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
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.
Featuring one show-stopping song after another — “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” “You Gotta Have a Gimmick,” “Let Me Entertain You,” and more! — Gypsyis 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.
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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
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.
“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.”
“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.”
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.
Leigh Barrett* (Rose) has been seen at the Lyric Stage in Company, Sondheim on Sondheim, City of Angels, Grey Gardens, Souvenir, Nicholas Nickelby, Big River, Animal Crackers, Follies, A Little Night Music, Mikado, Nuncrackers, and Sunday in the Park with George. Recently Leigh appeared in Mud Blue Sky with Bridge Rep. Other area credits include Closer Than Ever,Ragtime, Threepenny Opera, Indulgences, Side by Side by Sondheim, The World Goes ‘Round, Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods, and Wild Party (New Rep), Passion, Great American Trailer Park Musical, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, The Drowsy Chaperone, Elegies, A Class Act, Adding Machine (SpeakEasy Stage), Marry Me a Little, Jacques Brel (Gloucester Stage), Alice, Sound of Music (Wheelock Family Theater), Company (Moonbox Productions), Gypsy, Picnic, John & Jen, You Never Know, Pal Joey (Stoneham Theatre), A Christmas Carol, Singing in the Rain, and Sweeney Todd (North Shore Music Theatre), and Car Talk, the Musical! (Central Square Theater). She is the proud recipient of two Elliot Norton Awards and two IRNE Awards. She is an independent vocal/acting coach in Reading. Love to HB and my boys Nick and Matt! LEIGHBARRETT.COM
Kirsten Salpini (Louise) is returning to the Lyric Stage after last season’s Murder for Two. Boston area credits include: The Donkey Show (American Repertory Theatre), Jonah and the Whale (Stoneham Theatre), The Snow Queen (New Repertory Theatre), Romeo and Juliet (Arts After Hours). Kirsten is also a pianist and singer/songwriter, working for Carnival Cruise Lines, Bobby McKey’s, Hershey Park, and more. She is a film & commercial actor locally, and teaches with Watertown Children’s Theatre. Up next: She Loves Me and The Irish…and How They Got That Way at Stoneham Theatre. B.F.A. Musical Theatre, Shenandoah Conservatory. KIRSTENSALPINI.COM
Kira Troilo (June) returns to the Lyric Stage after appearing in last season’s Camelot. Recent local performing credits include Sister Act (NextDoor Theater), Hairspray (Palace Theatre), The Color Purple(Speakeasy Stage), The Wiz (Fiddlehead Theater Company), Les Misérables (Woodland Theater), A Chorus Line (Emerson Umbrella), and Parade (FUDGE Theatre Company). Recent choreography credits include The Little Mermaid, Jesus Christ Superstar, Aida (Fiddlehead Theatre Company), Evita, Chicago, and How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying (Weston Drama Workshop). She is also a founding board member of the Regatta Players in Central Mass. Kira graduated with a B.F.A. from Emerson College.
Steven Barkhimer* (Herbie) previously appeared at the Lyric Stage last season in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Warrior Class, and before that in Superior Donuts, The Underpants, and Book of Days (IRNE Award). A Resident Acting Company member of the Actors Shakespeare Project, he was recently in ASP’s Midsummer Night’s Dream and Winter’s Tale, and appeared this summer at Opera House Arts in Stonington, Maine, in The Fantasticks. Steven wrote music and lyrics for Stoneham’s original musical, Lobstergirl, and is the author of a series of original songs called Time Was. He is the director of award-winning productions of The Compleat Works of Wm Shakespeare and Fully Committed, is also the author of Windowmen (Elliot Norton Award, Outstanding New Script; IRNE Award, Best New Play; Kennedy Center Award, Best New Play).
Brady Miller* (Tulsa) is making his Lyric Stage debut. Recently, he has performed in the Boston area in A Christmas Carol (North Shore Music Theater) and on the national tour of 42nd Street. Other credits include Little Shop of Horrors, Mary Poppins, Swing! (Little Theater on the Square), and Fiddler on the Roof and South Pacific (Porthouse Theater). Brady is a 2015 B.F.A. graduate of Ohio Northern University. He is a proud member of the Actors’ Equity Association. Many thanks to Rachel and the Lyric Stage team for this wonderful opportunity. For mom and dad! WWW.BRADYAMILLER.COM
David Alea (Yonkers/Bourgeron-Cochen/Ensemble) is a current senior musical theatre major at The Boston Conservatory at Berklee, and is making his Lyric Stage debut. Previous credits include West Side Story (Summer Rep Theatre), The Drowsy Chaperone (Summer Rep Theatre), Catch Me if You Can (BoCo), and Sister Act (Theatre By The Sea). He would like to thank his incredible family, friends, and his amazing cast and crew!
Todd Yard (Uncle Jocko/Kringelein/Pastey) returns to the Lyric Stage after appearing last season in Company. His recent credits include Barnum, The Wild Party (Moonbox Productions), Showboat, Carousel (Reagle Music Theatre), A Little Night Music (NextDoor Theater), The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Vokes Players) and La Cage aux Folles (The Umbrella). Todd graduated from London’s Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts musical theater program, and currently works as a software architect designing and developing cloud-based video solutions for a global client list.
Remo Airaldi* (Pop/Cigar/Offstage Announcer) returns to the Lyric Stage having previously appeared in Sweeney Todd and My Fair Lady. He has appeared in over sixty productions at the American Repertory Theater, including last season’s Night of the Iguana, Lilly’s Revenge, Cabaret, Endgame, Oliver Twist (also at Theatre for a New Audience and Berkeley Repertory Theatre), Island of Slaves (IRNE Award—Outstanding Actor), The Miser, Henry IV and V, and Waiting for Godot. Other credits: Seven productions with Commonwealth Shakespeare Company including last summer’s Love’s Labour’s Lost, Exposed(Boston Playwrights’ Theater), Mistero Buffo (The Poets’ Theatre), The Hound of the Baskervilles (Central Square Theater), The King of Second Avenue (New Rep), Camino Real, Eight by Tenn, No Exit (Hartford Stage), and productions at La Jolla Playhouse, Geffen Playhouse, Cirque du Soleil, American Conservatory Theater, Walnut Street Theatre, Prince Music Theater, Actors’ Theatre of Louisville, Serious Fun Festival, Moscow Art Theatre, and Taipei International Arts Festival. He is Lecturer in Theater, Dance and Media at Harvard University and was the Monan Professor in Theatre Arts at Boston College.
Kathy St. George* (Mazeppa/Cratchitt) has appeared at the Lyric Stage in Light Up The Sky, Follies, Blithe Spirit, Adrift In Macao, The Gig, and Laughter On The 23rd Floor. Broadway: Fiddler On The Roof directed by Jerome Robbins. Off-Broadway: I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. Six national tours. Kathy received the 2012 Elliot Norton Best Actress Award for The Divine Sister (SpeakEasy Stage). Also: Mame, Dear Miss Garland, Menopause The Musical, 42nd Street, Thoroughly Modern Millie (Stoneham), Showboat(Fiddlehead), Violet, Significant Other, Ruthless! (SpeakEasy Stage), 9 TO 5 (NSMT). IRNE Awards for Das Barbecue (New Rep) and And Now…Miss Judy Garland. Regional: Riverside Theatre, Barter, Long Wharf, Kansas City Starlight and more. B.S., M.Ed. Salem State University. KATHYSTGEORGE.COM
Jordan Clark* (Electra/Ensemble) returns to the Lyric Stage where she was previously seen in Camelot, Mr. Burns: a post-electric play, Light Up the Sky, and Death of a Salesman. Recent credits include Mrs. Packard (Bridge Rep), Significant Other (SpeakEasy Stage), Journey to the West, Arabian Nights (Central Square Theater), The Trumpet of the Swan, Pinocchio, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (Wheelock Family Theatre), You for Me for You, She Kills Monsters (Company One), and Blue Window (Brown Box Theatre Project). Jordan holds a degree in Vocal Performance from The University of the Incarnate Word in her hometown of San Antonio, TX.
Shannon Lee Jones* (Electra/Ensemble) returns to the Lyric Stage where she last appeared in Working. Broadway: Angelique in the original La Cage aux Folles. Tours include: A Chorus Line, Hello Dolly, Funny Girl, and the first national tour of La Cage aux Folles. Local Credits: Billy Elliot (Ocean State Theater), Mary Poppins (Wheelock Family Theater), Carnival (Gloucester Stage, Into the Woods w/Rachel York, Reagle Music Theater; World Goes Round & Cabaret at New Rep; My Fair Lady, Stoneham Theater: Best Little Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (Foothills Theater ), and A Chorus Line (North Shore Music Theater). Regional : Mamma Mia, Gypsy, Hairspray, The Drowsy Chaperone, Anything Goes, and Mame (Arts Center of Coastal Carolina), Cabaret (Barrington Stage), Guys and Dolls (Long Wharf Theater). Television & Film: The Judge, Guiding Light, All My Children, and The Irving Berlin Special at Carnegie Hall. Shannon teaches the Alexander Technique at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee.
Anna Chensny (Agnes/Renee/Ensemble) is making her Lyric Stage debut. Recent credits include 42nd Street, Show Boat, Crazy for You (Reagle Music Theatre), Bernstein’s Mass (Boston Conservatory), Pride and Prejudice (Footlight Club), and Footloose! (Pittsburgh CLO). Anna is currently pursuing her B.F.A. in Musical Theatre at The Boston Conservatory at Berklee. Many thanks to Rachel, Dan, all of her teachers, and Mom.
Davron S. Monroe* (Georgie/Weber/Goldstone/Cow) is returning to the Lyric Stage after having appeared in Camelot, Company, My Fair Lady, City of Angels, Sweeney Todd, One Man, Two Guvnors, The Mikado, Avenue Q, and Ain’t Misbehavin’. Musical theatre credits include: Godspell (Moonbox Productions), Hairspray (Reagle Music Theatre), Dreamgirls, Jesus Christ Superstar, Children of Eden, Songs for a New World (premiere, Key West Symphony, Broadway Across America), Smokey Joe’s Café, Cinderella, Streakin’!, a ’70s musical revue, Sweet Charity, Brigadoon, and Show Boat. Cabaret: The All Night Strut. Opera: fully staged or concert/scene productions of Carmen, Treemonisha, Porgy and Bess, La finta giardiniera, Rigoletto, Lucia di Lammermoor, La fille du régiment, L’élisir d’amore, Così fan tutte, Die Fledermaus, The Tailor of Gloucester, The Gondoliers, Aida, and Die Zauberflöte. Mr. Monroe premiered the role of Thomas Edison in Juventas’s New Music Group production of Light and Power. He has also appeared with many orchestral and vocal organizations, such as Boston Landmarks Orchestra (Lost in the Stars – a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech, and The Chariot Jubilee), the First Church UU, Belmont, the Brevard Music Center (finalist, Orlando Opera’s Heinz Rehfuss Singing Actor Awards), Disney Entertainment’s Voices of Liberty, Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Key West Symphony (young artist), Houston Ebony Opera Guild, the New England Spiritual Ensemble, New England Voices, the Longy School Orchestra, and many other organizations throughout the greater Boston area. Davron is the first recipient of the Bob Jolly Award for up-and-coming local actors.
