Category Archives: Stage – all

Live Theatre Returns To The Greater Boston Stage Company

THE 39 STEPS MARKS THE RETURN TO MAINSTAGE PROGRAMMING AT GREATER BOSTON STAGE COMPANY 

Live theatre returns to Greater Boston Stage Company! The raucous The 39 Steps kicks off the 2021- 2022 mainstage season on September 23rd as GBSC presents this fast-paced whodunit for anyone who loves the magic of theatre. This two-time Tony (R) and Drama Desk Award-winning treat is packed with laughs, a slew of characters, a plane crash, handcuffs, missing fingers, and some good old- fashioned romance. Adapted by Patrick Barlow based on the thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock and the novel by John Buchan, The 39 Steps is directed by Associate Artistic Director Ilyse Robbins. Performances run September 23 – October 10, 2021.

“I am honored and thrilled (get it?) to direct this first mainstage show on our road to recovery,” says Robbins. “What better way to come back to the theater than to enjoy a good old-fashioned comedy/whodunit/romance where 4 actors play over 100 roles. I have the great good fortune to work with four of the funniest actors in town. They give new meaning to the words, ‘We wear many hats.’ I hope you will find yourself laughing as much as I do.” 

Russell Garrett

The cast of The 39 Steps includes Grace Experience, Russell Garrett, Paul Melendy, and KP Powell. The design team is comprised of Scenic Designer Shelley Barish, Lighting Designer Daisy Long, Costume Designer Rachel Padula-Shufelt, Sound Designer Andrew Duncan Will, and Props Master Emme Shaw. Shauwna Grillo is the Production Stage Manager.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call the Box Office at Greater Boston Stage Company at (781) 279-2200, or visit www.greaterbostonstage.org 

Greater Boston Stage Company is pleased to announce that we have joined with a coalition of Boston- area theatres to implement masking, vaccination and testing policies designed to keep our audiences, artists, staff and volunteers safe in accordance with CDC and local guidance. The following policies will be in place from September 1 through October 31. For more information, please visit:

http://www.greaterbostonstage.org/health-and-safety.html 

Live Theatre Returns To SpeakEasy Stage In Boston

THE SOUND INSIDE

Opens At SpeakEasy Stage

September 24

From September 24 to October 16, 2021, SpeakEasy Stage Company will proudly present the Boston-area premiere of the gripping drama THE SOUND INSIDE by Adam Rapp.

Nominated for six 2020 Tony Awards including Best Play, THE SOUND INSIDE is an intensely quiet play that introduces us to Bella Baird, a novelist who, in the seventeen years since she was last published, has almost completely isolated herself from the world.  But everything changes when she meets Christopher, a brilliant but enigmatic student in her creative writing class at Yale. As their friendship deepens, their lives and the stories they tell about themselves become intertwined in unpredictable ways, leading to a shocking request. Intensely intimate and deeply moving, THE SOUND INSIDE is “an astonishing new play… about fiction, both the kind we read and the kind we live.” (The New York Times)

Playwright Adam Rapp made his Broadway debut with THE SOUND INSIDE, which was commissioned by Lincoln Center and received its world premiere in 2018 at the Williamstown Theatre Festival.  A 2006 Pulitzer Prize finalist for his play Red Light Winter, Rapp is also the author of Nocturne (American Repertory Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop), Finer Noble Gases (26th Humana Festival), Stone Cold Dead Serious (A.R.T.), Blackbird (The Bush, London), and Essential Self-Defense (Playwrights Horizons/Edge Theatre), among others.  

Director Bryn Boice will helm this Boston premiere production of THE SOUND INSIDE Winner of the 2019 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Director, Large Theater for Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s Universe Rushing Apart: Blue Kettle & Here We Go, Ms. Boice returns to SpeakEasy after having directed the company’s 2020 production of The Children. Ms. Boice also serves as the Associate Artistic Director at Commonwealth Shakespeare Company and is a professor at Salem State University.

Jennifer Rohn (Broadway’s The Kentucky Cycle) and Nathan Malin (SpeakEasy’s Admissions) will star in this production.

NATHAN MALIN (Christopher) is thrilled to return to SpeakEasy after appearing in its production of Admissions. Other area credits include Gone Nowhere (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre); The Crucible (u/s, Bedlam); Vanity FairThe Happy Prince/Matchless (u/s, Underground Railway Theater); 1984The Lathe of Heaven (Boston University); Maura Dunne (The Poets’ Theatre), Titus Andronicus (Actors’ Shakespeare Project); and Much Ado About Nothing (Boston Theatre Company). Nathan was also a production intern on Uncle Romeo Vanya Juliet (Bedlam). Training: Boston University, Shakespeare & Company.

