Friday, June 29, 2012

LOCAL CASTINGS: Huntington Theatre Company's OUR TOWN

Huntington's OUR TOWN Continues to audition ...

One of the most highly anticipated shows of the 2012-13 Theatre Season for audiences and actors alike, is the Huntington Theatre Company's presentation on OUR TOWN, in the production directed by Chicago's David Cromer.  What started as a local Chicago production and went on to become the longest running revival ever of Thornton Wilder's play in New York, OUR TOWN will be presented at the Roberts Studio Theater at the Calderwood Pavillion this fall/winter.    Led by director David Cromer reprising his role as the Stage Manager, the cast will include original cast members of the Chicago and New York productions, and will be filled out by local actors in major and supporting roles, for which the Huntington has been auditioning since February of this year. With rehearsals beginning Nov. 13, and the production running from Dec. 7 through January 27, these roles are among the longest running to be cast in Boston this season, with a total of over 11 weeks of work from first rehearsal to closing.
While some local actors await the call for a callback audition with Mr. Cromer, the Huntington has announced another open casting call.  Submissions from actors who have not previously been submitted or auditioned should be made ASAP by email to 

Here's the full audition notice: 

OUR TOWN Call for Huntington Theatre Company The Huntington Theatre Company is seeking actors for the roles of Farmer, Sam Craig, Si Crowell, Joe Crowell Jr., Simon Stimson, Wally Webb, Irma and the Citizens in the production of OUR TOWN by Thornton Wilder, directed by David Cromer. 
**If you have already audition for OUR TOWN, you need not submit to this call.** 
Date and time of the audition still TBD, but will be before July 7th. Slots will be given in 5-minute increments and sides from the script will be emailed out. A reader will be provided for you. 
The Huntington is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Non- Equity performers are encouraged to submit. 
Performers may schedule an appointment by contacting: Alex Lonati, Please send your headshot and resume via email.
The Huntington Theatre will be using an LORT D contract for this production. 
Dates of the Production: First Rehearsal: November 13, 2012 First Preview: December 7, 2012 Opening: December 12, 2012 Closing: January 27, 2013 
SIMON STIMSON male, old enough to have seen a peck of trouble. Must play piano. Simon is the organist and choir director of the Congregational Church. He is the town scandal with a commonly known but never spoken of drinking problem. He can only articulate his sadness and rage and isolation after his suicide. 
WALLY WEBB male, 10 or so. A bizarre little boy. 
JOE CROWELL, JR. male, mid teens. A very bright young man who will graduate first in his class, be granted a scholarship to MIT but die in France in WW I. He is resistant to change 
SI CROWELL male, mid teens. Si delivers the Grover’s Corners Sentinel in 1904, after his older brother retires. Si, like all the Crowell boys, is resistant to change. 
SAM CRAIG male 20s. A Grover’s Corners boy who left town to go out west. Out West it seems, is Buffalo, New York. 
FARMER male 50s to 70s. A older, the town’s deceased farmer 
IRMA , 30s to 50s a woman among the dead. 
CITIZENS, any age. Various types. People among the dead in Act 3. Non-Equity only

Monday, June 25, 2012

From Russia With Attitude

Kevin Fennessy and Erin Eva Butcher:
Chekhov on the Catwalk
The Theatre Communications Group Conference 2012, held for the first time in Boston last week at the Park Plaza, threw a Late Night Party, THE BOSTON BASH, on Friday June 22  at the Boston Center for the Arts' Cyclorama.  The party committee, including Jennifer Johnson of the Charlestown Working Theater and Ari Barbanell of ART/Oberon,  coordinated a fashion show of actors in costume from shows throughout the region: from the Huntington and ART to the Portland Stage Company, Watertown's New Rep, and Boston's Company One, among others.   Among the group, there were  Elizabethan costumes,  a paniered Marie Antoinette gown, "Chad Deity" of Company One's upcoming play, "The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity", in gold lame boxing trunks, a Donkey Show Disco Boy, and a couple of Brides (including Jenna Lea Scott in her Korean Bride Costume form the Lyric Stage's AVENUE Q, designed by David Cabral, accompanied by Erica Spyres "wearing" her Kate Monster puppet).  We were like a bizarre Halloween costume parade.   I walked the runway in my costume as Telegin, AKA "Waffles", from the Apollinaire Theatre Company's production of the Craig Lucas adaptation of UNCLE VANYA, by Anton Chekhov, accompanied by Erin Eva Butcher, our Sonya, in costumes designed and executed by Toni Bratton Elliot.  
We were a big hit.  We strode out together, got to the end of our runway and busted a few dance moves.  Then I slid out of my woolen jacket and cap, dragged it behind on a runway sashay to the hoots and hollers from the theater crowd.  Erin paraded back, and we stomped off together.  Motivated by the heat of the night and in the heat of the moment I made my few minutes on the catwalk count.