Margot Anderson-Song is making her Lyric Stage debut. She appeared in Sunday in the Park with George (Huntington Theatre Company) last fall and has been in several Emerson and Boston University film projects this year. Margot began her acting career at age 5 when she played Baby Bear for director / playwright Jack Neary. Margot has also performed in Thoroughly Modern Millie for Boston Children’s Theatre. Some of her favorite productions have included Seussical, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, Jr., and most recently, Peter Pan. Margot is a USGA ranked gymnast, a competitive dancer, and loves to play piano. She hopes to make it to Broadway soon!
Cate Galante (Young Louise) is making her Lyric Stage Debut. Previous acting credits include Dear Edwina Jr.,Flat Stanley (Stoneham Youth Theatre) and Cinderella (Concord Youth Theatre). Recent productions include Beauty in the Beast (Watertown Children’s Theatre) and Children of Eden (Bedford High School) for which she earned a TAMY Award in the category of Rising Star. A Bedford, MA native, Cate is a sixth grader at John Glenn Middle School. In addition to acting, Cate plays soccer, dances and loves a great book. Cate is appreciative of the cast members of Gypsy for taking her under their wings. Special thanks to her family and friends for always supporting her!
Jessica Quaranto (Newsboy/Balloon Girl) is making her Lyric Stage debut. Recent experience includes an adaptation of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Performing Arts Connection) and Reagle Summer Theater (Reagle Music Theatre). Jessica has been dancing for seven years between the Dance Wright and Step by Step Studios. She is a proud member of the Next Step Dance Company (NSDC) dance team competing at Walt Disney World in 2018. She also holds an advanced Junior Brown Belt in Karate / Krav Maga.
Ben Choi-Harris (Newsboy/Clarence) is making his Lyric Stage debut. Ben recently performed in Beauty and the Beast and The Music Man (North Shore Music Theatre) and previously in Charlotte’s Web, Billy Elliot The Musical, Akeelah and the Bee, A Year with Frog and Toad, and TheTrumpet of the Swan (Wheelock Family Theatre). Sincere gratitude to Rachel and the Lyric Stage, and especially for the opportunity to join this terrific cast and production team.
Rachel Bertone (Director/Choreographer) makes her directorial debut with the Lyric Stage after previously choreographing their productions of Company, Camelot, City of Angels, Big River, and Animal Crackers. Direction/Choreography: Carousel (IRNE Award Best Choreography), The Wild Party (IRNE Award Best Musical), Barnum, Show Boat, Musical of Musicals, Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Creative License. Choreography credits: West Side Story, Guys and Dolls, Billy Elliot, My Fair Lady, South Pacific, Les Misérables,A New Brain, Floyd Collins, Lucky Stiff, and TheMarvelous Wonderettes. Assistant Director credits: Fiddler on the Roof, Les Misérables, South Pacific, and Bye, Bye, Birdie. She has performed with several theaters and dance companies including the Lyric Stage, Reagle Music Theatre, Fiddlehead, Liars & Believers, Boston Ballet and Prometheus Dance. She serves on the faculties of The Boston Conservatory, A.R.T. Institute at Harvard University, Emerson College, and holds a B.F.A. from The Boston Conservatory. Up next, Rachel will be directing and choreographing In the Heights and Cabaret. Special thanks to Spiro Veloudos for his mentorship and continued collaborations.
Dan Rodriguez (Music Director) returns to the Lyric Stage after playing and conducting The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Dan’s other recent area credits include Sunday in the Park with George, A Little Night Music, (Huntington Theatre Company), 42nd Street, Show Boat, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Reagle Music Theater), The Lily’s Revenge,Pippin, The Blue Flower (American Repertory Theatre), Barnum, The Wild Party, The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!) (Moonbox Productions), and many other area theaters, as well as work at the Boston Conservatory, Emerson College, and other schools. His work has earned him four IRNE Awards for Best Music Direction.
Janie E. Howland (Scenic Design) has most recently designed Lyric Stage’s Company and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Other recent productions include Sonia Flew (Wellesley Rep), The Importance of Being Earnest (Odyssey Opera), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Boston Children’s Theatre), Arcadia (Nora Theatre), Home Game (Ohio Star Theatre), Urban Nutcracker (Tony Williams Dance Center). Off-Broadway: Simon Says. Work seen at CONSENSES conceived by Sally Taylor. Other venues include Emerson Majestic, New Rep, Weston Playhouse, North Shore Music Theatre, Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Speakeasy Stage, A.R.T. Institute, Boston Conservatory, Company One, Stoneham Theatre, Seacoast Rep, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, Huntington Theatre Studio 210. Brandeis University M.F.A.; Co-founder CYCO SCENIC; four-time Elliot Norton Award winner, four-time IRNE Award winner; adjunct faculty at Emerson College, Wellesley College. USA Local 829. JANIEHOWLAND.COM
Rafael Jaen (Costume Design) has been designing costumes for more than 25 years. His most recent works includeCompany, Buyer and Cellar (Lyric Stage), Krazy Kat (Bowdoin College), Bat Boy, Comedy of Errors (UMass Boston), Edith Can Shoot Things,and Hit Them (Company One). He serves at the USITT Board of Directors, and he is the national Design-Technology Chair for the Kennedy Center KCACTF. He is the recipient of the UMass Boston Manning Prize for Excellence in Teaching, the Salem State Life Achievement Award in the Arts, and the Kennedy Center (KCACTF) Golden Medallion for Excellence in Theater Education. He is an Associate Professor at UMASS Boston, and he is the author of SHOWCASE by FOCAL Press, Digital Costume Design and Collaboration by Routledge, and co-author of two chapters in Fashioning Horror, Dressing to Kill on Screen and Literature by Bloomsbury. Member USA 829/IATSE. RAFAELJAEN.BIZ
Franklin Meissner, Jr.** (Lighting Design) is pleased to return to the Lyric Stage after designing the lighting for Company, Peter and the Starcatcher, Sweeney Todd (IRNE Award), By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, Avenue Q, Ain’t Misbehavin’, and The Understudy. His work has also been seen Off- and Off-Off Broadway in NYC, at the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre (IRNE Award), New Repertory Theatre (three IRNE Awards), Wheelock Family Theatre (Elliot Norton award), The Boston Conservatory, Stoneham Theatre, SpeakEasy Stage, Northeastern University, Central Square Theater, the North Shore Music Theatre, the South Shore Music Circus, Sanders Theatre, various corporate events and colleges around the state, and at 40 Carnegie Hall performances. Mr. Meissner is a member of United Scenic Artists. For Abby – “You’ll be swell, you’ll be great. Gonna have the whole world on a plate!” FranklinMeissner.com.
Andrew Duncan Will (Sound Design) previously designed Murder For Two, Company, Sondheim on Sondheim, Dear Elizabeth, Sweeney Todd, Into The Woods, and One Man Two Guvnors for the Lyric Stage. Recent local sound designs include productions for Boston Public Works, Stoneham Theatre, Fresh Ink, Hasty Pudding, SpeakEasy Stage, Lyric Stage, Bad Habit Productions, Flotsam Productions, Gloucester Stage, Puppet Showplace Theater, Company One, New Rep, Commonwealth Shakespeare, The Poets’ Theatre, and A.R.T. Institute. Andrew received an M.F.A. in Sound Design from Boston University.
* 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)
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
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.”
“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”
“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.”
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.
“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.”
“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.”
“…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).”
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.
Leigh Barrett* (Florence Foster Jenkins) was seen just last month as Rose in Gypsy. Other Lyric Stage credits include Company, Sondheim on Sondheim, City of Angels, Grey Gardens, Souvenir, Nicholas Nickelby, Big River, Animal Crackers, Follies, A Little Night Music, Mikado, Nuncrackers, and Sunday in the Park with George. Other area credits include Closer Than Ever,Ragtime, Threepenny Opera, Indulgences, Side by Side by Sondheim, The World Goes ‘Round, Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods, and Wild Party (New Rep), Passion, Great American Trailer Park Musical, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, The Drowsy Chaperone, Elegies, A Class Act, Adding Machine (SpeakEasy Stage), Marry Me a Little, Jacques Brel (Gloucester Stage), Alice, Sound of Music (Wheelock Family Theater), Company (Moonbox Productions), Gypsy, Picnic, John & Jen, You Never Know, Pal Joey (Stoneham Theatre), A Christmas Carol, Singing in the Rain, and Sweeney Todd (North Shore Music Theatre), Mud Blue Sky (Bridge Rep), and Car Talk, the Musical! (Central Square Theater). She is the proud recipient of two Elliot Norton Awards and two IRNE Awards. She is an independent vocal/acting coach in Reading. Love to HB and my boys Nick and Matt! LEIGHBARRETT.COM
Will McGarrahan* (Cosmé McMoon) returns to the Lyric Stage where he performed in Stage Kiss, Company, Peter and the Starcatcher, Light Up the Sky, Into the Woods, Death of a Salesman, Becky’s New Car, The Chosen, The Temperamentals, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Grey Gardens, November, Souvenir, and Dirty Blonde. Other local credits include The Bridges of Madison County, Casa Valentina, Big Fish, Far from Heaven, Next Fall, The Drowsy Chaperone, Reckless, Some Men, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Five By Tenn, Company, The Last Sunday in June, Elegies: A Song Cycle, Ruthless!, A Class Act, A New Brain (SpeakEasy Stage), Mame (Stoneham Theater), A Raisin in the Sun (Huntington Theatre), The Wind in the Willows and Happy Days (Gloucester Stage); Nine Circles (Publick Theatre and Gloucester Stage), The Moon For The Misbegotten,Buried Child (Nora Theater), and The Wrestling Patient (SpeakEasy Stage/Boston Playwrights/40 Magnolias). Will worked as an actor, singer, and pianist for many years in Seattle before moving to Boston’s South End.
