Tuesday, September 29, 2015

5 Reasons to Celebrate 27 Seasons of the Simpsons!

By Eliza Sanchez, Marketing Assistant

1) It's the longest running TV comedy -- ever!

The Simpsons has conquered the feat in terms of both seasons (27) and episodes (574+), and has been delighting TV audiences since 1989.

Fun Fact: In its run, The Simpsons has won 32 Emmy Awards and 83 Nominations, and the 1996 Peabody Award.
photo via: http://kinographics.blogspot.com/2011/10/evolution-of-simpsons.html

2) In 1998/99, Time magazine listed Bart Simpson as one of the most influential people of the 20th Century.

And he'll probably dominate the 21st century as well! Back in 1998, Bruce Handy of Time said "What Bart, or really the Simpsons, have done is merge social satire with popular animation in a way that hasn't really been done before. And you can't talk about 20th century art without taking into account pop culture. It's almost what defines the century. And when you look at animation — which is arguably the purest form of cinema — I truly believe The Simpsons is both first rate and of lasting quality. I think when people a hundred years from now want to get a sense of what the 90s were like they could do a lot worse than watch The Simpsons. It will still be being viewed and enjoyed when a lot of contemporary, serious literature is forgotten." So far, Bruce hasn't been proven wrong!

photos via: http://bartsimpsonpictures.squarelogic.net/ and http://comicbook.com/2015/01/04/judd-apatow-wrote-next-weeks-episode-of-the-simpsons/

3) It's had 600 guest stars since its premiere.

Over the course of its run, The Simpsons has had an incredible amount of talented people and big names appear as guest stars on the show, including Stephen Hawking as himself in "They Saved Lisa's Brain" and Kelsey Grammer as Sideshow Bob in "Cape Feare." Check out Paste Magazine's July 2014 list of The Simpsons top 100 guest stars here: http://www.pastemagazine.com/blogs/lists/2014/07/the-100-greatest-simpsons-guest-stars.html

and http://simpsons.wikia.com/wiki/The_Very_Reason_That_I_Live

4) The play Mr. Burns uses the episode "Cape Feare" as its basis.

Anne Washburn's play Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play premiered in May 2012 and is a fantastic re-imagining of the iconic "Cape Feare" episode of The Simpsons. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, the play follows a group of survivors as they come together to recall, perform, and create a mythos over the course of some decades out of this particular episode.
photo via: http://www.startribune.com/guthrie-play-mr-burns-turns-bart-into-dramatic-art/298473751/

5) The Lyric Stage Company is putting on Mr. Burns this spring -- and you should be there! 

From April 8, 2016 to May 7, 2016, The Lyric Stage Company will be running Washburn's Mr. Burns, direct by A. Nora Long, and we want you to check it out! Support both 27 seasons of The Simpsons and the Lyric Stage by ordering your tickets today!
 photo via: http://lyricstage.com/productions/production.cfm?ID=99

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Congrats to our 2015 IRNE Award Winners!

Last night the Boston theatre community celebrated the 2015 IRNE (Independent Reviewers of New England) Awards at the Cyclorama in the South End.

Henry Lussier, Director of Marketing, checking out the program

It was a pleasure to be surrounded by so many of the talented actors, artists and administrators who create a season full of diverse and engaging theatre.

Best Supporting Actress nominee Maritza Bostic and
Spiro Veloudos, Producing Artistic Director.

The Lyric Stage Company of Boston was honored to take home 7 awards, including:

Best Lighting Design 
Franklin Meissner, Jr. SWEENEY TODD (Lyric Stage Co. of Boston)

Best Ensemble 
MIDSIZE Winner:INTO THE WOODS (Lyric Stage Company)

Best Supporting Actress MIDSIZE (Drama) 
Paula Plum DEATH OF A SALESMAN (Lyric Stage Company)

Best Supporting Actor MIDSIZE (Drama) 
Kelby T. Aken DEATH OF A SALESMAN (Lyric Stage Company)

Best Director of a Musical
Spiro Veloudos INTO THE WOODS (Lyric Stage)

Best Musical 
INTO THE WOODS (Lyric Stage)


Congratulations to all of the productions nominated for outstanding and creative work. We look forward to another great season of theatre in Boston!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Top Femme Fatales by Decade

By Eliza Sanchez, Marketing Assistant

City of Angels (playing now through May 2nd, Get Tickets) is a jazzy, brassy musical comedy spoof of Film Noir and 1940's Hollywood. A favorite staple of the Film Noir genre is the Femme Fatale. You'll find this classic character in City of Angels as Alaura Kingsley, played by Samatha Richert*. Besides the devious Alaura, check out our countdown of Top Femme Fatales by decade!

femme fa·tale
noun, plural femmes fa·tales
[fem fuh-talz, -tahlz, fey-; French fam fa-tal]
  1. an irresistibly attractive woman, especially one who leads men into difficult, dangerous, or disastrous situations; siren.

