Green Gables

I went to sanne-of-green-gablesee a reading of a new musical based on the Anne of Green Gables books. I went mostly because I love the books—which I didn’t read until I was much too old for them.

Kevin Sullivan wrote the book for the musical. He’s created three television series loosely based on the L. M. Montgomery books. Somehow, Sullivan linked up with Hangar Theatre’s managing director Josh Friedman, who connected him with Ithaca College professor Greg Bostwick, who provided a cast.

Ithaca College student Kelsey Lake was quite wonderful as Young Anne, with an expressive singing voice and strong acting chops.

But what really interested me about the cast were the locals: Craig MacDonald, Dean Robinson, Kathleen Mulligan, and Susannah Berryman are all Equity members, in Ithaca as college professors or to raise families. Camilla Schade, Holly Adams, and Helen T. Clark are just as “professional” in their talent and commitment.

I think Sullivan was pleasantly surprised at the talent available in our tiny town.green_gables_the_musical_final_card_v3_1

The script dashed off in all directions. As a playwright, I was fascinated to see how having a Name, albeit in filmmaking, allows a writer to present something that I would have only brought to my playwriting group. Not that it didn’t have some great stuff. But trying to combine about four novels into one musical is hard, and what I saw had time jumps that made no sense, along with an Anne who leaped from dreamy child to beleaguered teacher in less than one act.

(looking for pictures, I discovered that there already IS a musical about Anne. http://anneofgreengablesthemusical.com/)

And Sullivan, while charming and grateful for criticism, had a way of explaining what he thought he did that most playwrights learn is Not Done quite early in their careers. Just Listen, they tell us. Don’t Explain. STFU. Unless, of course, you are already produced and important.

Take this with some salt. Going to the theatre often makes me grumpy.

 

MAIZE at Artemisia Theatre, Chicago

mcclintock_cornARTEMISIA THEATRE: a reading of my play, MAIZE, September 25, 2015, at 8 p.m.

Artemisia performs its 2015 Fall Festival at The Frontier/Jackalope Theatre located at 1106 W. Thorndale in Edgewater. Easy access to the CTA Red Line and lots of street parking. Seating is limited so make your reservations today! www.artemisiatheatre.org

What turns a brilliant young scientist into an eccentric recluse? Faced with a threat to her beloved work with the maize plant, Barbara struggles against her past. MAIZE is inspired by the real-life Barbara McClintock whose research is still considered groundbreaking.

I’m especially excited that Artemisia chose MAIZE, which has only had readings by people who know me and my work. Playwrights learn most from strangers, because they ask all the hard and important questions. I’m also delighted because I love Artemisia’s mission. New work, empowering women, presenting women’s experience, everything I care about in one theatre.

Here are the director and actors.

Director: Mary Rose O’Connor

Mary Rose O’Connor is a Chicago-based theatre artist. Originally hailing from the great city of Wilmington, Delaware, Mary spent her formative years in Westminster, Maryland. She moved to Chicago after completing her undergraduate degree in Theatre Design & Production from Towson University in Baltimore and has been in Chicago ever since. Mary founded Lights Out Theatre Company, is a co-producer of The Gogo Show, a writer, performer, and director. In 2013, she founded the Trellis bookstore. Learn more about Mary and her recent work at maryroseoconnor.weebly.com.  “I’m a huge advocate for telling women’s stories and I am so excited to share in that storytelling with Artemisia’s Fall Festival.

About the Actors

Susan Gosdick

Susan Gosdick has been seen as an actor at The Shakespeare Project of Chicago, Drury Lane Oakbrook, Artists’ Ensemble, Shaw Chicago and many others. She also works as a Voice and Dialect Coach.

“Four years ago, I had the opportunity to read for Julie Proudfoot’s Failure is Impossible, which shared the history of Women’s Suffrage from Susan B. Anthony’s point of view. To get a deeper expression of women’s lives and perspectives, we need more female playwrights. It’s a great pleasure to read now the role of Barbara in MAIZE by Judith Pratt, and continue to bring to life these important voices.

Ashley Neal

Ashley Neal is a member of Rivendell Theatre Ensemble and was last seen in their production of These Shining Lives. She is also a recent graduate of Columbia College Chicago. Ashley has worked with many theaters in Chicago including Seanachi Theatre (now Irish Theatre of Chicago), greasy joan and co., and Chicago Dramatists.

Terry Bozeman

Terry Bozeman was last seen as Doc in FLYING for ELT’s All Access Staged Reading Series. Other credits include roles at the Goodman Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Oak Park Theatre Festival, Court Theatre, The Organic Theatre and West Coast Theatre

Michael Doonan

Michael Doonan was recently featured in Chicago Shakespeare’s production of Cyrano de Bergerac and will play Edmund in Long Day’s Journey into Night at the Court Theatre in the spring of 2016.  “I am limited in my view of the world. We all have our own set of perceptions. If we’re lucky we encounter a person, an event, a work of art that challenges those perceptions. Artemisia’s mission is to produce works that challenge our world view. I feel lucky to be in this festival.”

Anu Bhatt

Anu Bhatt was born in London, grew up in San Diego, and made Chicago her home in 2010. Recent Chicago acting credits include Lifeline’s production of Jane Eyre, Rasak Theatre’s Much Ado About Nothing – Bollywood Style and Henry VIII at Chicago Shakespeare.

Her Story is Our Story

Artemisia is breaking down gender norms all festival long. See six thrilling female-driven plays that are being staged as readings for the very first time. Then cast your vote to choose our next hit show! A friendly reminder: See a minimum of two readings to receive your voting ballot. Free Admission.