast & Crew

 

* denotes member of Actor’s Equity Association
** denotes member of United Scenic Artists (USA-Locat 829)
*** denotes member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC)

Virginia Woolf’s Orlando

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adapted by Sarah Ruhl
Directed by A.Nora Long

Season Sponsored by Lee & Diana Humphrey and Bank of America
Production sponsored by Joseph Richard & René Morrissette
Director A. Nora Long sponsored by Mary K. Eliot

Approximately 90 minutes with one intermission.
Box Office: 617-585-5678 | boxoffice@lyricstage.com
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Click Here for a Synopsis Filled with Spoilers!

Summary

In this joyful romance of gender roles and expectations, Orlando the man wakes up, after a particularly wild night in 17th-century Constantinople, to find himself a woman! She abandons herself to three centuries of navigating love, desire, and the world from an entirely different perspective.  Oft described as the most charming love letter in literature – written by Woolf to Vita Sackville-West – Sarah Ruhl brings the novel to life on stage in a grand, epic adventure that transcends time, place, and gender.

“Deliciously frolicsome!  Depths of sheer pleasure!”  — NY Times

Parental Advisory: Virginia Woolf’s Orlando contains one scene of silhouetted nudity. While we don’t suggest ages, please call the Box Office (617.585.5678) if you have questions about appropriateness for your child.

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“This production keeps the running time down to a tight 90 minutes, propelled by an energetic cadre of actors… with enthusiastic acting the six-person ensemble “paints” a series of picaresque adventures.” “This is a clever and fitting approach.”

Virginia Woolf’s Orlando   —Edge Media Network

 

A. Nora Long directs this delightfully propulsive and clear-headed production, wittily steering an outstanding six-person cast through the sort of precise physical choreography that disguises itself as effortless. Caroline Lawton is indefatigably charming as Orlando Each actor in the chorus — also including Michael Hisamoto, Rory Lambert-Wright, Jeff Marcus, and Elise Arsenault — is similarly excellent and indispensable to the rapid-fire storytelling and scene-shifting.

Subverting gender in Lyric Stage’s sly ‘Orlando’   —The Boston Globe

 

“In this fast-moving, ambitious and farcical fairy tale, Orlando – played impressively by Caroline Lawton… is entertaining and often funny, showing a gift for physical comedy and imagination.”

“As audiences ponder the complexity of Orlando’s identity, one thing is clear – they won’t be bored.”

Bending time and gender in ‘Orlando’   —Wicked Local

 

“On the surface, Orlando is delightful and fun,” says Jared, “but it’s the depths wisely plumbed just beneath that turn cheek into something altogether arresting.”

Arts This Week: ‘Virginia Woolf’s Orlando’   —WGBH Arts Editor Jared Bowen

 

This attractive, jam-packed production bursts from the compact LYRIC STAGE. Sets and costumes are stripped down, beautiful, and efficient– allowing for the fleet passage of time!

It’s a tricky show to stage, but director on speed A.Nora Long and this game cast of five who play an exponential number of parts– keep this timely transgender romp moving at a cool 90 minutes–through March 25!

WOKE THEATRE ROUND UP!   —Joyce’s Choices

 

Real genius is often way ahead of its time. This may be the case with Orlando and with each new adaptation, each new pair of eyes looking at the original and molding it to its own times. One can only wonder what audiences fifty years from now may make of this wonderful evening in the theater.

Theater Review: “Orlando” — Asking What Gender Really Means   —The Arts Fuse

 

PREVIEWS & INTERVIEWS

“I think the time is right for ‘Orlando,’” says Ruhl. “Virginia Woolf couldn’t have imagined the trans movement, but she relished the idea that the mind of the artist is androgynous and wanted to open people up to possibilities.”

‘Orlando’ crosses centuries, continents, genders   —The Boston Globe

 

Theater major Rory Lambert-Wright is one of six chorus members described by the Boston Globe as “excellent and indispensable to the rapid-fire storytelling and scene-shifting” of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando at the Lyric Stage Company.

“As a chorus, we narrate, provide exposition, and work together to build the story,” says Lambert-Wright, Class of 2019. “You always have to be engaged in what’s going on, because it’s not the responsibility of the chorus to play characters, but to communicate the story to the audience.”