Spiro Veloudos (Director, Producing Artistic Director), now celebrating his 20th season as Producing Artistic Director of the Lyric Stage, directed Company and Camelot last season. In previous seasons, he directed Sondheim by Sondheim, Peter and the Starcatcher, Sweeney Todd, City of Angels, Into the Woods(Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE) Awards for Best Director, Best Musical, and Best Ensemble),One Man, Two Guvnors,Death of a Salesman (IRNE Award for Best Play),The Mikado, 33 Variations, On the Town, Avenue Q (Elliot Norton Awards for Outstanding Musical and Outstanding Ensemble, five IRNE Awards including Best Musical and Best Director), The Life and Adventures ofNicholas Nickleby (Elliot Norton Award for Best Production and Best Director, five IRNE Awards including Best Director), Big River, Superior Donuts, Animal Crackers, Blithe Spirit, Lady Day at Emerson’sBar & Grill, and Kiss Me, Kate. Spiro received the Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award from Salem State College. He was the recipient of the 2006 Elliot Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence. During his tenure, the Lyric Stage has earned numerous awards and honors including Elliot Norton Awards for Outstanding Production (Nicholas Nickleby, Speech & Debate, Miss Witherspoon, The OldSettler), and Outstanding Musical Production (Sunday in the Park with George); IRNE Awards for Outstanding Production (Nicholas Nickleby, The Old Settler, GlengarryGlen Ross), and Outstanding Musical Production (Grey Gardens,Urinetown: The Musical, A LittleNight Music, Sunday in the Park with George). His numerous directing credits at the Lyric Stage include A Little Night Music (IRNE Award for Direction), Glengarry GlenRoss(IRNE Award), Sunday in the Park with George (Best of the Year in Boston’s Globe, Herald, and Phoenix; Elliot Norton and IRNE Award for direction), Assassins (Best Production of 1998: The Boston Globe), Lostin Yonkers, Never the Sinner: The Leopold andLoeb Story (Elliot Norton Award, along with Assassins), andSpeed-the-Plow (Elliot Norton for Outstanding Production). Mr. Veloudos received StageSource’s Theatre Hero Award (2003) and was named Best Artistic Director by Boston Magazine in 1999. He serves as the president for the Producers’ Association of New England Area Theatres, and is adjunct faculty in Performing Arts at Emerson College.
Skip Curtiss (Scenic Design) returns to the Lyric Stage with this production of Souvenir, after designing the scenery for the 2007 production. His previous Lyric Stage designs include Fully Committed, A Number, Dying City, Speech and Debate, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, and Broke-ology. Additionally, Mr. Curtiss has worked as a scenic designer for companies in the Boston area, such as the Actor’s Shakespeare Project, the ART Institute, and Shakespeare NOW. Previously, he was Production Manager for four seasons at the Lyric Stage (2002-2006). He has been Associate Production Manager for the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge for eleven years and Production Manager of the A.R.T.’s immersive second stage, Oberon, since its creation in 2009. From 2006 to 2014, Mr. Curtiss was also Technical Director and Production Manager to the A.R.T.’s Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University. During his career in theatrical production, he has also worked with Hartford TheaterWorks, Goodspeed Musicals, The GAMM Theater, Brown University, and other New England theaters.
Gail Astrid Buckley** (Costume Design) returns to the Lyric Stage having designed many productions including Light Up the Sky and Sondheim on Sondheim. Recent designs include The Marriage of Figaro (Boston Lyric Opera), The Empaths (Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater), and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night (SpeakEasy Stage). Upcoming work includes the 10th anniversary of A Christmas Carol (Hanover Theater), the opera Dead Man Walking (Boston Conservatory), and She Loves Me(Stoneham Theatre). Gail has received two Elliot Norton Awards and two IRNE Awards for Costume Design. Gail is a proud member of United Scenic Artists Local 829.
Chris Hudacs (Lighting Design) returns to the Lyric Stage having previously designed Stage Kiss, Intimate Apparel, and Sondheim on Sondheim. Chris has designed lights for Boston Lyric Opera, Pilobolus Dance Theater, The A.R.T./MXAT Institute, New England Conservatory, Sylvain Emard’s “Le Grand Continental” (Celebrity Series of Boston), Pickleshoes Family Theater, Tiffany Mills Company (NYC), Gallim Dance (NYC), he York Theatre (NYC), Toy Box Theatre (NYC), Nancy Meehan Dance (NYC), Paula Josa-Jones (MA), Trinity College (Hartford, CT), Rites & Reason Theatre (Brown University) and many others. In addition, Chris has toured as a Production Manager/Technical Director with Pilobolus, Shen Wei Dance Arts, David Dorfman Dance, Doug Varone and Dancers, and Stephen Petronio Dance Company. WHODAXLD.COM
David Wilson** (Sound Design) returns to the Lyric Stage having previously designed City of Angels andBarbecue. He has designed lighting or sound for over 350 productions of opera, theater, concert, and dance. He has served on the faculty of Brandeis University, heading the graduate program in sound design, and has designed and taught at Boston College, Boston Conservatory of Music, Bowdoin, Emerson, Harvard, New England Conservatory, Tufts, Suffolk and UMASS-Lowell. His designs for theater at other companies include Boston Playwrights, Central City Opera, Company One, Dibble Dance, Gloucester Stage, Merrimack Rep, Moonbox, New Rep, Nora, North Shore Music Theater, Stoneham, Shakespeare and Co, WHAT and Wheelock Family Theater. Recent designs include sound and music for The Comedy of Errors (Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Elliot Norton Award) andEdward II (Actors Shakespeare Project, Elliot Norton Award). dw-design.com
Diane McLean* (Production Stage Manager) returns to the Lyric Stage having been PSM for Barbecue, Warrior Class, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? last season. She has also stage managed at Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Hartford Stage, Berkshire Theatre Festival, The Kennedy Center, and was resident stage manager at Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany, NY. Diane received her M.F.A. in Stage Management at Boston University. Love to H and C
Geena M. Forristall (Assistant Stage Manager) returns to Lyric Stage after previously working on Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? last season. Select credits include Julius Caesar, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, The Tempest, Cymbeline (Commonwealth Shakespeare Company), The Weird (Off The Grid Theatre Company), Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. (Company One), The Winter’s Tale, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet (Bay Colony Shakespeare Company), and Sleep No More (Punchdrunk NYC/Emursive). She is also the production stage manager for the international tour of Kultar’s Mime, a devised play that blends painting, poetry, theatre, and music to explore the repetition of violence, the exploitation of minorities, and the corruption of politics. Geena holds a B.F.A. in Theatre Arts Production from Hofstra University.WWW.GMFORRISTALL.COM
Joshua Shelor (Assistant to the Director) joins the Lyric Stage for his first production. Previous work includes When January Feels Like Summer (Underground Railway Theatre), Gentle Hands (Furnace Fringe Festival), The Importance of Chastity (Emerson Shakespeare Society), and American Idiot (Musical Theatre Society of Emerson College). Mr. Shelor is a recent graduate of Emerson College, where he received a B.F.A. in Theatre and Performance. He wants to thank Spiro Veloudos for letting him have a voice in Souvenir, and to his family for letting him pursue his dreams.
Born in London, Stephen Temperley first came to the U.S. as a teenager. He acted in several plays for the Public Theatre before returning to London. There he performed in the West End, on television and in repertory. Since returning to the U.S. he has worked extensively in regional theatres and stock, on Broadway (the original company of Crazy for You) and off Broadway (Up Against It) at The Public. The first of his plays to be produced was Beside the Seaside at the Hudson Guild. Plays that followed include Money/Mercy at the Chelsea Theatre Center (Mercy was later seen at the first HBO New Writers Workshop in Los Angeles) and Dance With Me, first seen at the 18th Street Theatre and then at Centenary Stage. Workshops include That Kind Of Woman for Dodger Productions and In the Country of the Free for the Mint. He made an appearance at the Berkshire Theatre Festival in Amadeus in 2006 and premiered his play The Pilgrim Papers, directed by Vivian Matalon, in July at the same festival. Souvenir also debuted at the Berkshire Theatre Festival before it played Broadway.
* 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.
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.
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.
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
“An extraordinary relevant message for today!” — Chicago Star Tribune
“Absorbing, rewarding, surprisingly humorous and openhearted!” — Seattle Times
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.
“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.”
“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.”
“[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.”
“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.”
“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.”
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
“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.”
Michael Hisamoto* (Gordon Hirabayashi) is a Boston-based actor, playwright, educator, and director. Recent acting credits include Stage Kiss, Fast Company (Lyric Stage), Charlotte’s Web (Wheelock Family Theatre), Yellow Face (The Office of War Information), The Ordinary Epic (Crose to Home Productions), and The Important Thing About Earthquakes (Watertown Children’s Theatre). Upcoming productions include Virginia Woolf’s Orlando (Lyric Stage) and Allegiance (SpeakEasy Stage). A strong proponent of new work, Michael has developed and workshopped new plays for companies like The Huntington Theatre Company, The Williamstown Theatre Festival, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, HowlRound, Fresh Ink Theatre Company, and more. In addition to his acting work, Michael was a Playwriting Resident at the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival, and has directed or assisted on numerous productions across Boston, and briefly led a children’s theatre troupe in Southern California, where he was also recognized for his work as a youth in the theatre by the California State Assembly and Senate. Michael believes in educating the next generation of artists, teaching and having taught at multiple institutions, and happily offers career consultation free of charge to young artists of color. Michael is a graduate of The Orange County School of the Arts and Boston University. MICHAELHISAMOTO.COM
Khloe Alice Lin (kurogo) is making her Lyric Stage debut. Her recent Boston credits include The Weird (Off the Grid), peerless (Company One), and Bear Patrol (Vaquero Playground). Next, she will be seen in Nomad Americana (Fresh Ink). She was in the original cast of the Chinese premiere of Vagina Monologues, and has performed extensively in China in her native tongue, Mandarin. She is a proud graduate of UC Berkeley with a degree in Comparative Literature and Theater. Love to my husband, Tyler.
Gary Thomas Ng* (kurogo) returns the Lyric Stage where he performed in Sideshow. Other credits include Miss Saigon (Ogunquit Playhouse, Worcester Foothills Theatre), Grease, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Footloose (Ogunquit Playhouse), Children of Eden (North Shore Music Theatre),Billy Elliot, A Year With Frog and Toad, Beauty and the Beast, Seussical, Annie, Peter Pan, HONK!, The Will Rogers Follies, Hello Dolly (Wheelock Family Theatre), A Chorus Line, The Boys Next Door, Children of Eden(SRT), and the Far East tour of Cole Porter’s Aladdin. Gary is also a photographer whose works include production photos for Ogunquit Playhouse, Gloucester Stage, and Wheelock Family Theatre.
