Saturday, December 21, 2013

Becky's New Car Holiday Sweater Roundup

Ho-ho-ho! The Becky's New Car cast got into the holiday spirit and pulled out their best funky holiday sweaters for a quick in-character photoshoot between rehearsals  one day. You may even have spotted the Foster family photo onstage...

Celeste Oliva, Alex Marz, Mike Dorval as the Foster Family

Samantha Richert & Will McGarrahan as the Flood Family

Kortney Adams & Jaime Carrillo as Ginger and Steve
Have you got a holiday sweater you're proud of? Ones that might give these a run for their money? Well, so did the box office staff, who held a Sweater Saturday on the final Saturday (today!) of the run of the show. Happiest of days from all of us to all of you!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

LyricSTAGES: Becky's New Car Set Tour

Take a spin of the wheel and join Associate Production Manager Julie Tidemand on a tour of the board game-inspired set of Becky's New Car!

My personal highlight of our tour was a ride down the green slide that adorns the side of the stage. It is much slipperier than it looks, so be careful, Becky!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Audience Responds to BECKY'S NEW CAR

Hear what audience members like you have to say about Becky's New Car which plays now through December 22nd! Check it out and don't miss the show.

Looking forward to seeing you all at the theater this Holiday season!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Lyric Top 40: Snacks and Pizza and Chicken (oh my!)

We like to feed people.

Spiro says it's because he's Greek, and Sara, our Managing Director, is from the south, so between the two of them, they have hospitality in their blood. When people come to our house, we feed them.That's why we have so many instances where we feed our staff, artists, and patrons. We heard from so many of our artists that all our food events were on their Lyric Top 40's, so we had to share them here with you.

PIZZA THURSDAY! Pizza Thursday is our final dress rehearsal evening, and we have pizza delivered for our staff and artists - it's mostly because most people never get out of the building during tech week, but it's also become like a family dinner. At our most recent Pizza Thursday, the cast of Becky's New Car and the staff of the theater sat down and played a very noisy Game of Life.

CHICKEN SATURDAY! And then only two days later, we have a bunch of comfort food. Between shows on the first Saturday of each run, we bring in chicken and sides for the cast and staff, so the directors of the shows can give the cast their notes. Also, we love comfort food. We all gather 'round a table and talk, laugh, and prepare for the next one.

VIP WEDNESDAY! This is where you come in... join us on the first Wednesday performance of the show, and then come down to the party afterwards at a local restaurant with free snacks and a cash bar. Like you want to miss those. They're the best!

SPECIAL PARTIES! If you sponsor a show, we throw a party and bring the snacks. All of our P.S. events involve treats, too. So do come on down. We'll bring the snacks.

The Lyric Top 40 
A new feature on our blog that celebrates the large and the small, the obvious and the obscure, our very favorite things about The Lyric Stage Company of Boston, the things that make us uniquely Lyric. Check back soon for the next item on the countdown.

What’s on your Lyric Top 40?
We hope you’ll submit your own to, in the comments below, or on Facebook!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Book Nook Merchandise

Check out what we have for you at the Lyric Stage Book Nook!

Original London Cast recording $15
By Richard Bean

By Pierre Louis Duchartre $25


By Quiara Alegría Hudes $12

    By Quiara Alegría Hudes $12
By Studs Terkel $20
By Arthur Miller $13

To purchase, stop by the concessions stand before or after the show
Or call the box office at 617-585-5678!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

An Interview with Mike Dorval

by Jessica Austin, Marketing Assistant

As the opening of Becky's New Car fast approaches, I caught up with Mike Dorval (Joe Foster) to chat about his experience working on the show. This is his debut with The Lyric Stage Company, but he's been in several local productions recently and has performed in a one-man show entitled Death by Chocolate at several local venues. We're excited to finally be able to work with him!

Q. As your Lyric Stage debut, how has working on "Becky’s New Car" differed from your experiences in previous productions? 
A. Of course every experience is unique, but the amount of rehearsal time has allowed for some in depth work with the script which has been invaluable. It's allowed for a chance to try a lot of different things. So often you just have to make a choice and run with it due to time!

Q. What are some of the biggest differences between performing your one-man comedy show, "Death by Chocolate", and working with a cast in a show like this? 
A. The nice thing about a one man show is that you only have to worry about making choices for yourself and the audience. If it feels good, and you think the audience will respond, you can go for it. In an ensemble piece, every choice you make affects someone else, but their choices can also help you make more informed decisions and discoveries. Also, it's a much more enjoyable cast party when there's someone else in the show!

