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A Q&A with Cyndi Lauper

June 10th, 2016 by admin

Q: In this era of safe Broadway musicals that are based on an existing movie title, or the catalog of a popular band’s songs, how do you think Kinky Boots broke through and rose to the top of the theatre world?

A: I think the answer is kind of a simple one. It’s because the show has a huge heart, and people respond to that. It’s a story about love and acceptance and friendship and overcoming obstacles and everyone can relate to that. Harvey Fierstein is one of Broadway’s great talents and the book is so very very good. It was an honor to collaborate with Harvey and tell the story of Lola and Charlie.

Q: Can you describe that moment when your name was announced and you won the Tony Award? 

A: Incredible. Simply incredible. The Broadway community is an amazing one and to be welcomed the way they welcomed me to this very special family is something that still warms my spirit.

Q: You join rock artists like Neil Young, Duncan Sheik, Sting and the Flaming Lips who have made the crossover into Broadway, not by capitalizing on their existing songbooks but by writing original musicals for the theater. Two questions:

  1. How is writing for the stage different from writing songs for yourself?

A: It’s very different. Your job as the composer of a musical is to move the story forward with the songs. You have to write for many voices and from all the characters’ perspectives. And I had a blast doing that. There were songs that I wrote that I really loved that didn’t make the show because maybe there was a change in the book or there was a different arch for a character and the story and therefore the song had to change. For my own CDs, when I write a song that I love, it makes my records! LOL! And of course when I write for myself, I’m writing from my perspective, it’s the story I am trying to tell through the songs on the album to my fans.

  1. Can you name two or three other artists form the rock world you would most love to see write for the Broadway stage? 

A: I am thrilled to see two of my favorites – David Byrne and Carole King – with shows on Broadway. I would love to see Cher, Price and Joni Mitchell with shows on Broadway.

Q: Of all your wonderful and timeless songs over your career, it appears that True Colors has really grown in stature over the years, becoming a kind of anthem of hope for today’s youth. How does that make you feel, and can you tell us a little about what that song means to you?

A: When I recorded that song a very good friend of mine was dying from AIDS.  He had a horrific childhood. He had been abused. The main reason he was abused was because he was gay. He became homeless really young. When he was dying he asked me to record a song so that he would not be forgotten. He was a beautiful person. A really kind and gentle soul who was told from a very early age that he was no good. That who he was as a person was not acceptable. And that just wasn’t true. So I sang the song for Gregory and for everyone who has been rejected for being who they are or for anyone who feels unloved. I think that it still resonates today because unfortunately we still have bias and we still have bullying. Maybe we have even more bullying because people can be cruel behind a computer instead of having the balls to say something ugly to someone’s face. We still have hatred and that is sad because I would have thought that by 2014 people would have evolved. Because we live in the digital age the world has gotten smaller.  Ya think that would have made us more open and accepting. If we all could just accept each other for who we are the world would be a beautiful place! (That’s also the message of Kinky Boots!)

Q: Live theatre historically struggles for a young audience. Two questions:

  1. Why does Kinky Boots buck the trend?

A: I tried really hard to write songs that could also live outside of the theater, ya know? Before radio, Broadway music was popular music. People bought sheet music and played the music at home with their families. Basically Broadway was Top 40, and I really tried hard to honor that tradition with Kinky Boots by writing songs that people would want to listen to at home after leaving the theater or without even seeing the show.

  1. What do you think is essential for new musicals today to capture the hearts of young theatregoers?

A: If young people don’t discover Broadway, then Broadway will die with the generation that grew up with Broadway and that would be a tragedy. So it’s important that Broadway musicals and plays are written to live in the modern world.

Q: Your life changed seemingly overnight in 1983. What do you think would have become of you if She’s So Unusual had never been released?

A: I didn’t really change overnight. I had been in bands and gigging since I was 20. My band Blue Angel got signed to Polydor when I was 27 and we had some moderate success. We also had done some pretty big tours both in the US and in Europe. And I loved those guys and I loved that band. We were doing rockabilly and we might have been a bit before our time. The Straycats came out years later and really brought that genre out to the forefront again.

I signed my solo deal with Portrait at 29 and the album came out when I was 30. And unlike when you are in a band, I was able to really fully become the artist I wanted to be. It was all my vision, what I wanted to say, how I wanted to say it, what I wanted to look like, and that was so empowering. And of course to have 5 hit singles off of that album was just unbelievable. I don’t know what would have become of me but I would definitely sing and I would definitely write songs. One of the jobs I had in the beginning of my career was singing at a Japanese piano bar in NYC. Maybe I would have went back there and asked for my job back.

