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Sunday, February 26, 2017


"Dinner with Friends" **** till February 26, 2017 A Review by Tony Annicone
"Around the World in 80 Days" **** till February 26, 2017 A Review by Tony Annicone
"The School For Lies" **** till March 5, 2017 A Review by Tony Annicone
"Vanya abd Sonia abd Masha and Spike **** till March 12, 2017 A Review by Tony Annicone
"Murder at the Howard Johnson's" **** till March 12, 2017 A Review by Tony Annicone
"A Midsummer Night's Dream" **** till March 24, 2017 A Review by Tony Annicone
"Romantic Comedy" **** till March 26, 2017 A Review by Tony Annicone

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The Theater Mirror is changing to a new format! Please check www.theatermirror.net to see additional reviews!



CRICKET'S NOTEBOOK


"An Open Letter to Obehi Janice and every Black actor and director in Boston" An Opinion by Larry Stark
"The Obligatory Black Play" An Opinion by Larry Stark




Featuring the Best of Theater Mirror - Celebrating 25 Years of Theatre in Boston



Artist in Residence cover

Date: Sun, 26 feb 2012 11:05:08 -0500
Mikey DiLoreto [mikeydiloreto@gmail.com]
Subject: Your book

Hey Larry,
So I finished "Artist in Residence," and wanted to let you know that I very much enjoyed it. I loved the respective voices you gave to the protagonists. It was captivating to watch their relationship blossom over the course of a few months. Sometimes the people who enter our lives for no more than weeks turn out to be the ones who change our lives the most drastically.
I truly feel this book could easily be transformed into a play. The relationship between the two main characters is compelling enough to be a simple, straight-forward two person script. You find two great actors, and a couple strong supporting actors, and you've got a hit!
I am so happy to have read it, Larry, and I did end up passing it on to a friend who will also be emailing you with her comments.
With love,
Mikey

ONLY A GAME
90.9 WBUR
2/1/12
Larry Stark---
Good luck with "Artist in Residence" and beyond.
All the best,
Bill Littlefield

Date: Sun, 13 Dec 2009 11:05:08 -0500
From: Christine Connor
Subject: Your book
Hi Larry,
Just finished your book. It is amazing how the world has changed since '82! Not just typewriters/computers but the liaison between professor and nineteen year old, which once would scarcely raise an eyebrow, no longer!
The desire to create and share art remains timeless however.... and that impulse is very much alive in your story .
Two suggestions,first,I think there also might be a play in here. Secondly, don't know if you are aware but you can send a copy of a self published book to Amazon, set your price and they will list and sell it for you. You get 30% I believe, better than most royalties I think . Anyway, a thought.
. Thanks for the copy and keep writing!



Artist in Residence cover

"ARTIST IN RESIDENCE" (144 pp. PerfectBound Paperback $20.00)
Available at HARVARD BOOK STORE's
Espresso-Books Machine
1256 Massachusetts Avenue, Harvard Square, CAMBRIDGE
1 (617) 661-1515 [Toll Free: 1 (800) 542-READ]

A "Left Coast of Mass." Roundup

from
Berkshire Fine Arts

"Blackbeard's Booty"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

Journey back about 350 years ago when Blackbeard was the scourge of the Atlantic coast and when "booty" had an entirely different meaning, when men were men and so were some of the women. Blackbeard amassed a fortune in his lifetime, but now he is dead and the audience must elect a new king, which pirate will become Pirate King. "Blackbeard's Booty" is a new form of dinner theatre that is interactive and improvised. The show is loosely written and directed by Frank O'Donnell who stars as Sir Francis Drake where he leads his cast of some of the funniest and fiercest pirates to plunder the Seven Seas. This show is bawdy and naughty as well as being a fun evening of entertainment with a delicious dinner served with it.

