Wednesday, September 14, 2011

just a quick stop-gap

I have pic and news and "reviews" of the Precious Bane reading , but no time to post now.

What I do want to post before I lose it is a comment I couldn't resist making on the "Artful Manager" blog|:

The whole idea of non-profit needs to be overhauled. Increasingly our institutions reinforce extreme inequality. Minimally, tax free status should only go to organizations that put the majority of their money and effort into serving the bottom half of the income ladder, and pay employees and leadership no more the average wage for a graduate of an open-enrollment public school and university degree-holder. Our "meritocracy" is an illusion: money opens the gates at every checkpoint, and make sure that those who make decisions will make them from the POV of the richly credentialed.
Our local non-profit hospitals are being taken over by corporations. Apparently nobody has standing to sue on behalf of the 1000s of people who over decades donated to those hospitals believing that their donations were charity, not an "asset" to make businessmen rich. Donations of time, blood, services are even more important than mere money: the corporation should be made to return the value of those assets to charity; to the struggling real non-profits who serve the poor and the uninsured.

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Photos of Kiss The Twins from June 2011

Scott Welty sent me the dress rehearsal photos he took of my play in the Playwrights Platform Festival this summer. I'm so busy with preparations for the Precious Bane rehearsal on monday that I can't properly label and edit these, but I'm going to post them now and fix them later: otherwise I may just lose track of them!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Monday, Tuesday... I must be printing, collating, stapling...

Yesterday beyond the not-so-bad of the dentist and the lovely-but-I'm distracted visit of the utterly charming Martha Rose was the final prep for an ensemble rehearsal at Miriam's for the read-through of Precious Bane. David took some photos but I'm too tired to post any! Discovered discrepancies in both music and script! Yuck! Spent today at Miriam's fixing them. most email or hand-deliver the corrected scripts and sheet music to the cast ASAP. But I think tomorrow's the As Possible. I think the last thing I'm going to be able to do tonight is take my shoes off, lie on the sofa and skim through the Globe....

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Monday, August 08, 2011

I'm mostly working on organization for the Precious Bane reading

I'm mostly working on organization for the Precious Bane reading, which is a secretarial/scheduling/proofreading/PR work of the kind I dread most, calling up demons of dyslexia I thought I'd mostly banished from my life.

This is so unpleasant that it makes other drudgery attractive by contrast. Yesterday I alternated it with particularly yukky household chores, like tending the compost bin and scrubbing the shower stall. Today, when lightning knocked out our cable I couldn't email or post, I finally got around to editing the notes I took at the Dramatists Guild's 1st National Conference in DC June 9-12th.

Here's the first installment:

The first session I went to, 4 pm Thursday, was the National Songwriter/ Bookwriter Exchange, run by Roland Tec. To actively participate a member had to pre-register and send in a bio and work samples, which were distributed to the others in the group. Those of us who hadn't got our act together in advance were permitted to be there as observers as long as there were some left-over handouts from people who had signed up but didn't show up. There were some major travel snafus this particular day, which might account for there being enough for room us, the handful of observers. It was very interesting to see the variety of people at work and looking for collaborators. There was an undergraduate fresh from working with a hip hop ensemble, and several veterans with decades of production credits. In the material they provided for the handouts they talked about their ideal collaborative conditions and the makeshift conditions under which they had managed to survive. People went around the room, putting their faces to the names in the handout and saying a few words about themselves. After the go-round, there was a period where people could mingle and make connections with potential collaborators whose handouts sounded compatible. This is a good event, as is the similar event NOMTI sponsors in Boston. I'm delighted with my present composer, but still eager to hear about other combos' projects and processes. I'd eagerly attend another. Good start!

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Thursday, August 04, 2011

The new musical I've been working on for the last 4 years

Precious Bane, a new musical by Miriam Raiken-Kolb (music, lyrics) and G.L. Horton (book, lyrics), will have its first full sing-through at Boston Playwrights Theatre at the end of August. The professional cast includes singers Shannon Muhs, Steven Murray, Bob DeVivo, Kaja Fickes, Charles Taylor, Jeremiah Alto, Jonas Budris, Renee Miller, Pamela Wolfe, and Abby Cordell, many of whom have been part of the musical's development process in the New Opera/Music Theatre Initiative's Advanced Workshop at Berklee.

Precious Bane is adapted from the celebrated novel by Mary Webb. It tells the sweeping dramatic story of Prue Sarn, born in 1800 with the "Devil's Mark" of a harelip, in Shropshire, England . Convinced by her brother Gideon that no man could ever love her, Prue agrees to join him in his obsessive quest for wealth and power. However, Kester the Weaver sees beyond her flawed face to the inner woman who should be his life's Companion. Now Prue must find the strength to believe in love and break free of the downward spiral set in motion by Gideon's ruthless choices.

Precious Bane is a classic large scale musical with soaring melodies and vivid characters. More information and six songs from the show are on the musical's Web Site.

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Monday, June 20, 2011

I seem to have found my way back in to my STAGEBLOG

After years of being caught in a feedback loop because Blogger became part of Google when I was away during my mother's last illness, I stumbled onto a way to re-set my password! I hope I remember how to get in again, and post! I have photos and programs from the 2011 Playwrights Platform festival, an account of the Dramatists Guild Conference in DC, all sorts of news and opinions to share -- just in case I ever have some readers.

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Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy 4th of July -- bye, Boston, for Now

Louise Kennedy reviews in the Boston Globe

I'm so glad she is reviewing!   A play like Look Back In Anger is where I'm particularly interested in the opinion of a woman younger than I.  Kennedy says:    
".... the Orfeo production reminds us, its vital fury, its dramatic crackle, and its vivid evocation both of specific characters and of their larger society make it worth seeing as well as reading.

It's hard to imagine being shocked, as 1956 audiences reportedly were, by the play's grubby realism and violent brutality; we've had far too much of that in the ensuing decades to be surprised by much of anything now. But what does still shock is the mix of cruelty, lust, fury, and grief that propels Osborne's characters together and apart. It's not surprising; it's just startling in its complexity, contradictoriness, and raw power.... 