And don't think I'd miss the opportunity to remind you, again, that the award-winning production of UNCLE VANYA is returning by popular demand, at the Chelsea Theater Works, from October 10 thru Nov. 4, Wed. thru Sun. evenings. The original production's cast members Erin Eva Butcher (Sonia), Ron Lacey (Astrov, nominated for an Elliot Norton Award), Ann Marie Shea (Maria), Ann Carpenter (Nanny), Mike Handelman (Workman/Musician), and I (Telegin, AKA "Waffles") are joined by newcomers Diego Arcienegas (Vanya), Gordon Jack Schultz (Professor), and Kate Paulsen (Elena).  Directed by Danielle Fauteux Jacques, Apollinaire Artistic Director and recipient of the 2012 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Directing/Fringe for this production.  Last winter we sold out every show, and many were shut out.  With an audience limited to 30 members per performance, many shows are selling out already.  Don't miss it this time.
For more information and tickets, visit .

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Emerging America Festival @ Oberon

As one of the three presenting organizations (the other two being The Huntington Theatre Company and the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston), the American Repertory Theater is presenting shows at Oberon, the company's second stage, a " a destination for theater and nightlife on the fringe of Harvard Square".
For the Festival, Oberon will play host to three productions and a party.  The following comes from the Emerging America Festival website ...


  • By Gilbert and Sullivan; Directed by Sean Graney; Performed by The Hypocrites
  • THURSDAY 6/21 at 8PM, FRIDAY 6/22 at 10PM, SATURDAY 6/23 at 6PM and SUNDAY 6/24 at 4PM
  • Run time: 80 min
  • Recommended for all ages
  • TICKETS: $20

Bringing the sold-out production from their native Chicago, The Hypocrites treat this hilarious musical in an entirely thrilling new way. Treat yourself to an eighty-minute exotic excursion featuring bathing beauties, philosophizing pirates, and grown men in remarkably short shorts! Warning: If you want boring, stay away; this experience will cause immense joy and the compulsion to spontaneously sing along. Come ashore with the “Very Model of A Modern Major General,” the Pirate King, and a banjo-picking Mabel. The show features beach balls, sunshine (the artificial kind), and tons of fun music.This show is a promenade production, and while some seating is available on a first come first served basis, audience will be asked to flow with the production and spend time standing.

  • FRIDAY 6/22 and SATURDAY 6/23 at 8PM
  • Run time: 1 hour
  • Ages 18+
  • TICKETS: $20
Celebrated performer Steve Cuiffo has immersed himself in the work of Lenny Bruce, delivering sublime, hyperreal, verbatim resurrections of the great American thinker’s monologues. The New York Times has declared, “Lenny Bruce is brought back from the dead in the form of Mr. Cuiffo,” who will perform a compilation of Bruce “bits” on still-hot topics, including organized religion, race, illegal and prescription drugs, sexual mores, obscenity, and the Constitution. It’s fifty years later, but Bruce’s often prophetic, freedom-loving skewering of American culture is as dazzling, hilarious and insightful as ever.