Q. Have you and director Larry Coen found ways to incorporate your brand of comedy into your character? 
A. Ultimately, the most important thing is serving the script. I wouldn't want to force a laugh based on something I like that's not furthering the story. Larry has a great ear for comedy and hopefully, as a team, we get all the laughs that will help the play and none that detract.

Q. What inspired you to audition for/accept the role of Joe Foster? 
A. I'd been wanting to work with Larry Coen again for a long time and had always wanted to work at the Lyric. To do both was something I couldn't pass up. I didn't really know much about the play until I auditioned, but after reading it, I became very invested in the characters and the journey they go on. 

Q. Do you have a favorite line/scene from this show? 
A. I have a favorite scene, but describing it would give too much away. I will say it comes in the second act and was a surprise to me when I read it!

Q. What’s your favorite part about working on "Becky’s New Car"? 
A. The people. It's a tremendous cast and crew. 

Q. What would you tell someone who’s on the fence about coming to see the show? 
A. Fences aren't comfortable. Most are pointy.  The Celtics are bad, hockey doesn't matter until the playoffs and Tom Brady has no one to throw to. Wouldn't you rather come out for a evening of laughter than sit on your fence at home? Of course you would. 

Becky's New Car opens Friday, November 29. Read more about the show here.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Theater in Thirty - Emily Woods Hogue

I chatted with the costume designer of Becky's New Car, Emily Woods Hogue, about a lot of things. We touched on what the show is about, some costumes she's found, and really all about what her job as costume designer entails. It was a great conversation, and somehow we made it Thanksgiving themed at the end!

Becky's New Car opens November 29, the day after Thanksgiving.

Becky's New Car: Recommended Reading

Becky's New Car opens in just a week! Becky is an elevated, theatrical comedy that our director Larry Coen has described as, "a Cinderella story... except she's married." It's about family, love, and choices, and our design concepts are inspired by the Game of Life, which is a board game that revolves around making choices, getting married, and growing up.

It's going to be fun.

We've got some reading for you that Larry sent around from The Boston Globe:

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Lyric Top 40: Pure, Unfiltered Sound

Several of you have written in to say that the fact that our actors don't need to wear mics to fill the space with sound is on your Lyric Top 40, so we thought we'd add it here - because it's one of Spiro's favorite things, too.

When you come to a play or a musical here at the Lyric, you get real voices and real sound, because our intimate space allows us to work without amplification. And it really shows. "I just love that you can hear them so clearly," one audience member remarked to me on her way out of One Man, Two Guvnors last month. And the same goes for musicals: those bands are working right behind the set - live music, Spiro says, makes all the difference.

We're lucky that our space allows for this, and even luckier that our actors, directors, and musicians are willing to "play ball" and perform without microphones. We're proud of how authentic and powerful we feel it makes the sound - and we're glad so many of you like it, too.

The Lyric Top 40 
A new feature on our blog that celebrates the large and the small, the obvious and the obscure, our very favorite things about The Lyric Stage Company of Boston, the things that make us uniquely Lyric. Check back for the next item on the countdown.

What’s on your Lyric Top 40?
We hope you’ll submit your own to, in the comments below, or on Facebook!

Theater in Thirty with Amanda Spinella


If you made it to One Man, Two Guvnors, you'll remember Amanda Spinella as the delightfully sneaky audience plant who was dragged on stage every night. Hear about what it was like to be doused with water on a nightly basis, and then some, in Theater in Thirty!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Water by the Spoonful Production Photos

Check out these production photos from Water by the Spoonful! Click to enlarge.

Gabriel Rodriguez & Sasha Castroverde,
with Mariela Lopez-Ponce and Gabriel Kuttner*
Zaven Ovian, Sasha Castroverde, and Gabriel Rodriguez.

Mariela Lopez-Ponce and Johnny Lee Davenport*

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Lyric Top 40: Enriching & Interesting Dramaturgy

What’s dramaturgy, you ask? It’s a word that means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. But in practice here at the Lyric, it’s the information we give to our staff, artists, and patrons, to help enhance their experience and understanding of the work happening up on stage.

How that manifests is in a couple of places: the “dramaturgy packet” given to the actors during rehearsals with a show glossary and related articles, the posters you see in the lobby, and the 2-3 page note you find in the program. Currently, our resident dramaturg is none other than the amazing A. Nora Long, also our Associate Artistic Director. She, along with her team of assistants, have created some wonderful supplementary articles.