Part of what makes Orfeo's production work is that its limitations become strengths. The tiny, cramped, muggy space of the Factory Theatre intensifies the claustrophobia of the play's setting, a dingy attic flat in England's industrial Midlands. Cristina Todesco's artfully cluttered set is clearly furnished with cheap castoffs, just as the actual flat would be. And, with only 45 seats, the theater puts the audience right in this grungy room with Jimmy..."

My family had our traditional July 4th barbeque in the back garden, followed by walking a little under a mile to Newton's Town Fireworks display.  This year I stayed home to pack for Florida, and watched the Pops and the Esplanade display on TV.  The commercials are horrible, and so is most of the music-- but I love watching the people of Boston, who look so happy to be together in their silly patriotic costumes, dancing and bouncing and singing along.  I sing along, too. I'm going to miss Boston while I'm away.

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Taking a Break

My mother is in the hospital in Florida, and I am flying to the Tampa area Saturday to see what I can do to help her get back on her feet.    I still have photos and descriptions and quite a bit to say about the recent furry of local production, but it will have to wait till I return.   Must get packed!  lightly, now that the airlines are charging to check bags.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Look Back in Anger -- Orfeo Group

I went to see John Osborn's post WWII  bombshell, which premiered in 1956, with "the girls".    We remember WWII, we were children then, and the attitudes towards women's agency that prevailed when we came of age. June was surprised because she had recently seen the movie and in performance the play seemed much more cruel.  I remembered it as very cruel-- cruel enough that I carried away a lesson from the play: beware. Stay away from brilliant fascinating men who feel entitled to make demands and heap abuse on woemn who don't meet them.  Orfeo's was an intense and impressive  staging, but I was not wholly absorbed.   I was remembering working on the script when I was very young-- and thinking at the time I was miscast as Helena and would have found Alison a more comfortable fit.  Now, I can see what it is about Helena that is more me-ish, though Helena's facade is so utterly unlike the woman I thought I was when I was 19 or 20 that the idea would have shocked me then.  Working on LBIA may have been in a class rather than a production. Although I remembered the plot and the sound of the words and and the shape of the scenes after all these years, none of it had the physical detail that a play usually retains for me if I've performed at least a short run before an audience.    Except for the ironing!  i do remember doing the ironing and trying to make it look "real".  When I saw Chris Hayes  (who just played the student actress opposite June's Olga Chekhova in "Russian Mast Class" ) as Alison ironing so badly, without a clue, I spent some considerable energy wondering whether it was an acting choice, showing a young woman raised by servants at home and in India-- or simply that ironing is now done so infrequently that none of the young women connected to the production has ever learned the technique.    Hopefully they needn't have learned the "lesson", either.   I would have stayed for the talk back to congratulate the director and actors, and even asked about the ironing, but the Factory Theatre's noisy air conditioning had to be turned off for the performance and between the heat and intensity and the late hour we were just too exhausted.

Carolyn Clay reviews LBIA in the Boston Phoenix

..."Gabriel Kuttner helms the period-faithful production on Cristina Todesco’s old-furniture-crammed set in a space so small that the testosterone-fueled fisticuffs, linguistic vitriol, sexual steam, and little-boy-lost remorse spill out over the audience like splashes from that non-existent kitchen sink....  And the performances are nicely calibrated to the space, so that you feel the friction of tight quarters but no one appears to be overacting.

The drama crackles despite its creaky three-act structure and vivid verbosity, and Daniel Berger-Jones (of Company One’s Mr. Marmalade) wrestles manfully with the problem of Jimmy, who, like compulsive theatrical misanthropes from Shakespeare’s Timon to Molière’s Alceste, both has a point and is hard to take. Scathing in company, he finds cruel satisfaction in humiliating his wife, who for him represents the enervated rapaciousness of her class. Tender in private, he turns to her for comfort, indulging in a marital game of bears and squirrels (also hard to take) in which the two pretend to be furry animals fleeing the pain of being human. Berger-Jones’s surly, soulful Jimmy leaps out of the small space, waving his natural superiority like a red flag, defying the other characters and a world that refuses to give him his due.  

Liz Hayes..  rises wrenchingly to the final scene, in which she describes to Jimmy the crucible he has always wanted to put her through. Two-time Elliot Norton Award nominee Georgia Lyman brings a cool containment, albeit one that melts down convincingly, to angry-young-man poacher Helena.... Risher Reddick makes a compassionate if occasionally slack Cliff..."

 Steven Barkhimer rounds out the cast as Alison's father, and is such a presence that one rather wishes this long play were even longer and had more Steve Barkhimer in it.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Platform series B -- Bisantz's On The Rocks

photos from the Bisantz-Carozza musical

Friday, June 20, 2008

Independent Eye seeks info RE: Theatre Blogs

This query on the Theatre Discussion List from Conrad of The Independent Eye:
"Are any of you using a blog, whether as promotion, as a means 
of community dialogue, or to document your creative process?  If so, 
we'd like to know.

Right now, The Independent Eye is involved in developing a 
co-production with a local theatre in Sebastopol, CA, of 
Shakespeare's THE TEMPEST as a live theatrical animation with 
puppets, digital media, shadows, lotsa stuff, for September 2009.  As 
part of this, along with community forums and a year-long 
developmental lab, we're planning to do a collaborative blog that 
both documents our process (with posts from staff, actors & other 
associated souls) and also invites public input.  Hopefully we can 
link with various theatre & puppetry websites and really contribute a 
model of functional documentation."
I'm sure others are doing this, or something like it, and I'd 
love to see what there is out there that we might build on.  Any 
leads, whether to your own site or to models in other arenas that 
might be useful in our planning?  Or initiatives that went 
ignominiously belly-up?

