Articles for March, 2010

The Un-Common Theatre Company Proudly Presents “13 – A New Musical”

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

The Un-Common Theatre continues their 30th season by presenting “13 – A New Musical” at the Orpheum Theatre, Foxboro, April 16th through April 18th . This hilarious, high-energy musical by Tony Award-winning composer Jason Robert Brown opened on Broadway in 2008 and was the first show ever to feature an all teen cast.

When his parents get divorced and he’s forced to move from New York City to a small town in Indiana , Evan Goldman (Alex Fullerton, Mansfield MA ) just wants to make friends and survive the school year. This is easier said than done. The star quarterback (Soyer Wilson, Westwood, Ma) is threatening to ruin his life and his only friend, Patrice, (Mikayla Sabatino, Mansfield MA ) won’t talk to him. The school freak (Matt Hawley, Norwood MA ) sees an opportunity for blackmail and someone is spreading the nastiest rumors.

Lending their talent and expertise to the show are Director Christa Crewdson (Arlington, MA), Music Director Mike Moise III (Narragansett, RI), Music Director and Choreographer Julia Snider (Boston, MA).

The Un-Common Theatre production will be held at the Orpheum Theatre in Foxboro on Friday and Saturday, April 16th and 17th at 7:30 p.m., and two matinees, Saturday and Sunday, April 17th and 18th at 2:00 p.m. Ticket Prices are $20.00 for adults and $15.00 for seniors and students.

To order tickets 24/7 please call Brown Paper Tickets at (800) 838-3006 or order online at www.brownpapertickets.com and search for “Orpheum”. For Un-Common Theatre members, handicapped or group sales tickets please call The Un-Common Theatre Co. at (508) 698-3098.

The Un-Common Theatre Co. is currently in its 30th season of providing a safe, exciting and creative place for children and adolescents to develop life skills through exposure to the professional theatrical experience. For more information on the Un-Common Theatre Co. and “13 – The New Musical” please visit our website at www.uncommontheatre.org .

This program is supported in part by grants from the Foxboro, Franklin, Mansfield and Westwood Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

OPINION

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

THE FORUM—an opinion by Troy R. Siebels, Executive Director of the Hanover Theatre, Worcester, MA, recipient of NETC 2009 Regional Award. A version of this article appeared in the Worcester Telegram and Gazette, March 9, 2010.

The City of Worcester (MA) celebrates the two year anniversary of The Hanover Theatre’s grand opening this month. During these two years, it has often been described as the catalyst for the rebirth of downtown Worcester. Over 300,000 patrons have breathed new life into the city, its streets, restaurants, hotels and other businesses while visiting the theatre. With this success, The Hanover Theatre is a good bet for the continued revitalization of Worcester.

Today, The Hanover Theatre, and other wonderful venues like it across New England face a critical threat from resort casinos. If Massachusetts legislators pass legislation this spring green-lighting the construction of resort casinos, the performance venues that are an integral part of those casinos will almost certainly deal a fatal blow to The Hanover Theatre and other non-profit performing arts centers like it, across Massachusetts and in New Hampshire and Vermont; and those performing arts centers in Connecticut and Rhode Island that have thus far survived the presence of Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun will now face even bleaker prospects for their future.

What’s the threat? First, because of radius restrictions, performing arts centers like The Hanover Theatre will lose their top headline performers to casinos – performers such as B.B. King, Aretha Franklin, David Copperfield, Bill Cosby, Miranda Lambert, Ian Anderson, Mandy Patinkin and many, many more. At The Hanover Theatre we already have evidence of this, as we have been prevented by Connecticut casinos from booking Jerry Seinfeld, Jackson Browne, Denis Leary and other popular icons.

Next to go will be Broadway shows. Over the past several months Worcester billboards for Foxwoods have advertised Hairspray and Cirque Dreams – two shows that have played at The Hanover Theatre. If a casino in Massachusetts were to book Broadway shows such as these, radius restrictions will prevent those shows from appearing at The Hanover Theatre.

Skeptics may think that this is about competition. Let us assure you, we firmly believe that the arts don’t compete with each other; rather a thriving cultural community begets more culture.