Samantha Richert* (kurogo) returns to the Lyric Stage having previously been seen in City of Angelsand Becky’s New Car. Other local theatre credits include Elemeno Pea (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre), The Tempest (Actors’ Shakespeare Project), Lucky Stiff (Greater Boston Stage Company), Snow White and the Seven Bottoms, Jesus Christ, It’s Christmas! (Gold Dust Orphans), Ryan Landry’s ‘M’ (Huntington Theatre), The How and the Why (Central Square Theater), Much Ado About Nothing (Fiasco Productions),Moonchildren, Babes in Arms, A Christmas Carol, and Candide (Berkshire Theatre Group). Samantha holds an M.F.A. in Acting from Brandeis University and currently teaches for the Theatre Department at Northeastern University. She is also an educator, director, and movement and fight coordinator for various schools and youth theatre programs in the area. SAMANTHARICHERT.COM
Jeanne Sakata’s (Playwright) acclaimed solo play Hold These Truths (2013 Drama Desk Nomination, Outstanding Solo Performance), is slated for December productions with the Lyric Stage Company of Boston and NYC’s Hang A Tale at the Sheen Center, as well as at Washington DC’s Arena Stage in the spring of 2018. It was recently produced at Pasadena Playhouse, the Guthrie Theatre, Portland Center Stage, Perseverance Theatre, ACT Seattle, New Century Theatre, PlayMakers Repertory Company, and Epic Theatre Ensemble, following its 2007 world premiere at Los Angeles’ East West Players. As an actor, Jeanne has performed with the Public Theater, Kennedy Center, Mark Taper Forum, La Jolla Playhouse, South Coast Rep, American Conservatory Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, People’s Light and Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Intiman Theatre, A Contemporary Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival Portland Center Stage, Syracuse Stage and the Arizona Theatre Company. Her recent TV and film credits include Big Hero6, the internationally acclaimed indie film Advantageous, Dr. Ken, and Bravo’s True Fiction. Special honors: LA Ovation Award, Outstanding Lead Actress for Chay Yew’s Red, City of Pasadena Certificate of Recognition for Hold These Truths, Lee Melville Award for Outstanding Contribution to LA Theatre Community from Playwrights’ Arena, and LA Pacific American Friends of Theatre Outstanding Artist Award. JEANNSAKATA.COM holdthesetruths.info
Benny Sato Ambush (Director) returns to the Lyric Stage, having directed Nathan Jackson’s Broke-ology in 2011. An educator, consultant, and former National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) panelist/site evaluator and published commentator, he served for the past nine years as Senior Distinguished Producing Director-In-Residence of Emerson Stage, the producing wing of the Department of Performing Arts (PA) at Emerson College, and taught on PA’s acting and directing faculty. He has been Acting Artistic Director, Rites and Reason Theatre Company, Providence, RI; Producing Artistic Director, Oakland (CA) Ensemble Theatre; Associate Artistic Director, San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater; Co-Artistic Director, San Francisco Bay Area Playwrights Festival; PEW Charitable Trust/TCG Director in Residence, Florida Stage; Associate Artistic Director, Anna Deavere Smith’s Institute on the Arts & Civic Dialogue at Harvard University; and Producing Artistic Director,TheatreVirginia (LORT C). He is one of only fifteen persons of color to have ever been Artistic Director of a LORT theatre. He has directed at many professional regional theatres throughout the U.S. and the Boston region, toured the former Soviet Union and Kenya via the United States Information Agency, and served as Director (equivalent to Department Chair) of the Institute for Teledramatic Arts and Technology at California State University- Monterey Bay. He taught at the B.A., B.F.A. and M.F.A. level at many universities and colleges throughout the nation. He has served on numerous regional and national boards, including Theatre Communications Group (TCG), and is an active advocate for cultural equity, non-traditional casting and pluralism in the American theater. He adjudicates nationally and internationally for the American Association of Community Theatres, is an Executive and Steering Committee member of the National Alliance of Acting Teachers, and is a member of The National Theatre Conference. M.F.A. in Directing, University of California, San Diego; B.A. in Theatre Arts and Dramatic Literature, Brown University.
Jubilith Moore (Choreographer) is a performer, director, teaching artist and producer for the theatre who has devoted her professional life to exploring the ongoing life of traditional Japanese and contemporary American theatre. She has studied noh with Richard Emmert, Akira Matsui and Kinue Oshima (Kita School) and kyogen with Yukio Ishida and Yuriko Doi (Izumi School). She is a Founding Company Member of Theatre Nohgaku and was Artistic Director of Theatre of Yugen from 2001-2014 and with the company from 1993-2014. She has been acknowledged by the Japan Foundation, Theatre Bay Area, Theatre Communications Group and the Center for Cultural Innovation.
Shelley Barish (Scenic Design) returns to the Lyric Stage after designing Camelot, Murder for Two, Mr. Burns, a post-electric play, Dear Elizabeth, and Becky’s New Car. Recent Boston-area designs include Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me, Top Girls, The Real Inspector Hound, The Real Thing (Bad Habit Productions), Mr. Burns (Northeastern University) and EEP! Show (New Exhibition Room). Other design credits include The Addams Family, West Side Story, Cards on the Table, Appointment with Death (Cortland Repertory Theatre), Boom!, Barefoot In The Park, Private Lives, Next Fall , Art (Bristol Valley Theatre), Assassins (Eastman School of Music), and New Moon, HMS Pinafore (The Ohio Light Opera). She is an associate professor in the Theatre Arts Program at UMASS Lowell and received her M.F.A from Michigan State University. SHELLEYBARISH.COM
Tobi Rinaldi (Costume Design) returns to the Lyric Stage having previously designed Murder for Two. He has recently designed costumes for the Spring Opera at Walnut Hill School for the Arts (The Finishing School), Assistant Design for The Bridges of Madison County (SpeakEasy Stage), and the independent film Randy’s Canvas (non-profit benefiting The Autism Project, RI). This is his second season also working at the Lyric Stage as Wardrobe Supervisor. He has previously worked in Theatre and Film in Hawaii as a Costume Designer and Wardrobe Supervisor as well as an instructor at EMC (English Musical Theatre Camp) in South Korea. Tobi earned his B.A. in Theatre from the University of Hawaii where he has had the opportunity to train and work in traditional Japanese Theatre and Costuming under Japanese Kita School of Noh Masters as well as in Chinese Acting, Costuming, and Make Up under Instructors from the Jiangsu Province Beijing Opera Company.
Karen Perlow** (Lighting Design) has been a Boston-area designer for over 20 years. She returns to the Lyric STage where favorite productions include: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Death of a Salesman, Water by the Spoonful, Time Stands Still, My Name Is Asher Lev, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Miss Witherspoon, Urinetown, the Musical, Dirty Blonde, and Lobby Hero. Earlier this season she designed The Royale(Merrimack Repertory Theater), and Peer Gynt (Boston Symphony Orchestra). Later this season she will design Shakespeare in Love (SpeakEasy Stage), Two Jews Walk into a War (New Repertory Theater), andAnna Christie back here at the Lyric Stage. She is a three-time winner of the IRNE Award for Best Lighting Design (2009, 2007, 2002), and NYC SOLO Fest 2013. Karen has taught Light Design at Northeastern and MIT as well as English to Speakers of Other Languages with the YMCA. Member USA 829.
Arshan Gailus** (Sound Design and Original Music) returns to the Lyric Stage after designing sound and composing music for Stage Kiss, Fast Company, Chinglish, Avenue Q, The Temperamentals, Superior Donuts, The Understudy, Blithe Spirit, and Legacy of Light. He has created soundscapes and original music for theater companies including ArtsEmerson, The Huntington Theatre, Shakespeare & Company, Contemporary American Theater Festival, A.R.T Institute, New Repertory Theater, Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Brandeis University, The Nora Theatre Company, SpeakEasy Stage, Gloucester Stage, and Company One. Arshan was awarded the 2016 IRNE Award for Best Sound Design (Small Theater) for his design of appropriate (SpeakEasy Stage) and was a member of the Elliot Norton Award winningdesign teams for The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity (Company One, 2012) and Twelfth Night (Actors’ Shakespeare Project, 2011). Arshan teaches Sound Design at Emerson College where he serves as Resident Sound Designer for Emerson Stage, and he has designed sound and composed original music for independent video games in the Boston area and internationally. Arshan holds a B.S. in Music from MIT. ARSHANGAILUS.COM
* 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)
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
“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.”
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.
“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.”
Neil A. Casey* (Addison Mizner) has appeared at the Lyric Stage in When Pigs Fly, One Man Two Govners, It’s All True, Assassins, Nicklas Nickelby. and Noises Off just to name a few. Other credits include TheDazzel, My Fair Lady, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Woman in Black (Stoneham), Hamlet, 42nd Street (NSMT), Theatre District, Take Me Out (SpeakEasy Stage). National tour: The Diary of Anne Frank. International tour: 42nd Street. B.F.A., Niagara University. M.F.A., The Shakespeare Theatre Company through George Washington University.
Tony Castellanos* (Wilson Mizner) returns to the Lyric Stage having appeared in My Fair Lady and City of Angels. Other recent work includes In the Heights (Wheelock Family Theatre), Sister Act (Arkansas Rep, Walnut Street Theatre (Philadelphia), Riverside Theatre (FL), The Drowsy Chaperone (Theatre by the Sea),Man of La Mancha (Seacoast Rep), and Jesus Christ Superstar (National Tour). Originally from Phoenix, AZ. B.F.A. in Musical Theatre, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.
Jordan Clark* (Myrna/Ensemble) returns to the Lyric Stage where she was previously seen in Gypsy, Camelot, Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play, Light Up the Sky, and Death of a Salesman. Other recent credits include Mrs. Packard (Bridge Rep), Significant Other (SpeakEasy Stage), Journey to the West,Arabian Nights(Central Square Theater), The Trumpet of the Swan, Pinocchio,Where the Mountain Meets the Moon(Wheelock Family Theatre), You For Me For You, She Kills Monsters (Company One), and Blue Window(Brown Box Theatre Project). Jordan holds a degree in Vocal Performance from The University of the Incarnate Word in her hometown of San Antonio, TX.
Shannon Lee Jones* (Ensemble) returns to the Lyric Stage where she last appeared in Gypsy, and previously in Working. On Broadway: Angelique in the original La Cage aux Folles. Tours include A Chorus Line, Hello Dolly (Carol Channing), Funny Girl, and the first national tour of La Cage aux Folles. Local Credits: Billy Elliot (Ocean State Theater), Mary Poppins (Wheelock Family Theater), Carnival (Gloucester Stage), Into the Woods w/Rachel York (Reagle Music Theater),The World Goes ‘Round, Cabaret (New Rep),My Fair Lady (Stoneham Theater), Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (Foothills Theater), and A Chorus Line(North Shore Music Theater). Regional: Mamma Mia, Gypsy, Hairspray, The Drowsy Chaperone, Anything Goes, and Mame (Arts Center of Coastal Carolina), Cabaret (Barrington Stage), Guys and Dolls (Long Wharf Theater). Television & Film: The Judge, Guiding Light, All My Children, and The Irving Berlin Special at Carnegie Hall. Shannon teaches the Alexander Technique at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee.
Robin Long* (Ensemble) returns to the Lyric Stage after appearing in Ain’t Misbehavin’. Robin’s recent area credits include Billy Elliot and Alice (Wheelock Theatre), Rent (New Rep), Shear Madness (Charles Playhouse). Other credits include Seussical the Musical, The Full Monty (Marriott Theatre), Why Do Fools Fall in Love (Milwaukee Repertory Theatre), Smokey Joe’s Café (The Skylight), and Little Shop of Horrors (Straz). B.A.in Performing Arts, University of Tampa.
David Makransky (Ensemble) is making his Lyric Stage debut. Recent credits include Romeo and Juliet (Bay Colony Shakespeare Company), The Tempest, (Sterling Renaissance), Legally Blonde (Academy Playhouse), Evita, Carousel, and Servant of Two Masters (Boston College). David graduated from Boston College in May with a degree in Theatre Arts, where he worked with the Prison Arts Outreach program to bring artistic workshops to MA state prisons.