JENNIFER ROHN (Bella Baird) is making her SpeakEasy debut with this production.  A 2019 Elliot Norton Award winner for her performance in Dark Room (Bridge Repertory Theater), Jennifer began her professional career appearing in numerous productions created by renowned experimental theatre director Robert Wilson.  She has also appeared on Broadway in The Kentucky Cycle and The Crucible, and in several Off-Broadway productions including Love’s Fire and The Caucasian Chalk Circle (The Public Theater); Romeo and Juliet (The New Victory Theater); The CIVIL warS (Brooklyn Academy of Music); and Another Person is a Foreign Country (Anne Bogart, director/ En Garde Arts). Her regional theater credits are extensive and include work for The American Repertory Theater, The Huntington Theatre, The Guthrie Theater, The Cleveland Play House, The Kennedy Center, The Seattle Repertory Theatre, The Philadelphia Theatre Company, and The Dallas Theater Center.  She toured Europe with Hamletmachine, and appeared at La Scala in Salome (Robert Wilson, director) and at The Barbican Centre in Love’s Fire (Mark Lamos, director). Her television credits include several television commercials, Law and Order, American Playhouse, and the film Crossing the Atlantic. Jennifer teaches at Bennington College.

 

THE SOUND INSIDE will run for four weeks, from September 24 through October 16, 2021, in the Roberts Studio Theatre in the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street in Boston’s South End.

For tickets or more information, the public is invited to call BostonTheatreScene Ticketing Services at 617.933.8600 or visit www.SpeakEasyStage.com.                

Boston Theatres Announce COVID Protocols For Reopening

14 GREATER BOSTON THEATRES UNITE TO ANNOUNCE

COLLECTIVE COMMITMENT TO PUBLIC SAFETY

AS LIVE, INDOOR PERFORMANCES RESUME

 

Proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test and masks 

will be required for all audience members

New survey results show majority of arts goers

support these measures

The following is from a press release sent out by the Huntington Theatre:

Fourteen theatre companies in the Greater Boston area have banded together to announce a collective commitment to public safety as live, indoor performances resume in the region amid concerns around the rise in COVID-19 cases in the US.

These theatre companies will implement policies designed to protect the health and safety of everyone by requiring proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test for all artists, staff members, and audiences who attend live, indoor performances at their institutions. Masks will be required inside the theatres as well.

These policies will be in place starting immediately and valid through October 31, 2021 (in alignment with Broadway’s current policies), and will be reevaluated as the situation evolves. They are based on CDC guidance and were developed in consultation with public health officials. Individual theatres will list their specific protocols and guidelines on their websites.

The organizations joining in this effort are: Actors’ Shakespeare Project, American Repertory Theater, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, Central Square Theater, The Front Porch Arts Collective, The Gamm Theatre, Gloucester Stage Company, Greater Boston Stage Company, The Huntington, Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Moonbox Productions, SpeakEasy Stage Company, and Wellesley Repertory Theatre. Other companies are expected to sign on in the coming weeks.

“We at The Huntington, along with our colleagues, are eager to welcome back audiences to live performances this fall, and we are prioritizing everyone’s health and well-being in order to safely reopen,” says Huntington Managing Director Michael Maso. “These measures will provide multiple layers of protection in our theatres – it’s what our patrons want, and it’s an essential part of our broader responsibility as public-facing institutions.”

“We’re committed to creating a culture of care,” says Central Square Theater Executive Director Catherine Carr Kelly, who is also co-vice president of New England Area Theaters (NEAT), an association of midsize theatres. “All of our companies are fully vaccinated. Requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test, along with wearing masks, increases the safety for fellow patrons and also for the artists and staff of each company.”

AUDIENCE OUTLOOK SURVEY DATA AND THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS

The recent announcements that theatres in New York City, Washington, DC, and Chicago have established similar policies around requiring proof of vaccination or negative COVID test and mask wearing, combined with the latest results of ArtsBoston’s Audience Outlook Monitor survey, gives Greater Boston theatres increased confidence in implementing these measures.

The Audience Outlook Monitor is a longitudinal survey sponsored locally by ArtsBoston and run nationally by independent consultant WolfBrown, that has been regularly providing Greater Boston arts organizations with data about audience perceptions, concerns, and intentions during the pandemic. It has been a vital tool for arts groups in developing their plans, policies, and communications strategies.

In the most recent round of survey data collected August 9 – 13, 2021, 80% of respondents indicated that proof of vaccination would make them more likely to attend indoor events, and 50% said that proof of vaccination or negative COVID test is a prerequisite for their attendance. According to the survey, 98% of respondents reported being fully vaccinated or planning to do so.

The survey showed that news of the delta variant has reduced audience demand to return to indoor performances right away. In the June 2021 survey, 18% of respondents said they wouldn’t attend an indoor event that week. That figure more than doubled to 39% in the recent August round of surveys. The increase reflects the rising level of concern of audience members

“After deep consideration on this topic and following the guiding principles of our Roadmap for Recovery and Resilience for Theater, we came to this decision, recognizing that the vaccines are now widely available and free,” says Mark Lunsford, ART Artistic Producer. “Along with enhanced ventilation and universal masking, vaccination and testing are critical cornerstones of our multi-layered mitigation efforts that prioritize the safety of our community of staff, audiences, and artists.”

“Requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test is the best way for us as a community to reopen responsibly,” says Paul Daigneault, SpeakEasy Stage Company Producing Artistic Director.  “It will allow us to move forward and continue to prioritize everyone’s safety – audiences, artists, and theatre staff alike.”

“The health and safety of the audience, artistic team, and staff must always be the first priority,” says Joseph Allen, associate professor and Director of the Healthy Buildings program at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “That means when we have new tools available, we need to use them. On top of enhanced ventilation and masking, the vaccines offer an additional, and excellent, layer of protection that should give everyone even more confidence as we reopen theaters.”

 

PROTOCOLS FOR ATTENDING A PERFORMANCE

All patrons attending live, indoor performances at participating theatres must present proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID test before entering the venue, and must wear a mask inside the theatre.

Proof of vaccination may include showing either a vaccination card or a photo of the card, or a digital vaccine record (through an app such as Bindle at www.joinbindle.com/people). Anyone who is unable to be vaccinated or to verify their vaccination status for any reason will be required to show proof of a recent negative COVID test before entering.

Individual theatres may have their own guidelines and instructions for patrons; please see a theatre company’s website or contact them directly for further details about specific policies.

 

 

Theatre By The Sea Reopens July 9 With Nicolas King

 

POP-JAZZ CROONER NICOLAS KING

BRINGS NEW SHOW TO THEATRE BY THE SEA

Nicolas King

Theatre By The Sea’s owner and producer Bill Hanney, who recently announced the reopening of Theatre By The Sea after a 21-month intermission, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, is ecstatic to open the 2021 Summer Concert Series with Rhode Island’s own Nicolas King on Friday, July 9 and Saturday, July 10 at 8:00 pm. 

Nicolas King has been performing since he was four years old. Having been in three Broadway productions before the age of twelve is no small feat! Aside from appearing opposite Tom Selleck in A Thousand Clowns and Carol Burnett’s Hollywood Arms, directed by Hal Prince, he was Broadway’s longest running Chip in Disney’s Beauty and The Beast. Mr. King has also appeared in dozens of national television commercials, including his award-winning “Oscar Mayer Lunchables” commercial. He has appeared on numerous television talk shows including “The View,” “The Today Show,” “Sally Jesse Raphael,” “Liza & David,” and twice on “The  Tonight  Show” with Jay Leno, (including Leno’s final week as host in 2014). Nicolas’ latest album, “Act One – Celebrating 25 Years of Recordings,” was released in 2021 with Club 44 Records and features collaborations with Jane Monheit, Norm Lewis, hit-maker Charles Calello, and longtime musical director Mike Renzi. He performed on the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon for eight consecutive years live in Las Vegas, originated the voice of Oscar on Discovery Kids’ “Kenny The Shark” and is the recipient of the 1995 and 1996 Talent America Award, the 2010 Julie Wilson Award, the 2015 AMG Award for Artist of the Year, the 2012 Bistro Award for Outstanding Performer of the Year, the 2019 Legends Award for his contribution to the preservation of the Great American Songbook, and the 2021 BroadwayWorld Award for Best Swing Act. In addition to performing with artists such as Tony Danza, Andrea McArdle, Jack Jones, Lainie Kazan, Donna McKechnie, Faith Prince, Billy Paul, Jennifer Holliday, Debby Boone, and Linda Lavin, he has also performed alongside his mentor, the legendary Liza Minnelli, since he was eleven years old as her opening act from 2002-2012, touring throughout the country. Mr. King has performed on many iconic stages including concerts and appearances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Birdland, 54 Below, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, and aboard Silversea and Crystal Cruises.

Accompanied by the Mike Renzi Trio, Nicolas will be performing a collection of jazz, pop and Broadway songs which celebrate the ups and downs of a year we are all happy is over. This optimistic set highlights lessons learned, new perspectives gained, and the music that got us through it all. 

Hindsight’s 2020 with Nicolas King will be at Theatre By The Sea on Friday, July 9 and Saturday, July 10 at 8:00 pm. Additional performances for the 2021 Summer Concert Series will take place on July 16, 17, 23, 24, 30 and 31 at 8:00 pm. The theatre is located at 364 Cards Pond Road, Wakefield. Tickets are $29 – $52 (additional fees may apply). Discount rates are available for groups of 10 or more by calling (401) 782-3800 x112. Tickets are currently on sale online 24-hours-a-day at www.theatrebythesea.com and via telephone from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm Monday through Saturday by calling (401) 782-TKTS (8587). 

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The Ogunquit Playhouse Is Back With “Monty Python’s Spamalot”

With Monty Python’s Spamalot

The Ogunquit Playhouse

Returns Us To The Bright Side Of Life

Reviewed by Bobby Franklin

Charles Shaughnessy as King Arthur and Mariand Torres as The Lady of the Lake

In the early spring of 2020 hope began to fade that the Corona Virus was going to recede, and the reality that life for all of us was going to be quite different for some time was setting in. At the time Brad Kenney, Executive Artistic Director of the Playhouse, had to make the announcement the 2020 Season would be canceled. Brad did this via video and the poor guy could not have looked more beaten down. His heart and soul is in the Ogunquit Playhouse and having to let the public know the curtain wouldn’t be going up last year was heart wrenching. It seemed sure the place would  remain dark for a long time. Some wondered if it would be able to survive.

