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The Amazing (but shrinking) Power of The

Press [REP]

Do you know the name of the person at, say, The Lyric Stage of Boston who controls the company's press relationships? Or who does that for The New Repertory Theatre, or the Huntington Theatre Company, or Moonbox Productions, or Company One, or Citi Stage? Probably not, and there's no reason why you should.
Everyone does know Jim Torres, who handles press for The SpeakEasy Stage Company, but only because he makes an always warm speech welcoming the audience on opening nights, something he enjoys and we do too. Especially at large companies, or companies on the rise, these are professional experts who take their jobs seriously and do whatever they can to see to it that word gets out, to critics as well as the general public, that their particular company has or is planning to do a play everyone is invited to see. They create and increase audiences, and in general they often go out of their way to make certain that opinioneering critics see shows, see them early, and have every opportunity to voice their opinions.

(Last week, asking tickets for A.S.P's "Phedre", we were first told every seat was sold for the only performance I could attend. At the 11th hour, their PR-person called saying she had found a way to shoe-horn us in; and that was for their Penultimate performance! PR-people are friends of the press!)

Well, most of them usually are.
But let me tell you a story about Power.

I go back a long time; I started reviewing plays in The Theater Mirror in 1995, and tried to see at least two plays a week --- until I saw too many, got too old, whatever. I got out of then habit of writing reviews, but I still think of myself as a friend of theatre here in and around Boston; I wish I could do more for all my theatrical friends than merely laugh (and cry) in response and to tell them (personally these days) what I liked about what they do. But, as I say, I wrote reviews for many years, and over time, The Mirror began to look important. I doubt I was the first to do reviews on the Internet, and maybe I never reached the intended audience --- mere Theatre Lovers who might overlook good shows they knew little about. But theatre-Makers paid attention, calling me "kind" (I maintain "honest" ought to be my attitude, as opposed to "opinionated"!), so I was developing a following.

Except in one woman's eyes.

Remember, the professional Press-Reps have at least some control over two important things: the money the company spends on advertising and promotion and --- important to me --- who gets given press-passes to see and then review shows. I don't put ads into The Mirror, but I could never have afforded to see so many plays if press-reps didn't smile on me, and most of them did.

One in particular didn't.

She worked for a big Equity house --- in other words she was trying to fill a lot of seats --- and thus her advertising budget was, well, bigger that anyone working at The Factory or the BCA could even imagine. And she had been a pro at the job for decades, probably back to the days when Kevin Kelly used the incredible power of the Boston GLOBE to "make or break" shows trying-out here for runs on Broadway. She knew the city, knew its critical brotherhood, and understood her job.

She didn't understand me.

In those days I was trying to cover Everything On Stage, and I hated to neglect the smallest, or the largest companies. But whenever I asked for comps at her company, I first got no answer at all. Noticing, I tried multiple e-mails. Her response, usually given a day or two before opening, was that the show was "sold out" or "there were no more complimentary tickets left". I.E., if I wanted to see her show, all I could do was pay for a ticket.

Now, I can understand some of her problem. She'd grown up and rose to the top in an older age. The GLOBE and The HERALD could influence audience-size; she could control how many advertising-dollars flowed to newspapers and radio and television and how many posters might be slapped up where. That gave her some power to ask favors --- perhaps to degrade a stringer-reviewer with obstructed-view seats, perhaps even to suggest to an unfriendly critic's editor that ad-budgets would be tighter if it were he who continued to take pot-shots at her company. And since everyone who reviews plays wants to be called "a critic" and to grow up to be Addison DeWitt, that purely-business game could get cut-throat. Or at least, from outside, that's how I think some of the game could have been played.

But times change. I think this old lady was simply late in undertstanding what computers had done, even to her theatrical universe. But I think when the people running The Colonial Theatre decided they'd stop hiring Press-Reps here in Boston and would employ their own, a bit of handwriting became obvious on the wall.

All right; it's time now, since the rest of the story is interesting, that I reveal the person's name.

She was Kathy Rochefort --- described by fellow theatrical professionals as a warm, delightful friend Personally, but a cutthroat battle-axe Professionally.

But she mellowed.

When The Central Square Theatre opened, Rochefort Associates handled press relations --- and whenever I showed up asking for my comp, one of Kathy's associates (I never met her personally; I'm not sure what I would have done if I had!) would fawn fondly over me like a long-lost cousin. Times had changed, and Kathy changed with them.