All of you have seen her posters and read her articles in the program, and you know how hard she works and how much she researches to get all of this information into an easily digestible format. I’ve got some examples for you right here from the last two seasons here. Be sure to grab Nora and say, "hey, thanks," if you've ever read the program note and felt informed, thought about, or engaged:

DRAMATURGY PACKETS: One Man, Two Guvnors | Water by the Spoonful (a sneak peek!)
PROGRAM NOTES: Chinglish | 33 Variations

The Lyric Top 40 
A new feature on our blog that celebrates the large and the small, the obvious and the obscure, our very favorite things about The Lyric Stage Company of Boston, the things that make us uniquely Lyric. Check back for the next item on the countdown.

What’s on your Lyric Top 40? 
 We hope you’ll submit your own to, in the comments below, or on Facebook!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Lyric Top 40: Cultivating Local Talent

The Lyric has been a pioneer, since its inception, of nurturing talented, up-and-coming Boston actors, designers, directors, musicians, technicians, and arts administrators.

Here's a video of Lyric founders Ron Ritchell & Polly Hogan talking about how it was a cardinal value of theirs from the very first show here at the Lyric to support local artists, and not "outsource" talent. Boston is a talented city, they thought, so let's showcase that talent.

And that tradition has continued ever since. Producing Artistic Director Spiro Veloudos feels incredibly passionately about the work that local Boston artists are doing, and he stands behind them in working at the Lyric and all over Boston. Under Spiro's leadership, the Lyric is leading the way in showcasing the work of the best Boston actors, designers, and directors.

Over the past 40 years, we have employed over 800 actors and 160 designers, highlighting the incredible depth of talent available in the Boston area! See if you can find your favorite Boston artist one one of our lists:

40 Years of Actors
40 Years of Designers

The Lyric Top 40
A new feature on our blog that celebrates the large and the small, the obvious and the obscure, our very favorite things about The Lyric Stage Company of Boston, the things that make us uniquely Lyric. Check back for the next item on the countdown.

What’s on your Lyric Top 40? 
We hope you’ll submit your own to, in the comments below, or on Facebook!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Lyric Stage Book Nook

Okay, folks. We are really pleased to introduce a new enrichment to the Lyric Stage lobby - the Lyric Stage Book Nook! What's a Book Nook, you ask? Let me and Christina Malanga explain it to you in today's Theater in Thirty:

Stop by and check out the merchandise we have at the Book Nook - it includes scripts, soundtracks, and more. Here's a sampling of what we're currently carrying:

One Man, Two Guvnors scripts & original cast recordings
Water by the Spoonful Scripts
Working, the book the musical is based on, by Studs Turkel
Death of a Salesman Scripts
The Heiress, the film Rich Girl is based on, DVDs
Into the Woods original cast recording.

There's always room for more at the Book Nook, so be sure to check it out!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Theater in Thirty - Harry McEnerny

Theater in Thirty is back, and I couldn't be more excited to share it with you! We've got a new camera and a new theme tune, but the same backstage conversation you've come to expect. Today, enjoy snippets from my chat with Harry McEnerny, who you may remember from Avenue Q:

I am a short person living in a tall person's world... but my chat with Harry was a delight! Join us for One Man, Two Guvnors between now and October 12!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Lyric Top 40: There's Not A Bad Seat In The House

We moved into our space here on Clarendon Street in 1991, with our wonderfully intimate three quarter thrust stage. We've continued to renovate in years past, installing new seats in 2008 and handrails in 2009. There have been a lot of backstage renovations, too, with many more to come.

And one of our favorite things about this space?

There's literally...

not a bad seat..

anywhere to be found!

You can see the stage and see the action from ANYWHERE! My favorite seats are the ones in that last picture there, up in the back of the center left section. But I've sat everywhere, as have many of you, and you know it's true too. Next time you're here, try out a new seating location. There's nothing like a change in perspective!

The Lyric Top 40
A new feature on our blog that celebrates the large and the small, the obvious and the obscure, our very favorite things about The Lyric Stage Company of Boston, the things that make us uniquely Lyric. Check back for the next item on the countdown.

What’s on your Lyric Top 40? 
We hope you’ll submit your own to, in the comments below, or on Facebook!

Friday, September 6, 2013

One Man, Two Guvnors Production Photos

Check 'em out! Click to enlarge.