  • By Stickball Productions; Based on the novel by George V. Higgins; Adapted for the stage by Bill Doncaster; Directed by Maria Silvaggi
  • SATURDAY 6/23 at 3PM and SUNDAY 6/24 at 6PM
  • Run time: 1 hour 40 min
  • Ages 18+
  • TICKETS: $15 - $25
  • The godfather of badass Boston crime stories comes to life in this stage adaptation of George V. Higgins’ famous novel The Friends of Eddie Coyle. Set in the winter of ’69, Eddie Coyle is a bottom of the barrel hood trying to stay alive and out of jail among his “friends” – bank robbers, student radicals, bartenders, hit men, cops and informants. The Friends of Eddie Coyle has been called the best crime novel ever written; Higgins' dialogue comes to life on stage with this encore performance at OBERON, following its sold-out run.

  • SUNDAY 6/24 at 8:30PM

The last show may be over but the party is just beginning! Come celebrate with us at the Emerging America Festival at the closing night party. This is your chance to mingle with this years artists as you share stories, dance, laugh, and raise a glass together while the music plays on the dance floor at OBERON. This is one final event not to be missed.

Extra! Extra! or " I Oughta Be In Pictures"

Summer is the season for filmmaking in Boston.  Well, it's the busiest season for Hollywood features shooting in the Bay State.   Ever since the state enacted it's policy of tax incentives for the motion picture industry, it's not unusual for a movie to shoot entirely on location throughout the state.
In the pre-tax incentive years, a major featured tended to shoot here for a few weeks to a month or so, capturing it's exterior shots, the locations that absolutely HAD to be shot on location: The Swan Boats ... Faneuil Hall Marketplace ... Harvard and MIT ... historical sites and iconic images of New England, rowing along the Charles, fall foliage in full bloom, etc.  But with the incentive of saving money by shooting here, producers have been following the savings.
THis weekend on Saturday there's an open casting call for a movie starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy, the as yet "Untitled Female Buddy Cop Comedy" (see info regarding the casting call below).
Here's a listing and some advice on what's shooting this summer and how best to get yourself "in the movies".

A sequel to the hugely successful Adam Sandler movie GROWN UPS, again starring Adam Sandler, with Kevin James, Chris Rock, Maya Rudolph, David Spade and others from the original, as well as additonal names such as Andy Samberg and Taylor Lautner.  Shooting on the North Shore in the Marblehead/Swampscott area, Grown Ups 2 had it's open casting call last month and has been shooting for the past month, continuing through August.  Extras Casting is by Kristan Berona of Sande Alessi Casting/LA, one of Hollywood's busiest casting companies for feature films and television.  To be considered, you can connect with them on the Sande Alessi Casting/Boston Facebook page, but fair warning: Do NOT respond, comment, request work, etc., on Facebook: it's a means of receiving info regarding last minute or upcoming needs for the movie, and instructions on how to submit for those jobs will be clearly detailed in the notices.  They specifically request that potential background performers do NOT comment on their postings, as they don't have the time to go through Facebook notes while busily doing the day-to-day casting.  If you did not go to their open casting call, they ask the following:
If you did not make it to our open call, READ THE FOLLOWING VERY CAREFULLY. We will not be responding to posts about this. 
Click the link below and it will automatically download our registration card. Print it out, fill it out completely and write neatly please. If cards are not filled out completely, we will not be able to cast you. Once your card is filled out, please staple a current, color photo of yourself to it. Mail it (do not email, do not stop by, etc) to: Extras Casting, 45 Congress Street, Suite 4120, Salem, MA 01970

This is an adaptation of the novel, LABOR DAY, by Joyce Maynard.  The film stars Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin, and is being directed by Jason Reitman.  Set in New Hampshire, the movie has been shooting around Massachusetts, initially in Western MA, in the Amherst area, though they've recently moved into the Natick area and surrounding communities.   The casting company for this movie's extras is Boston Casting,  located in Allston.   But hold on: before you jump on the green line, the best way to get listed is right here online.  Go to, and click on the Talent Application link on the upper lefthand side of the home page.  As this movie includes scenes that take place in the 60's and the 80's, they are very interested in knowing if you have period-correct automobiles for possible use in the movie.
Enter your information and current photo(s) that REALLY look like you (not enhanced or touched up studio shots) and make sure you also add yourself to the Boston Casting mailing list on their home page.  Occasionally, last minute rush call castings will go out by email, and as always, the "early bird gets the worm".

