Archive for category Boston Theatre Experience

Oh Oh, Boston You’re My Home

By Debra Wise

The Standell’s had been singing Dirty Water for 13 years before Underground Railway Theater moved from Oberlin, Ohio to the Boston area in 1979.  Our young company adopted the song’s lyrics immediately as both a comic anthem and a sincere pledge to sink deep roots into our new home:

Down by the River…

Down by the banks of the River Charles

(Oh, that’s what’s happenin’ baby)

That’s where you’ll find me

Along with lovers, muggers, and thieves.

(Ahh, but they’re cool people)

I love that dirty water

‘Oh oh, Boston, you’re my home

We had taken the nameUnderground Railway Theater to remind us of what we considered Oberlin’s most significant chapter – that historic moment when students, faculty and townies were united in a truly radical effort to change society.  Our name would be a touchstone, we hoped, to help us pick projects that in some way would contributed toward crossing perceived boundaries – between people, issues, even between intellectual and artistic disciplines.  Boston seemed a good place to explore such a mission:  lots of turf divisions, beginning with that Dirty Water dividing our current Cambridge home from Boston proper.  The centuries-old rich history of Boston and Cambridge is matched by its equally rich present, which finds expression in an amazing variety of cultural communities and a heritage of innovation – both social and scientific.  Many rivers to cross.

We came to Boston to learn from a larger community of artists than we had been able to find in Cleveland.  Since we arrived here three decades ago, the number of Boston area professional theater companies has expanded exponentially– and that is what feeds both Underground Railway Theater and what excites me as an actor and theater artist.  There are so many colleagues here to learn from, so many young companies who, like ours, start out wanting to find a useful and unique voice. An increasing number of theater artists and companies are contributing important new plays and innovative productions to our field, nationally, while we serve an increasingly broader, more diverse, and more sophisticated Boston area theater audience.  We are still finding our unique voice – there is still so much we have to learn from each other.

Debra Wise

Artistic Director, Underground Railway Theater

CoDirector, Catalyst Collaborative@MIT

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Getting Lively, Lush & Local With: Scott Forrest-Allen

Who are you? Scott Forrest-Allen

What do you do? Staffing Coordinator

Where are you from originally? Boston, MA

How long have you been working in Boston? since 1989

What’s your earliest theatre memory? Cats. 1982

What’s your first theatre memory in Boston? Cats. 1982

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had before a show? Steak Au Poivre @ the Hampshire House before Cats. 1982

What’s your favorite rehearsal snack? soft pretzel

Do you eat before you go on stage or do you wait until after your performance to eat? after

The Boston Theatre Conference is focusing on the lively, lush and local aspects of our theatre community. What do you think? Things are alive and well in Boston!

YOUR TURN! Write to us here!

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Getting Lively, Lush & Local With: Joey C. Pelletier

Who are you? Joey C. Pelletier

What do you do? I act/direct/write sh*t.

Where are you from originally? Vassalboro, Maine

How long have you been working in Boston? 7 years

What’s your earliest theatre memory? 5th grade.  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  I was an Oompa Loompa and I purposefully pulled off the wig of a fellow OL on stage.  We were friends and I wanted to make her laugh. 

What’s your first theatre memory in Boston? auditioning for Brian Tuttle’s All My Upside-Down Roses at Vassar Street.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had before a show? Steak Frites at Franklin Cafe

What’s your favorite rehearsal snack? COFFEE

Do you eat before you go on stage or do you wait until after your performance to eat? I’ll eat whatever you put in front of me, gwurll.

The Boston Theatre Conference is focusing on the lively, lush and local aspects of our theatre community. What do you think? Let’s f*cking do it 🙂

YOUR TURN! Write to us here!

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Getting Lively, Lush & Local With: John J. King

Who are you? John J. King

What do you do? playwright/director

Where are you from originally? Arlington, Texas

How long have you been working in Boston? 4.5 years

What’s your earliest theatre memory? Seeing a stage version of Charlotte’s Web at the age of 6 or 7

What’s your first theatre memory in Boston? THE MAN WHO… by the Nora Theatre Company.  Still high on my top 5 best shows I’ve seen here.  Saw it the first week I moved here and thought “WOW.  I’ve come to a great place!”

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had before a show? Raising Cane’s chicken!

What’s your favorite rehearsal snack? brownies.

Do you eat before you go on stage or do you wait until after your performance to eat? I’ll eat about 2+ hours before a show, never closer.

YOUR TURN! Write to us here!

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Getting Lively, Lush & Local With: Dawn M. Simmons

Who are you? Dawn M. Simmons

What do you do? I work at StageSource, I run a theatre company (New Exhibition Room with A. Nora Long), I write, I direct. Stuff like that.

Where are you from originally? Buffalo, NY.  That’s right!  You don’t even know what snow and cold is!

How long have you been working in Boston? 7 years

What’s your earliest theatre memory? Commercials for “Cats” on WPIX.  Maybe Seasame St. On Ice, before that.

What’s your first theatre memory in Boston? Three of Cups at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre.  I was the ASM.  I was good! Oh, except that time when I was late with the food for the dinner scene.  That was not so good.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had before a show? U Burger burgers if I’m at BPT.  Onion rings at the Parish Cafe’ if I’m over near the Factory Theatre.

What’s your favorite rehearsal snack? Anything crunchy if I’m the director.  Anything chewy if I’m the writer.

