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Sunday, May 24, 2020

Vermont Shakespeare Festival Puts the Bard in Your Yard

Posted By on Sun, May 24, 2020 at 2:04 PM

John Nagle as Don Armado - PAMELA POLSTON
  • Pamela Polston
  • John Nagle as Don Armado
Clad in a frilly white shirt and jeans, a sword dangling from his belt, Don Armado tore into his scene. Passion drove his speech, dramatic gestures his actions. Smitten by secret love, the Spaniard conveyed his heart's desire to, um, an audience of two on a patio shielded by a magnolia tree on South Winooski Avenue.

My patio. My magnolia tree. Don Armado, aka actor and Vermont Shakespeare Festival cofounder John Nagle, presented one of the first home deliveries of "Shakespeare to You" on Saturday afternoon — a monologue from Love's Labour's Lost. Somehow the play, written by William Shakespeare in the 1590s, seemed just right for a warm spring day during a pandemic in 2020. All socially distanced and everything.

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Friday, March 20, 2020

The Flynn Has Laid Off or Furloughed 12 Employees

Posted By on Fri, Mar 20, 2020 at 1:43 PM

The Flynn marquee - MARGARET GRAYSON
  • Margaret Grayson
  • The Flynn marquee
The Flynn has laid off six employees and furloughed six others, according to interim executive director Charlie Smith. In a phone call Friday with Seven Days, Smith said "many of those" employees have an estimated return-to-work date, though he cautioned that Flynn administrators "don't have a clearer crystal ball than anyone else" and couldn't speculate when that date might be. 

On Friday, March 13, in response to concern over the spread of COVID-19, the Flynn canceled the remainder of its 2019-20 season, including all shows and programming through May 31.

"We hope and expect that these aren't permanent changes, though in some cases they are," he said. "We're just doing our best to prepare the Flynn to come back strong when we're able to."

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Monday, February 17, 2020

Drag Queen Sasha Velour to Speak at Center for Cartoon Studies Commencement

Posted By on Mon, Feb 17, 2020 at 11:15 AM

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The Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction announced on Friday that its 2020 commencement speaker will be Sasha Velour, a CCS alumnus and an internationally acclaimed gender-fluid drag artist.

Velour, who graduated from CCS in 2013, became a household name after winning the 2017 season of "RuPaul's Drag Race." In an interview with WCAX-TV after being crowned "America's Next Drag Superstar," Velour told host Darren Perron that her performance career began in White River Junction, when she would dress up to attend "Drag Race" watch parties.

Through her performances, Velour said, she channels her background in cartooning: "I always think about designing a character that would read in a comic book, and then I just get to put it out into the world," she said. 

"Cartooning played a crucial role in Sasha Velour's origin story," said James Sturm, cofounder and director of CCS. "She was asked to be the commencement speaker because she is brilliant and inspiring. I don't know what Sasha will say, but I do know that Sasha knows exactly what it feels like to be on the other side of the podium and can speak to the excitement and dread the graduates may be feeling as they leave a tight-knit community to make their way in the world."

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Friday, January 17, 2020

Executive Director Anna Marie Gewirtz Resigns From the Flynn Center

Posted By on Fri, Jan 17, 2020 at 4:06 PM

Anna Marie Gewirtz - FRÉDÉRIC SILBERMAN PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Frédéric Silberman Photography
  • Anna Marie Gewirtz
On Friday, Anna Marie Gewirtz announced her resignation as executive director of the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts. In a press statement from the Flynn's board of directors, she cited "family reasons" to explain her departure from the Burlington nonprofit after roughly 18 months. Gewirtz replaced the previous Flynn Center executive director, John Killacky, in July 2018. Her family has since been split among Vermont, Massachusetts and New Jersey, the announcement said.

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Monday, June 10, 2019

Anaïs Mitchell's 'Hadestown' Wins Eight Tony Awards

Posted By on Mon, Jun 10, 2019 at 12:05 AM

Eva Noblezada and the Broadway cast of 'Hadestown' - MATTHEW MURPHY
  • MATTHEW MURPHY
  • Eva Noblezada and the Broadway cast of 'Hadestown'
Anaïs Mitchell's Broadway musical, Hadestown, has won eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The Vermont-grown "folk-rock opera," which opened April 18 at the Walter Kerr Theatre in New York City, received 14 Tony Award nominations. The annual award show honoring the best of Broadway aired on CBS on Sunday, June 9.

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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Holy Hell! Anaïs Mitchell's 'Hadestown' Scores 14 Tony Award Nominations

Posted By on Tue, Apr 30, 2019 at 1:27 PM

Eva Noblezada and the Broadway cast of 'Hadestown' - MATTHEW MURPHY
  • Matthew Murphy
  • Eva Noblezada and the Broadway cast of 'Hadestown'
Anaïs Mitchell's Hadestown has received 14 2019 Tony Award nominations. The Vermont native's "folk-rock opera," which opened on Broadway this month, nabbed more nominations than any other production this year, edging out the musical Ain't Too Proud, which received 12 nominations.