Well, Brad may have been staggered and even floored, but the count never got to ten. He soon recovered and was back in the fight, a fight he was not going to lose. After having to refund over 50% of the ticket sale money for the up coming season Brad went to work on fundraising, and more importantly, keeping the flame burning at the playhouse. This began with video talks with Playhouse Alumni such as Sally Struthers. The mood was changing for the better. Next was the Playhouse Cabaret Series where performers from past seasons displayed their talents before small crowds outside the theatre in a cafe setting. So, even though the season was officially canceled, there were still performances taking place before a live audience. 

Left to Right) Jen Cody, Dwelvan David, Charles Shaughnessy, Mariand Torres, Josh Grisetti, and Daniel Lopez (Photo by Gary Ng)

As the 2021 Season approached it was still unknown if the COVID restrictions would allow for the theatre to reopen. Since it takes some time to put together full scale productions it was decided to build a pavilion next to the theatre where it would be easier to allow for social distancing and ventilation. 

With generous donations from the many loyal supporters of the Playhouse, and a huge gift from benefactors Carol and Noel Leary, the Leary Pavillon was erected and a four show season was planned.

Last Friday night the season kicked off with Monty Python’s Spamalot. As one of the tag-lines from Monty Python goes; “And now for something completely different”. Well, not completely different as this production lives up to the high standards the Ogunquit Playhouse has always adhered to.

The laughter that came from the audience in response to those lines shows the resilience people have and how, just like the Ogunquit Playhouse, we are not giving up.

It was an interesting choice as the first musical to play since the pandemic hit in that it opens with references to plague and deaths. Grim? Not at all, gallows humor is exactly what is needed at this time. The laughter that came from the audience in response to those lines shows the resilience people have and how, just like the Ogunquit Playhouse, we are not giving up. 

Charles Shaughnessy is excellent in leading the cast as Arthur the King who just can’t seem to command respect. Sent by God on a quest to find the Holy Grail, Arthur is accompanied by his faithful companion Patsy (Jen Cody). Along the way the King assembles members of his Knights of the Round Table, a motley crew who often take things Arthur says literally which causes more than a little Pythonish confusion.

Josh Grisetti as Sir Robin
(Photo by Gary Ng)

Dennis Galahad (Daniel A. Lopez) is not easily convinced to become a knight as he has the radical idea leaders should be chosen by the people and not by Divine Right. The Lady of the Lake (Mariand Torres) appears and wins over Dennis with Come With Me who now becomes Sir Galahad. Ms Torres while singing hilarious songs shows her talent as a genuine Broadway Belter with the Diva’s Lament and Find Your Grail/The Song That Goes Like This.

Jen Cody is outstanding as Patsy. Her performance of the show’s best known song Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life was pitch perfect, and she showed great comedic expressions when Mr. Shaughnessy sang I’m Alone. Poor Patsy who had stood by the King throughout thick and thin was a riot as she looked to the audience with “What about me looks?” as Arthur spun his tale of loneliness.

Jen Cody as Patsy
Photo Credit: Gary Ng

With many of the devices that make Monty Python so popular, such as a giant wooden rabbit, the huge hand, poking fun at the French, and riding on horseback sans horses, fans won’t be disappointed.

The big show tunes are a treat as well. You Won’t Succeed On Broadway (Josh Grisetti) is Mel Brooksian in its formula for it’s humorous take in what you need to produce a Broadway Show while His Name Is Lancelot (Nic Rouleau) is best described as Lancelot’s coming out song.

Music, laughter, beautiful sets, and the joy of the Ogunquit Playhouse is back. Life is good again.

By the finale the audience was fully back in theatre mode. Music, laughter, beautiful sets, and the joy of the Ogunquit Playhouse is back. Life is good again.

I’d like to say a few things about the Leary Pavilion. While it is different from the main theatre it is a very interesting setting for a play. It accommodates 75% of the Playhouse’s indoor capacity. The 25,000 square foot steel structured, fully covered, open air performance venue has a 96 foot wide stage, a full array of lighting, and much better acoustics than I expected. A major plus is having the seats arranged in “pods” of two for social distancing. This also ensures every audience member is guaranteed an aisle seat with plenty of leg room. For a fidgeter like me this is a positive delight. Site lines are clear and unobstructed. You doin’t have to crane your neck to look past people’s heads. Is the pavilion better than the indoor theatre? No. Is it worse? No. It is a different and very interesting experience, and it works very, very well. 

Brad Kenney deserves more than high praise for making this all happen. Don’t think twice about buying tickets for Spamalot and the rest of the season. Come out of your cocoon and step into the world of outstanding musical theatre at the Ogunquit Playhouse. It really feels good to be back looking at the bright side of life!

