THE GREENROOM DISCUSSIONS

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THE GREENROOM DISCUSSIONS - 1998

note:

entire contents copyright 1998 by THE THEATER MIRROR


The Greenroom Discussions is your forum for issues, commentary and reviews written by you, the theater-goer. It is arranged by the most current item first. Discussions are archived monthly. Please email us at greenroom@theatermirror.com for permission to reproduce or print any portion of The Theater Mirror.


Previous Greenroom Discussions


July - 15 September, '99
January - June, '99
April - December, '98
January - April, '98
December, 1997
Summer/Fall, 1997
May, 1997
April, 1997
March, 1997
February, 1997
January, 1997
December, 1996
November, 1996
October, 1996
September, 1996
August, 1996
July, 1996
June, 1996
May, 1996
April, 1996
March, 1996
February, 1996
January, 1996
November, December 1995

Friday, 17 December, 1999:
"Out With The Old Year/Decade/Century
In With A NEW One!!!"

All right, I just sent this message to two hundred or more theater websites in the six New England states:

[WRITTEN FRIDAY MORNING]
Hi. This is larry stark, from The Theater Mirror [ http://www.theatermirror.com ]. I am developing a case of flu, it is 5:12 in the morning, and I am just feverish enough to believe that this impertinent bit of SPAM could be important.

In brief, I attended a panel discussion [http://www.theatermirror.com/tdhpdcc.htm ] Tuesday that set me thinking about audience development. My basic idea was that people who go to the theater ought to be encouraged to go back more often, because if they liked it once they probably will again, and if they talk about it maybe more of their friends will catch the "theater-virus" from them. I want to encourage an epidemic!

So, here's my suggestion:

As many local theatres as can ought to declare Thursday night as "Blue-light Special Night": Anyone who shows up with a ticket-stub from Any Other Theatre can buy either one ticket for half-price, or a two-for-one pair on any Thursday when seats are available.

If enough companies could do that, automatically, every Thursday, all the time, I think the word of mouth would spread. Of course it's a privilege, and no company should give away seats that might be filled at full-price. But on the night of performance, when houses might be meagre, adding a handful of theater enthusiasts to the audience would benefit everyone. And people just might find theater habit-forming if they felt they were being given something that their local moviehouse would never think of offering.

Reactions, anyone?

Love,
===Anon.
( a k a larry stark )

And, already, here's some feedback on it:

Subject: Re: Audience Building Idea
Date: Sun, 19 Dec 1999 14:05:02 -0500
From: Don Gillis dgillis2@home.com
Larry--do you mean that, if say, I have a ticket for The Community Players current production, that you present THAT ticket to another theater group and get a discount on their production????

YES, DON, AND VICE-VERSA.
Works with a stub from PPAC too, at either theatre
Or a stub from The Colonial here in Boston.
But ONLY on a Thursday and ONLY if there ARE unsold seats that night.
In other words, if you saw a show, Anywhere, and saved your stub, show up with it on a Thursday at Any Participating Theater and they will give you either a twofer or a 1/2price seat.
People participating may set additional rules.
Clearer?
Love,
===Anon.

===== ===== =====
Subject: Re: CommentAudience Building Idea
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 1999 18:48:04 -0500
From: Harlan Feinstein harlan@cie.cendant.com
>As many local theatres as can ought to declare Thursday night as "Blue-light
>Special Night": Anyone who shows up with a ticket-stub from Any Other Theatre
>can buy either one ticket for half-price, or a two-for-one pair on any Thursday
> when seats are available.
[...]
>Reactions, anyone?

Great idea! :-)

--Harlan

===== === =====
Subject: Thursday nite tix idea
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 1999 17:20:37 EST
From: MizzDubois@cs.com
Dear Larry -
Just wanted to let you know that Perishable Theatre in Downcity Providence is not only on board for your Thursday nite "Blue LIght Special" Idea, but we are trying to organize the Providence, RI Theatres together to implement it. In addition to Trinity Rep, we have a bunch of professional non-Equity theatres that can all use a good boost to our Thursday night numbers. Let us know if you organize anything through your site that we can list in progams, etc.
Best regards,
Marilyn Dubois, Director of Public Relations
Perishable Theatre
===== ===== =====
[Those below are newest at the top]

Subject: Re: Audience Building Idea
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 1999 20:31:42 EST
From: TheatreZ@aol.com
I think the Theater Marathon would be a great place to launch the project! And I do think some kind of souvenir would be great- maybe involving autographs? Something to increase the sense of belonging/participation in a theater community for the audience member.
Any more great ideas circulating in the last few days??
Love,
Danielle


Subject: Re:
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 1999 15:42:53 EST
From: Lynne A Moulton delvena@juno.com
Hi Larry,
Oh dear. That is not what I wrote to you. That is what Juno wrote to you. I wrote I thought it was a good idea that you had about the Blue Light Special. Delvena would love to participate in the Thursday night thing.
Hope you had a great holiday!
Lynne M.
Subject: Re: Fwd: Audience Building Idea UPDATED
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 1999 19:00:45 EST
From: AdamsLis@aol.com
Hi, Larry! Joe forwarded to me your idea about building audiences. I think it's great! I'm a bit out of the theater loop just now, what with my museum studies classes and working full-time, etc., etc., but it occurs to me that your idea would work with museums, too. We're always looking for ways to "build an audience" as well (like those free Sunday afternoons at the MFA). Thanks for the idea, and I'll pass it along the museum circuit.
Lis
Subject: Re: Audience Building Idea
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 1999 18:27:53 EST
From: Algonkuin@aol.com
In a message dated 12/17/99 10:28:38 PM Eastern Standard Time, larry@theatermirror.com writes:
<< If enough companies could do that, automatically, every Thursday, all the time, I think the word of mouth would spread. Of course it's a privilege, and no company should give away seats that might be filled at full-price. But on the night of performance, when houses might be meager, adding a handful of theater enthusiasts to the audience would benefit everyone. And people just might find theater habit-forming if they felt they were being given something that their local moviehouse would never think of offering.
Reactions, anyone?

ACTUALLY, thats a good idea, i'm going to talk to other small theatre groups in the area, and may use this for my SUNDAY shows which are usually small. thanks for the idea,
Marty


Subject: Re: Audience Building Idea UPDATED
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 1999 13:13:36 -0600
From: jean young youngjea@luther.edu
Heigh-ho!
Congratulations on the response to your Great Idea! Perhaps you'll go down in history as the Henry Ford of the theatre world...
Packet of Hallowe'en photos on its way to you. Packet with all 8 Solstice pix (4 colorings of 2 versions) on its way to you. Solstice Blessings on their way to you --- The Sun Will Come Again!
LOVE -- jean
Subject: RE: Audience Building Idea UPDATED
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 1999 11:41:28 -0500
From: "Brian Premru" bp@mmcom.com
Hi Larry:
Great Idea!
Have not had a chance to check your boards for the dialog - but from what you attached to your email it appears you are getting a reasonable response.
Looking forward to getting together with you after the first of the year.
Wishing you and yours the best during this holiday season
Brian
Brian Premru
Subject: Re: Audience Building Idea UPDATED
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 1999 09:47:01 EST
From: JPZMail@aol.com
Larry-
So sorry to hear you've got the flu. I'm just coming out from under with the help of some anti-biotics. FEEL BETTER!!!!!!
As usual your idea(s) is(are) fantastic. I've forwarded it to Lynne Moulton (Delvena@juno.com) and I'm printing a copy of the e-mail for Ron Ritchell and Polly Hogan (Lyric West). I'll give it to them tonight at the show.
I hope you are well enough to enjoy the Holidays. If you do Christmas, a very Merry One to you and the Happiest and Healthiest New Year.
Your Friend-
Joe Z. [Zamparelli]
Subject: Re: Audience Building Idea
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 1999 11:02:19 EST
From: TheatreZ@aol.com
How exciting all the positive responses! Did someone say something about a card? Maybe there could be a card that could be added to each time someone took advantage of the special that could be a kind of season souvenir, and how about prizes/honors for the audience members who see the most productions/visit the widest range of theatres???
Love,
Danielle
Subject: Re: Audience Building Idea
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 1999 11:02:19 EST
From: TheatreZ@aol.com
How exciting all the positive responses! Did someone say something about a card? Maybe there could be a card that could be added to each time someone took advantage of the special that could be a kind of season souvenir, and how about prizes/honors for the audience members who see the most productions/visit the widest range of theatres???
Love,
Danielle
Subject: Thursday nite tix idea
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 1999 17:20:37 EST
From: MizzDubois@cs.com
Dear Larry -
Just wanted to let you know that Perishable Theatre in Downcity Providence is not only on board for your Thursday nite "Blue LIght Special" Idea, but we are trying to organize the Providence, RI Theatres together to implement it. In addition to Trinity Rep, we have a bunch of professional non-Equity theatres that can all use a good boost to our Thursday night numbers. Let us know if you organize anything through your site that we can list in progams, etc.
Best regards,
Marilyn Dubois, Director of Public Relations
Perishable Theatre
PO Box 23132
Providence, RI 02903
401-331-2695 phone
401-331-7811 fax
www.perishable.org
perishable@as220.org
Subject: Re: Audience Building Idea UPDATED
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 1999 14:10:31 -0500 (EST)
From: Doug Kirshen dkirshen@fas.harvard.edu
Larry,
This is a nice idea but I think we pretty much already do it with the Circle of Friends card. We honor that for 2-4-1 for people who get it from other theatres.
-Doug
--------------------------------
Doug Kirshen
Director of Audience Development
American Repertory Theatre
(617) 496-2000 x8844

Subject: Re: Audience Building Idea UPDATED
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 1999 10:34:40 EST
From: DoeBro@aol.com << So I may have kick-started a bandwagon here.
Any comments?

Yes. My comment is that you are BRILLIANT!!!! What a wonderful idea! I love it, love it, love it!
In order to control "ponging back and forth between theaters in a perpetual half-price mode" theatre companies could simply request that anyone taking advantage of this FABULOUS offer fill in a blue card (with the name of the production and the date of the performance already marked on it) with name, address, and email address--which would further build the company's database!
It would also be nice if folks would include in their programs a small ad for The Mirror with your logo and the text, "Participating in The Theater Mirror's Blue Plate Special Program" or something like that. But of course, that's up to them.
You continually wow me!
Hugs, kisses, and tons o' love,
Dorothy [Brodesser]


Subject: Re: Audience Building Idea UPDATED
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 1999 08:53:42 EST
From: Biz89@aol.com Dear Larry, I think your "Blue ticket idea is great. I do want to point out, though, that Bostix makes half price tix available on the eves of performances that are not sold out. To tell the truth, matinees would be a good addition, as they are generally a "tougher" sell, too. A good time to bring up your idea is at the first meeting for the Boston Theater Marathon, which will be soon. That's where several theaters will be represented at once. As the bigger theaters go, the smaller may follow. The idea might work great at the BCA between "rival" companies. As long as egos don't get in the way, it could work. But the sad fact is that less than 10 percent of the population regularly attend live theater, and most of the general public believe that "Cats" is the ultimate theater experience. They also believe that you have to shell out $65 fro a ticket. It's difficult to persuade people to try places like Hovey or Vokes where they can be entertained and challenged for $12.
Have a great holiday, Larry. Ciao, Jerry [Bisantz]
Subject: Blue-light
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 1999 06:09:54 -0500
From: Michael Bettencourt mbett29@idt.net
Interesting idea, and it seems to have kicked up some good reaction. Nicely done.
Subject: Re: Audience Building Idea UPDATED
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 1999 11:18:20 +0000
From: Brendan Hughes theatrecoop@earthlink.net
count the theatre cooperative in, larry!
Brendan
THANK YOU BRENDAN! I'M LISTING THE THEATRE COOPERATIVE AS PARTICIPATING IN THE PROGRAM!
Love,
Anon.
Subject: Re: Audience building Idea
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 17:03:38 -0500
From: Mitchell and Jennifer mitchnjen@madriver.com
Larry,
I like your idea of shared ticket stubs and will propose to our board that we try it here in VT.
Of course we are just a community theater group, in a very small Vermont town... But we have had some highly successful years. We do a lot of advertising with $1 off coupon type things like bulk mail and restaurant table tents etc. We also have an advertisers' reception as part of dress rehearsal and opening night food in keeping with the play.