Will McGarrahan* (Ensemble) returns to the Lyric Stage where he performed in Stage Kiss, Company, Peter and the Starcatcher, Light Up the Sky, Into the Woods, Death of a Salesman, Becky’s New Car, The Chosen, The Temperamentals, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Grey Gardens, November, Souvenir, and Dirty Blonde. Other local credits include The Bridges of Madison County, Casa Valentina, Big Fish, Far from Heaven, Next Fall, The Drowsy Chaperone, Reckless, Some Men, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Five By Tenn, Company, The Last Sunday in June, Elegies: A Song Cycle, Ruthless!, A Class Act, A New Brain (SpeakEasy Stage), Mame (Stoneham Theater), A Raisin in the Sun (Huntington Theatre), The Wind in the Willows and Happy Days (Gloucester Stage); Nine Circles (Publick Theatre and Gloucester Stage), The Moon For The Misbegotten,Buried Child (Nora Theater), and The Wrestling Patient (SpeakEasy Stage/Boston Playwrights/40 Magnolias). Will worked as an actor, singer, and pianist for many years in Seattle before moving to Boston’s South End.
Sean McGuirk* (Papa Mizner/Ensemble) last appeared at the Lyric Stage in Urinetown, the Musical. Local performances include Much Ado About Nothing (CSC, Shakespeare on the Common), Shear Madness (Charles Playhouse) and Double Indemnity, You Never Know,Mame (Stoneham Theater), Moby Dick, an American Opera (New Rep), Casa Valentina, Company, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Caroline or Change, Adding Machine, the Musical (SpeakEasy Stage). He received an IRNE Award for A Man of No Importance (co-production Súgán Theater). Regional credits include Whaleship Essex (Vineyard Playhouse), A Christmas Carol & Red (Theater Workshop of Nantucket), A Few Good Men (Casa Mañana), A Living Room In Africa (Gloucester Stage), and Born Yesterday and Race (Ocean State Theater). Next up: Calendar Girls (Greater Boston Stage Company). SEANMCGUIRK.COM
Brandon Milardo (Ensemble) returns to the Lyric Stage, having previously appeared in City of Angels and The Mikado and as an understudy for Camelot. He has most recently appeared in The Real Inspector Hound (Bad Habit Productions), Martha, The Bartered Bride, and The Merry Wives of Windsor (Boston Midsummer Opera), Threepenny Opera and Brundibar (Commonwealth Opera), and La bohème and Dead Man Walking (Boston Opera Collaborative). He has also appeared in performances with Mssng Lnks, where he was a teaching artist.
Vanessa J. Schukis* (Mama Mizner/Ensemble) last appeared at the Lyric Stage in A Little Night Music and has had a multi-faceted career as a character mezzo, actress, standup comedian, stage director, choreographer, vocal coach, educator, author, and administrator. She has sung a wide variety of operatic, oratorio, and Broadway repertoire to great critical acclaim and has performed roles with the Boston National Company of Nunsense starring Pat Carroll and Alice Ghostley, Boston Lyric Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Opera Providence, New England Light Opera, Intermezzo Chamber Opera, Raylynmoor Opera, Wheelock Family Theater, Lyric Stage Company of Boston, New Opera and Musical Theater Initiative, Opera New England, Longwood Opera Company, Northeastern Repertory Theater, Boston Publick Theater, the Stoneham Theater, Fine Arts Chorale in Weymouth and Newton Symphony. Vanessa is known throughout New England for her role as Julia Child in Bon Appétit. Ms. Schukis has been a soloist/section leader for the historic Old North Church, Boston, Massachusetts for 30 years and continues to perform in theater, opera, and concert engagements throughout the United States and has performed in Austria. Special performances that deserve mentioning are National Anthem at a Boston Red Sox Game at Fenway, National Anthem on the U.S.S. Constitution (Old Ironsides) turn around, National Anthem at New England Dragway, Epping, NH and the National Anthem at Lebanon Valley Speedway, MA, and a televised performance with The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Salt Lake City, UT. In addition to being a performer, Vanessa is an award-winning teacher with over thirty years experience in performing arts education focusing on students with learning disabilities and special needs. Currently Vanessa teaches music at The Murphy School, Dorchester, MA and The Harvard-Kent School in Charlestown, MA through the outreach program of The Community Music Center of Boston. In 2014, Vanessa received the MacDill award for excellence in teaching. Ms. Schukis has been member of the guest faculty at New England Conservatory, Boston, MA and visiting faculty at Longy School of Music Cambridge, MA.
Patrick Varner* (Hollis) returns to the Lyric after appearing in Sondheim on Sondheim, Buyer and Cellar, and City of Angels. Recent Credits: Merrily We Roll Along, Sunday in the Park with George, A Little Night Music (Huntington Theatre), Fiddler on the Roof, Assassins (New Rep), Dogfight (SpeakEasy Stage), Brundibar & But, the Giraffe! (Central Square Theatre), Buyer and Cellar (6th Street Playhouse). Mr. Varner holds a B.F.A. in Acting from Boston University and studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. PATRICKVARNERACTOR.COM. For Sarah.
Spiro Veloudos (Co-Director, Producing Artistic Director), now celebrating his 20th season as Producing Artistic Director of the Lyric Stage, directed Souvenir this season, and Company and Camelotlast season. In previous seasons, he directed Sondheim by Sondheim, Peter and the Starcatcher, Sweeney Todd, City of Angels, Into the Woods (Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE) Awards for Best Director, Best Musical, and Best Ensemble),One Man, Two Guvnors,Death of a Salesman (IRNE Award for Best Play),The Mikado, 33 Variations, On the Town, Avenue Q (Elliot Norton Awards for Outstanding Musical and Outstanding Ensemble, five IRNE Awards including Best Musical and Best Director), The Life and Adventures ofNicholas Nickleby (Elliot Norton Award for Best Production and Best Director, five IRNE Awards including Best Director), Big River, Superior Donuts, Animal Crackers, Blithe Spirit, Lady Day at Emerson’sBar & Grill, and Kiss Me, Kate. Spiro received the Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award from Salem State College. He was the recipient of the 2006 Elliot Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence. During his tenure, the Lyric Stage has earned numerous awards and honors including Elliot Norton Awards for Outstanding Production (Nicholas Nickleby, Speech & Debate, Miss Witherspoon, The OldSettler), and Outstanding Musical Production (Sunday in the Park with George); IRNE Awards for Outstanding Production (Nicholas Nickleby, The Old Settler, GlengarryGlen Ross), and Outstanding Musical Production (Grey Gardens, Urinetown: The Musical, A LittleNight Music, Sunday in the Park with George). His numerous directing credits at the Lyric Stage include A Little Night Music (IRNE Award for Direction), Glengarry GlenRoss (IRNE Award), Sunday in the Park with George (Best of the Year in Boston’sGlobe, Herald, and Phoenix; Elliot Norton and IRNE Award for direction), Assassins (Best Production of 1998: The Boston Globe), Lostin Yonkers, Never the Sinner: The Leopold andLoeb Story (Elliot Norton Award, along with Assassins), and Speed-the-Plow (Elliot Norton for Outstanding Production). Mr. Veloudos received StageSource’s Theatre Hero Award (2003) and was named Best Artistic Director byBoston Magazine in 1999. He serves as the president for the Producers’ Association of New England Area Theatres, and is adjunct faculty in Performing Arts at Emerson College.
Ilyse Robbins (Co-Director/Choreographer) returns to the Lyric Stage after creating the choreography for both Sondheim on Sondheim and Peter and the Starcatcher. At the Lyric Stage she directed and choreographed Working and choreographed Peter and the Starcatcher, Sondheim on Sondheim, On the Town, Avenue Q, Kiss Me Kate, Grey Gardens, Speech and Debate, Follies, Man of La Mancha, 1776, Urinetown (IRNE Award, Best Choreography), Shakespeare in Hollywood, A Little Night Music, When Pigs Fly ‘03, Dirty Blonde, Sunday in the Park with George, Curse of the Bambino, A my Name Is Also Alice (IRNE Award, Best Choreography),World Goes ‘Round (IRNE Award, Best Choreography), She Loves Me, Never the Sinner, Assassins. Acting credits at the Lyric Stage: On the Town, Lost in Yonkers, She Loves Me, Urinetown, Shakespeare in Hollywood. Other directing credits: United Solo Festival New York City, Greater Boston Stage Company (Elliot Norton Award, Best Direction for Thoroughly Modern Millie), New Repertory Theatre, UpStage Lung Cancer, Wheelock Family Theatre Summer Youth Intensive. Other choreography credits: SpeakEasy Stage Company (IRNE Award, Best Choreography for Scottsboro Boys), Hanover Theatre, Greater Boston Stage Company (IRNE Award, Best Choreography for 42nd Street and H2$), New Rep (IRNE Award, Best Choreography for Das Barbecue), Underground Railway, Fiddlehead Theatre, Overture Productions, Jewish Theater of New England, American Stage Festival, Boston Theatre Works, Wheelock Family Theatre, Hope Repertory Theatre, Museum of Science, Publick Theatre (IRNE Award, Best Choreography for Gypsy), Boston Women on Top Festival, Liberty Mutual, Fidelity. Acting credits: Lyric Stage Company of Boston, Greater Boston Stage Company, New Rep (IRNE Award, Best Ensemble for The Wild Party), Hanover Theatre, Wheelock Family Theatre, New Arts at the Modern Theater, Fiddlehead, Reagle Players, Publick Theatre. Coming up, Ilyse will be choreographing Allegiance for SpeakEasy Stage Company. Ilyse holds a B.S. in Theater from Northwestern University and an Ed.M. from Harvard University. She teaches Musical Theatre Performance at Northeastern University and Creative Drama Ed. at Brandeis University. Ilyse is a presentation skills coach and works for Mohr Collaborative and Ovation Communication. Associate Member of SSDC. Here’s to another collaboration with Spiro and Jon. ILYSEROBBINS.COM
Jonathan Goldberg (Music Director) has won four IRNE Awards for the musical direction of Lyric Stage’s Kiss Me, Kate, Grey Gardens, Man of La Mancha, and A Little Night Music. Other Lyric shows include Sondheim on Sondheim, Sweeney Todd, Working, On the Town, The Mikado, Big River,The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Follies, 1776, Urinetown, Sunday in the Park with George, She Loves Me, and Assassins, and the last nine seasons of the Lyric First Stage summer teen program. Jon is full-time faculty in the Musical Theatre program at Emerson College, and has been music director for Emerson Stage productions of Titanic, Guys and Dolls, Merrily We Roll Along, The Spitfire Grill, Carousel,Starting Here, Starting Now, Two Gentlemen Of Verona, Standardized Testing, She Loves Me, Man of La Mancha, Nine, Into the Woods, Illyria,City of Angels, Bat Boy, Little Women, and Assassins. Other credits include Pacific Overtures (North Shore Music Theatre) and numerous productions at Wheelock Family Theatre (most recently Billy Elliot).