A casino performance venue isn’t simply competition to a non-profit performing arts center – it’s an 800 pound gorilla. And this gorilla doesn’t play by the same rules – a resort casino’s performance venue is considered a loss leader; a way to get people through the door to gamble. Resort casinos can pay above-market rates for performers, and charge less for tickets. They regularly give away free incentives, including theatre tickets, hotel rooms and meals in excess of 10 percent of their annual gaming revenue. That can easily amount to $50 million a year or more in free tickets, room and food. The casino isn’t selling tickets in order to pay for the show – it’s giving away free tickets so that people will come and gamble.

It is ironic that the case being made for resort casinos in Massachusetts is based on the economic benefit they will purportedly create, when so much evidence points to exactly the opposite effect. The casino’s business model is built around keeping people from leaving the building. No windows, no clocks – nothing to remind gamblers that there’s anywhere they might want to be other than at the blackjack table or slot machine. How can we possibly believe that this model will bring one dollar to the economic activity of the surrounding area? “Resort” casinos are designed to be just that – everything under one roof, including restaurants, shopping and a theatre featuring headline performers to bring people in, subsidized by gambling dollars.

The casinos will bring in dollars – dollars that currently are spent by New Englanders at our Performing Arts Centers and other cultural organizations and in our local communities.

The casinos will create jobs – but they will be the same jobs lost when local performing arts centers, stores and restaurants close their doors. Further, those jobs will not be the only cost. The 300,000 people who have visited The Hanover Theatre in the past two years have dined at nearby restaurants, parked in city garages, shopped nearby. When those 300,000 people visit the theatre in a resort casino, they’ll spend those ancillary dollars at the casino’s restaurants, stores and slot machines. The same holds true for the millions of people that have visited other performing arts centers throughout New England.

We urge you not to be distracted by all of the noise about casino gambling in Massachusetts and do your own research. Look at New London, Connecticut, where more than thirty restaurants closed following the opening of Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. Look at Cripple Creek, Colorado: a once-thriving downtown went from 66 restaurants to less than 10. Look at performing arts centers in other cities where the impact from nearby resort casinos has been devastating. It took us less than an hour on the phone with managers of theatres in Reading, Pennsylvania; Fresno, California and Ames, Iowa to be convinced.

It is critical that we keep what is benefiting our region, rather than gamble it away. New England’s cultural institutions are an economic engine and an integral part of the fabric of our communities. The Hanover Theatre and others like it were built and survive on the support and generosity of thousands of attendees, members and contributors. We must not throw away their investment on a bad bet.

SOUND DESIGN WORKSHOPS with AWARD WINNING DESIGNER J HAGENBUCKLE

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Sound Design for Theater Saturday, March 27th and April 3rd and April 24 from 2-5pm

We will create and complete a project on the Mac, load the project into Q-lab and program it for playback. We will use a number of applications to build cues and utilize techniques like importing, music editing, multitracking, mixing, adding effects and bouncing to disk. Fee: $120. Ages 10-adult. Call Tamara Harper at 508-432-2002 ext 17 to register!

THE 25th ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE!

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Call 508- 432-2002 for tickets or click on image to order on-line! March 19- April 18, 2010. Fri, Sat at 7:30 PM Sundays at 2PM plus Sat April 10 and 17 at 2PM. (no show on Easter Sunday) The show’s Tony Award winning creative team has created the unlikeliest of hit musicals about the unlikeliest of heroes: a quirky yet charming cast of outsiders for whom a spelling bee is the one place where they can stand out and fit in at the same time. Starring a fabulous ensemble cast including Dan Greenwood, Caitlin Mills, Ben Griessmeyer, Sophie Moeller, Jared Hagen, Teresa Willander, Michael Ernst, Mark Vagenas, Eileen Fendler and Celeste Howe. Directed and Choreographed by Terry Norgeot, Musical Direction by Robert Wilder.

Thoroughly Modern Millie in Westport, CT

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

WHAT: Music Theatre of Connecticut School of the Performing Arts’ MTC MainStage Kids presents “Thoroughly Modern Millie: Junior Edition.” It’s the zany new 1920’s musical that took Broadway by storm! Young Millie Dillmount moves to New York City in search of a new life at a time when women were entering the workforce and the rules of love and social behavior were changing forever. Based on the popular movie, the stage version includes a full score of new songs and bright dance numbers.

