Behind the scenes in local and national theatre
by Josh B. Wardrop

A Good Night with a Sweet Prince at Northeastern
Broadway royalty—in every sense of the word—comes to Boston this month, when Northeastern University hosts ’A Conversation with Harold Prince,“ a salute to one of American theater’s greatest living producer/directors, on October 30. The event takes place at Northeastern’s Center for the Arts and will be moderated by the Center’s director, Del Lewis.

Prince has won 21 Tony Awards over an extraordinary career that includes dozens of cornerstones of the modern American theater among its credits. Prince’s resume reads like a list of the indispensable musicals of the last half-century: Fiddler on the Roof, Sweeney Todd, Phantom of the Opera, Evita, West Side Story, Cabaret and Company, just to name a few. In addition to the pearls of wisdom and insider anecdotes sure to be provided by Prince, the event celebrates selected songs from his past credits, performed by Broadway stars Judy Kaye (Sweeney Todd, Mamma Mia, Ragtime) and Tom Wopat (Annie Get Your Gun, Chicago, Glengarry Glen Ross).

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Arsenal Center Reloads with Appointment of Sharon Glennon
One of the area’s top arts and theater venues is getting some new leadership, with the recent announcement that the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown has named Sharon Glennon as its new Executive Director.

Glennon comes to the four-year-old Arsenal Center from Berklee College of Music, where she most recently served as Director of Event Planning and International Programs. She replaces Kathy Tompkins, who retires after three years at the helm of the Arsenal Center, home to three resident companies (New Repertory Theatre, Watertown Children’s Theatre and The Quilters’ Connection) and two performance spaces (the Charles Mosesian Theater and the smaller Black Box Theater).

In a press release on the Arsenal Center’s website, Glennon stated, in part: “I look forward to collaborating with leaders of arts and educational organizations, as well as our partners at the Center and in the community, to enhance our wonderful array of programs with new and innovative offerings.”

North Shore Music Theatre’s Broadway Legacy
Earlier this year, local theatre lovers lost one of the region’s prime resources for professional musicals when the North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly closed due to budgetary shortfalls after more than 50 years in business. In a bittersweet closing note to NSMT’s sad song, the theater achieves something this fall that it never managed to do in its half-century as a thriving performance venue: send one of its original debut productions to Broadway.

On October 19, the musical Memphis—the tale of a white Memphis DJ who brings “race music” to the segregated south in the 1950s—opens on Broadway. The show, written by Bon Jovi keyboardist David Bryan and lyricist/playwright Joe DiPietro (I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change), made its professional debut at NSMT in 2003.

The news comes as a bright counterpoint to word that the bankrupt theater building itself was to be sold this month at auction. NSMT officials are selling the property to help pay off an estimated $10 million worth of debt.

WHAT'S ON STAGE in October
Check out these highly anticipated plays and musicals on local stages this month

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Publick Theatre Boston
October 1—24
Looking for an evening of theatre that will make you feel better about the state of your romantic relationship? Then check out Publick Theatre Boston’s production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Edward Albee’s dark and incisive exploration of what can best be described as “date night in hell.” Diego Arciniegas directs Publick’s version of the 1963 Tony Award-winning play, with Nigel Gore as aging history professor George and Tina Packer as his acerbic wife, Martha. Kevin Cain and Angie Jepson play hapless youngsters Nick and Honey, whose own marriage is caught in the crossfire when George and Martha spend a boozy evening venting their rage and dissatisfaction with each other in a lacerating, pitch-perfect depiction of marital strife.

Cutler Majestic Theatre
October 1—18
If you like it loud and raw when it comes to an evening of live theater, then Stomp is most certainly the show for you. No dramatic monologues or mawkish balladry here, just a cast of brilliantly imaginative and innovative percussionists and dancers using everyday objects—everything from matchboxes and brooms to trashcans and broom handles—to create an organized racket that swings, moves and makes you want to dance to the relentless rhythm.

Contemporary Theatre of Boston
October 8—17
With the kiddies settled back into school, October’s a perfect time for drama lovers to revisit the classroom themselves with Contemporary Theatre’s production of the David Mamet classic Oleanna. Mamet, as usual, pulls no punches in detailing a provocative game of cat-and-mouse between a college professor and his struggling pupil. As they dance around hot-button issues of class, gender and sexuality, the question of who holds the upper hand isn’t settled until the shocking ending. It’s a show you’re sure to be debating and discussing long after the curtain falls.

Last updated 6/8/2018 2:07:13 PM

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