CristinaTodesco** (Scenic Design) returns to the Lyric Stage after designing 33 Variations, The Understudy, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Grey Gardens, Three Tall Women, Arms and the Man, and A Little Night Music. Theater companies include Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Boston Conservatory, Boston Playwrights, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Company One, A.R.T. Institute, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, the Culture Project, Gloucester Stage, Huntington Theatre, Israeli Stage, Merrimack Repertory Theater, New Repertory Theater, Olney Theater Center, Poet’s Theater, SpeakeasyStage, Summer Play Festival, Trinity Rep, Wheelock Family Theater, Williamstown Theater Festival, among many more. She is the recipient of four Eliot Norton Awards and one IRNE Award for Outstanding Design. She holds an M.F.A. in scenic design from BU’s School of Theatre Arts, where she currently teaches.
John R. Malinowski (Lighting Design) previously designed City of Angels, Working, The Chosen, The Temperamentals, Animal Crackers, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Side Man, Communicating Doors, When Pigs Fly, and The Heiress at the Lyric Stage. Other area credits: Oceanside, Visiting Mr. Green (Merrimack Rep), Cherry Orchard, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, King John, Hamlet,Julius Caesar (Actors’ Shakespeare Project), Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, As You Like It (Commonwealth Shakespeare Company), Kiss of the Spiderwoman (IRNE Award, Outstanding Lighting Design), The Seafarer, Caroline, Or Change, Take Me Out (SpeakEasy Stage), Angels in America, Parts 1 and 2 (Boston Theatre Works), St. Nicholas (A.R.T. and Súgán Theatre), Arcadia (Nora Theatre), and the first national tour of Santaland Diaries. John has received three IRNE Awards. A NEA/TCG Design Fellow (2000-2002), he earned the Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Design (1996). He has taught lighting at Northeastern, Suffolk University, and Brandeis.
Amanda Mujica (Costume Design) returns to Lyric Stage having previously designed Stage Kiss, Intimate Apparel, and Mr Burns: A Post Electric Play. Recent theater productions include Really, An Octoroon (Company One), and Bootycandy (Speakeasy Stage). She is a Boston-based freelance costume designer and seamstress. In addition to theater, she has designed for dance, film, and opera, most recently designing Odyssey Opera’s spring 2017 production of Patience by Gilbert & Sullivan. She earned a B.S. in History from Carnegie Mellon University. AMANDAMUJICADESIGN.COM
Elizabeth Cahill (Sound Design) returns to the Lyric Stage after designing Camelot and Warrior Class, and assistant designing Stage Kiss. Other sound design credits include The Revolutionists (The Nora),Men on Boats (SpeakEasy Stage), ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas, Alligator Road (Greater Boston Stage Company), Hamlet (Brownbox Theatre Project), The Fear Project (Open Theatre Project), Sister Anonymous (Second Act Productions), Time Stands Still (Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre), and Robyn is Happy (Hub Theatre). Upcoming: Familiar (A.R.T. Institute). Emerson College B.F.A. Theatre Design/Technology. Select Emerson Stage sound design credits include Caucasian Chalk Circle, Mrs. Warren’s Profession, Guys and Dolls, Richard III, Edward Tulane, The Spitfire Grill. ELIZABETHSOUND.COM
* 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)
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.
Press & Reviews
“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.”
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.
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!
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.
“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.”
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.”
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.”
Caroline Lawton* (Orlando) returns to the Lyric Stage having previously appeared in The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife and The Underpants. Since returning from London, Caroline has been seen in Charlotte’s Web, Trumpet of the Swan (Wheelock Family Theatre), Oceanside (Merrimack Rep), Women Who Mapped the Stars (Poets Theatre), and Reconsidering Hanna(h) (Boston Playwrights Theatre) as well as in numerous films and commercials. International credits include Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune (Chipping Norton Theatre), A Woman of No Importance (Clandon Park), Private Thoughts in Public Spaces (CASA Festival). Other theatre credits include Taming of the Shrew (Commonwealth Shakespeare), Arcadia and Comedy of Errors (Publick Theatre), An American Daughter (SpeakEasy Stage), Shear Madness (Charles Playhouse), and Mr. Sensitivity (NY International Fringe Festival). Film and television credits include Confessions of a Shopaholic, One Night Only, Scotch Hill, Casting About, My Brother Jack, Guiding Light, and the upcoming Hulu series Castle Rock.
Elise Arsenault* (Chorus) returns to the Lyric Stage having previously appeared in Avenue Q (Elliott Norton Award, Best Ensemble) My Fair Lady, City of Angels, Into the Woods, and Company. She’s made recent appearances at Merrimack Rep, Stoneham, Ocean State Theatre Co, Colonial Theater, HowlRound, and New Bedford Festival Theater. A graduate of George Mason University and the British American Drama Academy at Oxford, Elise serves as a career coach for actors and founded The Global Actor in 2017, a community for actors who live and work in multiple markets. She is a Backstage Expert (an ongoing contributor to Backstage.com) and co-owns The TreeCave, a full-service recording studio, with her husband, Justin Marra. As a director and teaching artist, Elise has facilitated workshops throughout the country with numerous organizations, including the Smithsonian Institute, The Lady Project and Washington National Opera. Her voice-over work can be heard in national commercials and narrations for over 60 audiobooks. More at ELISEARSENAULT.COM
Michael Hisamoto* (Chorus) is a Boston-based actor, playwright, educator, and director. Recent acting credits include Hold These Truths, Stage Kiss, Fast Company (Lyric Stage), Charlotte’s Web (Wheelock Family Theatre), Yellow Face (The Office of War Information), The Ordinary Epic (Crose to Home Productions), and The Important Thing about Earthquakes (Watertown Children’s Theatre). Upcoming productions include Allegiance (SpeakEasy Stage). A strong proponent of new work, Michael has developed and workshopped new plays for companies like The Huntington Theatre Company, The Williamstown Theatre Festival, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, HowlRound, Fresh Ink Theatre Company, and more. In addition to his acting work, Michael was a Playwriting Resident at the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival, and has directed or assisted on numerous productions across Boston, and briefly led a children’s theatre troupe in Southern California, where he was also recognized for his work as a youth in the theatre by the California State Assembly and Senate. Michael believes in educating the next generation of artists, teaching and having taught at multiple institutions, and happily offers career consultation free of charge to young artists of color. Michael is a graduate of The Orange County School of the Arts and Boston University. MICHAELHISAMOTO.COM
Rory Lambert-Wright (Chorus) is making his Lyric Stage debut, however, this is not his debut in Orlando – he appeared in Suffolk University’s spring 2017 production of the show also directed by A. Nora Long. Rory studies acting and sound design at Suffolk. During his time there, he has designed four productions, and has performed in Rent and Margo Veil. He is also an avid singer, and performed with the Massachusetts Music Educator’s Association’s all-state choir multiple times while in school. He would like to thank his two mothers, Megan and Dana, for their unwavering support in his endeavors.
Jeff Marcus (Chorus) returns to the Lyric Stage after appearing in last season’s Camelot. Other regional credits include Shakespeare in Love (SpeakEasy Stage), The Aliens (Theatre On Fire), Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again (Company One), Noises Off (Hackmatack Theatre), A Beautiful Day In November On The Banks Of The Greatest Of The Great Lakes (Apollinaire Theater Company), Love Of The Nightingale (HUB Theatre Company), From The Deep (Boston Public Works, NYCFringe). He will next be seen in Stuart Little (Wheelock Family Theatre). Jeff has a B.A. in Theater Studies from Emerson College.
Hayley Spivey (Chorus) is a graduate of Boston University with a B.F.A. in Theatre Arts. Her studies focused in acting, playwriting, and dramaturgy. Her most recent credits include Don’t Give Up the Ship (Fresh Ink),Men on Boats (SpeakEasy Stage), and Crossing Flight (TC Squared Theatre).
A. Nora Long (Director) is the associate artistic director at the Lyric Stage where she directed Murder for Two, Mr. Burns, a post-electric play, Dear Elizabeth and assistant directed 33 Variations. In addition to work at the Lyric, Nora is one of the artistic directors for New Exhibition Room, a local fringe company that specializes in developing cheeky, ensemble-created new work. She has directed and led the creation of several projects with NXR including Shh!, an exploration on the role of censorship which attended the New York International Fringe Festival after a sold-out run in Boston; The Paper Bag Princess, an all-ages show, Midnight at the Last Night Cabaret and EEP! Show. Other recent directing credits include Cymbeline, Macbeth (Commonwealth Shakespeare Company Apprentice Program), Noises Off!, Ruthless: the Musical! (Hackmatack Playhouse), Three (Boston Public Works), The Real Thing, Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me (Bad Habit Productions) and Candyland (New Exhibition Room). She received her MFA in Dramaturgy from the American Repertory Theatre/ Moscow Art Theatre School Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University and her BA from Sarah Lawrence College in theatre and Italian.
Richard Wadsworth Chambers** (Scenic Design) has designed scenery for over two hundred productions for companies such as The Pittsburgh Public Theatre, StageWest, North Shore Music Theatre, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, Shakespeare and Company, and the Cape Playhouse. He has designed staged productions for the Buffalo Philharmonic, Portland Symphony and Virginia Symphony, as well as several operas for the New England Conservatory. Premiers include plays by Derek Walcott, Robert Brustein, Richard Dresser, and three plays Off-Broadway by Ronan Noone. His last design for the Lyric Stage was Water by the Spoonful. Richard holds an M.F.A. from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts where he studied with Oliver Smith and John Conklin. He is the recipient of two Elliot Norton Awards and three Independent Reviewers of New England Awards, is a member of United Scenic Artists local 829, has been a professor at New York University, Ithaca College, and Boston University, and is a full professor at Suffolk University’s Department of Theatre.
Jessica Pribble (Costume Design) is joining the Lyric Stage for her first production. Her local costume design credits include Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream ( Actor’s Shakespeare Project), A Charlie Brown Christmas, Drowsy Chaperone, and Fancy Nancy (Boston Children’s Theatre). She led the costume design area of Central Washington University’s B.F.A. program for four years before moving east. She has designed across the country at theatres such as Fairbanks Shakespeare Festival, Midtown Arts Center, Lexington Children’s Theatre, Quest Theatre Ensemble, Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, and Dogtown Theatre. Her work with theatrical sustainability includes the costume chapters of A Practical Guide to Greener Theatre. She currently serves as a member of the faculty for the Bridgewater State University Department of Dance. Jessica holds an M.F.A. in Theatre from Purdue University and a B.S. in Theatre from Bradley University.
Steven McIntosh (Lighting Design) returns to the Lyric Stage for the first time since sound designing Speech & Debate in 2009. Steven has been a Lighting and Sound Designer in the Boston-area for the past 15 years. Besides the Lyric Stage, he has designed for other local theater companies including the Huntington Theater, Boston Playwrights’ Theater, Central Square Theatre, Stoneham Theater, The Cape Playhouse, Boston University, and Suffolk University. Steven is currently Technical Director and an instructor in Suffolk University’s Theater Department. He received his B.F.A. in Design from Boston University.