It's a couple years old.  I guess in some sense it documents my  
creative process.   I try to track my theatre activities and musings,  
including some list posts that may be mini-essays, plus some OT  opinions. 
Sometimes I neglect it for months, sometimes I post  
daily.   I put on it the kind of thing I would put on my Stagepage web  
site if the site hadn't grown to be so complicated and huge-- photos,  
programs, commentary.   My blog is lonesome.  I don't know if anybody  
reads it. You'd be doing me a favor if you went to it: wearing a path  
to its door, so to speak.  I hope this query results in some interesting blogs and possible links to them.  The Theatre blogs I read-- connected to Terry Teachout's, which I read religiously at Arts Journal, that Blog Roll makes those easiest to click to-- are sporadic and not very interesting

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Platform Series B is underway!

Joe Orrigo and Teagan Rose in "The Cell"
I saw the shows Thursday night-- well done, people !   Vincent Siders was terrific as a war-damaged Vietnam Vet in Gail Phaneuf's "Stop Request", set on an MBTA Bus.  I not only believed in the actor, but the character is close kin to some I put in my own 1979 play re: the MBTA, Breaking in on the T.  A pic from this play is on this blog from about a week ago.

I've grabbed a jpeg from Kelly DuMar's spooky piece set in a graveyard, The Cell.  Good acting in that one, too-- the acting level this year is very impressive. I hope other Series B shows will have pics to share, too. 

Come out and enjoy the Second Weekend of the Playwrights' Platform Summer Festival!  It's great to see everyone there lending their support, laughter and applause!  Thanks to everyone who has volunteered and helped make this another very successful year for the Festival and the Platform!  Bravo!  (We can't do it without you...)  Help us spread the word for the final two performances.  AND... Don't forget the party on Saturday night at the theater after the show!  **   -Gail

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Kelly Dumar talks about rehearsing The Cell (series B)

On Kelly DuMar's blog:

The Cell

Written & Directed By Kelly DuMar                                    

Pleasant Lawn Cemetery, A Throne Like Bench—Seating for Two

TICK         Teagan Rose

CORT      Joe Orrigo

Our Journey to the Underworld

For the fourth time during a Playwrights’ Platform Festival I get to work with great actors to present a scene from my Away Message Series.  Last year, Bird’s Egg, Blue drummed up TICK’'s birth at the annual festival, and Clay gave us TICK'’s first kiss at the Our Voices Festival.  The year before, New Digs brought us to the cemetery so TICK and KIP could “do their goodbye thing” at Clay’'s grave.  The Cell is set in the same cemetery, but another dimension.

When I first met Joe Orrigo to “audition” him for The Cell it was at a sunny outdoor patio table at Panera, and he told me exactly what a playwright wants to hear: “Love the script.”  Even more encouraging, he connected with the mythological dimensions of the story and sparked my vision as director.  By the time we were done reading the script aloud, I was - along with the rest of the diners - scared shitless.  I drove home wondering if Joe Orrigo was really an actor or an ethereal visitor from another realm, and for a lot of reasons I hoped he would turn out to be a real actor, not the least of which was so that he'’d show up for rehearsal when I cast him.

He did.  It'’s been great working with Joe and Teagan who’s so fresh and eager and talented.  Joe'’s not afraid to try anything, and Teagan'’s not afraid to ask anything, so the three of us became collaborators in the truest sense of the word, inspiring and trusting each other'’s creative instincts.  

During rehearsal I told them I wasn'’t convinced I had found the right ending.  We agreed to trust the process to find it, and I almost blew it.  Out of habit, I kept ending the play in the same old place.  At the last rehearsal when I said “"done",” I realized Joe wasn'’t.  We agreed to run it one more time and Joe was free to end it wherever he ended it.  So, we got to the end, and CORT makes this seductive gesture—, "Come".  And TICK must.  That’'s what I'’m getting at: that as adolescents, certainly, —but also as creative people, we'’re compelled to follow our curiosity to the Underworld, the shadow elements of our own psyches, and we have to figure out, as TICK will, how to dance new life out of dead hopes, dreams, and illusions-- without sacrificing our souls.  

~ Kelly DuMar

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Artists in America -- economic stats

NYTimes reported on a US gov't study: 

...... In 2005 nearly two million Americans said their primary employment was in jobs that the census defines as artists’ occupations — including architects, interior designers and window dressers. Their combined income was about $70 billion, a median of $34,800 each. Another 300,000 said artist was their second job.

......The percentage of female, black, Hispanic and Asian artists is bigger among younger ones. Among artists under 35, writers are the only group in which 80 percent or more are non-Hispanic white. Overall, women outnumber men only among dancers, designers and writers....  Overall, the median income that artists reported in 2005 was $34,800 — $42,000 for men and $27,300 for women. The median income of the 55 percent of artists who said they had worked full-time for a full year was $45,200.

.....Over all, artists make more than the national median income ($30,100). They are more highly educated but earn less than other professionals with the same level of schooling. 

{like, half as much.  I know: I've worked jobs where I had to have my Master's degree, but made less per hour than a fully employed high school grad}

 They are likelier to be self-employed (about one in three and growing) and less likely to work full-time, year-round. (Dancers have the lowest median annual income of all artists, architects the highest — $20,000 and $58,000, respectively.)....

...About 13 percent of people who say their primary occupation is artist also hold a second job — about twice the rate that other people in the labor force work two jobs......

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Pictures from Playwrights Platform Festival Series A

Here are photos from the Festival taken June 9th

Anabel Graetz and Geralyn Horton in The Entertainer by Phyllis Rittner

Lia Adams, Mike Haddad and T.Anthony Donohoe in Short Cuts  by Christopher King

Above: Rene L. Pfister & Anabel Graetz in The Entertainer

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Opening Night! Playwrights Platform Festival, Series A

June Lewin as Marion and Jackie Davis as Evelyn in G.L. Horton's Best Practice
Hooray!  My play is up and running, and I couldn't be more pleased with the way it turned out!

