THE THEATER MIRROR, Boston's LIVE Theater Guide



Date: Fri, 29 Nov 1996 12:03:36 -0500
From: The Theater Mirror Subject: The RENT Conection this morning

Hi. larry stark here.
Jamie McGonnigal sent this review to THE THEATER MIRROR
( )
He's 21, and as a reviewer he's no Jonath-- no John Lahr.
He does seem, though, to be the audience the show is looking for. (I asked him what the difference was between RENT and a Rock Concert, and he replied "RENT has a plot," though he didn't elaborate.)

I didn't see RENT, so I'm glad to say this morning's program was he first time theater here in Boston got a good, thorough, impassioned discussion that taught me something. I think I learned from all that, that were I to review the show, it would be a very Mixed review indeed.

I do wonder, though, how it was that the mere mention of the word "theater" on the program did NOT provoke an immediate phone call from Robert Brustein! I thank providence for small favors...

I'm really sorry that the re-opening of the Shubert is regarded as the thing that "has re-lit the Boston Theater District" --- as though MASTER CLASS didn't exist; as though the one-woman show at the Colonial was irrelevant history; as though CURLEY's run down the block at DOM's wasn't important; as though the Wang has been empty all year.
And Then there is the Emerson Majestic, the Huntington, the Lyric, the New Rep, Beatrice Herford's Vokes Theatre, the Boston Center for The Arts, and, yes, even Robert B. and his Sothern carpet- baggers across the river in my beloved Loeb Drama Center.

If you look into THE THEATER MIRROR you will find material about Rick Lombardo, the new Artistic Director of The New Repertory Theatre === someone who should have been CONNECTed by your show quite a long time ago. If you happen to see his production of Phyllis Nagy's SCARLET LETTER adaptation, it will be obvious why I say this.

I've never called, because what I think I should say usually occurrs to me during the 8 p m I bug Bruce Gellerman via Email. This morning, I'd have called and quoted Jamie's review to you, but a serious cold has made me all but inaudible. But I rarely miss the show, unless I oversleep in the morning and see a play the same night. I see LOTS of plays in and around Boston, and usually I really like what I see.
"But I am a strange old man."
(Okay, Chris, who'm I quoting from what Nobel Prize-winning novel?)
Break a leg all...
(a k a larry stark
Here's Jamie's 21-year-old review: "RENT" Review by Jamie McGonnigal

Date: Tue, 26 Nov 1996 15:04:09 -0500
From: "Carolyn D'Onofrio"
Organization: John Hancock Financial Services Subject: Acting Workshop

Will you please post this notice at your earliest convenience.

Acting Workshop

The Theatre Company of Saugus is offering a 2-day workshop for the beginning actor, and for those who have some experience and would like to improve and develop their technique. The workshop will be conducted by local director and actor Paul D'Onofrio on Saturday, January 18 and Saturday, January 25.

Topics to be discussed will range from stage terms, improvisation, scene study and monologues. For more information please call (617) 231-0582.

Class size will be limited to provide as much individual attention as necessary.

Date: Tue, 26 Nov 1996 12:36:09 -0800
From: (Shannon Parnell)
Subject: Thank you..

Thanks for your speedy and complete reply. To tell you a bit about myself (this is always fun):

I grew up in Hawaii and became involved in Theater when I was 14. I moved my way up from props to stage managing by the time I was 16. This was in a wonderful community theater that taught me a lot. I continued to do shows (missed a year or so due to way to much stress) and then in 1993 moved to Portland, Oregon. I quickly started stage managing for some of the smaller companies around town. Unfortunatly, personal life prevailed and I took some time of in early 94. Then I got the brilliant idea that I should go to school and learn what else besides stage managing that was fun. So in Fall of 95 I started attended Portland State University. Needless to say it was a very interesting education in the politics of university theatre, and that was about it. I learned how to run boards rather competently, and focused in on Sound, because it fascinated me beyond belief. Then as if I hadn't had enough things keep me away from what I love, I was injured in an auto accident. This did not fit into my plans. I ended up finishing the show that I was working on and moving home to the parents (in Hawaii) and healing up. This was in January of 1996. I got back to Portland in June, ran sound for a show and realized that I needed to still take time to heal. So I am waiting till after the New Year to start working again. And to sum up the theatre part of it, I belong to no unions, and have learned most of what I know by hands on work, which after experiencing PSU, I think that digging in and learning on your own is much simpler and quicker, of course it doesn't help when your looking for work and people want to know what kind of education you have, but even that problem is manageable. I do have a day job, and this is what I want to the into the world of theater. I have worked in several positions in offices. My parents (they show up a lot in my life history) were self employed and by the time I was 13 I was highly competent in book-keeping, and various tasks performed within a business, then I became a Office Manager for a computer technologies business, which taught me the daily running of a company and bettered my people skills, and my current job is rather odd, I work for two brothers who have more money than they will ever be able to spend in 5 lifetimes. I manage there properties, take care of loans that they give to people, handle all the problems in their companies that are "trouble". I do other tasks, running books for one of the companies, doing payroll etc. It keeps me on my toes.

