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CITYWIDE CELEBRATION OF PLAYWRIGHT MFONISO UDOFIA’S

‘UFOT FAMILY CYCLE’ LAUNCHES THIS FALL

 

Over the next two years, a consortium of theatre companies and activation partners across

Greater Boston will produce Mfoniso Udofia’s 9-play cycle

which follows three generations of a Nigerian American family

 

Boston's Ufot Family Cycle project represents two years of convening, planning,

and investment by The Huntington to incubate and create this one-of-a-kind event

 

 

(BOSTON) – Greater Boston theatre companies and collaborative partners gathered at Boston’s City Hall today, Tuesday, June 25, 2024, to announce major plans for an ambitious two-year, citywide celebration of the Ufot Family Cycle, a cycle of nine plays about three generations of a Nigerian American family by Massachusetts-raised, visionary playwright Mfoniso Udofia.

 

The far-ranging list of collaborative partners brings together arts institutions, universities, social organizations, non-profits, and a host of community activation partners across Greater Boston, who will collaborate on the creation and public activation of the cycle. Partners currently include AfroDesiaCity, ArtsEmerson, The Barr Foundation, Boston Arts Academy, The Boston Foundation, Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, Boston Public Art Triennial, Boston Public Library, Boston Public Schools, Boston University, Central Square Theater, Coolidge Corner Theater, DiasporaMass, Embrace Boston, Facing History & Ourselves, Front Porch Arts CollectiveGBHThe HuntingtonKligerman Productions, The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, Next Chapter Podcasts, Nigerian Professionals Group, Northeastern University, Prior Performing Arts Center at the College of the Holy Cross, Roxbury Community College, Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation, Wellesley CollegeWellesley Repertory Theatre, West End House, Wheelock Family Theatre, and ZUMIX, with others to be announced in the coming months.

 

All nine plays in the cycle will be fully produced, beginning this fall at The Huntington with its productions of the first play Sojourners, the origin story of the matriarch of the family, and the second play, The Grove, in February of 2025; the following 7 plays of the cycle will be produced by a series of arts organizations and community partners over the next two years through the summer of 2026. Boston’s Ufot Family Cycle includes premieres of five of the plays and marks the first time that the cycle will be experienced in its entirety and in Udofia’s intended order, representing a major collaborative project with an expansive scale and scope not imagined elsewhere in the country and only made possible in Boston.

 

Each of the nine plays will have community activation partners – a unique cohort that brings together disparate segments of Boston’s arts and culture sector to collaborate in new ways, both lifting and generating audiences for the artistic work itself and imagining a new model for institutional collaboration with portals for access to artmaking, civic transformation, and education for all ages.

 

Four of the plays (Sojourners, runboyrunHer Portmanteau, and In Old Age) have been previously produced to great acclaim at theatres including New York Theatre Workshop, The Playwrights Realm, Magic Theatre, and American Conservatory Theatre. Udofia’s plays have been called “extraordinary” by The New York Times, which writes that they “offer a moving and powerful corrective to the notion that what immigrants leave behind is always awful, and that what they find is always worth the trip.” New York Theater called them an “enlightening and binge-worthy family saga that updates the story of immigrant America.”

 

The Ufot Family Cycle represents a profound investment in an artist of great vision, humanity, and humor. Huntington Theatre Artistic Director Loretta Greco envisioned this city-wide festival celebrating Udofia’s work and describes it as “a commitment to cultural aspiration of the highest caliber with the sincere intention of making great art which pushes the culture forward, challenging and revitalizing the American canon.”

 

Greco continues: “At the same time, the Ufot Family Cycle is a wonderfully crazy experiment – a test balloon for exploring our relationship to risk and the power and complexity of both collaboration and community activation over time. What does it mean to activate an entire city with a unique diaspora story, a story of who we are that unfolds in 9 parts, neighborhood to neighborhood over 24 months? What do we learn from disrupting the way we normally do things to invite a host of unexpected partners to co-create the art and amplify the conversation around that art from all walks of life across many sectors?  My hope is along the way we can create a new paradigm towards working together to get big, messy, aspirational things done.” 

 

 

INSPIRATION FOR THE UFOT FAMILY CYCLE

 

When nationally acclaimed playwright Mfoniso Udofia grew up in Southbridge, Massachusetts and attended Wellesley College, she rarely saw stories about Africans and African Americans that felt like her family. Inspired in part by August Wilson’s Century Cycle, she set out to create an emotionally engrossing cycle of nine plays that follows one Nigerian American family through three generations: parents, children, grandchildren. Each play stands alone brilliantly, yet together forms a stunning tapestry that will resonate with everyone.

 

"I'm writing these plays for myself, for my immediate family, for my extended family, for the Ibibio community,” says Udofia. “I'm writing us — so we can see us. I believe my work incites community action. When one cares about a character so much they are crying for them, they usually cannot meet a similar person in life and instantaneously judge them. A dramatic telling of an immigrant story, when done well, can cause an audience to change irrevocably in the moment. These audience members will then leave the building and enter their own communities with newfound empathy."

 

Mfoniso's own experience informs the Cycle as her parents immigrated to Texas from Nigeria in the 1970s, had children, and then moved to the Boston area because of the educational opportunities available. Udofia’s mother was a biologist, and her father was a scholar of West African studies. Mfoniso went to Wellesley College, during which time she had her first experience with The Huntington through her Africana Studies class when Professor Selwyn R. Cudjoe took students to see Gem of the Ocean and introduced her to playwright August Wilson (1945-2005). To see herself onstage, reflected in Wilson's ten-play American Century Cycle, with each set in a different decade of the 20th century about Black American life, was influential years before she would pursue her career in playwriting and return to Wellesley as a faculty member of the Albright Institute.

 

The New York Times states, "While building empathy is important to Ms. Udofia, as she continues to work on the rest of the ‘Ufot’ plays, she is also unapologetic about the fact that she isn't writing the Cycle for a traditional theatre audience." Mfoniso spoke about this during several Boston community meetings in 2023, stating her intentions to be an active participant in meeting community members where they are to inform the making of the remaining Cycle plays.   

   

 

ABOUT PRODUCING THE FULL UFOT FAMILY CYCLE IN BOSTON

 

When Artistic Director Loretta Greco joined The Huntington in 2022, she brought with her a longstanding partnership and friendship with Mfoniso Udofia, and a vision for producing the complete Ufot Family Cycle in the Boston area. Greco previously produced the premieres of three of Mfoniso’s plays – Sojourners, runboyrun, and In Old Age – while helming San Francisco’s Magic Theatre.

 

Over the past 2 years, The Huntington has hosted salons and gatherings to build a coalition of partnering artists and organizations, in addition to hosting writing residencies and many workshops to develop work in the cycle. In fall 2024, the nine-play Cycle will kick off with The Huntington’s productions of Sojourners (followed by The Grove in 2025). The Huntington will also serve as a motherboard of resources and connection to bolster the creative process and success of the remaining seven productions that will be mounted through 2026 by and with arts organizations, universities, social organizations, non-profits, and a host of community activation partners.

 

Each of the productions will be professionally filmed by partner Kligerman Productions in order to expand the reach of the project and preserve it in perpetuity, allowing the Ufot Family Cycle to be taught in educational settings as part of the American theatrical canon.

 

The Ufot Family Cycle has received support from The Barr Foundation, The Boston Foundation, and the Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation, as well as the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture in the City of Boston.

 

 

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT

 

Mfoniso Udofia, a first-generation Nigerian American storyteller and educator, attended Wellesley College and obtained her MFA from the American Conservatory Theater (ACT). While at ACT, she co-pioneered The Nia Project which provided artistic outlets for San Francisco youth. 

 

Productions of her plays Sojourners, runboyrun, Her Portmanteau, and In Old Age have been seen at New York Theatre Workshop, American Conservatory Theater, Playwrights Realm, Magic Theater, National Black Theatre, Strand Theater Company (MD), and Boston Court. She received the 2021 Horton Foote Award, the 2017 Helen Merrill Playwright Award, the 2017-18 McKnight National Residency and Commission, and is a member of New Dramatists.

 

She is currently commissioned by The Huntington, Hartford Stage, Denver Center, ACT, and South Coast Repertory. Her plays have been developed by Manhattan Theatre Club, ACT, McCarter Theatre, OSF, New Dramatists, Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor, Hedgebrook, Sundance, Space on Ryder Farm, and more. 

 

Since 2018, Mfoniso has been working extensively in television; she has worked on such acclaimed shows as 13 Reasons Why on Netflix, A League of Their Own on Amazon, Let the Right One In on Showtime, and Pachinko (Peabody Award), Little America, and Lessons in Chemistry (WGA Nomination) all on Apple TV+. She also has developed films for HBO, Legendary, and Amazon.

 

 

ABOUT THE PLAYS OF THE UFOT FAMILY CYCLE

 

PLAY ONE – THE ORIGIN STORY

SOJOURNERS

by Mfoniso Udofia

Produced by: The Huntington

Venue: The Huntington Theatre

Directed by Dawn M. Simmons

October 31 – December 1, 2024

  

Mfoniso Udofia launches her sweeping cycle with a family’s origin story. Marriage, migration, and the pursuit of education collide when a young and brilliant Nigerian couple arrives in Houston, looking to earn their degrees and bring insights back to their home country. But when Abasiama discovers that her husband has been seduced by Motown records and American culture, she must choose between the Nigerian Dream and her matriarchal obligations. Director Dawn M. Simmons helms the lively and funny Sojourners at the historic Huntington Theatre following her acclaimed production of K-I-S-S-I-N-G at the Calderwood Pavilion.

 

POP-UP PERFORMANCES OF SOJOURNERS

 

The Huntington is also planning free pop-up performances of Sojourners outside the city and in Boston neighborhoods including East Boston with ZUMIX, Roxbury with Roxbury Community College, and Hyde Park. (East Boston has the highest percentage of foreign-born residents of any Boston neighborhood, Hyde Park is home to the Yoruba Community of Massachusetts, whose programs improve and enhance Yorubas and Nigerian immigrants' social and economic well-being; and Roxbury has been known for being the center of Black life in Boston for decades). In addition, The Huntington will partner with Prior Performing Arts Center at College of the Holy Cross to bring the production to Central Massachusetts, where Udofia grew up and where one in five Worcester residents are immigrants.

 

Kyle Frisina, The Prior Performing Arts Center at College of the Holy Cross, Interim Director: “The Prior Performing Arts Center is honored to partner with The Huntington to bring Mfoniso Udofia's Sojourners to Holy Cross and to Worcester, a city known for its rich tapestry of immigrant experiences. We can't wait for audiences to encounter this beautiful, funny play by a writer whose own immigrant parents made Central Massachusetts their American home."

 

Marisa Jones, Roxbury Community College, Adjunct Professor of Theatre: “Roxbury Community College is thrilled to partner with The Huntington to bring Mfoniso Udofia’s Sojourners to the Performing Arts Center this fall. The Ufot Cycle is a celebration of the African Diaspora and will resonate with many in our community as it captures stories of immigration, family, and Black Joy.” Marisa Jones is also The Huntington's Associate Director of Education & Practical Learning, where she will be managing the creation of curriculum guides for all nine plays in the cycle.

 

Madeleine Steczynski, ZUMIX Founder and Executive Director: “ZUMIX loves The Huntington, and we are thrilled to partner with them in new and creative ways! Together, we are building on each other's strengths to reach new audiences, and to inspire hope.”

 

PLAY TWO

THE GROVE

by Mfoniso Udofia

Produced by: The Huntington

Venue: Calderwood Pavilion / Wimberly Theatre

Directed by Awoye Timpo

February 7 – March 9, 2025

 

Playwright Mfoniso Udofia stages a family homecoming, asking what it means to draw on the wisdom and beauty of our ancestors when the bonds of family are stretched to the limit. Abasiama’s eldest daughter Adiaha wants to become a writer to make her family proud, but at her graduation party, she has to choose: fulfill her parents’ desires to settle with a traditional Nigerian man, or stay true to her own romantic match. Director Awoye Timpo (The Bluest Eye at The Huntington) reunites with longtime collaborator Udofia for a play with the rich heart of a family drama against the thrilling theatrical backdrop of a Greek chorus of ancestors.

 

PLAY THREE

runboyrun

by Mfoniso Udofia

Produced as an audio play adaptation by: Next Chapter Podcasts in partnership with GBH

With readings held at Boston Public Library – Central Library & Roxbury Branches

February/March 2025

 

What happens when a civil war ends politically – but continues inside the body? When does trauma become tradition? Every day, Disciple and Abasiama relive the same day over and over from the Biafran War. The survival of their 30-year marriage depends on building new vocabularies and daring, once again, to live moment by moment.

 

Michael Colford, Director of Library Services at Boston Public Library: “The Boston Public Library is incredibly excited to partner again with The Huntington on such an ambitious and innovative project alongside such a diverse and wonderful group of community organizations. This exciting and varied cycle of plays allows communities to experience a wide range of experiences to absorb and to share."

 

Susan Goldberg, President and CEO of GBH: “We are honored to join with The Huntington and their citywide partners for the celebration of Mfoniso Udofia’s Ufot Family Cycle. This ambitious undertaking brings together an incredible cohort of partners across the culture sector, shining a light on the immigrant experience through both art and community. We look forward to playing a role in its success.”

 

Michael Goodfriend, Head of Scripted Fiction at Next Chapter Podcasts: “Mfoniso Udofia’s storytelling genius should be experienced by as many people as possible and in as many mediums as possible. It’s a privilege for Next Chapter Podcasts to be working with Mfoniso on runboyrun, building on the fruitful collaboration we shared in the award-winning podcast adaptation of her Othello translation for Play On Shakespeare. Mfoniso challenges us to perceive our reality in new ways and reminds us of what it is to be human, in all our complexity, promise, and fallibility. We are honored to help realize runboyrun as an audio production alongside all the incredible producing and organizational partners who are helping bring Mfoniso’s groundbreaking Ufot Family Cycle to life.”

 

PLAY FOUR

HER  PORTMANTEAU

by Mfoniso Udofia

Produced by: Central Square Theater and Front Porch Arts Collective

Venue: Central Square Theater

Directed by Tasia A. Jones

March 27 – April 20, 2025

 

What happens when there are two “first-born” daughters with the same mother? Can the two women both inherit Abasiama’s birthright? Her Portmanteau is an explosive story of betrayal and forgiveness, centering on a Nigerian mother in the U.S. and her daughters who lived very different lives. A reunion forces them to reconcile their past full of clashing traditions, and a family legacy that spans time, culture, and generations.

 

Lee Mikeska Gardner, Artistic Director of Central Square Theater: "Collaboration is in Central Square Theater's DNA. We couldn't be more excited to work with Front Porch Arts Collective and other organizations across the region to bring Mfoniso Udofia's world to our stages. Her Portmanteau is a beautiful chamber play about three tenacious women, and it's a perfect fit for us."

PLAY FIVE

KUFRE N’ QUAY

by Mfoniso Udofia

Produced by: Boston Arts Academy; with advisory support from The Huntington and in collaboration with Wheelock Family Theatre

Venue: Boston Arts Academy Main Stage in the Fenway

July 2025

 

How do we navigate the contrast between African and Black American culture? Can love bridge a transcontinental divide? A 12-year-old African boy arrives in New York’s Little Senegal and joins a youth center. What happens when he falls in love with an African American girl?

 

Maura Tighe, Boston Arts Academy Artistic Director: “We are eager to explore this relationship with The Huntington, Ms. Udofia, and her amazing play, Kufre n' Quay. The project is an opportunity for our students to engage in high-level art-making and also explore work that is culturally relevant to their lives. The experience is going to be phenomenal for our kids.”

 

Nick Vargas, Executive Director Wheelock Family Theatre: “Wheelock Family Theatre is excited to partner on the Ufot Family Cycle! This historic initiative will provide audiences from Greater Boston & beyond with the opportunity to experience and celebrate the work of Mfoniso Udofia.”

 

PLAY SIX

THE CEREMONY

by Mfoniso Udofia

Produced with support from Boston Playwrights’ Theatre and Boston University College of Fine Arts

Fall 2025

 

What can our parents give us – especially when those gifts were not given to parents themselves? Disciple’s only son Ekong prepares for his wedding day – but to gather what he needs for the ritual, he must ask his father, still torn apart by war.

 

Megan Sandberg-Zakian, Artistic Director of Boston Playwrights’ Theatre: “Boston Playwrights’ Theatre is dedicated to the voice and vision of the playwright – and so nothing could be more exciting to us than participating in a hugely ambitious project designed to uplift the voice and vision of an extraordinary (and locally grown!) writer like Mfoniso. We are honored and delighted to be a part of the laboratory in which the Ufot Family Cycle is nurtured, and we are particularly thrilled that so many of the plays will be first or second productions of new work.”

 

Harvey Young, Dean of Boston University College of Fine Arts: “I am inspired by Loretta Greco’s vision to bring Boston’s theatre community together. As both a longtime collaborator with The Huntington and the sponsor of two Boston professional theatres—Wheelock Family Theatre and Boston Playwright’s Theatre, Boston University is thrilled to join in this celebration of new work and transformative artistry.”

 

PLAY SEVEN

LIFTED

by Mfoniso Udofia

Produced by: Wellesley Repertory Theatre

Directed by Tamilla Woodard

Winter 2026

 

What does it mean to come from a culture that believes you cannot steal what is already yours? Brilliant scholar Toyoima Ufot’s lonely path in academia was built directly on her father Disciple’s work. After she is accused of plagiarism, she travels to Nigeria, a journey that both unleashes her history and heals.

 

Marta Rainer, Wellesley Repertory Theatre Artistic Director: "We Wellesley College graduates who have been galvanized by the impactful possibilities within the field of live performing arts are Wellesley Rep. We who strive to connect with, teach, encourage, and gather our communities through the sharing of our complex theatrical work define Wellesley Rep as a global and multigenerational repertory of autonomous makers, striding our unique creative paths from the shared starting point of Wellesley College. Mfoniso embodies this mission so exquisitely - so inspiringly! - and we are extremely honored to support this expansive collaboration with our producing peers to share her artistic voice and vision.”

 

PLAY EIGHT

IN OLD AGE

by Mfoniso Udofia

Produced by: ArtsEmerson and Front Porch Arts Collective

Directed by Dawn M. Simmons

Spring 2026

 

Can we continue to evolve in our final years? Abasiama still lives in the same house after her husband’s death. Soon she learns the true nature of love with an unlikely new partner, the church-going carpenter Azell, and her life takes a new turn. A clean house and a healed soul frees Abasiama to embark on the last love voyage of her life.

 

Ronee Penoi, Interim Executive Director of the Office of the Arts at ArtsEmerson and Director of Artistic Programming: “ArtsEmerson is delighted to be in partnership with our friends at Front Porch Collective to support In Old Age as part of the Ufot Family Cycle. At ArtsEmerson, we are committed to uplifting stories that inspire civic transformation and celebrate the diasporas that make up our city. We also know we can’t do this work alone and we are so excited to join The Huntington and all the other producers and partners to embark on this beautiful collaboration for the city and community we love.”

 

PLAY NINE

ADIAHA AND CLORA SNATCH JOY (a folk opera)

by Mfoniso Udofia

Produced by: Boston Lyric Opera and The Huntington

Venue: The Huntington Theatre

A folk opera featuring songs created with Nehemiah Luckett

Part of Embrace Boston’s Everyone 250 Festival

June/July 2026

 

Daughter Adiaha travels to South Carolina in search of her mother's partner, Azell. Instead, she finds Clora – and a strangely familiar house in Gullah South. Sparks fly as they fight, make messes, and work to understand their history. Together, Adiaha and Clora imagine new ways forward, guided by spirit women who push them into their destiny.

 

Nina Yoshida Nelsen, Boston Lyric Opera Artistic Director: “Co-producing Adiaha and Clora Snatch Joy with The Huntington is going to make an exhilarating end to the Ufot Family Cycle project. Mfoniso's brilliant, expansive series tells the kind of rich story we love bringing to audiences. This striking folk opera will be a unique and uplifting addition to BLO’s artistic offerings. As the only Ufot Family Cycle production with singing, we are delighted to participate in this epic collaboration across Boston's theatrical institutions.”

 

 

PRAISE FOR THE UFOT FAMILY CYCLE

 

“Extraordinary! Even though the plays are specifically about Nigerian immigrants, the themes are universal.” – The New York Times

 

“Udofia embodies a certain playwriting sensibility of today’s American theatre – embracing a plurality of identities, a willingness to allow the interior lives of her characters to reveal themselves in unexpected ways, and a penchant for small details as stand-ins for big events." – KQED, Bay Area NPR

 

"Udofia upends preconceptions and expectations with a deeply felt perspective on parent and sibling relationships, immigration, communication, social media perceptions of lives and identities of people split between the American melting pot and Nigeria." – New Jersey Stage

 

“An enlightening and binge-worthy family saga that updates the story of immigrant America.” – New York Theater

 

 

ABOUT THE UFOT FAMILY CYCLE PRODUCING PARTNERS:

 

ARTSEMERSON is the professional presenting and producing organization at Emerson College, and its mission is to bring people together to experience powerful performances that delight, provoke, and inspire, celebrating both our differences and common humanity. Founded in 2010 by Robert J. Orchard — the year the U.S. Census confirmed there was no single cultural majority in Boston — ArtsEmerson is committed to building a cultural institution that reflects the diversity of our city. Our imaginative and globe-spanning live and virtual performances, films, and conversations invite each of us to be part of a Boston that is more creative, equitable, and connected. ArtsEmerson is led by Interim Executive Director of the Office of the Arts & ArtsEmerson Director of Artistic Programming, Ronee Penoi. For more information visit ArtsEmerson.org.

 

BOSTON ARTS ACADEMY is a full-inclusion public high school for the visual and performing arts, with students in Grades 9-12. It is a joint project of the Professional Arts Consortium, Inc., and the Boston Public Schools. Boston Arts Academy serves as a laboratory and a beacon for artistic and academic innovation, preparing a diverse community of aspiring artist scholars to be successful in their college or professional careers and to be engaged members of a democratic society. Boston Arts Academy offers pathways to success through a rigorous arts-based, college preparatory academic curriculum and a competitive arts curriculum. A proven model for artistic and academic ideation, BAA has transformed the lives of more than 1,500 city youth. Since its founding in 1998, Boston Arts Academy has successfully fostered a culture of student achievement for Boston youth with unprecedented results. We believe that the arts help young people find their voices, build creative problem-solving skills, and engage in meaningful ways with their communities leading to success in college and careers. Our arts curriculum encourages innovation, creative risk-taking, and professionalism.

 

BOSTON LYRIC OPERA: Over its nearly 50 years producing opera in Boston, Boston Lyric Opera's (BLO) mission is to build curiosity, enthusiasm and support for opera through compelling experiences that connect, inspire and reflect our community. With more than 170 performances each year on main stages, in school-based youth performances, and through free public concerts, BLO tells stories that reflect the diversity of our community. Learn more about BLO at blo.org.

 

BOSTON PLAYWRIGHTS’ THEATRE: Founded in 1981 by Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre (BPT) is an award-winning professional theatre dedicated to new works for the stage. Located on the campus of Boston University, we produce a season of new work, an annual “marathon” of ten-minute plays, and a festival of teenage writers.  Under the leadership of Artistic Director Megan Sandberg-Zakian, Associate Professor of the Practice and head of the MFA in playwriting Nathan Alan Davis, and Managing Director Darren Evans, BPT focuses on first and second productions of new plays by living writers, and on processes designed to support both the playwright and the play. We have a deep investment in Boston and Boston-adjacent artists; we look for projects that center vital questions in the lives of those in our region and seek the amplification of voices in our communities that have been historically silenced or ignored. As the home of the Boston University MFA in Playwriting, we nurture the work of our graduate students through workshops and developmental productions. In addition, MFA Playwrights are closely involved in all facets of BPT—backstage, front of house, and everywhere in between, from education programs to social media management to curation and season selection. Our alumni have had their work produced around the country and the world, and include Melinda Lopez, Ronán Noone, Molly Smith Metzler, Zayd Dohrn, Alexis Scheer, Eliana Pipes, and Karen Zacarías, among many other extraordinary writers and humans.

 

CENTRAL SQUARE THEATER (CST) explores social justice, science and gender politics through theater. Combining artistic excellence, cross disciplinary collaboration and community engagement, CST creates theater where points of view are heard, perspective shifts, and change can happen. Central Square Theater, the oldest female-led theater organization in Greater Boston, is now one organization upholding the values and theatrical excellence of its origin companies, Underground Railway Theater and The Nora. Under the leadership of Executive Director Catherine Carr Kelly, Artistic Director Lee Mikeska Gardner, Director of Education and Community Initiatives Kortney Adams, and its Board of Directors, CST is an innovator in the nonprofit arts field in collaborative leadership. Central Square Theater engages over 35,000 people annually through live performance, rigorous youth education, and community programs. CST works closely with MIT on Catalyst Collaborative@MIT (CC@MIT), one of the only nationwide partnerships between a world class research institute and a professional theater. CC@MIT creates and presents plays that deepen public engagement with science, while providing creative and emotional experiences not available in other forms of dialogue about science.

 

FRONT PORCH ARTS COLLECTIVE is a Black theatre company committed to advancing racial equity in Boston through theatre. Founded in 2016, our core values are cultural inclusion, community advancement, and creating an impactful legacy. The Porch is part of a Black cultural renaissance in Boston that centers the city’s Black and African Diasporic communities. We are the vanguard rewiring Boston’s racist history to make Boston a top destination for Black talent to work and make a home. We are part of the new cultural place-making in Boston. Our work primes people to value, seek out, and support culturally specific arts offerings. By creating an atmosphere where people see the world through differing experiences, we foster a greater understanding of the human condition building tolerance and empathy in our world. Our namesake signifies a communal spirit, inspiring us to serve communities of color and produce art that is inclusive of all communities and welcoming to all audiences, inspiring a more tolerant and inclusive Boston. The Porch is a place where the perspectives and experiences of Black people are not a novelty, but an integral part of the global conversation.