This is the feature in prep for shooting  in July and August.  Starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy, it's the film that is having it's open casting call for both union (members of the newly merged SAG-AFTRA actors union) and nonunion extras this weekend.  The Extras Casting company for this movie is Billy Dowd Casting.  Billy Dowd has had a long successful casting career, working on major features over the past three decades.  He's been associated in the past with CP Casting, but he's his own independent casting director, with credits on movies and tv projects associated with some of the biggest directors and names in the industry.
Here's the casting notice and the basic information:

Billy Dowd Casting
is holding a

for an 
"Untitled Buddy Cop Comedy" 
starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy
The film is shooting in Boston this Summer

Saturday, June 23rd

10:00 AM - 4:00 PM 

The Boston Teachers Union Hall 
Carson Place 
180 Mount Vernon Street 
Dorchester, MA 02125 
CHECK YOUR GPS -- There is more than one Mount Vernon Strreet in Boston 
The BTU is located in the rear of the Bayside Expo, off of Day Boulevard.

Looking for the following types:  [ALL ADULTS 18+]

- Ex-Convicts/ Inmates 
- Ladies of The Night (Hookers) 
- Cops/FBI/Detectives 
- Prison Guards 
- Drug Dealers/ Junkies 
- Energetic & Attractive Party People/ Night Club Goers ( Ages 21 - 40 yrs old) 

Please bring a recent snap shot/photo (and a pen!) with you to the open call.
If you have a HEADSHOT & RESUME bring (at least!) TWO.
PLEASE NO phone calls to Billy Dowd Casting or the Boston Teacher's Hall.
Thank You!


Written by the Academy Award winning team of Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (The Descendants), this also marks their directorial debut.  Starring Steve Carrell and Toni Collette, who worked so well together in Little Miss Sunshine, it's a coming-of-age story based loosely on Jim Rash's own life with his Stepfather.
The Extras Casting is also being done by Billy Dowd Casting, (see above), and attendees to his casting call for the Sandra Bullock/Melissa McCarthy movie will also be considered for this film.
This movie, however, needs families and children.  If you missed the open call a few weeks ago, and you can't attend this Saturday (which is the best way of being included in Billy's files for work on either movie) you can send a current picture and all of your contact information to:

As always, no phone calls!

Break a leg, and have a great shooting summer!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Photo Credit: Jeff Adelberg
Tumbling forth from the fertile imagination of actor/playwright John Kuntz come the characters and situations of The Hotel Nepenthe, dovetailing, careening, doubling back and ultimately dancing with the spontaneity of kids at a party. And the $25 ticket price makes for an affordable excursion into a theatrical wonderland. Presented by the Emerging America Festival on the stage of the Wimberley, outfitted to contain the mysterious set and an 85 member audience. 
The "random events" that make up a life are never easily understood, followed, or sensibly arranged, and neither are the characters and events of The Hotel Nepenthe.  While following along might frustrate the linear minded theater-goer, this show clues us in at the start that we're in for a different kind of ride.  In the opening moments, Kuntz and company parody the warnings and advice of an airline stewardess,  asking the audience to "keep the tray table in an upright and locked position", "silence and turn off all electronic devices",  and the women gesture to the lavatories while John Kuntz himself warns us that "you better have gone before because there's no intermission".  And we're off on a flight of fancy through the corridors, rooms, taxis roads and bus rides of The Hotel Nepenthe.  Like most of John's plays, there is an overload of pop culture references, 60's and 70s television theme songs, recurring character names that may or may not signal connections, and an epilogue that anyone who knew John in the 80s and 90s ... well, any time at any party, will recognize as a thematic dance poem, a story in movement that exemplifies the joy and glee with which he entertains us and himself.
Photo Credit: David Gammons
The set is a mysterious landscape that functions as those hotel rooms and well-traveled roads along the way.  Live video gives us alternative views of both events in the foreground and on the periphery of a given scene, and the lighting creates the moods, tensions and mysteries we encounter.  Above, a faux-dropped ceiling allows for fluorescent lighting and the feel of a less-than-luxurious Hotel (despite the leopard bathrobes), and also for a rainbow (watch for it at the evening's end).  The quartet of actors is the perfect ensemble, who performed the play in it's premiere, produced by the Actors Shakespeare Ensemble in February/March 2011: Kuntz, Daniel Berger-Jones, Georgia Lyman and Marianna Basham, directed by David Gammons.  That production earned both the 2011 Elliot Norton and 2012 IRNE Awards for Outstanding New Play,  as well as the 2011 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Ensemble, and Elliot Norton Award nominations for David Gammons for Outstanding Director/Mid-Size Theater, and Marianna Basham for Outstanding Actress, Mid-Size Theater.
Presented by the Emerging America Festival, Thursday June 21 at 7:30 and 10:30, Friday June 22 at 8:00, Saturday June 23 at 2:00 and 8:00, and Sunday June 24 at 2:00.  Individual tickets ($25)and Festival Passes ($50-$85)  available at