Another idea that we did once, but never really followed through on for any length of time, so I don't know how great it would really be if done well. This was a Arts "Pass" that was given to anyone who donated funds to our local community-wide charity. The pass entitled the bearer to a discount at any of the participating art groups' events during the year. The discount was decided on by the individual group. This was a way to say thank you to community contributors. Were I to do it again, I would add recipients of this Pass to anyone who contributed significant hours volunteering on a community organization like the ambulance, fire etc. I'd also advertise it a lot more and make sure that each group gave an updated list of their events (not always easy in this volunteer world).
Although it may not increase your audience, it does give back to the community and may bring some new theater goers into your seats.
Jennifer
www.valleyplayers.com


Subject: Re: [Audience Building Idea]
Date: 20 Dec 99 14:45:45 MST
From: Walter Lamb web.phantom@usa.net
Larry,
I think it is a very good idea, if implemented the right way. I think if it was done informally, it could lead to confusion. In my opinion, the idea has the best chance of success if implemented by some central group with established credibility, such as stagesource.
Along the same lines, if enough companies pooled their marketing budgets, local theatre as an industry (sorry if that word seems artless) might be able to explore different advertising media, such as TV and radio. I am convinced that there are thousands of people out there who would rather see a play than a movie if they got into the habit.
Good luck.
Walter Lamb
Subject: RE: Audience Building Idea
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 13:11:59 -0500
From: David James dmjames@nsmt.org
I think Larry has a good idea here. Let's discuss it at tomorrow's marketing meeting. Of course, since our season ends this Thursday, it's a moot point for this year. However, it could work well for us in 2000. If we do implement this idea, I would like to see it expanded from one night to every night (excluding the Dress Circle, of course), subject to availability. My thoughts, in no order:

Mutual discount policy must be pre-arranged with the other theater
Seats can be reserved over the phone, subject to availability
Limit of one 1/2-price ticket per ticket stub
How do we keep people from ponging back and forth between theaters in a perpetual half-price mode? Or do we decide we don't care and treat it as price incentive (like the rush ticket)?
David

MAY I QUOTE THIS LETTER IN THE GREENROOM? IT REPRESENTS THE CLEAREST THINKING ABOUT THE POSSIBILITIES ANYONE HAS SENT ME SO FAR.
Subject: RE: Audience Building Idea
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 13:48:19 -0500
From: David James dmjames@nsmt.org
No thanks are necessary. I'm delighted to appropriate a good idea whenever possible! And, with the clarification that "tomorrow's marketing meeting" is simply NSMT's weekly marketing dept. staff meeting, feel free to quote away.
BTW, after 18 wonderful seasons, I am leaving NSMT in August, 2000 in order to study for the Russian Orthodox priesthood, so if you know anyone who might be interested in my job, please send them our way...
Thanks, again, for the great idea.
David James
Director of Marketing
NORTH SHORE MUSIC THEATRE
62 Dunham Road, BEVERLY
1(978-922-8500


Subject: Re: yes
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 13:28:41 EST
From: Faustwork@aol.com
Larry,
sounds good to me.
Rob Faust
Subject: Re: Audience Building Idea
Date: Sun, 19 Dec 1999 14:05:02 -0500
From: Don Gillis dgillis2@home.com
Larry--do you mean that, if say, I have a ticket for The Community Players current production, that you present THAT ticket to another theater group and get a discount on their production????

YES, DON, AND VICE-VERSA.
Works with a stub from PPAC too, at either theatre
Or a stub from The Colonial here in Boston.
But ONLY on a Thursday and ONLY if there ARE unsold seats that night.
In other words, if you saw a show, Anywhere, and saved your stub, show up with it on a Thursday at Any Participating Theater and they will give you either a twofer or a 1/2price seat.
People participating may set additional rules.
Clearer?
Love,
===Anon.


Subject: Re: Audience Building Idea
Date: Sun, 19 Dec 1999 08:41:20 PST
From: "Robert Thomas" CC: WMCGTH@NET1PLUS.COM, lmale@gis.net, ncastleking@earthlink.net, MCGUINNESS.NANCY_M@BEDFORD.VA.GOV, tim_recko@hp.com
Great Idea. We will keep it in mind. In our area, Central Mass, there are 4 or 5 groups, who do shows, within the same period of weeks. This could work very well. Thanks
Bob Thomas
NPTG
Subject: Re: Audience Building Idea
Date: Sun, 19 Dec 1999 07:43:11 -0800 (PST)
From: Marilyn Dubois mizzdubois@yahoo.com
Dear Larry:
You are an undeniable genius! That is a fabulous idea. Perishable is a small non-profit with a small marketing budget - but we have a brandy new audience development director and your suggestion will certainly give him a huge boost. I think we will definitely use your idea!- it promotes not only our audience (esp. on THURS) - but its a great bit of good karma for the local theatre community. Thanks!! And get well soon.
-Marilyn
Subject: thanks
Date: Sat, 18 Dec 1999 20:16:13 -0800
From: John Haley johnhaley@monad.net
Larry it sounds like a great idea. We at Andy's Summer Playhouse are always looking for more ways to fill our houses.
I like it and will pass it by the board and managing staff
Sheila
Subject: Thursday Night Special Offer
Date: Sat, 18 Dec 1999 18:43:01 -0500
From: Nancy Curran Willis imadirektor@mediaone.net
Hi Larry . . .
On behalf of the board of directors of Second Stage Theatre Company, we're officially "signing on" to participate in the "Thursday night as Blue-light Special Night" to encourage theatre goers to support a variety of companies and their work. We are in the process of concluding negotiations to return to the New Repertory Theatre stage for the last two weeks in July and the first week of August 2000 for the commencement of our second season. We will be happy to honor a ticket stub from another production (although I think some rules should be set up that it should at least be from the same season), for a half price ticket or two for one on any Thursday where seating is available.

As soon as all negotiations are complete we will be announcing the show and the audition and production dates on our web site. Please check our posting in February for the latest information on Second Stage. Our web address is: http://people.ne.mediaone.net/imadirektor/secondstage.htm

Best wishes to you and all the Theatre Mirror readers for a happy and healthy (take care of that flu) holiday season.
Nancy Curran Willis
Artistic Director
Second Stage Theatre Company


Subject: Re: Audience Building Idea
Date: Sat, 18 Dec 1999 17:53:14 EST
From: Mellifur@aol.com
In a message dated 12/17/1999 10:32:10 PM Eastern Standard Time, larry@theatermirror.com writes:
> As many local theatres as can ought to declare Thursday night as
> "Blue-light Special Night": Anyone who shows up with a ticket-stub from
> Any Other Theatre can buy either one ticket for half-price, or a
> two-for-one pair on any Thursday when seats are available.

I'm passing the idea on to my Curtain Call! links. It's worth consideration!

Hope you're feeling better soon!
Miriam Neiman
mellifur@aol.com Curtain Call! CT Community Theatres on the Web http://members.aol.com/mellifur/index.htm


Subject: Re: Audience Building Idea
Date: Sat, 18 Dec 1999 14:45:14 EST
From: BillatLTM@aol.com
Hi there,
It really is a good idea, I will bring it up to the board of LTM.
take care,
bil
Subject: blue-light special idea
Date: Sat, 18 Dec 1999 12:21:18 -0500
From: "Catherine Carr-Kelly" urt@shore.net
Hi Larry:
Hope the flu bug isn't complicating your life too much. I think your blue-light special idea is a good one. I would recommend it be used on special Monday night performances or Saturday matinees, though. As for the Women on Top Festival--we have a small house (black box) and the cut in ticket price might be problematic for a Thursday evening. Of course that is if attendance is good... (my fingers are crossed!)
take care,
Catherine Carr-Kelly
Underground Railway Theater
Subject: Re: Audience Building Idea
Date: Sat, 18 Dec 1999 12:12:03 EST
From: BillatLTM@aol.com
Interesting idea Larry. Would you put a limit on how old the ticket could be? bil

Subject: Re: Audience Building Idea
Date: Sat, 18 Dec 1999 09:18:51 EST
From: BrienClare@aol.com
That sounds great. I am always interested in methods of building audience - not only for our theater, but for downtown theaters in general. I have said, again and again, that if we could all try to promote the idea of theater in general, everyone would benefit and your idea sounds like a good start.

Any chance that you would want to do the organizing footwork, phonework, e-mailwork to get this going? Feel free to tell whomever you want that you have my full support.
Brien Lang
NewGate Theatre


Subject: Re: Audience Building Idea
Date: Sat, 18 Dec 1999 08:56:28 EST
From: PDOshaughn@aol.com
Best idea I've heard all day. I'll twist the box office's arm and we'll make it (or something very similar) happen.

A parallel thought - the Circle of Friends cards you get when you join, say, Huntington or the BSO work very well. The Community Theaters should band together and do the same thing. Get a season subscription to one and you get a discount to any others within the group. It's selling ice to the eskimos, my man. People will jump at a chance to save $5, even if it costs them $35 to do it!
Keep thinking and I hope you feel better soon! Go to bed!!!!
Paul O'Shaughnessy
Tech Director, chief bottle washer, Keeper of the Faith


Subject: Re: CommentAudience Building Idea
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 1999 18:48:04 -0500
From: Harlan Feinstein harlan@cie.cendant.com
>As many local theatres as can ought to declare Thursday night as "Blue-light S
>pecial Night": Anyone who shows up with a ticket-stub from Any Other Theatre c
>an buy either one ticket for half-price, or a two-for-one pair on any Thursday
> when seats are available.
[...]
>Reactions, anyone?

Great idea! :-)

--Harlan


Subject: RE: Audience Building Idea
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 1999 18:45:26 -0500
From: John Fogle john@promosis.com

Brilliant, Larry. It would really work. IF theatre companies could ever cooperate . . . at all, even a little. Alas... the collaborative nature of theatre seems to stop at the stage door.
Nice idea though.


Subject: Re: Audience Building Idea
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 1999 11:17:07 -0500
From: "Rik Pierce" RikP@pobox.com
Ah, Larry, I love this idea! Unfortunately the Concord Players only have shows on Fridays and Saturdays, but I should think this would be a good suggestion for the pros (Marramack, Lyric, New Rep, etc). Now, go to bed. Get your sleep. Have you been UP until 5:30 or did you just GET up??
love,
pronoun

Subject: Theatre Panel
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 1999 14:47:30 -0500
From: "Hennessey, Arthur" Arthur.Hennessey@Cognos.com

Hi Larry,
It was great to see you at the panel the other night.

I really found it valuable, and the perspectives interesting. I didn't get a chance, but I wanted to ask them at what point you go from the "let's put on a show," mentality to "here is our season."

Also, an issue that was skirted, (not intentionally,) was that of using New York talent other than Boston talent. Scott said that the Huntington doesn't advertise auditions, but I am pretty sure a clarification would be that they don't seek out actors here in Boston. I think they still will put the word out in New York. It is exciting to see somebody like Paula Plum be accepted into the ranks of the big houses, but it shouldn't be that exciting for a great, talented actress like her to be taken on regularly by a professional theatre company, in her own town. It should be a little more standard.

The midrange theatres are the real key. We need a few theatres that can pay actors and directors, maybe not enought to live on, but enough to sustain them. A "bridge," as Scott called it, between the small companies and the equity companies.

I also want to agree with you somewhat on something you mentioned.
Everybody is always talking about getting people in to see theatre, opening it up to new people. I have always held that trying to get people to go to theatre who are never going to come is like beating your head against a brick wall. You may get them to come once, twice, but not again and again. It is like somebody who doesn't like sports, they may come to baseball game now and then, for a company outing or something, but they aren't going to keep returning.

A lot of people who work in my office went to see Rent when it came to Boston. It was, "the thing to see." They tell me that they went because they heard about it and they were surprised how much they actually liked theatre once they got there. Upon further questioning though, they haven't stepped near a theatre since, or even read the theatre listings in the Globe. There is a lot of handholding in building that type of an audience and they probably will desert you eventually.

I get a little angry, however, when I talk to other theatre artists who have not seen a play in Boston in years, or don't even know what is going on in the theatre scene. How can we expect the support of others if we don't support ourselves?

Another thing we need. A fostering and nurturing of costumers, lighting designers, and set designers. At too many start-up theatre companies these key areas are left-overs that are either avoided or picked up as extra duties. I guess we can add management to that too.
Art

SEE THE Cricket's Notebook entry ABOUT
The Dudley House Panel Discussion


Subject: resource or website for pit orchestras
Date: Wed, 15 Dec 1999 22:55:03 -0500
From: Debbie Sniderman debsniderman@sprynet.com

Hello,
I'm a trombone player looking to find a pit orchestra in the Boston
area. I see your GREAT website theatermirror.com but it doesn't have links for orchestra members or auditions for upcoming shows. Any ideas on who to contact or what websites to check?
thanks,
Debbie Sniderman
debsniderman@sprynet.com
LARRY STARK REPLIES:
You need Harlan Feinstein whose entire life is the pits... I mean IN the pits. He'll demand first dibbs on trombone jobs, but he's incredibly generous and knows more about the local music scene than I do. His e-mail address is harlan@cie.cendant.com


Subject: theater
Date: Sun, 12 Dec 1999 16:17:30 -0600 (CST)
From: MOVIEJDS@webtv.net (JARVIS SONKOWSKY)

i want to become an actor but ther are no theaters around were i live. What do you think is somthing or way i could learn how to act. I am only 15 so i realy cant go to any school or any thing thank you for your time write me back
WHERE are YOU? GIVE US MORE INFORMATION, JARVIS, AND MAYBE THE GREENROOM CAN HELP.


Subject: Polishing a Screenplay
Date: Sat, 11 Dec 1999 18:17:00 EST
From: DWoodwo881@aol.com
CC: bernie19@javanet.com

Dear Mr. Stark,
There has never been a movie made about someone with severe physical disability who lives independently with the help of personal care attendants, has a job, and copes with the stresses of life with a positive attitude and a sense of humor.

My screenplay, WOODWORK has the potential to become this movie. It's autobiographical, spanning the 10-month period in my life when I had to carry on my work with the Worcester Parks, Recreation & Cemetery Dept. with the possibility of being laid off, and this happened toward the end of the movie. But I still had programs to run for persons with disabilities. I couldn't let down those who looked forward each year to competing in the cerebral palsy games.

My marriage had crumbled after two years and I was still coping with this. She was disabled, wanted to move out on her own, but was afraid. I loved her and wanted to believe that she loved me. I supported her, she moved out, and we were married. Six months later her love grew cold. Despite encouragement from her parents, she moved out into her own apartment in the same complex, and after another six months the marriage was annulled. The movie begins three months after this.

One positive was that through my efforts a UCP affiliate was being established. I was chairman of the board and we were seeking a coordinator. If I was laid off, perhaps my programs could continue under the affiliate.

It's all there, along with a few flashbacks, but I'm seeking the help of a professional who could read it and make revisions. My search has lead me to your web site in hopes of finding someone. One of my former college professors has offered to pay expenses up to a specified amount to further this project, so I am able to compensate someone for their efforts.

I don't know if we're looking at another My Left Foot or Forrest Gump. Maybe it would be best as a TV documentary, or a film sold to colleges and universities. I do hope that it will be an eye-opener.

