A Moment with our Chair, Melia Bensussen

By Melia Bensussen

Am lecturing wonderful student actors on the history of the American theatre – did you know that in 1948 you could have seen Death of A Salesman, Oklahoma and South Pacific? Not to mention Light Up The Sky.  Enjoying the actors learning how to walk through doorways and slam doors on a beat.  Arriving to our Paramount rehearsals after leaving another gifted company at the Huntington, after rehearsals for Circle Mirror Transformation by Annie Baker.

At the Paramount I tell actors to speed up, the period demands it, at the Huntington I tell them to slow down and take their pauses – what this new play requires.  A great way to spend the day.


Melia Bensussen is the Chair of the Department of Performing Arts. She is also a professional director, currently working on two plays that open within weeks of each other.

A Noble Experiment

by Julie Hennrikus

The Emerson Stage blog has undergone a face lift. New blogging software, and a new blogging philosophy. Let’s call it “something everyday”. The goal/hope/dream is to have SOME sort of content every day during the academic year. Some call it ambitious. I call it more than possible.

Friday morning, as Tyler posted in his State of the Season, we had three production meetings for our first shows of the season, all of which are in rehearsal. NINE was just cast. THE GOLDEN AGE will be cast as of Monday, and auditions for X DANCE are next week. We have info meetings for playwrights regarding NEW FEST, and I have a MAN OF LA MANCHA meeting next week. With all of this activity, plus stage managers taking CPR, forums with visiting guests not to mention faculty, staff and students and their wide range of work, how can we be lacking blog material?

So check back often. Follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook. And let us know what you think as we give you a glimpse into life here at Emerson Stage.

State of the Season – Oct 1

By Tyler York

It’s October 1st and work on the productions in our 2010-2011 Season is humming along nicely. We are three weeks away from the opening of LIGHT UP THE SKY in the Paramount Theatre (hooray!), which means we have less than three weeks to finish our work. From all accounts things are going well and there are some exciting things in the works for this weekend that would bring even more of the late-40’s magic of Boston to life onstage.

Sitting in on the series of production meetings this morning, I was struck by the fact that we have four shows in various states of production and another four in pre-production. The conversations taking place in each of the three meetings today demonstrated this fact:

In the LIGHT UP THE SKY meeting, all were in a light, jovial mood as finishing touches and technical load-in schedules were discussed. In fact, I couldn’t help but note the collegial spirit of the group and make a mental comparison to the relationship shared between the characters in the show.

THE ACTOR and THE ACTOR’S NIGHTMARE centered around conversations about specific elements of the production, the width of a balustrade for example. Fabric was also a recurring topic of conversation. Scenic and Props are looking at fabric today for furniture upholstery and Costumes will be sharing fabric swatches with Lighting soon for testing to ensure the color of a costume isn’t affected by lighting and vice versa. All part of the collaboration required to put on a well-designed show!

BUD, NOT BUDDY, our TYA production, is in the early stages of production. Rehearsals just began this past Monday and the cast and director, Robert Colby, are having fun exploring how the set and costumes can help character development. Naturally, those explorations bring about a lot of questions! By bringing those questions to the production meeting, designers and production staff can help define the realm of possibilities.

It’s all very exciting. The fourth production this semester, NINE, was recently cast and will soon join the roster of production meetings… and so the cycle continues.


Tyler York is the Assistant to the General Manager of Emerson Stage and an alum of Emerson’s BFA Stage/Production Management program.

Stardate 9.28.2010

Laurie and Brian hard at work, on The Actor's Nightmare

By Richelle Devereax-Murray

Welcome back.  It’s a new school year and everyone knows what that means!   You don’t?  Well let me tell you,  it means four fabulous shows.   Currently in the shop we are working on Light Up the Sky,  Actor/The Actor’s Nightmare and Bud Not Buddy.   Nine will be added into the mix soon, it’s a happening place here.

The racks are full of pulled costumes,   sketches line the walls and the crew is busy with alterations of all kinds.

Today I had fittings with Courtney Irizarry (the designer),  for  The Actor’s Nightmare.  For one scene, Brittany Halls will be wearing a dress that made it’s first appearance in an Emerson Stage show when it was built for The Philadelphia Story, however we will be altering it to look a little different.   That’s something we do often.   We pull things from our stock and alter them to suit our needs. So when you see The Actor’s  Nightmare, the dress will be so different, that you won’t realize it’s the same one from a previous show.   Most likely you didn’t see The Philadelphia Story, unless you are a Senior so we can just pretend it’s a brand new dress anyway! :-)

A show will have many costumes from other shows,  our stock room is full of past shows.  It’s a little walk down memory lane.   We have even found costumes with labels from the first Majestic show, George M.   If you want to hear great stories some time, ask Mary Ellen Adams about that show.

See you next Tuesday for more tales of the costume shop.  What will we make, what will we dye, what cookies will we eat??