Taking His Cues from the Pros   —Suffolk University News

 

Despite Woolf’s highbrow reputation, “Orlando” is a wild, fun and sexy tale rich in time-travel and gender bending romance. “It’s a fast-paced play,” says Long. In the intimate confines of the Lyric, she hopes “Orlando” feels “like a party that will end too soon.”

Who’s Afraid of Woolf’s Orlando? 

  —Boston Spirit Magazine

Cast & Crew

 

 

 

* denotes member of Actor’s Equity Association
** denotes member of United Scenic Artists (USA-Locat 829)
*** denotes member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC)

Anna Christie

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by Eugene O’Neill
Adapted & Directed by Scott Edmiston

Season Sponsored by Lee & Diana Humphrey and Bank of America
Production Sponsored by Helen and Herman Gimbel Charity Fund
Director Scott Edmiston sponsored by Paul & Liz Kastner

Runtime is approximately two hours, including one 15-minute intermission.
Box Office: 617-585-5678 | boxoffice@lyricstage.com
Click Here for Directions, Parking Info, and Local Restaurant Info

Summary

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, O’Neill’s classic is a surprisingly contemporary play that crackles with fierce physicality, humor, and drama. After a 20-year separation, a coal barge captain (Lyric Stage favorite Johnny Lee Davenport) is reunited with the daughter he unknowingly abandoned to a life of hardship. When Anna falls in love with a shipwrecked sailor, her father and her suitor come to recognize their own culpability in her plight, and all three struggle in their own way for salvation. Following his acclaimed production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Scott Edmiston takes a fresh look at one of America’s greatest playwrights.

“A work about the awesome and overpowering force of nature!” — The Guardian

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Eugene O’Neill’s works are among the greatest in American drama. They can be very heavy and usually are long but also amazing. This play is deep and filled with emotion, but it will not leave you filled with despair, and it certainly is not drawn out. Director Scott Edmiston has gotten it right, and I would encourage those who have not taken in a work by O’Neill to start here. It will stir your emotions but not overwhelm you. You will see five very fine actors working with the words of a great playwright. And, you will see it all at the wonderful Lyric Stage Theater, a warm and intimate performing venue.

Unpacking Anna Christie At The Lyric   —Boxing Over Broadway

 

Edmiston’s staging — soaked in cheap booze and set against a Janie E. Howland-designed backdrop of barrels, planking and a stolid sea that rises to an eerie gleam — is strong and spare.

Lyric Stage Company Slices Through The Fog Of O’Neill’s ‘Anna Christie’   —WBUR

 

The three leads shine… It’s a rare opportunity to experience fine acting in an undeniably challenging work. . . . timeless.

Lyric Stage’s “Anna Christie”: Life on a Skoal Barge   —South Shore Critic

 

Whelton is thoroughly persuasive as the strapping, impulsive Mat… McWhorter rises admirably to the occasion.

‘Anna Christie’ shows its age at Lyric Stage   —The Boston Globe

 

McWhorter transforms from the exhausted, jaded stranger to a cleansed, refreshed woman with hope, only to be forced to harden herself once again to outside forces. During that process, we see her realize that she has the power to determine the outcome by her will. Throughout the long and broad arc of Anna’s journey, McWhorter is a revelation.

Intense ANNA CHRISTIE at Lyric Stage Company   —Broadway World

 

“Remarkably forward looking… hairpin swivels from intense psychological drama to moments of levity are perfectly timed and weighted… Takes you the shortest distance through the heart of his storms while preserving their potency.

Anna Christie   —EDGE Boston

 

What makes this production so intriguing is that Edmiston has cast two wonderful African-Americans as Chris Christopherson and his daughter Anna: Johnny Lee Davenport and Lindsey McWhorter. At first I thought their race might not work in this already complicated play, but I was wrong. It not only worked, but added resonance to O’Neill’s exploration of the “other.” Here is a play about people who live on the fringes — a sailor whose very existence depends upon his fraught relationship with the “Old Devil Sea” and his daughter, who has lived her own life for too long to be dominated by a protective guilty parent who “wants only the best for her.” In bold strokes O’Neill shows us how good intentions often do pave the way to hell.