 

Dawn M. Simmons, Co-Producing Artistic Director: “For Front Porch Arts Collective to be a part of the Ufot Family Cycle and to bring Mfoniso Udofia's powerful narratives to stages around Greater Boston is truly an honor and a joy. Her storytelling skills are enhanced by the distinct voice and perspective she brings. In kicking off with Sojourners at The Huntington this fall, (which I am honored to direct), and continuing with Her Portmanteau (co-produced with Central Square Theater next spring), and In Old Age (co-produced with ArtsEmerson in 2025/26), The Porch team is excited to share these compelling stories. The Ufot Family Cycle resonates deeply with our mission to bring communities together by telling stories from the African Diaspora. This collaboration is a significant moment for our community; we look forward to collaborating with the artists and producers this cycle brings together.”

 

THE HUNTINGTON is Boston’s theatrical commons and leading professional theatre company. On our stages and throughout our city, we share enduring and untold stories that spark the imagination of audiences and artists and amplify the wide range of voices in our community. Under the leadership of Norma Jean Calderwood Artistic Director Loretta Greco and Executive Director Christopher Mannelli, The Huntington is committed to welcoming broad and diverse audiences, provides life-changing opportunities for students through its robust education and community programs, is a national leader in the development of playwrights and new plays, acts as the host organization for a multi-year residency of Front Porch Arts Collective (a Black theatre company based in Boston), and serves the local arts community through our operation of The Huntington Calderwood/BCA. The Huntington reopened the historic Huntington Theatre in fall of 2022 after its transformational renovation, and is currently in phase two of the project; the renovation and building project of this storied venue with a bold vision for the future will allow us to innovatively expand our services to audiences, artists, and the community for generations to come. For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org.

 

NEXT CHAPTER PODCASTS is committed to elevating bold, authentic voices to enlighten and inspire. Through open, honest conversations centered on values, Next Chapter partners with brands and thought leaders to closely create content that not only expands reach but also fosters deeper, more profound connections with their audiences. Their award winning library of podcasts spans multiple genres from sports to scripted fiction and reaches a global audience. Through an ongoing partnership with Play On Shakespeare, Next Chapter is a leader in the field of adapting plays into podcasts, surpassing 5 million downloads of Shakespearean audio worldwide and winning multiple awards for its productions.

 

WELLESLEY REPERTORY THEATRE was established in 1998 by Founding Artistic Producer Nora Hussey. Nora’s passionate storytelling mission - supported by the generosity of Ruth Nagel Jones ‘42 and carried forward by current Artistic Producer Marta Rainer ‘98 - built an award-winning bridge for over two decades between curricular inquiry and professional opportunity for our ever-expanding ensemble of theatre artists, through annual productions on the Wellesley College campus. While our commitment to our core mission remains fervently steadfast, this year WRT has been thrilled to set forth a reinterpretation of our methodology. We have redefined the Rep! Through direct support of our graduates in their own communities via the newly launched WRT grant program and more, we aspire to create opportunities that have an unmediated and lasting impact on the manifold creative lives and careers of our graduates in an evolving, multifaceted artistic landscape. WRT remains committed to acting as a creative incubator and source of artistic sustenance for current Wellesley College Theatre students, our amazing graduate body, and our collaborators.

 

 

ABOUT UFOT FAMILY CYCLE FUNDING PARTNERS:

 

THE BARR FOUNDATION’s mission is to invest in human, natural, and creative potential, serving as thoughtful stewards and catalysts. Based in Boston, Barr focuses regionally, and selectively engages nationally, working in partnership with nonprofits, foundations, the public sector, and civic and business leaders to elevate the arts, advance equitable solutions for climate change, and enable all students to discover and actualize their unbounded potential. Founded in 1997, Barr now has assets over $2.5 billion and has contributed more than $1 billion to charitable causes. For more information, visit barrfoundation.org.

 

THE BOSTON FOUNDATION is one of the nation’s first and most impactful community foundations. We exist to close the gap on this region’s greatest disparities, and to help build a better Boston. The systemic and structural inequities that drive disparities cannot be dismantled without extraordinary perseverance and collaboration among visionary and courageous partners, including donors who are committed to making philanthropy an effective vehicle for social change. Together we can improve lives and strengthen communities.

 

Lee Pelton, The Boston Foundation, President & CEO: “Mfoniso Udofia and her work speak profoundly to the vital history of our immigrant city and to the equitable future we all are working to create. I am inspired by how the Ufot Family Cycle will bridge neighborhoods and communities across our city to come together around a story of the Black diaspora. The Boston Foundation is honored to support this remarkable endeavor. We know the immense power that artists have to connect us to life’s enduring themes and humanize the landscape of history and in doing so, inspires our citizens to imagine a city of truth telling, memory and meaning. I hope that TBF’s partnership will motivate others to find their unique way to also lend their support and involvement.”

 

THE MAYOR’S OFFICE OF ARTS AND CULTURE enhances the quality of life, the economy, and the design of the City through the arts. The role of the arts in all aspects of life in Boston is reinforced via equitable access to arts and culture in every community, its public institutions, and public places. Key areas of work include support to the cultural sector through grants and programs, as well as the production and permitting of art in public places.

 

Kara Elliott-Ortega, Chief of Arts and Culture: “The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture is proud to support the Ufot Family Cycle and the incredible cohort of partner organizations that have assembled to collaborate on this large-scale, citywide project. A Neighborhood and Downtown Activation Grant will allow performances to be brought beyond the theatre’s walls to the heart of a variety of communities, expanding the boundaries the theatre for both audiences and artists.”

 

VENTUROUS THEATER FUND OF THE TIDES FOUNDATION (VTF) supports ambitious new work for the stage and the writers who create it. VTF makes grants to fund the production of plays that are “venturous”—ambitious in scale, epic in scope, challenging in form, controversial in subject matter, experimental in concept, and/or unabashed in their theatricality. VTF also funds artist-driven initiatives that embrace agency for playwrights at all stages of their careers, and that champion creative growth and financial security for dramatists. These include playwright fellowships, opportunities for collaboration across national boundaries, the Legacy Playwrights Initiative for elder writers, and healthcare/health insurance resources. More info at VenturousTheaterFund.org.

 

ABOUT UFOT FAMILY CYCLE ACTIVATION PARTNERS:

 

AFRODESIACITY (ADC) is an independent event management agency. We partner directly with emerging artists and professionals of diverse backgrounds to elevate your voice and support organizations in producing soulful events and creative and professional opportunities. We serve Boston’s greater metropolitan area and the East Coast region, offering artists management, event production, and community and cultural activation.

 

BOSTON PUBLIC ART TRIENNIAL is the city’s first and only public art organization dedicated to supporting artists and communities in bold, contemporary, public art. The Triennial’s mission is to foster relationships between artists and the public to create bold public art experiences that open minds, conversations, and spaces across Boston, resulting in a more open, equitable, and vibrant city.

 

Marguerite Wynter, Director of Partnerships and Engagement: “We're thrilled to partner with The Huntington for the Ufot Family Cycle. We believe in fostering Boston's arts ecosystem through collaboration between the visual, performing arts, and beyond.”

 

BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY: Established in 1848, the Boston Public Library is a pioneer of public library service in America. It was the first large, free municipal library in the United States; the first public library to lend books; the first to have a branch library; and the first to have a children’s room. The Boston Public Library of today is a robust system that includes the Central Library in Copley Square, 25 neighborhood branches, the Norman B. Leventhal Map and Education Center, the Kirstein Business Library and Innovation Center, and an archival center, offering public access to world-class special collections of rare books, manuscripts, photographs, and prints, along with rich digital content and online services. The Boston Public Library serves nearly 4 million visitors per year and millions more online. All of its programs and exhibitions are free to all and open to the public. The Boston Public Library is a department of the City of Boston, under the leadership of Mayor Michelle Wu. To learn more, visit bpl.org.

BOSTON UNIVERSITY COLLEGE FOR FINE ARTS is a community of fine and performing artists — musicians, visual artists, and theatre-makers — who believe in the power of creativity. While artistic and academic rigor are signatures of the program, education within BU College of Fine Arts extends beyond the walls of the practice rooms and studios. Students also benefit from the rich centers of art and culture throughout Boston, international opportunities through the study abroad program, and a worldwide network of alumni and connections to professions. At CFA, we are thought leaders and arts innovators. We are diverse and inclusive. We are international. We’re committed to excellence. Our artists work with award-winning faculty, practice in top-notch facilities, thrive in the spaces of creative experimentation, and pursue the many opportunities available at one of the world’s best universities.

 

THE PRIOR PERFORMING ARTS CENTER in Worcester, Massachusetts, is the College of the Holy Cross’ newest venue and is an uncommon commons for transformative experiences with the arts. With dynamic programming and striking architectural design, The Prior supports arts-based collaboration across disciplines; offers technical capabilities to ignite the imaginations of students, faculty, community members, and visiting artists alike; and provides new avenues for leveraging the positive power of the arts for broad audiences and through civic and community partnerships.

 

COOLIDGE CORNER THEATER is an independent, nonprofit cinema and cultural institution with four screens and the capacity for over 700 audience members. Since 1933, audiences in the greater Boston area have relied on the Coolidge for the best of contemporary independent film, repertory, and educational programming.

 

DIASPORAMASS is an organization in Massachusetts that brings together the Black and Brown diaspora through photography, videography, news, events, and resources. We celebrate cultural diversity, promote unity, and empower our community. Through visual storytelling and advocacy, we inspire positive change, amplify marginalized voices, and foster inclusivity. Our vision is a connected and empowered Massachusetts where everyone is seen, heard, and valued. We support Nigerian storytelling because it enriches our understanding of diverse narratives, promotes cultural exchange, and contributes to a more inclusive society. Together, we build a brighter future for the Black and Brown diaspora.

 

EMBRACE BOSTON: Working at the intersection of arts, culture, community and research to dismantle structural racism, Embrace Boston sees a radically inclusive and equitable Boston where everyone belongs and Black people prosper, grounded in joy, love and wellbeing.

 

FACING HISTORY & OURSELVES uses lessons of history to challenge teachers and their students to stand up to bigotry and hate. From one classroom in Brookline, Massachusetts in 1976, Facing History & Ourselves has become a global organization with a network of hundreds of thousands of middle and secondary school educators reaching millions of students worldwide. We help educators prepare students to participate in civic life—using intellect, empathy, ethics, and choice to stand up to bigotry and hate in their own lives, communities, and schools.

 

Dimitry Anselme, Chief Officer, Growth & Engagement: “In a political, cultural moment where division thrives and the rejection of newcomers to the shores of the United States of America has found a potent embrace, The Huntington invites us to reject these false prophets and rather invites us to re-dedicate ourselves to the founding values of the Republic. Boston will once again return to its roots of migration and immigration that started with the establishment of the Plymouth Bay Colony so long ago. Sojourners is a play about identity, migration and belonging, and this is the right city to tell this story. As a playwright, Mfoniso is telling a very American story about discovering oneself, reimagining oneself and building new lives as one sets roots on these American shores. Bostonians-particularly the next generation of Bostonians-will find here a play that speaks to their identities and lived experience.”

 

GBH is the leading multiplatform creator for public media in America. As the largest producer of content for PBS and partner to NPR and PRX, GBH delivers compelling experiences, stories and information to audiences wherever they are. GBH’s local television channels include GBH 2, GBH 44, GBH WORLD and GBH Kids. With a newsroom headquartered in Boston, GBH reaches across New England with GBH 89.7, Boston’s Local NPR; CRB Classical 99.5; and CAI, the Cape and Islands NPR station. From Boston to the Berkshires, from Worcester to the Cape and Islands, GBH is dedicated to connecting the Commonwealth through news, programming, learning tools and events. GBH has been recognized with hundreds of the nation’s premier broadcast, digital and journalism awards. Find more information at gbh.org.

 

KLIGERMAN PRODUCTIONS is a leading provider of professional video production services.   Since 2021, Kligerman Productions has been a close partner with The Huntington, working to capture high-quality recordings of each of their performances, with a special focus on preserving the magic of live theatre and bringing it to the screen.

 

NIGERIAN PROFESSIONALS GROUP is dedicated to fostering the success and personal fulfillment of African students, professionals, and entrepreneurs in the diaspora. Since our founding in 2019, we have promoted excellence, teamwork, and growth, proudly operating as a certified 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. At NPG, we cultivate innovative ideas by fostering a culture of collaboration that breaks down barriers. Our mission is to empower individuals through timely sharing of valuable information about career prospects, scholarships, and grants. By encouraging healthy competition and personal growth, we inspire our members to reach new heights.

NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY: Founded in 1898, we’re renowned for our experiential learning model, high-impact research, deep partnerships, and worldwide reach. From day one, we’ve pursued innovative ways of teaching and research that place a premium on experience and engagement with the world. Today, our signature approach erases traditional boundaries, empowering not only students, but faculty, alumni, partners, and innovators to solve problems and pursue impact.

 

Antonio Ocampo-Guzman, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Theatre: “The Department of Theatre is delighted to join our friends and frequent collaborators at The Huntington on this groundbreaking exploration. Not only is Mfoniso’s work raw and powerful: the entire enterprise of a city-wide celebration is a much-needed reimagining of how the performing arts participate in civic discourse and how we create sustainable financial models for them to flourish. We anticipate the Ufot Family Cycle to be an incredible learning opportunity for all of us, especially our next generations of theatre artists.”

 

ROXBURY COMMUNITY COLLEGE (RCC) is a public institution of higher education offering associate degrees, certificate programs and lifelong learning opportunities to the Greater Boston community. In 2021 the Department of Education recognized RCC as a Predominately Black Institution (PBI) making RCC the only PBI in the Northeastern United States. RCC offers 24 associate degree programs, 6 credit-based certificate programs, 13 non-credit professional certification programs, 30+ lifelong learning and fitness classes, and customized incumbent worker training programs. The College hosts hundreds of civic and community events at the Reggie Lewis Center and Media Arts Center each year. RCC is committed to providing all learners with the academic and non-academic support required for degree completion and long-term success. Roxbury Community College provides a nurturing environment, where all community members are welcome, regardless of past education. We transform lives through excellence and innovation, preparing our learners for active citizenry and success in a changing world.

 

WEST END HOUSE is a vital community dedicated to inspiring and empowering young people to realize their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens. Located in Allston, West End House serves over 1,500 individuals annually, ranging from ages 7 to 24, from 25 of Boston’s 30 zip codes. Our programs are focused on key areas including Visual and Performing Arts, Academic Success, Leadership and Career Development, College and Career Pathways, Sports and Fitness, and Food Security and Nutrition. West End House ensures access for all by making all programs and services free to the community. Since 1906, youth have come through our doors to find success and support for their educational, personal, artistic, and career journeys. We prioritize each individual’s well-being as they discover their own path forward to a healthy, fulfilling, and joyful future. Our Formula for Impact is rooted in positive relationships with caring adults who deliver innovative programs that result in measurable impact. Learn more at westendhouse.org.

 

WHEELOCK FAMILY THEATRE: At Wheelock Family Theatre, family theatre is a shared experience for the entire family, where the definition of “family” is as inclusive and expansive as possible—the family you are related to and the family you have chosen. We appreciate that families are made up of individuals of multiple identities and perspectives and that it is essential that we all feel free to bring our whole selves to the practice of making and experiencing theatre together. At Wheelock Family Theatre, family theatre is smart fun for all ages. We tell stories featuring intergenerational casts that resonate with adults and children in the audience in order to foster important conversations across generations and enrich and expand our understanding of our shared humanity. We offer process-oriented classes that teach young people collaborative and creative skills that transcend the theatrical medium and will be applicable throughout their lives.

 

ZUMIX: Since its inception in 1991, ZUMIX has offered award-winning creative youth development programs to empower young people ages 7-18. ZUMIX's nationally recognized programs provide opportunities for creative learning, exploration, skill-building, employment, and mentorship so that young people can transition into adulthood with confidence. ZUMIX’s programs support students’ growth artistically, personally, professionally, and as civic leaders both in and out of the classroom. Based in East Boston, ZUMIX gives young people tools to graduate from high school and pursue a future of their choosing. ZUMIX does this through programs in instrumental music, production, songwriting, performance, audio engineering, and audio and video storytelling. The 21st-century skills youth acquire at ZUMIX support overall career readiness by emphasizing the development of skills in communication, leadership, creativity, and adaptability.


EXCLUSIVE EVENT: Asian Joy Night at YELLOW FACE
with Lyric Stage Company of Boston!
An Exclusive Offer | For Our Very Own Boston API Family ✨
Asian Joy Night for YELLOW FACE, hosted by CHUANG Stage!
FRIDAY, JUNE 7, 2024 @ 8:00 PM

(Reception starts at 6:45PM)
Lyric Stage Theater
140 Clarendon Street, 2nd Floor, Boston, MA 02116


CHUANG Stage has partnered with Lyric Stage Company of Boston to offer "Pay-As-You-Are" tickets to YELLOW FACE by David Henry Hwang, where all members of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities are encouraged to gather and share in this communal experience at Lyric Stage!
 
On Friday, June 7th at 6:45pm, come for a pre-show mixer before an unforgettable performance of David Henry Hwang's YELLOW FACE. Light appetizers and drinks will be served until the start of the 8:00pm performance. 
GET TICKETS
About YELLOW FACE: Truth and fiction blur in David Henry Hwang’s satiric memoir about DHH, a playwright plunged into a whirlpool of missteps and unintentional hypocrisy after a vocal protest against the casting of Jonathan Pryce as a Eurasian hustler in the Broadway production of Miss Saigon. What he condemns as “yellowface” soon comes back to haunt him when he later misidentifies a Caucasian actor for mixed-race and casts him in his own Broadway-bound comedy. His personal integrity is compromised as he proceeds to conceal his blunder aiding the narrative of this “born-again Asian.”. Ultimately a forceful argument for representation, this provocative and comical sideways glance at race and assimilation asks “who has the ownership of a culture?”
In Photo: Michael Hisamoto*, Jenny S. Lee, Jupiter Lê, Mei MacQuarrie. MARK HOWARD
NÜWA IN FAIRYLAND is a proud Boston Theater Critics Association Critic's Pick!

"Intense, sage and sympathetic performance...a thought-provoking and multi-layered journey." - The Sleepless Critic

After a successful run concluded this past weekend on June 1st, NÜWA IN FAIRYLAND is thrilled to receive the Critic's Pick honor from the Boston Theater Critics Association! Thank you to friends and community partners who have joined us on this beautiful journey.

Read more about our creative process here on WBUR and read the review on The Sleepless Critic here!
If you enjoyed NÜWA IN FAIRYLAND and the community events at CHUANG Stage, make a donation now to support Asian American arts and culture in Boston as we put AAPI stories, advocacy, and representation on stage! You can make a tax-deductible donation via Venmo here or a credit card/Apple Pay donation here.
From the team of CHUANG Stage, thank you so much for supporting Asian Arts!

Follow us on social media at @chuangstage across platforms!
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Copyright © 2024, CHUANG Stage, Inc., All rights reserved.
A LaunchPad resident theatre of Boston Center for the Arts, CHUANG Stage is Boston's Asian American theatre company cultivating joyful and radical pan-Asian stories that pioneer translingual activism in the arts. CHUANG Stage, Inc is a registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization in Massachusetts.

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539 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02118

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THE HUNTINGTON ANNOUNCES CAST AND CREATIVE TEAM

OF TONI STONE,  LYDIA R. DIAMOND’S GRAND-SLAM

ORIGINAL PLAY ABOUT A BASEBALL TRAILBLAZER

 

The Huntington announces the regional premiere of Lydia R. Diamond’s new play inspired by the life of the first woman to play professional baseball on a man’s team in the Negro Leagues

 

 

(BOSTON) – The Huntington announces the cast and creative team of Toni Stone, a tenacious and inspiring original play written and directed by Lydia R. Diamond and inspired by the book Curveball: The Remarkable Story of Toni Stone by western Massachusetts journalist and author Martha Ackmann. The production runs from Friday, May 17 through Sunday, June 16, 2024 at the Huntington Theatre (264 Huntington Ave).

 

Based on Ackmann’s book, Diamond’s uplifting new play follows the experiences of Toni Stone, an ace ballplayer who knows her stats and has a great arm. Rejected by the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League because of her race, she becomes the first woman to play professional baseball on a man’s team in the Negro Leagues, shattering expectations and creating her own set of rules. Filled with humor and the love of the game, Huntington favorite Diamond knocks it out of the park with this beautiful, rich portrait of a trailblazing woman.

 

“I am so pleased to be back at The Huntington!” says playwright and director Diamond. “Toni Stone is a play that is especially close to my heart. A woman with a singular focus who, through hard work and tenacity, realized her dreams. This fabulous theatre has once again helped me realize mine… To direct a play that I am so proud of, in the warm embrace of a theatre that feels like home, and in a town that loves baseball as much as our fearless Toni did!”

 

Called “a grand slam!” by Broadway World and “Entertaining! Toni Stone bursts with the joys of life,” by The Chicago TribuneToni Stone makes its New England debut at The Huntington this spring, closing out a homerun first season of artistic programming for Huntington Norma Jean Calderwood Artistic Director Loretta Greco.

 

Greco says, “I love this play as much as I love baseball. The return of beloved playwright Lydia Diamond to The Huntington is cause alone for celebration – but combine it with her latest based on the real life story of the indomitable Toni Stone, the first woman to play professional baseball in the male baseball league – during actual baseball season, and in America’s most baseball-loving city – and the result is pure joy!”

 

Boston native and renowned dancer and choreographer Ebony Williams will choreograph the baseball in Toni Stone, bringing the movements of the game to life on stage. Known as one of the two dancers matching Beyoncé in the iconic “Single Ladies” music video, as well as the Associate Choreographer for the musical film In the Heights, Williams has danced and choreographed with some of the biggest names in Hollywood and was named “one of the top 25 dancers to watch” by Pointe Magazine. Much of her early training took place in Boston at the Roxbury Center for the Performing Arts, Boston Ballet School and Citydance, and Boston Conservatory.

 

The cast of Toni Stone includes:

 

Ryan Vincent Anderson as King Tut, the celebrity of the team who is looking for his next opportunity to join the major leagues. Credits include Peter Pan Goes Wrong on Broadway and the Broadway Tour of The Play That Goes Wrong.

 

Bobby Cius as Jimmy, the team’s newest member who is a little timid but plays fast and hard. Credits include K-I-S-S-I-N-G with The Huntington and Front Porch Arts Collective and Pass Over with SpeakEasy Stage.

 

Anthony T. Goss as Elzie, a tough-talking ballplayer whose macho swagger often covers up his closeted sexuality. Credits include Gong Lum’s Legacy and Cowboy Off Broadway.

 

Stanley Andrew Jackson as Millie, Toni’s confidant and closest friend. Credits include The Refuge Plays with Roundabout and Book of Will with A Noise Within Theatre Company.

 

Jonathan Kitt as Alberga, a Jamaican businessman who is drawn to Toni’s mind and energy. Credits include Boy x Man at Negro Ensemble Company and Becoming Something: Canada Lee with The Kraine Theater.

 

Al’Jaleel McGhee as Woody, a left-handed pitcher and Casanova that sometimes fails to arouse. Credits include the National Tour of A Soldier’s Play with Roundabout and Intimate Apparel with Northlight.

 

Jennifer Mogbock as Toni Stone, star player of the Negro Baseball Leagues for nearly a dozen years. Credits include: The Half-God Of Rainfall with New York Theatre Workshop and Merry Wives with the Public Theater.

 

Omar Robinson as Stretch, the team’s organized and methodical catcher, manager, and coach. Credits include: Common Ground Revisited and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead at The Huntington.

 

Blake Anthony Morris as Spec, the smartest member of the team. Credits include: Ain’t No Mo’ with the Public Theater and The Hot Wing King with Studio Theatre.

 

Olutayo Bosede as an ensemble member and dance captain. Credits include: Moulin Rouge! The Musical on Broadway and The Wiz Live! on NBC.

 

Understudies include: Dominic Carter, Todd McNeel, James Ricardo Milord, Hassiem Muhammad, and Eunice Woods.

 



 

The creative team for Toni Stone includes scenic design by Collette Pollard (Little Women in co-production with Seattle Rep and Milwaukee Rep), costume design by Mara Blumenfeld (The Jungle Book at The Huntington), lighting design by Brian J. Lilienthal (Common Ground Revisited at The Huntington),  sound design by Aubrey Dube (Fat Ham at The Huntington), and hair, wig, and makeup design by Earon D. Nealey (Fat Ham at The Huntington). The dramaturg is Charles Haugland. The choreographer is Ebony Williams, the vocal and dialect coach is Kim James Bey, and the fight director and intimacy consultant is Ted Hewlett. The associate director is Devin Christor. The production stage manager is Emily F. McMullen and the stage managers are Lucas Bryce Dixon and Pat-rice Rooney.

 

Toni Stone was Commissioned by Roundabout Theatre Company and Samantha Barrie, and originally Produced by Roundabout Theatre Company, New York, NY in association with Samantha Barrie. Toni Stone received development support from the Resident Artists Program at Arena Stage, Washington, D.C.

 

 

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT AND DIRECTOR

 

A close-up of a person smiling

Description automatically generatedLydia R. Diamond is an award-winning playwright whose works include: The Gift HorseToni StoneSmart PeopleStick Fly (Broadway), Voyeurs de VenusHarriet JacobsThe Bluest Eye, The Inside, and Stage Black. Her work has been performed at companies including: The Huntington (Stick Fly, Smart People [Premiere], The Bluest Eye), American Conservatory Theater, Congo Square, Steppenwolf, Alliance Theatre, Arena Stage, Company One, Writers Theatre, McCarter Theatre Center, New Victory at The Duke (Off Broadway), Guthrie Theater, Roundabout (Off Broadway), Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Second Stage Theater (Off Broadway), Hartford Stage, Long Wharf Theatre, True Colors, MPAACT, Arden Theatre Company, Encores! at City Center (New York), Intiman Theatre, and PlayMakers Repertory Company. Diamond has been a W. E. B. Du Bois Institute Non-Resident Fellow at Harvard, a Sundance Playwright Lab Creative Advisor, a Radcliffe Institute Fellow, a Sally B. Goodman Fellow, and a National Endowment for the Arts/TCG playwright in residence. Awards include: Horton Foote Prize, Joseph Jefferson Award, IRNE Award Nomination, Elliot Norton Award Nomination, Audelco Nomination, Kilroy’s List, Susan Smith Blackburn Prize Finalist, LA Critics Circle Award, and National Arts Club Kesselring Prize for Playwriting. She was a Consulting Producer and writer for Showtime’s 4th season of The Affair and nominated for a Writers Guild Award for best Drama Episode. She has also written for NBC, HBO, HBOMAX, and Hulu. Diamond has an Honorary MFA from A.C.T., and an Honorary Doctorate from Pine Manor College. She sits on the Dramatists Guild Legal Defense Fund Board and The Dramatists Guild Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access Committee. Diamond is an Associate Professor of Playwriting at University of Illinois in Chicago.