"This is such a total and complete honor! What I feel most of all this morning is enormous gratitude," wrote Mitchell in a statement following the nominations announcement. "Hadestown really took a long and winding road to Broadway, and so many creative, soulful people have put their hands on it along the way and kept it moving forward."

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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Playwright, Actor and Burlington Icon Josh Bridgman Dies

Posted By on Tue, Dec 18, 2018 at 9:42 PM

Josh Bridgman - COURTESY OF GREEN CANDLE THEATRE CO.
  • Courtesy of Green Candle Theatre Co.
  • Josh Bridgman
If you've lived in Burlington at any point over the last 30 years or so, you likely knew Josh Bridgman, even if you never actually met him. He could often be found haunting the margins at one of his usual spots — Uncommon Grounds, Radio Bean or the Other Place.

Or you might have encountered him taking tickets at the downtown parking garage, where he worked for years. Perpetually rumpled and typically clad in his distinctive glasses and trench coat — and known for his equally distinctive and loud laugh — Bridgman was a Queen City fixture. 

"He was a guy that a lot of people knew just because he was out and about and had a peculiar look about him," said filmmaker Bill Simmon, former director of media services at VCAM. "So, whether you knew him or not, you knew of him if you lived in town."

Bridgman, 51, died unexpectedly earlier this week. As of this writing, the cause and time of death is unknown, pending an autopsy. Neither foul play nor suicide is suspected.

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Friday, November 16, 2018

Nico Muhly on His Latest Opera, 'Marnie'

Posted By on Fri, Nov 16, 2018 at 1:42 PM

Isabel Leonard as Marnie (in yellow) with other cast members of 'Marnie' - KEN HOWARD/THE MET
  • Ken Howard/The Met
  • Isabel Leonard as Marnie (in yellow) with other cast members of 'Marnie'
In his latest opera, Vermont-born composer Nico Muhly, along with librettist Nicholas Wright,  reimagined Winston Graham's 1961 novel Marnie. The story follows a beautiful but troubled young woman who assumes multiple identities. Marnie, played by mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard, compounds layers of deception as she drifts from job to job and lover to lover, eventually landing in the cruel, abusive grasp of a wealthy businessman, Mark Rutland, played by baritone Christopher Maltman.

The book inspired Alfred Hitchcock's disturbing 1964 film of the same name, in which the filmmaker used shuddering camera work and long, leering shots to render Marnie's increasing derangement. For his version, Muhly turns to music — specifically, his gift for mysterious tonality and dramatic composition — to convey the lead character's inner mania.

After premiering in London last year, Marnie opened at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City last month. It's the second Muhly opera commissioned by the Met. The first was his acclaimed  2013 work Two Boys.

Following a seven-show run, Marnie closed on November 10. If you missed it, either live or via one of the numerous "The Met: Live in HD" simulcasts, despair not. Town Hall Theater in Middlebury presents an encore broadcast of the opera this Sunday, November 18 — exactly one year to the day after it originally premiered in London. Seven Days recently caught up with Muhly by phone.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Flynn Center Races to Complete Repair Work After Flooding

Posted By on Wed, Aug 29, 2018 at 9:40 PM

Repair work outside the Flynn Center - KYMELYA SARI
  • Kymelya Sari
  • Repair work outside the Flynn Center
The Flynn Center for the Performing Arts is in a race against time to ensure that the flooding repair work in the FlynnSpace is completed before the upcoming performing arts season.

A water main pipe, located under the marquee, burst early Monday morning, causing water to flow into the downstairs venue and a storage area where production equipment, including lighting, was kept.

"We are too early on in assessing the damage," said Anna Marie Gewirtz, who assumed her new role as executive director of the Flynn just six weeks ago. "We are doing everything in our power to get things back in pristine condition and working order."

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Saturday, August 11, 2018

Vermont Stage Finds a New Home at Black Box Theatre

Posted By on Sat, Aug 11, 2018 at 10:31 AM

Kim Rosenstock's 'Tigers Be Still,' from a review April 25, 2018 - COURTESY OF LINDSAY RAYMONDJACK
  • Courtesy of Lindsay Raymondjack
  • Kim Rosenstock's 'Tigers Be Still,' from a review April 25, 2018
Vermont Stage is leaving the FlynnSpace after 17 years to take up residence at the Main Street Landing Black Box Theatre.

"We have become a victim of our own success,"  wrote board chair Peter Espenshade in an email. "The move will allow us to meet the demand for live theater and will allow us more room, from the lobby to backstage, to produce world-class theater," he said.

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