I'd be happy to send you a copy of the 126-page script. Any help or leads you could give me would be greatly appreciated.
Sincerely,
Dwight Woodworth
THERE ARE playWRITING GROUPS ON BOSTON --- SHADOW BOXING, PLAYWRIGHTS' THEATRE, PLAYWRIGHTS' PLATFORM --- THATMIGHT HELP. USUALLY THEY ARE A GROUP OF PLAYWRIGHTS WHO SUGGEST AND CRITICIZE SCRIPT-READINGS.
I can't read scripts anymore; I too need a reading or a production to "fill-in" all the possibilities a bare script implies.
But, again, maybe the Greenroom gang has suggestions...
Love,
===Anon.


Subject: a suggestion
Date: Wed, 1 Dec 1999 13:16:27 -0500
From: "Carlton, Alison" acarlton@cpsdirect.com

Hi Larry,
I think your site is quite informative. I have been performing in community theater for approximately 15 years throughout MA. I was wondering if you have direct links after the audition notices or plan to do so?
For instance, I was thinking about sending a note to the Footlight, but wasn't able to under the auditions.
IF you don't add direct links, you may want to add phone numbers.
Thanks,
Alison

THE IMPORTANT THING HERE IS THAT I DON'T GO LOOKING FOR SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS NOR AUDITIONS --- I just put up what comes in Via E-Mail, the way it came to me.
I just checked the Footlight Club website, for instance, [ http://www.angelfire.com/ma/jas1/footlight.html ] and the closest they come to an e-mail address is their Membership Application [ http://www.angelfire.com/ma/jas1/membership.html ]
The best I can do is, when they DO include an e-mail address, I put in the HaTeMaiL-code so you can get a form directly. I add code when they give a website URL as well. But I let the company decide what they want to say, and how they think it best to handle responses.
What I CAN do is put your letter into the Greenroom, where producers and directors may be jolted into the 20th century and include e-mail more often!
Thanks for the suggestion.
Love,
===Anon.


( a k a larry stark )

Subject: Season's Greeting from Second Stage Theatre Company
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999 20:59:40 -0500
From: Nancy Curran Willis imadirektor@mediaone.net

If you cannot open the enclosed file directly, copy into a word document and open from word. You should be able to open it from the email.

Happy Holidays.

Nancy Curran Willis
THE "ENCLOSED" IS A DELIGHTFUL DIGITAL XMAS-CARD WITH ALL THE FOUNDERS OF "The Second Stage Theatre Company" SMILING BACK AT ME!
'TIS THE SEASON!
Love,
===Anon.


Subject: pure pedantry comment...
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 1999 12:47:58 -0500
From: trobinson@greenpages.com (Timothy Robinson)

The Merriam Webster Dictionary actually gives ''Theater or Theatre' as its listing. The fourth definition of BOTH words being, dramatic literature or performance. So either usage is correct in American English. However in correctly used British English the word 'theater' doesn't exist. Perhaps it's just an American affectation.

TIMOTHY, I AM CONTINUALLY ASTONISHED AT HOW MANY PEOPLE ACTUALLY READ All The Way To The Bottom OF OUR INTRODUCTORY PAGES!
If you check the Oxford English Dictionary you'll see that Wilm Shaxpy and Kit Marlowe spelt it "er" but a hundred or so years later "re" became standard.
You aren't the first to point out my pedantic folly.
Most of them, though, end with pointedly pointing out that it's "obstinATE" and not "obstinANT" --- something else I didn't know when I wrote the dictum originally!
I have kept the totally spurious rule-of-only-MY-thumb first, because I still think there should be some sort of differentiation going on here and that's as good as any, and, lastly, because I get to hear from people like You who know the real truth!
Thanks for adding to The GREENROOM!
Love,
===Orthographically Impaired
( a k a Anon. )


Subject: mARJORIE'S qUESTION
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 1999 01:39:48 EST
From: BDuffy1374@aol.com

Dear Larry...What a pleasure it was to read your meditation/haiku again after so many years...your reviews may be insightful and witty, but your "other writing" is very special. Thanks again.
Re: Marjorie's Question [NOTE: He means Jonathan's...]...Margaret Webster directed Robeson in Othello...read her book (Shakespeare without Tears[?]), then rent the Fishburne/Branagh Othello...you will see it with new eyes...
Now where was I in my rambling reminiscence...I think I had worked my way up to 1970...I was unable to get cast in any of the fall plays at Emerson (an experimental Everyman, a Six Characters, and a horrid thing by a faculty member, actually called The Garbage Hustlers...let's just say it lived down to its name) So I wandered over to a church basement on Cambridge St to help my girl friend (Stacia Smales...we would later marry, have two children,and divorce 10 years later in NYC) build sets for Hub Theatre Centre. Remember Roseanne Weeks? She was the artisitic director and one of the best "Actor's directors" I ever knew. At that time, she was running Bernarda Alba with Gloria?, Victoria ?, Joan?, Robin Solit...
I helped out with props...much to everyone's regret...(you know I like to end with a funny story, so here it comes)...I was supposed to make the wine for the opening scene of Act II, using a prescribed amount of certain food colorings. Well, one performance I was woefully late, and I had to quickly make the wine in the dark backstage...(You can see this one coming)...Imagine the howls as Bernarda's servant circled the table pouring bright blue wine into the goblets ...Roseanne almost killed me. But she cast me as Konstantine in The Seagull instead....her next production, and probably the first time you saw me...God, has it been that long ago?
I don't know why, but working in the theatre is so intense, I can remember every scene, every actor like it was yesterday...amazing, isn't it? More later: Kdaaang! Bernie Duffy


Subject: See attached Date: Mon, 22 Nov 1999 10:03:46 -0500
From: BaileyChapman/Mort Kaplan bchapman@mail.access1.net

Larry, Baybee, here's something I thought you might be interested in. It is part of an e-mail that Shirley Timmereck sent me last week. She is a playwright/visual artist from Homer, Alaska. Ed Bullins saw her work being read at the Edward Albee Festival in Valdez last summer, liked it so much that he and I have optioned her play "Louisa" for production and she and I have been working on rewrites via the magic of E-mail.--At any rate, I sent her a copy of the Boston Globe interview of Arthur Miller in which he laments the sad state of Broadway and the lack of opportunity for playwrights these days. Shirley wrote me the attached. I am sure she would not mind me sharing it with you and if your care to share it with your vast, vast public, feel free to do so.Mort

HERE'S SHIRLEY TIMMERECK'S NOTE:

Arthur Miller was the recepiant of the award in Valdez a few years back.. Unfortunately, while here his back troubled him so he missed part of the activities but he did get out into the Alaska wilds with people who took him everywhere possible by boat etc. and he really seemed to enjoy.

The best of that Conference for me was THE PRICE. migawd! What a play! It was a 'reading' by Michael Warren Powell, Shirley Knight and another topnotch actor... no scenery...but what a performance! It moved me deeply. It did this to the performers also.. Michael Warren Powell was almost overcome.. and I thought he might collapse at the end of his reading. No, I won't see it on Broadway but I drove 800 miles to Valdez where I saw it at a theatre in that small town at the end of the Alaska Pipeline.

There I have seen SYLVIA.. really fun, DEATH OF A SALESMAN, WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLFE, REDWOOD FOREST, ZOO STORY, SEASCAPE, ... parts of other plays..THREE TALL WOMEN...CHRISTMAS STORY, with Patricia Neal.. That has been my 'Broadway". . except when I go to Houston, Texas Alley Theatre with my son, but that is few and far between.

One thing I keep hearing at the Conference, sort of between the lines, is how theatre is dying, young people don't go, etc etc. I understand about the MONEY world... but Mort theatre is not dying. Here in this little black box theatre on Homer Spit we have seen THE CRUCIBLE.. amatuer, granted.. but I went twice! TAMING OF THE SHREW, STEEL MAGNOLIAS, and many, many other plays of high caliber... In our high school I have been spellbound by THE GLASS MENAGERIE.. again..amateur, students... nevertheless such heartfelt performances one is transported into the play. No, theatre is not only Broadway at the two million dollar rate... it is here on the last frontier... in unheard of little towns, and places all over America. If young people don't go... yes, it is the price of the tickets in big cities.. who can afford to take his date to a play? But theatre will never die.. we do readings right in my living room... I have had four of my plays onstage to local applause. Theatre will survive as long as man survives. Theatre from the Greeks, thru Shakespeare, Chekov to Miller, to Tennessee, to Albee.. Lansford Wilson... Tim Mason.. and even my several plays done here, and OUR LOUISA project, Theatre is alive and well... somewhere, all the time. Shirl


Subject: Theater History Question
Date: Sun, 21 Nov 1999 12:31:23 -0500
From: Marjorie Randell-Silver copperleaf@worldnet.att.net

Dear Larry,
My grandfather and I were discussing his fabulous teenage job as a "candy butcher" and general guy Friday at the Schubert Theatre on Broadway during an historic run (1943 or 1944) of Othello starring Paul Robeson as Othello, Uta Hagen as Desdemona and Jose Ferer as Iago to name a few. The question--- who directed this incredible production? Where can we go to find this information? Surely you must know where to look.
And speaking of Shakespeare, I am sorry you couldn't attend the Vokes Theatre's Macbeth. I played Fleance, son of MacDuff, 2nd apparition and messenger. It was a fine production and I really enjoyed my first stage experience with the Bard.
Looking forward to your speedy reply.
Regards,
Jonathan Silver

I BLUSH TO ADMIT I MISSED BOTH PRODUCTIONS, ONE BECAUSE i HAVENB'T A CAR, THE OTHER BECAUSE I WAS ELEVEN AT THE TIME!
And I can't think of the name of the series of annual compilations of all the credits for every Equity production during the year....THEATRE ANNUAL or THEATER WORLD???
Can anyone else help us out here?


Subject: RE: "A Letter of Support for The Fan Pier Performing Arts & Film Center"&127;The Fan Pier Performing Arts & Film Center"&127;&127;&127;
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 15:04:23 EST
From: MikeCeceri@aol.com

"A Letter of Support for The Fan Pier Performing Arts & Film Center"
"....The theatre was used recently, after being empty for almost a year, by a New York import playing to a guaranteed fringe audience. Apparently no indigenous companies with less bankable but more innovative wares have thought the ICA Theatre a viable venue.
Boston's theater artists desperately need a new, clean, accessible space devoted permanently to the live performing arts..."

Larry,
"PARTY was not a New York import (though I am flattered you thought so).. no more so than Speak Easy's "A New Brain" was. DollBoyz Productions is a new local theatre company with plans to bring even more fun, innovative theatre to the stages of Boston for both fringe and mainstream audiences.

We are very thankful for the ICA theatre. Not only was the space perfect for our show, they were professional and accommodating from our first inquiry about rental space through our last day of striking the set. That is more than I can say for the other similar spaces in Boston that would not even return phone calls inquiring about theatre and rehearsal space rental.

We are thrilled the ICA will be getting their new waterfront facility, they were a pleasure to deal with and we hope to do more with them both in the near and distant future.
Mike Ceceri
Cofounder/Producer
DollBoyz Productions


Subject: Sold out!
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1999 10:13:12 EST
From: WeinerDrct@aol.com

Wanted to share the good news that the second weekend of Shadow box is totally sold out. If by any chance you haven't ordered tickets yet, please come this weekend. There are about 10 tickets left for each night the 12th and 13th. Call Debby Bloom at 429-8813 or stop by town hall tonight.

Thanks everyone who has ordered tickets and helped make this our fourth sold-out production in a row! (And listened to me worrying about ticket sales being slow!)

P.S. We are welcoming anyone who would like to come to dress rehearsal tonight. Please be there by 6:45 (actors 6:30).

5 - 20 November
"Extremities"
BURLINGTON PLAYERS
Park Playhouse
0 Edgemont Avenue, Burlington, MA
(781) 229-2649

Subject: theatre? Nope: theater
Date: Tue, 09 Nov 1999 21:15:09 -0500
From: Dan Perlmutter danpe@mindspring.com

No, Larry:
"Theater" is the original spelling Shakespeare would've recognized;
"theatre" is the frenchified version after England--but not America--went through a francophiliac wave.
Nothing sillier than to see the Manhattan Theatre Club at City Center.
And you think, _you're_ pedantic?
Dan Perlmutter--who considers "theatre" pretentious.


Subject: I think that's fine. Thank you.
Date: Sun, 7 Nov 1999 16:38:27 -0500
From: dojo9@juno.com

A couple of days ago, I wrote a formal letter to the Globe as follows:

With reference to the article on page E4 of the 3 November edition, I would be grateful if you would insert a correction as follows:

“In Bill Marx’s review of the Poets’ Theatre current production SEDUCTIONS at the Works Theater, Somerville, Dorothy Brodesser played the part of Flora in 27 WAGONS FULL OF COTTON. We erroneously ascribed her “fine performance” to a male actor. We regret the error.”
Dominick Jones: dojo9@juno.com
President, Poets' Theatre
Telephone (617) 587 9815
Fax available on request


Subject: The Old Settler
Date: Sun, 7 Nov 1999 01:59:09 EST
From: DoniDoni@aol.com

I just wanted to drop you a quick response to your review of The Old Settler at the Lyric Stage. I went to see the production this evening. I thought it was one of the best plays I have seen in a long time. The show was wonderful from beginning to end. Direction, acting, timing, sound, lighting etc. I totally enjoyed this production. After seeing a great deal of theater this past month, most of which was not very good. This play at the Lyric Stage was a pleasant change. This is just my opinion, but it was also they opinion of everyone on their feet at the close of the show tonight as well as the other Boston area critics. I think perhaps you just didn't get it. If I could add one more thing. I don't think it has anything to do with the fact that your "white" as your review states, in regard to your opinion of the play. Thanks for your time.
DH.
Boston


Subject: news
Date: Wed, 03 Nov 1999 13:16:01 -0500
From: Geralyn Horton ghorton@tiac.net

My one act comedy "Fantasia For String Trio" will be part of the Arlington Center for the Arts staged reading series at Fox Community Center, 175 Mass Ave, Fri and Sat November 12 & 13, (7:30, not 8:00!)
Starring the knockout team of Michelle Markarian and Jason Taylor. $5, $1.