Q: How does it feel to be thought of as a musical – and fashion – role model for the likes of Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj?

A: They are all great artists. If they look to me as a role model then I am flattered. I think as women we all need to be able to see another woman doing what we dream of doing to know that it’s possible. There are so many women who I looked to for inspiration – Janis Joplin and Joni Mitchell and Cher – all of these women who came before me to help light the path, and if I paid that gift forward that makes me feel really good.

Q: What do you want audiences throughout the country to know about what they are in for if they come to see Kinky Boots?

A: An amazing show with great heart that will lift you up.

Original interview conducted by John Moore, The Denver Center for the Performing Arts Journalist.

Kinky Boots at the Shubert New Haven now thru June 12th. 

Purchase tickets at www.shubert.com

 

 

What does a Broadway Producer do? Over 100 Producers respond

February 24th, 2016 by admin

I got an email a few weeks ago from a high school student with the simplest question ever.

“Ken,” she typed, “Can you tell me . . . what does a Broadway Producer do?”

I try to answer all of my reader’s questions, but I have to say, I was a bit overwhelmed at the thought of trying to answer this one.  First I thought about directing her to my Producer Mission Statement.  Then I thought about trying to come up with a list of my day-to-day duties on a show.

But then I remembered how different every single Broadway Producer I know is . . . and how each one of them focuses on different areas of the biz, depending on what they know, what they love, and what they do best.

So, rather than come up with a long-winded answer of my own, I decided to come up with a Wiki answer to my reader’s question.  I went to my Broadway League brothers and sisters and asked all the Broadway Producers I know to answer my reader’s question in one, short sentence.

And now, right here, I’m going to list all of them.  Put them all together, and that’s what we do!

I promised all the Producers on this list to keep it anonymous, but I will say this . . . there are some heavy hitter answers below.  There are more Tonys on this list than at a West Side Story reunion.

Enjoy the answers!

– – – –

Question:  What does a Producer do?

– Have fun while keeping all the balls in the air until we open.

– Producers do everything!  We are the bank, the therapist, the negotiator, the scapegoat, the creative, and we rarely get credit! I should add its awesome. Because I think it is.

– Getting everyone to do what I want done while making them all think it was their idea.

– We manage the business behind the show.

– Create solutions.

– Producing is the art of saying yes judiciously and no politely.

– Look at a blank slate each morning and figure out – “what has to happen next” – and then make it happen.

– What do I do?  Emails… decision maker and cheerleader.  (mostly emails)

– Producers inspire others to be as passionate about the project as they are.

– Encourage and foster excellence for the purpose of optimizing profit and art.

– We raise money for projects we have faith in and then try our hardest to repay all of those wonderful investors who have had faith in us (hopefully with a profit).

– Make ideas real.

– Create/ facilitate product, then get butts in seats.

– Find the right project.  Raise money.  Hire the creative team.  Raise money.

– It’s a lot of blocking and tackling, with the occasional touch down.

– Partner with the best creative team and let them work their magic!

– Pray.

– Create a safe space for new art to be born.

– Everything but act, write, direct or design . . . In other words, everything you wouldn’t hire someone else to do.

– Deliver an engaging production that appeals to the widest possible demographic.

– Encourage, empower and embrace.

– Create a collaborative, focused, dynamic and exciting team-working environment where everyone shares a common vision for the material.

– How about “everything.”

– I don’t UNDER spend or OVER spend, but WISELY spend every dollar avail on creative advertising and marketing.

– No matter how difficult the biz may be, I always remember the passion which enticed me to be a Producer in the first place.

– I try each day to prove I am the natural heir of Max Bialystock (to collect the royalties he amassed).

– I would say my greatest challenge as a producer is putting together the right team (director, choreographer, music, lyricist, etc).

– Create a safe and supportive environment for artists to make magic.

– A Producer is a midwife for writer(s) and the creative team. .

– To make the impossible possible.

– Assess, finance, assess, stay out of the way.

– Make the best art possible with the available financial resources.

– Find works and artists you feel passionate about and to put them on the stage.

– Realize the world of the play.

– Passionately advocate for the creator’s vision of the play and the investors’ right to recoup their investment.

