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Becoming the “Birthplace”

June 24th, 2014 by admin

“To the theater world,” George Sanders cynically narrates in the 1950 movie classic All About Eve, “New Haven, Connecticut, is a short stretch of sidewalk between the Shubert Theatre and the Taft Hotel surrounded by what looks like a small city. It is here that managers have what are called out-of-town openings – which are openings for New Yorkers who want to go out of town…”

For much of the 20th century, the Shubert Theatre was a first stop for shows on their bumpy road to Broadway. During the “Golden Years” of theatre, previews in New York (as they have today) were almost unheard of. Out of town tryout cities – such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston and New Haven – were where new shows were performed for the very first time in front of an audience. Here, changes were made, new songs and dialogue added and subtracted from the productions, along with actors, with composers, lyricists, & librettists burning the midnight oil. Legendary shows like “My Fair Lady”, “Oklahoma”, “The Sound of Music”, “A Streetcar Named Desire, and countless others, all made their World Premieres on our stage – giving the Shubert, New Haven its nickname – “The Birthplace of the Nation’s Greatest Hits!”

“Most theater pros hated the whole out-of-town experience,” said Richard Rodgers’s daughter, Mary, in an interview. “But my father loved it. He loved the camaraderie, the whole mentality, being away from home with one goal in mind: to put on a show. And for Rodgers and Hammerstein there was no better place to unveil a new show than the Shubert.”

The “out-of-town” experience didn’t come without some bumps in the road… Take, for instance, the story from opening night of “My Fair Lady” in 1956, where New Haven was struck by a major blizzard and the show’s leading man, Rex Harrison, locked himself in his dressing room and refused to go on stage. Or when Broadway legend Elaine Stritch shuttled, via an ex-boyfriend’s car, back and forth between her assignment as understudy for Ethel Merman in “Call Me Madam” in New York and performing in “Pal Joey” at the Shubert Theatre in New Haven, CT!

Hear the hilarious – and completely true – story of her Shubert adventure (and almost mis-adventure) in this clip from Ms. Stritch’s one-woman show…

 

Contributing Writer:  Ian Galligan, Operations Assistant, Shubert Theatre

Meet the Shubert Blog Writers – Ian Galligan

June 24th, 2014 by admin

The Shubert Theatre blog will feature articles from staff and guest writers covering a variety of Shubert topics. Instead of the standard writer biography, we thought our readers would enjoy learning some non-traditional fun facts about our contributing writers.   We hope you enjoy the Shubert blog experience — happy reading!

Name:  Ian Galligan

 

Official Occupation/Company: Operations Assistant (aka jack of all trades) – CAPA/Shubert Theatre

Favorite Restaurant in New Haven?  Miya’s SushiIan

 

Favorite Pizza place in New Haven?  Modern, hands down!

 

Favorite Pizza to get at your favorite place?  Eggplant… and now I’m starving. Thanks!

 

Hobbies/Interests?  Theatre, Directing, Performing

 

Sports/ Sports Teams?  I don’t understand the question…

 

Vacation Spot?  Any spot where you can be neck-deep in the ocean and still clearly see your feet!! A tiki bar is also a plus.

 

Dunkin or Starbucks?  Dunkin for hot coffee, Starbucks for iced… not sure why.

 

Nicknames you have, why?  Given my short, 3-letter name, none, really. One professor in college called me “E”, and it just made me think he was lazy. Come on, it’s ONE more syllable!

 

Interesting facts about you that people might not know?  I was born two weeks early, after my mother got hit in the head by Fuzzy Zoeller’s golf ball at the Greater Hartford Open (now the Travelers Championship) and went into labor. I was on the cover of all the papers and dubbed “The GHO Baby” by Al Terzi. That’s right, kids… making headlines at 2 days old.

  

If you could have one famous person narrate your life, who and why?  Maggie Smith – but she’d have to do it as the Dowager Countess from Downton Abbey. Otherwise, Vincent Price.

 

What living celebrity do you most look like? i.e.? who would play you in a Movie of the week?  I’ve been told I’m a dead ringer for a young Jerry Lewis (not sure he could play me… but I could play him! Any producers out there looking to do The Jerry Lewis Story??)

 

Name a fictional character (think Marvel comic heroes, super hero, Disney character, etc) you would be? Peter Pan… he can fly and gets to pay kid prices for the rest of his life. No brainer.

 

203 or 860?  Born & raised in the 203, and still rockin’ it.