Here's the bios insert from the Platform Program: 
BEST PRACTICE      by G. L. Horton
JUNE LEWIN (Marion)  has worked in Boston area theatre as an actor and director since 1986. One of her  particular interests is helping to develop new  scripts, and shortly after her move she directed G.L. Horton's full length set in a Boston abortion clinic, "Choices" and Rosanna Alfaro's "Martha Mitchell", which was recently revived and performed at NYC's West End Theatre in April.  June has continued to work closely with local playwrights and makes frequent appearances in new plays and in the Boston Theatre Marathon. Last season she was seen in Alfaro's "Sailing Down the Amazon" and Kate Snodrass's "Haiku" at the Boston Playwrights' Theater and the West End Theater in Gloucester.   Also at the West End, she performed in "Kindertransport"  and "Women and the Sea".   A few favorite roles: Mary in "On the Verge", Miss MacKay in "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie",  E. M. Ashford in "Wit", and Valentina in "The Bay at Nice".  June has appeared onstage in New York City, Long Island,  Berkeley, California, and throughout New England, after receiving her early training at the Cleveland Playhouse, Barnard College and Boston University. She is member of, Actors' Equity Association and the Screen Actors Guild, and on the Board of StageSource.

JACKIE DAVIS (Evelyn) is a member of Theatre Espresso and an Affiliate Artist of the Providence Black Repertory Theatre Company.  Directorial credits include staged readings of “Hurry Tomorrow” by Platform writer Frank Shefton, and "The Trial of One Short-Sighted Black Woman vs. Mammy Louise and Safreeta Mae" for Roxbury Crossroads Theatre at the Calderwood Pavilion.  Productions include: A Black Arts Drama Showcase in Boston and New Jersey, "BIRTH" for Bold On Labor Day at the Cambridge Y, and "The Eight: Reindeer Monologues" at the Factory Theatre.  Jackie served as assistant director/ choreographer during the 6th African American Theater Festival and as choreographer for the Lyric Stage’s production of "Crowns"; and won IRNE nominations for her choreography of Speakeasy’s production of "Caroline or Change" and AATF's "The Wiz".   At the PBRT she played Mrs. Breedlove in "The Bluest Eye" and Rashida in the World Premiere of "The Etymology of Bird". Choreographer for Company One’s "Assassins", she will be conducting summer workshops at COne. Theatre credits include: Tituba, New Rep’s "The Crucible; understudy, Huntington Theatre’s " Well"; "Wind In The Willows"; "Body & Sold"; "Spell #7".  Her  Ms. Olson in "Promises Promises" and Lady in Blue in “For Colored Girls…” won IRNE nominations.  Television credits include National Geographic’s documentary of Hurricane Katrina, and commercials national and local.  Jackie is a proud member of the Screen Actor’s Guild and can be seen in the upcoming Pink Panther Deux and Bachelor Number Two.

GERALYN HORTON  served as director for her play-- which means that she was fortunate enough to get this stellar cast to take on the roles and has tried to stay out of their way. Geralyn started directing when she was a kid, and has directed on and off for half a century.  Most of her work has been with new plays written by colleagues or with the late lamented Arlington Street Light Opera Company in the church's basement, where for 25 years she applied the music theatre techniques she picked up working as Sarah Caldwell's Production Assistant during the Opera Company of Boston's 1971-73 seasons. 

Thanks to Kate and Marc at BPT and to the NPG and the Platform for feedback during re-writes

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More Platform Festival actors and Series B

36th Annual Festival of New Plays, 2008
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 949 Comm. Av., Boston.
Tickets $14-$17 at 866-811-4111 or at

Series A Program: June 12, 13, 14 - Curtain 8pm 

Series B Program: June 19, 20, 21 - Curtain 8PM

CUT by R. Holly Jensen
Tradition! Or..? A Blessed Event threatens family chaos.

FORGIVING by R. Lida McGirr
A daughter's struggle to face her less than valiant behavior.

ON THE STRUT by Hortense Gerardo
Is a 2200 ft parachute jump a good time for lovers' confessions?

STOP REQUESTED by Gail Phaneuf
A stranger's perspective can open our minds and hearts.

THE CELL by Kelly DuMar
He's King of the Underworld: will she be his Queen?

ON THE ROCKS- musical by Jerry Bisantz and John Carozza
Sometimes that last drink really is the last.

A TV show character as role model in a bank's moment of crisis.

FESTIVAL ACTORS: Lis Adams, Sandy Armstrong, Zele Avradopoulos, JerryBisantz, Jackie Davis, Laura DeCesare, T. Anthony Donohoe, Peter Floyd, Jennifer Fogarty, Scott Giangrande, Anabel Graetz, Michael Haddad, Geralyn Horton, Trudie Johnson, Eliot L Johnston, Spencer Klein, June Lewin, Jennifer McCartney Joey Orrigo, Alli Ritts, Fred Robbins, Liz Robbins, Teagan Rose, Dan Schuettinger Jen Shotkin, Vincent Siders, Stephanie Steinbeck, Steve Triebes, Andrew Wetmore

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Grant Keener's Obit and Memorial Service

I don't know if anyone else is still around who was a member of Playwrights' Platform when Grant Keener was active.  We read several of his plays: I particularly remember the full length portrait of Nora Barnicle, Joyce's wife.  He has attended Platform Summer Festivals off and on until quite recently, when he had to give up his car. 

U. Grant Keener  89, loving father, grandfather and friend of Waban formerly of Cambridge, died on Friday June 6, 2008. He is survived by a sister Marilyn, four children; Robert L. Keener and his wife Betsey of Needham, Jessie Keener of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Matthew S. Keener of Los Angeles, CA and Amelia Pantaze and her husband Adam of Lexington, VA, his six grandchildren: Karina, Sarah, David, Grace, Ana Grace and Myles. Grant was born in Philadelphia, he grew up in Brazil and attended Columbia College. He received a Ph.D. from Columbia and was a professor at Bridgewater State College. During W.W. II, Grant he served with the U.S. Army. A lifelong writer, he was recently working on several plays and a short story. A Memorial Service will be held Wednesday June 11th at 7 PM at his Church, The First Unitarian Society in Newton, 1326 Washington St., Newton. In lieu of flowers, please donate to PEN New England

The Memorial was lovely: his bright and vital family from the 4 corners of the USA, church friends, handfuls of friends from Pen,  his Cambridge Pub Writers' group, 3 of us from the Platform, memories of the Poets' Theatre..... wonderful anecdotes and tributes.  The hastily assembled and rehearsed choir sang some of Grant's favorites -- we was a big choir fan, and would come early and listen to us rehearse. I'm sorry I missed hearing him telling tales of foreign adventure and spying in WWII-- I never dreamed Grant was old enough to have been in WWII: I was in a tennis class with him in the late nineties, when he must have been in his 80s already! 