– A Producer does whatever needs to be done, from A ( finding the property ) to Z (making sure the johns have enough toilet paper).

– Producing is the art of making the deal.

– A theatre Producer manages the collaborators of the most collaborative art form that exists.

– The three F’s:  FIND IT (the show), FUND IT, FILL THE SEATS (preferably with paying customers)

– Create an experience for an audience they never knew they needed.

– Guidance Counselor

– Visionary.

– Advocate/ambassador, sounding board.

– A producer coordinates all aspects of the project and hopes the people he or she picks does the best job possible creating his vision while at the same time getting the most bang for his buck.

– Deal with the people who invest that think they know more than we do re: advertising and everything else.

– Maintains the connection between “show” and “business.”

– Raise money.

– I hold a lot of hands and smile & agree with everyone.

– The Producer is the mother that nurtures the baby until it grows up!

– A benevolent (collaborative) Dictator.

– Make their dreams come true.

– I don’t believe that any writer, actor or director has ever made a live stage event happen.  Without demeaning the incredible talent that the team brings to the table, without a Producer wanting to see the product, nothing would ever get on stage.

– In my view, the Producer is the project manager of the show, who also acts as the CEO/entrepreneur.

– This is a big topic and not one I am comfortable addressing with a sound bite.

– Identify the project, the creative team, and get out of the way.

– I bring together all the resources necessary to transform an intangible idea into reality.

– Support the general partners.

– I often say the Producer is “The glue that holds it all together.”

– A producer ensures that: the show is good, sells well, and runs smoothly and…remains calm.

– Have a vision and find the right team to execute it.

– “Put it all together.” (to borrow, if I may, from Sondheim)

– Producing is keeping the ball moving down the field until hopefully, you help to allow the entire team to score a winning goal.

– Discover & nurture new works, try and keep everyone happy, create a “family”

– Keep myself constantly inspired by reading everything I can get my hands on.

– Make shows happen

– A producer produces.

– Get the show on.

– Choosing what to produce is the most important decision a producer makes.

– To present a writer who is able to spark the thoughts or feelings of an audience in a fresh and unprecedented way.

– If a show is the equivalent of a small company, the producer is its CEO.

– A producer is like the CEO of a company: hires and fires everyone and most importantly, makes sure everyone’s paycheck clears at the end of the week.

– Develop great work and persuade audiences to buy tickets to it.

– Keep the herd moving forward

– To me, producing is development and marketing.

– My response to this often-asked question is that producing each new show is like starting a business – you have to raise the money, hire a business manager (GM), raise money, hire an attorney, raise money, hire a marketing/advertising/promotions team, raise money, hire a director, raise money, select and hire a design team, raise money, deal with the unions and raise money, etc.

– Oversee the financing, marketing and creative process to deliver a show that connects with audiences.

– My first reaction to your question is one word: “nurture.”  Actually, it’s just like mothering.

– Identify the kernel of greatness and execute a vision for making it so

– A producer is (among so many things), both . . . the owner of the sheep, and their border collie.

– Oversee every element both creative and financial

– A Producer is ultimately responsible for everything, but actually does nothing.

– A Producer always keeps the lines of communication open so that artists, management and money are unified around the same vision.

– Strike a balance between artistic vitality and commercial appeal.

– All encompassing; responsible for every detail

– Maintain an environment where your creative team can do the best work they are capable of…

– Focus on the product, not the money. If the product is really good, the money will find you.

– Happily enabling artists to execute their visions.

And lastly, I’ll include one longer answer on this subject because this guy agreed to go on the record with his answer, and because, well, this guy just has a certain way with words.

A producer is a rare, paradoxical genius: hard-headed, soft-hearted, cautious, reckless, a hopeful innocent in fair weather, a stern pilot in stormy weather, a mathematician who prefers to ignore the laws of mathematics and trust intuition, an idealist, a realist, a practical dreamer, a sophisticated gambler, a stage-struck child.  That’s a producer.

– Oscar Hammerstein II Thanks to all the Producers that participated!

– – – – –

Reproduced from Ken Davenport’s website:  http://www.theproducersperspective.com/

Ken-new-1-web

 

Hi. I’m Ken Davenport. I produce stuff. You can too. For more information about me, click here.