 

If you had to write a twitter post about yourself (140 characters or less) what would it say? Without wonder and insight, acting is just a business. With it, it becomes creation.

 

If you were “trending” on twitter, what would be your #hashtag? #organizedchaos

 

Beverage/cocktail of choice?  Can’t go wrong with a nice Pinot Grigio… but I love a good Margarita!!

 

Favorite New Haven place to meet a friend for a drink? Geronimo

 

Favorite summer activity in New Haven? Preferably something air conditioned…

 

 

Preparing Season Ticket renewals… the old-school way

June 19th, 2014 by admin

The box office staff recently completed the annual task of preparing and mailing renewal packages to Shubert Season Ticket-holders. In fact, the renewals went in the mail on May 30 (if you are a Season Ticket-holder and have not received your renewal please contact us at 203.562.5666).

But, did you ever wonder about what goes into making this happen? First we have to book all the shows, making sure the show engagements are spaced to run through the season and not have them too close together. We then set the tickets prices based on our agreements with the producers, trying to make the tickets as affordable as possible while still being able to cover all the costs associated with the production. Then we have to “build” the shows on our ticketing system (Ticketmaster) – this is a very detail oriented process which we do very carefully to assure all the information is accurate so we can assure our patrons’ renewal is correct.

Once all the information for each show is entered, reviewed and approved, we are ready to print the renewal forms and check to make sure everyone has the right performance day and correct seats.  Then we make a copy so we have a hard copy handy of each patron’s specific renewal paperwork.  The rest of our team supplies the other pieces that accompany the renewal – a letter from John Fisher, our Executive Director, a brochure that includes information about all the shows, an order form for extra tickets, a flyer that outlines donation opportunities, and most importantly, a return envelope (to make it very convenient for patrons to renew their Season Tickets). Box office renewal pic 2

Then the fun begins! The whole team helps with the renewal assembly – collating, folding, stuffing envelopes, posting the envelopes and getting them packed and ready for the mailman. But finally they are ready to go. Our very kind mailman picks up the bins at our office and takes them to the post office. We all breathe a sigh of relief –but then we wait….will our patrons like the season?

We actually received our first full renewal the morning after we mailed the envelopes! We now look forward to every morning when the mailman comes and we see how many more renewals we have received. As the box office begins opening the envelopes or taking renewals by the phone the staff hears a bell ring – that means another patron has renewed their Season Tickets!

Another season has begun – we hope you will join us for the Shubert’s 100 Anniversary Season.

Contributing Writer – Sue Jacobson, Director of Ticketing, Shubert Theatre

Meet the Shubert blog writers – Sue Jacobson

June 19th, 2014 by admin

The Shubert Theatre blog will feature articles from staff and guest writers covering a variety of Shubert topics. Instead of the standard writer biography, we thought our readers would enjoy learning some non-traditional fun facts about our contributing writers.   We hope you enjoy the Shubert blog experience — happy reading!

 

Name:  Susan Jacobson

 

Official Occupation/Company: Director of Ticketing, Shubert TheaterSue headshot 1

 

Organizations Belonged to?  INTIX, New Haven Preservation Trust

 

Favorite Restaurant in New Haven?  Union League

 

Favorite Pizza place in New Haven?  Modern

 

Favorite Pizza to get at your favorite place? Cheese, sauce and onion

 

Hobbies/Interests?  Knitting, reading, theater

 

Sports/ Sports Teams?  Yankees

 

Vacation Spot?  Minneapolis, because that’s where my grandkids are

 

Dunkin or Starbucks?  Starbucks

 

Nicknames you have, why?  Sue or Suzie (people who have known me since I was a kid)

 

Interesting facts about you that people might not know?  What you see is what you get. I have no secrets.

 

What animal would you be and why?  I’d be a cat, so I could pretend to sleep all day.

 

If you could have one famous person narrate your life, who and why? Meryl Streep (why not?)

 

What living celebrity do you most look like? i.e.? who would play you in a Movie of the week?  I have no idea –I’m too boring.

 

Name a fictional character (think Marvel comic heroes, super hero, Disney character, etc) you would be? Elizabeth Bennett (Pride and Prejudice)

 

203 or 860? 203

 

If you had to write a twitter post about yourself (140 characters or less) what would it say? – I wouldn’t write one

 

If you were “trending” on twitter, what would be your #hashtag ? anonymous

 

Beverage/cocktail of choice?  White wine

 

Favorite New Haven place to meet a friend for a drink ? 116 Crown

 

Favorite summer activity in New Haven? Concerts on the green

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

Meet the Shubert blog writers – Sheri Kaplan

June 5th, 2014 by admin

 

Official Occupation/Company? General Manager, CAPA CTSheri

Organizations Belonged to?  TGSSD

Favorite Restaurant in New Haven?  Barcelona

Favorite Pizza place in New Haven?  Modern

Favorite Pizza to get at your favorite place?  Sausage & Pepper

Hobbies/Interests?  Reading, outdoors, quilting, apiary, cooking

Sports/ Sports Teams?  ND, FB, Yale Hockey

Vacation Spot?  Mountains or Beach…ANY!

Dunkin or Starbucks?  Dunkin’ (iced only)

What animal would you be and why?  Bird (any)…I could fly

If you could have one famous person narrate your life, who and why? Lauren Bacall

Name a fictional character (think Marvel comic heroes, super hero, Disney character, etc) you would be? Sebastian from the Little Mermaid

203 or 860?  203

If you were “trending” on twitter, what would be your #hashtag ? #keepingup

Beverage/cocktail of choice?  Wine

Favorite New Haven place to meet a friend for a drink ? The Owl Shop

Favorite summer activity in New Haven? Summer concerts, what else!

Meet the Shubert Blog Writers – Kelly Wuzzardo

June 4th, 2014 by admin

 

Official Occupation: Director of Education and Outreach

Favorite Restaurant in New Haven?  Temple Grill

Favorite Pizza place in New Haven?  Modern

Favorite Pizza to get at your favorite place? Artichoke and sundried tomato, mozzarella

Hobbies/Interests?  Spending time with my niece, nephew, and cousin’s kids. Tennis for fun and exercise.  Honestly, I work a lot.

Sports/ Sports Teams?  Philadelphia teams

Vacation Spot?  Sarasota

Dunkin or Starbucks?  Starbucks

Nicknames you have, why?  At Co-Op I’m Ms Wuzzardo or Miss Kelly

Interesting facts about you that people might not know?  I am fluent in American Sign Language and used to work as an interpreter

kelly w headshot 2What animal would you be and why?  A cat. They seem to live quite the cushy life when not napping.

If you could have one famous person narrate your life, who and why? the guy who narrates Ken Burns documentaries–people instantly think you’re important

What living celebrity do you most look like? i.e.? who would play you in a Movie of the week?  No idea.  I’m going to choose Kate Winslet

Name a fictional character (think Marvel comic heroes, super hero, Disney character, etc) you would be? Ariel (Little Mermaid)

203 or 860? 203

If you had to write a twitter post about yourself (140 characters or less) what would it say? Everyone has troubles–you can deal with them by destroying or creating. Arts education teaches people to create.

If you were “trending” on twitter, what would be your #hashtag ? #kwuzz

Beverage/cocktail of choice?  Mojito

Favorite New Haven place to meet a friend for a drink ? Temple Grill

Favorite summer activity in New Haven? I’m doing summer camp!

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Turn your Shubert experience into a piece of art — Announcing the Shubert 100th Anniversary Calendar Art Contest!

June 4th, 2014 by admin

When you spend so much time counting down to the theater’s 100th anniversary, life becomes filled with calendars.  Calendars of events, calendars of shows…calendars of deadlines!!  You know that scene in every old movie where the calendar pages rip off in the wind and blow away…picture 100 years of those.  It stands to reason, then, that we’ve decided to do a 100th anniversary commemorative calendar.   calendar-show-page

Our 100th is a way for us to engage new audiences and expand the experiences of our current audiences, so we want the calendar to reflect the Shubert Community.   Your Shubert story is part of our Shubert history.  We want art that reflects your memories and experiences at the Shubert.

Think about it.  What was the first show you saw the Shubert?  Was it a premiere?  Maybe you came with your family, or maybe you were on a date.  Maybe your first experience with the Shubert wasn’t actually a show at all.  Perhaps you were a kid who participated in our Movin’ program at your school.  Or you attended one of our holiday open houses and did arts and crafts, ate popcorn, and had your face painted in the lobby.

If you’re an artist, the calendar art contest is for you! Click on the link below for more details.  We want to see through your art what the Shubert has meant to you in your life. 

Enter the Shubert’s 100th anniversary calendar art contest  now:

 

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