Neil A. Casey*, Tiffany Chen, Aimee Doherty*, McCaela Donovan*
Neil A. Casey* 
Cast of One Man, Two Guvnors

Thursday, September 5, 2013

One Man, Two Guvnors Costume Design with Tyler Kinney

One Man, Two Guvnors is just about to open, and we thought we'd offer you a sneak peek at costume designer Tyler Kinney's absolutely lovely "inspiration boards" for the show, that reference his "Commedia Chic" costume concept, as well as outlining the characters in the play as they relate to their Commedia stock characters from Goldoni's The Servant of Two Masters. (You can peruse this article from the Met about Commedia if your interest is piqued.)

These boards hang in the dressing rooms, and we are happy to share them with you today. This gives you. perhaps, an idea of what to expect... or does it?

Tyler returns to us after designing The Temperamentals and By The Way, Meet Vera Stark. For more of Tyler's work, check out And please join us for 1M2G, running from September 6 to October 12. It is sure to look great and make you laugh... a LOT.

(Click to enlarge the photos!)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Lyric Top 40: #37, Avenue Q

This show is our #1 top grossing show of all time. We extended it three times. Audiences hooted 'n hollered. People came back for seconds and thirds. We sold to 96% capacity. We laughed, we cried, we made over $10000 in donations for the Theater Community Benevolent Fund, and we had a lot of fun.

Enough said. Just watch the trailer. ;)

John Ambrosino, Davron S. Monroe, Erica Spyres. Photo by Mark S. Howard.
The Lyric Top 40
A new feature on our blog that celebrates the large and the small, the obvious and the obscure, our very favorite things about The Lyric Stage Company of Boston, the things that make us uniquely Lyric. Check back for the next item on the countdown.

What’s on your Lyric Top 40? 
We hope you’ll submit your own to, in the comments below, or on Facebook!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Lyric Top 40: Real People on the Phones

You know what’s great?

Real human interaction.

That’s why we have real humans answering our phones in the box office. At all times when the box office is open, there is at least one person staffed on the phones. This means that on occasion, you might have to leave a message, but that actual person will call you back! Whether you need to buy a ticket, make a change, or you lost your umbrella at the theater, we're here to help.

And so many of you have expressed surprise or delight when you hear "Thanks for calling the Lyric Stage Company!" that we couldn't help but include it on the countdown. We like that you like that we're available.

We want your phone calls with us to be as painless as possible, and so that’s why we’re here as much as possible to help you, solve a problem with you, and chat about the theater you’re going to see when you’re with us. So give us a call sometime - we'll be here.

The Lyric Top 40
A new feature on our blog that celebrates the large and the small, the obvious and the obscure, our very favorite things about The Lyric Stage Company of Boston, the things that make us uniquely Lyric. Check back for the next item on the countdown.

What’s on your Lyric Top 40? 
We hope you’ll submit your own to, in the comments below, or on Facebook!

Monday, August 26, 2013

One Man, Two Guvnors Rehearsal Photos

Behind rehearsal doors at One Man, Two Guvnors... slapstick ensues. Our intrepid Stage Manager and erstwhile photographer Nerys Powell caught these images as a sneak peek of what is already shaping up to be a hilarious show. We open September 6th!

Cast of One Man, Two Guvnors.
Dan Whelton & John Davin; Dan Whelton & Alejandro Simoes
Davron S. Monroe & Dale Place
Neil A. Casey, Dale Place, Tiffany Chen, & Aimee Doherty.
Neil A. Casey & Dan Whelton
Tickets & more info a about the show available here.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Lyric Top 40: Marathon Day at Nicholas Nickleby

“What do you mean, it’s two plays?”

When we announced in the spring of 2010 we were mounting The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Parts I & II in repertory, there was a lot of excitement from the theater and the audience alike. It was, after all, one of the largest productions in the history of the Lyric. We had been funded (for the first time!) by a special grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, we had a cast of 24 playing over 100 characters, an enormous set, thousands of costume pieces, and nine weeks of performances.

"We experienced an embarrassment of riches," said Spiro Veloudos, who directed the piece, of the casting and rehearsal process. Spiro noted that he had been ruminating on directing the show(s) for almost twenty years before starting the process here. It was a powerful, relatable story; Associate Director Courtney O'Connor said, "as with any play, the strength of the story is in how we relate to it. Though the events take place in 1830’s England, parallels to our contemporary world are clear." And it was just a huge undertaking for all of us in the Boston theater community. Cast member Will Lyman predicted just before the show opened that "Nick Nick will be a landmark in Boston theatre history."

Needless to say, it was a big event.

And some of you wanted to see it all in one day.

We called this "running the Marathon," because it involved seeing two three hour plays in one day. We scheduled the repertory so that you could in theory have a week or more in between seeing Part I of the show and Part II. But on five specific days throughout the run, the first part played in the afternoon and the second part in the evening so you could, if you desired, spend a day here at the Lyric with us and see it all in a day.