1940s: Kitty Collins, The Killers (1946) played by Ava Gardner
Our first femme fatale is Kitty Collins of the 1946 noir film The Killers, who slips into the hearts of more than one man of crime, and shows us what it really means to “double cross” someone.

1950s: Madeleine Elster/Judy Barton, Vertigo (1958) played by Kim Novak
In Vertigo we watch Kim Novak give a stunning performance as Madeleine Elster and Judy Barton, who lead an already disturbed man into spiraling mental deterioration.

Vertigo - Kim Novak.jpg

1960s: Mrs. Robinson, The Graduate (1967) played by Anne Bancroft
And here's to you, Mrs. Robinson. She might not have killed anyone, but her seduction of 21 year old college grad Benjamin Braddock was killer enough to get her on this list. 

mrs robinson.jpg

1970s: Evelyn Mulwray, Chinatown (1974) played by Faye Dunaway
In 1974's Chinatown, Evelyn Mulwray leads private detective Jake Gittes as he investigates a water conspiracy, and proves herself to be a femme fatale with a dark past and a gloomy fate.

evelyn mulwray.jpg

1980s: Veronica Sawyer, Heathers (1988) played by Winona Ryder
The 1980s were home to a slew of adolescent blockbusters, and 1988’s Heathers gave us teenage femme fatale Veronica Sawyer who, along with boyfriend J.D., begins a suicide craze at their preppy high school.
veronica heathers.jpg

1990s: Catwoman, Batman Returns (1992) played by Michelle Pfeiffer
Batman Returns introduced us to Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman, aka Selina Kyle. The feline vigilante seeks revenge on her villainous employer, and finds herself involved with Batman along the way. 


2000s: Jane Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005) played by Angelina Jolie
Jane Smith is one of the world’s best assassins in 2005’s Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Jolie kicks butt alongside Brad Pitt as she carries out a hit...against her husband.

jane smith.jpg

2010s: Amy Dunne, Gone Girl (2014) played Rosamund Pike
Rosamund Pike stunned as Amy Dunne in Gone Girl, riveting audiences with her portrayal of a terrified, broken down wife. Or was she?

gone girl.jpg

Sunday, March 1, 2015

5 Things You Didn't Know About Corsets (and may be shocked to learn!)

Lacing up a corset in 1900

In the script for Intimate Apparel, each scene opens with a detailed description of a corset or piece of fabric. 

Wait...what is Pultizer Prize winning playwright Lynn Nottage doing writing about underwear? 

Well, it turns out that there are a lot of things that a person can tell about you by your underwear. 

To introduce you to the history of these undergarments you'll see in Intimate Apparel, here are the Top 5 things you didn't know corsets (and may be shocked to learn!).

1. More money = tighter undies

At the time of Intimate Apparel (1905), most women wore corsets as an undergarment. An especially restrictive corset that gave the wearer a coveted "S curve" was a symbol of social privilege.

The S curve coveted by high social classes
Women who's job it was to organize servants and assign tasks didn't require much movement during the day, and could afford to lace themselves into a highly-restrictive corset.

Women who worked for a living, such as Esther and Mrs. Dickson in Intimate Apparel, couldn't wear such a tight corset because they needed to move and bend to perform their duties. Watch on stage for Mrs. Van Buren, a high-society woman who can afford to seek out the perfect S-curve and hires Esther to create corsets for her.

2. Corsets were reinforced with bones. 
      From whales.

Well, they're not really bones, though they're called that. The material is called "baleen" and it's part of a Baleen whale's mouth that helps them filter plankton and krill. Baleen was strong but flexible and wouldn't lose it's shape over time. Later in the 20th century as whales became endangered, spiraled steel rods largely replace baleen in corsets.

Baleen boning used in corsets

3. Men wore corsets too.

Men wanted smooth lines under their clothes as much as the ladies did. Although not as popular as the women's corset, their were many different types of corsets available for men. 

Man's corset, 1907

4. And so did children!
Both boys and girls could wear a corset--even infants. Corsets on children were often used as training tools to prepare them for the corsets they would wear in adult life.

A child's corset was less intense and usually given its shape by the rough material sewn in cords rather than the baleen or steel rods they'd wear as grown ups. 

In 1886, Bloomingdale's had corsets for the entire family!

5. Corsets (might have) smashed your guts!

Throughout their 500 year history, many have attributed various ills to the wearing of a corset, such as liver disease, cancer and the breaking of ribs.