"Blackbeard's Booty" (23 January - ? ? ?)
NOTFANUTTIN' PLAYERS
Hose Company No. 6, 636 Central Avenue, PAWTUCKET RI
1 (401)722-7220

"The Donkey Show"

Reviewed by Larry Stark

When I came up out of the subway in the heart of Harvard Square, there were two guys --- a drummer with a shaved head and shades and a maybe younger sax man --- over by the kiosk, and they were good. The sax had a hint of Paul Desmond in it, but after a while I recognized that they were well along into variations on Gerschwin's "Summertime". I dropped a buck into a yawning bass-drum-cover, apologising for my penury, and mentioned that it seemed to me that they'd reversed roles with the sax doing melodic rhythm and the drum-set almost carrying the melody itself. The drummer complimented my ear and admitted, with only two of them, there were a lot of holes to fill.

I had nearly an hour, so I retreated up against a pole, my back to the traffic, when they launched into the next tune where they shared the work more equally, and I noticed that a series of at least half a dozen passing toddlers each in turn stopped and stared in hypnotized fascination at the source of live music, some with appreciative murmurs from their parents. I don't dance, but my body swayed in rhythm to the chord-changes and the beat liking what it heard, so before I pushed on I fished out another buck and as I dropped it in admitted "Hell, it's only money man" and as they played we three smiled.

It was still early so I stopped off at The Harvard Book Store's underground second-hand shop hoping some new book would nip me in the pinkie, but it didn't happen, and neither of the books I hoped might turn up --- Russell Hoban's "PILGERMAN" nor Thornton Wilder's "THE CABALA" --- were there nor upstairs in the new-books Fiction section. (The Harvard Bookstore was my first real job, after coming to Cambridge from New Jersey. Once, on a dare from fellow book-pushers, I answered the phone "Harvard Boo Store, may I scare you?"; the patron merely replied "Yes, I'm looking for..." responding to my politely professional tone rather than my words.)

The foyer of Zero Arrow was repainted and hung in blacks as an entrance corridor; at the entry was a box-office table, above it an enormous glass-beads chandelier. I was four minutes early so I retreated to a neutral corner and read to the end of a tale in "AUCASSIN & NICOLETTE AND OTHER MEDIEVAL ROMANCES AND LEGENDS" until ten-of curtain-time, then inquired whether my partner in crime had picked up our tickets. I left his, took my own ("We'll be letting people in at eight") and joined a line stretching nearly a block toward Central Square. A bouncer-ish guy came along affixing paper ribbons around everyone's left wrist ("And when will the doctor see me?" I quipped), and eventually the line edged by dribs and drabs into the black tunnel from which boringly regular ear-blasting base-notes erupted. Apparently Disco is, unfortunately, not yet dead.

"The Donkey Show" (21 August - Open-Ended)
AMERICAN REPERTORY THEATRE
Zero Arrow Street, CAMBRIDGE MA
1(617)547-8300

The Amazing (but shrinking) Power of The

Press [REP]

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

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

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

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

Except in one woman's eyes.

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

One in particular didn't.

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

She didn't understand me.

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

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

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

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

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

But she mellowed.

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

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

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

The Internet Is Free.

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

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

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

End Of Sermon.
Love,
===Larry Stark

Sunday, 24 April, 2011 - 8:08 p m:
"An Open Letter"

Regrettably, until further notice, I shall not be attending any productions by the American Repertory Theatre (A.R.T.). Let me explain:

I have frequently been critical of other critics. In some cases, this has been my "internal editor" quibbling about style; at other times, it has been an attempt to let critics feel the personal pain that damaging criticism can cause in people who must get up before another audience knowing that critics' comments have shaped what at least some in that audience might thus believe.

But, even admitting these opinions, I believe even the harshest of critics, deep down, really love theater --- that creators and critics are really "on the same side". Sometimes it may look as though a critic Loves Theater To Death; still, in an austere era many of my colleagues are continuing to write critiques without being paid to do so, their love is that strong. And they try to apply their personal standards in as impartial a manner as possible, though it may not always look that way from outside. That, I think, is the critic's job.

The job of a Public Relations Coordinator for any particular theater company, though, is necessarily biased. The goal there is to get that same potential audience to view the company's shows in the best possible light, to see and appreciate what is there, and to come back again and again for more. And it may seem that P/R people and critics are at war --- especially when they disagree, with one seeing only negatives while the other must accentuate the positive.