 

 

PERFORMANCE INFORMATION FOR TONI STONE


 

WHEN

Performances: May 17 – June 16, 2024

Select Evenings: Tues – Thurs at 7:30pm; Fri – Sat at 8pm; select Sun at 7pm

Matinees: Select Wed at 3pm; select Sat and Sun at 2:30pm

Days and times vary; see complete schedule above.

 

Running time: 2 hours, 20 minutes, including one intermission

 

Press Opening: Wednesday, May 22, 2024 at 7pm (RSVP here)

 

 

WHERE

Huntington Theatre

264 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115

 

 

TICKETS

Tickets start at $30. FlexPasses are also now on sale:

  • online at huntingtontheatre.org
  • by phone at 617-266-0800;
  • or in person at the Calderwood Pavilion (527 Tremont Street) or the Huntington Theatre (264 Huntington Ave)

 

Select discounts apply:

  • $10 off: season ticket holders
  • $40 “HYPE” tickets (Huntington Young Patron Events) for patrons 40 years-old and younger (valid ID required)
  • $25 student and military tickets (valid ID required)

 

Please note that a digital recording of this production will be made available for online viewing. Details to come at huntingtontheatre.org/whats-on/toni-stone/

 

The Huntington asks that any patron experiencing COVID symptoms stay home and contact ticketing services for more information about exchanges.

 

 

ACCESS PERFORMANCES FOR TONI STONE

 

Tickets are $20 for each patron and their guests. To reserve tickets please email access@huntingtontheatre.org, call ticketing services at 617-266-0800, or in person at the Huntington Theatre, 264 Huntington Ave, Boston MA 02115.

 

Accessible performances are supported in part by the Liberty Mutual Foundation.

 

OPEN CAPTIONED PERFORMANCE: Tuesday, June 4 at 7:30pm. The Huntington offers open captioning at designated performances for any patron who benefits from having the text of spoken dialogue visible in time with the play.

 

ASL-INTERPRETED PERFORMANCE: Friday, June 7 at 8pm. The Huntington offers American Sign Language interpretation at designated performances for patrons who are Deaf or hard of hearing.

 

AUDIO-DESCRIBED PERFORMANCE: Saturday, June 15 at 2:30pm. The Huntington offers audio description for patrons who are blind or low-vision at designated performances. Please visit huntingtontheatre.org/accessibility/accessibility/ for information.

 

Large Print and Braille Programs will also be available for patrons at performances.

 

 

MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA

 

Any members of the media who are interested in speaking with the artists of Toni Stone, please contact Publicist Gabrielle Jaques at gjaques@huntingtontheatre.org or 617-273-1520.

 

Press night for critics is Wednesday, May 22, 2024 at 7pm. Please RSVP here for press night or other available performances.

Production photos will be available for download online, and b-roll footage can be requested.

 

PHOTOS available for download here

 

 

TONI STONE SPECIAL EVENTS

 

“Stage & Screen” A League of Their Own at Coolidge Corner: Tuesday, May 14

The Huntington and Coolidge Corner continue their “Stage & Screen” collaboration with an event on Tuesday, May 14 at Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline, MA. After a 7pm showing of A League of Their Own (directed by Penny Marshall, 1992), guests from The Huntington’s production of Toni Stone will host a post-screening discussion.

 

Tickets to the Stage & Screen film and post-screening discussion can be purchased here: coolidge.org/films/league-their-own

 

HYPE (Huntington Young Patron Event): Saturday, May 18

The Huntington’s “Huntington Young Patron Events” program (HYPE) hosts an afternoon event at 2pm on Saturday, May 18 at the Roberto Clemente Field (in Boston’s Back Bay Fens, Clemente Field, Boston, MA 02215).

 

Tickets to performances of Toni Stone are available for those 40 and under at $40 each with promo code DISCOUNT online at huntingtontheatre.org, by walk-up at the Box Office at the Huntington Theatre or Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA, or by calling ticketing services at 617-266-0800.

 

Humanities Forum: Sunday, June 2

The Huntington hosts a post-show discussion after the 2:30pm matinee performance on Sunday, June 2 at the Huntington Theatre (264 Huntington Ave).

 

Blackout Boston: Tuesday, June 11

The Huntington will host a Blackout Boston evening for those who identify as members of Africa’s Global Diaspora (persons who identify as descendants of Africans dispersed throughout the world).

 

The Blackout performance will take place on Tuesday, June 11 at the Huntington Theatre (264 Huntington Ave)More information will be announced soon.

 

Blackout Boston is an opportunity for Black identifying audiences to experience live theater that feels resonant to the Black experience in a space where their community is the majority. If you have questions about this event or other community events, please contact Huntington Community Engagement Manager Oz Pereira: opereira@huntingtontheatre.org.

 

Tickets to this performance are Pay What You Wish.

 

Actors Forum: Wednesday, June 12

The Huntington hosts a moderated, post-show discussion with the cast after the 3pm matinee performance on Wednesday, June 12 at the Huntington Theatre (264 Huntington Ave). Hear actors from Toni Stone reflect on their roles and nuances of each character.

 

Community Gaming DayTBA

Hosted in partnership with One Up Games, The Huntington will host a MLB The Show 24 video game tournament at the Huntington Theatre (264 Huntington Ave) to celebrate athlete Toni Stone, who now is a playable character in this popular video game. More details to be announced soon.

 

 

ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON

 

Celebrating over 40 years of outstanding theatre, The Huntington is Boston’s theatrical commons and leading professional theatre company. On our stages and throughout our city, we share enduring and untold stories that spark the imagination of audiences and artists and amplify the wide range of voices in our community.

 

Under the leadership of Norma Jean Calderwood Artistic Director Loretta Greco and Executive Director Christopher Mannelli, The Huntington is committed to welcoming broad and diverse audiences, provides life- changing opportunities for students through its robust education and community programs, is a national leader in the development of playwrights and new plays, acts as the host organization for a multi-year residency of The Front Porch Arts Collective, a Black theatre company based in Boston, and serves the local arts community through our operation of The Huntington Calderwood/BCA.

 

The Huntington reopened the historic Huntington Theatre in fall of 2022 after its transformational renovation, and is currently in phase two of the project; the renovation and building project of this storied venue with a bold vision for the future will allow us to innovatively expand our services to audiences, artists, and the community for generations to come. For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org.

 

SPEAKEASY STAGE COMPANY & FRONT PORCH ARTS COLLECTIVE PRESENT THE NEW ENGLAND PREMIERE OF

THE PULITZER PRIZE- & TONY-WINNING MUSICAL

A STRANGE LOOP


Apr. 26 to May. 25, 2024

 

Wimberly Theatre in the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion

at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street in Boston’s South End.


Performances Wed. & Thu. @ 7:30PM; Fri. @ 8PM; Sat. @ 2 & 8PM; and Sun. @ 3PM. Additional weekday matinee Thu., May. 23 @ 2PM.


PRESS OPENING: Sun., Apr. 28 @ 3 PM (or by request) / RSVP here / Advance photos here

 

(BOSTON) – SpeakEasy Stage Company and Front Porch Arts Collective (“the Porch”) present the New England premiere of Michael R. Jackson’s Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning musical, A STRANGE LOOP. The production runs April 26 through May 25, 2024, at the Wimberly Theatre in the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts. Estimated run time is 1 hour, 40 minutes with no intermission.


Michael R. Jackson’s blisteringly funny show exposes the heart and soul of Usher, a young artist grappling with desires, identity, and instincts he loves and loathes in equal measure. While tolerating a grinding job guiding families in and out of theater performances, the Black queer writer’s inner thoughts turn to an artistic endeavor: writing a musical about a Black, queer writer writing a musical about a Black, queer writer.  Hobbled by negative self-talk and hell-bent on breaking

free from it, Usher wrestles with his thoughts (portrayed by a cast of talented actors) in an attempt to move past this “strange loop.”


Boston native Kai Clifton plays Usher, alongside cast mates Grant Evan, De’Lon Grant, Jonathan Melo, Zion Middleton, Davron S. Monroe and Aaron Michael Ray. Full bios can be found on SpeakEasy’s A STRANGE LOOP page.


A STRANGE LOOP is directed by award-winning actor, director and educator Maurice Emmanuel Parent, co-Producing Artistic Director for the Porch. Parent previously helmed Choir Boy at SpeakEasy. His directing credits also include: Breath and Imagination (Lyric Stage); 2023 Elliot Norton Award Nominee Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Front Porch Arts Collective, Central Square Theater and Greater Boston Stage); and Seven Guitars (Actors’ Shakespeare Project -- 2023 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Director). Parent is Professor of the Practice at Tufts University’s Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies.


Other members of the A STRANGE LOOP creative team include music director/conductor David Freeman Coleman, choreographer Taavon Gamble, intimacy director Greg Geffard, and assistant intimacy director Phoebe Gonzalez. The design team is Jon Savage (scenic design), Brian J. Lilienthal (lighting), Becca Jewett (costumes), David Remedios (sound), and Emme Shaw (props). The production stage manager is Elizabeth Ramirez.


Tickets start at $25, with discounts for students, seniors, veterans, and people under 35. Tickets and more information are available online at BostonTheatreScene.com, by phone at 617.933.8600, or in person at the Calderwood Pavilion Box Office at 527 Tremont Street in Boston.


Estimated run time is 1 hour, 40 minutes with no intermission.


A STRANGE LOOP opened Off-Broadway in June 2019. Stephen Brackett directed original cast members Larry Owens, L Morgan Lee, James Jackson Jr., Elijah Caldwell, John-Andrew Morrison, Jason Veasey, and Jamaal Clark Turpin. The show moved to Washington, D.C. for a production by Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, where it opened in December 2021, after postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The play made its Broadway debut in April 2022 at the Lyceum Theatre, featuring Jaquel Spivey as Usher. It ran for 314 performances and won two Tony Awards.


About the Show’s Creator

MICHAEL R. JACKSON (Book, Music & Lyrics) was named one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people of 2022. For his work on A Strange Loop, he won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the 2022 Tony Award for Best Musical. He also wrote the book, music, and lyrics for White Girl in Danger and the book and lyrics for the current Off-Broadway hit Teeth. Awards and associations include: a New Professional Theatre Festival Award, a Jonathan Larson Grant, a Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award, an ASCAP Foundation Harold Adamson Award, a Whiting Award, the Helen Merrill Award for Playwriting, an Outer Critics Circle Award, a Drama Desk Award, an Obie Award, an Antonyo Award, a Fred Ebb Award, a Windham-Campbell Prize, a Dramatist Guild Fellowship. He is also an alum of Page 73’s Interstate 73 Writers Group. (he/him)

MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE

A DANCE-THEATER PRODUCTION,

DRIVEN BY SONGS FROM RECORDING STAR STING,

COMES TO THE EMERSON COLONIAL THEATRE MARCH 26 - 30.


Choreographed and directed by Kate Prince, with newly recorded and reworked versions of Sting’s evocative rock songs.


Extraordinary contemporary dancing propels a story about a family,

split by war and forced to forge new lives in foreign lands.


Embeddable performance trailer here. Photos, video and other assets here.


February 27, 2024 – BOSTON The story of a family torn apart by war and forced to make their ways in unfamiliar lands is told through Kate Prince’s striking, bold choreography in MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE, a dance/theater production inspired and driven by the music of 17-time Grammy Award-winning rock icon Sting. The production, now on a tour of the U.S. and Canada, comes to Boston’s Emerson Colonial Theatre March 26-30.


In its 2020 world premiere at Sadler’s Wells’ Peacock Theater in London’s West End, MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE became a critical hit for its distinctive mix of gravity-defying, lyrical hip hop dance and its use of evocative rock songs that together underscore a moving story of humanity and hope.


MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE opens in a village alive with joyous celebrations that suddenly comes under siege. In the ensuing chaos, three siblings – Leto, Mati and Tana – are separated from their parents. Each sibling undertakes a perilous journey to new lands – fighting off captors and predators, surviving imprisonment, falling in love and finding their way back to more peaceful lives. Nearly two dozen songs – written by Sting and made famous through his solo career and his band The Police – appear in the show.


Chart-topping hits and fan favorite tracks propel the narrative, often in surprising ways. “Every Breath You Take,” “Roxanne,” “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic,” “Walking On The Moon,” “Englishman In New York,” and “Fields Of Gold” are among the songs with new vocals by Sting and new arrangements by Grammy and Tony Award winner Alex Lacamoire (Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, The Greatest Showman). Guest vocals include actress and singer Beverley Knight MBE and Lynval Golding (of The Specials).


Kate Prince’s choreography incorporates a wide range of influences for the production’s 22 dancers, from breakdance, hip hop and contemporary street dance, to jazz dance and gestural movement – with a hint of balletic partnering. Prince says the thrill of watching audiences react to the music they know and the unfolding story told through her muscular, athletic and non-stop choreography brings her great joy.


“I love watching audiences watch Message In A Bottle,” she says. “They have this double reaction of loving the music and loving Sting’s work, and realizing how much of the music they do know and how much it's been in their lives. Then, watching the audience watching those dancers, you get the sense of ‘how are they doing that?’ and ‘how are they still going?’”


Performers in the touring company include dancers Oliver Andrews, Lindon Barr (Dance Captain), Deavion Brown, David Cottle, Harrison Dowzell, Nestor Garcia Gonzalez, Natasha Gooden, Lizzie Gough (Resident Director), Anna Holmstrom, Megan Ingram, Ajani Johnson-Goffe, Charlotte Lee, Daniella May, Dylan Mayoral, Lukas McFarlane (Associate Choreographer), Robbie Ordona, Lara Renaud, Hannah Sandilands (Dance Captain), Jessey Stol, Steven Thompson, Gavin Vincent, Malachi Welch, Serena McCall, and Nethra Menon. Biographical information on the dancers is available here.

MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE plays Boston’s historic Emerson Colonial Theatre for seven performances only, from March 26-30, 2024. Tickets are available online at emersoncolonialtheatre.com or by calling 888.616.0272. The box office at 106 Boylston Street is open Tuesday through Friday from 12pm to 6pm. Online and phone ticket purchases are subject to standard service fees. For group orders of 10 or more please email infocolonial@theambassadors.com.


MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE is co-produced and presented by Sadler’s Wells and Universal Music UK.

#   #   #


CALENDAR LISTING


WHAT: MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE, a new dance theater production choreographed by award-winning dance maker Kate Prince and propelled by more than two-dozen songs by rock icon Sting, comes to Boston in its New England premiere.


WHEN/ March 26-30, 2024

WHERE: Emerson Colonial Theatre, 106 Boylston Street, Boston


INFO: Comprising nearly two dozen songs from the catalogs of Sting and The Police, MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE tells the story of an idyllic village that comes under siege, forcing one close-knit family to splinter, fight oppression, find their ways in a new land and regain the love and peace they knew in their former life.


TICKETS: Tickets start at $49 and are available online at emersoncolonialtheatre.com or by calling 888.616.0272. The Emerson Colonial Theatre box office is open Tue-Fri from 12 to 6pm.

#   #   #


MEDIA INFORMATION

  • Press performance Tue, March 26; RSVPs being taken now.

  • An embeddable trailer for MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE is here.

  • Production photos, video and other assets are available here.

  • For access to artists, production assets (photos and video), and press review tickets:


BIOGRAPHIES and BACKGROUND INFORMATION

ABOUT Kate Prince, MBE (Director and Choreographer)

Kate Prince is Artistic Director of ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company, which she founded in 2002. She is an Associate Artist at the Old Vic and at Sadler’s Wells, where ZooNation is also a Resident Company. ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company is also an Associate Company at Birmingham Hippodrome and The Mayflower, Southampton.


ZooNation productions include: Into the Hoods (Novello Theatre 2008), which was the West End’s first hip hop dance show; Some Like It Hip Hop (Sadler’s Wells Peacock 2011-13, and UK tour, and 2019 revival); Groove on Down the Road (SouthBank Centre 2013-14); ZooNation: Unplugged (Sadler’s Wells 2013); The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party (Royal Opera House Linbury Studio 2014 and the Roundhouse 2016);  Into the Hoods: Remixed (Sadler’s Wells Peacock 2015-16 and UK tour) and SYLVIA (Old Vic 2018).


With ZooNation, Prince has also created choreography for sporting events, including the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Handover Ceremonies (2008), the Opening Ceremony of the Tour de France (2007) and the IOC opening ceremony for the London 2012 Olympics at the Royal Opera House.


Prince has been nominated for five Olivier Awards and two Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards among others. She was awarded an MBE for services to dance during the Queen’s Birthday Honours, 2019.


ABOUT Sting (Music & Lyrics)
Composer, singer-songwriter, actor, author and activist Sting was born in Newcastle, England before moving to London in 1977 to form The Police with Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers. The band released five studio albums, earned six GRAMMY Awards and two Brits, and was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003. Throughout his illustrious career, Sting has sold 100 million albums from his combined work with The Police and as a solo artist.


As one of the world’s most distinctive solo artists, Sting has received an additional 11 GRAMMY Awards, a Golden Globe, an Emmy, four Oscar nominations, a TONY nomination, Billboard Magazine’s Century Award, and MusiCares 2004 Person of the Year among others.  In 2003, he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Queen Elizabeth II for his contributions to music. He is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and has received the Kennedy Center Honors, The American Music Award of Merit and The Polar Music Prize. 


Sting was honored at the BMI Pop Awards for his enduring hit single “Every Breath You Take,” which appears in MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE, and has become the Most Performed Song – with 15 million radio plays – from BMI’s catalog of over 14 million musical works. 


He has appeared in more than 15 films, executive produced the critically acclaimed A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, and in 1989 starred in The Threepenny Opera on Broadway.  His most recent theatre project is the Tony®-nominated musical The Last Ship, inspired by his memories of the shipbuilding community of Wallsend in the North East of England where he was born and raised. 


Sting’s support for human rights organizations such as the Rainforest Fund, Amnesty International, and Live Aid mirrors his art in its universal outreach.  Along with wife Trudie Styler, Sting founded the Rainforest Fund in 1989 to protect both the world’s rainforests and the indigenous people living there.  Together they have held 19 benefit concerts to raise funds and awareness for our planet’s endangered resources.


ABOUT Sadler’s Wells (Co-Producer)
Sadler's Wells is a world-leading creative organization based in London committed to the making of dance, with over three centuries of theatrical heritage. Since 2005, Sadler’s Wells has created award-winning dance productions, co-productions and touring projects in collaboration with its portfolio of Associate Artists, as well as international dance companies and partners.


ABOUT Universal Music UK (Co-Producer)
Universal Music is the UK’s leading music company, home to successful artists from across the musical spectrum. Alongside the labels Polydor, Decca, Island, EMI, Capitol and 0207 Def Jam, its businesses include Abbey Road, the world’s most famous recording studio, and Mercury Studios, a music-first content studio.


Universal Music UK is a division of Universal Music Group (UMG), a Vivendi Company and the world leader in music based entertainment, with a broad array of businesses engaged in recorded music, music publishing, merchandising and audio-visual content in more than 60 countries. Featuring the most comprehensive catalogue of recordings and songs across every musical genre, UMG identifies and develops artists and produces and distributes the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful music in the world.


ABOUT Emerson Colonial Theatre

In its storied history, Emerson Colonial Theatre has debuted such seminal Broadway shows as Anything Goes, Porgy and Bess, Oklahoma!, Follies, A Little Night Music, Grand Hotel, and La Cage aux Folles, and most recently, the pre-Broadway premieres of Moulin Rouge! The Musical, David Byrne’s American Utopia, A Beautiful Noise: The Neil Diamond Musical, and the revival of Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite starring Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker. This summer, the Colonial will host the pre-Broadway world premiere musical, The Queen of Versailles, reuniting celebrated Oscar-winning songwriter Stephen Schwartz with Tony and Emmy Award winner Kristin Chenoweth. The building, which opened in 1900 with a production of Ben-Hur, is the oldest continuously operated theatre in Boston, as well as being amongst the most magnificent, having retained most of its original period details. A theatre for the community, Emerson Colonial Theatre presents a new and varied program of Broadway shows, live music, comedy, and special events. EmersonColonialTheatre.com. Facebook and Instagram: @EmersonColonial
Applications for Fresh Ink Theatre Company's 2024/2025 season are now open! CHUANG Stage is excited to partner with Fresh Ink on their 2024/2025 season submission, with the New Play Development Residency designed and awarded to an AAPI playwright

The application will close on January 31st, 2024, OR until we receive 80 scripts. Check out this opportunity along with the full Fresh Ink season submission below!
APPLY NOW!
New Play Development Residency
(In partnership with CHUANG Stage)

This residency is awarded to any AAPI (Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander) playwright who is a current, full-time resident of MA, CT, RI, NH, VT, or ME looking to develop their play with Fresh Ink and CHUANG Stage for 6 months. CHUANG Stage is Boston’s Asian American theatre company cultivating joyful and radical pan-Asian stories; this residency is curated in collaboration with CHUANG Stage to strengthen AAPI voices, communities, and futures.

This residency includes:

  • $300 playwright award 

  • One-on-one meetings with dramaturgs from Fresh Ink and CHUANG Stage 

  • AAPI community engagement and research funding of up to $500

  • One internal workshop 

  • One workshop and public staged reading 

SPECIAL NOTE: This 6-month residency will take place during the 2024-2025 season. However, there is a potential for contract renewal the following season, with a possibility for the ‘24/’25 Development Residency playwright being selected for a ‘25/’26 CHUANG Stage & Fresh Ink Co-Production Residency.

You can read additional information about our selection process and timeline on our FAQ page

LEARN MORE

Fresh Ink Theatre Company is committed to developing fresh, inclusive, innovative new work with theatre artists in the New England area. Fresh Ink believes that representation onstage and community-building offstage has the power to inspire audiences, shift worldviews, foster understanding, and challenge the status quo. freshinktheatre.org

STAND UP IF YOU’RE HERE TONIGHT EXTENDS

AT THE HUNTINGTON DUE TO POPULAR DEMAND

THE HUNTINGTON ANNOUNCES CAST AND CREATIVE TEAM

OF IMMERSIVE STAND UP IF YOU’RE HERE TONIGHT

 

Experience The Huntington like never before with a unique theatrical experience

in the intimate Maso Studio at the Huntington Theatre

 

Jim Ortlieb in Stand Up If You're Here Tonight. Photo by Michael Brosilow

 

(BOSTON) – The Huntington announces the cast and creative team of its new production of Stand Up If You’re Here Tonight, the thoroughly unique and interactive play written and directed by John Kolvenbach. The production kicks off 2024, running from Saturday, January 20 – Sunday, March 3, 2024 at the Huntington Theatre in the Maso Studio (264 Huntington Avenue).

 

Stand Up If You’re Here Tonight is a new play by Olivier Award-nominated playwright John Kolvenbach. Winner of the LA Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Actor, Jim Ortlieb delivers a tour-de-force performance as a man desperate for connection, bent by isolation, and deeply in love with the audience itself. Unlike anything you’ve seen at The Huntington before, this underground experience in the renovated, 150-seat Maso Studio blurs the line between audience and performer, and will have audiences connecting, laughing, thinking, and up on their feet.

 

Kolvenbach wrote Stand Up If You’re Here Tonight in the spring of 2021, during the Covid-19 pandemic. It premiered at the Harbor Stage Company in Wellfleet, then went on to have sold-out runs in LA, Chicago, and Paris. It has been praised as a “stunningly original existential exercise” by WTTW (PBS) Chicago, and as “uproarious, downright brilliant, and full of joyful surprises!” by the Provincetown Independent.

 

Kolvenbach explains, “The show is about a guy trying to do the impossible, or the nearly impossible: he wants to achieve a kind of union with the audience, a oneness, to blur the line between the play and the people who are there that night. That's the ambition of the man in the play, but it's also the ambition (harebrained, maybe) of the play itself. We hope for communion."

 

Huntington Artistic Director Loretta Greco and Kolvenbach first worked together and forged their friendship during her time as artistic director of San Francisco’s Magic Theatre where she produced his plays Goldfish, Mrs. Whitney, Sister Play, and Reel to Reel.

 

“You are in for a treat!” says Greco. “This incisive, vulnerable, funny, new play by my dear friend John Kolvenbach is the first half of this special intimate evening, and the second opens up to drinks and freeform conversation with the artists and your fellow audience members. This is unlike any experience you’ve had at The Huntington! In Paris and LA, people stayed for hours, and we hope you’ll want to stay and connect as well.”

 

The Huntington’s production of Stand Up If You’re Here Tonight features actor Jim Ortlieb as Man, a performer seeking an audience. His credits include The Farnsworth Invention and Of Mice and Men on Broadway. The creative team features Huntington staff members, including scenic design by Kristine Holmes (Mala at ArtsEmerson and The Huntington) and lighting design by M Berry (The Ding Dongs at Gloucester Stage Company). The production stage manager is Adele Nadine Traub.

 

The performance runs for approximately 65 minutes and is followed by a social hour where audiences can interact with members of the cast and creative team and with each other. A beverage during the social hour is included in the price of the ticket.