Monty Python’s Spamalot

Through July 10

The Ogunquit Playhouse

Ogunquit, Maine

Box Office: 207.646.5511

ogunquitplayhouse.org 

The Ogunquit Playhouse Patio Cabaret Opens June 4

Ogunquit Playhouse 

Opens The

 Playhouse Patio Cabaret

By Bobby Franklin

In addition to the four Main Stage plays being presented this season, the Ogunquit Playhouse will once again be welcoming patrons to their Playhouse Patio Cabaret. The Patio proved extremely popular last year and will be an extra treat this season as things begin to shift back to normal in Ogunquit with the opening of the Main Stage.

The opening performance will see the return of Nat Zegree to the patio. Nat, who rocked the house in Million Dollar Quartet, will be sharing his talent and musical knowledge June 4 through 6. This will be a great prelude to the opening of the first full musical in nearly two year which takes place on June 16 with Monty Python’s Spamalot.

The Playhouse Patio Cabaret will continue throughout the summer with  total of 10 events. In addition to Nat Zegree the performers along with the plays they were in are Diana Huey(Elf The Musical) June 25-27, Jeffry Denman (White Christmas) and David Lamoureux(An American in Paris)July 23-25, F. Michael Haynie (Hunchback of Notre Dame)July 30-August 1, Alysha Umphress (Smokey Joe’s Cafe) and Jeff Blumenkrantz  (Broadway’s Bright Star) 6-8, NicoleVanessa Ortiz August (Smokey Joe’s Cafe)13-15, Kyle Taylor Parker (Kinky Boots) August 20-22, Lindsay Roberts (Ragtime)September 10-12, Jonathan Mousset Alonso (JerseyBoys) and Vince Di Mura September 17-19, and Graham Scott Fleming (Kinky Boots)September 24-26. 

With seats limited to 100 per performance, tickets will run out fast. Last years series sold out within days. Cabaret performances are On Sale Now at ogunquitplayhouse.org and through the Box Office phone lines at 207.646.5511. Seating is by table, priced as $140 for a table of two, and $280 for a table of four, limited to 100 patrons per performance. Pricing includes one complimentary drink per person.

This will be a very exciting summer in Ogunquit led by the very talented performers and staff at the Ogunquit Playhouse. You don’t want to miss out.

2021 Ogunquit Playhouse 2021 Season Announced!

The Show Will Go On

In Ogunquit!

The pandemic put a serious damper on live theatre, and last year the Ogunquit Playhouse was limited to just a few cabaret style outdoor events. Things were up in the air for this year, but the show will go on. The team at the Playhouse have worked hard to come up with a way to stage productions in a safe environment. They have been as creative with providing a new setting as they are with their stage work. It looks to be an exiting year in Ogunquit. 

Bradford T. Kenney, Executive Artistic Director stated, “When it became obvious we couldn’t produce shows indoors this year, the creative wheels began turning on how we could deliver that legendary Ogunquit Playhouse magic in an entirely new way”. Rising from the grounds of the South lawn on the campus this April is The Playhouse Pavilion, a 25,000 square foot, fully covered, open air venue designed to give audiences the greatest theatrical experience in the safest of environments. Fully wired for lights and sound, the 75 foot wide stage will dazzle socially distanced audiences seated in pods of two seats with clear sight lines for all the show stopping glitz and side-splitting laughter they’ve been without for the past year.

The 2021 Season kicks off with Spamalot,  which returns in a new 90-minute, no-intermission extravaganza. From the comedic brilliance of the mighty Pythons and their hysterically inaccurate retelling of King Arthur’s quest for the Holy Grail, Eric Idle adapts his original Broadway script to streamline the music and laughter for a COVID-friendly environment. Spamalot will run June 16 through July 10.

Next up will be the regional premiere of Escape To Margaritaville. You’ll be dining on cheeseburgers in paradise and wasting away with this 90-minute no intermission journey through the music of the incomparable Jimmy Buffett. Kick off your flip flops for seven weeks from July 14 through August 28, as Maine’s Seacoast is transformed into a Caribbean paradise where love and laughter are the keys to growing older without growing up.

Act Three of the season will run from September 1 through October 2 with The Pavilion stage transforming into a quaint New England seacoast village for the World Premiere of Mystic Pizza, the beloved 1980s MGM romantic comedy that launched the career of Julia Roberts. Three girlfriends navigating life, love, and coming-of-age in a working class seaside pizza joint. This pizza is topped with the hits of the ‘80s and ‘90s.

Bringing the curtain down on the season’s Pavilion stage spectacular will a new 90-minute, no intermission, side-splitting version of Young Frankenstein! Mel Brooks and Susan Stroman scared the pants off Broadway giving his 1974 cult classic creature new life on stage as a mind-blowing tap dancing monster of an experience. The creepy and kooky family will run from October 6 through, fittingly, Halloween!

While audience members are not being required to provide their proof of vaccination, Ogunquit Playhouse encourages all patrons and guests to get vaccinated for their own safety and the safety of those around them. They are also making it clear that everyone on campus — staff, artists, and patrons alike — adhere to current State and Federal CDC guidelines for social distancing. Masks will be required at all times, except when eating and drinking. Masks will be provided to those who arrive without one. And patron traffic flow will be managed to ensure the safest, most efficient arrival and departure from the campus.