Just heard that Rosanna Yamagiwa Alfaro's "It Doesn't Take a Tornado" has been accepted by Women of Color Productions at La Mama, and I'm to go to NYC to reprise my role as The Tornado Lady, Dec 1st and 2nd. The rest of the group are "staying with friends", and I would be very grateful if some colleague would offer me a sofa in The City so that I could be doing that, too. Perhaps in exchange for a bit of cash and a ticket to the production? --
Geralyn Horton, Playwright
Newton, Mass. 02460
http://www.tiac.net/users/ghorton


Subject: "Three Tall Women"
Date: Wed, 03 Nov 1999 10:17:19 -0500
From: Christopher Stern cstern@stelladesign.com

Larry
You should check out The Winchester Players' fine production of "Three Tall Women" by Edward Albee. What a beautiful and fascinating play! Unlike "As Bees in Honey Drown," it's pure theater, not at all "cinematic." If theater didn't exist, "Three Tall Women" wouldn't exist.
-- Chris


Subject: SEDUCTIONS
Date: Sun, 31 Oct 1999 14:01:26 EST
From: DoeBro@aol.com Dearest Larry,
Humbled by this exceptional experience, by my good fortune, by your insight and kindness, first thank you for really seeing Seductions. We plump character actresses are rarely afforded the opportunity to play not one, but two plum roles in the same evening! For that serendipity to enfold within it an ensemble of actors, directors, designers and crew such as these outstanding colleagues is, simply stated, a gift of grace.

Please note, however, that this evening of theater is the brainchild of one Aiden Parkinson, Artistic Director of The Poet's Theatre, and director of The Marriage Proposal. It was he, producer Dominick Jones, and the Board of Directors of The Poet's Theatre who selected these plays and brought this production to the stage. Fran Weinberg's reputation for excellence caught the attention of Parkinson and crew, and earned her the opportunity to direct both the Pinter and the Williams. I was just plain lucky to be in the right place at the right time to work again with Fran et al, on a piece which will forever be the most cherished of my stage experiences. And you're right -- it is extraordinarily satisfying to be a moving part of this too unsung community of theater professionals.
Much love,
Dorothy
(Dorothy Brodesser)
DOROTHY, ANY OUTSIDER ASSIGNING "PRAISE AND BLAME" ABOUT A SHOW IS ALWAYS STABBING AT IT WITH HIS EYES SHUT! THE BEST I CAN DO IS ATTACH YOUR LETTER TO MY REVIEW SO THE TRUTH CAN BE HEARD.
AND GIVE MY LOVE TO AIDAN AS WELL.
Love,
===Anon.


Subject: From Bernie Duf-KDAAANG!-fy
Date: Fri, 29 Oct 1999 21:10:56 EDT
From: BDuffy1374@aol.com

Hi Larry...Couldn't seem to pull up your poems on /water...URL problems...so, where were we? Oh, yeah...fall of 69...show up at Emerson, Tom Haas has left with the entire Acting faculty at the last moment and gone off to Yale (which would become the best Theater Dept in the country) leaving a badly overwhelmed group of second stringers to teach an annoying, very spoiled egotistical bunch of actor brats. What a mess...I had "graduated" from HS theater to community to paid summer stock, and thought I was hot stuff...but things were changing then...I remember us all auditioning for Hair...none of us made the cut except for one exceptionally untalented girl who emerged from the audition studio, walked up to the producer's table and grunted, "D'ya know where I can take a piss?" She was hired immmediately.

One last Emersonian moment: To eat (don't worry: I would starve in New York) I delivered pizzas to the dorms...One night as I entered the circular hallway of a guys' dorm, carrying about four pizzas, all the lights went out. I suddenly found myself lit from above by a half dozen flashlights...I muttered something like "OK, guys, very funny." When suddenly, into the pool of light, came a shining switchblade...on the end of an arm, and then a huge malevolently grinning head, too big for its body, with a strangely pointed chin . The grinning head said," Alright, buddy, gimme dat pizza or its da last pepperoni for youse." I began to play it for real, he kept it up, I pushed it a little too far, leaving him no choice (really!) but to slash at the pizza boxes, the dripping sections of which I had no choice (really!) but to hurl and heave about the darkened lobby at his moaning frat brothers. (There goes supper)... I never went back to the Pizza Place, just quit right then & there.
Now here's the tag: the grinning head? Jay Leno.
I know this isn't Theater Museum of Boston stuff, but it sure is goofy fun bringing it up again....KDAAANG!!....(there goes that frog again!)
yours, Bernie Duffy


Subject: Hello Larry!
Date: Fri, 29 Oct 1999 12:13:16 EDT
From: PippinNYC@aol.com

Hey there,
It is me, Jamie McGonnigal, with an update from the road of the actor's life...I am working now on a new musical called "The Flute Player's Song" in Ocean City, NJ. It is going to be workshopped here and then taken to Philadelphia in the Spring, with aspirations of on or off broadway by late next year. Its a great little show with a lot of potential. I am very excited to be a part of it. I have also joined the union for this production, so I am also excited about that! Anyhow, I hope all is well in Boston and hope all is well with you...Please let me know how everything is.
Love, Jamie

WONDERFUL TO HEAR YOU'RE STILL HAPPILY AT WORK!
When Jamie was still a Bridgewater State undergraduate he became The Mirror's first outside reviewer! (But he was a much better actor/singer!)
Love,
===Anon.


Subject: Theater Mirror
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 1999 21:16:45 -0400
From: Jenn starstruck10@geocities.com

Hi, Larry--
I really value your site. I love reading the reviews, especially, and reading other's comments on a production I saw, rather than "It was really good. I liked it."

Although I was disappointed to not find a review to the recent production of "The Secret Garden," at the North Shore Music Theater. I've particularly loved reading the reviews for that theater, as I have season's tickets there. Did nobody involved with the site go and see the show? That's a shame. I really loved it, although can't elaborate at the moment, I have some work to do.

However this brief e-mail may have turned out, I really wanted to congratulate you on a fabulous site that I enjoy reading.
~Jenn

JENN, I USUALLY TRY TO GET TO NSMT, AND I HAVE YET TO SEE "The Secret Garden" BUT THINGS JUST CROWDED MY MIND AND MY DANCE-CARD. I'LL TRY TO DO BETTER IN FUTURE.
Love,
===Anon.


Subject: Bernie Duffy thru the years, thru the flames: Hi, Larry!
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 1999 15:26:28 EDT
From: BDuffy1374@aol.com
Larry...pardon the pretentious art-toadian reference above, but I must say: stumbling (my form of surfing) upon your webabode sent me on a Monstrous flash back...here's my fondest memory: your bashful presentation of an inscribed copy of your book of haiku...I read it many times through the years before losing it during one of many moves...in case you don't remember me, I acted with Roseanne Week's Hub Theatre & and Kaleel Sakakeeny's Stage One back in the early 70's...had a good run in NYC (the peak being Serban's Cherry Orchard w/Irene Worth, Raoul Julia, Meryl Streep)...divorce shattered me, became an antiques dealer, started a theater school in NJ...moved to Portland Oregon...now Outreach Director for NorthWest Childrens Theater (sic)...and still acting, having just played Capulet for Shakespeare in the Park here...still crazy about theater...fiercely enganged in the battle for funds for youth at risk...still in the trenches...still a kid...still dreaming of a theater that makes a difference, that leads the way (definitely spent too much time w/ Joe Chaikin!)...I hope you are well...your site is fantastic...I will come back and read some of your reviews when time permits...and how about some more haiku?...yours, Bernie Duffy

BERNIE, THIS IS A BLAST FROM my PAST TOO!


Subject: "Tempest" typo
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 1999 11:25:49 -0400
From: Christopher Stern cstern@stelladesign.com

Larry,
One correction to your "Cricket's Notebook" piece on Bruce Gellerman: it's the Theatre Cooperative, not the Theatre Collective, that produced that marvelous production of "The Tempest" at the Peabody House in Somerville. I saw it last weekend & loved it. It closes this weekend, so anyone who likes fresh, inventive, moving, and thoughtful theatre should try to see it while it's still around.
-- Chris Stern
LARRY STARK REPLIES:
Oooops! I'll make the change


Subject: your position on the "Wright" flap . . .
Date: Fri, 8 Oct 1999 12:31:59 -0400
From: John Fogle Subject: your position on the "Wright" flap . . .
is right on the money. Public pronouncements aside, we all love controversy and conflict. (Where would theatre be without it?) My feeling is that this controversy has enhanced your website - although I doubt that this is your specific intent. Maybe we should all be more accepting of other people's "erroneous opinions." Perhaps you can remember (I can't) who said, "It doesn't matter what they say about you as long as they say about you."

As someone who has directed over 50 community theatre productions, I am sometimes (not always) frustrated by the lack of honest, thought critical response to my (our) work. There is a supportive bubble enveloping us in amateur theatrics that is rare and wonderful. But I think we've all had the experience of visiting a friend backstage after a so-so (or worse) production to find an orgy of self-congratulation among the cast and crew that rivals the celebration surrounding our own last "triumph." Aaah! It is a dream world we live in. So I try to study the faces in the audience, listen to intermission chatter, measure the true spirit of the applause at curtain and, finally, watch my wife, who's nose wrinkles involuntarily when something stinks. These amount to "thumbs up/thumbs down" that don't enlighten (except my wife's). We all have artistic blind-spots. Who's going to point out and shed light on mine?

So I share your desire for a discussion forum. And if you open that door, we all need to accept whoever walks through it. Don't we?

I have thoughts on why so few have responded to your invitation . . . but another time. Thanks!
John


Subject: More Alexander Wright Material
Date: Fri, 08 Oct 1999 09:43:17 EDT
From: "Kelly Jensen" kjensen56@hotmail.com

Mr. Stark,
I want to comment on the letters concerning the reviews of Alexander Wright. I have been an avid reader of TheaterMirror for quite some time and do appreciate the attention that you give to community theater. As an avid theatergoer, community and professional, I make point of trying to read the reviews you make available. While I do not always agree with submitted reviews (I also disagree with many of the NY Times reviewers when I take my "Broadway jaunts"), I do appreciate the forum that you encourage and provide. I also enjoy the "minority" reviews that you post, especially those that describe the other side of the coin. I will say that I have been interested by the reviews that Mr. Wright has submitted. Anyone familiar with a multitude of reviewing styles will at least appreciate Mr. Wright's candor and insight. Does he go too far with his assumptions and spculation? Maybe. But I do appreciate his insights about what worked and what might have made the performance better.

After attending Torch Song Trilogy at the Footlight Club during its second weekend of performances, I concluded that this was a production that was not by any means ready for public invitation. I wish I would have taken Mr. Wright's advice. I was chatting with a couple of gentlemen during intermission who stated opinions equally as harsh as Mr. Wright's. This was not a show that the audience was particularly enjoying, myself included. I have seen a number of shows at the Footlight Club over the past five years and have been both over and underwhelmed, but I have never been as disappointed with any of their shows as I was with Torch Song Trilogy.

As for people requesting that you not give Mr. Wright a forum for his reviews --the mere thought of that form of censorship chills me to the core. How would the Footlight Club feel if the town of Jamaica Plain barred them from performing a show that contained sensitive and controversial material? While we all may not agree with the opinions of Alexander Wright, Larry Stark or even Ben Brantley, these reviewers are providing a service to the true theatergoers. I am bored to tears with reviews that give a 10-paragraph synopsis of the show and conclude with "there are many fine performances given". That is not a review--that is sentimental scrapbook fodder for the cast, crew, and theater archives. I prefer reviews that are geared to inform and educate the ticket-buying public, myself included. Keep up the good work Larry and I urge you to continue posting any and all reviews you receive.
Kelly Jensen


Subject: Great news
Date: Wed, 06 Oct 1999 14:21:40 -0400
From: joseph antoun jantoun@erols.com

Larry
Great News
Melinda Lopez and I just returned from DC where we both accepted awards from the Kennedy Center Fund for New Plays for Melinda's play The Order of Things which we are producing in April at the Boston Playwright's Theater. It was a huge honor as Melinda was one of five playwrights honored with a theater company. The other playwrights included Horton Foote (with Signature Theater in NYC) and Howard Korder (South Coast Rep). Five plays that have won this award have gone on to Pulitzers, including Hiedi Chronicles and ngels in America. Melinda also received the first annual Charlotte Woolard Award , given from this year on to a promising new voice in the American Theater.

Needless to say...we both are thrilled and had a blast in DC for the 24 hours we were there. Melinda sat next to Frank Rich at the Luncheon. The award comes with some money for Centastage to do a production they might not otherwise afford. It also means the Kennedy Center will come see the show with an eye on it. Nice to see a local playwright recognized.
Joe Antoun
GREAT NEWS! CONGRATULATIONS ALL.....


Subject: One Last Thought
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 1999 17:34:46 -0400
From: Candace Hopkins Candace.Hopkins.B@bayer.com

Larry,
Thank you so much for your Cricket's notes to Alexander Wright. Your point by point delivery of your response to his lengthy rebuttal is beautifully made. I've stayed out of it until now, but I just wanted to thank you publicly for all that you do for community theater (Mr. Wright's "reviews" excluded). I'd also like to thank all those that wrote to object to the tenor of the review.

In final response (I hope!) to Alexander Wright's words - -

It isn't to your honesty to which we object, Alexander. It is to the brutality by which you deliver it. Honesty need not be brutal to be accepted.

Learn from this, please.

Sincere regards,
Candace Hopkins
President
Footlight Club


Subject: Re: Alexander Wright's response
Date: Wed, 06 Oct 1999 18:20:58 -0400
From: Christopher Stern cstern@stelladesign.com

>From Alexander Wright's reply to his detractors:

"I know for a fact that the Footlight Club has the ability to build sturdy, attractive sets -- see my positive comments for the "Equus" set (but maybe more attention was paid to the set of "Equus" since it was going into competition--which is an unforgivable excuse to explain the obvious disparity in quality)."