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LA Times on marketing movies for women

Hollywood rethinks chick flicks

By Rachel Abramowitz, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer 

June 11, 2008

...half of Hollywood is trying to parse the lessons of the resounding success (unexpected to some) of the "Sex and the City" movie, the event film for women.

A $57-million opening weekend? And $192 million worldwide within two weeks? Chicks en masse go to the film as a religious experience. Is there a stampede to knock off other hit TV shows, figuring that TV is to women what comic books are to men? A product with pre-established awareness and mythic potential? Or will "SATC's" hitdom be chalked off as a periodic anomaly, just like "First Wives Club," "Fatal Attraction" and, of course, the bestselling movie of all time, "Titanic," whose tidal wave of gross profit was driven by human beings lacking the Y-chromosome.

...... "I hope ['Sex and the City'] will at least bring about more of a trend toward films made specifically for adult female women," says Donna Langley, Universal's president of production, who ran out opening weekend to catch the film, both as a consumer and a professional. "You would hope, given the success of 'Sex and the City,' people will remember there is a huge female audience out there, and, judging by these numbers, they're clearly starved, for the most part.....I hope the film's success encourages not only studios to make more films for women but more female writers and directors to step forward with their own unique voices,' says Langley"

Step forward?  From where to what?  Every woman playwright I know has written at least one screenplay, and would happily write others if given the least encouragement!  As for directors, it's not as if there are women turning down opportunities.

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Additional pics from Platform Series A

Jennifer McCartney, Scott Giangrante, and Sandy Armstrong in P.A. by Lydia Bruce and Sandy Burns

Photos taken June 9th and 10th

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

photos from The Entertainer -- tech rehearsal

Here are some pics from last night's Playwright's Platform tech rehearsal of Phyllis Rittner's "The Entertainer" at Boston Playwright's Theatre

Liz Robbins as Edith and Geralyn Horton as Gertrude

Rene Pfister, The Entertainer

Anabel Graetz as Maxine, Geralyn Horton as Gertrude

Geralyn Horton, Liz Robbins, and Zele Avrodopoulos as Ruth

Anabel Graetz and Rene Pfister

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Monday, June 09, 2008

Florida Playreading Group Offers feedback


I am a member of an informal drama group of about 4-5 women and 2-3 men. We meet once a month in each other’s homes.

I found your website, and would like to use your plays in our readings. We have not performed publicly, and at this stage, don’t plan to in the near future.

Our reading group is just for our enjoyment.


Would it be all right to use your plays?

I said "sure" and added 

I'd be interested in what you choose to read and if it goes well.  I try to keep track of which sorts of plays appeal to which sorts of people.  I occasionally get asked:  "Which of your plays do you think will appeal to our audience of retired bookkeepers and their teen aged grandsons?" and having a record of who has laughed at X or wept at Y is very helpful.

and got a report back:

 HI, Geralyn.

Our drama reading group met last Friday night.

There were 6 of us—4 women and 2 men.


We read two of your plays: “Showtime” and “Rehabilitation.”


The first, “Showtime,” had mixed reviews. We all enjoyed it to some degree. One of the men said it was “interesting.” I think we were all surprised at the mention of the sex toys. We are for the most part a conservative group. One of the women, MaryBeth, said she enjoyed doing the reading—“I thought it was fun!”  We all laughed all the way through it. MaryBeth and I have a history of NOT reading the plays that we choose ahead of time. So we always are surprised at what happens when the group gets together.

“Rehabiliation” was a nice contrast to the first. Everyone thought it was very timely. We all enjoyed Deena’s forthrightness.


We plan to read “A Late Lunch” at the next meeting on July 11.


C. R., Librarian
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University; Fort Pierce, FL

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Sunday, June 08, 2008

Next productions: Playwrights Platform Festival

I'm directing my own play, and acting in The Unveiling and The Entertainer

Playwrights' Platform 36th Annual Festival of New Plays, 2008
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 949 Comm. Av. Boston.
Tickets $14-$17 at 866-811-4111 or at

Series A Program: June 12, 13, 14 - Curtain 8PM

SHORT CUTS by Christopher L. King
How is friendship like a haircut?

POLE DANCING by R. Eliot Ramsay
Backstage, a dancer's dressing room: an erotic confrontation.

Why does Evelyn get to decide how Miriam lives - or dies?

A BAR, A MAN WALKS INTO by Bob Boulrice
Whimsy featuring the Son of God as a bartender.

THE ENTERTAINER by Phyllis Rittner
A struggling musician plays the gig of his life at a nursing home.

PAVEMENT PICASSO - by Richard Pacheco
Two road line painters clash over what a man’s work means.

P.A. by Lydia Bruce and Sandy Burns
A powerful addiction is sweeping America.

THE UNVEILING, by Ellen Sullivan
A family discovers their loved one is buried in the wrong place.

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Friday, June 06, 2008

Halcyon Theatre schedules 100 years of females!

June 6

I just got this on an e-list!  WOW!!!

Anybody with a sofa to spare in the Chicago area?  I'd seriously consider a trip to see Cowley and my "subject", Centlivre.

  (no immediate offers from ICWP sisters....)