SCSU freshman working on setup of ‘Matilda’ touring show

May 11th, 2015 by admin

Shubert Theatre official Anthony Lupinacci said he was excited recently to see someone who recently went through the theater’s management internship program sitting among the pros helping assemble the national touring production of Broadway hit “Matilda the Musical.”Rachel

That would be Rachel Zwick, 19, a Southern Connecticut State University freshman from Northford who attended city magnet schools. She’s been working as a paid production assistant for about six weeks with the company that is building the tour at the storied theater.

“It’s so rewarding for us to see her actually sitting in the theater with the production people from the first national tour of the show. The way I’m viewing it, this is a rather unusal opportunity for someone so young.”

Kelly Wuzzardo, director of education for Shubert operator CAPA, said the theater partners with school officials to offer programs such as the management internship. And Zwick has also been an usher intern, tech apprentice at summer camp (working on rental shows at Co-Op) and a teaching assistant for summer camp. Advertisement

Zwick, in a phone chat during a break from work at the theater, described the scene of many laptops, cables and tables (which Lupinacci at one point said looked like “mission control”) in the theater audience area.

“There’s lighting and sound and projections, production management,” said Zwick, “and we all have our tables.”

Talk about a great experience, said Wuzzardo.

“She’s sitting in a room with people who have Tony Awards, you know what I mean?” said Wuzzardo. “It’s a huge deal for someone like her to get this kind of experience. And it’s going to be a huge deal on her resume to say… I worked the beginning of a national tour and worked with all these people.”

Zwick has been going on Home Depot and Lowe’s runs, doing other errands and working on purchasing orders and doing filing for the production, she said.

Wuzzardo recommended Zwick to show staffers who were looking for a PA.

“Because she’s been through the different internships, our management staff knows her, the tech guys know her. All the adults here have seen her come through as a kid… We all take pride in that, that everybody’s been able to contribute a little bit to her education and then, with full confidence, be able to recommend her to this real-deal show.”

“I didn’t even think that was something I could do,” Zwick said. “I thought you had to have a college degree for it. And for this to be my second semester of college and take on something like this is just so incredible, and I’m so grateful.”

Tony Award-winning “Matilda the Musical,” the story of an extraordinary girl who dreams of a better life, opens Saturday and runs through May 23 at the College Street theater, known as the “birthplace of the nation’s greatest hits.”

Zwick said she’s “trying to network and make connections and meet people, since this is something I want to be doing for the rest of my life.”

Zwick did shows every year at Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School in New Haven, serving as assistant director on one. She also did costuming and stage managing there and at community theater.

Being in the middle of it all for six weeks is an eye-opener.

“It’s definitely given me such a deeper appreciation of everything thay goes into building a national tour of a Broadway musical.”

In the management internship program, which at three to four weeks is more of an extended job shadow, Lupinacci said “we try to explain to them (that) if you really have a love for this business, don’t just give it up if you don’t become the next Barbra Streisand. You could do the technical work on the show, you could be a company manager, you could be a stage manager… work in the office.”

Wuzzardo said that at the 100th anniversary gala recently, the Shubert honored Eastern Connecticut State University student Jacari Santiago, who also has worked his way through Shubert programs and done some professional work.

“They’re both examples of kids,” said Wuzzardo of Zwick and Santiago, “who, when given these opportunities, have taken … full advantage. And it’s paying off. This is exactly why we do these things, because we want to introduce these kids to jobs that they may not have had access to.”

Zwick is no expert yet, but she said that based on seeing some “Matilda” tech rehearsals, “It is absolutely phenomenal. I highly recommend.”

In the fall, Zwick will spend a semester with the National Music Theater Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford.

About the Author – Joe Amarante, New Haven Register

Joe has been the TV editor, features writer, columnist, general assignment reporter and copy editor for some 35 years in New Haven, first with the Journal-Courier and then the New Haven Register. Follow Joe on Twitter: @joeammo.

 

05/11/15 – reprinted with permission of Joe Amarante, New Haven Register

 

Three times the charm! – A Shubert Summer Theater & Arts Camper says his experience just keeps getting better each year!

April 27th, 2015 by admin

There are many things that I consider fun and memorable about the Shubert Co-Op camp. There are many great things I can say, but there is not enough time or space.  My first summer at the Shubert Co-Op Camp was fantastic!  I was always made to feel very welcome. Faculty and my fellow campers were always very positive and encouraged me to pursue various roles and characters. I made many friends. The teachers were very supportive. The teachers were very funny and clever and never Aladdin 1boring. I enjoyed the early morning exercises and fun gimmicks that woke me up. I remember very vividly a teacher’s assistant named David that led student activities. I really liked him. He was funny and smart and full of life and humor.