An exaggeration of the effects of extreme corset-wearing

"Physicians objected to the health risks, religious leaders objected to the display of the exaggerated female shape, and feminists decried the corset as real and symbolic imprisonment of women"  
from "Reshaping the Body: 
Clothing and Cultural Practice"

Closer to the truth is that the wearing of tight corsets for long periods of time may have led to the weakening of the abdominal muscles. Imagine if you didn't have to hold yourself upright because your corset did it for you. Those muscles that you're no longer using would get pretty lazy, right? 

A restrictive corset also prevented vigorous exercise, which contributes to robust health. The prevention of exercise had the same health consequences then as it does now. 

As the 20th century raged on, clothing trends became looser (think 1920's Flapper) and corsets gradually went out of fashion for wearing every day. 

Still, modern women and men seek out shapewear (do you own a pair of Spanx?) and other inventive gadgets to change the shape of their bodies. 

We'll be anxious to know what you think about the corsets you'll see in Intimate Apparel and why Lynn Nottage made them a focal point in Esther's heartbreaking story. 

Next, watch a sneak peek from Intimate Apparel costume designer Amanda Mujica at the corsets you'll see on stage!

Corset options in 1905: http://staylace.com/gallery/gallery27/index.html
1900's Fashion: http://www.marquise.de/en/1900/index.shtml
Reshaping the Body: Clothing and Cultural Practice: http://exhibits.hsl.virginia.edu/clothes/

Friday, January 30, 2015

She found a mystery photo and went digging...

Lynn Nottage, playwright of Intimate Apparel, on stage
at The Lyric Stage Company of Boston from
Feb. 13th - Mar. 14th. 
When Intimate Apparel playwright Lynn Nottage was cleaning out her grandmother's house, she discovered an old photograph of her great-great grandmother.

The photo was a mystery and Nottage was determined to find out more about "this woman who was part of the fabric of my life, but who was very much a mystery to me." 

All she did know was that her great-grandmother was a seamstress in New York and that she had married a Barbadian immigrant. From there, she lept into discovery.

She started at the New York Public Library and what she uncovered about her family history was woven into her play Intimate Apparel.

Subscribe to our blog now to get automatic updates on Intimate Apparel, including an upcoming sneak-peek at the hand-sewn corsets made by costume designer Amanda Mujica for this production. 

Buy tickets and read more about Intimate Apparel on our website: www.lyricstage.com

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

#RedHotPatriot Backstage: Projecting Molly's Life

Images from the life of Molly Ivins play an enormous role in Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins. As images pop up in different areas of the stage, Molly (played to critical acclaim by Karen MacDonald) reacts and shares biting and hilarious commentary with the audience. We interview the designer who makes these images come to life: Johnathan Carr.

Lyric Stage: Tell us how projections/images play a role in Red Hot Patriot?

Johnathan Carr: The setting of the play is what is referred to in the newspaper business as the "morgue", the (usually basement) archival room where old news goes to slumber. As Molly recounts her life stories both personal and professional, images emerge, mostly through use of projection, but also physical photos/objects in the scene.

The New York Times "Morgue" where Ivins worked

LS: How were you inspired to innovate the images to help tell the story?

JC: Upon reading the play it became apparent that nearly all of the images are meant to be actual photos from real-life Molly Ivins and the people, places and stories throughout her career. I knew that would be a task, and certainly doable, but from an artistic point-of-view it didn't suggest much original design, just research. I wanted to involve design, but didn't want compromise the historical integrity of the photos by manipulating them too much, so instead I opted to employ the "parallax" effect (also known as "The Kid Stays in the Picture" effect, after the documentary of the same name that popularized the technique). A 2D photo can be made to appear to have depth by separating foreground, mid, and background elements while moving a virtual camera through the scene to simulate 3D.

LS: What is your favorite image used in the show?

JC: The "Austin Fun House" sequence is probably my favorite. We found portraits of the 1981 Texas legislature arranged like a yearbook and Courtney asked if I could turn it into a shooting gallery. I love my job. 

Example of photos used in the "shooting gallery" style media
LS: How did you become interested in projection design?

JC: My background is primarily filmmaking which I've always considered a catch-all medium that can make use of or integrate with any other art form. It's always been my practice to work on multiple formats because the skills and aesthetics that I pick up from one form can be applied to every other. Projection design (which truthfully I'd prefer be thought of as media/film/video design, as the term 'projection' doesn't quite have the same elemental quality that 'light' and 'sound' have) was a natural progression of my mission to merge all forms in my work. 

It's always been my practice to work on multiple formats because the skills and aesthetics that I pick up from one form can be applied to every other.  

LS: What other shows have you designed for at The Lyric Stage?

JC: Into the Woods (2014) and By the Way, Meet Vera Stark (2013).

LS: What advice do you have for people aspiring to work in professional technical theatre?