If you scroll down past this editorial, you'll find that I keep track of eighteen different blogs/websites on the Internet where you can read reviews For Free of plays up and running. As a "critic" I like to share and compare reactions to plays; as theatre-lovers, I like to think other people do as well.

But there is one important thing about this new digital world of ours that most of the press-representatives here understand:

The Internet Is Free.

Let me bring up only one example:
I read Tom Garvey's Blog because he writes well. We tend to disagree --- he's a dedicated, experienced, passionate critic, while I'm just a reviewer --- but I grudgingly admit he is usually right about plays. And whenever we can I let him buy me dinner and like to listen to him talk. And --- and I thank Ghod for this --- there is nothing that will make him stop.

Like most of the theatrical-bloggers I list (and I'm trying to find more) no one can starve him of advertising-money (like me he doesn't accept ads), and no one can go to his editor and get him fired.

And I suspect most of the press-reps in Boston think of him, as I do, as a friend.

End Of Sermon.
Love,
===Larry Stark

SCROLL DOWN FOR:

1) REVIEWS of plays up and running
[This now, again, as complete as I can make it]
2) A LIST of all the theater in Massachusetts
[This, however is still Hopelessly out of date!]
CLICK for more complete coverage

THEATER MIRROR Reviews of plays still running

"Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge" **** till 21 December Reviewed by Tony Annicone

"The Musical of Musicals" **** till 20 December Reviewed by Tony Annicone
"She Loves Me" **** till 21 December Reviewed by Tony Annicone
"Meet Me in St. Louis" **** till 28 December A Minority Report by Richard Pacheco
"Meet Me in St.Louis" **** till 28 December Reviewed by Tony Annicone
"Blithe Spirit" **** till 14 December Reviewed by Tony Annicone
"The Trip to Bountiful" **** till 21 December by Richard Pacheco
"A Christmas Carol --- NSMT" **** till 21 December Reviewed by Tony Annicone
"The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical" **** till 14 December
"Lie, Cheat, and Genuflect" **** till 31 December Reviewed by Tony Annicone
Boston Ballet's "The Nutcracker" **** till 1 January A Review By Sheila Barth
"Meet Me in St. Louis" **** till 28 December by Sheila Barth
"A Trip to Bountiful" PROVIDENCE **** till 21 December Reviewed by Tony Annicone
"Over The River And Through The Woods" **** till 21 December Reviewed by Tony Annicone
"The Tale of The Allergist's Wife" **** till 20 December Reviewed by Sheila Barth
"The Little Prince" **** till 21 December A Review by Sheila Barth
"Barefoot in The Park" **** till 21 December Reviewed by Richard Pacheco
"A Christmas Carol" **** till 31 December @ Trinity Rep" A Minority Report by Richard Pacheco
"A Christmas Carol" **** till 31 December A Review by Tony Annicone

Reviews In Other Websites:

"Barefoot in The Park"
by Rich Fahey in On Boston Stages
(closes 21 December)

"A Christms Carol" Bay Colony Shakespeare
by Beverly Creasey in Boston Arts review
(closes 20 December)

"Distant Neighbors"
by Gillian Daniels inNew England Theatre Geek
(closes 13 December)

"Jesus Christ, It's Christmas!"
by Carolyn Clay in The ARTery WBURfm
by Nancy Grossman in Broadway World
by Robert Nesti in The Edge
(closes 21 December)

"The Little Prince"
by Al Chase in White Rhino Report
by Jack Craib in South Shore Critic
by Kitty Drexel inNew England Theatre Geek
by Rich Fahey in On Boston Stages
by Lin Haire-Sargent in The Arts Fuse
by Alex Lonati in Broadway World
by Kilian Melloy in The Edge
(closes 21 December)

"The Musical of Musicals The Musical!"
by Al Chase in White Rhino Report
by Jack Craib in South Shore Critic
by Beverly Creasey in Boston Arts review
by Nancy Grossman in Broadway World
(closes 20 December)

"Necessary Monsters"
by Carolyn Clay in The ARTery WBURfm
by Beverly Creasey in Boston Arts review
by Gillian Daniels inNew England Theatre Geek
by Mark Faverman in Berkshire Fine Arts
by Robert Israel in The Arts Fuse
(closes 3 January)

"O.P.C."
by Jack Craib in South Shore Critic
by Carolyn Clay in The ARTery WBURfm
by Rich Fahey in On Boston Stages
by Jack Craib in South Shore Critic
by Joyce Kulhwik in Joyce's Choices
by Kilian Melloy in The Edge
(closes 3 January)

"Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical"
by Jules Becker in Bay Windows
by Rich Fahey in On Boston Stages
(closes 14 December)

"The Tale of The Allergist's Wife"
by Clinton Campbell in The Edge
by Jack Craib in South Shore Critic
by Beverly Creasey in Boston Arts review
by Kitty Drexel inNew England Theatre Geek
by Rich Fahey in On Boston Stages
by Mark Faverman in Berkshire Fine Arts
by Tom Garvey in The Hub Review
by Jan Nargi in Broadway World
(closes 20 December)

"13 Things about Ed Carpolotti"
by Nancy Grossman in Broadway World
by Craig Idlebrook inNew England Theatre Geek
by Jan Nargi in Broadway World
(closes 21 December)

PLAYS
UP AND RUNNING

This is a list, as complete as I can make it,
of everything on the boards in Massachusetts this week.
["Permanent productions" ("Shear Madness" etc.) are at the END of this list. Scroll down.]

Friday - Monday, 17 October - 2 November 2014

2 October - 1 November
"Fabulous Fable Factory"
@ THEATRE AT THE MOUNT
@ 444 Green Street, GARDNER MA
1(978)630-9388

9 - 26 October
"Stop/Kiss"
COTUIT CENTER FOR THE ARTS
4404 Falmouth Road, COTUIT MA
1(508)428-0669

10 - 26 October
"Boeing Boeing"
WALPOLE FOOTLIGHTERS
@ 2 Scout Road, EAST WALPOLE MA
1(508)668-8446

10 - 24 October
"Done to Death"
ATTLEBORO COMMUNITY THEATRE
@ Ezekiel Bates Lodge, 71 North Main Street, ATTLEBORO MA
1(508)226-8100

10 - 25 October
"Little Women, The Musical"
THEATRE III
@ 250 Central Street, ACTON MA
1(978)263-9070

10 - 25 October
"November"
QUANNAPOWITT PLAYERS
@ 15 Hopkins Street, READING MA
1(781)942-2212

16 - 26 October
"Dial "M" for Murder"
CALIOPE PRODUCTIONS INC.
@ 150 Main Street, Route 70, BOYLSTON MA
1(508)869-6887

17 - 25 October
"Bug"
ALGONKUIN THEATRE PROJECTS
@ 50 Douglas Road, WHITINSVILLE MA
1(508)272-0111

17 - 26 October
"Charlotte's Web"
THEATRE COMPANY OF SAUGUS
@ 85 Chestnut Street, SAUGUS MA
1(781)816-7019

17 October - 9 November
"Dear Elizabeth"
THE LYRIC STAGE COMPANY OF BOSTON INC.
@ 140 Clarendon Street, BOSTON MA
1(617)585-5676

17 - 26 October
"Peter Pan"
FRANKLIN PERFORMING ARTS COMPANY
@ 38 Main Street, FRANKLIN MA
1(508)528-8668

17 - 25 October
"Pride And Prejudice"
ENTER STAGE LEFT
@ 98 Hayden Rowe Street, HOPKINTON MA
1(508)435-9222

17 - 26 October
"You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown"
COLONIAL CHORUS PLAYERS
@ The Old House, 1249 Main Street, READING MA
1(781)944-9780

21 - 26 October
"The Magic Flute"
@ ARTS EMERSON
@ Paramount Center Main Stage, 559 Washington Street, BOSTON MA
1(617)824-8400

24 October - 29 November
"Bad Jews"
@ SPEAKeasy STAGE COMPANY
@ Boston Center for The Arts, 527 Tremont Street, BOSTON MA
1(617)482-3279

24 October - 1 November
"Assassins"
@ BRIDGEWATER STATE UNIVERSITY THEATER DEPARTMENT
131 Summer Street, BRIDGEWATER MA
1(508)531-1000

24 October - 2 November
"Why Do Fools Fall in Loved?"
PRISCILLA BEACH THEATRE
800 Rocky Hill Road, PLYMOUTH MA
1(508)224-4888

25 October - 2 November
"Arsenic And Old Lace"
@ THE COMMUNITY HOUSE OF HAMILTON & WENHAM
284 Bay Road, SOUTH HAMILTON MA
1(978)468-4818

25 & 26 October
"Inside The Haunted House"
THE GERWICK PUPPETS
@ THE PUPPET SHOWPLACE, 32 Station Street, BROOKLINE MA
1(617)731-6400x101

