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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Flynn Center Executive Director John Killacky to Step Down

Posted By on Tue, Sep 19, 2017 at 7:45 PM

  • File: Matthew Thorsen
  • John Killacky
In a release this evening, Burlington's Flynn Center for the Performing Arts announced that its executive director, John Killacky, would be stepping down from his role in June 2018. Killacky arrived at the Flynn in 2010.

During his tenure, the release says, the Flynn flourished, "growing to a $7.7 million operating budget while maintaining the organization's commitment to presenting exceptional artistic, educational and community engagement programs."

In addition to securing significant grants for the performing arts facility, Killacky is perhaps proudest of the nonprofit's commitment to access and inclusiveness. The Flynn works with 75 human and social service agencies to provide discounted tickets for their clients; of the 38,000 students who annually attend shows, 7,300 attend for free; and the organization provides $30,000 in scholarships yearly for kids to participate in camps and classes.

Reached by phone for comment, Killacky said, first of all, that "all things are good" and he's "not going anywhere." While he wouldn't call this transition a retirement, Killacky noted that when he was interviewed for the ED position in 2010, he told the board that, if hired, he would stay "for five to seven years, and then my service would be done."

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Monday, August 14, 2017

Happy Days Are Here Again at Unadilla Theatre

Posted By on Mon, Aug 14, 2017 at 12:06 PM

Zephyr Teachout in 'Happy Days'  in 2012 - COURTESY OF ZEPHYR TEACHOUT
  • Courtesy of Zephyr Teachout
  • Zephyr Teachout in 'Happy Days' in 2012
In the five years since Zephyr Teachout performed in Happy Days at the Unadilla Theatre, she has run for governor of New York and the U.S. Congress to represent upstate New York, where she lives in the Hudson Valley.

Now the former Vermonter is returning to the Marshfield summer theater  to reprise her role of  Winnie in the Samuel Beckett play.

"It's a lot easier to tell people what you think about fracking than to memorize Beckett,"  Teachout said over the phone, on break from rehearsal. She added that her experience in theater proved useful to her as a candidate for political office.

"I will say that being at the Unadilla, over the years, certainly makes you more comfortable standing up in front of people and telling them what you think about things," Teachout said.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Off Center Reaches a Fundraising Goal, But the Drama Isn’t Over

Posted By on Tue, Jun 27, 2017 at 1:46 PM

David Schein and Paul Schnabel - SADIE WILLIAMS
  • Sadie Williams
  • David Schein and Paul Schnabel
Last week, Off Center for the Dramatic Arts concluded its first fundraiser in two and a half years. The 65-seat black box theater in Burlington’s Old North End is an incubator for original works by theater artists of all stripes. But since it opened in 2010, it has struggled to keep its proverbial head above water, financially speaking.

The recent fundraiser was modest but successful: The OC topped its $5,000 goal by $32.68. Cofounder and director Paul Schnabel says the money was for “a general fund. Right now we don’t have a specific project [the money] is going to, just paying rent.”

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Monday, June 12, 2017

Off Center Showcases New Works by Local Theater Artists

Posted By on Mon, Jun 12, 2017 at 1:30 PM

  • Courtesy of Andy Gordon
  • Meredith Gordon
This weekend, Off Center for the Dramatic Arts in Burlington's Old North End wrapped its newly minted Spring Open Artist Showcase series. The democratic event included four new performances — two each weekend — selected by lottery.

The first weekend, Vermont Playwright's Circle performed five 10-minute plays. Those were followed by Joe O'Brien's "The Birth of Love: The Ballad of Miro Weinberger," performed by the Cosmic Noodle Improv Federation.

This past weekend, audiences were treated to two more theatrical debuts. "The Allegory of Flowing Water," written and directed by Martin Gil, and "Outpost," a one-woman show written and performed by Meredith Gordon.

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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Purim, Revisited, Takes Over ArtsRiot

Posted By on Sun, Mar 12, 2017 at 3:41 PM

Rabbi Jan Salzman reading the story of Esther - SADIE WILLIAMS
  • Sadie Williams
  • Rabbi Jan Salzman reading the story of Esther
Saturday night, while hordes of partiers faced a frigid Mardi Gras, a group of art-savvy community members staged a politicized retelling of the story of Esther. Yes, Purim came to ArtsRiot in Burlington's South End.

Organized by Rabbi Jan Salzman, leader of the new nondenominational Rauch Hamoqom congregation, the show was a raucous affair that poked fun at current political figures in a lighthearted, dance-heavy atmosphere.

The Book of Esther appears in the Hebrew Bible.  As the story goes, Esther is a concubine of the king. When she hears of a plot by his adviser, Haman, to kill all the Jews, she risks her own life to beg the King to spare her people.

The actors and organizers in last night's revelries included art activist Jen Berger, Junktiques owner Phinneus Sonin, Nicole D'Elisa of Nico Suave and the Bodacious Supreme, musician Sarah Griffin, artist Jabari Jones and Salzman's husband, Loredo Sola.