 

 

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

 

A person in a blue shirt

Description automatically generatedJohn Kolvenbach (Playwright and Director) West End: Love Song (Olivier nomination, Best New Comedy, starring Cillian Murphy); On an Average Day (with Woody Harrelson). Love Song premiered at Steppenwolf and played in New York, Zurich, Melbourne, Sydney, Wellington, Seoul, and Rome and will be revived this spring in Chicago by Remy Bumppo. Average Day has been produced in Tel Aviv, Buenos Aires, and Lisbon. Goldfish premiered at South Coast Repertory, then played at the Magic Theatre, directed by Loretta Greco. Reel to Reel premiered at the Magic. Sister Play premiered at The Harbor Stage Company and at the Magic, both productions directed by the author. Stand Up If You’re Here Tonight opened in the summer of 2021 in Los Angeles and, simultaneously, at The Harbor Stage. The LA production went on to American Blues, in Chicago and then to Paris. Other plays include: Fabuloso, Bank Job, and Marriage Play or Half 'n Half 'n Half.

 

A close-up of a person

Description automatically generatedJim Ortlieb (Man) Broadway: The Farnsworth InventionOf Mice and MenGuys and Dolls. 1st National Tour: Billy Elliot the Musical (Chicago and Toronto). International: Hughie, The Homecoming, Requiem for a Heavyweight, Translations, Faith Healer, Dark Pony (Gare St. Lazare Paris, France and West Cork, Ireland). Regional: Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Man Who Came to Dinner (Steppenwolf); Grapes of Wrath (Dir. David Cromer, Ford’s Theatre); TartuffeCandide (Weston, VT); M the Murderer (Organic, Chicago, and Gare St. Lazare, Paris); Blind Date (Goodman, Chicago); The Book of Will, All in the Timing (Northlight, Chicago); Life Sucks (Lookingglass, Chicago); Scapin (American Blues Theatre Company, of which he is a member.) TV and Film: American Horror Story, ER, Gilmore Girls, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, West Wing, The Closer, CSI, Grey’s Anatomy, The Shield, Felicity, Roswell, Home Alone, Magnolia, A Mighty Wind, Flatliners, Latter Days, Drunkboat, Contagion, The Crash, Running Scared, Goodnight Sweet Wife. Awards: twice nominated for Best Actor for the Joseph Jefferson Award in Chicago; Best Actor nominee for Boston’s Independent Reviewers of New England Award (for John Kolvenbach’s Marriage Play at Merrimack Rep in Lowell), and a Best Actor winner of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle award for his work in Stand Up If You’re Here Tonight.

Cast and creative team of The Fortune Teller. Photo by Ken Yotsukura Photography.

Hi my friend,

I hope you are finding yourself in a joyful season and that you are being so kind to yourself after a beautiful, fruitful year.

I'm Alison, Co-Founder & Executive Director at CHUANG Stage. I wanted to use this space to tell you about what you and I did together this year at CHUANG Stage as a note of appreciation and a fearless look into the brighter future.

In 2023, CHUANG Stage became the newest LaunchPad resident theatre company at Boston Center for the Arts, a landmark space for Boston’s performing and visual arts, following the precedented growth of LaunchPad residency alumni—Fresh Ink Theatre Company, Castle of our Skins, among many others. As our inaugural voice in this space, we staged The Fortune Teller, a play with immense historical community power that talks about the transformation of immigrant lives shaped and formed, threaded by the eternal bloodline.

The Fortune Teller by Christina Chan. In photo (left to right): Angela Gunn, Jamie Lin, Mordecai Choi, Tony SooHoo. Photo by Ken Yotsukura Photography.

In 2023, CHUANG Stage collaborated with Pao Arts Center and Asian American Theatre Artists of Boston to continue advancing the commitment to theatre being a public art engagement for multilingual residents, immigrants, and local residents of Boston Chinatown—Flight of a Legless Bird is where Chinatown dances with us in 90s Cantopop music and Leslie Cheung’s artistry legacy, and SKINLESS was our immortal, hyper-Queer take of the Chinese White Snake tale.

SKINLESS by liqing xu. In photo (left to right): Sharifa Yasmin, Jenine Jacito. Flight of a Legless Bird by Ethan Luk. In photo (left to right): Patrick Ip, Hana Yiu. Photo by Lei Zhang and Zoey Wang.

And last month, we partied at the Calderwood Pavilion for a sold-out Asian Joy Night at The Heart Sellers by Lloyd Suh @ The Huntington, as a part of our promise to this city’s Asian American audience by advancing community accountability at predominantly-White institutions, collectively build a radical future—one that can be reflected in the crowds and faces of American Theatre. From The Chinese Lady to Made in China 2.0, we hosted talkbacks and community discussions about Asian American experiences in a time of xenophobia and crisis, and the urgency of collective action.

Asian Joy Night at The Heart Sellers by Lloyd Suh @ The Huntington. Photo by Ashley Yung and Anna.

Sitting in December and looking back, I’m immensely proud of the mountains we moved this year, the beautiful artists we got to work with and uplift their creations, and we got the whole town buzzing about Asian American performing arts. These mountains, barriers, and this same community of people also keep me up at night—when will we get to produce an entire season of 4+ Asian American plays, and when will we get to commission new plays from amazing local playwrights and make the Asian American play of Boston? When can we pay Asian artists a living wage to present their best craft and talent in downtown Boston where people can’t afford to live in? We still have mountains to move, and my big dream is that one day, when people talk about Boston, the first thing that comes into mind is our AAPI community and "the city that has great Asian American theatre."

This month, we'd like to offer you an opportunity to chip into our visions and dreams and co-write the next chapter at CHUANG Stage: help us finish this year so strong and collectively raise another $2,000 in the final two weeks of 2023. Every penny counts at a small and growing theatre company; we hired over 50 artistic and design positions that paid a minimum of $700 per role (we pay everyone—from interns to ushers and guest speakers), while performances and events are Pay-As-You-Are from $0 or completely free to all. Your donation, large or small, makes a difference while we spend every moment making sure Boston has its joyful, radical, and accessible Asian American theatre. Will you be a part of this movement today?

GIVE NOW

I wish us another revolutionary and high-power year ahead--and many, many more together, with you. 💛

Co-Founder & Executive Director
Alison Yueming Qu

THE HUNTINGTON ANNOUNCES CAST AND

CREATIVE TEAM OF LLOYD SUH’S NEW PLAY

THE HEART SELLERS

Heartwarming new play celebrates female friendship and Asian American experiences


Lloyd Suh
(BOSTON) – The Huntington announces the cast and creative team of The Heart Sellers, a gorgeous and funny new play written by Lloyd Suh and directed by May Adrales. The production runs from Tuesday, November 21 – Saturday, December 23, 2023 at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA (527 Tremont St).

In The Heart Sellers, Jane and Luna run into each other in the grocery store on Thanksgiving in 1973 and find they have much in common: each are recent Asian immigrants, a bit homesick and lonely with hardworking absentee husbands, and adjusting to a new country filled with new opportunities. Over sips of wine and a questionable frozen turkey, they dream of disco dancing, learning to drive, and even a visit to Disneyland, sharing their hopes and challenges for making a new home in a new land. A funny, moving, and big-hearted new play.


Huntington Artistic Director Loretta Greco says, “Lloyd Suh’s intentionality around unpacking complicated slices of untold history in beautiful, theatrical ways for the benefit of our children and future generations is wildly inspirational. His plays are honest, heartbreaking, full of curiosity and resilience: a theatrical constellation asking us to look at our past in new ways with an eye towards a brighter future.”

May Adrales
Called “hilarious and heartwarming! A laugh-aloud love letter to friendship!” by Broadway World, and “a stunning comedy! Breathtaking” by Milwaukee Journal SentinelThe Heart Sellers makes its New England debut at The Huntington this November. The name of the play is drawn from the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, also known as the Hart-Celler Act, which eliminated restrictive nationality-based immigration quotas and granted thousands of professional workers a new path to citizenship.

The Heart Sellers looks at a pivotal moment in time, when the conditions were created for much of what we’re currently grappling with as a nation around our collective history,” says Suh. “It’s a play of giving thanks, making new friends, and finding home in a new place.”

Suh is an acclaimed Korean American playwright, winner of the 2019 Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, and was named one of the “50 to Watch” by the Dramatists Guild. He worked with Huntington Artistic Director Loretta Greco closely during her time at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco. His play American Hwangap was produced during Greco’s first season at Magic, another of his plays, Jesus in India, premiered at Magic in 2012, and Greco opened her final season at Magic with Suh’s The Chinese LadyNew England audiences may recall The Chinese Lady was recently produced at Central Square Theater in Cambridge in 2022

The Heart Sellers

Jenna Agbayani and Judy Song
 is presented through special arrangement with TRW PLAYS 1180 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 640, New York, NY 10036. trwplays.com

The cast of The Heart Sellers includes:


Jenna Agbayani as Luna, Luningning Ignacia Mangahas de la Rosario Bustos, a 23-year-old from the Philippines. Credits include: LEAR and Kentucky at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre.

Judy Song as Jane, Hong Jae Ha, a 23-year-old from Korea. Credits include: Haeneyo’s Kitchen (해녀의 부엌in Korea and the films Parked in America and White Butterfly with SXSW Film Festival.

Understudies include: Kristian Espiritu and Carol Jeong.


The creative team for The Heart Sellers includes scenic and costume design by Junghyun Georgia Lee (Sweat at The Huntington), lighting design by Kat C. Zhou (The Butcher Boy Off Broadway), sound design and original music by Fabian Obispo (Boleros for the Disenchanted at The Huntington), and hair and makeup design by Rachel Padula-Shufelt (The Band’s Visit at The Huntington). The dramaturg is Christine Mok. The assistant director is Jenny S. Lee and the dialect coach is Joy Lanceta Coronel. The production stage manager is Roxana Kahn and the stage manager is Ashley Pitchford.


BOSTON LYRIC OPERA MOUNTS A NEW, BOSTON-INSPIRED PRODUCTION OF ROSSINI’S "LA CENERENTOLA"

Boston, MA — rev. October 11, 2023* — Boston Lyric Opera announces a city-centric take on Gioachino Rossini's timeless opera, "LA CENERENTOLA (CINDERELLA).” This interpretation brings the familiar story of a mistreated young woman and a handsome prince into the hearts of two familiar Boston neighborhoods. “La Cenerentola” is directed by award-winning theater artist and longtime Boston resident Dawn M. Simmons, who makes her opera debut. This opera runs for a limited engagement of three performances, from November 8-12, 2023 at the Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre. Tickets are available now at blo.org/cinderella.

It’s been 30-plus years since BLO’s last production of Rossini’s opera. In it, the sweet Angelina played by Cecelia Hall in her BLO debut (l., CMW Photography), is a young woman from an ungrateful family who finds true love with the help of a prince’s tutor who disguises himself to help Don Ramiro, find a worthy partner. Ramiro is played by Levy Sekgapane in his BLO debut  (r., Kartal Karagedik). 

As in the well-known animated film Cinderella, Angelina meets and weds the Prince, much to the chagrin of her family. But unlike that film, Rossini’s opera version, with libretto by Jacopo Ferretti, dispenses with fairy dust in favor of more earthly interventions, maintaining its magic with beautiful melodies and an energetic score.

“I hope La Cenerentola romances audiences,” says Simmons. “The magic is in the music, in the simplicity of boy-meets-girl and how they sweep each other off their feet.”

“This fun and lustrous opera is a story about the triumph of goodness, right here in Boston,” says BLO Stanford Calderwood General Director & CEO Bradley Vernatter. “Dawn M. Simmons’s cultural leadership and prolific theater career has shown her to be a visionary director.  For us, she creates a production that reminds us of the importance of good humor, kindness, and love in our lives.” 

In addition to Hall, the CENERENTOLA cast includes Dana Varga (BLO debut) as Clorinda, 2023/24 BLO Emerging Artist Alexis Peart as Tisbe, Levi Hernandez (the BLO film series, “B.”) as Dandini, Brandon Cedel (BLO’s 2019 “The Rape of Lucretia”) as Don Magnifico, and Philip Lima (BLO’s 2022 “Romeo & Juliet”) as Alidoro.

The 42-piece Boston Lyric Opera Orchestra is conducted by BLO Music Director David Angus. The Boston Lyric Opera Chorus is led by BLO Chorus Director Brett Hodgdon.

Set designer Jenna McFarland Lord and Lighting Director Bailey Costa transform the Emerson Cutler Majestic stage with elements of iconic Boston architecture, from Don Ramiro’s palatial Beacon Hill home with gently twinkling garden lights, to the Magnifico family’s stylish Seaport digs lit by the energy of the neighborhood’s modern vibe.

Similarly, costume designer Trevor Bowen straddles the old and the new, fashioning Angelina’s transformation from cleaning woman to princess, and Don Ramiro’s casual modern-day swagger into a ball-worthy take on traditional waistcoat and jacket. The “wicked stepsistahs” Clorinda and Tisbe are never dressed down, befitting their aspirations as wannabe influencers.

"As an artist born and raised in this city, I know we are ready for a new look at this classic story,” says Simmons (r., courtesy photo). “Boston may not have castles in the center of town, or young women shoveling coal to keep the house warm anymore, but like anywhere else we have people who want more out of life than what they’ve been handed. This story of love, transformation, and the enduring power of kindness is one everyone can relate to."

TICKETS

Tickets for LA CENERENTOLA are available now individually or in a two- or three-part subscription to BLO’s 2023/24 Season. Individual tickets start at $25, and are available at blo.org/cinderella.

WHAT:     Boston Lyric Opera presents a new production of Gioachino Rossini’s LA CENERENTOLA (CINDERELLA), directed by award-winning Boston theater artist Dawn M. Simmons. Inspired by the city of Boston and its iconic neighborhoods, this production tells the familiar story of a sweet but mistreated young woman whose encounter with a handsome prince gives her a new life and makes her “wicked stepsistahs” jealous. Cecelia Hall  and  Levy Segkapane make their BLO debuts as Angelina and Don Ramiro, respectively.

WHEN:     Three performances from November 8-12, 2023, including: Wed., Nov 8 @ 7:30p; Fri., Nov 10 @ 7:30p; and Sun., Nov 12 @ 3p.

 

                 WHERE:  Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre, 219 Tremont Street in Boston, Mass.

 

WHEN:     T

Nov 12 @ 3p.

WHEN:     Thr

The Huntington announces cast a

CREATIVE TEAM OF LLOYD SUH’S NEW PLAY

THE HEART SELLERS

 

Heartwarming new play celebrates female friendship and Asian American experiences

 

(BOSTON) – The Huntington announces the cast and creative team of The Heart Sellers, a gorgeous and funny new play written by Lloyd Suh and directed by May Adrales. The production runs from Tuesday, November 21 – Saturday, December 23, 2023 at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA (527 Tremont St).

 

In The Heart Sellers, Jane and Luna run into each other in the grocery store on Thanksgiving in 1973 and find they have much in common: each are recent Asian immigrants, a bit homesick and lonely with hardworking absentee husbands, and adjusting to a new country filled with new opportunities. Over sips of wine and a questionable frozen turkey, they dream of disco dancing, learning to drive, and even a visit to Disneyland, sharing their hopes and challenges for making a new home in a new land. A funny, moving, and big-hearted new play.

 

Huntington Artistic Director Loretta Greco says, “Lloyd Suh’s intentionality around unpacking complicated slices of untold history in beautiful, theatrical ways for the benefit of our children and future generations is wildly inspirational. His plays are honest, heartbreaking, full of curiosity and resilience: a theatrical constellation asking us to look at our past in new ways with an eye towards a brighter future.”

 

Called “hilarious and heartwarming! A laugh-aloud love letter to friendship!” by Broadway World, and “a stunning comedy! Breathtaking” by Milwaukee Journal SentinelThe Heart Sellers makes its New England debut at The Huntington this November. The name of the play is drawn from the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, also known as the Hart-Celler Act, which eliminated restrictive nationality-based immigration quotas and granted thousands of professional workers a new path to citizenship.

 

The Heart Sellers looks at a pivotal moment in time, when the conditions were created for much of what we’re currently grappling with as a nation around our collective history,” says Suh. “It’s a play of giving thanks, making new friends, and finding home in a new place.”

 

Suh is an acclaimed Korean American playwright, winner of the 2019 Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, and was named one of the “50 to Watch” by the Dramatists Guild. He worked with Huntington Artistic Director Loretta Greco closely during her time at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco. His play American Hwangap was produced during Greco’s first season at Magic, another of his plays, Jesus in India, premiered at Magic in 2012, and Greco opened her final season at Magic with Suh’s The Chinese LadyNew England audiences may recall The Chinese Lady was recently produced at Central Square Theater in Cambridge in 2022.

 

The Heart Sellers is presented through special arrangement with TRW PLAYS 1180 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 640, New York, NY 10036. trwplays.com

 

The cast of The Heart Sellers includes:

 

Jenna Agbayani as Luna, Luningning Ignacia Mangahas de la Rosario Bustos, a 23-year-old from the Philippines. Credits include: LEAR and Kentucky at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre.

 

Judy Song as Jane, Hong Jae Ha, a 23-year-old from Korea. Credits include: Haeneyo’s Kitchen (해녀의 부엌in Korea and the films Parked in America and White Butterfly with SXSW Film Festival.

 

Understudies include: Kristian Espiritu and Carol Jeong.

 


The creative team for The Heart Sellers includes scenic and costume design by Junghyun Georgia Lee (Sweat at The Huntington), lighting design by Kat C. Zhou (The Butcher Boy Off Broadway), sound design and original music by Fabian Obispo (Boleros for the Disenchanted at The Huntington), and hair and makeup design by Rachel Padula-Shufelt (The Band’s Visit at The Huntington). The dramaturg is Christine Mok. The assistant director is Jenny S. Lee and the dialect coach is Joy Lanceta Coronel. The production stage manager is Roxana Kahn and the stage manager is Ashley Pitchford

 

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

 

Lloyd Suh (Playwright) is the 2019 winner of the Herb Alpert Award for Theater. His play The Chinese Lady was hailed a New York Times Critics’ Pick during its NY run. He has had productions at Barrington Stage, Ma-Yi, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Long Wharf Theater, Magic Theater, Artists at Play, and Artists Rep among others. His plays include Charles Francis Chan Jr’s Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery (NAATCO, Theater Mu), The Wong Kids in The Secret of the Space Chupacabra GO! (Ma-Yi, Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis, NEA Arena Stage New Play Development Grant) and American Hwangap (Magic Theatre, Ma-Yi/PlayCo, Tanghalang Pilipino). Named one of “50 to Watch” by the Dramatists Guild, Lloyd has received additional grants, awards and fellowships from the Dramatists Guild, the Jerome Foundation, the Lark Play Development Center, SecondGeneration, Pan Asian Repertory, and NAATCO.

 

May Adrales (Director) is currently the director of the theatre program at Fordham University. Her Off Broadway credits include: Poor Yella Rednecks, Vietgone, Golden Shield (Manhattan Theatre Club); Letters of Suresh (2nd Stage); Dance and the Railroad (Signature Theatre); Luce (LCT3); The Strangest (NYTW); Unbounded (Public Theater); and Natural Shocks (WP). Adrales has also worked with regional organizations including Oregon Shakespeare Festival, South Coast Rep, Alley Theatre, Seattle Rep, Goodman, Baltimore Center Stage, Two River Theatre Company, Pioneer Theatre Company, and Milwaukee Rep. She has won the following awards: Drama League Directing Fellow, Van Lier Fellow, Ammerman Award, Alan Schneider Award, Paul Green Directing, New Generations, and Denham Fellowship. Education: MFA, Yale School of Drama. mayadrales.net

 

 

PERFORMANCE INFORMATION FOR THE HEART SELLERS

  

WHEN

Performances: November 21 – December 23, 2023

Select Evenings: Tues – Thurs at 7:30pm; Fri – Sat at 8pm; select Sun at 7pm

Matinees: Select Wed at 2pm; select Sat and Sun at 2pm

Days and times vary; see complete schedule above. 

Running time: 95 minutes, no intermission

 

WHERE

Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA

527 Tremont St, Boston

 

TICKETS

Tickets start at $30. Season ticket packages and FlexPasses are also now on sale:

  • online at huntingtontheatre.org
  • by phone at 617-266-0800;
  • or in person at the Calderwood Pavilion (527 Tremont Street) or the Huntington Theatre (264 Huntington Ave)

 

Select discounts apply:

  • $10 off: season ticket holders
  • $40 “HYPE” tickets (Huntington Young Patron Events) for patrons 40 years-old and younger (valid ID required)
  • $20 student and military tickets (valid ID required)

 

Please note that a digital recording of this production will be made available for online viewing. Details to come at huntingtontheatre.org/whats-on/the-heart-sellers

 

The Huntington asks that any patron experiencing COVID symptoms stay home and contact ticketing services for more information about exchanges.

 

 

ACCESS PERFORMANCES FOR THE HEART SELLERS

 

Tickets are $20 for each patron and their guests. To reserve tickets please email access@huntingtontheatre.org, call ticketing services at 617-266-0800, or in person at the Calderwood Pavilion, 527 Tremont St, Boston.

 

Accessible performances are supported in part by the Liberty Mutual Foundation.

 

OPEN CAPTIONED PERFORMANCE: Tuesday, December 5 at 7:30pm. The Huntington offers open captioning at designated performances for any patron who benefits from having the text of spoken dialogue visible in time with the play.

 

ASL-INTERPRETED PERFORMANCE: Friday, December 15 at 8pm. The Huntington offers American Sign Language interpretation at designated performances for patrons who are Deaf or hard of hearing.

 

AUDIO-DESCRIBED PERFORMANCE: Saturday, December 23 at 2pm. The Huntington offers audio description for patrons who are blind or low-vision at designated performances. Please visit huntingtontheatre.org/visit/accessibility for information.

 

Large Print and Braille Programs will also be available for patrons at performances.

 

THE HEART SELLERS SPECIAL EVENTS

 

AAPI Community Night: Tuesday, November 21

The Huntington hosts a night of celebration for members of the AAPI community in Greater Boston. Join us at the Calderwood Pavilion for a pre-show reception with Artistic Director Loretta Greco at 6:00-7:15pm before the 7:30pm performance of The Heart Sellers. Following the show, there will also be a post-show, on-stage panel discussion.

 

HYPE (Huntington Young Patron Event): Friday, December 1

The Huntington’s “Huntington Young Patron Events” program (HYPE) hosts a pre-show “Friendsgiving” celebration before the 8pm performance on Friday, December 1 at the Calderwood Pavilion (527 Tremont St).

 

Tickets to performances of The Heart Sellers are available for those 40 and under at $40 each with promo code DISCOUNT online at huntingtontheatre.org, by walk-up at the Box Office at the Huntington Theatre or Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA, or by calling ticketing services at 617-266-0800.

 

Humanities Forum: Sunday, December 10

The Huntington hosts a post-show discussion after the 2pm matinee performance on Sunday, December 10 at the Calderwood Pavilion (527 Tremont St). 

 

Actors Forum: Thursday December 14

The Huntington hosts a moderated, post-show discussion with the cast after the 7:30pm performance on Thursday, December 14 at the Calderwood Pavilion (527 Tremont St). Hear actors from The Heart Sellers reflect on their roles and nuances of each character.

 

 

ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON

 

Celebrating over 40 years of outstanding theatre, The Huntington is Boston’s theatrical commons and leading professional theatre company. On our stages and throughout our city, we share enduring and untold stories that spark the imagination of audiences and artists and amplify the wide range of voices in our community.

Under the leadership of Norma Jean Calderwood Artistic Director Loretta Greco and Executive Director Christopher Mannelli, The Huntington is committed to welcoming broad and diverse audiences, provides life- changing opportunities for students through its robust education and community programs, is a national leader in the development of playwrights and new plays, acts as the host organization for a multi-year residency of The Front Porch Arts Collective, a Black theatre company based in Boston, and serves the local arts community through our operation of The Huntington Calderwood/BCA.

 

The Huntington reopened the historic Huntington Theatre in fall of 2022 after its transformational renovation, and is currently in phase two of the project; a storied venue with a bold vision for the future, the renovation and building project will allow us to innovatively expand our services to audiences, artists, and the community for generations to come. For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org.

 

 THE BAND’S VISIT CO-PRODUCTION BY

THE HUNTINGTON AND SPEAKEASY STAGE

EXTENDS DUE TO POPULAR DEMAND

 

Tickets are selling fast for The Huntington and SpeakEasy Stage’s co-production

of the Tony- and Grammy-winning musical The Band’s Visit,

now running through December 17 at the Huntington Theatre

 

(BOSTON) – The Huntington and SpeakEasy Stage announce that their production of The Band’s Visit will extend, now running through Sunday, December 17, 2023 at the Huntington Theatre (264 Huntington Ave). Several weeks out from opening, the production has added an additional week of performances due to overwhelming demand from audiences. The first two rows of the orchestra have also been made available for sale for all performances, November 10 – December 17.

 

With music and lyrics by David Yazbek, book by Itamar Moses, and directed by SpeakEasy Stage founder and artistic director Paul DaigneaultThe Band’s Visit centers on an Egyptian band of musicians who become stranded in a small Israeli town after a transportation mix-up. With no lodgings available, the locals take them into their homes for the night. By morning, surprising connections have been made and friendships forged over moments of shared humanity and love of music. In this beautiful, feel-good musical, a brief visit can have a lasting impact.

 

Based on Eran Kolirin’s 2007 film of the same name, this original musical first premiered at the Atlantic Theater Company Off Broadway in 2016 before transferring to Broadway in 2017. The tour was scheduled to perform in Boston in 2020, but was cancelled due to the pandemic.

 

Winning an astounding 10 Tony Awards in 2018 – among the highest in Broadway history – as well as the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album in 2019, The Band’s Visit was hailed by The New York Times as “One of the most ravishing musicals you will ever be seduced by,” and The Hollywood Reporter called it “Gorgeous, intoxicating, and soulful.”

 


 

MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA

Any members of the media who are interested in speaking with the artists of The Band’s Visit, please contact Publicist Gabrielle Jaques at gjaques@huntingtontheatre.org or 617-273-1520.

 

Press night for critics is Wednesday, November 15, 2023 at 7pm. Please RSVP here for press night or other available performances.

 

Production photos will be available for download online, and b-roll footage can be requested.