Do you eat before you go on stage or do you wait until after your performance to eat? I don’t tend to be onstage, but I like to wait until after the show starts to eat.  I have sympathy nervous stomach.

The Boston Theatre Conference is focusing on the lively, lush and local aspects of our theatre community. What do you think? I think that’s great! You probably want to hear more.  I love that the people who work here feel like family to me.  Especially since mine is miles away.  I love the Fringe and Small theatre scene.  NXR had a lot of fun with them this summer.

YOUR TURN! Write to us here!

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Getting Lively, Lush & Local With: Tyler York

Who are you? Tyler York

What do you do? I am an arts administrator working for Emerson Stage at Emerson College. I also consult for Boston Lyric Opera on their student program, The BLO Bunch.

Where are you from originally? Kansas

How long have you been working in Boston? 5 years

What’s your earliest theatre memory? My grandmother took me to a production of Into the Woods, when I was 6 or 7. They lived in Pittsburgh at the time, and we rode the train from their home outside the city to downtown. I grew up in Kansas, so this was magical in and of itself. The production was mesmerizing. I was fascinated with the costumes, singing, and story. I still remember recreating all the parts at home for weeks afterward.

What’s your first theatre memory in Boston? I saw Lion King, shortly after it reopened the Opera House. I was in town to interview for college. I was here alone with only the cash my parents gave me to spend on meals. I spent the money on a ticket to Lion King instead!

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had before a show? One shared with friends. There couldn’t be a better meal than that.

What’s your favorite rehearsal snack? Coffee. Is there any other option?

The Boston Theatre Conference is focusing on the lively, lush and local aspects of our theatre community. What do you think? Theatre is nothing if not local, as it is most about the people – the community – in a specific location at a specific time experience something together. The Boston theatre community, those of us in the business, is very lively and certainly lush indeed. I am always proud of the amount of support and care shared between those in the theatre community here.

YOUR TURN! Write to us here!

 

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STAGE MATTERS

Please watch the video below produced by Theatre Communications Group on “why/how/if theatre matters in America. The STAGE MATTERS video captures artists, theatre leaders, patrons, educators, corporate executives and politicians around the country as they emphatically speak about the value of theatre and challenges we face in an ever-changing environment.”

Watching it, I found it obviously relevant to our discussions on this blog, and I urge you to share it with your friends and fellow theatre professionals and supporters.

STAGE MATTERS is a collaboration between Theatre Communications Group and Firefly: Theater & Films and was made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Getting Lively, Lush & Local With: Melanie Garber

Who are you? Melanie Garber

What do you do? Director/Playwright/Actor/Artistic Associate for 11:11 Theatre Company

Where are you from originally? Peabody, MA

How long have you been working in Boston? Little over a year

What’s your earliest theatre memory? My Mom taped “Into the Woods” off of PBS when I was really little thinking I might like it. She was right.

What’s your first theatre memory in Boston? Child Wrangling at the Huntington for their production of “Fences.” Kenny Leon saying “Tell the story!” over and over.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had before a show? Mussels and french fries.

What’s your favorite rehearsal snack? Swedish fish

Do you eat before you go on stage or do you wait until after your performance to eat? Eat before. Need the fuel!

The Boston Theatre Conference is focusing on the lively, lush and local aspects of our theatre community. What do you think? I think alliteration is a good thing. Boston is growing into its theatre identity. The town is small enough to know each other and large enough to generate great productions…both from the major theatre companies and the fringe scene alike.

YOUR TURN! Write to us here!

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Getting Lively, Lush & Local With: Robin Allen LaPlante

Who are you? Robin Allen LaPlante

What do you do? Marketing & Development Associate at The Lyric Stage Company

Where are you from originally? Marietta, GA

How long have you been working in Boston? 5 years

What’s your earliest theatre memory? Seeing Carol Channing in Hello Dolly at The Atlanta Fox Theatre

What’s your first theatre memory in Boston? The 39 Steps at The Huntington

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had before a show? Wagamama

What’s your favorite rehearsal snack? hummus and pita and celery

Do you eat before you go on stage or do you wait until after your performance to eat? Both

The Boston Theatre Conference is focusing on the lively, lush and local aspects of our theatre community. What do you think? Boston Theatre is more alive than ever, with projects happening all over the place that are huge undertakings. The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby is one, but also: The Shirley, VT play festival, and The two Henrys at Actor’s Shakespeare Project, and the two Shakespeare plays in rep at Huntington at the end of the season. It is an amazing place to be right now.

YOUR TURN! Write to us here!

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Getting Lively, Lush & Local With: Scott Sweatt

Who are you? Scott Sweatt

What do you do? Sparkplug

Where are you from originally? Errol, NH

How long have you been working in Boston? 3 years

What’s your earliest theatre memory? Living dramas presented by yours truly.

What’s your first theatre memory in Boston? New Rep on tour with an amazing cast of OTHELLO

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had before a show? Butternut squash soup with a brown butter reduction, followed by homemade parsnip ravioli.

What’s your favorite rehearsal snack? Gonna go with a classic: almonds (and if they accidentally fell in chocolate I wouldn’t turn them away)

Do you eat before you go on stage or do you wait until after your performance to eat? Depends on the role really. Weird i know. Prefer a good hearty meal after a show with friends, but not many places to choose from at that hour.

The Boston Theatre Conference is focusing on the lively, lush and local aspects of our theatre community. What do you think? A mantra to live by, and one we can achieve with aplomb.

YOUR TURN! Write to us here!

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