Apollinaire In The Park 2012 and the Kickstarter Campaign

This summer marks the return, after a year's hiatus, of Apollinaire Theatre Company's annual Apollinaire In The Park performances, a bilingual summer event outdoors in Chelsea at Mary O'Malley Park.  Rather than rewrite what's already been written, here's a reprint from their Kickstarter campaign page. Please support the efforts to provide free summer theater in Chelsea.  While my personal association with Apollinaire only began this past winter with UNCLE VANYA, the company under the leadership of Danielle Fauteax Jacques has been toiling away for many years, and this past season, Danielle received the Kenneth MacDonald Award for Excellence from the Independent Reviewers of New England, as well as the Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Director/Fringe for the Apollinaire indoor production of UNCLE VANYA (which was nominated for an additional two Norton's, Outstanding Fringe Production and Outstanding Actor/Fringe for Ron Lacey as Astrov).

Check out the articles below, visit their Kickstarter page and donate what you can to help the Apollinaire In The Park series continue with this summer's offering, ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD.

One Play, Two Languages

Who else in Boston – or in the United States – mounts an outdoor show every summer, for free, that’s performed in English one night, then Spanish the next? Since 2003, Apollinaire’s outdoor moving stage has brought modern classics ranging from Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba to Chekhov’s The Seagull to Ionesco’s Rhinoceros to Chelsea’s Mary O’Malley Park.

Bring Theatre Back Under the Bridge

Apollinaire's 2010 production of Cyrano, staged in 5 locations in the park, brought together Chelsea’s English and Spanish speaking residents along with attracting audiences to Chelsea from throughout the state and beyond.  Unfortunately, funding from our traditional sponsorship base ran short and a hiatus occurred in 2011. Now a new campaign has been launched to produceTom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead for 14 free performances from July 11-28, 2012.

From the Oscar winner who gave us Shakespeare in Love, this wickedly funny companion piece to Hamlet turns Shakespeare inside out and shows us what's going on offstage from the point of view of Hamlet’s school chums.
Tom Stoppard serves up a feast of wordplay, wit, and slapstick while exploring the timeless questions of identity, illusion, and being on a boat.
An instant modern classic, R&G Are Dead won the 1968 Tony Award for Best Play, has appeared on stages all over the world.

Why Kickstarter?

The true cost to bring free summer theater to the community is over $30,000.  Kickstarter allows Apollinaire the opportunity to ensure the production doesn't run in the red and keeps free summer theater alive. Your valuable and generous donation will help us reach our goal.  If we don't reach the kickstarter goal of $5,850, your donation will not be processed and Apollinaire in the Park receives no funding at all.
Please help us get there and bring bi-lingual theater back under the bridge.

Your donation helps us cover production costs which include:
  • Actor Stipends for our cast of 16                                                      
  • Designer Stipends for Costumes & Sets                                          
  • Stage Manager Stipends for our team of 6 running the show in 3 locations                                                                               
  • Sets, Costumes & Props                                                                      
  • Park Permits, Insurance & Rehearsal costs                                      
  • Postcards, posters and marketing
Thank you for supporting Apollinaire in the Park!