JC: The best advice for any work is to always be educating yourself, we should all think ourselves perpetual students of the world, that's just a given.

If you live near a place theatre is being made, that is helpful. But also consider concerts, comedy shows, conventions, lectures, corporate events, fundraising galas -- any live event that requires light/sound/video is a place to start learning, no matter the scale. Every theatre technician and designer I've known has traveled a very different path, which is really cool. Working on load-ins/strikes for pro theatre (or colleges) is one good way to start meeting theatre techs. Designing for smaller fringe/indie/community theatre is a way to start building a portfolio. And, alternatively, you could even produce your own show at a small venue (or in a festival/variety/revue) as a vehicle to exhibit your design chops under full creative control. Ambitious if you're just starting out, but can be very effective for making connections. 

Designing for smaller fringe/indie/community theatre is a way to start building a portfolio.

Generally I feel you should never repeat yourself, and always do the thing that is just outside your comfort/knowledge/skillset, Consider every project your own personal experiment, and whenever possible advance the medium. Do the research, gather many options, be ready to kill your darlings as they say, and do not take that personally. De gustibus non est disputandum. Most important is to listen to your director and your team, and also ensure they are understanding your ideas. A team with good chemistry will find a shorthand very quickly, but conversely a misperception or presumption of understanding can bring an entire production to a grinding halt. Communication is the greatest challenge in collaborative operations, exponentially so when speaking in the abstract as we designers must, so patience in achieving that mutual understanding is paramount.

#MeetMollyIvins: “Stand Up Against the Surge”

Molly’s final column is a rallying cry to future generations to pick up the cause she must lay down: the fight for freedom and justice.

"We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. Make our troops know we're for them and trying to get them out of there. Hit the streets to protest Bush's proposed surge. If you can, go to the peace march in Washington on Jan. 27. We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, 'Stop it, now!'" 

Molly Ivins
Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins runs from Jan. 2- Jan. 31st. Great seats still available at tickets.lyricstage.com or through the Box Office: 617-585-5675. 

Find more Molly Ivins: #MeetMollyIvins #RedHotPatriot on Twitter and Facebook!

#MeetMollyIvins: Shrub Flubs his Dub

You may remember in 2001, Senator Jim Jeffords abandoned the Republican party due to the “changing nature of the party,” giving Democrats a one seat majority. Molly tackles the implications for the change on the Bush/Rove White House and assumes readers will blame Texas. “It’s often hard to discern the difference between Texas Tough and Texas Stupid.”

Karl Rove

Shrub Flubs His Dub, by Molly Ivins

"Karl Rove, the man known as "Bush's Brain," would never do anything mean, dirty, petty or tacky. I say this because one of the things I have learned from Rove and Karen Hughes--counselor to His Bushness and also known as Nurse Ratchet--is that if you say something often enough, like "compassionate conservative" or 'leave no child behind,' the reality makes no difference; people remember only the slogan."

Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins runs from Jan. 2- Jan. 31st. Great seats still available at tickets.lyricstage.com or through the Box Office: 617-585-5675. 

Find more Molly Ivins: #MeetMollyIvins #RedHotPatriot on Twitter and Facebook!

#MeetMollyIvins: Molly on the Texas Governor’s Race

Molly writes about the 2006 Texas Gubernatorial debate, featuring Governor “Good Hair” Perry. “I sacrificed an hour Friday evening to watch the Texas gubernatorial debate on your behalf, since I knew none of you would do it,” she writes.  If only Molly would preview all of our debates for us.

Rick "Good Hair" Perry 

The Not-So-Great Texas Gubernatorial Debate, by Molly Ivins

"AUSTIN, Texas — I sacrificed an hour Friday evening to watch the Texas gubernatorial debate on your behalf, since I knew none of you would do it. Democrat Chris Bell looked and sounded like the only candidate who won't embarrass the state — he was intelligent, well informed and even funny. But the question remains: Can Texas afford to lose that hair?"

Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins runs from Jan. 2- Jan. 31st. Great seats still available at tickets.lyricstage.com or through the Box Office: 617-585-5675. 

Find more Molly Ivins: #MeetMollyIvins #RedHotPatriot on Twitter and Facebook!

#MeetMollyIvins: Molly on “Ort”

PBS’s “News Hour with Jim Lehrer” paid tribute to Molly Ivins on her death by re-airing her survey of Texas Art – or “Ort,” as they say. The broadcast features Molly’s signature wit and Texan witticisms that lovingly jab at her home state.

Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins runs from Jan. 2- Jan. 31st. Great seats still available at tickets.lyricstage.com or through the Box Office: 617-585-5675. 

Find more Molly Ivins: #MeetMollyIvins #RedHotPatriot on Twitter and Facebook!