Italics mine. I had the pleasure of producing "Equus," and I know for a fact that the quality of Jim Lynch's set had nothing to do with the production's participation in the EMACT competition. It was built for the Footlight Club production and the Footlight Club stage. If we had designed it for EMACT, we would have built it so that it could be easily transported and quickly assembled. In the event, we weren't sure that the main set piece -- an archway composed of twelve-foot flats bolstered here and there with strapping and topped with a four-foot foam horse's head -- would survive the trip to Brandeis, let alone whether we would be able to cart the damn thing out onto the competition stage within the qualifying time period.

Furthermore, no one in the "Torch Song" or "Equus" productions, or in the Footlight Club at large, or anywhere in the Universe as far as I know, has tried to "excuse" the "Torch Song" set by suggesting that there would have been a better effort if the show were going to competition. The Footlight Club simply does not operate that way. Why does Mr. Wright make such a nasty, out-of-the-blue suggestion? Why does he allude darkly to a completely fictitious and particularly ugly version of events, and then judge it to be "unforgivable"?

"Equus" is ancient history, but I bring all this up to make a point. Although I generally agree with Mr. Wright's criticism, and certainly would not like to silence him, I think he has a tendency to make these kinds of unwarranted and baseless inferences and insinuations. He wasn't present when the "Equus" and "Torch Song" sets were being planned and built. He has no knowledge of how decisions were made. What place does ignorant, snide conjecture have in responsible criticism? Is is criticism at all, or is it innuendo?

What distresses me about Mr. Wright's reviews is not merely that he jumps to conclusions, but that he jumps gleefully to the worst conclusions. He's perceptive and acute when he writes about what he sees, but when he indulges in crass speculation, he reveals a mean-spirited ignorance that undermines his talents.
-- Chris Stern


Subject:
Date: Tue, 5 Oct 1999 15:19:14 -0700 (PDT)
From: Alexander Wright alxndrwright@yahoo.com

Larry,
This letter is in response to the emotionally charged "outrage" and "venting" my review of "Torch Song Trilogy" provoked. I would first like to thank you for your encouragement and continued support of voicing opinions and observations of local amateur and professional dramatic productions. You provide a very valuable service. And by allowing everyone to participate, regardless of style, it allows for a healthy dichotomy of opinions and viewpoints to be heard--not only the good, but the bad as well. If it would ease the minds of some of your readers and help them sleep better at night, by all means, start a new section titled as such and you may include future reviews I send you in that section.

Let me say, contrary to popular opinion, I have no "vendetta" against community theatre. Also, I have never and will never participate actively in theatre (auditioning, directing, stage managing, etc.). My interests are not concerned with performing or working behind the scenes. I just like to go see it--period. I have been to both amateur and professional productions for many years, attend quite frequently, and will continue to do so in the future. When I have time, I write a review of "what I saw", as you, Larry, have suggested and encouraged theater-goers to do repeatedly.

Along the way I have seen brilliant and inspiring shows as well as some downright lousy and dismal shows. In my opinion, both amateur and professional shows have fallen into either category. I have never stated in any of my reviews that "professional theatre is the only real theatre." That is counter to what I believe. I challenge any of your readers to find and point out which review contains that remark. I subscribe to the belief that anywhere there are performers and an audience, theatre is created, whether or not professionals are involved.

As an example, I have seen some very exciting, admirable, and inspiring amateur tap dance performances on the boardwalk of Atlantic City and on the streets of the French Quarter in New Orleans that far outshine anything the Broadway production of "Bring in da Noise, Bring in da Funk" had to offer. If some readers don't think I have anything negative to say about professional theatre, take a gander at my review for "Cabaret" and my comments concerning Terri Hatcher. I made quite a critical statement about my inference as to why she was the star of the road show in Boston--and it's not due to pure talent.

Also, I think a handful of your readers get hung up on the negative comments that I make but consciously choose to forget about the positive ones. I do realize that amateur community theatre is an imperfect medium operating on a low budget and that a reviewer could never judge a local production with the same criteria as a professional production. When I see amateur artists fulfilling their maximum potential, I am more than eager to applaud their successful efforts.

If you read my review of Blood Brothers by Arlington Friends of the Drama, there are many glowing comments about several of the performers (e.g. "Arlington Friends have struck a goldmine with three performers--Mr. DeVivo, Ms. Darrow, and particularly Mr. McLaughlin. The title of the show is 'Blood Brothers', so it is quite fitting that the strongest performers are those portraying Eddie and Mickey. Mr. DeVivo and Mr. McLaughlin work seamlessly together and convincingly play children as well as young adults. Both have tremendously capable voices that are pure listening pleasure. While both actors are equally /ompelling, Mr. McLaughlin tends to consistently grab your attention. From his physicality to the growing discontent of his maturing life, Mr. McLaughlin brings a completeness to his character that is rarely seen in the world of community theatre musicals. Ms. Darrow as Linda, childhood friend of the brothers and eventually wife to Mickey, is also an absolute treat to watch. She brings a delightful mischieviousness to her younger life and channels this into a gradual maturity and sense of responsibility in her early adult years. Ms. Darrow perfectly expresses her struggle of having to choose one brother over the other.") and the musical direction (e.g. "The musical direction, under the talented Mr. Shapiro, is of exceptional quality."). If I remember correctly, this troupe is a non-professional volunteer community theatre.

I also had some fine things to say about "Equus" at the Footlight Club last year (e.g. "Ms. Curran Willis also does an excellent job with the final segment of the first act. It is quite vivid and excitingly tense. She effectively uses the complete cast (which remain onstage for the entire production), producing a choral chant at key dramatic moments. With a less experienced hand such efforts would not be nearly as successful."). I recently made positive statements about the ensemble and musical direction of "Company" at the Quannapowitt Players (e.g. "The ensemble works well together and their sound is evenly balanced. That's quite a feat given the complexity inherent in a tricky and demanding Sondheim score. The musical direction (Timothy Evans) is sprinkled with a healthy dose of professionalism."). .

However, when any artist, amateur or professional, falls well short of achieving their potential and expectations, should a reviewer turn his back and ignore it? The time when most people become soft skinned, easily bruised, and overly sensitive arrives when anything negative, even though it may be fully warranted and truthful, is suggested. No one complains about a complement, but toss in any negative statements and the seeds of controversy are blown to the far corners of the universe. Quite frankly, the "slanderous" statements and character assassinations I have been accused of making seem like confessions of true love when compared to what one might overhear during the intermission of many community theatre shows. It is quite an educating and eye-opening experience when one hears ABC community theatre laughing at, bad-mouthing, trashing, and asserting their superiority and skills to XYZ community theatre.

In my reviews I have made public some very critical and observation-based statements supported by "what I saw". Since I am an "outsider", I assume absolutely no risk in making these objective statements. But is that any worse than a theatre "insider" saying the same things behind the back of the director, cast, and crew? I think that is why you do not receive any "reviews", "personal opinions", "observations" or whatever you want to label them, from members of the local theatre community. At least with me, you know what you get up front. If I liked it you'll know it and if I didn't at least you'll know why--with specific examples which support my position.

I would like to challenge experienced community theatre directors/producers to publicly share their honest thoughts about "Torch Song Trilogy". One would think that any director/producer could only possibly benefit and/or profit from the candid adjudication of many of these individuals, some of which have done some very solid and exceptional work at one time or another. I would also like to think that any respectable amateur director/producer would be interested in hearing honest feedback about what his or her peers thought of their production. Unfortunately, Mr. Stark, if you discreetly ask any of these people for an honest "off the record" assessment of "Torch Song", I wouldn't be surprised if it were a somewhat different version than one that would be designated "for publication".

And it's no doubt why, as Ms. Curran Willis pointed out, it's like pulling teeth to get local publications to review greater Boston community theatres. Maybe a local reviewer doesn't want to feel obligated to have to candy coat every single statement he or she makes in order to keep the theatre from belly-aching, whining, crying, and throwing a temper tantrum like a two year old spoiled brat.

When I make a "negative" comment, a suggestion is offered that is one of many possible solutions addressing what might have made that element of the production more interesting or consistent with the overall theme of the show. I don't pull negative comments out of the air without first explaining why I disliked the choice the director or actors made (for example, concerning blocking variety, there were more areas of the Act 2 bed that could have been utilized than just the four corners and dead center). Ms. Pape and Mr./Ms. ShineYou@aol.com both quickly pointed out my "incorrect" and "unfair" assessment of "Torch Song". However, they were quite thoroughly negligent in mentioning a single specific as to why either one thought it was a rousing success. Both might as well have just said, "I liked it", smiled blankly, and left it at that. That's not a summary of the combined ingredients of a successful show, it's a generically watered down personal preference. And my opinion of "Torch Song" was not the only negative one since, as I mentioned in my review, several dissatisfied patrons (not just one or two) walked out before the end of the evening.

Consider that my "negative" comments may point to the areas of a local community theatre that need improvement or a dedication of resources. The reason the set for "Torch Song" was unsatisfactory (I mean, come on, when the actors walked in and out of Arnold's front door, the whole thing was shaking so badly I feared that one of them might get hit as it toppled down!) may have been due to a lack of resources, manpower, and dedication from the members of the Footlight Club. Perhaps one person, with little to no cooperation, had to handle the responsibility for constructing the entire shebang. If that's the case, the members of the Footlight Club have no one but themselves to blame for making the show and Mr. Campbell look bad. But unless a reviewer has knowledge of this deficiency prior to seeing the show, you can not weigh such exceptions when formulating comments on "what you see." I know for a fact that the Footlight Club has the ability to build sturdy, attractive sets--see my positive comments for the "Equus" set (but maybe more attention was paid to the set of "Equus" since it was going into competition--which is an unforgivable excuse to explain the obvious disparity in quality). This is an example of what I mean by not living up to potential and expectations.

When an established and respected community theatre boasts of its accomplishments and prides itself on presenting quality theatre (as a matter of fact, the Footlight Club was voted best community theatre by the readers of the Boston Phoenix), there is an implied contract with the audience that should guarantee it will deliver "what it is selling". This puts the debate into what is considered a "fair game" arena. As attractive as it sounds, it's not always the smartest marketing ploy, since it places the organization in a very vulnerable position and is an open invitation for a higher level of critical evaluation. This also goes for press releases that boldly state the cast is bursting at the seams with "award winning" actors and "the finest actors New England community theatre has to offer". In simple terms, it raises the standard by which the production will be critiqued (and if this production of "Torch Song" is the best that community theatre in Boston has to offer, the state of community theatre is definitively in a shambles).

In the program, Mr. Campbell notably pointed out that he has been directing for the past 15 years. Given this assumed background, he did not produce commensurate results. I have seen first time amateur community theatre directors pull off more difficult material with greater success (and yes, Ms. Pape, the scripts have been three acts and well over 100 pages too). Simply because I didn't like his "Torch Song" doesn't mean that I will never want to see another Paul Campbell production or discourage others from going to see any of his future directorial endeavors. As a matter of fact, I'd be eager to see another work of his, because I would like to think "Torch Song" was in no way representative of his best effort. However, it was entirely unacceptable for a director of his seasoning (15 years!) to lay this kind of "goose egg". My overly critical comments about "Torch Song" were meant to imply that Mr. Campbell seriously fell short of his "advertised resume"--another example of not satisfying expectations.

I'm sure he's a very nice person--he seems well liked by many. My criticism had nothing to do with his personal character whatsoever and any statement accusing me of a "personal" attack is egregiously erroneous. I urge anyone who thinks this was a personal attack on Mr. Campbell to go back, read the review, and point out exactly which statements were "slanderous". In no way do I ever attack his personal character traits or human integrity. If I did, that would be slander. I only criticized his artistic sensibility as a director. Any criticism presented directly addressed his role as the director and was only meant to verbalize my assessment of the kind of job he did directing the production in question--"Torch Song Trilogy". So I don't see how it's even possible to accuse me of "personal" character assassinations, slander and other ludicrous nonsense. Those accusations are merely emanating from bent-out-of-shape feelings, bruised egos, and rampant hysteria.

If Mr. Campbell had been a first time director, I would have adjusted the scale against which he was measured. I assure you, my comments about the direction would have been only mildly negative since one would have to assume that the director does know any better and is still in the stages of early development. I'd be willing to bet if the Footlight Club had a first time director mount this production with the same result as Mr. Campbell, that particular director would be politely dismissed with a handshake and nod and never invited to direct there for a long, long time.

If Ms. Pape believes that community theatre exists as a dog and pony show for amateur actors to "perform in plays that they love and dream about performing in" and that "it is a joy to watch and support one's friends and family as they get a kick out of putting on a show", then by all means, do so! However, the organization should advertise itself as such and circulate press releases stating those concepts and values as the sole impetus for mounting theatrical productions. There is no shame in that. That way friends and family can be the target audience and the unknowing public can itself decide whether or not to pay $15 to attend the production. At least you then know what you're getting into up front. My review of a show that falls into this category would be leagues more lenient than one that pretends to be something it is not.

I will use a more practical example--Pet Brick Productions. I read Mr. Stark's review of their inaugural production "Waiting for Godot", but was unable to attend and review it myself. Curious about this new group, I clicked on the link to their web page and found the following in their mission statement: "As part of the risk we assume in presenting new productions, we will introduce opportunities for younger and minority actors to develop roles that are otherwise unavailable--not for lack of talent nor for loyalty to the text, but for historical reasons." If I were to review a Pet Brick production, I would obviously need to consider this information in composing my evaluation. It would be "off limits" to penalize an actor for being too young or too old for a role because Pet Brick has publicly acknowledged that they provide opportunities for actors, regardless of age. In fact, it's one of the cornerstones of their being.