In June and July, Halcyon Theatre in Chicago will present it's first annual

Alcyone Festival. This year we are presenting almost a thousand years of

early female playwrights in rotating rep.The line up includes:

*Aria da Capo* by Edna St. Vincent Millay;

*The Belle's Stratagem* by Hannah Cowley;

*A Bold Stroke for a Wife* by Susanna Centlivre;

*Callimachus* by Hrosvitha;

*La Hija de las Flores o Todos Están Locos *(The Daughter of the Flowers or

Everyone Is Crazy) by Gertrudis Gómez de  Avellaneda*; *Performed in Spanish

with projected supertitles.

*The Massacre* by Elizabeth Inchbald;

*Orra* by Joanna Baillie;

*Safe *by Georgia Douglas Johnson;

*Spreading the News* by Lady Augusta Gregory;

*Trifles* by Susan Glaspell;

*The Yellow Wallpape*r by Charlotte Perkins Gilman; adapted and performed by

Chicago DanzTheatre.

For more info:

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Monday, June 02, 2008

Young People put my words and their voices/bodies on YouTube

Google Alert told me about these, which are linked to a couple more.   I don't remember anybody asking permission to post them, and I'm not sure how many people I'd want to see them...  as video, they are not quite ready for prime time.
But if the actors and their private circles of friends are happy, I'm not complaining.  If I were long dead and my scripts in the Public Library, I'd hope young people would want to perform my stuff. 

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Sunday, June 01, 2008

Report on the Sunday service June 1st

I've sung in Unitarian church choirs since I was a child.  Choral singing is much less nervous-making than soloing-- almost as relaxed as songs around a campfire. No so getting into the pulpit and Preaching, even as part of a group.  Why is a congregation of 300 people some of whom you know more daunting than an audience of 30 to 1300?  I don't know.  I seldom suffer stage fright, but I was so nervous I shook when I delivered my segment of the lay service on Our History at First Unitarian Society in Newton.  I was afraid that when I went to sing the snatches of hymns I used as examples of the evolution of texts and music in UU Worship Services a tuneless croak would come out, or I would forget where I was in the piece and try to match the words to a different section of the melody....

But it went well, and the whole group of us, though carrying on a tad longer than optimum, were well-received. 

"REVIEW" Sunday, June 01, 2008 4:21 PM

Subject: today's service

Dear Noreen, Alan, Geralyn, Linda, Gayle, Jackie, Peter, Anne W.B. and the Gospel Choir,

So one of the very first people to speak to me about the service this morning left me feeling satisfied that mission (at least my mission, or hope for this service) was accomplished. She said something like, "Hearing all of those stories was so wonderful, it brought the big picture into view and helped me to see the many changes we've endured over the years. The subliminal message that came through is that everything is really going to be okay. We can do this just fine." Hearing what she took from the stories made my heart sing.

 I feel that the depth of feeling in each reader's message showed the relational/spiritual value of each facet of the community. I am also glad that at least this one person did feel comforted by taking the long view of FUSN 's history, I think we can assume others did as well. We can only hope that we took a step or two this morning toward getting folks in the mood (girding our loins?? hoisting our sails??) to meet the changes ahead with confidence and happy anticipation.

Deep thanks to you, Noreen, for tending this service so closely, and to everyone who contributed, for being generous with your time and hearts. I think it turned out to be a lovely, community sustaining service.

Holly (and the Worship Committee)

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Why don't Americans write big plays anymore?

Why don't Americans write big plays anymore?
I've written 8 big American plays -- which I define as plays that deal with public as well as private concerns and a cast that goes beyond a domestic circle, with subplots.  I've also written 4 modest-sized plays and 2 biggies set in England. Americans can't afford casts the size of Streetcar or Salesman-- the big cast social cross-section plays we get to see today mostly come from England, where they are pre-screened through success in a subsidized production. 

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

American Repertory Theatre appoints a woman AD!

I confess to being stunned by this news.  I have long fulminated that there is not a single female in a decision-making position at ART/Harvard, and the evidence is in the male-and-gay centered stuff-- plays, directors, number and substantiality of acting roles--  that fill their seasons year after year.  I don't know why women buy tickets, except that women are so conditioned to be interested in "people" that they often don't notice when  story tellers treat females as not-quite.
The next season is already far more female-friendly than any in memory, and I'll be watching eagerly to see how this goes.  I fear, of course, that critics will be hostile, audiences dwindle, and the experiment in inclusivity pronounced a failure. Below is the announcement that went out to the ARt email list: 

... exciting news to share with you. Today we named Diane Paulus as our new Artistic Director, the third in our twenty-eight year history. Diane’s relationship with the A.R.T. began over twenty years ago as an undergraduate at Harvard, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa. In her words, “I feel my perspective on theatre was shaped by my years attending the A.R.T.” Diane has gone on to direct a distinguished repertoire of work that fuses together the traditional with contemporary and popular culture across a variety of genres, including theatre, opera, rock, musical theatre, and innovative jazz-inflected pieces. Her work has drawn acclaim from remarkably diverse audiences and critics around the world. Diane’s body of work includes:
The Donkey Show, a disco adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream which ran for six years Off-Broadway and toured internationally

Another Country, a stage adaptation of the novel by James Baldwin at Riverside Church

Obie-award winning Eli’s Comin’, featuring the music and lyrics of Laura Nyro

40th Anniversary Concert Production of Hair in Central Park for the Public Theatre

Don Giovanni, Le Nozze di Figaro, Turn of the Screw, and Cosi Fan Tutte, all for the Chicago Opera Theater

The upcoming Kiss Me, Kate at the Glimmerglass Opera

Diane has asked me to share this statement with you:

“I am deeply honored to be appointed Artistic Director of the A.R.T. When I was a student at Harvard, there was no question A.R.T. was the most exciting and vibrant theater in America.  I am thrilled to build on that legacy, and lead the A.R.T. into the future, creating a home for the next generation of outstanding theatre artists who will redefine and revitalize the meaning of theatre for our society.”

I am both excited and proud to have an artist we helped nurture take the organization into a dynamic new era. Please join me in welcoming Diane into our growing family, and supporting her as she leads us down new artistic paths and reaffirms our dedication to creating the most compelling, thought-provoking theatre in the country.   