So that sums up what I have done. I would like to take my business skills and use them in the theater that way I could get the best of both worlds.

But I do realize that I may have to do the day job thing there in Boston and keep my night life busy with theater, either stage managing, doing sound, or most hopefully, doing some type of business work for any theater that will have me.

Thank you for your help. Feel free to pass this e-mail along to anyone you know. Changing states is hard enough without making a few friends before you get there.
Have a wonderful day.
Shannon D Parnell
14345 SW 112th Ave. #6
Tigard, Oregon 97224

Date: Wed, 27 Nov 1996 09:20:37 -0500
From: Linda Bruning
Subject: Black Nativity

Is this GREAT performance playing in Boston this Christmas Season??? I can't seem to find anything about it.

Thanks for your help.

AND LARRY TRIED TO REPLY, but the return Email address proved defective. This is what he said:


I just collected this yesterday from NEW ENGLAND ENTERTAINMENT DIGEST. It'll be part of the COMING ATTRACTIONS roundup this week-end... or when Lee gets back from his holiday/vacation/family wedding.

6 - 29 December
"Black Nativity"
Converse Hall, 88 Tremont Street, BOSTON

Date: Thu, 28 Nov 1996 12:52:02 -0500
Subject: Shubert Theatre in Boston

We'll be visiting Boston from Hawaii this Christmas and planning on seeing RENT... especially after your reviews...
My question is if the first row balcony seats are any good... they're only $26 bucks!!! Please advise ...
Aloha, Frank


Hi Frank
In My Opinion (Jamie will disagree), you have the best seats in the house for this show.
The first few rows --- where Jamie sat --- are enclosed by the action, but you'd be looking UP at the stage, probably would have a hard time seeing feet or the back of the stage, and that close it would be hard to see the whole action.
When I was reviewing professionally, my preferred seats were 15th row, on an aisle. From there I could take in the whole of the show, and there were people in front of me whose reactions could temper my own reactions.
But when I used to go to ballet performances at the City Center, my favorite seats were first-row balcony. The whole big stage is important in a show like RENT, or in any musical really. There's spectacle involved, and you'll be able to take all of it in from the balcony in a way you probably wouldn't close-in. The six entra bucks means You Win.

CAVEAT: I haven't seen RENT, but I've seen shows in that house.

Say, when you DO see the show, will you send us a review? Serious! I always like to know what PEOPLE think of shows, often even moe than what mere reviewers thought.

Date: Fri, 29 Nov 1996 08:17:49 -0800
From: Brian Grochowski
Subject: Theatre Works in Woonsocket


I have finished checking out your web page for the first time. Nice work!
A few months back I put together a web-site for Theatre Works in Woonsocket and I noticed it wasn't on your list for sites. Could you please add it.
The URL is;
Thanks and keep up the good work.

Date: Tue, 19 Nov 1996 14:26:49 -0800
From: Shannon D Parnell
Subject: Boston Theatre

November 19, 1996

Dear Mr. Click,

I am planning on moving to Boston in August of next year. I have been surfing the web and came across your page. I am very much interested in learning all I can about the Theatre Orginizations in Boston. I have been Stage Managing for several years, have tried my had in most types of technical work and even once took an acting class. I very quickly realized during that class that I was most comfortable behind the scenes.

I would like to move to Boston an become involved in the administrative side of the Theatre. I have several years in the field of business and feel very competent within the wonderful world of theatre. I would like to combine both my worlds (business and theatre).

I was wondering if you could spare some time, I would love any idea on how to go about learning more about Boston Theatre and if you knew any contacts I might make to realize my goal.