 


 

THE HUNTINGTON HOSTS A FREE OPEN HOUSE AT

THE HUNTINGTON THEATRE – MONDAY, OCTOBER 9

DURING FENWAY ALLIANCE’S OPENING OUR DOORS DAY

 

Visitors can take a behind-the-scenes tour (with a peek into dressing rooms and the costume shop!),

browse artwork by visual artist Alison Judd in the 2nd floor gallery, and hear from Huntington staff and artists (including August Wilson biographer Patti Hartigan) in lively panel discussions

 

 

(BOSTON) – The Huntington is pleased to announce the Huntington Theatre (264 Huntington Ave) will participate in the Fenway Alliance “Opening Our Doors Day” on Monday, October 9 by hosting a robust slate of events and access during an open house from 11am-3pm.

 

The schedule of events throughout the day is as follows:

 

All Day events11am – 3pm

 

·         Guided tours led by Huntington staff, starting from the 1st floor theatre lobby (tour is approx. 20-30 minutes)

·         Meet-your-seat: Huntington donors and supporters have the opportunity to see their named seat, hosted by Huntington development staff

·         View beautiful art by local visual artist Alison Judd on our 2nd floor gallery

·         Huntington Theatre Box Office open

 

 

11:15am: Spotlight on Huntington Education Department Alumni (Performance and Discussion)

In the Maso Studio, 2nd floor

 

Enjoy a performance and discussion with Education Associate (and Codman Academy alum) Latasha SniderFat Ham cast member and August Wilson Monologue alum Victoria Omoregie, and current students and program participants Emily Guerrero Del Villar, Dereon Goldsmith, and Next Narrative Competition National Champion Sakura Rosenthal.

 

12pm – 1pm: Huntington 23/24 Season Preview Talk (Discussion)

In the Maso Studio, 2nd floor

 

Participate in a sneak peek discussion about the upcoming Huntington season with Artistic Director Loretta Greco and Director of New Work Charles Haugland.

 

12:30pm – 12:45pmGallery talk with visual artist Allison Judd

In the Huntington Theatre Gallery, 2nd floor

 

1pm – 2pm: August Wilson biographer and Boston Globe writer Patti Hartigan (Book Talk)

In the Maso Studio, 2nd floor

 

Hear biographer and Boston Globe writer Patti Hartigan speak about her new book August Wilson: A Life, moderated by Front Porch Arts Collective Co-Artistic Director Maurice Emmanuel Parent.

 

1:30pm – 1:45pmGallery talk with visual artist Allison Judd

In the Huntington Theatre Gallery, 2nd floor

 

2pm – 2:45pm: Celebrating 20 years of local playwrights on our stages! (Discussion)

In the Maso Studio, 2nd floor

 

Join Huntington Playwriting Fellows Kirsten Greenidge, Masha Obolensky, and Lila Rose Kaplan for a conversation about living and creating art as playwrights in Boston, moderated by Director of New Work Charles Haugland.

 

The event is free and open to the public, but we encourage the community to RSVP on Eventbrite.

 

The Huntington’s Open House is part of the Fenway Alliance’s annual Opening Our Doors Day event, a celebration of the Fenway Cultural District including art exhibits, performances, nature and historical walks, art activities, open houses and more. More information can be found on the Fenway Alliance website.

 

 

ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON

 

Celebrating over 40 years of outstanding theatre, The Huntington is Boston’s theatrical commons and leading professional theatre company. On our stages and throughout our city, we share enduring and untold stories that spark the imagination of audiences and artists and amplify the wide range of voices in our community.

Under the leadership of Norma Jean Calderwood Artistic Director Loretta Greco and Executive Director Christopher Mannelli, The Huntington is committed to welcoming broad and diverse audiences, provides life- changing opportunities for students through its robust education and community programs, is a national leader in the development of playwrights and new plays, acts as the host organization for a multi-year residency of The Front Porch Arts Collective, a Black theatre company based in Boston, and serves the local arts community through our operation of The Huntington Calderwood/BCA.

 

The Huntington reopened the historic Huntington Theatre in fall of 2022 after its transformational renovation, and is currently in phase two of the project; a storied venue with a bold vision for the future, the renovation and building project will allow us to innovatively expand our services to audiences, artists, and the community for generations to come. For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org.

 

THE FORTUNE TELLER
A New Play Workshop Production
Co-produced by CHUANG Stage & TC Squared Theatre Company
Written by Christina R. Chan
Directed by Kai Chao
Associate Directed by Alison Yueming Qu

Production Stage Manager: Emma J. Hunt
Assistant Stage Manager: Hengyu Hu (Olivia)

The Fortune Teller Artwork Artist: Shaina Lu (@shainadoesart)

Can you predict your destiny? How do we end up where we are?

Inspired by an unsettling history, The Fortune Teller traces several generations of a family from China in the 1800s to present-day America, as they search for destiny and each other bound together by immigrant legacy and bloodline.

Performances will be followed by community activation + post-show programming!


TICKETS ARE PAY-AS-YOU-ARE, STARTING AT $0!

GET TICKETS
MEET THE CAST OF THE FORTUNE TELLER!

Mordecai Choi (LIN WONG/ MARC/ ANCESTOR SPIRIT) he/him - Mordecai Choi, Che Soo Jae, is elated to be joining Chuang Stage and TC Squared's co-Production of Christina Chan's THE FORTUNE TELLER. He is honored to be apart of Chuang Stage's initial work in their three-year Launchpad Theatre Residency. He would like to thank his fellow cast, crew and design team; without you, there is no art. He would like to thank his friends, and family and Gabrielle; without you, there is no me. Dedicated to his immigrant parents and grandparents, Soo Jae invites you to sit back and enjoy the fortune telling.

Angela Gunn (SARAH McCARTHY) she/her - is thrilled to be performing in the Chuang Stage/TC Squared production of THE FORTUNE TELLER! A graduate of Wellesley College and Northeastern University School of Law, she currently represents convicted murderers on their appeals in addition to performing on stage and in film. Recent productions include the original work DOUBLE BILL with Theatre@First and Talking to Strangers with the Burlington Players last spring. A favorite production was the Bard Brigade's outdoor performance of the Scottish play in Salem where she played Lady M. For more information on Angela Gunn please visit her website at www.angelagunn.com.
Karla Goo Lang (JEWEL WONG) she/her - is delighted to return to Chuang Stage, having previously performed in the Found in Translation series (Mary Lin/Madam Lin in THE GHOST OF KEELUNG and ensemble in A DEAL). Favorite roles include Waverly in THE JOY LUCK CLUB (Umbrella Stage Company), Helena in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (Hovey Players), and April in COMPANY (Longwood Players). Karla is a fifth-generation Chinese-American and is grateful for the opportunity to help share this story about the AAPI immigrant experience.
Jamie Lin (JADE McCARTHY) she/her - is a Taiwanese-American actor, playwright & director originally from the Bay Area. She's always honored to bring AAPI work to the stage, having previously directed RADIAL GRADIENT for Samuel-Lancaster Productions and PLAYING CHOPSTICKS for BTM XXIV. She’s a proud member of the Asian-American Playwright Collective and connoisseur of noodles. She's also currently onboard T: AN MBTA MUSICAL at the Rockwell as Alice (Green Line) and Bus Driver!
Tony SooHoo (SI FU/ GOLD MOUNTAIN SPIRIT/ FORTUNE TELLER) he/him is a Boston-based SAG/AFTRA actor and is excited to participate in this play. Tony has acted on TV/Feature Film and Commercials. He enjoys performing improv and have studied at the Improv Boston. Tony has most recently worked on the play THE TROUBLEMAKER by Christina R. Chan.
GET TICKETS
Location: 
Boston Center for the Arts
Plaza Black Box Theatre
539 Tremont St, Boston, MA

Performance Schedule: 
Saturday, October 28 @ 7 PM
Sunday, October 29 @ 2 PM
Thursday, November 2 @ 7 PM
Friday, November 3 @ 7 PM
Saturday, November 4 @ 2 PM

 
BAAFF Closing Night Special:
Get 20% Off for 
STARRING JERRY AS HIMSELF!
Boston Asian American Film Festival CLOSING NIGHT 
STARRING JERRY AS HIMSELF 
DIRECTED BY LAW CHEN | 91 MINS | ENGLISH/MANDARIN 
Q&A WITH FILMMAKER and RECEPTION TO FOLLOW FILM
SUNDAY, OCT. 15 | 7:00PM
EMERSON PARAMOUNT CENTER
Based on actual events, a family documents how their immigrant father Jerry, a recently retired Florida man, was recruited by the Chinese police to be an undercover agent, only to discover a darker truth.
Use BAAFF20 for a 20% discount on tickets! 
GET TICKETS HERE

WITH ORIGINS IN A GROUNDBREAKING CULTURAL PROCESS, 

A STARTLING NEW MADAMA BUTTERFLY EMERGES


BLO’s production, running Sept 14-24, sets the story in 1940s San Francisco.


Untouched, Puccini’s soaring score proves resilient and resonant.


Preliminary costume and set design sketches here.


BOSTON – June 22, 2023; updated Aug 2, 2023** – Boston Lyric Opera’s new MADAMA BUTTERFLY opens at the Emerson Colonial Theatre September 14-24 after a years-long, groundbreaking cultural journey designed to examine the opera’s complex production history, embrace the beloved soaring score, and create an intentional production led by Asian and Asian-American artists seeking to reclaim a nearly 150-year-old narrative, and make it resonate with contemporary audiences.


Stage Director Phil Chan’s production of composer Giacomo Puccini’s opera brings the story of Butterfly and American Naval Officer B.F. Pinkerton into the world of 1940s San Francisco, where many Japanese Americans lived and where racial prejudice was heightened by World War II. Here, Butterfly is a performer in the historically inspired world of the city’s Chinatown nightclubs of the era, which employed Asian-American artists and drew white American audiences by promising exoticism. Here, Butterfly and Pinkerton fall in love before he leaves for military duty in the Pacific Rim.


Following an unconventional start to their romance, Pinkerton ships off to his military destination, unaware that the love affair with Butterfly has resulted in a pregnancy. Butterfly is swept up in the xenophobic hysteria triggered by the bombing of Pearl Harbor and becomes incarcerated in an American prison camp where she and her son await Pinkerton’s return.

Chan (r.), whose organization Final Bow for Yellowface has altered the world of ballet by improving Asian representation onstage and off, makes his opera directing debut. The production features dramaturgy by BLO Artistic Advisor Nina Yoshida Nelsen whose prolific singing career has included scores of “Madama Butterfly productions, filmmaker/author Arthur Dong whose research and historical documentaries “Forbidden City, USA” and “Hollywood Chinese” inform the world of the new production, as well as Indiana University Director of Asian American Studies Karen Inouye and Associate Professor Ashlyn Aiko Nelson


Chan says this new production tells a decisively American story. “All the characters in this MADAMA BUTTERFLY are Americans, and none of the story takes place in Japan – or anywhere outside California,” he says. “As we look to keep the artform thriving, we need to make its stories relevant to the audiences and the people of our time, while making sure the timeless Puccini score is still heard.”


Casting for BLO’s new production includes Karen Chia-Ling Ho (l.) as Butterfly, Alice Chung as Suzuki, Dominick Chenes as Pinkerton; Troy Cook as Sharpless, and Rodell Rosell as Goro (all five make their Boston Lyric Opera debuts). Vera Savage sings the role of Kate Pinkerton, Matthew Arnold as Signor Dori, and BLO Emerging Artist Junhan Choi in dual roles as Commissioner and Registrar.


In addition to Stage Director Phil Chan and the dramaturgy team, the artistic lineup for MADAMA BUTTERFLY includes Set Designer Yu Shibagaki, Costume Designer Sara Ryung Clement, Lighting Designer Jeannette Oi-Suk Yew, Wig and Makeup Designer Fuji Dreskin, and Choreographer Michael Sakamoto. The BLO Orchestra, comprising 70 players, will be conducted by BLO Music Director David Angus. A 20-plus-member cohort of the BLO Chorus will be led by Brett Hodgdon.

 

This MADAMA BUTTERFLY is the first production informed by “The Butterfly Process,” BLO’s extensive exploration of the opera’s history, provenance and impact from its early 20th Century premiere up until today. The year-long initiative examined and provided practical examples of how opera companies can build intentional and authentic productions of traditional works in a way that invites full, equitable participation, inspires new thinking, and strengthens both communities and audiences through the way music and stories are presented. More information on “The Butterfly Process” can be found here.


“The journey to this production has been enormously rewarding, challenging, and eye-opening,” says BLO General Director & CEO Bradley Vernatter. “Not only has ‘The Butterfly Process’ guided our work on operas from the inherited repertoire like this one, it also has begun to inform much of the artistic work we do as an organization. By investigating this historical masterwork and facing its legacy – both positive and negative – we are better equipped to produce an inclusive, intentional future for the artform that includes operas like ‘Madama Butterfly.’”


COMMUNITY EVENTS AND PARTNERSHIPS

Boston Lyric Opera plans a series of educational and public events connected to its production of MADAMA BUTTERFLY. Through its work in this realm, BLO is committed to increasing access to opera across the city.  Details on these events will be announced later.


TICKETS

Tickets for MADAMA BUTTERFLY are available now with a three- or four-part subscription to BLO’s 2023/24 Season. Individual tickets, which start at $25, are available via presale on July 18, and to the general public on August 1 at blo.org/butterfly.


-more-

CALENDAR LISTING


WHAT: Boston Lyric Opera presents a new production of Giacomo Puccini’s MADAMA BUTTERFLY. The production, set in the Chinatown nightclub scene of 1940s San Francisco, features a predominantly Asian and Asian-American artistic team, and is directed by Phil Chan.


WHEN: Four performances from September 14-24, 2023, including: Thu., Sep 14 @ 7:30p; Sun., Sep 17 @ 3p; Fri., Sep 22 @ 7:30p; and Sun., Sep 24 @ 3p.


WHERE: Emerson Colonial Theatre, 106 Boylston Street in Boston, Mass.


TICKETS: Available now with a season subscription. Individual tickets start at $25, available for presale July 18 and to the general public August 1 at blo.org/butterfly.


INFO: Following a groundbreaking cultural journey designed to examine the opera’s complex production history, embrace its beloved soaring score, and create a production that resonates with contemporary audiences, BLO’s MADAMA BUTTERFLY brings the story into the world of 1940s San Francisco, where many Japanese Americans lived, and where racial prejudice was heightened by World War II. Here, Butterfly is a nightclub performer who falls in love with the American naval officer Pinkerton and is caught up in American xenophobia during World War II.


2022 PULITZER PRIZE WINNER FAT HAM

COMES TO THE HUNTINGTON

IN ASSOCIATION WITH ALLIANCE THEATRE

AND FRONT PORCH ARTS COLLECTIVE

 

James Ijames’ highly acclaimed and deliciously funny new play is a fresh take on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, seasoned with Black queer joy and a compelling examination of love and loss

 

(BOSTON) – The Huntington in association with Alliance Theatre and Front Porch Arts Collective announces the cast and creative team of Fat Ham, the acclaimed new play written by James Ijames and directed by Tony Award-nominated Stevie Walker-Webb. The production runs from Friday, September 22 – Sunday, October 22, 2023 at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA (527 Tremont St).

 

In this deliciously funny, Pulitzer Prize-winning new play, sweet and sensitive Juicy wants to make his own way as a queer Black man growing up in a Southern family, until his father’s ghost turns up at a backyard barbecue and insists that Juicy avenge his murder. Ay, there’s the rub!

 

“James Ijames’ brilliant, hilarious play is Hamlet and is not Hamlet,” says Huntington Artistic Director Loretta Greco. “This is the beginning of our rigorous exploration of the classics – powerful stories that continue to speak to us – as re-dreamt for our time. In Ijames’ deft hands this exploration of masculinity, queerness, and familial acceptance boasts of muscular language, emotional truth, and the wildly entertaining foibles of family.”

 

This smart and sharp reinvention of Shakespeare’s masterpiece premiered in a filmed production for the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia in 2021 before making its Off Broadway debut at the Public Theater the following year. The play won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and in spring of 2023, the Public Theater transferred their production to Broadway where it received five Tony Award nominations and even more critical acclaim. The New York Times called it “Hot and sizzling! A raucous, flat-out hilarious comedy! Fat Ham is a revelation!”

 

“I am very excited for Fat Ham to meet the audiences in Boston,” says playwright James Ijames. “The play has a powerful message of transformation, radical acceptance, and joy! This show is for anyone looking for a space of liberation and beauty.” 

 

The cast of Fat Ham includes:

 

James T. Alfred as Rev, Tedra’s husband, her dead ex-husband’s brother, a kind of Claudius. And also as Pap, the Ghost of Juicy’s father. Credits include the national tour of Jitney and Black Odyssey Off Broadway.

 

Amar Atkins as Larry, an awkward marine with a secret, a kind of Laertes. Credits include: the national tour of The Color Purple revival, and As You Like It and King Lear at the Public Theater.

 

Thomika Marie Bridwell as Rabby, Larry and Opal’s mother, Tedra’s friend, a kind of Polonius. Credits include Joy and Pandemic and K-I-S-S-I-N-G (in co-production with Front Porch Arts Collective) at The Huntington, and Chicken and Biscuits at Front Porch Arts Collective.

 

Marshall W. Mabry IV as Juicy, beautiful, lonely, and smart; a kind of Hamlet. Credits include A Midsummer Night's Dream in Harlem at Pittsburgh Public and Once on this Island at SpeakEasy Stage.

 

Lau'rie Roach as Tio, Juicy’s clever cousin and oldest friend, a kind of Horatio. Credits include Toni Stone at Alliance Theatre and Milwaukee Rep, and The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe at Alliance Theatre.

 

Victoria Omoregie as Opal, one of Juicy’s only friends, a kind of Ophelia. Victoria was a winner of the August Wilson Monologue Competition with The Huntington’s education department. Other credits include Fairview at SpeakEasy Stage and The Bomb-Itty of Errors at Actors’ Shakespeare Project.

 

Ebony Marshall-Oliver as Tedra, Juicy’s mother, a kind of Gertrude. Credits include Ain’t No Mo’ and Chicken and Biscuits on Broadway, and Merry Wives at the Public Theater.

 

Understudies include: David J. Castillo, Vincent Ernest Siders, Kai Tshikosi, and Shanelle Chloe Villegas.


 

The creative team for Fat Ham includes scenic design by Luciana Stecconi (Witch and The Art of Burning at The Huntington), costume design by Celeste Jennings (Malvolio at Classical Theatre of Harlem), lighting design by Xiangfu Xiao (The Diamond at Pregones/PRTT), sound design by Aubrey Dube (Joe Turner’s Come and Gone and Clyde’s at The Huntington), hair and wig design by Earon Nealey (Joe Turner’s Come and Gone at The Huntington), and illusions design by Evan Northrup (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead at The Huntington. The choreographer is PJ Johnnie Jr, dialect coach is Amani Dorn, and the fight choreographer and intimacy coach is Jesse Hinson. The associate director is Dawn M. Simmons. The production stage manager is R. Lamar Williams and the stage manager is Ashley Pitchford. 

 

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

 

James Ijames (Playwright) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, director, and educator. James’ plays have been produced by Flashpoint Theater Company, Orbiter 3, Theatre Horizon, Wilma Theatre, Theatre Exile, Azuka Theatre (Philadelphia, PA), The National Black Theatre, JACK, The Public Theater (NYC), Hudson Valley Shakespeare Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre, Definition Theatre, Timeline Theater (Chicago, IL) and Shotgun Players (Berkeley, CA) and have received development with PlayPenn New Play Conference, The Lark, Playwright's Horizon, Clubbed Thumb, Villanova Theatre, Wilma Theater, Azuka Theatre and Victory Gardens. James is the recipient of the 2011 F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Artist and two Barrymore Awards, for Outstanding Direction of a Play for The Brothers Size with Simpatico Theatre and Gem of the Ocean with Arden Theatre Company. James is a 2015 Pew Fellow for Playwriting, the 2015 winner of the Terrence McNally New Play Award (for WHITE), the 2015 Kesselring Honorable Mention Prize winner (for ...Miz Martha), a 2017 recipient of the Whiting Award, and a recipient of the 2019 Kesselring Prize (for Kill Move Paradise), a 2020 Steinberg Prize, and the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in Drama. James was a founding member of Orbiter 3, Philadelphia’s first playwright producing collective. He received a BA in Drama from Morehouse College in Atlanta and an MFA in acting from Temple University in Philadelphia. James is an associate professor of theatre at Villanova University. @FatHamBway

 

Stevie Walker-Webb (Director) is a Tony Award-nominated, Obie Award-winning director, playwright, and cultural worker who believes in the transformational power of art. His work has been produced on and Off Broadway, including Ain’t No Mo’ (The Public Theater/Broadway), One in Two (The New Group), Black Odyssey (Classic Stage), Fairview (Woolly Mammoth), and Our Town (Baltimore Center Stage). Upcoming productions include Gun & Powder (Paper Mill Playhouse). He is founder of Hundreds of Thousands, an arts and advocacy organization that makes visual the suffering and inhumane treatment of incarcerated mentally ill people. He has received the Princess Grace Award for Theater and The Lily Award from the Dramatists Guild of America, and is a 2050 Fellow at New York Theatre Workshop, a visiting artist and lecturer at Harvard University, and the founding artistic director of the Jubilee Theatre in Waco, Texas. Stevie has created art and theatre in Madagascar, South Africa, Mexico, and across America. steviewalkerwebb.com

  

WHEN

In-person performances: September 22 – October 22, 2023

Select Evenings: Tues – Thurs at 7:30pm; Fri – Sat at 8pm; select Sun at 7pm

Matinees: Select Wed, Sat, and Sun at 2pm

Days and times vary; see complete schedule above.

 

Running time: 95 minutes, no intermission

 

Press Opening: Wednesday, September 27, 2023 at 7pm (RSVP here)

 

 

WHERE

The Huntington/Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA

527 Tremont Street, South End, Boston

 

 

TICKETS

Tickets to in-person performances start at $30. Season ticket packages and FlexPasses are also now on sale:

 

  • online at huntingtontheatre.org
  • by phone at 617-266-0800;
  • or in person at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA, 527 Tremont St, South End, Boston

 

Select discounts apply:

  • $10 off: season ticket holders
  • $40 “HYPE” tickets for patrons 40 years old and younger (valid ID required)
  • $20 student and military tickets (valid ID required)

 

The Huntington asks that any patron experiencing COVID symptoms stay home and contact ticketing services for more information about exchanges.

 

 

MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA

 

Any members of the media who are interested in speaking with the artists of Fat Ham, please contact Publicist Gabrielle Jaques at gjaques@huntingtontheatre.org or 617-273-1520.

 

Press night for critics is Wednesday, September 27, 2023 at 7pm. Please RSVP here for press night or other available performances.

 

Production photos will be available for download online, and b-roll footage can be requested.

 

PHOTOS available for download here

 

 

ACCESS PERFORMANCES FOR FAT HAM

 

Tickets are $20 for each patron and their guests. To reserve tickets please email access@huntingtontheatre.org, call ticketing services at 617-266-0800, or in person at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA, 527 Tremont St, Boston. Accessible performances are supported in part by the Liberty Mutual Foundation.

 

OPEN CAPTIONED PERFORMANCE: Tuesday, Oct 10 at 7:30pm. The Huntington offers open captioning at designated performances for any patron who benefits from having the text of spoken dialogue visible in time with the play.

 

ASL-INTERPRETED PERFORMANCE: Friday, Oct 13 at 8pm. The Huntington offers American Sign Language interpretation at designated performances for patrons who are Deaf or hard of hearing.

 

AUDIO-DESCRIBED PERFORMANCE: Saturday, Oct 21 at 2pm. The Huntington offers audio description for patrons who are blind or low-vision at designated performances. Please visit huntingtontheatre.org/visit/accessibility for information.

 

Large Print and Braille Programs will also be available for patrons at performances.

 

 

FAT HAM SPECIAL EVENTS

 

HYPE: Friday, September 29

The Huntington’s “Huntington Young Patron Events” program (HYPE) hosts a post-show celebration on Friday, September 29 at Reunion BBQ (439 Tremont St).

 

Tickets to performances of Fat Ham are available for those 40 and under at $40 each with promo code DISCOUNT online at huntingtontheatre.org, by walk-up at the Box Office at the Huntington Theatre or Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA, or by calling ticketing services at 617 266 0800.

 

Blackout Boston: Sunday, October 1

Front Porch Arts Collective and The Huntington come together once again to host a Blackout Boston evening for those who identify as members of Africa’s Global Diaspora (persons who identify as descendants of Africans dispersed throughout the world).

 

The pre-show event and Blackout performance will take place on Sunday, October 1 at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA (527 Tremont St). A pre-show Drag Reception will take place at 6pm, followed by the Blackout performance of Fat Ham starting at 7pm.

 

Blackout Boston is an opportunity for Black identifying audiences to experience live theater that feels resonant to the Black experience in a space where their community is the majority. If you have questions about this event or other community events, please contact Huntington Community Engagement Manager Oz Pereira: opereira@huntingtontheatre.org.

 

Tickets to this performance are Pay What You Wish.

 

 

ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON

 

Celebrating over 40 years of outstanding theatre, The Huntington is Boston’s theatrical commons and leading professional theatre company. On our stages and throughout our city, we share enduring and untold stories that spark the imagination of audiences and artists and amplify the wide range of voices in our community. Under the leadership of Norma Jean Calderwood Artistic Director Loretta Greco and Executive Director Christopher Mannelli, The Huntington is committed to welcoming broad and diverse audiences, provides life- changing opportunities for students through its robust education and community programs, is a national leader in the development of playwrights and new plays, acts as the host organization for a multi-year residency of The Front Porch Arts Collective, a Black theatre company based in Boston, and serves the local arts community through our operation of The Huntington Calderwood/BCA.