These days sold out unbelievably fast, and it wasn't hard to see why: though it was a pretty hefty undertaking, absorbing and experiencing these shows all in one day was a mammoth experience. "Such a triumph," one audience member remarked to me on their way out, "we're so glad we did this." The audience on those days became like a small family unto themselves. They laughed together, they cried together, there was such solidarity in the room.

...Nicholas Nickleby collectors items!

We thought it might be nice of us to provide water bottles for our intrepid marathon runners - because everyone knows it's folly to run a marathon without staying hydrated! We tried to make those days as special as possible - and we knew we'd succeeded when, at the start of Part II on the first Marathon day, the audience broke into hoots and hollers, before the actors had even said a word. The show report for that evening stated, "There was applause for getting into place at the very top of the show for the narration and the audience loved it.  Pretty much the entire house was on its feet at the curtain call."

Truthfully, though, whether you "ran the Nickleby marathon," saw the shows weeks apart, or even just one of the two parts, we hope you look back on it fondly. We sure do.

The Lyric Top 40
A new feature on our blog that celebrates the large and the small, the obvious and the obscure, our very favorite things about The Lyric Stage Company of Boston, the things that make us uniquely Lyric. Check back for the next item on the countdown.

What’s on your Lyric Top 40? 
We hope you’ll submit your own to, in the comments below, or on Facebook!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Lyric Top 40: #40, Don't Say Anything

The Lyric Top 40

You may have heard that we are celebrating a pretty important milestone in our history over here at The Lyric Stage this year: we’re celebrating 40 years of bringing Boston audiences exciting, innovative, and enriching theater.

Forty years is a long time, and we know a lot of you out there have been with us for a whole lot of those years, and some of you have just joined us recently. We think that’s awesome: that we have so many people who care about the Lyric and love things about the Lyric. A lot of really cool things have happened here, and continue to happen here, and we want to take some time to really acknowledge where we've been, where we are, and where we’re going.

And so we introduce you to the Lyric Top 40, a new feature on our blog that celebrates the large and the small, the obvious and the obscure, our very favorite things about The Lyric Stage Company of Boston, the things that make us uniquely Lyric.

Without further adieu, the Lyric Top 40.

#40: The fact that you can probably finish this sentence: “If you enjoy what you see on stage this evening, be sure to go home and tell somebody. If you don’t…”

How many of us have sat in the audience during the brief pre-show speech waiting for this line? Laugh, chuckle, or smirk-inducing as it may be, we know that most of you folks who have joined us more than once in seasons past know to expect this line, and you know it’s almost always coming. We hope that by now its tongue-in-cheeky nature brings a smile to your face. Some of you have even started to say the punchline along with us. We won't comment on how we feel about that.

What we do hope is that you really hear the message behind the punchline: we’re so glad to have you, and we’re so glad you enjoy talking with us before the show and during intermission. The best parts of our day come when we get to hear you talk about the play and your reactions to it. You're our family and that means we love the intelligent, thoughtful conversations we have with you about the work we're doing on and off stage.

So keep talking: be Lyric Stage ambassadors! If a show means something to you, if you’re still thinking about it the next morning, or if you simply laughed til you cried, we want you to share that meaning, thought, or joy with a friend. Tell them we’re here – tell them what we’re doing. You are our audience, our community, and we need you to help make that community bigger and better for the next 40 years, and add more and more voices to the conversation.

The next time you’re here at the Lyric and that curtain speech starts up, sit tight in your seat, open your ears, and take it to heart: be sure to go home and tell somebody if you enjoy the show. In fact, tell multiple somebodies. Tell everyone you know! And if you don’t?

Don’t say anything.


What’s on your Lyric Top 40? We hope you’ll submit your own to, in the comments below, or on Facebook!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Theater in Thirty - Lauren Gemelli & Pim van Amerongen

I have had the great pleasure of spending time with two of our talented On the Town performers, both of whom are new to us at the Lyric. We're so glad they took the time to chat, because we sure got to know them better - check out our interviews, below!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Sailors "On The Town" in Boston

Look who showed up at our office today! Chip, Ozzie, and Gabey, the sailors - they're in Boston and they want to see all the sights - the duck boats, the aquarium, the Hippodrome... oh, wait.