It’s important to keep in mind that seating in The Pavilion is limited, so it would be wise to purchase tickets and subscriptions early. Playhouse Members will receive a week of pre-sales beginning April 19 at 10AM ET. With an annual Membership of $100 or more, you too can get a fast pass to the front of the line! General Public sales begin April 26 online at ogunquitplayhouse.org and by phone at 207.646.5511.

Knowing this Season will be completely different from what Playhouse audiences are used to, all patrons are encouraged to share their questions and concerns by filling out the comments form at https://bit.ly/3snypuR. While it is not possible to address each inquiry individually,  responses will be shared on the Playhouse Facebook page and in the weekly eNews.

For the latest information on the 2021 Season, please visit http://ogunquitplayhouse.org/ or email mstailey [at] ogunquitplayhouse [dot] org

Jack Palance: In The Ring, On The Stage

Jack Palance 

Fought Professionally 

Played In Requiem For A Heavyweight

Took On Joe Baski

By Bobby Franklin

If looks could win fights Jack Palance would have been heavyweight champion of the world. His face appeared as if it were cut out of stone and he had the persona to go with it. While well liked, he was known as someone who didn’t pull his punches, figuratively or literally. At 6’3”’ and 200 pounds, he was built lean and hard and was an imposing figure.

He was born Volodymir Ivanovich Palahniuk on February 18, 1919 in Lattimer Mines, Pennsylvania to Ukrainian immigrants. At an early age he decided he didn’t want to follow in his father’s footsteps working as a coal miner. After 39 years working in the mines his father died of black lung disease. As a young man it bothered him that his mother was forced to buy groceries at the company store when the same goods could be had for cheaper in nearby establishments. 

A natural athlete, Jack earned a football scholarship to the University of North Carolina but dropped out after two years. It was then that he decided to take up boxing. He fought under the name of Jack Brazzo and reportedly won his first 15 fights with 12 coming by way of knockout. I was unable to verify this record, but it is a fact that he took on future heavyweight contender Joe Baski in 1938 losing a four round decision. It was after the Baski loss that Palance left boxing for a career in acting. He later recalled, ”…Then I thought, ‘You must be nuts to get your head beat in for $200.’ The theater seemed a lot more appealing…”.

His career was sidetracked by WWII. He was seriously injured when bailing out of a B-24 Liberator that had caught fire. He required facial surgery for wounds he received. When later asked if the plastic surgery had enhanced his looks he responded “If it is a ‘bionic face,’ why didn’t they do a better job of it?” After the war he returned home and to the coal mines. He then enrolled at Stanford University where he earned a degree in journalism. He worked for a time as a sportswriter while resuming his acting career having now changed his name to Jack Palance.

In 1956 he got to put his boxing experience to work when he starred in the Playhouse 90 production of Requiem For A Heavyweight. Most people remember the movie version that had Anthony Quinn in the leading role. With a screenplay written by Rod Serling, another former boxer, the Playhouse 90 performance was aired live on television on October 11th of that year. Co- starring Ed and Keenan Wynn along with Kim Hunter, this version is different from the big screen production.

 

The character Quinn played was named Mountain Rivera, while Palance’s was Mountain McClintock. Palance brought a more nuanced tact to the role of the over the hill boxer who now had to find his way in the world outside of the ring. His experience as a boxer certainly aided in his being able to dig more deeply into the role. The two versions show the fighter suffering from pugilistica dementia, while also struggling with his loyalty to his manager who wants him to continue boxing even after being warned by a doctor that one more fight could kill him. It’s a touching and tragic story enhanced by the grim fact it is something that happens time and again in boxing.

While aired live, the performance was saved on film and is available on Amazon and Youtube. I highly recommend it both for the outstanding acting done by Palance and the hard-hitting screenplay by Serling. While the big screen version is an excellent movie, Quinn’s Rivera tends too much to the pathetic side and sinks into caricature while Palance’s McClintock has a depth and realism that makes for a very moving performance. While Quinn’s character remains under the spell of his manager, Palance’s McClintock struggles to break away in a pursuit to regain his self-respect. Palance brings complexity to the role, for which he won an Emmy. It is interesting to watch the two versions and compare them.

Palance went on to have a legendary career in film, while never feeling at home with the Hollywood crowd. A life long vegetarian and health fanatic he stayed fit all of his life. In 1991 while accepting the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Curley in City Slickers he brought the audience to its feet when at age 73 he dropped to the floor and did one armed pushups. 

I wish more information was available about his boxing career, but there is no doubt that any of his opponents would have felt at least a brief chill when looking across the ring at Jack Palance.

While a genuine tough guy, Jack liked to spend his free time painting and writing poetry and fiction. On November 10, 2006 Jack Palance passed away at the age of 87 of natural causes. A true original, he will never be forgotten. 