 

The Huntington reopened the historic Huntington Theatre in fall of 2022 after its transformational renovation, and is currently in phase two of the project; a storied venue with a bold vision for the future, the renovation and building project will allow us to innovatively expand our services to audiences, artists, and the community for generations to come. For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org

 

 

ABOUT ALLIANCE THEATRE

 

Founded in 1968, the Alliance Theatre is the leading producing theater in the Southeast, reaching more than 165,000 patrons annually. The Alliance is led by Artistic Directors Tinashe Kajese-Bolden and Christopher Moses and is a recipient of the Regional Theatre Tony Award® for sustained excellence in programming, education, and community engagement. In January 2019, the Alliance opened its new, state-of-the-art performance space, The Coca-Cola Stage at Alliance Theatre. Known for its high artistic standards and national role in creating significant theatrical works, the Alliance has premiered more than 120 productions including nine that have transferred to Broadway. The Alliance education department reaches 90,000 students annually through performances, classes, camps, and in-school initiatives designed to support teachers and enhance student learning. The Alliance Theatre values community, curiosity, collaboration, and excellence, and is dedicated to representing Atlanta's diverse community with the stories we tell, the artists, staff, and leadership we employ, and audiences we serve. alliancetheatre.org (needs link) 

 

 

ABOUT FRONT PORCH ARTS COLLECTIVE

 

Front Porch Arts Collective is a Black theatre company committed to advancing racial equity in Boston through theatre. Now in residence with The Huntington, Front Porch Arts Collective seeks to create a place where perspectives and experiences of Black people are no longer novelty, but an integral part of the global conversation, and to build programs that make the entire theatrical landscape more reflect the diversity of the city. By creating an atmosphere where people see the world through differing experiences, we hope to foster greater understanding of the human condition that ultimately contributes to tolerance and empathy in our world. Our namesake signifies a communal spirit, inspiring us to serve communities of color and produce art that is inclusive of all communities and welcoming to all audiences, to inspire a more tolerant and inclusive Boston. Our core values are cultural inclusion, community advancement, and impactful legacy. To learn more about The Porch, visit frontporcharts.org

 

THE LEHMAN TRILOGY EXTENDS AT THE HUNTINGTON

DUE TO POPULAR DEMAND

 

Audiences are cheering The Huntington’s production of the 2022 Tony-Winner for Best Play,

now running through July 23 at The Huntington Theatre

 

(BOSTON) – The Huntington announces their acclaimed production of The Lehman Trilogy will extend, now running through Sunday, July 23, 2023 at the Huntington Theatre (264 Huntington Ave). Six additional performances have been added due to overwhelming demand from audiences.

 

The Lehman Trilogy is an epic and timely story of family, ambition, and risk, sprawling across 163 years of history and shining a calculating spotlight on the spectacular rise and fall of the Lehman Brothers, a family and a company that changed the world. Captivating theatergoers, the 2022 Tony Award-winning Best Play is by Stefano Massini, adapted to English by Ben Power, and directed by artistic director emeritus of American Conservatory Theater Carey Perloff.

 

Performed entirely by three actors and one musician, the story follows the original three Lehman brothers, then their sons and grandsons, as they journey from rags to riches to ruin. In 1840s Alabama, a Bavarian immigrant dreams of a better life for his family. By the early 2000s, his descendants trigger unprecedented financial disaster. In a marvel of storytelling, this extraordinary piece of theatre is both an intimate saga about a family and a monumental exposé of unbridled capitalism.

 

The Huntington’s production of The Lehman Trilogy is the first to originate in the US and be directed by an American director. Perloff’s unique vision for the production includes a new, sweeping score by Mark Bennett, and a dynamic scenic design by Sara Brown that features wooden crates reminiscent of the containers used to store and ship cotton, the original source of the Lehman brothers’ wealth.

 

The Lehman Trilogy has been translated into 24 languages and has received international acclaim from both critics and audiences: The New York Times praised The Lehman Trilogy as “genuinely epic. You’re left reeling by the scope and vitality of it.” The Hollywood Reporter called it “most thrilling...breathtaking!” Deadline called it, “A masterpiece. A miracle and a spellbinding demonstration of theatre’s possibilities.” And London’s The Guardian called it, “astonishing. An intimate epic about the shifting definition of the American Dream.”

 

This Tony Award-winning play first premiered in France in 2013 and in Italy in 2015, before the English adaptation debuted at London’s National Theatre in 2018, then played the Park Avenue Armory in NYC in spring of 2019. After pandemic delays, the National Theatre production had a limited run on Broadway (Sept 2021 – Jan 2022) and in Los Angeles (Mar – Apr 2022). Stefano Massini also adapted the play into a novel which was translated into English by Richard Dixon and published in 2020.

 

The Huntington’s 2023 production of The Lehman Trilogy, now running through Sunday, July 23, is the first original, American-based production.



THE HUNTINGTON 2023 SPOTLIGHT GALA

SHATTERS RECORDS, RAISING $1.67M

 

The Huntington community celebrated those who have made an extraordinary impact

on Greater Boston, the arts, and The Huntington – including playwright Paula Vogel,

longstanding Managing Director Michael Maso, and Trustee David Leathers

 

(BOSTON) – The Huntington held its annual Spotlight Gala on Monday, May 1, 2023 at the Cyclorama at the BCA (539 Tremont St). Over 400 attendees gathered to celebrate honorees as well as the achievement of this transformational season. The Gala supports The Huntington’s artistic, education, and community initiatives and this year set an all-time record with $1.67 million raised.

 

“The Huntington’s Spotlight Gala was both a tremendous success and a fantastic evening,” says Huntington Chairman of the Board Randy Peeler. “We are so grateful for the incredibly generous donors and sponsors whose contributions at the gala will have a vital impact on The Huntington as a public good for the City of Boston and beyond.”

 

The Spotlight Gala honored three people who have made an extraordinary impact on The Huntington and the larger theatre community: Trustee David Leathers, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel, and Managing Director Michael Maso.

 

David Leathers is a longtime Huntington Trustee and has been a tireless champion for The Huntington Theatre renovation project as Chair of the Facilities Committee. His steadfast commitment and attention to detail, despite myriad challenges during the pandemic, ensured that The Huntington Theatre successfully reopened in Fall 2022. His daughter Megan Leathers spoke beautifully about Leathers’ love of stories and storytelling and the artistic community he has found at The Huntington as she presented him with the Wimberly Award.

 

Paula Vogel is a lion in the theatre community as both a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright (for How I Learned to Drive) and a dedicated educator who spent many years at Brown University as the founder of their esteemed playwriting program, inspiring generations of playwrights and theatre artists. Her plays, Tony Award-nominated Indecent and A Civil War Christmas, have thrilled Boston audiences on stage at The Huntington, and The Huntington looks forward to partnering with her on an upcoming new works commissioning initiative. Her former student, acclaimed playwright Sarah Ruhl, presented her with the Wimberly Award and spoke warmly about Vogel’s bravery as an artist and her love for the artform and other writers.

 

Huntington Founding Managing Director Michael Maso was honored with the Encore Award, presented by his wife Lisa Coady, as he prepares to step down from that role at the end of this season after 41 years. A leader and trailblazer in the Boston arts scene as well as the broader American theatre industry, his vision paved the way for the Calderwood Pavilion to be built and The Huntington Theatre to be renovated; and his legacy is not only an empowered Huntington Theatre Company (with a campus spanning four locations) but an enriched and vibrant theatre ecosystem that his care and collaborative spirit helped foster.

 

Huntington Trustee and host of WCVB Channel 5’s CityLine Karen Holmes Ward hosted the evening. The event was chaired by Huntington Trustee David Firestone and his wife Karen Firestone and Huntington Advisor Bobby Perino.

 

Longtime Huntington staffers Andrew DeShazo and Kevin Schlagle received the 10th annual Gerard and Sherryl Cohen Awards for Excellence, which recognize the exceptional work and dedication of peer-nominated Huntington staff who consistently go above and beyond. DeShazo has been a stalwart part of the props run crew for over 20 years; Schlagle has held many roles in his 14 years at the company, from stage manager to producer and Covid safety manager. The awards were presented by Huntington Trustee Gerard Cohen and his granddaughter Chloe Peddle.

 

Several live performances took the stage throughout the night, including lively performances by Sing Street cast members Adam BregmanTony GenovesiMichael LeporeElijah LyonsGian Perez, and Ben Wang. This new musical with an original score and a 15-member ensemble opened The Huntington’s 2022-2023 season and was the largest production ever housed at The Huntington’s Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. Also performing: Steven Skybell (currently in rehearsals for The Huntington’s upcoming production of The Lehman Trilogy) and Taylor Mac (playwright of Joy and Pandemic, now playing at the Calderwood Pavilion) sang a delightful rendition of “Do You Love Me?” from Fiddler on the Roof in honor of Vogel; Boston actors Aimee Doherty and Shannon Lamb sang a special rendition of “Wells Fargo Wagon” from The Music Man to honor Leathers.

 

The evening concluded with a surprise performance by Michael Maso, singing “Some Other Time” from On the Town. Many members of the Greater Boston theatre community joined him on stage to sing “What I Did for Love” from A Chorus Line, including: Amy Barker, Leigh Barrett, Jazzmin Bonner, Elle Borders, Christopher Chew, Aimee Doherty, Jennifer Ellis, Shannon Lamb, Sarah Muirhead, Matthew Pantanella, Maurice Emmanuel Parent, Ale Philippides, Bob Saoud, and Bobbie Steinbach. This is Maso’s final gala as Managing Director and the energy in the room was warm, supportive, and energizing.

More information about the event can be found here.

 

Photos can be downloaded here.

 

Video of Michael Maso’s speech and surprise performance can be downloaded here.

 

 

ABOUT THE WIMBERLY AWARD HONOREES

 

Dave Leathers has served as a Huntington Trustee since 2013 and is the current chair of the Facilities Committee. Dave has been a driving force for the revitalization of The Huntington Theatre and is the former CEO of John Moriarty & Associates, a highly respected construction firm with clients such as the Museum of Fine Arts, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Brandeis University. He and his wife Susan are long-time Huntington enthusiasts and live in Boston.

 

Paula Vogel is a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright whose plays Indecent (Tony Award nomination for Best Play) and A Civil War Christmas have been celebrated on The Huntington’s stages. Her other plays include How I Learned to Drive (Pulitzer Prize, Lortel Prize), The Long Christmas Ride Home, The Mineola Twins, The Baltimore Waltz, Hot ‘N’ Throbbing, Desdemona, And Baby Makes Seven, and The Oldest Profession. Lifetime achievement awards include the American Theatre Hall of Fame Award, the Obie Award, and New York Drama Critics Circle Award. Her plays are published in six volumes by TCG Press and she teaches playwriting workshops throughout the United States and abroad. In 2020 she founded the digital theatre archive of new plays, BARD AT THE GATE, which is available at Broadway on Demand. paulavogelplaywright.com

THE HUNTINGTON NAMES LYNDSAY ALLYN COX

AS NEW PRODUCING DIRECTOR

 

Cox joins The Huntington as an arts leader and champion of new work, after 16 years of

acting, producing, and directing in the Greater Boston community

 

(BOSTON) – The Huntington announces that Artistic Director Loretta Greco has appointed Boston actor, director, and producer Lyndsay Allyn Cox as The Huntington’s new Producing Director, beginning May 9, 2023. As Producing Director, she will report to and work closely in partnership with Greco, and will be responsible for supervising productions from the casting process through the closing performance on behalf of the artistic department.

 

“Lyndsay Allyn Cox is a creative and strategic, big-minded leader. She will be a wonderful breath of fresh air at The Huntington!” says Greco. “Our national search brought us home to Boston where Lyndsay’s breadth and depth of talent was undeniable. Her passion for theatre and for bringing artists together across disciplines in exciting and impactful ways, along with her deep local ties, will help us forge even greater relationships in the community. I’m thrilled to have her join us as we create an exciting new era at The Huntington.” 

 

Cox joins The Huntington after four years of leadership at the Boston Center for the Arts (BCA) as director of theatre arts and most recently as senior director of programs and experiences, where she has overseen theatre programs, including residencies to create new work while also curating performing arts events, such as the well-attended and popular #hellablack, which centered Black artistry and Black expression from Boston artists. 

 

Recently appearing on Huntington stages as an actor in Our Daughters, Like Pillars and Witchshe has performed and directed with several prominent local theatre companies, including Front Porch Arts Collective, Lyric Stage Company, SpeakEasy Stage, and Company One. Named one of WBUR’s inaugural class of The ARTery 25 (millennials of color impacting Boston art and culture) and a graduate of Appalachian State University, she is actively involved in the LGBTQ+ community, is a member of a social justice-centered Reform synagogue in Brookline, MA, and resides in Boston’s South End.

 

“I am thrilled to be joining The Huntington at this exciting time!” says Cox. “It’s such a blessing to be able to step into this role, into this level of leadership, and I can’t wait to get right to work alongside Loretta and the rest of the team. The Boston theatre community has played such an important role in my career and I am looking forward to giving back to the community in deep and meaningful ways.”

 

In this new role at The Huntington, Cox will be supervising productions, as well as The Huntington’s producing and casting team, and serving as line producer for select shows and community partnerships.

 

 


THE HUNTINGTON AND SPEAKEASY STAGE

CO-PRODUCE THE SMASH HIT TONY & GRAMMY

AWARD-WINNING MUSICAL THE BAND’S VISIT IN FALL 2023

 Longtime partners, the two companies join forces on a co-production for the first time

to expand the audience for this exquisite new musical

 (BOSTON) – The Huntington and SpeakEasy Stage announce that they will co-produce the much-lauded Tony Award-winning musical The Band’s Visit which features music and lyrics by David Yazbek and book by Itamar Moses, as part of their respective 2023-2024 seasons. 

The Band’s Visit will be performed at the recently renovated Huntington Theatre from November 10 – December 10, 2023 and directed by award-winning SpeakEasy Founder and Producing Artistic Director Paul Daigneault. 

The Band’s Visit won an astounding 10 Tony Awards in 2018 – among the highest in Broadway history – as well as the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album in 2019. The show was hailed by The New York Times as “One of the most ravishing musicals you will ever be seduced by,” and The Hollywood Reporter called it, “Gorgeous, intoxicating, and soulful.” 

This co-production marks the first time that SpeakEasy Stage and The Huntington have jointly staged a production, though the two companies have been longtime partners and collaborators, and worked together with Company One Theater to produce a festival of Annie Baker’s Shirley, VT plays in 2010. They also work together closely on a regular basis as The Huntington built and manages the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA where SpeakEasy Stage is the Calderwood Pavilion Resident Theatre Company at the Boston Center for the Arts. This co-production of The Band’s Visit allows both companies to expand their partnership and reach new audiences for this highly acclaimed new musical. 

The Band’s Visit centers on an Egyptian band of musicians who become stranded in a small Israeli town after a transportation mix up. With no lodgings available, the locals take them into their homes for the night. By morning, surprising connections have been made and friendships forged over moments of shared humanity and love of music. In this beautiful, feel-good musical, a brief visit can have a lasting impact.

Based on Eran Kolirin’s 2007 film of the same name, this original musical first premiered at the Atlantic Theater Company Off Broadway in 2016 before transferring to Broadway in 2017. The tour was scheduled to perform in Boston in 2020 but was cancelled due to the pandemic. 

“We at SpeakEasy are thrilled to team up with our good friends at The Huntington to bring this sublime, beautiful musical to life,” says SpeakEasy’s Paul Daigneault. “It is also an incredible honor to be the first to direct a musical on the new Huntington Theatre stage, to invite the city’s amazing talent on this artistic journey, and to share the many wonders of this surprising and joyous show.”   

“This gorgeous musical won 10 Tony Awards, and it now will delight Boston audiences for the first time,” says Huntington Artistic Director Loretta Greco. “We’re thrilled to whole-heartedly collaborate with our partners at SpeakEasy Stage, and it’s a privilege to welcome their founder, our friend and colleague Paul Daigneault, in his Huntington debut.” 

SpeakEasy Stage and The Huntington will each announce their full seasons in early April, and season ticket packages will be available for purchase at that time. This production of The Band’s Visit is licensed by Music Theatre International. 

ABOUT THE ARTISTS 

David Yazbek (Music & Lyrics) is an American writer, musician, composer, lyricist and recording artist. He wrote the music and lyrics for the Broadway musicals The Full Monty (2000), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (2005), Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (2010), The Band's Visit (2017), and Tootsie (2019). His album The Laughing Man won the 1997 N.A.I.R.D. Award for Best Pop Album. Other albums include TOCK and Damascus! For theatre he has also composed original music for Boy's Life at LCT; Mojo, Atlantic Theatre; The Pope's Nose, Promenade Theatre and over two others. He has done a lot of scriptwriting for TV, including a brief, Emmy Award-winning stint with “Late Night with David Letterman” and the co-creation of the groundbreaking yet cloying “Puzzle Place” for PBS. He's composed scores for a wide range of films and shows for HBO, NBC, Fox, and Nickelodeon and is responsible for the unrelenting theme song to “Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?” He has been nominated for four Grammy Awards, winning in 2019 for the original cast recording of The Band's Visit. As a songwriter and/or producer he has worked with such artists as XTC, Tito Puente, Space Hohg, The Verve Pipe, Ruben Blades, Rockapella, and the Persuasions. More can be learned at davidyazbek.com 

Itamar Moses (Book) is the author of the full-length plays Outrage, Bach at Leipzig, Celebrity Row, The Four of Us, Yellowjackets, Back Back Back, Completeness, and The Whistleblower, the musicals Nobody Loves You (with Gaby Alter), Fortress of Solitude (with Michael Friedman), and The Band’s Visit (with David Yazbek), and The Evening of Short Plays Love/Stories (Or But You Will Get Used to It). His work has appeared Off Broadway and elsewhere in New York, at regional theatres across the country, and in Canada, Hong Kong, Israel, Venezuela, Turkey, and Chile, and is published by Faber & Faber and Samuel French. Awards for his work include Lucille Lortel, New York Drama Critics Circle, Outer Critics Circle, and Obie Awards in New York, as well as awards from the Portland, San Diego, Dallas, and Bay Area Theatre Critics Circles. He’s received new play commissions from The McCarter, Playwrights Horizons, Berkeley Rep, The Wilma Theater, South Coast Rep, Manhattan Theatre Club, Lincoln Center, and The Goodman. On television, Itamar has written for TNT’s “Men of a Certain Age,” HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire,” WGN’S “Outsiders,” and Showtime’s “The Affair.” He holds an MFA in dramatic writing from NYU and has taught playwriting at Yale and NYU. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild and is a New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspect. Born in Berkeley, CA, he now lives in Brooklyn, NY. 

Paul Daigneault (Director/SpeakEasy Founder & Producing Artistic Director) is a New England-based freelance director, producer, and teacher.  Since founding the award-winning SpeakEasy Stage in 1992, he has produced over 150 Boston premieres. As a director, he is especially proud of his projects that have centered gay and queer stories as well as his passion for contemporary American musicals.  His professional directing highlights include The Inheritance; Fun Home; Admissions; The Scottsboro Boys; Significant Other; Violet; Mother & Sons; Big Fish; In the Heights; Next to Normal; Nine; Some Men; Zanna, Don’t!; Parade; Caroline, or Change; Take Me Out; Company; A Man of No Importance; Bat Boy - The Musical; Passion; A New Brain; Floyd Collins; Love! Valour! Compassion!; and Jeffrey.  In 2014, Paul was the recipient of the Elliot Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence, the highest honor presented by the Boston Theater Critics Association. Paul is currently on the faculty at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, where he teaches musical theatre, producing, and directing.  He was honored in 2007 with the Boston College Arts Council’s Alumni Award for Distinguished Achievement, and served as the college’s 2011-2012 Rev. J. Donald Monan S. J. Professor in Theatre Arts.  Outside the theatre, Paul has served on the Board of the ICU Patient & Family Advisory Council at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.  He is a lover of National Parks and plans to visit all 63!   

ABOUT SPEAKEASY STAGE 

Now in its 32nd year, SpeakEasy Stage is an award-winning, not-for-profit, professional theatre company in residence at the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts.  Founded and led by Producing Artistic Director Paul Daigneault, the company has consistently won acclaim for its intimate, top-quality, original productions of bold contemporary plays and musicals that, for three decades, have sparked conversations that challenge, connect, and inspire its audiences and the Greater Boston community. In addition, as part of its mission to build and support a thriving local theatre scene, SpeakEasy works with hundreds of Massachusetts-based actors, directors, designers, and technicians each year, and trains early-career artists through its emerging artist and fellowship programs. From its humble 40-seat beginnings, the company has emerged as a leader in Boston’s theatre community, a champion of diverse and emerging voices, and a staunch proponent of the transformative power of theatre to bring about social change.   SpeakEasyStage.com  

ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON 

Celebrating 40 years of outstanding theatre, The Huntington is Boston’s theatrical commons and leading professional theatre company. On our stages and throughout our city, we share enduring and untold stories that spark the imagination of audiences and artists and amplify the wide range of voices in our community. Committed to welcoming broad and diverse audiences, The Huntington provides life-changing opportunities for students through its robust education and community programs, is a national leader in the development of playwrights and new plays, acts as the host organization for a multi-year residency of The Front Porch Arts Collective, a Black theatre company based in Boston, and serves the local arts community through our operation of The Huntington Calderwood/BCA. Under the leadership of Norma Jean Calderwood Artistic Director Loretta Greco and Managing Director Michael Maso, The Huntington reopened the historic Huntington Theatre this fall after its transformational renovation. A storied venue with a bold vision for the future, the renovation and building project will allow us to innovatively expand our services to audiences, artists, and the community for generations to come. For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org.

BENDING BARTÓK’S “BLUEBEARD’S CASTLE” WITH ALMA MAHLER’S “FOUR SONGS” AT A SOUTH BOSTON CRUISE TERMINAL


Anne Bogart directs Bartók’s one-act opera with Alma Mahler’s romantic songs.

BLO Music Director David Angus conducts.


Ryan McKinny and Naomi Louisa O’Connell star as Bluebeard and Judith.


Performances March 22-26 with an intimate audience experience installed

inside the Flynn Cruiseport Boston.


BOSTON – February 14, 2023 – A brand-new production that blends Bela Bartók’s 1918 one-act opera Bluebeard’s Castle with 1915’s Four Songs (Vier Lieder) by his contemporary Alma Maria Schindler-Mahler – and immerses audiences in a multi-room installation including a pre-show musical salon – arrives at the Flynn Cruiseport Boston for four performances March 22-26. The experience is led by legendary stage director Anne Bogart, who wowed audiences in 2019 with BLO’s production of Poul Ruders’ The Handmaid’s Tale.


The production of Bluebeard’s Castle/Four Songs stars American bass-baritone Ryan McKinny (far l.) as Bluebeard and Irish mezzo-soprano Naomi Louisa-O’Connell (l.) as Judith.


Bluebeard’s Castle (Béla Balázs, librettist) tells a twisted folktale of the fictional Duke Bluebeard who brings his hastily wed wife Judith to visit his foreboding fortress of a home for the first time. In exploring the castle and her new relationship, Judith begins to realize she faces the same desperate fate that befell Bluebeard’s previous wives. Much has been made of whether Bartók, Baläzs and the source material intended the castle’s rooms of atrocities as literal or figurative. Either way, the opera explores the depths of an intense emotional and psychological relationship.


Four Songs is one of three song cycles Mahler wrote before her marriage to Gustav Mahler. The songs, “Licht in der Nacht,” “Waldseligkeit,” “Ansturm” and “Erntelied” ponder love both turbulent and passionate, and the healing beauty of nature. Mahler’s composing career was quashed in deference to her husband’s wishes; only 17 of her more than four dozen compositions survive.


“When I began thinking about how to approach Bluebeard,” Bogart says, “I realized Bartók’s music is extraordinary – dark and labyrinthine – some of the most dynamic, powerful music you will hear. But it clearly needed a companion piece – written by a woman. We are dealing with the stark differences between the male and female experiences inherent in Bartók’s work.”


Bogart says blending the two distinctly different works counterbalances Bartók’s “excitingly dynamic, powerful and very male” music with Mahler’s lighter, more humanistic songs. Bringing female-composed music into the production adds depth to the character of Judith, Bogart says, “giving her an agency not otherwise shown in the story.”


BLO Music Director David Angus, who conducts the performances, found a recently revised orchestration for Bartók’s opera created in 2020 by German conductor Eberhard Kloke; it makes its New England premiere with this production. Angus says this chamber orchestration retains the music’s power and allows for a more intimate experience into the psychological world that Bogart is creating. The settings for Mahler’s songs are re-orchestrated by contemporary arranger Julian Reynolds for a chamber orchestra; Angus describes them as “delicate and beautiful” and says “they deserve to have a much wider audience.” 


THE EXPERIENCE

The production itself takes the audience on a journey, starting at the street level from which huge escalators transport them up into the massive Cruiseport building. Once inside, audiences enter a curtained corridor leading to a cabaret/salon reminiscent of those Alma Mahler might have hosted as a leading New York City socialite. A pianist (Yukiko Oba) plays music by women composers including Amy Beach, Margaret Bonds, Lili Boulanger, Florence Price and Clara Schumann (a Spotify playlist is here). Audiences then move to a performance space where O’Connell as Judith opens the performance singing two of Mahler’s lieder.


Bluebeard’s Castle/Four Songs illustrates a production and programming philosophy that has, for more than a dozen years, shaped the identity of Boston Lyric Opera,” says Stanford Calderwood General Director & CEO Bradley Vernatter. “These site-specific installations – Pagliacci in a North End ice rink, or Anne Bogart’s The Handmaid’s Tale at the Harvard basketball stadium – have yielded some of BLO’s most rewarding artistic triumphs,” Vernatter says. “I’m so happy this production allows us  to work again with the brilliant Anne Bogart, who knows well how to create a beautiful production and a memorable experience for audiences.”


The artistic team for Bluebeard’s Castle/Four Songs includes set designer Sara Brown (most recently for BLO, designed Fellow Travelers, 2019), costume designer Trevor Bowen (Champion, 2022), lighting designer Brian H. Scott, Boston-based movement director Victoria L. Awkward (Romeo & Juliet, 2022) and intimacy director Angie Jepson. For more information on the artistic team, click here


TICKETS

Tickets to Bluebeard’s Castle/Four Songs start at $25 and are available through BLO Audience Services online at blo.org, by phone at 617.542.6772, or via email at boxoffice@blo.org.