25 October ONLY
"Poe! Poe! Poe!" READING
@ GATEWAYS PLAYERS THEATRE INC.
@ Gateway Arts Barn 111 Main Street, SOUTHBRIDGE MA
1(508)764-4531

30 October - 15 November
"Avenue Q"
THE VOKES PLAYERS
@ 97 Boston Post Road, WAYLAND MA
1(508)358-4034

31 October - 9 November
"Othelo"
THE MIT SHAKESPEARE
@ Somewhere on MIT Campus, CAMBRIDGE MA
NO PHONE

1 & 2 November
"Flat Stanley"
THE ACADEMY OF COMPANY THEATRE
@ 30 Accord Park Drive, NORWELL MA
1(781)871-2787 (ARTS)

1 - 16 November
"The House of Yes"
COTUIT CENTER FOR THE ARTS
4404 Falmouth Road, COTUIT MA
1(508)428-0669

And these undying classics:

??? - Forever
"Blue Man Group"
BLUE MAN GROUP
@ The Charles Playhouse, 74 Warrenton Street, BOSTON MA
1(800)982-2787

??? - Forever
"Improv Asylum"
IMPROV ASYLUM
@ 216 Hanover Street, BOSTON MA
1(617)263-6887

??? - Forever
"Improv Boston"
IMPROV BOSTON
@ 40 Prospect Street, Central Square, CAMBRIDGE MA
1(617)576-1253

??? - Forever
"Shear Madness"
SHEAR MADNESS
@ The Charles Playhouse, 74 Warrenton Street, BOSTON MA
1(617)426-5225

??? - Forever
"The Donkey Show"
AMERICAN REPERTORY THEATRE
@ Oberon, Massachusetts Avenue & Zero Arrow Street, CAMBRIDGE MA
1(617)495-2668

For an EVEN MORE COMPLETE list of "Coming Attractions" in Massachusetts
Click Here

="="="="="="=

CLICK BELOW TO GET TO:

30 GLOBES Hath September
Quick Takes
New Reviews
THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS
Cricket's Notebook
MERE Opinions
EMERGENCIES
New Greenroom Mail
Stories by Larry
The Horton PODCASTS
The HORTON Connection
Bargains
New Websites
Theater Mirror Resources
Cabaret Page


The Company Theatre, Norwell, Mass - Phone 781-871-ARTS

For information call 781-871-2787

The Company Theatre
30 Accord Park Dr.
Norwell, MA 02061
(781) 871-2787 (ARTS)


I wrote a book!

Yes I, Larry Stark, wrote a book* --- a little novel called
ARTIST IN RESIDENCE
And you CAN buy copies of that book
Artist in Residence cover --- but Only At:
THE HARVARD BOOK STORE
1256 Massachusetts Avenue, Harvard Square, Cambridge
1(617) 661-1515
What you do is go to the bookstore, pay them $20.00, and then........
Watch while their "expresso-books machine"
Prints a copy before your astonished eyes in only four minutes!
(Honest!)
It will be a "perfect-bound" paperback
slightly warm to the touch
and will fit in your pocket.
You can talk to your friends about it
You can talk to MY friends about it!
Be The First On Your Block To.....









REMINDER:
The same information you once found in The Theater Mirror
--- but with some exciting new twists that will make finding what you need easier and faster ---
is shared by
NEW ENGLAND THEATER 411.
Pay special attention to these pages:
Actor Calls
Production Team Calls
Special Announcements
Emergencies
Bargains
Coming Attractions
Attractions Now Playing
And if you have information to submit, here's how:
Submit Info
Give it a try!!!

Need_title.jpg (25807 bytes)

Guess how many THEATRES there are in BOSTON

N I N E?

N I N E T E E N?

T H I R T Y - N I N E?

That's Just In BOSTON, now. Eliminate Cambridge, Newton, Waltham, etc.
Your best guess is what?

Well, I just published:

A
Theater-Lovers' Guide

to the

N I N E T Y

Theatres In Boston

You don't believe me?
Send me ten bucks (about a dime a theatre)
And I'll mail you a copy.
Or ask me next time we're in the same theatre together.

Larry Stark, 125 Amory Street #501, Roxbury,  MA 02119

Love, ===Anon.


 


Turtle Lane Playhouse
Lyric Stage Hovey Players
North Shore Music Theatre The Conservatory


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