Thank you for your time and consideration,
Shannon D Parnell


I'm not as omniscient as I'd like to be, Shannon, but if I knew more about what you've done and what you're looking for, I might know people with better answers.
In general, there's a lot of pure luck, a lot of determined insistence, and a lot of looking around involved in getting Any theater positions --- and decently-paying full-time jobs are probably permanently filled. I know a lot of unpaid and low-paid and part-time theater people; the few professionals I've met seem to have had their jobs for years. And some of them had to join unions to keep those jobs at all.
But there ARE people who know more than I do; I'll mention a few in Email, but I'll probably need to know more about your experiences and abilities and aspirations before I do.
Break a leg, though.

Date: Tue, 19 Nov 1996 05:22:25 -0500
From: E Noonan
Subject: bad URL

Hi Larry. Yes, I'm still alive. I just wanted you to know that the link you have for the following:

>> OUr web page (while still under construction) is up now and I would love to link you to us and be linked to Theater Mirror.
>> It's
>>Thanks for your help

is incorrect. What the link actually points to, instead of is

Just thought you might like to know.

Editor's note: Now corrected, thanks.

How have you been? I have, I'm happy to say, been insanely busy. I was going to take the rest of the year off (after closing Mastergate), but opportunity intervened. The day after the run ended, I got an unsolicited job offer. I will be doing a Christmas run of mystery dinner theater.

It will be fun. And it is some of the best training you can get! I'll send more information in a couple of days.

E Grace Noonan

I'm an acter, a Quaker and a computer geek. How much queerer can I get?!

Good actErs will probably always be busy, E Grace!
The URL for Comedy Theater, so far, hasn't been "lit"; there are several new URLs that we should Link properly. Matter of fact, here's one now:

From: Edward Eck
Subject: Nice page, guy!
Date: Tue, 19 Nov 96 21:52:56 PST

Hi Larry--

What a great webpage you've got! Lots of stuff to check out and what look like some great links to stagecraft-related sites, too!

I just put in a webpage for the Milford, Mass area--immediately west of Walpole and roughly south of Worcester and the Southboro Players (did you know Charlie Chan is buried across the street from their theater?).
My page will cover the towns of Franklin, Medway (the Medway Community Theater--I see you've listed their upcoming production of Brewster's Best), Millis (the Millis Theater Group just ended a run of Lend Me a Tenor; they're a new group and this was their third production; I did sound), Milford (with [believe it or not] THREE major theater groups, The Masque Theater, the Milford Theater Guild, and the Center for Performing Arts), Upton (the Online Players, doing musicals), and a number of other weird and assorted goings-ons, including The Awsome Convict Players (a group of lifers at Norfolk Prison who put on dramas and's a long story...) and points west...Uxbridge...Southbridge...and after that you fall off the edge of the world, don't you?

The site is at:
I'll put in a link to the Theater Mirror with the next revision. As time goes on I'll try to work in more details about the groups themselves.

Again, you've got a nice page with some useful links.
Ed Eck


Welcome to the InFoBahn, Ed! The new site is redolent with ambiance and fun to read. And I do hope you'll have time to highlight all those local community theater companies. I can't remember if we caught the Millis "Lend Me A Tenor" or not. If not, then your new site will really do ME a service by getting the mere Existence of the company noticed.
And let me ask you, as I try to ask anyone in areas I can't travel to, please to look for someone in your area who would like to REVIEW those local productions for The Theater Mirror. I really want more input about what's Going On!
We will add the new URL as soon as Lee finds a free hour.
Break a leg!

Date: Sun, 17 Nov 1996 19:34:20 -0500
From: Jimbo
Subject: "Rent"

Thanks for your review on RENT, hope you don't mind, I added the link from my site-
PS My site will soon be moving to White Plains, NY USA ==============================================
How Do You Leave The Past Behind When It Keeps
Finding Ways To Get To Your Heart?
Jonathan Larson's RENT, 1996

Date: 5 Nov 1996 13:12:31 -0500
From: "James Tam"
Subject: Mass Hysteria

Are ther any Mass Hysteria perforamce in Boston in November?
James Tam

No. I called the number in the listings, and they said they're re-opening out in Saugus.

Date: Sun, 10 Nov 1996 23:09:51 +0000
From: Mort Kaplan
Subject: Thankx for coming

Good seeing you after all these years. Read your review. Guess what? I agree with you.--A right on review! Keep up the faith! My best, Mort


Well, I think our first clue was that, at the end of neither act did the audience realize it was over.

