Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Boston Is A Hub For Training The Next Generation Of Theater Professionals - We Are Surrounded By Great Teachers And Great Talent

Recent production of
"The Spitfire Grill"
Emerson Stage
Paramount Theater
I spend much of my time attending professional theater productions, so my standards are high in terms of what I expect when the house lights dim and the curtain rises.  I occasionally like to take in student productions at one of the many schools and conservatories that dot the Boston and Cambridge landscape.  I do not have to dumb down my expectations, for in most cases, the quality of student productions at these schools is of professional caliber.  We are indeed blessed here in the greater Boston area to have a chance to see the theatre professionals of the future honing their craft as students at BU, Emerson, Suffolk, Boston Conservatory, Berklee, Harvard, Northeastern, Brandeis and beyond.

In the past few weeks, I am have been impressed with the quality of the acting and creative talents behind the following productions:

  • "The Spitfire Grill," a musical based on the film, produced by Emerson Stage, Emerson College's Main Stage production arm.  This production highlights the synergies that exist between the worlds of working professional theater and academia here in town. This show was directed by Spiro Veloudos, Producing Artistic Director of The Lyric Theater Company of Boston. Students get to learn under the tutelage of one of the most knowledgeable theater professionals in the region, and Spiro gets the satisfaction of helping to mold actors, stage managers and creative talent that may grace the stage at the Lyric in future years.
  • BU students recently presented the Pulitzer Prize winning play, "Water By The Spoonful," and I found it to be every bit as moving and impactful as a professional production of the same play that I saw a few years ago.
  • Boston Conservatory students just tackled the iconic and challenging "The Three Penny Opera."  There were some impressive voices on display in the glorious Boston Conservatory Theater on Hemenway Street.
  • Harvard and Radcliffe students just mounted a rousing modernized version of Oscar Wilde's "The Importance Of Being Ernest."  Set in Manhattan and The Hamptons, it was a hilarious take on this classic comedy.
Many of the Boston area professional theater companies make good use of the developing talent that is growing a short T or Uber ride away.  In recent months, I have seen many students working alongside Equity actors at Reagle, SpeakEasy, Company One, Huntington, Wheelock, Lyric, Central Square, Stoneham, Arsenal Center for the Arts, Apollinaire, Boston Center for the Arts and other venues and companies.

The bottom line is that Boston theater lovers are uniquely positioned to scout out the next wave of Broadway, Hollywood and Boston talent at very reasonable prices.  I encourage you to monitor the websites of the schools I have mentioned, support the student productions and also go to see these talented men and women as they perform on our professional stages, as well.

The future is bright, and we have a chance to bask in its glow.



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