Ogunquit Playhouse Re-Opens with an Exclusive Open Air Playhouse Patio Cabaret Series, Welcoming Back Ten of Broadway’s Finest Voices! 

The Summer lives on for Ogunquit Playhouse, as we re-open our immaculate grounds for a limited seating, COVID-safe, open air Playhouse Patio Cabaret featuring some of Broadway’s finest alumni vocal talents from our most popular shows including Jersey Boys, Million Dollar Quartet, Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Kinky Boots, and more! This 10-week series offers 50 patrons the opportunity to enjoy music they’ve come to know and love, in an idyllic setting, escaping the stress of today’s world, if only for an hour. Beginning August 7 and running through October 11, each week will feature four performances (Friday 7:30PM, Saturday 4:00 and 7:30PM, Sunday 1:00PM) from Broadway and veteran Playhouse performers, sharing music and memories in an intimate cabaret environment. 

Opening the Playhouse Patio Cabaret August 7 through 9 is Nat Zegree (Jerry Lee Lewis in 2015 and 2016’s Million Dollar Quartet) whose energetic stylings from over, under, and behind the piano have become legendary. August 14 through 16 welcomes back Eddie Clendening (Elvis in 2017’s Heartbreak Hotel, and the original Elvis in Broadway’s Million Dollar Quartet) and his passion for classic Rockabilly music with a powerful tribute to The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. August 21 through 23 brings home fan favorite Jonathan Mousset Alonso (Frankie Valli in 2018 and 2019’s Jersey Boys) for a musical celebration of The Four Seasons and America’s greatest composers. We round out the month from August 28 through 30 with the velvet vocal stylings of Kyle Taylor Parker (Lola in 2019’s Kinky Boots, the Off-Broadway transfer of Smokey Joe’s Cafe), whose evening of pop, soul, and Broadway standards is par excellence. 

The weekend of September 4 through 6 features Maine native Scott Moreau (Johnny Cash in 2015 and 2016’s Million Dollar Quartet) with an evening of music honoring the legendary Man in Black. September 11 through 13 celebrates the return of Carter Calvert (Patsy Cline in 2012’s Always… Patsy Cline and original Broadway cast of It Ain’t Nothin’ But The Blues), whose stories and songs are woven into a captivating and endearing evening of Patsy Cline’s music. September 18 through 20 welcomes home Kurt Jenkins (Buddy Holly in 2012 and 2013’s Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story) whose light-hearted musical revue features the best songs from the early days of Country, Rock ‘n’ Roll, and Rhythm & Blues. And the month wraps up with Andy Christopher (Bob Gaudio in 2018 and 2019’s Jersey Boys) sharing his take on the music of Hank Williams, Roy Orbison, The Beatles, and more, from September 25 through 27. 

Matt Magnusson (Tommy DeVito in 2018 and 2019’s Jersey Boys) ushers in the month from October 2 through 4, with a mix of music theatre-goers love, as only he can deliver it. And we close out the series October 9 through 11 with the energy and passion of Jelani Remy (2018’s Smokey Joe’s Cafe and the Off-Broadway transfer, and on Broadway as Eddie Kendricks in Ain’t Too Proud), whose shining star delivers a feast of pop and musical theatre standards as a love letter to Broadway. 

With 16 tables spaced eight feet apart, all more than 14 feet from our new Playhouse Patio Cabaret stage, patrons will be able to enjoy a socially distanced evening with access to cashless concessions, frequently cleaned and handicapped accessible restrooms, and a hand washing station. Masks will be required to enter and exit the grounds, as well as while traveling between seating and other areas of the property. Masks will be made available for those who do not bring one. The Playhouse staff is going above and beyond to ensure the enjoyment and safety of all our guests and performers. 

Playhouse Patio Cabaret seating goes on sale Monday, August 3 at 10:00AM both online at ogunquitplayhouse.org and through our Box Office at 207.646.5511. Seating is by table, priced as $118 for a table of two, and $236 for a table of four, limited to 50 patrons per performance. Ticket price includes one drink per person. In the case of a cancellation for inclement weather, every attempt will be made to reschedule the performance for Sunday at 4:00PM or 7:30PM that same weekend. Given the unique circumstances of this exclusive event, there will be no refunds or exchanges. For more details please visit our website or reach out to the Box Office staff via email at boxoffice [at] ogunquitplayhouse [dot] org 

As always, your support of Ogunquit Playhouse during this challenging time is most greatly appreciated. If you cannot attend the Playhouse Patio Cabaret series and would like to make a donation to our Save the Playhouse campaign, please visit https://tickets.ogunquitplayhouse.org/donate/contribute.

Ogunquit Playhouse to Launch On-Line Education Programs and Youth Programming Camps for 2020

Ogunquit Playhouse is expanding its educational offerings to include a new On-Line Academy with programs beginning Monday, July 27. The On-Line Academy will be part of the recently developed Ogunquit Playhouse Arts Colony – an homage to Playhouse founder Walter Hartwig, who created the education-based Manhattan Theatre Colony, that was dedicated to teaching all aspects of theatre. The Arts Colony operates with the belief that theatre is a profound tool for students to exercise their imagination, and to discover their innate skill set. The Ogunquit Playhouse education programs strive to create new opportunities for students’ success, to increase self-confidence, teach goal orientation and professional etiquette, strengthen collaborative skills, improve listening skills, and prepare students to perform at personal best standards. As students assimilate to learning and performing via an on-line platform, they in turn build confidence and develop new skills. Parents are invited to view student’s streamed performances.