They're very excited, and we have to take them out on the town! Well, we need some help. If you had 24 hours "on the town" in our fair city, where would you go? Answer us here or on Facebook

Follow the adventures of the sailors (and Brian!) on Instagram at @lyricstageboston, or over on Facebook at /LyricStageBoston.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Costuming with Kathleen Doyle

by W. Vickroy, Marketing Assistant

Last week, we talked to Kathleen Doyle about her creative process in designing costumes for On The Town, opening next Friday here at Lyric Stage. Kathleen even shared with us some concept sketches for costume designs in the show! Enjoy!

Q. How’s it going ON THE TOWN?
A. I’m having so much fun!  The war created radical changes in fashion and clothing.  The war drove actually design. So rather than taking cues from French haute couture, women all over the U.S.A. and Europe were dressing themselves in military inspired clothes, folk wear, home made clothes, work clothes, (which was a new concept), their own military uniforms because plenty of women served at home and abroad, of course, and even in their husbands’ and brothers’ clothes sometimes.

Q. What aspect of ON THE TOWN attracts you most?
A. This is such an optimistic story.  It was actually on Broadway during the war!  It was a case of  art reflecting life because during WWII, there were three million U.S. Sailors, Marines and Army men passing through New York City for one last fling before shipping out.

Q. What kinds of dramaturgy and research are you doing ?
A. Lots of time at the New York Public Library Picture Collection!  Just pouring over original images.  Everything from the Sears Catalog to McCall’s, Simplicity, Vogue dress patterns.  Finding knitters to hand knit snoods from vintage patterns.  Reading accounts of real ‘Rosies’.  Watching training videos that factory created during the war, including ‘How To Supervise Female Employees On The Line.’

Q. What are some especially fun costumes you’re working on?
A. We’re shopping, borrowing and renting costumes but we’re also building costumes and hats and accessories!  Distressing the factory worker’s clothes is always fun.  And the Diamond Eddie’s Showgirls are going to be ridiculous!  Lots of feathers, rhinestones, sequins and pouffs!  We also have a satire on one of the top entertainers of the era, so playing with her iconic headdress is a blast.

Q. What is your sketching process like?
A. Constantly changing! For ON THE TOWN, after trying to absorb the research, and meeting with Spiro and the creative team, I started with rough pencil sketches and reworked those as I read and re-read the script and listened to the score again and again.  Then, as all of these ideas crystalized, I sketched out the characters again in watercolor.    But the process is constantly evolving, as the ensemble rehearses and gets the show on its feet.  So I’ll adjust the designs too.  It’s a dance between dramaturgical research, the practical necessities that surface in rehearsal and my vision for each of the characters going out ON THE TOWN !

An Interview with J.T. Turner

by W. Vickroy, Marketing Assistant

As Lyric Stage Company prepares for its opening of On The Town on May 10th, we asked actor J.T. Turner (Pitkin) a few questions about his time working on the production, as well as other questions about his career in theatre.

Q. What's your favorite part of working on "On The Town"?
A. I am excited to be working with this cast. For me, it is a nice combination of actors I have worked with in the past, and new actors that I get to work with for the first time. That makes for a fun blend. And I love working with Spiro, he is a director I very much admire.

Q. What does your role mean to you?
A. Pitkin is a bit of a challenge, as his theme for most of the show is great tolerance towards his fiance. That changes dramatically in the show, in a wonderful song. So I am trying to play the humor of course, without making him a caricature.

Q. Do you have a favorite scene or song in the show?
A. It is still early in rehearsals as I write this, so I am sure I will have many songs and scenes I love, but Michelle DeLuca really sells " I Can Cook Too", she does a great job capturing her character Hildy.

Q. What aspect of this show attracted you to it?
A. This is an amazing show, but rarely done, so part of the appeal was a chance to work on a classic that rarely gets performed.

Q. Who or what inspires you as a performer?
A. Passion. I am inspired by people that bring a strong love for what they do to their lives.

Q. Do you have any advice to aspiring actors?
A. Life is about showing up. Audition for everything, be on time for your work, treat the stage with respect. Doing what we do is an honor, remember that, and cherish the work.

Q. If you could do any show, in any role, what would it be?
A. Annie in the musical, Annie. I know it is a long shot, but I have faith.

Q. Have you seen the movie? How does the show compare, in your opinion?
A. I have seen the movie, and while the movie is fun, it under serves the original show. And I say that not just because my character doesn't appear in the film!