I was much more comfortable my second year at the camp and I loved how a lot of people from the year before came back.  This included teachers, assistants, and campers. I always felt that the camp went out of its way to make sure that no student felt unhappy or unwelcome. In some ways the camp was like one big family and everybody was adopted into it. I enjoyed each brief period after lunch time when the camp would split into groups and do different activities. These would be activities such as dodgeball or watching a movie. This provided campers the opportunity to make friends among the other campers and meet new people.

pb&jI enjoyed the field trips and the independence of attending camp in the city of New Haven. I never felt that I was treated like a baby. I like feeling like a big kid. I really look forward to returning this summer for another fun and action packed experience!

                         Matthew L.

 

The Shubert, The Stagehands and Me!

February 26th, 2015 by admin

So…10 years ago, in 2005, when I was just a wee lass…

I walked onto the stage of the Shubert Theatre. I was a member of The Nebraska Theater Caravan’s A Christmas Carol.   I was the second Electrician and Follow Spot Operator, a year out of college and touring the states for the first time. Though not originally from New Haven, I had visited friends who worked at Long Wharf and Yale Repertory in previous years and learned about the Shubert Theater – its legendary shows and artists. Then the realization hit me: I was walking into one of my first Theatrical Union operated houses – The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, specifically Local 74, which has been associated with the Shubert Theatre since it’s inception in 1914.   At the end of my 3-day visit, I was lucky enough to be able to sign the basement halls of the Shubert, where many touring companies have signed their names before me. I traveled on home to Iowa, but quickly found myself back in New Haven working for Regional Theaters around Connecticut and found some familiar faces along my journey, those of the Members of Local 74.

Fast forward to 2015, when A Broken Umbrella Theater is scheduled to perform an original work onstage at the Shubert. I quickly jumped at the opportunity to design scenery for this world premiere production. Though various creation workshops and rehearsals a show quickly formed. We wanted to share the inner workings of what happens in the life of theater artists and technicians. And, it occurred to me that theater-goers never get the chance to see the behind-the-scenes work that goes into each production. When the audience walks into the Shubert, or any other theater in the world, they are treated to a well-oiled and polished spectacle; actors flit in and out of light while scenery magically shifts from one location to another. There is a form of magic produced in front of their very eyes. The Shubert walls disappear and the audience is transported into the world of the show onstage. This magic performed at the Shubert is produced and perfected by the men and women backstage, the Stagehands of Local 74. I have had the pleasure to witness the endless talent of these folks backstage and my goal was to figure out a way to share what I see with the audiences of SEEN CHANGE!. I want to share the feeling I had when I first walked onto the stage at the Shubert. To see the walls of the Shubert Theater as it waits for the start of a performance. To share how the stage transforms into what audiences expects to see – a finished production filled with magic. To see the stage at the end of the night – put to sleep, waiting for it’s next group of weary travelers.

Through this production we have been able to pay homage to the work that goes into all aspects of the theatrical world. To share the lives of the Stagehands who have worked tirelessly to perfect their art along side the actors who perform nightly. I am lucky to have learned from them and look forward to learning more. I am amazed to be onstage at the Shubert, where so many great artists have come before me. I would like to say thank you to the Stagehands of Local 74 – without you we could not have performed our magic.

 

Janie Alexander, A Broken Umbrella Theatre

JaniePic

A Confession from the lyricist of “Seen Change”

February 17th, 2015 by admin

I have a confession: I’ve never seen a show at the Shubert Theatre! In fact, I hadn’t been inside until a few weeks ago for a rehearsal.I am, however, reminded on a daily basis of the importance of the Shubert and the role it has played in the history of musical theater. You see, I’m a musical theatre writer, and also work for Rodgers & Hammerstein, the licensing and publishing company founded by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. And, on my way to the copy machine shubertseatsatR&Hthroughout the day, I pass four red-cushioned seats from the original Shubert Theatre, on display in our office. So, when I had the opportunity to write lyrics for A Broken Umbrella Theatre’s Scene Change! – a show inspired by and staged at the Shubert – well…”I cain’t say no.”

Scene Change! is a love letter to the Shubert Theatre and the history of musical theatre. The back-stage story involves a creative team in 2015 putting on a forgotten musical that was written in 1944. One of the fun challenges for me was to create lyrics that might have been written in the 1940s as well as present day. Since we also wanted to celebrate the Shubert, the majority of songs were designed to harken back to composers and lyricists who premiered shows in New Haven.