On behalf of everyone here at the A.R.T., I want to thank you for your support over the past several years. Now more than ever, we need to hear from you!  So please let us know your thoughts and feelings as we move forward.  And please join us in welcoming Diane back to Cambridge, and in celebrating the start of what promises to be an era of renewed artistic exploration and creativity!

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Talk about Hot Actresses makes me hot under the collar

This week a theatre blog where the talk is generally serious got OT onto rating performers on hotness, and some playwrights and directors I have respect for got drawn arguing re: who they fantasize about and who they think is skanky or "past it".  I took  time off my heavy rehearsal schedule to rant against this: 

Must we have this conversation?  It is vulgar and offensive and most of what passes for evidence is junk science.   We just don't know enough about primate sexuality or the brain/body connections in humans to accurately describe what is going on in the parings and rankings we observe-- or even our own responses 

 The folk saying "it is just as easy to love a rich person as a poor one" is is true only so far as assuming any rewarded behavior is "easy".    If "attraction", or "hotness" refers to the sending and reception of hormonal signals (which are probably olfactory) we haven't figured out how to measure it or control for other variables. 

Marilyn Monroe said in an interview that when she was walking around the Village in glasses and a scarf and not "performing" Goddess Marilyn, nobody looked twice at her. Acting is believing is data. I do know that hotness, like other emotional signals, can be acted.  I'm not attractive, but I can play it on stage.  Imagination releases the hormones, and audience-- and scene partner's-- hormones respond.    Our ancestors called it "casting out lures".  Sometimes the effect carries over into "real life".  It happened to me recently: I performed in a show I first did 21 years ago, and managed to cast the necessary sensual spell.  As I walked down the street afterwards, men's heads turned and I felt that response I just don't get in my day to day existence.    I'm in my sixties, and I know what signals are no longer appropriate.  But it was really fun watching a month or two back  Jane Fonda turn them on for Steven Colbert and reduce him to a quivering  mass of  protoplasm.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A request that delights me...

Hi Ms. Horton :

I would very much like my English as second language students to stage (in  class) your plays next session (September 2008).

Students will present in small groups.  As they are Second language students, I thought it might be a good way for them (another way) to speak in English.  My question to you is the following :

Which plays would be best suited for college level students who are looking at themes like censorship, reality TV and mindless entertainment, happiness, ecological footprint, relationships, love… etc…?

Thank you for getting back to me.


ESL teacher

College Edoaurd Montpetit

Longueuil, Quebec

I hope I answered this!  I was in production at the time and very busy...

I'd be delighted for your classes to use my material.  There are short synopses of each play in the alphabetical listing.

No plays about TV, however.  Reality interests me more -- although I'm a fan of David Kelly, laughed myself silly over Allie MacBeal and now watch Boston Legal with great pleasure.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Orphan Works Bill - author's opinion

I'm getting emails urging me o "tOke action"The changes in the copyright laws proposed under the new "Orphan

Works" bill have been released and it will affect your creative career!

Write your Reps and Senators.

Refer to Bill H.R. 5889 when writing a House Rep.

Refer to Bill S. 2913 when writing a Senator.

Same Orphan Works bill, different #'s for Senate and House.

A colleague writes:

"If this is a hoax I want to know, if not-I want to do something.

I just received the email (below my signature) and wondered if anyone else has heard of this. (I am usually the last person to find out stuff or hear gossip.) If this is something that has been discussed, junk the email. If this is new to the rest of you, please check it out and send it on to as many artists and writers and creative people as you possibly can.

It is very disturbing to think that our hard work could be used and claimed by others if this goes through."

BUT:  I'm on the other side of this one: to me these "rights" are Wrong! I think the opposition to this law is from publishers and other middle-men who want to limit what art is available to that which currently makes money for THEM.  Copyright has been extended to a creation-killing degree.  Under this law, once something is out of print and the author cannot be found, it will go to Public Domain-- as all published material did after set term for most of the history of copyright (which is a small part of the history of creativity).  26 years, 52 years, was long enough!  I've been waiting my whole adult life to do a dramatization of a novel written before I was born and out of print for many years-- and each time I think the copyright will expire, lobbyists extend it!  Now I know I will die before that story is free to be used.   Under this new law, IF the author or heir is living and wants to reclaim the Orphan, s/he may do so -- but otherwise the the next generations of artists (and more importantly, readers) will have access to "orphan" work-- as our parents and grandparents and forebears did.  Lengthly copyright is a phenomenon of OUR  deprived generation! Publishers who would be willing to print on-demand a long out of print work by a dead author, composers who would like to adapt it for a musical or opera, are prevented from doing so now because a commercial enterprise "owns" the rights.  No publisher or adapter of an "orphan" will be able to "claim" another's work: the original author will be credited and acknowledged: s/he simply is not around to collect royalties or give permission for adaptations.  It  breaks the "If our company can't make enough money from this work, we won't let anybody else distribute it-- after all, it would be "competing" with the authors we ARE marketing these days!" attitude.    Otherwise, Disney will "own" the fairy tales and stories they stole from Public Domain forever after.  I'm for "copyleft" and a generous Public Domain for our grandchildren. 

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Saturday, May 03, 2008

Our Voices Together II

Our Voices Together II
2008 ICWP Showcase of Playwrights' Platform Women Writers's New Work
May 17th, 7:00pm Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre, Wellesley College, MA.
Free and open to the public. See some of the Boston area's best actors in Staged Reading premieres!

7:00 pm Pre-show reception with refreshments.
7:30 pm the short plays:

Russian Master Class by Ludmila Anselm *
Cut by Holly Jensen
Unconditionally by Lida McGirr
Shopping Cart by Regina Ramsey*
The Acolyte by Kelly DuMar *


The Unveiling by Ellen Davis Sullivan
Last Glance by Hortense Gerardo *
Best Practice by G.L. Horton *
Pull a Costner -by Phyllis Rittner

9:15 pm Post-show discussion moderated by Platform board members Chris King and Kelly DuMar.