But those on both sides operate in what is called "The Free Marketplace of Ideas" --- and audience-members may decide for themselves which one is right. This, at least, is how I assume the game should be played.

Lately, I have heard rumors that a vicious "kill the messenger" attitude threatens this entire structure. I have often voiced my opinions privately or written them publically, but deliberate attempts to disgrace or disbar or silence someone's free voice I cannot tolerate nor condone. I therefore sent the following letter to the producer at the American Repertory Theatre protesting what I see as disgraceful behavior, stretching back over many years, that has no place in that "Marketplace of Ideas" which I fervently hope will remain Free.

To: Diane Borger, Producer, AMERICAN REPERTORY THEATRE

Dear Ms. Borger:

Of late I have heard astonishing stories and rumors of the
antics of a person in your employ referred to as "Catty"
by those who have had contact with her. I undertstand that
Public Relations work necessarily involves some sorts of
manipulation; however, if even half of what I've been told
is true, this person has no ethical standards whatever.
I am astonished that you continue to employ anyone who so
totally misunderstands her profession, and mine.

You must realize that in the climate created by her actions,
any positive reviews of your company's work can be
construed as written out of fear of this woman's power to
ruin the reputation of anyone voicing opposite opinions.

I cannot believe you are ignorant of this situation, but
you must be aware that continuing to employ her in such
a sensitive position can only be construed as approval of
such behavior by the American Repertory Theatre, which I
fervently hope cannot be the case.

But if you condone such actions, I cannot.

I cannot in good conscience continue to work with anyone
who behaves with such vindictive misunderstanding of her
job, and mine. To do so would suggest that I myself
condone such behavior, which is decidedly Not the case.

Should there be a change in personnel in future, I would
appreciate your notifying me.

Sincerely,
===Larry Stark
of Theater Mirror

=+=+=+=+=

AMAZING RESPONSES

to my letter to
Mayor Martin J. Walsh

FROM

13 September 2014
Joyce Linehan
Chief of Policy
Office of Mayor Martin J. Walsh
617-635-1414
joyce.linehan@boston.gov

Larry-
Thanks for your note to Mayor Walsh. He asked me to respond. He and I also believe that the arts can be a catalyst for social change and healing, and appreciate your ideas. The Walsh Administration’s commitment to the arts is genuine, and I believe that even in the infancy of this administration, we have proved that. We are in the final stages of a nationwide search for an Arts Commissioner – the first one the City has had in decades. Look for an announcement very soon, and let’s be prepared to welcome the person who will help us create the plan that will see Boston become a municipal arts leader. Though the budget for this year was largely formed before we got to City Hall, we committed to matching the contribution the Massachusetts Cultural Council makes to the Boston Cultural Council, which will enable us to DOUBLE the amount of grants we give to small and medium sized arts organizations in town. This was one of just four additions to the tight budget we were faced with. The only other additions were for increased K1 seats, the establishment of an Office of Recovery Services, and additional resources for trauma treatment in neighborhood health centers. This gives you an idea of where the Mayor sees the arts in his personal priorities. We realize that what we’ve done so far is just the start. When the new Commissioner gets here, we will work with him or her to identify revenue sources that can help us build a great department. We’re excited to see where this will take us, and hope the rest of the arts community is as well.

What you are asking us to do – produce and market a play – is really outside of our charge, not to mention our skill set. (In fact, I believe that City Hall shouldn’t really even be in the programming business. Rather, we should work on ways to support those who do programming well. Ultimately, it will be up to the new commissioner to set that course, but if he or she decides to listen to me at all, that’s what I will tell them!) Therefore, we are going to put your idea back on the theater community. The Boston Cultural Council is currently accepting grant applications for FY15 (http://bostonculturalcouncil.com/). Any arts organization can apply, and we are always happy to talk to anyone about use of the Strand. It’s affordable, and there has been much investment in the building in recent years, making it a good place to work. As with all Strand programming, we are happy to have the team in the Arts office think about ways we might reach particular constituencies.