WHEN: Friday, May 8 at 7:30pm, Saturday, May 9 at 2pm.

WHERE: Long Lots Elementary School, Hyde Lane in Westport, CT.

COST: $12-$18. Reservations suggested.

RESERVATIONS/MORE INFO: Call Music Theatre of Connecticut at 203.454.3883 or visit www.musictheatreofct.com

Date Adjustment Un-Common’s Improv Soup Troupe Announces Auditions

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

The Un-Common Theatre Co announces auditions for Improv Soup, their teen improvisational troupe.

Students currently in 8th – 10th grade may make an appointment to audition on Sunday March 28th from 5 – 5.45pm.

Improv Soup is one of the few teen Improv Troupes in Massachusetts and is currently in their twelfth season. The troupe performs long and short form Improv, based on audience suggestions, rehearses weekly on Sunday evenings and performs one Friday a month in Foxboro, Ma during the school year Email uncommontheatre@verizon.net to make an appointment giving your name, phone #, email address and grade or call (508)698-3098 or check the web site www.uncommontheatre.org for more information

Un-Common Announces Auditions for Romeo & Juliet

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Un-Common is delighted to announce the first of it’s auditions for this year’s summer shows. “Romeo and Juliet” will be directed by Un-Common Alumni and Hofstra University Junior, Keith Pinault of Mansfield, Ma.

Likely written early in his career, “Romeo and Juliet” is one of Shakespeare’s most well-known tragedies. The now-famous plot, concerning two young “star-crossed lovers” torn apart by their feuding families, has become a fixture of popular culture. The Montagues and Capulets have been mortal enemies for as long as anyone can remember, and violence still plagues the divided city they both call home. during an uneasy peace, the unthinkable happens: a Montague, Romeo falls for a Capulet, Juliet, and the two conspire to make a life for themselves, but the culture of hate that surrounds them is impossible to escape.

Using the backdrop of modern-day Belfast, a city whose old wounds still keep it deeply divided, this production seeks to bring out the youth and beauty of the play while making it relevant to a contemporary audience.

Rehearsals will be held in Foxboro & Mansfield, Ma starting in late May, 2010 and the show will be performed at The Orpheum Theatre, Foxboro, Ma from June 24 – 27, 2010.

Auditions will be held by appointment only on Wednesday March 31st from 6pm in Mansfield, Ma with callbacks on Thursday April 1st at 6pm in Mansfield, Ma. If you are physically unable to attend the auditions please contact us by email or phone for information on presenting a video audition.

Auditioners should be between ages 16 – 21 and should prepare a 1-2 minute dramatic monologue. Shakespeare (or any other classical text) is highly recommended.
To make an audition appointment, or for information on a video audition, please contact Chris Lowey at email uncommontheatre@verizon.net or call (508)698-3098 leaving your name, age, grade or year in college, phone number and email address. We will get back to you with an audition time and more details.

Conrad W. Schuessler

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

We are sad to inform you that Conrad W. Schuessler, beloved husband to Nina Schuessler, HJT’s Producing Artistic Director passed away on March 5 at his home in East Harwich surrounded by the love of his family.

Conrad volunteered and worked on various projects at Harwich Junior Theatre over the past 30 years; consulting on set designs, building the raked seating in the auditorium, redesigning and renovating the box office, deck and dressing rooms. He always supported Nina’s work in the theatre and was so impressed with how HJT’s mission impacted the lives of people, young and old. Conrad attended the Fessenden School in West Newton, and graduated from Noble and Greenough School in Dedham. He went on to receive a degree in French Literature and Comparative Languages from Princeton University. He worked for 35 years as a finish carpenter and fine woodworker. Beloved father to Eric and Nadia, he shared his love of skiing, tennis, and hockey with them. Conrad was known as the family’s own “Dr. Doolittle” because of his special affection for animals.

Conrad’s family will sit Shiva for him Tuesday – Friday, March 9 – 12 from 4-7 PM at the family home at 1040 Queen Anne Rd. in East Harwich.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to

Harwich Junior Theatre, Inc. PO 168, West Harwich, MA 02671. Or you can make a donation on our web site by