* members of the International Centre for Women Playwrights, co-sponsor of this second annual celebration.

Web Links:
Stage Page Pod Cast Re: Our Voices Together >
Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre, Wellesley Summer Theatre
International Centre for Women Playwright
Playwrights Platform

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Busy Spring

It's been so long since I've blogged that I've forgotten how!
Now I've retrieved my password I'll do some catching up. I'm in a period of intense production activity, acting and directing in a number of short term projects of co-operative Festival-type presentations that add up to constant busy-ness. I haven't the attention span for serious writing, so it seems a good time to make a record of what I've been up to -- starting with the things that are about to happen, and then going back to fill in the ones recently completed. For instance, April 19 & 20th I was performing Martha Mitchell at the West End Theatre in NYC!

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Advice on forming a writer's group

I was talking to a playwright friend from Michigan.  She says make up  
a flyer that describes your ideal colleagues and what you want to work  
on, plus gives a contact number, and pin it up on the multitude of  
bulletin boards and kiosks at the University-- and in libraries.  Also  
post the call on Craig's List.  You'll have an abundance of applicants  
from which to pick the most compatible.
We just formed a group via a PS paragraph in the suburb's weekly.   
This is in addition to the Oldest Established large group I've been in  
for 30 years, that only critiques actor-read completed pieces and has  
a long waiting list for its public readings/feedback.  The informal  
new group is small enough to respond to ideas and fragments as they  
emerge, and can save months of work on an unpromising direction.

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Photos from Martha Mitchell in NYC

Wonderful final matinee!  A final party with friends, and then back to Boston on the bus.....

Joan Faber, June Lewin, and Geralyn Horton after rehearsal in the Graycliff Music Room, then on to NYC!

You won't believe the stories I've got to tell you! -- Martha

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Monday, April 21, 2008

testimonial for Martha

Just saw Geralyn Horton in the one-woman show MARTHA MITCHELL - IN MOSTLY
HER OWN WORDS by Rosanna Yamagiwa Alfaro (who is a member, just not a
lister). Geralyn was, as expected, radiant. A delight. I didn't know she
could sing too. Beautiful voice soared in the baptistry stage space of the
86th Street Theatre. I wouldn't change a word of the 50-minute show. Pretty
darn good-sized audience too (not easy to get on a beautiful spring
afternoon in NYC).   

- Robin

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Didactic theatre -- arguing pro vs general con

I know there is no support-- the past is inscrutable.  But I don't think religion/ritual/education/propaganda/language/music/storytelling can be separated out.  Groups develop ways of being together within an environment that (sort of) works.  The "imitation of an action" that elicits a pattern of shared feeling builds and maintains the structure that every child must grow to fit into if the group is to survive.   I remember seeing a PBS show on a dying tribe.  They needed about  15 specialists in addition to the 60-70 hunters fishers and gathers to make a go of their island.  They have songs and dances about their work and play, and as you say the kids work alongside their parents and learn from them. But the youth are no longer willing to be, say, the trap maker's apprentice just because the tribe has to have one to survive on the island.  The kids have heard stories of the city, and they want to go experience those more exciting roles....  So in a few years they will all have to leave-- or die.

Is a seder didactic?  It is ritual and lesson and religion and history and a play within which the players and audience are the same.....

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Info re: Martha in NYC

This sent out by June  April 14th
We are bringing the Boston production of MARTHA MITCHELL by Rosanna Alfaro to New York next weekend!  This is NOT the most recent version of MM's story (written by someone else and produced, with Annette Miller, at Shakespeare & CO. last summer).  This is a one-woman play with music, featuring Geralyn Horton (I directed), which we originally produced in Boston & took to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1989!  We took it out of mothballs a couple of years ago when it was clear the wire-tapping and other excesses of the Watergate years were being re-played, and we've been going strong ever since. We'll appear for 2 performances under the umbrella of Six Figures Theatre Company, in their Artists of Tomorrow Festival.  Sat. 4/19 at 8 pm and Sun. 4/20 at 3 pm at the West End Theatre, 263 West 86th St. 
I'd be grateful if you'd circulate this to the Bostonians-in-NY gang, who might be willing to come and support a few old friends & colleagues.  Also, this company seems like a lively group, and it might be a good contact.
Hope you're doing well; haven't been in touch in some time.  Theatre in Boston is alive and very well just now. I went to the IRNEs last night and was excited at how vibrant and diverse the quality of the work is.  The Cyclorama, which as you know is huge, was packed, and clearly there was a lot to celebrate!!!

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

2008 Future Fest -- NYC

April 13th announcement:
I will be performing Rosanna Yamagiwa Alfaro's solo musical "Martha Mitchell" as the opening show in the Artists of Tomorrow 2008 FutureFest series presented by Six Figures Theatre Co.  at the West End Theatre, 263 West 86th Street NYC at 8 pm on Saturday April 19th and 3 pm  Sunday April 20th.  Martha's director, June Lewin, musical director/pianist Joan Faber, and Stage Mgr/Tech director Jeff Brewer are taking the bus to the Big Apple too.  If anyone  has friends in NYC they can recommend it to, we'd be grateful.  I know it's an honor to be invited, but it'd also be nice to have an audience!
Here's the Six Figures web site     
The Smarttix  blurb for the NYC "Martha"   
Martha Mitchell Musical's own web site  is  
I also have a little Podcast re: the NYC gig at   G.L.Horton's Stage Page Pod Cast
REPLY to email:  Dear Geralyn I wish I knew someone in NYC, but I don't. However I wish you the very best and wish you could do it here in Boston. Martha was a very funny, exciting, bright, independent and out spoken women and I'm sorry to say women of a younger age probably don't know who she is or realize her connection in part to the downfall of the second Nixon White House via the Watergate Connection and her charming husband Attorney General, John Mitchell.  If I remember correctly still a little mystery surrounding her passing. Break a leg Kid. Have fun I know you'll knock em dead. They could not have a better opening. I send prayers for a full house. Blessings Peg H 

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