And let me take this opportunity to admit that these are the hardest reviews to write, because when Good Stuff doesn't work, the initial impulse is just to damn the whole package, instead of trying to figure out what went awry. It's easy to blast an obvious failure, and the only thing I have to remember when I see an obvious smash is to recognize the Director's input. (A hit always looks as though the actors made it all up as they went along!)
But the show you Really Want To Like, but can't --- that's the one the poor slobs with a deadline to meet and finite space to fill really eviscerate. And that's the one that really needs time and attention and thought to review accurately.
And it doesn't help when old friends are intimately involved with the making.
It's good to know you have enough free time to schmooze, though. Keep me and The Mirror aware of your work!

Date: Thu, 07 Nov 1996 23:08:56 +0000
From: Syd Parlow
Subject: Great Service

Would it make sense--&--are you able to divide the list geographically to facilitate the search of your wonderful efforts? --
Peace, Syd



Seriously, we're chasing a good search-engine that will let you do exactly that. Part of our problem is that the part of our vast organization that performs the miracles hasn't found the free time to translate the simple magic phrase into "HTML" yet! But we're trying...

Date: Mon, 11 Nov 1996 23:16:20 -0500
From: J Tormey <>
Subject: seating plans
To: Anthony Garramone

Anthony, stumbled across your message wondering about seating plans. My yellow pages phone book for the north shore contains seating plans for Fenway, Foxboro, FleetCenter, Symphone Hall, the Wang Center and the North Shore Music Theatre. Maybe a Boston one would have more specific to downtown.


I ragged Dean O'Donnell, the CENTASTAGE webmaster, for neglecting to announce their DARK NIGHT schedule in their web- page. (Dean teaches at Worcester Polytech and runs the Centastage Dark Night readings of original plays.) Then we had this dialog"

From: (Dean ODonnell)
Subject: Web pages, darknight, and others...
Date: Thu, 14 Nov 1996 01:48:52 -0500 (EST)

>> I DO think the people who do the shows and ignore the Net are doing the right thing; I also wish keeping a web-site current didn't take so much damn time.

Yup, I went a little nuts in late August, early September and totally redid all the Centastage pages, then school started and, well...

>> As you may have seen last night, I also pampered myself and din't get to the Dark Night show as I had planned.

We've got two more next Monday and Tuesday night at 7. I'm not going to be able to make it because I'm teching a show in Worcester, but Joe Antoun will be doing the discussions.
Speaking of which, out at Worcester Polytechnic Institute we're doing a production of _One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest_ November 21-23. It's a college show and it's only that one weekend, so reviews are kinda moot, but we're doing something a little innovative-- I've been researching/experimenting with using virtual reality in a performance situation. We're going to be projecting virtual worlds during Chief Bromden's monologues. The students have made the worlds, and they're starting to look pretty nifty.
This is really a baby step towards what I want to do, but all big journeys...
So if you want to head out to Worcester and check it out-- maybe write something about it (because the vr stuff is part of a larger, ongoing project) I'd be happy to give you directions and arrange for a comp.
Which reminds me, the wpi pages are woefully out of date...

Date: Fri, 15 Nov 1996 14:54:19 -0500
Subject: Apologies for not returning call

Hi Larry:
Sorry I didn't get back to you regarding Mass. Hysteria in Boston in November. The show is still going...just like real theater - a labor of love. It is not in Boston right now except for private shows.

We're looking at new ways to get it out there in 1997.

We have been working on some new theme party and corporate entertainment to pay the bills as the public shows trickle in.

OUr web page (while still under construction) is up now and I would love to link you to us and be linked to Theater Mirror.

Thanks for your help



No problem, Dave; I recorded my question because you were closed election-day, but my call the day after answered James Tam's question --- as demonstrated earlier in The Greenroom.

It's a great-looking page and we'll add it to our websites section.

Date: Tue, 12 Nov 1996 16:05:37 -0800
From: Jane Quincy Subject: Summer Theater

Dear Larry:

Great job! I am wondering if you have discovered any definitive and centralized web sites that will be announcing auditions for professional summer theaters. I am aware of the NETC auditions but past experience seems to indicate that many companies use this "cattle call" to find cheap labor. I'd be more interested in equity and non-equity acting opportunities, ei., real opportunities for serious actors.

Thanks for any information you might provide.

As I mentioned in Email, if we could find one, you'd see it here. And if YOU find one, get it to us!