J.T. Turner (Pitkin, Worker, Ensemble) returns to The Lyric Stage having appeared in Big River, Kiss Me Kate, Man of La Mancha, and 1776. He is the Artistic Director of The Actors Company and is a professional lecturer and public speaker, in the areas of motivation and memory.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Theater in Thirty with Amber Voner

I had the distinct pleasure of chatting with Amber Voner, who performed the essential role of Hair, Make-Up, & Wig Designer on our production of By the Way, Meet Vera Stark. In this THEATER IN THIRTY interview, we talk about her process and her inspirations, as well as Vera Stark herself.

The show runs through April 27th, so we do hope you'll come by.

For more information about Amber and her work, visit

For more about our production, visit our website at

For more about Vera Stark, visit &

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

By The Way, Meet Terrell Donnell Sledge

by W. Vickroy, Marketing Assistant.

After last Friday's opening night of By The Way, Meet Vera Stark, we got in touch with the fantastic Terrell Donnell Sledge (Leroy Barksdale/ Herb) to ask a few questions about his experience with this production, as well as to gain some insight about what theater means to him.

Terrell as Herb Forrester
Q.    What attracted you to working in Boston and being a part of Meet Vera Stark?
A. This is a very smart, clever and poignant story that I couldn't help but be excited about the prospect of working on.  Lynn Nottage sets out to­­—and I believe succeeds at— creating a narrative discourse on a subject that at times seems impossible to breach.  There are few things better than working on something that holds a close and personal meaning, and in many ways that is this play for me.  I was also really excited to work with Summer L. Williams and be a part of her partnership with Lyric Stage.

 Q.    How would you compare the experience of working in Boston to what you’ve done in New York? 
A. There is a sense of being settled and at home that I see in my cast mates, our crew and everyone that is really special and often hard for me to feel in New York.  NY is such a transient place that it is easy to forget what it feels like to be in a place like Boston and to be a guest invited into someone's theatre home and community.

 Q.    Is this your first time performing outside of New York?  Would you do it again?
A. I've done a number of regional theatre productions, and find that I really enjoy visiting various theatre communities and experiencing life and work there.  I always look forward to the travel and new experience.

Q.    What has been your favorite or most challenging aspect about working on Meet Vera Stark?  
A. There is so much content layered into this piece. There are so many characters and points of view to track and encounter, and it was always my hope to do what I can to present my pieces of the grand puzzle so no one misses anything.  Not enough people see theatre productions more than once, and our show is a clear example of why that should change.  I'm still discovering the intricacies of what the story contains, and the more I see, the more I enjoy it.  I want everyone to experience that.

Q.    Do you have a favorite show that you’ve worked on in the past?
A. Two, actually. The Duchess of Malfi, because my character suffered from lycanthropy, and How We Got On, by Idris Goodwin.  The latter is a spectacular story about discovering who you are and the way music and art can preserve one's story.

 Q.    What attracts you to certain plays or productions?
A. I love theatre that has something to say and reveal to the audience.  Whether it is how one man journeys through loss or it is examining a grander social subject.  I think that if theatre endeavors to present the vulnerable and exposed truths that life contains, it is always worthwhile.

 Q.    Do any performers, directors, or writers inspire you? Who, and why?
A. I’m inspired by artists who endeavor to capture the world they know.  I love discovering the commonalities that exist in the specific perspectives individuals have as a result of their lives and experiences.  That is one reason I was a fan of my director, Summer, before I'd even worked with her.  I count James Baldwin and Walter Mosley as writers —though not specifically theatrical—who also have a gift for capturing and examining the world as they see it and in doing so, I believe empower others to do the same.

Q.    If you could perform in any show, anywhere, what would you choose, and why?
That is hard.  I really enjoy working with the language in classical pieces and would love to direct a production of Julius Caesar.  But in terms of acting, August Wilson's, King Hedley II has been on my mind and my dream would be to do the films for all of Mosley's Easy Rawlins books, as they deal with transitioning between worlds and the relationship between one's past and how it impacts their present and ultimately their future.

 Q.    What made you decide to become an actor in the first place?
A. Originally, I just wanted to because my older brother wanted to.  I was in about second grade then, but over the years, I realized that try as I might to quit and do other things, when I was not involved in theatre in some form or other, I wasn't as happy or fulfilled.

Q.   For those looking to professionally enter the world of theater, what would be your #1 piece of advice?
A. Kujichagulia: self-determination.  Set your goals for yourself.  You decide what you are capable of and can't let other people decide that for you.  If you don't believe in you, it doesn't matter what anyone else believes.  So make up your mind and then always seek to be better than you were the day before.