Here's another scenario: Let's assume that the Footlight Club only had the six actors that were cast in "Torch Song" show up for auditions and that's why a couple of the actors were well out of the age range and type required for the role. Rather than trying to pretend "business as usual", why not use this opportunity as a public forum to address the problem or the lack of interest in auditioning for this show. That forum would be available right here in Theater Mirror. If this scenario were true, the Footlight Club could have taken the approach of acknowledging the low turnout of actors while at the same time insisting that since it is the "Oldest Community Theatre" in the country, the show will go on, even though the casting pool offered less than ideal casting conditions. Maybe then the membership would have pitched in double time to provide stronger support in the other areas of production to help make the show a success.

Or the Footlight Club could have looked in their archives (assuming most theatre organizations maintain such files) of past audition candidates to see if they could round up more potential candidates. Or they could have called other area amateur theatre organizations for lists of even more potential candidates. Perhaps a dialog might have resulted between neighboring community theatres about how to successfully address this problem should another organization be faced with the same dilemma.

While my language and approach may seem overbearing maybe all I am really doing is holding up a mirror to the face of community theatre and allowing it to see its mostly attractive, but sometimes ugly, reflection. And rather than think of myself as a "mean spirited" individual that is trying to "wipe community theatre off the face of the earth", I prefer to think of myself as brutally and unashamedly honest in describing "what I saw" and in describing whether or not a theatre company (professional or amateur) satisfied its potential.
Sincerely,
Alexander Wright


Subject: doin' the Wright thing
Date: Tue, 5 Oct 1999 15:35:19 -0400 (EDT)
From:

Hello, Larry-
I hope I'm not by this point beating a dead horse. Last week we exchanged some e-mails about Mr Wright's review of Torch Song Trilogy over at Footlight Club, and you encouraged me to write back to the Mirror with a letter for publication.

Some time ago you did a wonderful thing for me. I directed a production of an English drama at a local theatre, which I would be the first to admit was not all that it could be. Nonetheless you came out to see it and, understandably, didn't care for it. At that point you were extremely kind to me- you privately e mailed me your thoughts on the show, some positive and a lot negative, and gave me a well thought-out, honest opinion. However an actual review of the show was not posted on the Mirror Website, the thought being that saying something bad about a show would only hurt revenue (and perhaps the cast's feelings) and not necessarily help anybody. I've had my share of hits and misses and certainly don't oppose the concept of bad reviews for bad work, or even the posting of such.

I was, on the other hand concerned and upset by the timbre and tone of Mr Wright's recent review of "Torch Song Trilogy" over at Footlight Club. It's not just that I disagree with his opinion. Our craft attracts very sensitive people who by the very nature of what they do are constantly putting their very selves out on the line, for open scrutiny. MAny of the responses this controversy seems to have generated seem to center around Mr. Wright's attack on Paul Campbell personally, while others would want to defend the quality of the production because it in fact got a bad review. I only question whether, even if Mr Wright was dead on the money, the rest of us needed to read his account. Exactly who benefited from this posting? Not the box office. Not Mr. Campbell. Certainly not the cast itself- shaken confidence can only make a production worse.

This production of Torch Song had a rough opening night and probably needed more rehearsal time. It got better throughout its run, as such shows often do. Mr Campbell's staging and style were, to me, engaging and evocative at times, and clumsy and odd at other times. His choice to leave actors essentially sitting still in the bed throughout act two probably led to their frequent line flubs- I am a believer in kinesthetic memory for actors with blocking, i.e "I remember to say 'So the killer cant' be Fred!' when I'm crossing over to the downstage lamp..." On the other hand his handling of the extreme emotions in Act Three, the raw expressions of grief and loss, showed consummate trust between actor and director, allowing the cast to emote freely and honestly. The night I saw it, there wasn't a dry eye in the place when Arnold's mother haltingly explained the nature of grief to her son in an awkward, heartfelt reconciliaton. Was the script long? Yes. Was it a perfect production? No. Did it bring a cast of people together and allow them to move people, make them laugh and show them some of the brilliant wit of one of America's premiere dramatists? Yes.

Now, I swear to you, I don't know Paul Campbell personally. Honest, I don't. But the repeated theme of the review seemed to be that maybe Mr. Campbell should retire, take a break or quit doing theatre. It seems to me that no one should ever be discouraged from working at our art, no matter how good or bad one of their outings may be. If my favorite ballplayer strikes out today, he may still eventually hit that home run tomorrow. It seems far wiser to offer ways he could have done something differently, to suggest he research his scripts, rehearse more, whatever. But I don't think he needs to outright refrain from directing. Why stop anyone?

Now, I'm on a huge limb here expressing these concerns, and I admit it. I'm a director myself. (btw I felt a little upset that Torch Song was also referred to as the only piece worth seeing on FLC's season before the others had even opened. Geez, let the other directors over at Footlight at least have a fair start, Mr Wright!) I frankly wouldn't want any of my opinions on this to color how (or, I guess even if) my shows are reviewed. I also don't feel it's my place to pass judgment on someone else's work. Nor do I want it to look like I'm whining about Torch Song's poor review on behalf of the club. Finally (and I admit it), I'd hate to anger Mr Wright and have him in turn trash me publicly right along with Paul.

I simply wanted to line up with all of those who have already written to draw your attention to the somewhat ad homonim nature of the review, and the way I percieved it as a change of policy on the part of the Theatre Mirror. I don't think I've read a review that bad or that personal for a long time, and it scares me a little if the site is going in that direction. Believe it or not I worked as a critic myself for some time, adjudicating college theatre for the American College Theatre Festival and studied written criticism under Richard Coe, theatre critic for the Washington Post. I think the reviewer has a duty to praise good theatre, and, yes, to point out bad theatre. A critic who loves everything has no power, and no one believes anything he says. But I fear community theatres can suffer financially from outrageously bad press. And frankly that can lead to less community, and, sadly, less theatre.

PLease don't take this the wrong way. Certainly no one from Footlight or connected with Torch Song put me up to this. In fact, if they knew, they'd probably beg me to stay out of it, for my good and the good of the theatre. I'm not saying anybody needs an apology or a retraction. Mr Campbell is a big boy, I'm sure, and Mr Wright has every right to his opinion. Many of his opinions might just be dead on the money. But does posting this really help anybody at all? I certainly don't want any kid gloves when or if my work gets reviewed. I just wanted you to hear yet one more humble opinion from a reader who has enjoyed everything about your web page since its inception, and who respects your opinion tremendously, both when you love my work and when you don't.

Mr. Campbell, if you're reading this you're probably just as embarrassed and aghast at the flood of mail the review has generated as you were at Mr Wright's initial posting. I came to see your show on the third weekend and you were nowhere to be found. As a director I've often bandied about the cliche, "If one person gets it, if one audience member is entertained, I'm happy." Be proud, and count me as that one person. Not because anyone put me up to it. Not because I feel the need to soothe your ego after Mr Wright's attack, or to use you as the poster-boy for "People Against Cruelty by Thoughtless Critics." Be proud because, at least that night I saw it on the third weekend, you and your cast's fine effort made people genuinely laugh and cry.
Sincerely,
221B.

PS - Mr Wright leads off one of his paragraphs in the review with the phrase, "If I were him..." Well, if I were **he** I would consider a quick brush-up in grammar. This is not the first time this English major has spotted careless errors in Mr Wright's syntax, usage and style. In this way he reveals himself to be not only a thoughtless person, but in addition a lousy writer.


Subject: Response to Mr. Wright
Date: Mon, 4 Oct 1999 22:17:09 EDT
From: TTaups@aol.com

Mr. Stark,
I am writing to give my 2 cents. I have been keeping track of the responses to Mr. Wright's "review" of Torch Song Trilogy and felt I, too, had to voice my strong concern about the venomous attack on the production. I would like to start by saying that I believe critical reviews of community theater are very important, I have gleened much from insightful comments made about performances. However, Mr. Wright had nothing productive to offer anyone with his attack on Mr. Campbell and the entire cast and crew of the show in question. Luckily his comments did not hinder the shows' final weekend of performances at the Footlight Club.

Thank you for providing this forum,
Tara Donoghue ( Laurel - Torch Song Trilogy)


Subject: reviewers
Date: Mon, 04 Oct 1999 11:22:01 CDT
From: "Sarah James" sarahjames99@hotmail.com

Dear Larry Stark:
I am writing to add my voice to the discussion on The Theater Mirror regarding reviewers.

I very strongly support your decision to publish Mr. Wright's reviews.
Personally, I believe the worst reviews to be those that are impertinent--those which after reading, you have no evidence a play actually took place that evening. It is more difficult for me to forgive these reviews (a number of which appear on The Theater Mirror) than Mr. Wright's reviews.

That standard aside, I am shocked at the overwhelming number of responses you've received protesting the publishing of Mr. Wright's reveiws. I have worked in both community and professional theater for years, and I appreciate what it takes to mount a production from both perspectives. But regardless of whether or not you're getting paid or if you have a huge budget, being a performer is being a performer. As a performer, you subject yourself to all possibilities, among which a vicious review is comparatively innocuous.

As far as all the talk about "Broadway standards" goes, I have a few things to say. First of all, the best theater I have seen has never been on Broadway. I actually believe community theater has a few advantages over the Broadway houses such as more intimate spaces and more programming freedom. I find the lack of elaborate technical elements puts more emphasis on fundamentals such as acting and directorial decisions. And even minimalistic technical elements can be used very effectively. In other words, I don't think that community theater has any inherent theatrical handicap. Why then are there these cries for critical privilege?

Yes, critics get things wrong. Yes, they say things out of line. Yes, they get personal. That is because they are no different than you and I. While our desire for meritocracy wishes to put these people on a different level, I have too often been exposed to the ignorance of big paper critics to believe standards accompany the title. Degrees and training can be very cheap.>BR> Let Wright write.
Sincerely,
Sarah James


Subject: Reviewer or Personal Opinion?
Date: Mon, 04 Oct 1999 00:14:54 -0400
From: Don Gillis dgillis2@home.com

Dear Larry:
When you asked for "reviewer's" to write for the Theater Mirror, I accepted the challenge because of one reason -- to promote theater in the state of Rhode Island. I never considered myself a "reviewer" (and I still don't) but when you explained to me that you wanted me to "tell you what you saw" it became easier to write. I have been "telling you what I saw for 2 years now" and when I read the greenroom letters regarding Mr. Wright's "review" about what he saw( TORCH SONG TRILOGY)) I think this...he has never directed, (or if he has - he should be banned from directing) . I don't even know Paul Campbell, but Mr. Wright surely slandered his name and reputation. And to think about how the cast felt???. Does this man not have any feeling 's for people? Cynthia , I agree with you!

I also have to agree with Nancy Curran Willis. If you want to continue these kinds of "reviews" - call them something else as Nancy suggested - "Personal Opinions" - even then his remarks were out of line.(They were personal character assassinations!)

I could never do what this man has done to ANY community theater. We all work too hard and long to have this kind of press. I think Larry, that your defense is not within the rules of good press, and certainly not THE THEATER MIRROR. Please reconsider!!
Your friend always:
Don Gills
Little Rhody Theater


Subject: ALEXANDER WRIGHT REVIEW OF TORCH SONG TRILOGY/JP FOOTLIGHT CLUB
Date: Fri, 1 Oct 1999 17:26:53 -0400
From: "Pape, Cynthia" cynthia.pape.pfd@CI.BOSTON.MA.US

October 1, 1999
Mr. Stark:
While I understand that publications often feature controversial writers to increase readership, it is beyond my comprehension as to why Alexander Wright is allowed a forum in Theater Mirror. I would like to take this opportunity to express my feelings to Mr. Alexander via Theater Mirror.

Quite frankly, Mr. Wright you did not write a constructive review of Torch Song Trilogy presented by the Jamaica Plain Footlight Club. Your review, or rather, attack was inexcusably viscious.

Director Paul Campbell has made sterling contributions to the Footlight Club and proven himself a worthy director many times over, and I for one, do not hesitate to say that I have benefitted much from his direction and advice. Paul had an enormous task before him with a stage script that was close to 180 pages as opposed to the standard play script of approximately 100 pages (blame Harvey Firestein for the length of the play, not Paul). Mr. Wright, you know the play is as long as hell to begin with.

Next, you need a little instruction about community theatre. It ain't Broadway and it ain't a professional production, and you're pretty thick if that's what you expected to see. Sorry about that, Mr. Wright. At this point some of us would be glad to buy you a one-way train ticket to Broadway or...anywhere else for that matter. It's community theatre and as such it attracts actors of varying abilities who want to perform in plays, plays that they love and dream about performing in. It is a joy to watch and support one's friends and family as they get kick out of putting on a show. A director has to work with what a director gets in terms of amateur talent. I have had the priviledge of seeing many superb performances at the Footlight Club. There are many talented actors and technicians there. You obviously resent watching community theater productions. I pray that the Footlight Club which is run by faithful volunteers who work their hearts out, doesn't suffer a loss of audience and sorely needed revenue because of your written words. You ranted like a half-wit. You didn't give one shred of constructive criticism to this production.

You could have written an honest review without lambasting a director you don't even know, and insulting the performers physical appearance. You sounded like a tired queen who woke on the wrong side of the throne.

I am devastated for Paul and for the Footlight Club. I am sure both will recover in fine style and continue to mount great shows. Mr. Wright, get lost.
Cynthia


Subject: REVIEWERS FOR THEATER MIRROR
Date: Fri, 01 Oct 1999 07:20:16 -0400
From: Nancy Curran Willis imadirektor@mediaone.net

OK Larry . . .
You finally got me riled up enough to respond in a "for publication" email about Mr. Wright. Most of us "theatre people" do not respond to your request for reviews because most of us are not pretentious enough to think that we are "Reviewers." The very name of the column lends a feeling of credibility to the role. It assumes (or we assume) that someone published as a reviewer has a background in theatre and has had training and education to make them "qualified" to be a critic of local theatre. I know you feel that anyone can be a critic and write a review of what they saw; that anyone who has paid for the ticket has a right to comment on what they saw. That is fine, however, I would suggest you rename the column "Personal Opinions" instead of "Reviews."