Emerging America Festival 2012

Hotel Nepenthe
Emerging America Festival
Pirates of Penzance
Emerging America Festival 
Experiment America
Emerging America Festival

This week, Boston celebrates the third annual Emerging America Festival.
Co-produced by the Huntington Theatre Company, American Repertory Theater, and the Institute for Contemporary Art, the Festival began in 2010 and was immediately successful.
From the website:

"From June 21 through 24, Emerging America will bring together some of the country’s most promising performers, writers, companies, and directors for a weekend filled with energy, imagination, creativity, and drama.
Emerging America spans Boston and Cambridge with events happening at all three artistic homes throughout the 4-day festival: the A.R.T.'s OBERON, 2 Arrow St. Cambridge MA; the Huntington’s Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA, 527 Tremont Street, Boston; and the ICA at 100 Northern Avenue, Boston."

For the next four days, I'm taking in all the events I can, in and around volunteering for the Theatre Communications Group Conference, for the first time taking place in Boston.
Subtitled "Model The Movement", the conference brings together theatre-makers from around the country in workshops, meetings, "breakout sessions", and, of course a big party!
That's me as Telegin,  in UNCLE VANYA,
This year's party will include a "Fashion Show" of costumes from area designers and theater companies, modelled by actors in character from shows currently running and from the past season.  I will be walking the runway in my Telegin costume, along with Erin Eva Butcher in her Sonya togs,  from Apollinaire Theatre Company's UNCLE VANYA, in designs by Toni Bratton Elliot. (Here's a reminder: Apollinaire's UNCLE VANYA, nominated for three Elliot Norton Awards, and directed by the Norton Award "Outstanding Director/Fringe Theater" Danielle Fauteaux Jacques, will return in a limited engagement in October.  Please visit for information and tickets to the Oct.3-28 return).

Anthony Rapp in WITHOUT YOU this week at the Modern Theatre

Boston audiences only have this week to experience WITHOUT YOU, Anthony Rapp's moving, cathartic and rewarding solo piece about "love, loss and what I sang".  Directed by Steve Maler (who directed Rapp in the title role in the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company's 2002 production of HENRY V, in the free Shakespeare On The Common series), this one-week engagement follows performances in Pittsburgh (2008) and at the New York Musical Theater Festival (2010), and precedes a run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August followed by a London premiere.
Initially a show about his experience playing Mark, the career defining, and changing, role in Jonathon Larson's Pulitzer Prize winning "rock opera" RENT, it's also about his relationship with, and the loss of, Jonathon Larson, who died suddenly of an aortic dissection, believed to have been caused by undiagnosed Marfan syndrome, in the early morning on January 25, 1996, the day before RENT's Off-Broadway opening.  But it is also the story of the love and loss of his Mother who died after a long and debilitating cancer illness that also coincided with the life of that musical.  Through songs from RENT, as well as original music by Rapp and his collaborators (there was no program on Tuesday night), and his personal narrative, Rapp shares his life and his story, intertwining his midtown out-of-work barrista days with the audition that led to playing Mark, who captured a generation "living with, not dying from disease".  His anecdotes become the throughline, from first audition to the sing-through tribute, onstage at New York Theater Workshop's Off-Broadway theater, attended by Larson's family and friends just days after his sudden death.
On Tuesday night, the full house was silent through the most moving final sections, including a recreation of Rapp's performance of SEASONS OF LOVE at the sing-through tribute to Larson, and this show's title song, the ballad WITHOUT YOU, at his Mother's memorial.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Bye Bye 2011-12, Hello Summer

With the Elliot Norton Awards two weeks ago, and last night's Tonys, the 2011-12 theater season officially comes to a close.  And the Summer Theater Season begins!
As a Boston-based (well, Cambridge, actually ...) theater artist, I bemoan the loss of the outdoor summer theaters of my past ... The long- defunct Open Door Theater in Jamaica Plain and the more recently lost Publick Theater along the Charles River in Brighton.
For me, the Open Door was a rite of passage, a rough hewn natural amphitheater (a big ol' hole in the ground caused by pre-historic glaciers, or so I've been told).  The theater was, as the late Susan McGinley, founder and force-of-nature, called it, a cross between theater and summer camp.  Each night the entire company was involved in both set-up and strike in the transformation from verdant gorge to rough-hewn theater, from lighting poles and set pieces to the makeshift dressing areas made up of open automobile trunks propping up mirrors and a truck trailer costuming storage unit.