 Thanks for your advocacy.
Sincerely,
Joyce Linehan

FROM

Charles McEnerney
10 September 2014

Larry: 
Hi; I’m working with the Mayor’s Office of Arts + Culture and saw your open letter to Mayor Walsh. 
The Strand Theatre does not have a programming budget, but it is available for rentals to any interested theater company. Details at http://strandboston.com/rentmenu
It would be great to share this information with your readers and arts organizations so that more know this is a possibility.
Thanks for your help,
Charlie

FROM

Brian Balduzzi

Larry: 
I have long admired you as a theatre reviewer and mentor; your passion and commitment to the Boston theatre scenes (in all of its sizes and colors) is more than admirable. Your zeal for arts and social advocacy is even more impressive. You bring wisdom and experience to the Boston arts community, and I am thankful for your guidance and perspective. Your letter to Mayor Walsh is exactly the kind of dialogue that we need in our communities throughout the Greater Boston area. 

If you do not receive a timely response, perhaps you could consider publishing this letter (edited perhaps) to a major local newspaper for greater coverage. Others deserve to know about this timely idea, and, moreover, people need the encouragement to speak out. While you articulated this idea beautifully, others may share or even be able to expand upon it! 

Thank you for your mentorship and passion. 
Kindly, 
Brian Balduzzi  Head of My Theatre (Boston), My Entertainment World

FROM

Mort Kaplan

Hey, Larry,
I just got up to speed with my emails. It is comforting to know that you are still full of vim, vinegar, and good ideas at your age. The love and energy you exude for the theatre [I will spell it that way always..] is admirable  for an octogenarian.

Loved your letter. Too bad the arts in the Hub of the Universe/Athens of America are always having to reinvent the wheel, so to speak, by justifying themselves as "good for business" or "good for healing the racial divide" or "a new way to teach critical thinking." Here, unlike other great cities in our great nation, there never was Ars Gratias Ars.

 Pardon this octogenarian's cynicism but I don't think this new mayor guy is going to give the kind of support we saw during the  Kevin White years and in the 70s and 80s.

Keep banging the drum, grumpy old man with a cane…
My best………Mort Kaplan

FROM

Berkshire Fine Arts

  Open Letter to Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh
My Theatrical Response to Disaster in Ferguson
Opinion
By: Larry Stark - 08/29/2014
Back in the day Larry Stark was the theatre critic for Boston After Dark which elided as The Boston Phoenix. He has covered theatre for decades currently with his website Theatre Mirror. Following up on campaign promises Stark in an open letter has questions for Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh. "To put it bluntly Mayor, I voted for you Only because I thought at the time that your commitment to The Arts was genuine."

FROM

Hey, Larry,
I just got up to speed with my emails. It is comforting to know that you are still full of vim, vinegar, and good ideas at your age. The love and energy you exude for the theatre [I will spell it that way always..] is admirable  for an octogenarian.

Loved your letter. Too bad the arts in the Hub of the Universe/Athens of America are always having to reinvent the wheel, so to speak, by justifying themselves as "good for business" or "good for healing the racial divide" or "a new way to teach critical thinking." Here, unlike other great cities in our great nation, there never was Ars Gratias Ars.

 Pardon this octogenarian's cynicism but I don't think this new mayor guy is going to give the kind of support we saw during the  Kevin White years and in the 70s and 80s.

Keep banging the drum, grumpy old man with a cane…
My best………Mort Kaplan

FROM

Julie Hennrikus

Thank you for forwarding this to me, Larry. A very thoughtful letter. And I love your casting of Long Day's.
Will I see you next week at the Greater Boston Theatre Expo? We are almost at 70 companies!
Julie

FROM

Paula Plum

Larry, what a wonderful letter and a brilliant idea to bring Fences to a larger audience. I endorse this 100%-- it was a stunning afternoon of gorgeous work, brilliant performances and lovingly directed by Eric. 
 I am always so happy to see you in the house! 
Thanks for representing us at City Hall!
Much Love, Paula

FROM

Susan Daniels

Hi Larry,
Great letter.  Great ideas.  Finger crossed that Mayor Walsh has a great response.
If  I lived in Boston I would have voted for Walsh too because of his comments about the arts.  And because of his long-standing friendship with Joyce Linehan.
Hope all is well.
Cheers,
Susan

FROM

Peter Snoad

Hey Larry,
Great letter! I, too, have been thinking about how theatre can play a more engaged educational role in the ongoing national conversation about race and racism, and your suggestions to Mayor Walsh address that concretely. I'm also been thinking more specifically about what white playwrights are doing in this regard, since racism in the U.S. is a white creation and white people, above all, need to take responsibility for it.