>Date: Fri, 15 Nov 1996 14:51:24 -0500
From: "'liz. miller"
Subject: Re: CCIC: ADD URL

Dear Larry,

Thank you for your submission to the Cape Cod Information Center. We've added you to our Arts page. Have you got a special section for Cape Cod for summer theatre down here? If so, I'll add a 2nd listing for free to that page.
-- 'liz.
elizabeth c. miller
maxm consulting
Effective Internet Marketing 508 362-5886


Well, Liz, why only Summer theater?
We list whatever happens on stage all year long, and we have listed plays on the Cape --- I think there are one or two there NOW!

We're looking into search-engines now, and if we can make it work we can pull out of our all-over-New-England list ANY particular area Every Week throughout the year.
At this moment, though, we don't have the time/manpower/program to make breakdowns.
If we can get a program to handle it, it might be best to give you a URL that will jump to The Mirror at the engine, with instructions about how to get Cape-Only listings prominently displayed.
But, of course, we wouldn't do that ONLY during the summer! Theater happens all the time, after all.
Thank you for the listing!

>Date: Fri, 15 Nov 1996 14:51:24 -0500
From: "'liz. miller"
Subject: Re: CCIC: ADD URL

Hi Larry -

You're right -- theatre is year-round! (and so is the Cape!)

If you do get a search engine and are able to break out Cape- based theatre, we might be interested in sponsoring that page (or pages). Please keep it in mind!
I really enjoyed your site -- one of these days we'll head back over the bridge and up to the big city to see something...
-- 'liz.

Date: Mon, 4 Nov 1996 19:17:29 -0500
Subject: Assassins review
P>>Dear Mr. Stark,
I just wanted to thank you for the review that was posted concerning the Vokes production of Assassins. I just wanted to point out that there was a bit of a mix-up in the body of the review in that it is Brian Woods who plays John Hinckley while Brian Turner only plays Leon Czolgosz. If you could correct that, I'd be very happy. I realize that with two Brians, it was tough to keep up. I can only imagine how much fun 5 Davids were to keep track of. Again, thanks for posting that review!

Corrected. I must have been remembering the show instead of paying attention to the matter at hand. It was a memorable experience, and thanks for the correction.

Date: Fri, 1 Nov 1996 11:28:27 -0800
Subject: shubert theatre seating plan

I am looking for a seating plan for the Shubert Theatre in Boston. Could you please tell me where I can get one? Is it available on the net? If you have one could you fax it to me at (617) 440-0111?


At some point it would be useful to have access to seating plans for all theaters available on the net.


Anthony, I'll bet the only way you can see the seating- chart for any of the big downtown theatres is to go to the box- office itself.
They're certainly not on the Internet anywhere, because none of the downtown theatres even has a web-site! A.R.T. has a web- site, and the Shubert Theatre down in NEW HAVEN has a very good one. But I don't think either of them has put up seating charts.
That may have something to do with the "no refunds" policy most theater companies operate under. I mean, if you submit a series of date/location choices and they're filled by a computer- program, you could easily get the worst seats on your list despite the fact that better choices went unsold --- because you can't discuss the problem with a computer-program.
But we would like to put seating charts up in The Mirror. I only wonder how many people like you would really take advantage of them.

Date: Fri, 01 Nov 1996 12:07:27 -0500
From: Derek Clark
Subject: Listing for the Theater Mirror: Pygmalion

I have recently discovered your site and would love to have the production I am currently involved with to be listed. I am sending you the "electronic flyer" I sent out to some mailing lists. If you have questions, feel free to contact me at
Derek Clark
Theatre At Old South


                      THEATRE AT OLD SOUTH PRESENTS

                           ###           ###
                          ###  PYGMALION  ###
                           ###           ###

                              a comedy by
                          GEORGE BERNARD SHAW

                      The Classic Inspiration For
                              MY FAIR LADY

          Henry Higgins...Eliza Doolittle...Colonel Pickering...
                All the unforgettable characters are here!
              Performance Dates: November 8,9,15,16 at 8 pm
                           November 17 at 2 pm

                            Old South Church
                Corner of Boylston and Dartmouth Streets
                          Copley Square, Boston
                             (T accessible)
          On Opening night, November 8, we invite our audience
         members to participate in our re-creation of Golden Era
             opening nights by "dressing for the occasion."

             For more info or reservations, please contact:

                            Old South Church

                   or E-mail me at:


THE THEATER MIRROR, Boston's LIVE Theater Guide