ABOUT BOSTON LYRIC OPERA

Now in its 46th Season, Boston Lyric Opera’s programming remains faithful to tradition while blazing new ground, building audiences, and creating new ways to enhance the opera-going experience. Since its founding in 1976,  Boston Lyric Opera continues to celebrate the art of the voice through innovative productions and public programming. BLO has produced world and U.S. premieres, commissions, and co-productions of note, ranging from live stage productions to films streamed worldwide on its platform, operabox.tv

 

BLO has partnered with organizations such as San Francisco Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Detroit Opera and others, and continues to be a destination for leading artists, conductors, directors and designers from around the world.  Alongside its main stage programming, BLO artists in our Jane & Steven Akin Emerging Artists initiative work to hone their craft and prepare for the next step in their careers while BLO’s wide-reaching community programming and education initiatives introduce opera to new audiences

across generations.


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M

Art block parties in the sixth borough of NYC this weekend:
B·O·N·D in Your City, December 10-11th, 2022!

As part of the B·O·N·D International Virtual Performance Festival, we are excited to invite international artists nourished by lands of different continents, especially indigenous, immigrant and womxn artists, to bring their unique experience of “land and body” to geographic communities. Throughout the event, there are live performances, multimedia talks, community-creative circles about body, sound, food, and memory.

Check out the lineup of the in-person event and sign up via Eventbrite below!

All in-person events will take place at Accent Sisters Bookstore, an indie womxn literature space in the sixth borough of NYC. Address: 1st Street and Provost Street, Art 150, Studio 206, Jersey City, NJ)

 

>> Dec 10, 2022 (Saturday) <<

2:00-3:45 pm Live Performance+talkback: azem 賽夏族語 (靈魂)by Szu Shihmin

4:00-5:30 pm Co-creative circling – 踏步以成為地方 by Szu Shihmin

7:00-10:00 pm Live Performance + Screening + Multi-city talkback: Chronicles from The Down Below — The diaries of two female bodies carrying Death by Valerie Sabbah and Lydia Jialu Li

10:00 pm-12:00 am Co-creative circling – How do we carry death within our living bodies? by Valerie Sabbah

 

>> Dec 11, 2022 (Sunday) <<

2:00-3:00 pm Live Performance: TAHARA by Valerie Sabbah

4:00-5:00 pm azem 賽夏族語 (靈魂)by Szu Shihmin

6:00-7:00 pm Screening: Colonial Feelings by Verónica Díaz-Muñíz Live Performance: Sand by Olga Rabetskaya

7:00-9:00 pm Multi-city Closing Conversation

9:00-9:30 pm Closing ceremony

B·O·N·D in Your City Full Schedule
SaySiyat azem 賽夏・靈魂 | Szu Shihmin 絲釋民 (taboeh a ’oebay tataysi’)
taboeh a ’oebay tataysi’ is the name of SaySiyat.

As a child of a SaySiyat father and an Pangcah mother, Shihmin explores the connection of his body with indigenous culture and cosmology.

靈魂、信仰、tatini’(祖先)

關係著某種跳動,某種擴張的律動,強烈意義上的、意向的律動。遠處銅鈴開始響起,向天湖祭場,月光下擺盪著臀鈴聲響,彷彿連結著來自世間萬物的問候。 遠遠地,用那無法割捨的目光望著,直入靈魂深處,而那是無法承受的,他跳了出去,原來那是通往永恆的世界。

就在那裡,若即若離、擴張、折疊、攤開、彎曲、發出迴響。是一種迫切感的身體,一種身體的思想。回到舞蹈的最原初,那是身體的記憶,是土地與信仰的交織。

 
TICKET: SaySiyat azem 賽夏・靈魂
Guerrilla’s Song (Screening) | Lydia Jialu Li 黎珈璐
How did the COVID-19 pandemic begin for you?

Guerrilla’s Song is the beginning for Lydia and many of their friends.

As an urgent response to the outbreak of SARS-nCoV-2 in China and the lockdown of Wuhan, Lydia Jialu Li and Changting Lu started a weekly public performance every Thursday Gallery Night at CalArts, with the goal to stand with Wuhan until the day it unlocks.

 
TICKET: Chronicles from The Down Below
TAHARA: The Diary of An Assassinated Birthday Girl | Valerie Sabbah
Interwoven with highly sensory ambiences and crudely surreal imagery, Valerie Sabbah shares with you the entries of her intimate notebook that has tracked an 8-year-long hunt for the land of her pre-rape body. You will be guided by the strange and pink and sad and lonely Birthday Girl, who relentlessly accompanies her on this solo search party. Despite her many birthday party trials, her pre-rape body is never found, and, ultimately, it is The Birthday Girl that is Declared Dead. For her final Notebook Entry, The TAHARA, you are invited to her silver-disco funeral party, a party that unveils the untold tale of living while dead in the afterlife of rape.
 
TICKET: The Diary of An Assassinated Birthday Girl
Colonial Feelings (Screening) | Verónica Díaz-Muñíz
“Colonial Feelings” is a sonic improvisation based on Heriberto Yépez’s poem “A Song from and to the Native Informant” (Transnational Battlefield) and Bad Bunny's song "Andrea". Through vocal performance, sampling and live looping, this improvisation explores the concept of repetition and the creative possibilities that allow it when it comes to thinking of the ongoing colonial structures across Latin America. 
Sand | Olga Rabetskaya
We are all different. We have distinct views, opinions and idols. “Sand” is a work-in-progress which explores how individuals from different cultures and worlds get along and find peace with each other and harmony within themselves. How beliefs can be unsteady like sand.
 
TICKET: Colonial Feelings & Sand
2022 B·O·N·D Festival is produced by CHUANG Stage
in partnership with Accent Society.

BRITY SERIES HOSTS WINTER’S HOTTEST WEEK OF DANCE


Company SBB // Stefanie Batten Bland’s “Look Who’s Coming to Dinner”

January 14 @ 8 PM & January 15 @ 3 PM


 LaTasha Barnes’ “The Jazz Continuum”

January 19, 20 and 21 @ 8 PM


Week’s activities include performances at NEC’s Plimpton Shattuck Black Box Theatre and community events led by contemporary dance’s red-hot choreographers. 


BOSTON – (Dec. 6, 2022) – Celebrity Series of Boston hosts two intimate and wildly divergent dance performances that tackle big ideas in January, showcasing the work of two acclaimed companies led by award-winning and sought-after women choreographers of color. Company SBB//Stefanie Batten Bland’s evocative and thought-provoking “Look Who’s Coming to Dinner” takes inspiration from the similarly titled 1967 Stanley Kramer film. LaTasha Barnes’ “The Jazz Continuum” brings her ecstatic celebration of jazz music and Black American social dance styles. Both performances are at the Plimpton Shattuck Black Box Theatre at New England Conservatory.


“LOOK WHO’S COMING TO DINNER”

This work by Batten Bland (r. photo by Christaan Felber) fits the category of dance theater, evidenced by the show’s main narrative: a series of solo, duo and full ensemble segments suggest relationships among a gathered group at a festive event, where a visitor arrives to claim space at the party’s literal and figurative tables. The tables, set for dinner guests, morph to become walls, doors, screens, containers and, at one point, a mode of transportation. The company’s seven dancers are similarly flexible: their characters embody movements that are joyful, sorrowful, attacked, imprisoned, emphatic and resigned. 


The piece leans on the film’s themes of race and family politics and the search for commonality. Snippets of dialogue set the tone and provide comment on some scenes. The piece is set to music by Paul Damian Hogan, a mix of soft and beat-filled ambient, synthesized instrumental, and piano music. Choreographed, directed and designed by Batten Bland, the piece is a moving and absorbing expression of social, political and racial issues. Performances of “Look Who’s Coming to Dinner” are followed by opportunities for attendees and performers to gather and discuss the work over refreshments in the Plimpton Shattuck lobby. Saturday evening’s performance also features a post-show, onstage discussion with Batten Bland and company artists.


A global artist and the child of a jazz composer/producer father and writer mother, Batten Bland says she has a unique blend of “African American flamboyance and European sensibility.” She describes her work as living at the intersection of dance-theater, film and installation, with emotional content that’s accessible and messages that are visceral. Her Company SBB was established in France in 2008. She received stateside support from Mikhail Baryshnikov and the Baryshnikov Arts Center, where she is a resident artist. Batten Bland danced with Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Tanztheater Wüppertal Pina Bausch, Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More, and many others. Batten Bland’s work has been seen around the world including The Yard at Martha’s Vineyard from where she received a Bessie Schönberg Fellowship. She is also the recipient of a 2021 grant from the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project.


Production photos for “Look Who’s Coming to Dinner” are available here.


“THE JAZZ CONTINUUM”

Barnes’ (r., photo by Steve Pisano) exuberant show (which she calls an "offering to the continuum") conjures a different kind of party – one a century in the making – where dance and music from generations past meets the vibrant contemporary styles that developed from them. The energy is high with more than a dozen dancers and musicians (and an occasional crossover between the disciplines) exploring the growth and development of uniquely American jazz and Black American social dance styles.  


Solos, duets, quartets and full-group dance numbers show a throughline from Jazz & Lindy Hop, to House Dance, Waacking, Hip-Hop and much more. The ensemble creates a convivial vibe, encouraging each other from the perimeter of the performance space, sharing powerful movements in a circle then opening  to the audience, which Barnes describes as “both an acknowledgement and an invitation to give back to the continuum.” The musicians play similarly – jazz is a musical conversation between the artists and their instruments, after all. Barnes calls out the “mind-bending artistry” of an onstage DJ/turntablist who helps sculpt the soundscape with scratching and beat layering with doses of Soul, House, Hip-Hop and more. Like the music form for which it’s named, “The Jazz Continuum” centers improvisation; it evolves from show to show, iterative and responsive to the communities where it is presented and their audiences.


The Bessie Award-winning, New York Times-lauded dance “Breakout Star of 2021” LaTasha Barnes is an internationally awarded and celebrated dance artist, educator (Assistant Professor of Dance at Arizona State University), highly decorated U.S. Army Veteran (where she was a SFC/ SATCOM Engineer), and tradition-bearer of Black American Social Dance. Barnes’ parents say she was “dancing before she was breathing,” and recall memories of pre-natal LaTasha grooving in her mother’s womb while she sat next to speakers at parties where her father was a DJ. From this early love and education, her expansive artistic, competitive and performative skills flourished, making her a frequent collaborator with prominent artists and arts organizations around the world. Barnes says she is “deeply honored to be in service” to her culture across social, academic and performative spaces – something she shared on NBC’s TODAY with Hoda & Jenna and in her July 2022 cover profile in DANCE Magazine. After receiving support for and previewing “The Jazz Continuum” in a commissioned debut with the Works & Process program – part of The Guggenheim’s Creative Bubble Residencies program, it was presented at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in 2021. After receiving a 2022 NEFA National Dance Project grant the work was presented at The Joyce Theater in 2022.

 

Production photos for “The Jazz Continuum” are available here.


“Stefanie and LaTasha are powerhouse talents with unique visions, unbeatable resumes and undeniable talent,” says Celebrity Series President and Executive Director Gary Dunning. “But in back-to-back performances in January, they form what I’m certain will be the most exciting dance week Boston has seen in a long time. ‘Look Who’s Coming to Dinner’ is unlike anything we’ve ever served to our audiences. ‘The Jazz Continuum’ is infectiously fun and incredibly smart. These two productions further Celebrity Series’ commitment to present stories from diverse artists. We’re proud to partner with these two brilliant creators and we know that their works will speak - in so many different ways - to audience members from many communities.”


In addition to their performances, Batten Bland and Barnes will lead community events in Boston. A US Army veteran, Barnes will visit and hold a workshop for veterans in the city, along with community workshops to engage the Swing and Street Dance communities in Boston and Cambridge through a multi-day residency at the Dance Complex.


PERFORMANCES and TICKETS

“Look Who’s Coming to Dinner” plays at NEC’s Plimpton Shattuck Black Box Theatre for two shows only: Sat., January 14, 2023 @ 8 PM and Sun., January 15, 2023 @ 3 PM.  Tickets are $75, and available online at celebrityseries.org or by phone at 617-482-2595. 


“The Jazz Continuum” plays three performances at NEC’s Plimpton Shattuck Black Box: Thu, January 19 @ 8 PM; Fri., January 20 @ 8 PM; and Sat., January 21 @ 8 PM. Tickets are $75, and available online at celebrityseries.org or by phone at 617-482-2595.


NOTE: Due to the Plimpton Shattuck Black Box layout there is no late seating.


FUNDING and SPONSORSHIP

Celebrity Series of Boston’s 2022/23 Dance Series is sponsored by Leslie & Howard Appleby, Stephanie L. Brown Foundation, Cynthia & John S. Reed Foundation, and Royal Little Family Foundation.

 

Celebrity Series of Boston is grateful to its 2022/23 Season Sponsors Amy & Joshua Boger and to the many individuals, corporations, foundations, and government agencies whose support helps fulfill their mission to present performing artists who inspire and enrich the community. Individual and institutional supporters include Jill & David Altshuler, Leslie & Howard Appleby, the Barr Foundation through its ArtsAmplified initiative, Stephanie L. Brown Foundation, Julia Byers & Steven Holtzman, Deloitte, D.L. Saunders Real Estate Corp., Foley & Lardner LLP, Kathleen & Chris Gaffney, Harriet and David Griesinger, Klarman Family Foundation, Peter & Anna Kolchinsky, George & Lizbeth Krupp, Liberty Mutual Foundation, Richard K. Lubin Family Foundation, Susanne Marcus Collins Foundation, Massachusetts Cultural Council, National Endowment for the Arts, Eleanor & Frank Pao, Stephen C. Perry & Oliver Radford, The Rabb Family Foundations, Cynthia and John S. Reed Foundation, The Reopen Creative Boston Fund, administered by the Boston Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, Reuben Reynolds, Sally S. Seaver, PhD, Stifler Family Foundation, Belinda Termeer, Susan & Michael Thonis, Dorothy & Stephen Weber, Yawkey Foundation, U.S. Small Business Administration, Anonymous (3), and many others.

---------------------------------


CALENDAR LISTINGCompany SBB // Stefanie Batten Bland “Look Who’s Coming to Dinner”


WHAT Celebrity Series of Boston presents Company SBB // Stefanie Bland Batten’s “Look Who’s Coming to Dinner,” an evocative dance-theater performance inspired by the similarly named 1967 Sydney Poitier film about love, race and finding commonality. The piece explores who is welcomed at society’s actual and metaphorical tables, who is excluded, and why.

WHEN Sat., January 14, 2023 @ 8 PM and Sun., January 15, 2023 @ 3 PM

WHERE Plimpton Stattuck Black Box Theatre at New England Conservatory, 255 St Botolph Street in Boston

TICKETS $75 at celebrityseries.org or 617-482-2595


CALENDAR LISTING – LaTasha Barnes’ “The Jazz Continuum”


WHAT Celebrity Series of Boston presents LaTasha Barnes’ “The Jazz Continuum,” an exuberant heart-lifting performance that traces the parallel histories of uniquely American jazz music and the Black American social dance styles that developed across generations, from Lindy Hop to Hip-hop and beyond.

WHEN Thu-Sat., January 19-21, 2023 @ 8 PM

WHERE Plimpton Stattuck Black Box Theatre at New England Conservatory, 255 St Botolph Street in Boston

TICKETS $75 at celebrityseries.org or 617-482-2595

Art block parties in the sixth borough of NYC this weekend:
B·O·N·D in Your City, December 10-11th, 2022!

As part of the B·O·N·D International Virtual Performance Festival, we are excited to invite international artists nourished by lands of different continents, especially indigenous, immigrant and womxn artists, to bring their unique experience of “land and body” to geographic communities. Throughout the event, there are live performances, multimedia talks, community-creative circles about body, sound, food, and memory.

Check out the lineup of the in-person event and sign up via Eventbrite below!

All in-person events will take place at Accent Sisters Bookstore, an indie womxn literature space in the sixth borough of NYC. Address: 1st Street and Provost Street, Art 150, Studio 206, Jersey City, NJ)

 

>> Dec 10, 2022 (Saturday) <<

2:00-3:45 pm Live Performance+talkback: azem 賽夏族語 (靈魂)by Szu Shihmin

4:00-5:30 pm Co-creative circling – 踏步以成為地方 by Szu Shihmin

7:00-10:00 pm Live Performance + Screening + Multi-city talkback: Chronicles from The Down Below — The diaries of two female bodies carrying Death by Valerie Sabbah and Lydia Jialu Li

10:00 pm-12:00 am Co-creative circling – How do we carry death within our living bodies? by Valerie Sabbah

 

>> Dec 11, 2022 (Sunday) <<

2:00-3:00 pm Live Performance: TAHARA by Valerie Sabbah

4:00-5:00 pm azem 賽夏族語 (靈魂)by Szu Shihmin

6:00-7:00 pm Screening: Colonial Feelings by Verónica Díaz-Muñíz Live Performance: Sand by Olga Rabetskaya

7:00-9:00 pm Multi-city Closing Conversation

9:00-9:30 pm Closing ceremony

B·O·N·D in Your City Full Schedule
SaySiyat azem 賽夏・靈魂 | Szu Shihmin 絲釋民 (taboeh a ’oebay tataysi’)
taboeh a ’oebay tataysi’ is the name of SaySiyat.

As a child of a SaySiyat father and an Pangcah mother, Shihmin explores the connection of his body with indigenous culture and cosmology.

靈魂、信仰、tatini’(祖先)

關係著某種跳動,某種擴張的律動,強烈意義上的、意向的律動。遠處銅鈴開始響起,向天湖祭場,月光下擺盪著臀鈴聲響,彷彿連結著來自世間萬物的問候。 遠遠地,用那無法割捨的目光望著,直入靈魂深處,而那是無法承受的,他跳了出去,原來那是通往永恆的世界。

就在那裡,若即若離、擴張、折疊、攤開、彎曲、發出迴響。是一種迫切感的身體,一種身體的思想。回到舞蹈的最原初,那是身體的記憶,是土地與信仰的交織。

 
TICKET: SaySiyat azem 賽夏・靈魂
Guerrilla’s Song (Screening) | Lydia Jialu Li 黎珈璐
How did the COVID-19 pandemic begin for you?

Guerrilla’s Song is the beginning for Lydia and many of their friends.

As an urgent response to the outbreak of SARS-nCoV-2 in China and the lockdown of Wuhan, Lydia Jialu Li and Changting Lu started a weekly public performance every Thursday Gallery Night at CalArts, with the goal to stand with Wuhan until the day it unlocks.

 
TICKET: Chronicles from The Down Below
TAHARA: The Diary of An Assassinated Birthday Girl | Valerie Sabbah
Interwoven with highly sensory ambiences and crudely surreal imagery, Valerie Sabbah shares with you the entries of her intimate notebook that has tracked an 8-year-long hunt for the land of her pre-rape body. You will be guided by the strange and pink and sad and lonely Birthday Girl, who relentlessly accompanies her on this solo search party. Despite her many birthday party trials, her pre-rape body is never found, and, ultimately, it is The Birthday Girl that is Declared Dead. For her final Notebook Entry, The TAHARA, you are invited to her silver-disco funeral party, a party that unveils the untold tale of living while dead in the afterlife of rape.
 
TICKET: The Diary of An Assassinated Birthday Girl
Colonial Feelings (Screening) | Verónica Díaz-Muñíz
“Colonial Feelings” is a sonic improvisation based on Heriberto Yépez’s poem “A Song from and to the Native Informant” (Transnational Battlefield) and Bad Bunny's song "Andrea". Through vocal performance, sampling and live looping, this improvisation explores the concept of repetition and the creative possibilities that allow it when it comes to thinking of the ongoing colonial structures across Latin America. 
Sand | Olga Rabetskaya
We are all different. We have distinct views, opinions and idols. “Sand” is a work-in-progress which explores how individuals from different cultures and worlds get along and find peace with each other and harmony within themselves. How beliefs can be unsteady like sand.
 
TICKET: Colonial Feelings & Sand
2022 B·O·N·D Festival is produced by CHUANG Stage
in partnership with Accent Society.

Announcing: 
3rd B·O·N·D International Live Performance Festival
Land · Body
, in December 2022!

In 2022, the theme of B·O·N·D Festival is Land · Body. During the first year of the post-pandemic era, adverse health effects and deaths are slowing down, while displacement, separation and deprivation persisted in communities across the world. People were forced to leave their homeland because of warfare. Urbanites under tyranny are deprived of freedom and open access to all. Womxn bodies and lives are under oppression and systemic brutality. Near the exact time, humans started their fantastical exploration in both the universe and the metaverse. What are lands and bodies in these new dimensions? The land and the body that we once took for granted–what do they mean now? How do we define its relationship and connection with us?

This year, we are excited to invite international artists nourished by lands of different continents, especially indigenous, immigrant and womxn artists, to share their unique experience of “land and body”.

The digital screening starts from December 3-25, 2022. Meanwhile, we expand “B·O·N·D in Your City”, a series of artist-led, world-touring in-person live events, to more cities and countries in the world. On December 10th and 11th, multi-space live performances, artistic dialogues, and community-creative circles will be hosted concurrently in New York (US)Montreal (Canada) and Santiago (Chile)

2022年B·O·N·D Festival对主题是“地·体”。这一年,疫病造成的死亡逐渐减少,但“流离”、“割裂”、“剥夺”却并未停止蔓延。因为战争,人们被迫离开故土;因为专制,城市失去了自由和自然;因为压迫,女性的身体与生命被斩断。当习以为常对生活被打破,我们不再拥有自由地站在阳光下对权利,不再有回到家乡那片土地的可能,“体”和“地”变得陌生,某种连接被切断。但伤口虽痛,人类的有机体仍然在奋力新生。打破空间,人们冲向宇宙;展开维度,人们向赛博世界求索。在那里,“地”和“体”又意味着什么?是怎样的关系?

地体一词,是一个地质学概念,代表地壳物质的碎块,从一个板块上断裂而后增生到另一个板块之上。这时地体仍保有它自己独特的地史,但它所附着的地壳之间的缝合线通常是一个断层。本届演出展邀请被世界各大洲土地滋养的原住民、移民和女性艺术家们,用他们的作品诠释“地”与“体”和生命的感知。
Learn More About B·O·N·D 2022
Featuring Amanda Card, Verónica Díaz-Muñiz, Kim Giyoung, Deniz Khateri, Lydia Jialu Li, Olga Rabetskaya, Valerie Sabbah, and Shihmin Sih.
B·O·N·D International Virtual Performance Festival starts from December 3 to December 25, 2022. Artists from different continents, regions and cultures are presenting their work to all global audiences.

Virtual AccessEnter the BOND Festival Youtube channel at any time between December 3-25 to explore virtual programming.

B·O·N·D in Your City 2022 is a two-day multi-site live event happening on December 10th and 11th in New York (US)Montreal (Canada) and Santiago (Chile). Throughout the event, there are live performances, multimedia talks, community-creative circles about body, sound, food, and memory. 

Check out the full lineup of in-person events and sign up now via the button below! Ticket quantity is limited, so act fast to reserve your spot.


US Events LocationAccent Sisters Bookstore (1st Street and Provost Street, Art 150, Studio 206, Jersey City, NJ)
B·O·N·D in Your City Event Schedule
2022 B·O·N·D Festival is produced by CHUANG Stage
in partnership with Accent Society.

2022/23 MID-SEASON CASTING and TICKET ANNOUNCEMENT


RYAN McKINNY STARS IN A NEW PRODUCTION OF BLUEBEARD’S CASTLE FROM DIRECTOR ANNE BOGART

Premiere production runs March 22-26, 2023


JAMEZ MCCORKLE BRINGS HIS ACCLAIMED LEAD PERFORMANCE

TO BOSTON IN RHIANNON GIDDENS AND MICHAEL ABEL’S OMAR

Critically lauded BLO co-commission runs May 4-7, 2023


TICKETS FOR BLUEBEARD AND OMAR ON SALE DEC 1.


BOSTON – Dec. 1 2022 – Casting and production announcements for Boston Lyric Opera’s spring 2023 performances are being released today, including performers in BLO’s premiere production of Bluebeard’s Castle/Four Songs in March 2023 and the New England premiere of Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abels’ new opera, Omar in May 2023. Public tickets for both performances are on sale December 1.

 

BLUEBEARD’S CASTLE/FOUR SONGS

Bass-baritone Ryan McKinny (above, l., photo by Jiyang Chen) stars as the fictional, fairytale character Bluebeard in Béla Bartók’s one-act psychological thriller Bluebeard’s Castle that will be paired with the dramatic song cycle Four Songs (Vier Lieder) by composer Alma Mahler (wife of Gustav). The highly anticipated production is directed by Anne Bogart, whose 2019 version of The Handmaid’s Tale for BLO received universal acclaim and was one of BLO’s best-selling shows. Naomi Louisa O’Connell sings the role of Judith, the bride who realizes she’s gotten herself into a much different post-nuptial situation than she envisioned. O’Connell also performs Mahler’s “Four Songs.” BLO Music Director David Angus conducts. Bluebeard’s Castle/Four Songs will play March 22-26, 2023 in an immersive, multi-genre experience that includes a salon-like atmosphere, dance and more installed at The Terminal @ Flynn Cruiseport in South Boston.

 

A full list of the Bluebeard’s Castle/Four Songs artistic and production team is available here.

OMAR 

Tenor Jamez McCorkle (page 1, r., photo by Leigh Webber) stars in Omar, the title role he premiered at the Spoleto Festival last spring and brought to LA Opera this fall. Omar is the story of Omar Ibn Said, a prominent scholar of the Islamic faith and many other subjects, who was born to a wealthy West African family. Enslaved in South Carolina at 37 years old, Ibn Said escaped his first place of enslavement and headed to North Carolina where he lived as a slave until his death in 1864. His is the only known autobiographical essay written in Arabic by a Muslim man enslaved in America. 

 

Grammy winner Rhiannon Giddens wrote the libretto and composed the music in partnership with film and orchestral composer Michael Abels for a production conceived by Kaneza Schaal. Classical Voice San Francisco called the production “a profoundly moving spectacle,” and lauded McCorkle’s performance as “a career-defining role.” Michael Ellis Ingram conducts the BLO Orchestra and Chorus.