As you indicate, there are some wonderful plays by black playwrights in which race is an underlying theme -- you mention "Fences", but pretty much anything by August Wilson qualifies in my book, and Ntozake Shange, Lorraine Hansberry etc. and then there are some fine contemporary playwrights whose work has been produced in Boston, such as Lydia Diamond and Kirsten Greenidge. But how many plays do we see with a white perspective on race? David Mamet wrote "Race", and Bruce Norris "Clybourne Park", and I'm sure there are others, but, I venture to suggest, not too many and not nearly enough.

As you know, from coming to see "Guided Tour" with the inestimable Vincent Siders in the cast, I write about race myself. My next one, "Identity Crisis" -- a comedy about white people turning black -- goes up at Hibernian Hall on November 21. Given recent events in Ferguson, MO, I'm curious about how it will go over. Hope you can make it and see for yourself.

Have you heard back from Mayor Walsh? I'd be interested to know of his response.
Cheers,
Peter

FROM

From: Barbara Lewis
Sent: Sunday, August 31, 2014 12:45 PM

hi larry,
because of the work i am doing in the arts, kathleen bitetti copied me on your email message which she forwarded to the mayor. she knew that i would strongly endorse your recommendations, and indeed i do. you may or may not remember, but i have sent you several reviews, which you have posted.

to bring you up to speed on my recent efforts in the area of theater and art, i designed an august wilson staged reading series, which was produced in 2013 in five theaters across boston, brookline, and cambridge.  johnny davenport was featured prominently in the series, and so were other wilson alumni from the huntington years.  the five theaters were boston playwrights, the strand, hibernian hall, central square theater, and umass boston. 

in may 2014, i invited arts folks from film, dance, theater, music, spoken word, etc. for a cultural convening at the strand to register the city's current arts voice. that convening  was documented and the record is being used now in a umass boston honors course, which the mayor asked the university to teach. the record of that may cultural convening will also be given to the mayor and other political figures as a template for the city's cultural future.

at umass boston, i direct the trotter institute for the study of black history and culture, and have prepared several current grant applications to work with the boston public schools in the area of art and drama. for example, i have submitted a grant to work with students at jeremiah burke high school to dramatically interpret  dudley's history, both contemporary and originary since the history of the area goes back to the 1630s. such a project is designed to develop and increase a sense of pride in the younger generation, which would come from knowing that they are walking every day on sacred ground, every bit as sacred and historically important as the boston common.

a concept paper that i submitted on friday involves having public school students studying a 1913 sculpture by meta warrick fuller, whose celebrated bronze stands now in harriet tubman park in the south end. students from the higginson-lewis elementary and middle school will reinterpret that sculpture through the lens of freedom and emancipation, and how that plays out or does not in their world. the resulting dramas and art work will be shown publicly at the national center for african american art, which is around the corner from the higginson-lewis.

the fuller initiative, last year's wilson initiative plus the two grants currently under review and another in development (which is similar with what you are proposing (minus a black cast in o'neill)) draw on the themes of emancipation and freedom. what guided me in creating The Emancipated Century (the title i gave the wilson series) was the notion that emancipation and freedom remain unfinished american projects. promises of freedom remain unconsummated as ferguson and its antecedents demonstrate. many of those commenting on ferguson now identify the riots of the 60s and 70s as precedents, but the history is longer than that.  it goes back to lynching, which is a theme that wilson often references across the span of his ten decade-by-decade plays.  

i should add that my interest in wilson is informed by my doctorate in theater, which involves a triple lens - criticism, literature, and history from the greeks to the romans to the middle ages through the renaissance into the modern and postmodern eras.  also, i wrote my dissertation on the first ten american plays to address lynching.  so, i see ferguson from a longer vantage. isabel wilkerson, pulitzer prize winner and author of the warmth of other suns, cited the lynching link in the guardian last week and so did jelani cobb in the new yorker.