Songs by Rodgers and Hart, who made their Shubert debut in 1925 with Poor Little Rich Girl, inspired lyrics for our tap dance number. The structure of our ballad was based on a Rodgers and Hammerstein song from South Pacific, which had its world premiere at the Shubert in 1949. Other lyrics take inspiration from Cole Porter, Jerry Herman, Lerner and Loewe and Irving Berlin, to name a few. Will Aronson then composed the music, crafting his own blend of pastiche and modern musical styles. Hailing from Guilford, Will has had the good fortune to see many shows at the Shubert.

It is wonderfully strange to think that the first show I see at the Shubert will be my own. I hope that Scene Change! pays tribute to this theater’s brilliant legacy and honors all the artists who inspired me to become one.

Blog Post: Rob Shapiro

Lyricist, SEEN CHANGE!

www.thatrobshapiro.com

Rob Shapiro Head Shot

 

 

 

Reflections on the Creation of The Shubert’s 100 Anniversary Commemorative Painting

December 8th, 2014 by admin

  By Tony Falcone, Artist

 

As a commissioned fine artist, most of my work begins with a commission request by a potential patron to create an image which best represents a particular subject they wish to capture. During my initial meeting with the Shubert Theatre’s 100th Anniversary Design Team, I was inspired by the request to create a painting that would capture the anticipation of the audience just as the curtain is about to rise; no the physical interior of the Theatre, which in and of itself is breathtaking, but the magic that emanates from beneath the curtain just as the performance is about to begin. It was the magic of live theatrethat has engaged audiences for the last 100 years which the Shubert wished to commemorate on this – their 100thanniversary.

My challenge was hot to create that visual and emotional excitement through a painting. Commissioned artwork tends to scare or worry an artist. But I love the opportunity that it provides, especially when the creative process is a collaborative effort with the patron. In this case, I worked with a team that included Shubert staff and administrators, Judi – Falcone Art Studio’s Projects Manager – and me. Their vision created the starting point, and our ensuing discussions inspired numerous thumbnail sketches. Sometimes, the vision comes together easily; other times many sketches are needed. A color study helps to focus the direction and spur discussion towards final composition.

As it turned out, my first color study was off the mark; too representational; too monochromatic.   But a compositional doodle I had done for the team during an earlier brainstorming session was resurrected and unanimously selected as the direction. Well, no worries! Here was an opportunity to go toward abstraction. I embraced the team’s decision, and created another color study – more colorful and somewhat more abstract. In it, I used form and color to capture the magic of opening night and the excitement of the crowd, which translates into an almost palpable aura that connects the viewer of the painting to the experience of the audience.

The result is very different, especially for me, since most of my work is realistic! Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

May the Arts be with you,

 Tony

DS-Tonys_piece-550x689

photo by David Sepulveda


 

Reproduction prints, signed by the artist, and poster prints, are available to purchase in the Shubert lobby. Proceeds benefit the care and maintenance of our legendary theatre.

Beyond The Construction

August 14th, 2014 by admin

Currently around its midpoint, the first phase of the Shubert Theater renovation project is in full swing. However, there is more than just your typical construction going on. Some of the unique murals created and signed by the casts that have performed at the Shubert Theatre have been carefully removed from the walls. shay and rob graffiti photoWhy? Because some individuals felt that they needed to be saved! When Shubert Board Member Shay Atluru of DTC and Rob Bolduc of Boldwood Interiors approached Sheri Kaplan, the Shubert Theatre’s General Manager, with their idea, she immediately agreed and was invaluable in brainstorming ways to save these important snapshots of history. She saw the importance of saving these murals and was beyond helpful in rescuing them. If left on the walls, the beautiful murals would be destroyed by the renovation efforts taking place at the Shubert. Some of these works of art date back to the 60’s, complete with signatures of every cast member. This salvation process was made difficult by the fact that these murals were not created on material then pasted on the wall, but rather created right on walls, stairwells, doorways and any other imaginable space. This required precise work that was perfectly executed by Rob and overseen by Sheri. Their dedication and commitment to this is truly an inspiration.