* 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)
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
Press & Reviews
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
Nancy E. Carroll* (Marthy) returns to the Lyric Stage where she appeared in The Year of Magical Thinking, and The Glass Menagerie. Broadway: Present Laughter. International: The Cripple of Inishmaan,Big Maggie (Druid Theatre, Ireland), Return of the Winemaker (Cork Arts Theatre, Ireland). Regional:Ripcord, I Was Most Alive With You, The Seagull, Good People, Luck of the Irish, Prelude to a Kiss, Brendan, She Loves Me, The Rose Tattoo, Dead End (Huntington Theatre), Rapture Blister Burn (Geffen Playhouse),Our Town, She Loves Me (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Trad, Return of the Winemaker (Tir Na),Shakespeare in Love, Mothers and Sons, Other Desert Cities, The Savannah Disputation, The Women, Company, A Man Of No Importance (Speakeasy Stage), The New Electric Ballroom, Breath of Life, Trad, Doubt, Happy Days, My Old Lady, Collected Stories (Gloucester Stage), Uncanny Valley, Secret Garden(Stoneham Theatre), The Clean House, Frozen, Sweeney Todd, Kindertransport (New Rep), Bailegangaire(Súgán Theatre), Humble Boy, Hamlet,The Winter’s Tale (Publick Theatre), Auntie and Me (Merrimack Repertory), Precious Little, Buried Child, The Unexpected Man (Nora Theatre). TV and Film: Spotlight, Olive Kitteridge, Irrational Man. Elliot Norton Awards for Present Laughter, Brendan, Bailegangaire
Johnny Lee Davenport* (Chris C. Christopherson) returns to the Lyric Stage having appeared in Water by the Spoonful (2013) and Broke-ology (2011). Recent shows include Oleanna (New Rep), Fences (Mad Cow Theatre, Orlando), Bank Job (Gloucester Stage), Thurgood (New Rep), Oedipus Rex (PICT, Pittsburgh),Akeelah and the Bee (Wheelock Family Theatre), The African Company Presents Richard III, Death of a Salesman, Arcadia (APT, Spring Green, Wisconsin), and Bootycandy (SpeakEasy Stage). Awards: Boston Magazine’s Best Actor, Elliot Norton Award, Best Actor for Broke-ology, two Broadway World Boston Awards, and D.C.’s Helen Hayes Award. For full career credits, please visit JOHNNYLEEDAVENPORT.COM.
Lindsey McWhorter* (Anna Christie) returns to the Lyric Stage having previously appeared in Mr. Burns and Intimate Apparel (IRNE Award – Best Actress, Midsize). Other Boston credits include: Arabian Nights (Central Square Theatre),The Farm (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre), In the Next Room (SpeakEasy Stage), In the Continuum (Up You Mighty Race Theatre Company), A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and As You Like It (Commonwealth Shakespeare Company). Other theatre credits include: To Kill a Mockingbird (Montana Repertory Theatre, National Tour), A Christmas Carol (Berkshire Theatre Festival), Seussical, and All Shook Up (Idaho Summer Repertory). She began her professional acting career in 2006 at the Hangar Theatre with Bloodline: the Children of Argos and later appeared in The Overwhelming. Lindsey has also worked with Berkshire Playwright’s Lab, Double Edge Theatre Company, and Debbie Allen Dance Academy. She received her M.F.A. from Brandeis and BA from Alabama State University and is a proud member of AEA and SAG. Originally from Atlanta, GA, Lindsey grew up in Jasper, AL and currently lives in Medway, MA with her son, daughter, and husband. She gives special thanks to God and to her husband Joe, family, friends and Faith Community Church of Hopkinton for their love and support.
James R. Milord (Larry) returns to the Lyric Stage having appeared in last season’s Barbecue. Other theatre credits include Akeelah and the Bee (Wheelock Family Theatre), Clybourne Park (Longwood Players Club), Splendor, Brothers Size Trilogy, The Good Negro, Den of Thieves, Emancipation Of Mandy and Miz Ellie, 103 Within the Veil, Clockwork Orange (Company One), Zooman and The Sign, Feathers On My Arm(Our Place Theatre), and Macbeth (Shakespeare Now). He was honored to receive Best Emerging Actor in 2010 ((David Wheeler Award). Film credits include The Brotherhood (Showtime) and a handful of industrial commercials. He currently works as a theatre educator, and continues to pursue his dreams professionally.
Dan Whelton* (Mat Burke) returns to the Lyric Stage having previously appeared in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and One Man, Two Guvnors. Other theatre credits include Million Dollar Quartet, Long Day’s Journey into Night (The Majestic Theater), I Hate Hamlet (Playhouse on Park), A Christmas Carol (Hanover Theatre), Operation Epsilon (Nora Theatre, IRNE Award, Best Ensemble), I Capture The Castle (Stoneham Theatre), The History Boys (SpeakEasy Stage, IRNE Award, Best Ensemble), Take Me Out (Hartford TheatreWorks),The Learned Ladies of Park Ave (Hartford Stage), Arsenic and Old Lace, andBrighton Beach Memoirs (Ivoryton Playhouse). Film credits include Patriot’s Day and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. Special thanks to my lovely wife Isabelle, and to our beautiful children Lydia and Liam! Je vousaime!
Scott Edmiston (Director) returns to the Lyric Stage where he recently directed the award-winning productions of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (2017 Elliot Norton Award) and My Fair Lady, (2016 Elliot Norton Award). Other Lyric stage credits: LightUp the Sky,Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Water by the Spoonful,Time Stands Still,My Name is Asher Lev, Miss Witherspoon, The Scene, Lobby Hero, and Private Lives. He has directed more than 60 Boston-area productions at SpeakEasy Stage, American Repertory Theatre, Huntington Theatre, and Underground Railway Theatre, among others. Highlights include Long Day’s Journey into Night,Constellations, Shakespeare in Love,The History Boys, Casa Valentina, The Light in the Piazza, Reckless, Five by Tenn, In the Next Room or the vibrator play, A Marvelous Party, and Betrayal. Six of his productions have received Elliot Norton Awards as Outstanding Production or Musical, and he has received four Norton Awards and three IRNE Awards for his direction. He is the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from Penn State, the StageSource Theatre Hero Award, and the Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence in Theatre. He is the author of “Acting Misbegotten: The Creative Journey to Eugene O’Neill” published in the anthology Critical Insights: Eugene O’Neill (Salem Press, 2012). Scott is a Professor of the Practice and Chair of the Department of Theatre at Northeastern University.
Janie E. Howland** (Scenic Design) has most recently designed Lyric Stage’s Gypsy, Company, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Other recent productions include Sonia Flew (Wellesley Rep), The Importance of Being Earnest (Odyssey Opera), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Boston Children’s Theatre), Arcadia (Nora Theatre), Home Game (Ohio Star Theatre), Urban Nutcracker (Tony Williams Dance Center). Off-Broadway: Simon Says. Work seen at CONSENSES conceived by Sally Taylor. Other venues include Emerson Majestic, New Rep, Weston Playhouse, North Shore Music Theatre, Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Speakeasy Stage, A.R.T. Institute, Boston Conservatory, Company One, Stoneham Theatre, Seacoast Rep, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, Huntington Theatre Studio 210. Brandeis University M.F.A.; Co-founder CYCO SCENIC; four-time Elliot Norton Award winner, four-time IRNE Award winner; adjunct faculty at Emerson College, Wellesley College. USA Local 829. JANIEHOWLAND.COM
Charles Schoonmaker** (Costume Design) returns to the Lyric Stage having designed costumes for Grey Gardens, 33 Variations, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Charles is the recipient of four Daytime Emmy Awards for his work in television and an IRNE Award for Best Costume Design for Venus in Fur at the Huntington Theatre. Other work on Boston stages includes North Shore Music Theatre, SpeakEasy Stage, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Arts Emerson, Boston Baroque, Central Square Theatre, and the Israeli Stage Company. Regional credits include the Berkshire Theatre Group, The Chester Theatre Company, Dorset Theatre Festival, and seven seasons as the resident costume designer at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Television credits include Another World, All My Children, and As the World Turns. He teaches costume design at Bennington College. CHARLES-SCHOONMAKER.COM
Karen Perlow** (Lighting Design) has been a Boston area designer for over 25 years. She returns to the Lyric where favorite productions include Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Death of a Salesman, Water by the Spoonful, My Name Is Asher Lev, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Miss Witherspoon, Urinetown, the Musical, Dirty Blonde, and Lobby Hero. Earlier this season she designed The Royale (Merrimack Repertory Theater), Peer Gynt (Boston Symphony Orchestra), Shakespeare in Love (SpeakEasy Stage), The Irish & How They Got That Way (Greater Boston Stage Company), and Hold These Truths (Lyric Stage). Later this season she will be designing Two Jews Walk into a War (New Rep), Calendar Girls (Greater Boston Stage Company), and Dancing at Lughnasa (Gloucester Stage). She is a 3-time winner of the IRNE Award for Best Lighting Design (2009, 2007, 2002), and NYC SOLO Fest 2013. Karen has taught Light Design at Northeastern and MIT as well as English to Speakers of Other Languages with the YMCA. Member USA 829. She also serves as the treasurer of the Theatre Community Benevolent Fund (TCBF.org) for Larry.
Dewey Dellay** (Composer/Sound Design) is back at the Lyric Stage after having composed and designed for numerous past productions, two of which were Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Death of a Salesman. Some other past credits include Constellations (Underground Railway), Bakelite Masterpiece (New Rep), and Photograph 51 (Nora Theatre). Dewey has also received an Elliot Nortonaward for Outstanding Design for his music and design on The Women (SpeakEasy Stage), 9 Parts of Desire,and Miss Witherspoon (Lyric Stage), and an IRNE Award for Best Sound Design on Five by Tenn (SpeakEasy Stage). His work in television has included composing for Emmy nominated National Geographic’s China’s Mystery Mummies, and he was composer for five seasons of the television show Our America with Lisa Ling for the Oprah Winfrey Network. He presently is contributing music to This Is Life with Lisa Ling on CNN.
Jesse Hinson (Fight Choreographer) is a Boston-based actor, choreographer, and educator. He has designed violence for Actors’ Shakespeare Project, SpeakEasy Stage, The Lyric Stage, Central Square Theater, and Berkshire Theater Group. He earned an M.F.A. in acting from Brandeis University and is an assistant teaching professor in the Department of Theatre at Northeastern University.
Amelia Broome (Dialect Coach) returns to the Lyric Stage where she has assisted with dialects for numerous shows and has performed in leading roles, as well at many theatres in the Boston area. She is a certified Linklater voice teacher with over twenty years experience teaching voice, speech, and musical theatre. She has also served as dialect coach for SpeakEasy Stage, Nora/Central Square Theatre, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Merrimack Rep, Gloucester Stage, Stoneham Theatre, and the Huntington Theatre. She is on the Acting Faculty at Emerson College. Member: AEA, MTEA (Music Theater Educators Alliance), and VASTA. Amelia holds an M.F.A. from Boston University.
* 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)
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 | firstname.lastname@example.org
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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
Soneka Anderson* (Ensemble) is making her Lyric Stage debut. Hailing from the metro Detroit area, Soneka earned her B.F.A. in musical theater from Howard University and has been based in DC ever since. Her past credits include Mirandy and Brother Wind (Adventure Theatre), The Servant of Two Masters(Shakespeare Theatre Company), and Shear Madness (Kennedy Center).