long story short, i endorse and applaud your recommendation that the healing arts of the theater be brought to bear on this wide and ugly breach that ferguson and its forebears have opened in this country and instead offer boston an up-close exposure to the rich theatrical talents that have not yet been given their full due in boston.

perhaps we could work together to craft something positive for the black theatrical and larger communities, with  support from the umass boston chancellor and the mayor. further, i enjoy good and cordial relations with marshall and green at the strand, bustin at hibernian hall, and dower at arts emerson, where i am on the OneBoston steering committee. in addition, i am on good working terms with myran parker-brass, BPS head of the arts. 

looking forward to more discussion,
barbara

 

FROM

Lynne Moulton

Larry,
So well said.  I have never seen Johnny Lee Davenport.   But I think Jacqui Parker is a goddess.  She acts right down to her tonenails.  It would be wonderful to have August Wilson's entire canon performed by the same cast in Boston.  And sign me up for the Long Day production right now.  That play would rock with an all black cast. 

Get the mayor going on the arts.  The only way we will have theater in the future is if we get the kiddies interested.  What better way than having them attend theater as a part of their school day.
Lynne

FROM

charles giuliano

Larry
We reposted this with a link to Theater Mirror.
I enjoy your feisty indignation.
Perhaps we might swap some reviews with links and credits.
I am about to post the Berkshire summer summary.
Does that interest your readers?
Best
Charles Giuliano

FROM

Nancy Curran Willis

Larry, thank you for sharing your letter. It was very well written and laid out a plan that would be wonderful to see should Mayor Walsh decide to do something with it. I particularly loved how nicely you prodded him with the reason why he got your vote. I'll be curious to see what kind of response you get, if any. Congratulations good friend. Well done.
Sent from my iPad
Nancy Curran Willis

FROM

Sheila Barth

Well said, well written, and wonderfully done, Larry!
Are you aware Joyce Linehan works for Mayor Walsh? She'd be a great person for you to approach with your ideas, too!
Love,
Sheila

FROM

shana dirik -- On Friday, August 29, 2014 5:17 PM

Wonderful letter to the Mayor Larry!  I am seeing Fences next week and am very excited to see it!  Hope you are having a lovely summer!

Shana  

This is what they're talking about:

My THEATRICAL Response to
The Disaster in FERGUSON Mo.

Friday, 29 August, 2014, 12:38 p m

Dear Mayor Walsh:

The national awareness of the supression of minorities on a municipal, block-by-block level in America is a cry for Concrete Action in every city. There are specific actions, financial and political, that can help. Another avenue that will help is a concrete and sincere effort to instill in minorities a feeling both of pride in self, and involvement in the general welfare. It's in such matters that the Theatrical Community still growing here in Boston could be of use. Let me suggest a few general, and probably expensive ways YOU could lead the way in this regard.

I just saw Eric C. Engel's amazing production of August Wilson's FENCES up north at the Gloucester Stage Company. I had seen the play several times before, but Never did I see it done better. I have no idea of the commitments the cast may have, but were I Boston's mayor I'd find the money and ask all seven of those exceptiomally gifted actors to bring this movingly Human play into Boston --- perhaps at the Strand Theatre --- and bus in as many high-school students as possible to see, and later discuss, the ideas this play brings up. That would put Great Art at the service of the community in a way it does best.

Again, early this summer I went out to "the left coast of Massachusetts" to see Johnny Lee Davenport play Bottom the Weaver in Shakespeare & Company's MIDSUMMER. I have seen Mr. Davenport do readings of the canon of August Wilson's 10-play series about the Black Experience of the entire 20th Century, and I would love to have him participate in production of The Entire Series, here in Boston, with the same cast committed to performing the same characters in several plays. I'm thinking of an entire new company that could do the canon, a play every month, twice --- again, with an emphasis on high school audiences. August Wilson IS America's Shakespeare, so perhaps one of the highly successful Boston industrial firms could be cajoled or coerced into financing such a municipal project. (I wonder if Ratheon, for instance, would like to spend some of the profits from selling Iron Dome Systems and other war machineries, to this worthy peacetime project.)