At the Open Door, I made lifelong friendships and professional relationships.  I had the opportunity to play roles "against type": a less-than-macho wit-matched Petruchio opposite actress and former BU acting teacher Josie Good; a lanky Sancho Panza opposite the Don Quixote of the sonorous Patrick English.  It was also where, in the summer of 1981, I was given the opportunity to make my Boston directing debut with HAVE, a sprawling Hungarian peasant tragedy/epic, with a cast that included many who went on to become some of Boston's bright lights, from former Shear Madness star Michael Poisson, the voice-over and theater actress Dorothy Gallegher, Marina Re (now based in NY), to the award winning actress and teacher/coach Paula Plum; Portland, OR's Mikki Lipsey; Kelvin Keraga, James Mullen, Brooke Stark ...  (it was a cast of, if not hundreds, dozens, like, two dozen plus...).  For The Open Door Theater's 20th Anniversary season, I directed the Boston premiere of the Frank Galati adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath, a production that earned me the Boston Magazine Best Theatrical Director award in 1995, and set the wheels in motion for my permanent return to Boston from my seven year sojourn in NY, and led to the development of my company, Raven Theatrical (94-98, Elliot Norton Fringe award in '97).  That Grapes cast included Liam "Kelly" Sullivan in his post-academic debut as the younger Joad brother Al, the ten year old Ari Graynor, Boston stalwarts Donna Asali, Susan Bigger, Bob Deveau, and Bill Doscher;  George Hahn, ; as well as my Raven Theatrical cohorts Patrick Donnelly, Ken Mason and Kelly Lawman, with an original musical score by Peter Bufano of the eclectic musical group Cirkestra.  That production of The Grapes of Wrath was cited (along with the children's musical "Emil and the Detectives") by Boston Magazine when awarding me Boston's Best Theatrical Director, 1995.

My experience at the Publick, besides many shows as an audience member, was limited to one: I played the Groucho role in A Day In Hollywood/A Night In The Ukraine.  It was directed by Artistic Director Spiro Veloudos, and was one of, if not his first forays into directing a musical.  Needless to say, Spiro went on to become the Lyric Stage Company of Boston's Artistic Director, where he has very successfully directed many well received and award winning productions of both  musicals and straight plays.  Besides me, the Marx Brothers quartet was comprised of some of my closest friends: Jimmy Russo as the Chico character,Jim Quinn as the "Zeppo", and  Lisa M. Troy (who later eventually became Mrs. Jim Quinn) as the "Harpo".  While I (and most of the critics) was disappointed in my vocal work in the show (none of us felt I really reached a Groucho sound ...), I was extremely pleased with myself, physically.  Still today, I can look at the video of the show, turn down the color, and enjoy my physicality, having captured Groucho's walk, his ability to leap with abandon, and to circle around the Margaret Dumont character like an airplane around the Empire State Building.  (It was also one of my Mom's favorite roles of mine, and she would giggle and laugh just at the memory of "the way you jumped up on that piano").

So as the summer rolls around, in comes ROLLER DISCO: THE MUSICAL, at Oberon, playing Wednesday and Thursday nights all summer.  Based on the movie "Roller Boogie", it sends up the era in a similar vein as XANADU, which had a great run at SpeakEasy Stage Company that just closed last Sunday.  Unlike XANADU, however, this show has an original score that pulses with the beats (and bass lines) of the 70's disco anthems and ballads, and the cast is all rollerskating, all the time.  Having seen an early preview, I'll only say that it is it's own show, reminiscent of Xanadu but with an original approach that works well in the Oberon space.

Also this week, CAR TALK: THE MUSICAL (is every summer show titled with a colon and the suffix "The Musical"?).  This is the debut of a newly rewritten version of the show produced last year at Suffolk University, directed by Suffolk's Wesley Savick, and co-produced by Underground Railway Theater and Suffolk University at the Central Square Theater in Cambridge.  This week, there are 2-for-1 preview tickets available.  The cast features some of Boston's funniest musical performers, including Maureen Keiller, Leigh Barrett and NH's Scott Severance.