Theater Review: “Anna Christie” — A Memorable Look at Life on the Margins   —Arts Fuse

 

The cast is terrific. Davenport is wonderful. McWhorter gives a subtle and layered performance as Anna, withholding and vulnerable at the same time.

A Beguiling “Anna Christie” at Lyric   —The Theatre Mirror

 

The result is at once a moving pre-feminist statement and theater as inviting and lasting as a Chippendale armchair…If Chris terms the fog a “dirty trick,” Anna sees it as a kind of metaphor for her redemption. By contrast, there should be no disagreement about Lyric Stage’s “Anna Christie.” Book passage without delay.

http://www.mysouthend.com/arts///258806/anna_christie_invites_you_in   —South End News

“Eugene O’Neill was my first creative hero when I was 17,” says Edmiston, who lives in Waltham. “He opened my mind to what theater can be. Tennessee Williams is often called the poet of American theater; I think of O’Neill as the novelist of American theater. There’s a grandeur to his writing. He has an uncompromising viewpoint, and an interest in exploring the darkness of the human soul. He understands the complexity of human relationships – how love and hate and fear and regret and guilt can all get tangled up in one moment.”

Scott Edmiston brings new life to O’Neill’s ‘Anna Christie’   —Wicked Local

 

And while I commend the cast for their effective and powerful performances, the play succeeds mightily because it is performed in concert with the spot-on scenic design by Janie E. Howland, and the inspired lighting design by Karen Perlow… Director Scott Edmiston knows O’Neill’s work intimately (he directed a winning production of Long Days Journey into Night some years ago). He is masterful here at Lyric Stage.

Stage Review: Eugene O’Neill’s “Anna Christie”at Lyric Stage   —Robert Israel: Writer

 

Looking down upon the set from my seat I felt as if I were in the rafters of a ship anchored off Provincetown or Boston. I was reminded of how we are all at the mercy of the magnetic pull of the sea.

Stage Review: Eugene O’Neill’s “Anna Christie”at Lyric Stage   —Robert Israel: Writer

Cast & Crew

 

* denotes member of Actor’s Equity Association
** denotes member of United Scenic Artists (USA-Locat 829)
*** denotes member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC)

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The Wiz

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book by William F. Brown, music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls
Directed by Dawn M. Simmons
Music direction by Allyssa Jones
Choreography by Jean Appolon

Season Sponsored by Lee & Diana Humphrey and Bank of America
Production co-sponsored by Tim & Linda Holiner and Kathy & Ernie Herrman
Director Dawn M. Simmons sponsored by Richard & Sally Zeckhauser
Music Director Allyssa Jones sponsored by Jo-An Heileman
Costume Designer Amber Voner sponsored by Ruth Rotundo Whitney

Please note that this production uses water-based fog and dynamic flashing light effects.

Runtime is approximately two hours and fifteen minutes, including one intermission.
Box Office: 617-585-5678 | boxoffice@lyricstage.com
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Summary

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 bit 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.”

Winner of 7 Tony Awards, including Best Musical

“Radiates so much energy you can hardly sit in your seat!” — NY Post

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Cast & Crew

 

* denotes member of Actor’s Equity Association
** denotes member of United Scenic Artists (USA-Locat 829)
*** denotes member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC)

Pacific Overtures

May 10, 2019 - June 16, 2019 Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim Book by John Weidman Directed by Spiro Veloudos Music Direction by Jonathan Goldberg Scenic Design by Janie E. Howland Costume Design by Gail Astrid Buckley Sound Design by Andrew Duncan Will Lighting Design by Karen Perlow Production Stage Manager: Nerys Powell Assistant Stage Manager: Geena M. Forristall Running Time is approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes, including one intermission. Tickets & More Information

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Twelfth Night

March 29, 2019 - April 28, 2019 By William Shakespeare Directed by Paula Plum Scenic Design by Jenna McFarland Lord Costume Design by Chelsea Kerl Lighting Design by Deb Sullivan Sound Design by David Wilson Production Stage Manager: Diane McLean Running time is approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes with one intermission. Tickets & More Information

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