But there is another part I would love to see Johnny Lee Davenport play; it's of a self-made, miserly yet moneyed aging actor and his wife and two sons during their summer away from touring in their shore-side mansion. The play is LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT, and Eugene O'Neil based it on his own lace-curtain Irish family --- but I do not believe that family could not be Black, I do believe Johnny Lee could be a magnificent James Tyrone ... and after seeing her in FENCES, I believe Jacqui Parker could be an unforgettable Mary Tyrone. And, since O'Neil IS America's Shakespeare, such a cross-casting would bring the universality of the play into the open.

For theatres here in Boston, these would be Major Projects, demanding coordination, and cash. But the entire city would benefit: not only would they fan a personal pride in many Bostonians, they would place Boston in the forefront of a movement to make a Difference by Making Art.

And, to put it bluntly Mayor, I voted for you Only because I thought at the time that your commitment to The Arts was genuine.

I'm asking you for some proof of that commitment, right now.

Sincerely,
Larry Stark

P.S.
Yes, I know, Terrence McNally really IS America's Shakespeare, and so is Stephen Sondheim --- but the current crop of playwrights Here In Boston are howling at their heels! Maybe some Boston medical firm ought to fund a project, say at Hibernian Hall or Roxbury Community College, to found a sort of Black equivalent to the Boston Playwrights' Theatre --- giving original plays by or about Black people productions and mentoring criticism. August Wilson and Ntozake Shange shouldn't stay America's ONLY Shakespeares!

THEATER MIRROR RESOURCES

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Nothing else so far

When we find them, we tell you about them!

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Hairspray!
July 29 - August 21
“Everything is bigger in Hairspray
– the dreams, the voices and, of course, the hair!”

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

For information call 781-871-2787

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




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entire contents copyright © 1995 - 2006 The Theater Mirror.
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Larry Stark's THEATER MIRROR

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Hairspray!
July 29 - August 21
“Everything is bigger in Hairspray
– the dreams, the voices and, of course, the hair!”

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

For information call 781-871-2787

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






 




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"Lea DeLaria"

with
Lea DeLaria

Piano and Musical Direction … Janette Mason
Bass … Kendell Eddy
Drums … Austin McMann

Singer-comedienne Lea DeLaria brought her jazz and hilarity to the BCA’s Deane Hall for three evenings, kicking off the Huntington’s new cabaret series, “Upstairs at the Calderwood” --- the Old Girl, of all companies, is out to prove to Beantowners that, yes, there is life at an hour when most local theatergoers head home after applauding a curtain call and how wise, good and clever to begin with Ms. DeLaria who makes me laugh heartily as no one else can, onstage or off, and whose every note of scat is a well-hammered nail on the musical line. Twice have I seen Ms. DeLaria perform in Provincetown where she alternated in-your-face monologues with clear, sparkling vocals --- “Chords of steel!” she proclaimed to me, afterwards --- but Boston is not Provincetown and I wondered how this bull(dyke) would fare in our china shop. Happily, Ms. DeLaria is so layered an artist that, like a starfish cut in half, she could regenerate herself into a jolly big sister that the whole family could love, with just enough naughtiness to make her audience squirm with delight (i.e. walking amongst the women, with mistletoe, while singing “Christmas Kisses”) --- in Provincetown, Ms. DeLaria is a comedienne who sings; here, she was a singer who made us laugh which is comforting to know for not only will Boston always be Boston but the political winds are shifting to more hopeful, optimistic ones and Ms. Delaria, like many a stand-up comic, may find herself passing from Old Comedy to New (a year from now, who would want to be reminded of our outgoing President?). But even a Lea-Lite is better than no Lea, at all, and may Ms. DeLaria always find time for Boston within her busy-busy schedule and, of course, there is always Provincetown in the summer should you want to experience her in full, unleashed merriment.

"Lea DeLaria" (11-13 December)
THE HUNTINGTON THEATRE COMPANY
Deane Hall at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street, BOSTON, MA
1 (617) 266-0800
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