I woke up this morning and the first thing I thought to myself was "June? When did it suddenly become June?" Now, logic would dictate that it became June after the month of May was all said and done, but for those of us here at the Huntington, the entire month of May has been something of a blur. My internal clock still doesn't know if we closed Sons of the Prophet last week, last month, or last year. It's just been that crazy around here!
And so with that, I feel I should apologize for the apparent radio silence here on the blog. It's not that we've had nothing to talk about it; on the contrary, there's been a bit too much going on that our blogkeeping fell to the wayside. Fortunately, we're back now, and we brought t-shirts for everyone!
(Please note: we didn't actually bring t-shirts for everyone)
So what have we been doing, you ask? Well let's see...there was our annual gala, the 2011 Spotlight Spectacular!...the 2nd annual Emerging America Festival with A.R.T. and the ICA...then we welcomed Propeller Theatre Company to the B.U. Theatre, with performing Richard III and The Comedy of Errors in repertory with a fantastic all-male (all-British!) cast...the 18th annual Elliot Norton Awards...oh, I'll just show you!
Our 2011 Spotlight Spectacular! took place at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel on Monday, May 9. We're still awaiting the final fundraising numbers, but it looks like we raised a record-breaking amount of money to support our productions, as well as our award-winning youth, education, and community programming. During the evening, we presented former President of the Board of Trustees Bill McQuillan and Stick Fly playwright (you guys remember that show, right?) Lydia R. Diamond with the Wimberly Award, the Huntington's highest honor.
Also the event was hosted by some dude named Zach Braff (who, sidenote, would not armwrestle me when I presented the challenge) who thought it'd be a great idea to organize the Huntington staff into a flashmob performance of "One Day More" from Les Miséables (with a little help from Lauren Molina, who will appearing at the Huntington this fall as Cunegonde in Candide).Watch, and enjoy:
(Also, special thanks to that Zach Braff guy for helping this video reach over 12,000 hits)
The following weekend was the 2nd annual Emerging America Festival, a joint collaboration with our friends at the American Repertory Theatre and the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston featuring groundbreaking performances by American artists. The Huntington presented the world premiere of Ryan Landry's Psyched, featuring Larry Coen and Jonathan Popp (as well as Intern Ben). The untold story of Alfred Hitchock's Psycho told from the point of view of Norman Bates' mother, Norma, Psyched played to two sold-out houses and entertained audiences with that trademark twisted wit that only Mr. Landry can provide.
On Sunday morning, the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA exploded with our "Join the Conversation!" brunch, featuring live performances throughout the Calderwood lobby, and food provided by Panera Breads (thanks!). The afternoon concluded with a breathtaking performance of CollaborationTown's self-help-parody-that-may-have-inadvertently-helped The Momentum. Anyone who was there can tell you that it was indeed a tough life for a poor little bunny rabbit.
Company One's ARTiculation troupe broke out into performance in
the Calderwood lobby during the "Join the Conversation!" Brunch
We also produced a series of site-specific audio plays for the festival, written by our Huntington Playwriting Fellows and featuring the voices of some of Boston's best local talent. The plays are completely free to download, and definitely an enjoyable experience (even if you aren't able to listen to them on site), so check those out when you have the chance.
Almost immediately after the festival ended, we went into tech for Richard III and The Comedy of Errors, presented by the Boston University School of Theatre. The shows are being performed in repertory through June 19 by the incredibly talented Propeller Theatre Company from the UK, under the leadership of one Edward Hall (whom you may remember as the director of Two Men of Florence in 2009).
Audiences have been absolutely raving about their intensely physical and highly creative approach to Shakespeare. Chainsaws? Check. Sombreros? Check. Nuns with nunchecks? Check. I'm not even going to mention the butt sparklers, because I still can't believe that my job has actually required to use that phrase in a completely professional context.
And that's just intermission, folks!
We also had our final 35 Below event of the season on Friday, May 20, following that evening's performance of The Comedy of Errors. We had an awesome turnout at the party, including some great entertainment by Boston's premiere all-male Lady Gaga cover band, Alejandro and the Fame, featuring international pop star Cody Grey, and, well, me (not that I'm biased or anything).
Oh yeah, and then President Obama stopped by the Calderwood Pavilion and the BCA for a brief visit (Pavilion General Manager Joey Riddle even has a nice little certificate of appreciation from the Secret Service. FROM THE SECRET SERVICE!).
Last Monday night was a two-fold celebration. First, our annual end-of-the-season staff BBQ in the Huntington Avenue Scene Shop. While Richard III/The Comedy of Errors are both still running through June 19, we traditionally celebrate the end of the season after Opening Night. And this year, we totally had a bouncy castle (it was awesome).
Later that evening, members of the staff journeyed over to ArtsEmerson's newly redone Paramount Theatre for the 18th annual Elliot Norton Awards, where our production of Ruined was recognized with the award for Outstanding Production (Large Company). We would be remiss not to sing the praises of our good friends in Company One, whose production of The Aliens (part of this past fall's Shirley VT Plays Festival) was recognized for Outstanding Design for a midsize/small/fringe company (Cristina Todesco's sets, Bobby Frederick Tilley II's costumes, Aaron Mack's sound, and Benjamin Williams's lighting), Outstanding Director for a small/fringe company (Company One Artistic Director Shawn LaCount), Outstanding Actor for a small/fringe company (Alex Pollack), and Outstanding Production for a small theatre. In addition, the award for Outstanding New Script went to Huntington Playwriting Fellow John Kuntz for The Hotel Nepenthe, produced by Actors' Shakespeare Project. Congratulations to the casts and crews ofRuined and The Aliens, as well as all of the other winners that night! (and the nominees, too. You were all great!)
So what's next? Well, for starters, we just announced the final line-up of our 2011-2012 30th anniversary season. In addition to our previously announced shows, we'll be rounding out the season with the world premiere of Evan M. Weiner's Captors, directed by Peter DuBois, and Noël Coward's Private Lives, directed by Maria Aitken (Educating Rita and Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps). Captors is based on the true story of the capture of Adolf Eichmann, "the architect of the Holocaust," in Buenos Aires in 1960 by covert Israeli agents. Private Lives is a classic Noël Coward comedy about a divorced couple whose paths cross again — on both of their second honeymoons, with new spouses in tow. Private Lives replaces the previously announced Tartuffe, which is postponed to a later season.
I think that should just about catch us up with this crazy month of May. In the meantime, be sure to check out Richard III and The Comedy of Errors, if you haven't done so already. You can also catch a free performance of Know the Law at the Strand Theatre in Dorchester on Thursday, June 2 (that's tomorrow as of this writing) at 11am and 7pm. Know The Law is a 40-minute play of interwoven dramas about teenager in trouble, designed specifically for a young urban audience as part of a collaboration between the Huntington Theatre Company's Education Department and Youth and Police in Partnership (YPP), a community-based program of United Methodist Urban Services that seeks to improve relationships between young people and the police. A discussion between the actors, the audience, and a Boston Police Officer follows each performance.
While things tend to stay quiet around here during the summer months (at least as far as productions go), rest assured we'll be busy preparing for our big 30th anniversary party. Meanwhile, Peter DuBois will be directing the world premiere of All New People, a new play by that same Zach Braff guy, at New York's Second Stage Theatre. If you find yourself missing the skilled handiwork of our Scene Shop artisans, they'll be helping to build that set, as well as Commonwealth Shakespeare Company's All's Well That Ends Well on the Boston Common.
-Thom Dunn, Web & New Media Manager, signing off from the longest blog post EVER