Elle Borders* (Scarecrow) is making her Lyric Stage debut. Her recent credits include Sista Gurl in the staged reading of The Puppet Show, AMidsummer Night’s Dream, the world premiere of How Soft the Lining, An Octoroon, and Othello. She has had the privilege of working with Boston Public Works, Sleeping Weazel, 3050 Music Group, Collective, Actors’ Shakespeare Project, and Company One in addition to numerous readings and workshops with the Huntington Theatre and The Front Porch Arts Collective. Ms. Borders studied with the Atlantic Theatre Company and holds a B.F.A. in Drama from Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. All my love to my family and my #2.
Steven Martin (Tin Man) is making his Lyric Stage debut. In New England, Steven has appeared with SpeakEasy Stage, Moonbox Productions, Blue Spruce Theatre, Play More Productions, and the Footlight Club. Recent productions: The Scottsboro Boys, The Wild Party, A Pint of Understanding, Up Where We Belong, Parade, Once On This Island, L’Elisir d’amore, The Rape of Lucretia,and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Steven is a proud graduate of UNC-Greensboro and The Boston Conservatory.
Brandon G. Green* (Lion) is a Boston-based artist and educator from Selma, Al. Previously Lyric Stage credits: Mr. Burns, a post-electric play and Intimate Apparel. Boston-area credits include work with Company One, Arts Emerson, Commonwealth Shakespeare, SpeakEasy Stage, The Front Porch Arts Collective, Fresh Ink, 3050 Music Group, Brand New Classic, Cape Rep, and Nora/Underground Railway. Brandon was the recipient of the Elliot Norton Award for Best Actor for his performance in Company One’s production of An Octoroon. As a writer, he is working towards a workshop production of his one-man show, UM, and developing a comedy series with his wife and co-conspirator, Elle Borders. As an educator, Brandon teaches theatre at Brandeis University, MIT, and various Boston Public Schools through Daniel Beaty’s I Dream Project. B.A., Alabama State, M.F.A. Brandeis University. ILYLWF.
Davron S. Monroe* (Georgie/Weber/Goldstone/Cow) is returning to the Lyric Stage after having appeared in Camelot, Company, My Fair Lady, City of Angels, Sweeney Todd, One Man, Two Guvnors, The Mikado, Avenue Q, and Ain’t Misbehavin’. Musical theatre credits include The Little Mermaid (Company Theatre), Man of La Mancha (New Rep), Godspell (Moonbox Productions), Hairspray (Reagle Music Theatre), Dreamgirls, Jesus Christ Superstar, Children of Eden, Songs for a New World (premiere, Key West Symphony, Broadway Across America), Smokey Joe’s Café, Cinderella, Streakin’!, a ’70s musical revue, Sweet Charity, Brigadoon, and Show Boat. Cabaret: The All Night Strut. Opera: fully staged or concert/scene productions of Carmen, Treemonisha, Porgy and Bess, La finta giardiniera, Rigoletto, Lucia di Lammermoor, La fille du régiment, L’élisir d’amore, Così fan tutte, Die Fledermaus, The Tailor of Gloucester, The Gondoliers, Aida, and Die Zauberflöte. Mr. Monroe premiered the role of Thomas Edison in Juventas’s New Music Group production of Light and Power. He has also appeared with many orchestral and vocal organizations, such as Boston Landmarks Orchestra (Lost in the Stars – a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech, and The Chariot Jubilee), the First Church UU, Belmont, the Brevard Music Center (finalist, Orlando Opera’s Heinz Rehfuss Singing Actor Awards), Disney Entertainment’s Voices of Liberty, Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Key West Symphony (young artist), Houston Ebony Opera Guild, the New England Spiritual Ensemble, New England Voices, the Longy School Orchestra, and many other organizations throughout the greater Boston area. Davron is the first recipient of the Bob Jolly Award for up-and-coming local actors.
Yewande Odetoyinbo* (Addaperle/Evilene), a native of Detroit, MI, is making her Lyric Stage debut. She is 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. Some of her favorite performances include roles in Fannie Lou at Carnegie Hall, the national tour of Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds with 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 most recently been seen in various staged readings with The Front Porch Arts Collective and at 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 Dawn, Allyssa, Jean and her fabulous new Lyric Stage family! Ase!
Juanita Pearl (Ensemble) is making her Lyric Stage debut. She is an alum of Pace University’s Performing Arts Program and a Boston native. Since her return to Boston, Juanita has danced with local dance companies including Tribe Inc., Adrienne Hawkins’ Impulse Dance Company, and Phunk Phenomenon and recently choreographed for OnStage Dance Company. Recent credits include All Shook Up (Priscilla Beach Theatre) as well as choreographing The Wiz at Eastern Nazarene College. JUANITAPEARL.COM
Pier Lamia Porter (Ensemble) is making her Lyric Stage debut. She most recently appeared in Beauty and Beast (Wheelock Family Theater) and To Kill a Mockingbird (Emerson Umbrella). A classically trained singer, she holds a B.M. from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Other credits include Chicago (Vokes Theater), American Idiot (Stadium Theater), Hairspray (Norwood Theater), and The Wild Party (Emerson Umbrella).
Carolyn Saxon* (Aunt Em/Glinda) is making her Lyric Stage debut. Broadway/National Tours/NY Theatre: The Civil War, Bring In Da Noise, Bring In Da Funk, Hair, Purlie, Can-Can, Timmy the Great, Linda Eder: The Christmas Concert, NY International Fringe Festival Film: Sweet & Lowdown, Small Time Crooks, Curse of the Jade Scorpion. Boston credits include Shakespeare in Love, Violet, The Color Purple, In The Heights (IRNE Nomination), Far From Heaven (SpeakEasy Stage), The Hairy Scary (Outside the Box Festival). Regional credits include North Shore Music Theatre, Connecticut Repertory, Papermill Playhouse, Studio Arena Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Weston Playhouse, Forestburgh Playhouse, Artpark, MusicalFare, Struthers Library Theatre. Other: Boston Pops Gospel Choir, Carnegie Hall, Indianapolis Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Sharing A New Song, NEC Millennium Choir.
Damon Singletary (Uncle Henry/Ensemble) is returning to the Lyric Stage having been previously seen in Peter and the Starcatcher and City of Angels. Some of his other recent credits include The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and Shakespeare in Love (SpeakEasy Stage), Eight by Tenn and Desire (Zeitgeist Stage Company), The Real Inspector Hound (Bad Habit Productions). Other favorite Boston area stage appearances include Company One, Boston Actors Theater, Roxbury Repertory Theater, and Titanic Theatre Company. Supportive of fringe theater, new works, and emerging artists, Damon has also participated in numerous workshops, readings, and devised pieces in and around the Boston area, including working with Boston Actors Theater, Fresh Ink, and Heart and Dagger Productions. Damon is a member of StageSource and Boston Actors Theater, and he lives in Cambridge with his wife Laurie (also an actor) and their teenage son Sterling.
Salome Smith (Dorothy) from Birmingham, Alabama is making her Lyric Stage debut. She studied at Alabama State University receiving her B.A. in Theatre and is now a recent graduate from Boston Conservatory at Berklee with a M.F.A. in Musical Theatre. Her recent credits include Carousel, Theory of Relativity (Boston Conservatory), and various staged readings including Five Points (Goodspeed Opera House) and Glittering Eyes (The Front Porch Arts Collective). Some of her favorite credits are The Color Purple, Rent, DreamGirls, and The Piano Lesson (Leila Barlow Theatre).
Lance-Patrick Strickland (Ensemble) is making his Lyric Stage debut. He is a graduate of Boston Conservatory with a B.F.A. in Musical Theater. Some of his previous Boston credits include Carousel(Reagle Music Theater), Catch Me if You Can (Boston Conservatory), In the Heights (Wheelock Family Theater), and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (Wheelock Family Theater). He would like to thank his family and friends for always giving him endless encouragement in all of his endeavors.
Dawn M. Simmons (Director) returns to the Lyric Stage where she directed Warrior Class and Saturday Night/Sunday Morning. Recent directing credits include The Irish and How They Got That Way (Greater Boston Stage Company) and Men on Boats (SpeakEasy Stage). Other regional directing credits include Commonwealth Shakespeare’s Apprentice Program, Bad Habit Productions, Boston Public Works, New Exhibition Room, Suffolk University, Fresh Ink Theatre, GAN-e-meed Theatre Project, The Theater Offensive, Our Place Theatre Project, Mill 6 and Fort Point Theatre Channel. Dawn is Artistic Director of The Front Porch Arts Collective, Co-Artistic Director of New Exhibition Room, Director of Performing Arts at Boston Center for the Arts, and a proud Board Member at StageSource.
Allyssa Jones (Music Director) returns to the Lyric Stage for a third turn, following Intimate Apparel and Mr. Burns. An inaugural recipient of The Boston Foundation’s Live Arts Boston grant, Allyssa has created music and/or sound and music directed for Revolt, We Are Proud to Present a Presentation, Grimm/Cry Baby Jones, Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 (Company One), Invasion/¡Bocón!, Peggy Pickett Sees the Face of God (Apollinaire Theatre Company), Turtles (Boston Public Works), Hidden Faces of Courage (OWLL Theatre Company), and Les Misérables (Riverside Theatre Works). Notable projects include original scores for the film Knockaround Kids (ADEkoje Filmwerks), the musical Brother Nat (written by Jabari and Liana Asim), and her own musical The Puppet Show. In addition to her theatrical work, Allyssa is a singer/songwriter with five solo releases and two decades of appearances under her belt. Keep up with Ms. Jones at MSJONESMUSIC.COM and JONESCNC.COM.
Jean Appolon (Choreographer) is a successful choreographer and master teacher based in Boston and Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He received his earliest training and performance opportunities in Port-au-Prince with the Viviane Gauthier Dance Company, and the Folkloric Ballet of Haiti. Appolon continued his dance education in the U.S. with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Joffrey American Ballet School, graduating with a BA in 2003 from a joint degree program at The New School. Jean is the founder and Director of Jean Appolon Expressions (JAE), a contemporary Haitian dance company that has performed at major venues throughout the US and in Haiti. Since 2006, he has directed a free annual summer dance institute in Port-au-Prince that provides young, aspiring dancers with access to training. His dance classroom provides a positive and reaffirming atmosphere in which every student is regarded as artistic, and is empowered to be passionate about dance and caring for the community.
Baron E. Pugh (Scenic Designer) is a scenic design M.F.A. candidate at Boston University. Select credits include The Clean House (Threshold Stage Company), Driving Miss Daisy (Barnstormers Theatre), God’s Ear, Faithless, Ghosts, The Hothouse, The Merchant of Venice, La Tragédie de Carmen (Boston University), The Triumph of Love, Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey – Next Stage Ensemble). BaronPughDesign.com
Rachel Neubauer (Sound Design) has called New Hampshire home since 2009, working both regionally and locally as a sound designer and technician. Rachel started as a musician and fell in love with theatre playing in the pit for her high school production of West Side Story. Rachel holds both a B.M. in Perc