There is a big difference between a legitimate theatre critic with a resume that supports their experience and someone who is pretentious enough to go on-line to spew garbage about a production. Unlike Mr. Wright, most professionally trained reviewers know the boundaries of free speech and the border of slander.

I can speak from experience because I too have been the victim of Mr. Wright's personal attacks. And I assure you I can take honest criticism of my work, but he manages to find an edge to his writing that assigns a personal nature to his comments, making untrue assessments and assassinations of an individual's character. His unfortunate diatribe on the Footlight Club's latest production made his attack on my show seem like a love letter.

More importantly, by publicizing Mr. Wright's latest tirade you brought the very first "negative" comments from the theatre world I live in about the THEATER MIRROR itself. People I have spoken with couldn't believe that someone who is so supportive of local theater would "hire" a person to review for him that has such oviously diverse objectives.

I worry that the association with Mr. Wright as a "Reviewer" for The Theater Mirror will tarnish the welcome mat that has always been extended to Larry Stark. As you know, community theater has long been the victim of utter silence by the local press. It is like pulling teeth in our own communities to get a review of our work in our local papers. We felt proud of the reviews you have done of our productions, whether you liked the show or not. And we CAN take honest, well thought out criticism.

The truth is, I often agree with the points Mr. Wright makes. He has a very good eye for detail and he can hone in on artistic problems and point them out. That is what a good critic should do. The issue, however, with Mr. Wright is that he gets venemous and personal in attacking a particular person or element of a show. Instead of merely "giving his opinion of what he saw," he appears to feel justified in knocking you down and then kicking you in the ribs and (in the case of his latest review), squashing you like a bug. In my humble opinion, this serves no one in the theater community.

Thank you for your continued support. Don't let this mean spirited individual tarnish the good feelings we have for all your personal efforts. Publish his stuff, by all means. But call it what it is - "Personal Opinions" perhaps with a subtitle "Let Me Tell You What I Saw." Maybe under such a heading, you will get the tons of postings you have solicited. I know there are a lot of people out there who see a lot of theatre who are not pretentious enough to think they are Reviewers but certainly have personal opinions they LOVE to share about what they have seen. What do you think?
Nancy Curran Willis


Subject: A Reveiw of a Reviewer
Date: Thu, 30 Sep 1999 21:11:36 EDT
From: ShineYou@aol.com

Dear Mr. Stark:
I have been a lover of theater all of my life. Whenever I get a chance I like to take in a community theater show and, when I can afford it, I will treat myself to one of the road shows that comes into Boston.

I found your website about two years ago and have, for the most part, enjoyed the reviews. There is one person, Alexander Wright, whose reviews I have found to be overly critical of community theater, but up until now I have simply passed them off as being written by someone who is an obvious theater snob, professional theater being the only REAL theater. He is bitchy and pretentious, expecting that the almost all volunteer organizations should provide him with the exact, same theater experience as the union paid professionals.

After his recent review of TORCHSONG TRILOGY, I can no longer ignore that you give this man an opportunity to be heard. Mr. Stark, I don't believe the first amendment includes slander as one of its freedoms. Mr. Wright's obvious personal maligning of the director was almost too personal to read. Did he audition and not get cast? Did he interview to direct the show and get turned down? His review was meaner, nastier, and crueler than anything I have ever read, even in the New York papers. Perhaps that is his goal, to out nasty the nastiest of professional reviewers who review professional theater. But, he is NOT a professional. A professional would have never made it personal.

I went to see the show after reading the review because I wanted to lend my support to America's oldest community theater. Though I wasn't expecting a very good show (I thought Mr. Wright must have had SOME truth in his review even though it was so poorly written), but what I got was an evening of enjoyable entertainment. Some of the performances were truly inspired and the rest were more than adequate. There were no glaring technical problems, no flubbed lines, no out of style costumes. The set was minimal, but certainly not the horror show portrayed in Mr. Wright's review. In a nutshell, Mr. Wright was WRONG.

But, I digress. The point of my writing to you, Mr. Stark, is this. You provide a wonderful service to the theater in the Boston area, especially community theater. In your own reviews, even when you are not thrilled with a production, you have always found a way to be constructively critical without being cruel. This man does NOT share your love of ALL theater. He does NOT want to see community theater thrive, he wants to wipe it off the face of the earth. Why do you give this man a forum for his vile, cancerous venom? It serves no purpose and he should not be allowed to hide behind the first amendment right to free speech. I don't mind contrary views, I don't mind a little controversy, but I DO mind character assassinations, especially when they are undeserved.

Please, Mr. Stark, I ask you as a fellow lover of all theater, to please stop giving this man a forum for his "reviews."

I thank you for your kind attention.
Most sincerely,
Still a Fan

MY REPLY IS IN A Cricket's Notebook


Subject: quick question
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 12:13:39 EDT
From: Virtue22@aol.com

i was wondering how i go about getting the rights to non-musical plays. i know to go through MTI for that but i dont know the web site address to the company that owns all the play rights. My friend said something about Transwitmark but there is nothing on the web that has that name in it. please help me.
sincerely,
Tyler R Vela

THE FRIEND SAID "Tams-Whitmark" WHICH IS AN AGENCY HANDLING RIGHTS MOSTLY TO MUSICAL THEATER PRODUCTIONS. ["The right to license amateur, professional, and LORT (League of Resident Theatres) productions is usually assigned by the authors to an agency such as the Rodgers and Hammerstein Theater Library, Music Theater International, Tams-Whitmark, Samual French, etc. "]
The best local source for such information is Baker's Plays who are the agents locally for Samuel French Acting Editions; they handle other performance rights, and answer questions like yours all day long.
Break a leg!
Love,
===Anon.

Subject: Re: quick question
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 17:47:36 EDT
From: Virtue22@aol.com

oh my gosh, you're my hero. thank you very much.
sincerely,
Tyler R Vela


Subject: Looking for J Tormey
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 15:11:57 -0400
From: "Simon, Linda" LSimon@palmerdodge.com

Do you current contact info for J Tormey?
His old account, 70511.1513@compuserve.com, is apparently closed. Thanks for your help.
Linda Simon

NO. I WISH I DID!
BUT MAYBE SOMEONE READING THIS DOES, MAYBE SPOMEONE READING THIS IS J HIMSELF!!!


Subject: Re: clauder
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 13:08:32 -0400
From: Geralyn Horton ghorton@tiac.net
To: "Larry Stark's Theater Mirror" larry@theatermirror.com, Peter@tiac.net, Fidler@tiac.net

biennial, odd years.
deadline was June
address p.o. box 383259 Cambridge, MA 02236-3259

Betsy Carpenter, who is with Theatrics, also runs the Clauder.


Subject: Theater Listing
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 12:10:48 -0400
From: Laurie Sheflin lsheflin@copernicusmarketing.com

Hi,
I've been a long-time fan of your site, and first found out about the Newton Country Players through a theatermirror audition posting!
I'm working on publicity for NCP's upcoming production of Neil Simon's Plaza Suite. Could you please post our information on your site? Thank you!
Laurie Sheflin


Subject: Thanks!
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 09:08:05 -0400
From: "Budinoff, Justin" Justin_Budinoff@bose.com

Hi Larry, I am the director of Fiddlehead Theater in Norwood's "Dracula" and just wanted to send thanks for your site and your services. After we lost a principal, and you got our announcement for a replacement up so quickly, we had four inquiries the next day alone and we were able to recast. So I just wanted to extend our appreciation and say there's applause out here in theaterland for you, too.
Thanks,
Justin Budinoff

AND THANK you FOR TELLING US THE CRISIS HAS PAST!


Subject: clauder
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 11:40:57 +1000
From: Peter Fidler pfidler@looksmart.net

Hi Larry,
I was wondering if you know anything about the Clauder Playwriting Competition. I'm desperate for an address, phone number, whatever. Please get back to me if you can help.
Peter

AN AltaVista SEARCH TURNED UP ONLY THIS:
The Dramatists
Eliza Anderson teaches playwriting at the Trinity Repertory Conservatory, Providence, Rhode Island. She has been a resident at the Edward Albee Foundation and the Royal Court Theatre in London. Her stage play The Water Principle won the 1991 New England Clauder Playwriting Competition. In 1998, Ms. Anderson was awarded the George A. and Eliza Gardner Howard Fellowship in Creative Writing by Brown University

But I'm forwarding this to Geralyn Horton, a more accessible playwright...
Love,
===Anon.


Subject: Putnam, CT & X-Mas
Date: Thu, 23 Sep 1999 15:36:16 -0400
From: Harlan Feinstein harlan@cie.cendant.com

> 3 - 18 December
> "The Best Christmnas Pageant Ever"
> THEATRE OF NORTHEAST CONNECTICUT
> Bradley Playhouse, Route 44, PUTNAM, CONNECTICUT
> 1(860)928-7961

You spelled Christmas wrong. :-)
Your pedantic buddy,
--Harlan


Subject: Company Review--Quannapowitt Players
Date: Thu, 23 Sep 1999 09:07:16 -0700 (PDT)
From: Alexander Wright alxndrwright@yahoo.com

Hi Larry,
I'm back. Probably not to the liking of many people, but, oh well, c'est la vie! I actually spent nearly two months out of the country on business this summer, so that's why you haven't heard from me in a while. It was a great experience.

I've changed my EMail address to yahoo. I didn't like hotmail and had too many problems with it. So far yahoo seems to be more reliable. So we'll see how it goes.

I will most likely be sending you at least one review a week from now until December. It seems there are many things going on this fall! That will afford a lot of opportunities to check out a lot out of different shows.
Take care and you'll be hearing from me again soon!
Alexander Wright

MR. WRIGHT APPARENTLY RELISHES CONTROVERSEY
THE MIRROR IS EAGER TO INCREASE THE VARIETY OF REVIEWERS AND THEIR OPINIONS.
Love,
===Anon.


Subject: Re: Hello and can you help
Date: Thu, 23 Sep 1999 12:23:01 -0400
From: Timothy Nylander presidenttim@earthlink.net

Thanks very much for your help, I've already had one reply rom a horn player who will reccommend me. -TIm


Subject: Newton Country Players
Date: Thu, 23 Sep 1999 08:59:42 EDT
From: JMacfar188@aol.com

Dear Larry,
I wanted to let you know that the Newton Country Players got a wonderful response from posting our audition notice for Plaza Suite on your site. Thank you for you service.
I would also like to post the performance dates etc.
Thank you, Jean MacFarland
Here is the info:

I PUT THE info: INTO SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS.


PART I:

Subject: Audition notice for posting
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 1999 19:37:17 EDT
From: "Michael Moon" moon_michael@hotmail.com

Larry,
Would you be able to post this in the Theatre Mirror?

I am having auditions for my performance thesis to go up Mid-November (exact date to be set by the audition date). The show is called, "Shakespeare's Women in Love". It is a musical about the different ways in which Shakespeare's women explored love. I need two men and one woman. Minimal singing involved. Rehearsals will start in October and will be in the evenings. Rehearsal schedule is very flexible. The performances will be at the Boston Conservatory in the Studio Theatre. Auditions will be on Tuesday, September 28, 7pm-10pm at the Boston Conservatory in the Studio. Please prepare a comic monologue from Shakespeare. For more information and/or an audition time, please call me at 617-693-1380 or 617-369-0939, or email me at moon_michael@hotmail.com. Thanks, Michael.

Thank you very much. Let me know if there is a problem. THank you very much.
Michael Michel Moon

WHEN THIS ARRIVED, I SENT THIS REPLY:

PART II:

Subject: Re: Audition notice for posting
Date: Sat, 18 Sep 1999 18:49:27 -0400
From: Larry Stark's Theater Mirror larry@theatermirror.com
To: Michael Moon moon_michael@hotmail.com

It's going up NOW!
Sounds interesting. Keep me informed about performance dates; sounds like something I'd like to see.
(Joe Antoun of CENTASTAGE is interested in finding a new musical he can develop.
[ http://world.std.com/~centasta/ ] Submission guidelines:
[ http://world.std.com/~centasta/ ]
Break a leg.
Love,
===Anon.
( a k a larry stark )

AND THEN THIS CAME IN: PART III

Subject: Re: Audition notice for posting
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 1999 20:25:40 EDT
From: "Michael Moon" moon_michael@hotmail.com

Larry,
Thank you very much. The show is going to be great if I could just find a cast and an accompanist. I have been working on this for almost two years now. It will be the completion of My Master's in Musical Theatre at the Boston Conservatory. I will update you as soon as I have all the details. Thank you for your help.
Michael (female)

WATCH THIS SPACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Subject: thanks!
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 1999 09:54:18 EDT
From: Mannie020@aol.com

dear larry,
hi! i've gotten great advice from you in the past and when i heard that you run that site by yourself,i couldn't believe it! you do so much for people needing advice in the theatrical world. as insignificant as it may seem, i want to thank you for helping me and so many others. anna


Subject: Seeking Material
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 1999 18:00:58 -0400
From: Jim_Ansart@dmr.state.ma.us

Hi Larry. I'm sure there is a more efficient way of getting this out there, but I'm not sure how. I am trying to put together a series of one-acts/monologues/ readings etc. to be held downstairs at the Footlight Club in the Parker Room. My original intent (and ultimate goal) is to do several productions throughout the season which would involve excellent acting and directing (casts of two-three performers) on a shoe string budget. It has been my experience that the established companies need to be very careful about what goes into the main season, chiefly because of commercial concerns. The downstairs series would allow for some risk taking in terms of material, and provide new actors and directors an opportunity to work in low stakes kind of settings.
This is my problem. I can get space at Eliot Hall on October 15 and 16th., and then not until after the new year. I would very much like to be able to do something this fall.
Given the time constraints, it would not be possible to pull together an evening's program.
It occurs to me that local groups might be in rehearsal for upcoming shows, and would welcome to perform a preview at the club as a way of promoting themselves, and playing to a receptive audience. They could also dust off some favorite scenes from shows they have done in the past. What would be the best way to get the word out about the possibility of doing this at the Footlight Club?