 

Additional casting announced for Omar includes Cierra Byrd in the role of Fatima, Omar’s Mother and Daniel Okulitch playing the dual roles of enslavers James Owen / Johnson. BLO Emerging Artists (current and alumni) in principal roles include: Neal Ferreira as Auctioneer / Taylor; Emma Sorenson as Eliza, Little Daughter; Nicholas LaGesse as Abdul, Omar’s Brother / Abe; and Fred C. VanNess Jr. as Amadou-Renty. Catherine Daniel plays Katie Ellen/The Caller. Omar plays May 4-7, 2023 at the Emerson Cutler Majestic Theater.

 

Additional casting for Omar and a list of the original production creative team is available here. Omar is co-commissioned by Spoleto Festival USA, Carolina Performing Arts, L.A. Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago and San Francisco Opera. It is inspired by Dr. Ala Alryyes’s translation of Omar Ibn Said’s autobiography in his book A Muslim American Slave: The Life of Omar Ibn Said.

 

TICKETS ON SALE

Individual tickets for BLO’s Spring 2023 performances of Bluebeard’s Castle/Four Songs and Omar are on sale December 1. Two-show subscriptions, also available now, offer a 10% discount over individual tickets.

 

Subscriptions and individual tickets can be purchased online at blo.org, by phone at 617.542.6772 or by email at boxoffice@blo.org


IN BRITTEN’S BIBLE STORY OPERA “THE PRODIGAL SON,”

A DIRECTOR SEES RECONCILIATION PARABLE THAT OFFERS PATH TO MEND MODERN SOCIAL DIVIDE


Performances Oct 21-22, 2022 @ 7pm in Boston’s Cathedral Church of Saint Paul


Director Kirsten Cairns: “We must be the people who stand by those in need.” 


BOSTON -- September 28, 2022 -- The Boston- and U.K.-based Enigma Chamber Opera continues its exploration of chamber works by Benjamin Britten with two performances of the English composer’s biblically inspired 1968 opera “The Prodigal Son.” The work is the third of Britten's three Parables for Church Performance; Enigma mounted the first, “Curlew River,” to critical acclaim last fall. This new production is directed by Artistic Director Kirsten Z. Cairns, who finds in the universal story of parent/child reconciliation and forgiveness a balm for an often bitterly divided society. Perfs are Oct. 21 and 22 @ 7pm at Boston’s Cathedral Church of St. Paul.


This production will be available for streaming on the Enigma Chamber Opera YouTube page for one week starting Oct. 28 at 7 pm.


“The Prodigal Son” libretto is by William Plomer, based on a Christian parable told by Jesus to his disciples in the Gospel of Luke 15. Its story centers on two sons of a farmer – the older a hard-working laborer who tends to the family business and the younger, whose reckless ways see him leaving with then squandering his inheritance in a far-off city. Destitute and defeated, the younger son returns home, begging his father to take him back.


Cairns says the familial reconciliation in the opera resonated for her but not in the typical way. “Often with this story we are meant to identify with the Younger Son or the Elder Son,” Cairn says. “I found myself wondering if we ought to identify with the Father. I am struck by the biblical line, ‘While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.’”


Last year, in Curlew River we explored the idea that even in your darkest, most desperate days, you will find people who will walk with you, or stand by you; there will be comfort,” Cairns continues. “This year our story seems to tell us we must be the people who stand by those in need. Don’t wait for them to come to you; run out to greet them and throw your arms around them – that is the love we need to embody in this world.”


PRODUCTION CONCEPT


As in Enigma’s mounting of “Curlew River” last fall, “The Prodigal Son” is framed as a spontaneous performance by members of a fraternal community. Cairns leaves the circumstances of the performers’ all-male gathering purposefully vague (is it a church group, a recovery meeting, or something else?), but says the concept was inspired by the welcoming and forgiveness that people can find in a church or other supportive community.


Britten’s work has been central to Enigma’s nascent production history. Cairns directed the company’s debut production -- a highly regarded production of Britten’s supernatural opera “The Turn of the Screw” -- in January 2020. Her direction in November 2021 of “Curlew River” drew capacity audiences as well as critical raves for “uniformly superb” voices, “astonishingly precise” playing, a “powerful” and “transcendent” production and “the best opera production I saw last year.” Enigma will complete the Britten trilogy with a production of “Burning Fiery Furnace” in October 2023.


CAST AND ARTISTIC TEAM


“Curlew River” features seven male singers portraying the gathered men who bookend the main story and characters in that story.  Performers are Omar Najmi as The Tempter/Abbott, Aaron Engebreth as The Father, David McFerrin as the Elder Son, Matthew DiBattista as the Younger Son. Paul Soper, Tom Oesterling and Daniel Fridley are chorus members playing servants, beggars and other characters. The performance also features the voices of a small children’s choir.


Kirsten Z. Cairns is Stage Director. Music Director Edward Elwyn Jones (also Music Director of Harvard Memorial Church) leads the eight-piece orchestra and plays organ. Lighting design is by Paul Marr; Rebecca Shannon Butler is costume designer; projection design is by Peter Torpey.


The orchestra includes: flute, Aimee Toner; trumpet, Ryan Noe; horn, Emma Staudacher; viola, Emily Rome; double bass, Daniel Gorn; harp, Angelina Savoia; and percussion, Mike Williams.


-more-




PHOTO THIS PAGE: (l.-r.) Prodigal Son players Matthew DiBattista, Aaron Engebreth and David McFerrin in Enigma’s 2021 production of Curlew River. Photo by Ashlee Rose Scott.

TICKETS


General admission tickets for “The Prodigal Son” are $30; $20 for students and seniors. Tickets are available Fri., Oct. 1 via EnigmaChamberOpera.org or EventBrite.


______________________________________________________________________


CALENDAR LISTING

 

WHAT: Enigma Chamber Opera presents “The Prodigal Son,” Benjamin Britten’s musical retelling of the biblical parable about two brothers – one loyal to the family business and the other tempted into squandering his inheritance, and their forgiving father.

WHEN: October 21 and 22, 2022 at 7:00 pm

WHERE: The Cathedral Church of Saint Paul, 138 Tremont St. in Downtown Boston

TICKETS: $20-30, available via EnigmaChamberOpera.org and at the door.



THE HUNTINGTON REOPENS THE NEWLY RENOVATED HUNTINGTON THEATRE WITH AUGUST WILSON’S MASTERPIECE JOE TURNER’S COME AND GONE

 

The Huntington celebrates Wilson’s legacy and its longstanding relationship with the playwright by dedicating the lobby of the renovated theatre in his name

 

 

(BOSTON) – The Huntington announces the casting and creative team for the highly anticipated revival of August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, directed by Lili-Anne Brown. Wilson’s masterpiece serves as the inaugural production of the newly renovated Huntington Theatre and runs from October 14 – November 13, 2022, with digital access to the filmed performance available until November 27, 2022.

 

The Huntington has had a deeply special relationship with playwright August Wilson and his work, having produced all ten of his American Century Cycle plays that chronicle the African American experience in the 20th century (seven prior to their Broadway runs), and his autobiographical one-man show How I Learned What I Learned.

 

This major revival of Joe Turner’s Come and Gone is particularly meaningful to The Huntington – not only will it reopen the Huntington Theatre after being closed the past two and a half years for the pandemic and its transformational renovation, but it was the first Wilson play that the Huntington ever produced and the start of a fruitful collaboration that lasted until the playwright’s death in 2005. The Huntington partnered with the Yale Repertory Theatre in 1986 for the pre-Broadway production of Joe Turner’s Come and Gone that featured soon-to-be-stars Angela Bassett and Delroy Lindo, and went on to produce all of Wilson’s major works.

 

“August Wilson is undoubtedly one of the giants of the American theatre,” says Huntington Managing Director Michael Maso. “Few moments in my career have had more meaning than the one where we agreed to produce the original Joe Turner’s Come and Gone. It was 1986, the start of The Huntington’s fifth season and of our 19-year collaboration with August, as we worked closely with him in residence on seven of his iconic plays until his untimely death in 2005. With this new production in our newly renovated theatre, we honor the icon who was August Wilson, but we remember our friend. May his spirit inspire generations of artists and audiences alike.”

 

August Wilson himself said in a 2004 recorded interview, “I have a long and valued relationship with the Huntington Theatre, and I guard that relationship jealously.” Wilson left an indelible mark on American theatre, and The Huntington will celebrate his legacy by naming the lobby of the newly renovated Huntington Theatre the August Wilson Lobby. Wilson’s widow and estate executor, the Tony Award nominated costume designer Constanza Romero, will attend the opening night performance of Joe Turner’s Come and Gone on October 19 and unveil the plaque in his honor.

 

ABOUT THE PLAY

 

Joe Turner's Come and Gone is set in a boarding house in Pittsburgh’s Hill District in 1911, where owners Seth and Bertha Holly play host to a makeshift community of African Americans, many who have left the farms of the South to come to the cities of the North. Newcomer Herald Loomis arrives with his daughter in tow, in search of his lost wife after having spent 7 years of forced labor working for Joe Turner – but first he must regain a sense of his own heritage and identity.

 

Director Lili-Anne Brown says her approach to this production is to “Be reverent and uplift this work, but also approach it with fresh eyes.” She notes that the characters in the play are experiencing the Great Migration and a period of upheaval, and wants to explore what it means to stage this production after the pandemic as another period of tremendous social change. “Some of these characters are one generation out from slavery,” she continues. “They are all asking, where is home, how does one find it, and find oneself.”

 

“I can think of no better way to welcome our community home than with August Wilson’s masterwork,” says Artistic Director Loretta Greco. “I’m especially thrilled to do so with the astounding Lili-Anne Brown at the helm and a cast that boasts so mightily of Boston artistry.”

 

The cast of Joe Turner’s Come and Gone includes notable actors from the Boston area and around the country. They are, in order of appearance:

 

  • Maurice Emmanuel Parent as Seth Holly, the hardworking and practical owner of the boarding house he runs with his wife Bertha. Credits include Common Ground Revisited, Sweat, Merrily We Roll Along, Skeleton Crew and more at The Huntington, Co-Producing Artistic Director of The Front Porch Arts Collective.

 

  • Shannon Lamb as Bertha Holly who runs the boarding house with her husband Seth, making biscuits and acting as peacemaker. Credits include Common Ground Revisited at The Huntington, Letters to Kamala (WAM), Joe Turner's Come and Gone (UMASS Theater), It Happened in Little Rock, and Because of Winn Dixie (Arkansas Repertory Theatre).

 

  • Robert Cornelius as Bynum Walker, a resident of the boarding house, a spiritual man who practices folk magic and has a talent for binding people together. Credits include Her Honor Jane Byrne (Lookingglass Theatre), Lottery Day (Goodman Theatre), and Hamlet (Gift Theatre).

 

  • Lewis D. Wheeler as Rutherford Selig, a traveling salesman who describes himself as a “people finder,” and who sells raw materials to Seth then buys back the pans and wares Seth makes. Credits include No Man’s Land (ART), Pass Over (SpeakEasy Stage), Long Day’s Journey Into Night (New Repertory Theatre)and Book of Will (Lyric Stage).

 

  • Stewart Evan Smith as Jeremy Furlow, a cheerful young man and boarder, looking for a good job and some female companionship. Credits include Black Superhero Magic Mama (Company One), Vanity Fair (Underground Railway Theatre), The Crucible (Bedlam/The Nora Theatre Company), and The Three Musketeers (Greater Boston Stage Company).

 

  • James Ricardo Milord as Herald Loomis, a newcomer to Pittsburgh, searching for his lost wife and trying to put his life back together after 7 years of forced labor. Credits include Common Ground Revisited at The Huntington, Paradise Blue (Gloucester Stage) and the premiere of Young Nerds of Color (Central Square Theater).

 

  • Young actors Gray Flaherty and Alana Ross alternate as Zonia Loomis, Herald Loomis’ daughter. Gray is an 8th grader at the Shady Hill School in Cambridge, and Alana is a 5th grader at the Benjamin Banneker Charter Public School in Cambridge.

 

  • Al-nisa Petty playing Mattie Campbell, a hopeful young woman looking for the lover who recently left her. Credits include Kin (WP Theater), Twelfth Night (The Acting Company), and School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play (Berkeley Rep).

 

  • Eli Lapaix and Joshua McKenna alternate as Reuben Mercer, a neighborhood boy who befriends Zonia.  Eli is a 7th grader at Waring School in Beverly. Joshua has appeared in A Christmas Carol (2021-22) and The Bodyguard (2019) at North Shore Music Theatre.

 

  • Dela Meskienyar as Molly Cunningham, a happily single, independent young woman who flirts with Jeremy. Credits include The Beginning Days of True Jubilation at the New Ohio Theater.

 

  • Patrese D. McClain as Martha Pentecost, Herald Loomis’ wife and Zonia’s mother, who has come to Pittsburgh in search of a new life. Credits include Jitney (Broadway tour), Twilight (Syracuse Stage), Pipeline and Skeleton Crew (Actors Theatre).

 

  • Understudies include Kadahj Bennett, Kelsey Fonise, David Kelly, Melanie Loren, and Damon Singletary.

 

 

The creative team for Joe Turner’s Come and Gone includes scenic design by Arnel Sancianco (Once on this Island at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ain’t No Mo’ at Woolly Mammoth), lighting design by Jason Lynch (You Are Here: An Evening with Solea Pfeiffer Off Broadway), costume design by Samantha C. Jones (Black Odyssey at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, King James at Steppenwolf), and sound design by Aubrey Dube (The Bluest Eye at The Huntington, Trayf and Good at New Rep). Hair, wig, and makeup design is by Earon D. NealeySandy Alexandre is the dramaturg, Ted Hewlett is the fight choreographer, Jermaine Hill is the music consultant, Kurt Douglas is the movement consultant, Gregory Geffrard is the intimacy consultant, and Carla McDonough is the young person coordinator. The production stage manager is Emily F. McMullen and the stage manager is Ashley Pitchford.

 

 

ABOUT THE ARTISTS: 

 

August Wilson (Playwright) (April 27, 1945 – October 2, 2005) authored Gem of the Ocean, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Piano Lesson, Seven Guitars, Fences, Two Trains Running, Jitney, King Hedley II, and Radio Golf. These works explore the heritage and experience of African Americans, decade-by-decade, over the course of the 20thcentury. His plays have been produced at The Huntington, at regional theatres across the country and all over the world, as well as on Broadway. In 2003, Mr. Wilson made his professional stage debut in his one-man show How I Learned What I Learned.  

 

His works garnered many awards including Pulitzer Prizes for Fences (1987) and The Piano Lesson (1990); a Tony Award for Fences; Great Britain’s Olivier Award for Jitney; as well as eight New York Drama Critics Circle Awards. Additionally, the cast recording of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom received a 1985 Grammy Award, and Mr. Wilson received a 1995 Emmy Award nomination for his screenplay adaptation of The Piano Lesson. Mr. Wilson’s early works included one-act plays The Janitor, Recycle, The Coldest Day of the Year, Malcom X, The Homecoming, and the musical satire Black Bert and the Sacred Hills

 

Mr. Wilson received many fellowships and awards, including Rockefeller and Guggenheim Fellowships in playwrighting, the Whiting Writers Award, 2003 Heinz Award, and a 1999 National Humanities Medal given by the President of the United States, and numerous honorary degrees from colleges and universities, as well as the only high school diploma ever issued by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. He was an alumnus of New Dramatists, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a 1995 inductee into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and on October 16, 2005, Broadway renamed the theatre located at 245 West 52nd Street – The August Wilson Theatre. Additionally, Mr. Wilson was posthumously inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in 2007.

 

Mr. Wilson was born and raised in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, PA and lived in Seattle, WA at the time of his death. He was survived by his two daughters, Sakina Ansari and Azula Carmen Wilson, and his wife, costume designer Constanza Romero. 

 

Lili-Anne Brown (Director), a Chicago South Side native, works as a director, actor and educator, and has performed in, directed and produced many award-winning shows in Chicago and nationally.  She is the former Artistic Director of Bailiwick Chicago, where she focused programming on Chicago-premiere musicals and new play development with resident playwrights.  Recent directing credits include School Girls, or The African Mean Girls Play and the world premieres of Ike Holter’s I Hate It Here and Lottery Day (Goodman Theatre), Ain’t No Mo’ (Woolly Mammoth), The Color Purple (The Muny), Once on This Island (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), Acoustic Rooster...(Kennedy Center), Spunk (Roundabout Theatre virtual), Put Your House in Order (La Jolla Playhouse). She is a member of SDC, AEA, and SAG-AFTRA, and represented by William Morris Endeavor.  lilbrownchicago.com 

 

WHEN

In-person performances: October 14 – November 13, 2022

Select Evenings: Tues. – Thurs. at 7pm; Fri. – Sat. at 8pm; select Sun. at 7pm

Matinees: Select Wed., Sat., and Sun. at 2pm

Days and times vary; see complete schedule above.

Digital: Available October 31 until November 27, 2022

 

WEEKNIGHT CURTAIN TIME CHANGE:

Please note that the Tues, Wed, and Thurs performances of Joe Turner’s Come and Gone will begin at 7pm (as they are school nights for our youngest cast members).

 

Anticipated running time: 2 hours 40 minutes, including one intermission

 

Press Opening: Wednesday, October 19, 2022 at 6:45pm (please note special curtain time!) Please RSVP here for press night or other available performances.

 

 

WHERE

The newly renovated Huntington Theatre

264 Huntington Avenue, Boston

 

 

TICKETS

Tickets to in-person performances and to a digital recording of the performance start at $25. Season ticket packages and FlexPasses are also now on sale:

  • online at huntingtontheatre.org
  • by phone at 617-266-0800;
  • or in person at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA, 527 Tremont Street, South End, Boston; or the Huntington Theatre, 264 Huntington Avenue, starting October 10

 

Select discounts apply:

  • $10 off: season ticket holders
  • $30 “35 Below” tickets for patrons 35 years old and younger (valid ID required)
  • $20 student and military tickets (valid ID required)

 

ACCESS PERFORMANCES FOR JOE TURNER’S COME AND GONE

Tickets are $20 for each patron and their guests. To reserve tickets please email access@huntingtontheatre.org, call ticketing services at 617-266-0800, or in person at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA, 527 Tremont Street, South End, Boston. Accessible performances are supported in part by the Liberty Mutual Foundation.

 

ASL-INTERPRETED PERFORMANCE: Friday, November 4 at 8pm. The Huntington offers American Sign Language interpretation at designated performances for patrons who are Deaf or hard of hearing.

 

OPEN CAPTIONED PERFORMANCE: Tuesday, November 8 at 7pm. The Huntington offers open captioning at designated performances for any patron who benefits from having the text of spoken dialogue visible in time with the play.

 

AUDIO-DESCRIBED PERFORMANCE: Saturday, November 12 at 2pm. The Huntington offers audio description for patrons who are blind or low-vision at designated performances.  Please visit huntingtontheatre.org/visit/accessibility for information.

 

Large Print and Braille Programs will also be available for patrons at performances.

 

 

DIGITAL INSURANCE

If patrons ever feel as if they would rather not see Joe Turner’s Come and Gone in person – for any reason – they can easily exchange their tickets into a specially recorded version of this play. OR, they can purchase tickets to the digital version of Joe Turner’s Come and Gone in advance.

 

The digital recording of Joe Turner’s Come and Gone will be available October 31 until November 27, 2022.

 

 

JOE TURNER’S COME AND GONE MASK POLICY:

 

Masked Matinees: Masks covering patrons’ mouth and nose will be required for everyone in the building during matinee performances and must be worn at all times except when actively eating or drinking concessions, available for purchase during intermission. Mask requirements will be enforced by front of house staff.

Masks encouraged evening performances: All patrons are encouraged to wear a mask, except when actively eating or drinking concessions, for everyone’s comfort and safety. Mask wearing is not required and will not be enforced. Huntington staff will continue to wear masks.

 

Any patron interested in attending a different performance will be able to exchange their tickets by contacting The Huntington’s ticketing services staff. The Huntington asks that any patron experiencing COVID symptoms stay home and contact ticketing services for more information about exchanges.

 

ABOUT THE SHOW ART:

 

The show art for Joe Turner’s Come and Gone was created by Boston artist Ekua Holmes and commissioned by The Huntington especially for this production. Holmes is a Roxbury-based artist, illustrator, and arts administrator, known for her vibrant collages that depict urban life. Selections of Holmes’ artwork will be on display in the renovated Huntington Theatre’s newly created 2nd floor arcade gallery during the run of Joe Turner’s Come and Gone.

 


 

ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON

 

Celebrating 40 years of outstanding theatre, The Huntington is Boston’s theatrical commons and leading professional theatre company. On our stages and throughout our city, we share enduring and untold stories that spark the imagination of audiences and artists and amplify the wide range of voices in our community. Committed to welcoming broad and diverse audiences, The Huntington provides life-changing opportunities for students through its robust education and community programs, is a national leader in the development of playwrights and new plays, acts as the host organization for a multi-year residency of The Front Porch Arts Collective, a Black theatre company based in Boston, and serves the local arts community through our operation of The Huntington Calderwood/BCA. Under the leadership of Norma Jean Calderwood Artistic Director Loretta Greco and Managing Director Michael Maso, The Huntington is reopening the historic Huntington Theatre this fall after its transformational renovation. A storied venue with a bold vision for the future, the project will allow us to innovatively expand our services to audiences, artists, and the community for generations to come. For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org.

KAIROS DANCE THEATER’S HUSK/VESSEL MARKS RETURN OF

DANCE LEGEND PAULA JOSA-JONES FOR COLLABORATION WITH ACCLAIMED REGIONAL COMPANY

Fall Premiere Performances Run Oct. 14 – 15 at Boston University Dance Theater

Photos available here.


BOSTON – September 23, 2022 – Legendary contemporary choreographer and dancer Paula Josa-Jones returns to Boston next month to premiere HUSK/VESSEL with acclaimed performance company KAIROS Dance Theater. Performances run Friday, Oct. 14 @ 7:30p and Saturday Oct. 15 @ 3p and 7:30p at Boston University Dance Theater. 


HUSK/VESSEL was conceived by Josa-Jones and co-choreographed with KAIROS co-founder and executive artistic director DeAnna Pellecchia, who has danced with Josa-Jones for over 20 years. The artists’ long shared history informs the work’s collaborative creation, grounded in a visually rich and viscerally somatic style of movement. This is Josa-Jones’s first work choreographed for KAIROS.  Having focused on a robust ongoing career with her own company – exploring interspecies dance with humans and horses, and bringing solo and group performances around the country – this is the first major ensemble work Josa-Jones has created for another professional dance company in nearly 20 years.


HUSK/VESSEL was developed, set and rehearsed entirely during the pandemic, drawing on Pellecchia and Josa-Jones’s close working relationship to transcend COVID limitations. “Working with DeAnna in this way has challenged both of us, especially developing a collaborative work in separate, virtual spaces,” says Josa-Jones. “Neither of us has worked this way before. It is a real privilege to work with DeAnna and her company, which pushes the dancers to fully explore the edges of themselves.”

Josa-Jones says that in HUSK/VESSEL costume and fabric are both covering and habitat, concealing and revealing the dancers and their movement, as well as simultaneously limiting and expanding the possibilities for movement and character. The work features an all-female cast in solos, duets and groups, each inhabiting a unique garment-world of their own, exploring gradual and abrupt transformations and interactions as soloists and as an ensemble. 


“Paula’s creation process demands that each of the dancers make deep personal connections, exploring the somatic and emotional relationships with layers of fabric,” Pellecchia says. “That connection is deeply personal to me, having first met Paula when I was a dancer in her company. This work is a love letter to Paula from me. She taught me what I know, and now I teach dancers what I know. This idea of passing down knowledge and experience is sacred in this piece – something I think will really resonate with audiences.”


Josa-Jones opens the show with a new solo work for herself. CAVALLUS was created as an “offering in movement” to honor the passing of Capprichio, her beloved Andalusian stallion. Josa-Jones is renowned for an extensive body of work with an inter-species company including horses, dancers and riders. Her equine work includes live performance, film, teaching, and humanitarian work with rescued and abused animals.


TICKETS AND LOCATION DETAILS

HUSK/VESSEL tickets are $20-25 and available directly on Eventbrite here and via KAIROS Dance Theater website. Tickets also will be available for purchase at the door.  Performances take place at Boston University Dance Theater, located at 915 Commonwealth Ave. 


ABOUT KAIROS DANCE THEATER

Established in 2012, KAIROS Dance Theater creates emotionally powerful performances that promote art as a threshold for communication and social change. KAIROS aims to redefine the role of art in culture by crafting projects that speak to social issues and work towards rewriting culturally defined narratives. KAIROS’s immersive, multi-sensory performances have been featured as a "Critics’ Pick" eighteen times by the Boston Globe; and presented throughout New England, the United States and around the world at galleries, museums, theaters, site-specific landscapes, and educational spaces. Learn more at www.kairosdancetheater.org


ABOUT PAULA JOSA-JONES

Paula Josa-Jones is a dancer/actor, choreographer, writer, visual artist and movement educator known for her visually rich, emotionally charged dance theater. Her work includes dances for humans, inter-species work with horses and dancers, film and video. Josa-Jones has been called “one of the country’s leading choreographic conceptualists” by The Boston Globe, and the Village Voice describes her work as “powerful, eccentric, and surreal.” Her dances have been produced in Russia, Europe, Mexico and throughout the United States. She has taught in the dance programs at Tufts University, Boston University and at universities, colleges and dance festivals nationally and internationally. Learn more at www.paulajosajones.org


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CALENDAR LISTING FOR HUSK/VESSEL


WHAT: The KAIROS Dance Theater company premiere of HUSK/VESSEL marks a return to Boston for legendary contemporary choreographer and dancer  Paula Josa-Jones, with whom Kairos Artistic Director DeAnna Pellecchia has worked extensively. The evening-length piece conceived by Josa-Jones and co-choreographed with Pellecchia for KAIROS explores costumes and clothing as both covering and habitat, and how actual and metaphorical layers aid humans in hiding or revealing themselves. Josa-Jones opens the show with a new solo work, CAVALLUS. 

WHEN: