In 2020, Concord Theatricals will usher in a new decade with the thrilling merger of four theatrical catalogues. In celebration, the staff took a look back at the past ten years and shared with us the Concord shows that affected them the most.
Rosemary Bucher (Educational Theatre Licensing Coordinator)
Nothing screams “college senior” like a show about passion and learning that you can’t always get what you want, right? Directing my favorite show, Chess (Samuel French), was terrifying, and I felt like I had so much to prove. I spent months researching, designing, and blocking with a fantastic team of my classmates, all of whom were definitely a little afraid of how intense I was about the project.
While of course I’m incredibly proud of the production of Chess we mounted at Lebanon Valley College in 2013, last year’s presentation at the Kennedy Center challenged every thought I had about a show I know inside and out. Best of all, Karen Olivo’s powerhouse performance of “Nobody’s Side” highlighted the artistic vulnerability I was afraid of all those years ago. Her performance as Florence (usually the only woman in the room, not afraid to be the loudest voice) blew me away.
Andy Chan (Senior Manager, Professional and International Licensing)
It was such a thrill to finally see The Light in the Piazza (R&H Theatricals) on stage at the Royal Festival Theatre in London. The cast album was released just after I left university and I listened to it constantly. To see it live on stage so many years later, with expanded orchestration and a fantastic cast including the legendary Renée Fleming, was a dream come true. I was lucky enough to attend the first dress rehearsal and the memory of hearing Renée’s rendition of “Fable” for the first time (in a nearly empty auditorium) still sends chills down my spine.
Jim Colleran (Marketing Director)
In the early 90s, I had the pleasure of working with Charles Busch on a number of projects, including a production of Dames at Sea, in which he played the temperamental diva Mona Kent. I’ve been a huge fan of Mr. Busch ever since, and one of my favorite theatre experiences of the past decade was his nutty and affectionately irreverent farce The Divine Sister (Samuel French), which I saw several times at the Soho Playhouse in 2010/2011. Charles loves skewering sub-genres, and this low-budget ensemble comedy aimed its sights squarely on Hollywood’s peculiar fascination with nuns. Roasting movies like The Sound of Music, Agnes of God and The Singing Nun, Charles and his hilarious castmates – including Julie Halston, Alison Fraser, and the brilliant Jennifer Van Dyke – romped through a ridiculous plot that kept us in stitches. Like The Lady in Question, Red Scare on Sunset and all of Charles’ brilliant homages to “women’s pictures,” The Divine Sister is impudent, raucous, slightly naughty, and utterly delightful.
Jeremiah Hernandez (Marketing Coordinator)
Why, everything’s as if she never said goodbye! Glenn Close’s glorious comeback, nay, return to Sunset Boulevard (The Musical Company) in the 2017 revival was pure bliss. For those who didn’t see the original Broadway run – or for those who simply wanted to revisit her take on the tragic heroine whose best days are behind her – Ms. Close proved that she enraptures audiences like no other. With fragility and unrivaled ferocity, she reinvented her Norma Desmond to be equally more intimate and even larger than life. Matched with a 40-piece orchestra, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music radiated with as much diva wattage. Beloved anthems like “With One Look” and “As If We Never Said Goodbye” were given the lush treatment to highlight the beauty to the madness.
Ms. Desmond’s star might have faded, but Sunset Boulevard’s as genuinely thrilling here as always.
Zach Kaufer (Professional Licensing Manager)
When I first saw Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 (Samuel French) at Kazino on 14th Street, it changed what I thought was possible in a musical. Suddenly, there was no barrier between audience and actor. I was there smack in the middle of the story; the romance, passion, and heartache of Dave Malloy’s work was suddenly so immediate that I forgot where I was and what stood outside those massive metal doors. I saw every subsequent iteration multiple times, but I will never forget the first time Natasha served me a pierogi.
Courtney Kochuba (Marketing Director)
When I moved to New York, I read an article entitled, “The Best Places To Publicly Cry in NYC.” Now, years later, I can confidently say that they missed the best spot: inside a dark theatre, surrounded by hundreds of theatre goers. For it is this moment, when the action onstage taps upon a chord in your soul, that provides an oddly comforting invitation to unleash all emotions.
At least, that’s how I recall my experience off-Broadway in 2015, watching Joshua Harmon’s Significant Other (Samuel French). The story of a young single man, who was watching all of his friends pair off and get married, mirrored my life as a young single woman at the time. Harmon’s script so sharply (and with cringe-worthy humor) tapped upon the heartache and bliss of this life chapter, that as the final scene came to a close my friend reached across the seat, handed me a tissue for my blubbers, and murmured, “Time for a martini?”
Joking aside, Harmon’s words made me feel seen. The messy, beautiful story I was living of balancing real joy for friends alongside the gutting loneliness of being single was one that wasn’t easy to share. But in that moment, thanks to Josh, I felt seen, heard and, what’s more, comforted.
Rachel Smith (Business Affairs Coordinator)
When I was in high school, the most important lesson I learned was how to take up space. I learned this not from a teacher, but from playing the woman who does it best — Mrs. Dolly Levi from the beautiful musical, Hello, Dolly! (Tams-Witmark). Dolly is a loud, intelligent, meddlesome woman who knows exactly who she is and refuses to apologize for it. My eighteen-year-old self, on the other hand, tended to say sorry to a chair after I’d bumped into it.
I’m not sure how I convinced myself to g
et on stage in that red dress every night and allow myself to become the shining, confident beacon that is Dolly Levi. But I think embodying stories like the one that comes from this warm, whimsical musical allows me a certain amount of confidence to this day. We need these stories to understand that we have the right take up space. Dolly Levi had things to say and singing in her voice helped me speak up.
Annette Storckman (Marketing Coordinator)
Let the Right One In (Samuel French) was that mythical play for me that expanded my ideas of what theatre could do. Anyone who saw the phenomenal production at St Anne’s Warehouse will agree that the play was both achingly beautiful and absolutely terrifying. At the time, I was in my early twenties and had just received my first commission for a full length play, and I wanted to do something with horror but I was unsure of how to do it on stage. After all, throughout my upbringing, “plays” meant dinner dramas and the occasional farce written by a straight, white man. Up to this point, I didn’t know you could even do horror on stage, let alone do it well. Let the Right One In was the perfect balance of human drama mixed with psychological horror that went beyond the jump scares and general fear of vampires to expose the primal, tender side of us all. Let the Right One In was validating for me as a person who loves genre work, and to this day it remains one of my favorite pieces I have ever seen on stage.
(photo: Joan Marcus)