Terrell Donnell Sledge is making his Lyric Stage debut. Most recently, Terrell completed work on set in Tim Reid’s and New Millennium Studios’ Troop 491 and Blues in The Night. Terrell holds an M.F.A. from Brown University/Trinity Rep and is a Yale University graduate. Terrell would like to thank God and his loving family for their support and commitment.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Theater in Thirty - Kami Rushell Smith

Is that Beyonce? No - even better - it's our fabulous Vera Stark, Kami Rushell Smith, with whom I had the pleasure of chatting last week about By The Way, Meet Vera Stark and her role in the show.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Meet Vera Stark: Trivia Collection Twitter Promo

Vera Stark: woman, actress, enigma. We here at the Lyric Stage are working hard to make Vera visible to our audiences, as part of our production of Lynn Nottage’s By The Way, Meet Vera Stark. 

Have you been to IMDB lately? No sign of Vera anywhere! We’re rustling up some trivia about the actress at the center of the play’s story, and we need your help. We’ll make it worth your while! Just follow these steps:

1) Follow us on Twitter @LyricStageCo 
2) Every Tuesday from now ‘til the end of the By The Way, Meet Vera Stark run (March 29th to April 27th) we will post a trivia question about Vera Stark. Need a hint? We may point you in the right direction.
3) @Reply the answer to us and one lucky winner (randomly chosen from the correct answers) will receive 2 tickets to any performance of By The Way, Meet Vera Stark.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Theater in Thirty - Phil Tayler

This week's Theater in Thirty is magically delicious. Or something like that - hear from Phil Tayler what it's like to be one half of the two-person Stones in His Pockets!

Friday, February 15, 2013

An Interview with Director Courtney O'Connor

by W. Vickroy, Marketing Assistant.

In light of Lyric’s opening of Stones in His Pockets tonight, we wanted to hear more from director Courtney O’Connor both about her thoughts on the show, as well as to get to know more about her broader theater ambitions!

Inside Lonodon's Donmar Warehouse

Q. What’s been most challenging about directing Lyric’s production of Stones in His Pockets?
Working with the actors to come up with clear and specific choices for each of the 15 characters, while also trying to keep them from simply being stereotypes and caricatures. Layered on top of that is the different accents they each have. And figuring how to do this with two actors. All of these added together made this a very challenging task for the actors and very complex to stage. We needed to figure out how they would transform from character to character to character. And then there was a blizzard....

Q. What attracts you to direct this production?
A. I love how Marie Jones tells her story: it begins with a laugh, keeps you guessing for a bit, and then suddenly you find yourself somewhere you never expected to go. For me, this is a very personal play. I see my family members in these characters, as well as myself.  

Q. If you could direct any play, anywhere, what would it be?
A. Really? Any play? Anywhere? Okay - Long Days Journey Into Night at the Donmar Warehouse in London. It's actually a three-quarter thrust space, like the Lyric, but more narrow so that the audience is even closer and it's even more intimate. Or maybe Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? or Mother Courage and her Children. Actually, Stones would work quite nicely in that space. Oh, who am I kidding: I would direct anything at all, really, at the Donmar. 

Q. Do you have a favorite play?
A. That's a bit like picking a favorite child, isn't it? It just feels wrong! Of course there are the titles and playwrights you keep coming back to, but then you read or see a new title, and it just clings onto you. Right now, a play I keep coming back to is Andrew Bovell's When the Rain Stops Falling, a lovely play exploring several generations of two families, and how how secrets and disappointments carry on much further than they might be expected to. I read it with a class I taught at Emerson while we were working on Nicholas Nickleby, and it has stuck with me ever since. 

Q. Which directors, playwrights, or actors inspire you?
A. Robert Lepage's work inspires me. His plays (especially his solo-performance pieces, like Far Side of the Moon and The Andersen Project) push through boundaries, and he is able to simultaneously explore new and intricate technologies and simple and straight-forward storytelling techniques. 
I also find much inspiration in Thornton Wilder. His writing has such elegance and heart in its simplicity. There's a quote from a letter he wrote to his sister after she had her heart broken: “We’re all People, before we’re anything else. People, even before we’re artists. The role of being a Person is sufficient to have lived and died for.” Then he added, “Better take a trip to Europe. There's plenty of money." This dichotomy yet harmony of the poetic and the practical fascinate me.

Courtney O’Connor returns to The Lyric Stage having been the associate director on the Elliot Norton Award-winning production of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby. She has also directed The Lyric Stage productions of Red Herring and The Miracle Worker. In addition to her theatre career, Courtney is an adjunct faculty member at Emerson College, where she teaches directing and a service-learning courses, that connect Emerson students with 4th and 5th grade students, teaching them the fundamentals of playwriting.