Photo of Rob Bolduc with some of the newly removed murals

Guest Blogger

Shay Atluru, Shubert Board Member

President & Corporate General Manager, Diversified Technology Consultants (DTC)

Dividing 18 people into 1900 square feet – Very Gently

June 16th, 2014 by admin

So in my previous post, I covered the preparation to move out of the Shubert for the summer while our multi-phase construction project began…. now I will cover where the staff went…

Although we are not physically participating in the construction phase, we felt it was important that our office space not be too far from the theatre in order to easily meet with contractors and other related vendors.

I walked into our temporary office space at 224 College Street – or shall I say walked DOWN to 224 College Street – since it’s in the basement – with great trepidation…and a flashlight.   The 1900 square feet of space was one big open room, with one restroom. Our team of 12 full-time and 6 part-time folks had to fit into this space – and not many of them speak at the voice level of a librarian.

After a fresh coat of paint and an office layout that probably mimics the google headquarters concept of everyone free thinking in one room – I coordinated the move.

I’m sure many of you readers are thinking “how hard could this be?  You’re moving across the street, not across the state” – but did I mention that our scheduled move was on a date with the most torrential downpours of rain on record?  Moving computers and boxes of files, and desks across the street and down a flight of stairs that was in the shape of a hairpin – was a feat unto itself.

But we did it!  I worked with a skeleton staff of workers to make the move – and the rest of the office had directives to work from home —  as the saying goes “too many cooks in the kitchen spoils the broth”  as does “too many Shubert folks involved in a move, causes an increase in blood pressure”.

When the staff returned the next morning, by sheer miracle all the servers were humming, computers were up and running, everyone’s boxes that had previously been marked ‘temporary office” made it to the new space, and even our restroom was stocked with the essentials!bunker pic

I made a few rules to keep everyone’s nerves at ease,  all cell phones on silent, personal calls should be made or taken outside of the office space – and there should be no eating of anything high garlic or fish-scented and absolutely NO Hot Wings Allowed.  We learned that you can’t run the microwave and the coffee maker simultaneously, and that working under a popular restaurant sounds like we’re below the kitchen on a cruise ship during the all you can eat buffet… tables rolling, chairs moving – you get the picture.

We do have a utility closet doubling as a time out room – but so far, happy to say – no one has been sent there although I have several candidates.

Regards from the “The Shubert Bunker”,

Sheri Kaplan, General Manager

Learn more about the Shubert Centennial Plan.

Two Seconds after summer vacation begins, you hear “Mom, I’m bored!!!”

June 9th, 2014 by admin

Fear not, weary parents, the Shubert Summer Theater and Arts Camp is still taking campers!

While the camp program offers great theater and arts skills – it also offers a great social environment where the kids interact before and after formal sessions, and develop great friendship and a support network for one another.  In that vein…David Letterman may have 10 of them, but since these are kids, we’ll cut it in half and present to you….

 

Top five fun things about Shubert Summer Theater and Arts Camp you might not know about:

5)  Uno!  Uno cards are a hot commodity in the morning before classes begin and during lunch.  Last year, there were about 5 sets going at any one time.  It’s not uncommon to see a table of 8 or 10 people, campers and Teaching Assistant’s (TA’s) changing colors and drawing 4.

uno

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4)  The Tree of Common Ground.  A few times a week, campers are asked a question and get to fill out a “leaf” with their answer.  It’s a fun and artistic way to learn about each other and make discoveries about things we all have in common.

tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3)  LanyardsEach camper and staff member wears a lanyard with their name tag.  Some campers decorate their name tags, some hang other things off of their lanyards, and some make them an extra pocket, tucking things like care cards (see #1) in the back of their nametags.

lanyard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2)  Chernak.  Nobody’s more fun than Mr. Chernak, one of the camp teachers.

chernak 2

chernak 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1)  Camp Care Cards.  Any time a camper is “caught” doing something nice or being supportive of someone else or the group, a teacher or TA (Teacher’s Assistant)  can give them a Camp Care Card.  Each week, they get to put their cards into buckets for raffle prizes of their choice.  Prizes have included posters, book bags with school supplies, gift cards, and, of course, Uno cards!  Everyone’s tickets go into the big grand prize drawings at the end of camp—last year there were 2 tickets to STOMP at the Shubert, and a scholarship to camp this summer!

camp care card

 

For more information about the Shubert Summer Theater & Arts Camp visit: http://www.shubertcamp.com/  

Contributor:  Kelly Wuzzardo, Director of Education and Outreach, Shubert Theatre