WELL, WE START HERE...... RIGHT EVERYBODY??? Love,
===Anon.


Subject: Greenroom reply
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 1999 19:18:57 -0400
From: Nancy Curran Willis imadirektor@mediaone.net

Hi Larry . . . This is in reply to the email asking about productions of "Don't Dress for Dinner." The Arlington Friends of the Drama, 22 Academy Street, Arlington, MA will perform the show on October 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17. The telephone number is 781-646-5922.
Welcome back. We all missed you.
Nancy Curran Willis


Subject: The community cares!
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 1999 14:26:46 -0400
From: "Jason & Kate" reulet@javanet.com

Dear Larry:
I'm responding to your recent posting in Cricket's Notebook. Yes, many of us would certainly notice if you stopped doing Theatermirror! When you were on "digital walkabout," I prayed that you were on vacation and not ill. I hope your recent visit to the doctor went well and that your eyes will be reliable once more.

It's amazing for me to realize that you do Theatermirror by yourself. It's a vast resource, and I have come to rely on it. I check it regularly for auditions, and if I'm considering auditioning for a company I check your links to see if they're listed or if you have reviewed them before. (I want to know what I'm getting into.) I also enjoy the reviews, postings, and especially the installments on Boston theater history. Your personal recommendations are always appreciated: Jason and I saw Baobab over they summer and they were awesome. (I'm still thinking about that show.)

Please don't be discouraged. Your note was a reminder to the community to say "thanks" for all of your hard work. Because you've always been so reliable, I confess that I didn't think too much about how the updates magically appear each day. I understand if you need to scale back; pointing us to a company's link is fine. One thing we really need, though, is your support of our art. I can't think of anyone else who has done more to encourage small Boston-area theaters. It's obvious that you truly love the craft; so few reviewers do. I'm sick of reading reviews which are book reports or production histories; I want to know what made a specific production good (or not). Thanks for doing that. Thanks also for including minority reports for those who disagree with your assessment of a show. A critic with his own web site could be a danger to the community; instead, you are a blessing. I really believe that you want small theaters to survive and thrive. We want you to do the same.

To that end, would it be possible to get a grant for Theatermirror? There must be some kind of technology/art grant. It might even enable you to hire a helper for the mounds of data entry. (If you so desire.)
Thanks for everything, Larry.
Love,
Kate Reulet
Koinonia Theatre


Subject: Coming Attractions Notice
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 1999 11:36:18 -0400
From: Christian Potts cpotts@webergroup.com

Larry--
Would it be possible to list the following on the "Coming Attractions" calendar? Let me know if you need further info:

6 - 14 November
"Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"
HINGHAM CIVIC MUSIC THEATER
Hingham Middle School, HINGHAM
1(781) 749-6431

Also, is it possible to have this production reviewed? Hingham Civic has done several shows that have garnered both publicity and EMACT recognition (its production of "State Fair" in November 1998 won four EMACT acting awards). Please let me know and I will see if I can arrange comps for the reviewers.


Subject: Kudos and blessings, Larry!
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 1999 10:03:44 -0400
From: "Sheri A. Ziccardi" ziccardi@sequent1.providence.edu

Larry,
You have done wonderful work for which we as a theatre community are very greatful. Please know that we appreciate every last bit of energy you expend and that the world (at least our world here in New England/Greater Boston) would be very different without you and your generous contributions. I refer everyone I know to your site (actors, publicity folks, etc.) and use it regularly, myself. Thank you for all your efforts! Take good care of yourself, Larry!!
saz


Subject: Welcome
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 1999 09:52:15 -0400
From: BaileyChapman/Mort Kaplan bchapman@mail.access1.net

Welcome back to the land of the living! Nothing like a little fuzziness in the eyes to jolt one into the reality that aging creeps up on all of us.Larry is mortal! Ain't modern medical science wonderful? A couple of pices of ground plastic before the eyes and you are able to SEE again.---Things like these sort of jolt us into the realization that real-life is always more scarey and so much more dramatically meaningful and imminent than the stage.---I don't know whether or not you are losing your marbles, Larry, but at least, for the time being, you have your eye sight. Anyway, I doubt you are losing your grip on reality [you are just getting "ripe."]: some nut once told me that if you think you are having a nervous breakdown, you aren't.--Get your gimpy ass back to work; see some more shows this week...and you will feel much better. ---By the way, your "letter" to your public was the first time in my almost-as-long-a-life-as-yours that a critic ever asked his readership for a review. I guess you now know: you and your work do not go unrecognized.--Be healthy: L'Chaim!
MORT


Subject: don't dress for dinner
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 1999 09:12:14 EDT
From: KM3478@aol.com

larry.. i really enjoy your page...do you know if don't dress for dinner is playing anywhere in the new england area this season?

FRANKLY, I DON'T KNOW.
I'll see if NEW ENGLAND ENTERTAINMENT DIGEST can help.
Anyone else know?
Love, ===Anon.


Subject: Request to add a theatre web site.
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 1999 08:12:07 EDT
From: NevExpress@aol.com

Thank you for an excellent web page.
I just discovered it.
If you have time to consider adding a new web page to your Massachusetts Theatre listing here it is.
Neverlandtheatre.com
Thank You very much
Andy Diskes
Neverland Theatre


Subject: You are appreciated
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 1999 06:09:50 EDT
From: StarStruk@aol.com

Just wanted to drop you a line to let you know how much your work is appreciated. Theater Mirror has always been my first place to go when I needed to know something, needed a link to another theater site or just wanted to get a taste of what's going on around me. I'm sorry you are going through such hard times. Keep us posted on your status. I'll be thinking good thoughts your way.
Fondly,
Lynna
Holliston's Washington Street Players


NOTE: The letters below were received on 16 September, in response to the Cricket's Notebook entry "Something HAD To Give..."; they read in the order received.

==========

Subject: Theater Mirror
Date: Thu, 16 Sep 1999 14:04:41 -0400
From: Rondel Lashley rlashley@msh.org

Dear Larry:
Thank you, thank you, thank you for your wonderful web site. I have used it a number of times and have found it to be quite informative and fun as well. Keep up the great work!
From,
A fellow theater arts lover!

==========

Subject: Re: TELL US ABOUT THE CONTRAST, JASON, AND I'LL PUT IT INTO THE MIRROR.
Date: Thu, 16 Sep 1999 14:09:27 -0400 (EDT)
From: Jason Reulet jmreulet@fas.harvard.edu

Larry,
I just checked your website and heard that you are going to the doctor about your eyes.
I was very sorry to hear that you have been under so much strain. You have done so much for all of Boston and have been a constant for all of the theatres that have come and gone and are still around. You have provided us all with a sense of community with your website and your presence at our shows. You are responsible for fanning an otherwise dying flame. You are the spokesperson for the small, nascent and living theatre, and your presence at our shows means so much to us all. So often all of the other papers have so many better things to do than to review something that may be a waste of their time. You go in search of the diamond in the rough.
Boston owes a great debt to you Larry. I wish you a speedy recovery!
jason m. reulet

==========

Subject: Hope Everything is All Right
Date: Thu, 16 Sep 1999 14:43:24 -0400
From: "Hennessey, Arthur" Arthur.Hennessey@Cognos.com

Hi Larry,
I just wanted to express my deepest gratitude for your continuing efforts at keeping all of us together as a family of theatre-goers and creators.
I think that we all take the Mirror for granted sometimes and forget the amount of work that goes into it.
Please take care, and enjoy your novels on Sunday afternoons.

==========

Subject: Audition notice
Date: Thu, 16 Sep 1999 14:46:08 -0400 (EDT)
From: Iain Bason - Performance Development Tools Iain.Bason@East.Sun.COM

Hi Larry,
Do you think you could get this audition notice onto your web page?
Thanks a bunch,
Iain
[NOTE: THE CALL IS UP IN AUDITIONS NOW.]

==========

Subject: your health
Date: Thu, 16 Sep 1999 15:03:10 -0400
From: Christine Connor cconnor@concentric.net

Dear Larry,
You don't know me but yes, my world would be very different. I really hope you'll be okay and that with corrected vision, you feel renewed strength, energy and optimism. Blessings,many ChrisConnor

==========

Subject: good wishes
Date: Thu, 16 Sep 1999 15:20:59 -0400
From: John Fogle john@promosis.com

there are some things they can't take away from you, Larry - the good wishes of your large circle of virtual friends.
hugs!
John
John Fogle, VP/Creative Director
Promosis, Inc.-Promotion Marketing On-The-Wave
T 781-639-1937 F 781-639-1921
www.promosis.com

==========

Subject: For Auditions page
Date: Thu, 16 Sep 1999 15:26:20 -0400
From: "info" info@footlighters.com

Urgently needed: Male, early thirties stage age, to play Frank Lubey in "All My Sons" at the Walpole Footlighters, Walpole, MA. This is a non-paid role. Rehearsals begin immediately and production dates are November 5-20 (weekends only). Call the director at 508-660-7160 for more info.
Check our web site at http://www.footlighters.com for more information about the Footlighters.
[NOTE: THIS, TOO, IS IN AUDITIONS NOW.]

==========

Subject: don't jump, please!
Date: Thu, 16 Sep 1999 15:39:51 -0400
From: "Katie O'Neill" koneill@frc.mass.edu

Dear Larry -
I wish there was a theatrical equivalent of "It's a Wonderful Life" that I could invoke here to prove to you that your work with the Mirror has had a profound impact on so many of us.
Now a ranting (yet sincere!) message from a total stranger is probably not going to be enough to help you rescind the cry for help we read in yesterday's Cricket Notes... But I think I can speak for every theater-going individual when I say: we appreciate you...and your mammoth efforts have not been in vain...
How many people would've missed out on an audition, would never have gotten that part & wouldn't have performed so magically if it hadn't been for you? How many of us would never have gone to this show or that show if we hadn't had access to the information you provide?
In a community of performers, theater-owners, directors, techies, patrons & educators, you an invaluable resource.
The theater "world" is so perverse in its quest to be simultaneously expanding & insular. Especially in Boston. You break through cliques & groups in your effort to get an audience out to a performance...and what nobler a cause than that?
Please Larry, we beseech you. Don't give up. We'll help. We're out there, and we care.
-Katie O'Neill

==========

Subject: your recent Cricket Note
Date: Thu, 16 Sep 1999 16:45:37 -0400
From: tapodhan@acunet.net (Peter Watson)

Dear Larry,
I was much moved by your story.
Its completely OK with me for you to let go of all that work.
You've done an amazing job and now its time to rest up and get well. There's no reason why those of us who have come to rely upon your wonderful website can't get it together to exercise our own fingers and patience to check out the "original sources" from which you crafted your multifaceted omnibus.
I hope that the eye exam went well
Many blessings
Peter

==========

Subject: Congratulations !
Date: Thu, 16 Sep 1999 17:51:47 -0400
From: Genie jip25@banet.net

Dear Larry : Hello. You probably don't remember me ,but about a year ago I wrote to asking for information about auditions in the Boston or New England area. Of all the letters that i sent out ,you were the only letter that i received in return. You were my angel and because of you I have not only worked as an actress in theater have also just finished my second film project. Sometimes we get so caught up we forget to thank . I'm sorry I took so long but THANK YOU and God bless you.
I heard you may be needing some help with the theater museum ...Count me in . Sincerely ,
Genie Montalvo

==========

Subject: Re: You are more important than you think.
Date: Thu, 16 Sep 1999 18:28:43 EDT
From: TheatreDol@aol.com

Dear Larry,
You don't know me personally, but, you have done more for me than anyone else in my life...well, except maybe my Mom. = )
I log onto the Theatre Mirror web site every week. The information you provide is invaluable to all struggling actors. In fact I won a EMACT Outstanding Achievement in Acting Award this year kind of because of you. The audition was posted on your site. So I went. I got this incredible part, and ended up totally kicking ass!!! If you hadn't posted the audition, it might not have happened.
I know you work very hard on the web site and that you are doing it completely by yourself. You are a truly amazing person, and I applaud you and your dedication to the Theatre, I really wish to God that there were more like you.
Thank you so very much (from the bottom of my toes - = ) )!!!!!!!!!
Terra DeMartin-Anderson
aka Theatredol@aol.com

==========

Subject: you
Date: Thu, 16 Sep 1999 21:00:35 -0400
From: Geralyn Horton ghorton@tiac.net

I hear your eye exam went well, hurrah!
Love,
G
wonder if Sugan will be above water tomorrow?
--
Geralyn Horton, Playwright
Newton, Mass. 02460
http://www.tiac.net/users/ghorton

==========

Subject: Physical
Date: Thu, 16 Sep 1999 20:31:09 -0700
From: Don Gillis dgillis2@home.com

Dear Larry:
I am hoping that all went well with your eye exam---or are you waiting for results? I am thinking about you...and believe it or not -- Hemingway probably is too....( God loves you!) and so do we---
Love
~~~ Don

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Subject: Reviews
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 1999 00:07:00 -0700
From: Don Gillis dgillis2@home.com

http://members.home.net/rhodytheater [NOTE: AND THESE ARE IN NEW REVIEWS...]

==========
Not bad for one day's e-mail, wouldn't you say?
I'd try to thank you all, but I think the best way to do that would be
to get back to work!

So, as Julie Harris (playing St. Joan in THE LARK) said (in 1952) to Me sitting right there in the front row of the first balcony:

"Well, let it end here then...
If nobody minds."

Love,
===Anon.


Previous Greenroom Discussions



January - June, 1999
May - December, 1998
Winter: January - April, 1998
December, 1997
Summer/Fall, 1997
May, 1997
April, 1997
March, 1997
February, 1997
January, 1997
December, 1996
November, 1996
October, 1996
September, 1996
August, 1996
July, 1996
June, 1996
May, 1996
April, 1996
March, 1996
February, 1996
January, 1996
November, December 1995


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