For 2020, the On-Line Academy has been created to connect with students when in-person programs are on pause. The new education programs kick off Monday, July 27 and include offerings for students ages 5 through adult. Professional teaching artists from the Ogunquit Playhouse stage, Broadway, National Tours, and leading Regional Theatres lead each program, which are designed for small groups. In addition, each student will have the opportunity to sign up for sessions that include only one to three people. 

Ogunquit Playhouse On-Line Academy programs enrollment begins on Thursday, July 16, and continues Monday – Friday, 10AM to 4PM. To register call 207-646-5511. There is a limited class size, and all classes are subject to cancellation if registrations do not meet a minimum of six students ages 5 to 7, and twelve students ages 16 and up. Each program incurs a $10 non-refundable registration fee. For more information email registration [at] ogunquitplayhouse [dot] org or visit: www.ogunquitplayhouse.org.

Ages 5 to 7 – Two-day on-line camps are geared to engage our younger students in various activities using theatre techniques and household items. Students will meet from 9 to 10AM on Monday and Wednesday via ZOOM. Parents or guardians are encouraged to participate with their child in these fun and innovative sessions. Drama Games: Jul 27 and 29; Build-A-Prop: Aug 3 and 5; Arts & Crafts for the Stage: Aug 10 and 12; Musical Scavenger Hunt: Aug 17 and 20. Each session is $75 per child.

Ages 8 to 12 – One-week, on-line camps include musicals written especially for on-line programming and specifically chosen and designed to be performed via ZOOM. The Broadway Experience includes programming and songs specifically chosen from some of Broadway’s most popular shows The small classes allow students individual attention and a chance to work one on one with instructors. Streaming of the final performances will be available for a small donation to parents, families and friends who wish to experience the culmination of the students’ work. Super Happy Awesome News: Jul 27 to 31; The Show Must Go On Line: Aug 3 to 7; The Broadway Experience – #1: Aug 10 to 14; The Broadway Experience – #2: Aug 17 to 21. Sessions run Monday through Friday from 9AM to Noon. Each session is $225 per student.

Ages 13 to 18 – The Broadway Experience one-week on-line camps include programming and songs specifically chosen from some of Broadway’s most popular shows and designed to be performed via ZOOM. The small classes allow students individual attention and a chance to work one on one with instructors. Streaming of the final performance will be available for a small donation to parents, families and friends who wish to experience the culmination of the students’ work. The Broadway Experience – #1:  Jul 27 to 31; The Broadway Experience – #2:  Aug 3 to 7; The Broadway Experience – #3: Aug 10 to 14; The Broadway Experience – #4: Aug 17 to 21. Sessions run Monday through Friday from 9AM to Noon. Each session is $225 per student.

Ages 16 and UpPerformance Workshop Tuesdays and Wednesdays meet via ZOOM twice a week for 90 minutes over 3 weeks. Each Workshop is taught by professional teaching artists and designed to be a unique and exciting learning experience intended to stretch each participant’s knowledge and talent. All levels are welcome and encouraged to take both Tuesday and Wednesday sessions if preferred. No experience is necessary to participate in these classes. Tuesday Session #1: Jul 28, Aug 4, 11. Tuesday Session #2: Aug 18, 25, Sep 1. Wednesday Session #1: Jul 29, Aug 5, 12. Wednesday Session #2: Aug 19, 26, Sep 2. Sessions run from 4 to 5:30PM. Each session is $150 per person. 

Ages 16 and Up – Broadway Guest Star Workshops meet twice a week via ZOOM for 90 minutes. Each Workshop will be taught by a professional Broadway artist. This unique and exciting program is designed to stretch each participant’s knowledge and talent. No experience is necessary and all are welcome. Thursday Sessions: Jul 30, Aug 6, 13, 20. Sessions run from 11AM to 12:30PM. Each session is $75 per person. 

Ogunquit Playhouse 1954

Ogunquit Playhouse 2020 season has been cancelled due to the COVID19 pandemic. It will focus on reimagining the season to carry on its mission and fundraising efforts to ensure the financial viability of the historic non-profit theatre. Public support is crucial during this global health and economic crisis. For more information on how to contribute and to stay connected during this year, visit www.ogunquitplayhouse.org

About Ogunquit Playhouse:
Ogunquit Playhouse, is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization listed on the National Historic Register. Its mission is to produce world-class performances, and new works, and preserve the historic playhouse for future generations. Follow Ogunquit Playhouse on Twitter (@OgunquitPH) and on Facebook (facebook.com/OgunquitPlayhouse) for behind-the-scenes info, photos and fun throughout the season. For more information visit www.ogunquitplayhouse.org