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

MOXIE Productions Stages Solo Show Series

Posted By on Thu, Jan 12, 2017 at 12:36 PM

  • Courtesy of Renata Hinrichs
  • Renata Hinrichs
There's a new act in town — or, more precisely, four new acts. Monica Callan, of the local theater company MOXIE Productions, is gearing up for a winter run of solo shows titled the "One & Only Series" at the Grange Hall Cultural Center in Waterbury Center.

Renata Hinrichs opens the series with performances this Saturday and Sunday, January 14 and 15. The New York City actor and playwright presents her autobiographical show, Random Acts, which chronicles her upbringing as the daughter of a white Lutheran minister on the South Side of Chicago. The show won Best Storytelling Script in the 2014 United Solo Festival.

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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Gov. Shumlin and Arts Council Present 2016 Governor's Art Awards

Posted By on Thu, Nov 17, 2016 at 2:57 PM

Gov. Shumlin with Excellence in the Arts award winner Eric Aho and family - RACHEL STEARNS
  • Rachel Stearns
  • Gov. Shumlin with Excellence in the Arts award winner Eric Aho and family
On Tuesday evening, November 15, Gov. Peter Shumlin and the Vermont Arts Council honored six Vermont artists with the annual Governor's Arts Awards. This year's ceremony took place at the Putney School, in Shumlin's hometown.  Eric Aho, who lives and works in nearby Saxtons River, received the 2016  Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts.

It's no coincidence that the six award recipients are clustered in southern Vermont. As Kira Bacon, VAC communications and outreach manager, explained, awardees are selected from a pool of nominees through a nomination process that is open to the public.

Trustees review all nominations, consider staff input and then provide the governor with a list of suggestions for the Governor's Award. Once he has selected a recipient, Bacon said, "We see if we can find a cluster [of arts leaders] in the same part of the state" to increase community momentum. Last year, the "cluster" was focused on the Montpelier area; in 2014, it was St. Johnsbury.

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Monday, November 7, 2016

Lyric Theatre Puts on a Rock Show

Posted By on Mon, Nov 7, 2016 at 11:02 AM

The band, L-R: Max Bronstein-Paritz, Andriana Chobot, Tom Whitney, Nate Venet, Matt Guzowski, Rob O'Dea, Marie Claire Johnson, Tom Walters - JORDAN ADAMS
  • Jordan Adams
  • The band, L-R: Max Bronstein-Paritz, Andriana Chobot, Tom Whitney, Nate Venet, Matt Guzowski, Rob O'Dea, Marie Claire Johnson, Tom Walters
Burlington's Lyric Theatre is getting ready to throw the biggest rock show it has ever thrown. Actually, it's probably the only rock show the local theater company has put on in its 43 year of operation: The Who's Tommy, based on the iconic rock album of the same name. While Lyric has dabbled with rock operas and rock and roll musicals in the past, such as Bye Bye Birdie, Rent, Grease and Jesus Christ Superstar, Tommy will be the first attempt at creating a bona fide concert experience.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

All Aboard With The Pirates of Penzance at Skinner Barn

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2016 at 8:49 AM

Singing sisters in The Pirates of Penzance - COURTESY OF DAVID GARTEN
  • Courtesy of David Garten
  • Singing sisters in The Pirates of Penzance
If you're looking for some silly entertainment without rancor and boos and, well, politics in general, step away from the tube, stream, Twitter — basically, reality — for a night and let Gilbert & Sullivan have their way with you. To be precise, The Pirates of Penzance, or, the Slave of Duty in a current run at the Skinner Barn

First of all, the Skinner is not just another renovated barn. Peter Boyton, actor/singer, proprietor and artistic director, kicked it up a notch when he transformed this classic beauty from a cow place to a people place. No doubt he was inspired by this location, on Common Road in Waitsfield, which is so lovely it almost takes your breath away. For me, a summer must-do is a picnic on the grass before the show, taking in the impossibly green and glorious landscape along with my plastic cup of rosé and takeout whatever.

When it's time to go in for the show, I'm so chill that the Skinner Barn theater troupe would have to really blow it to ruin my mood. But, in all the years I've been attending, that's never happened.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Vermonters Receive NEA Grants, Spring for Joy

Posted By on Tue, May 17, 2016 at 2:38 PM

NEA grantee AXIS Dance Company (through the Flynn) - COURTESY OF THE FLYNN CENTER
  • Courtesy of the Flynn Center
  • NEA grantee AXIS Dance Company (through the Flynn)
In its spring grant cycle, the National Endowment for the Arts has awarded eight grants totaling $893,000 to six Vermont organizations.  The majority of that amount, $718,000, went to the Vermont Arts Council, which in turn provides a variety of grants to individuals and smaller organizations statewide.

The other grantees were the Vermont Folklife Center, the Dorset Theatre Festival, the Flynn Center for the Performing ArtsKingdom County Productions, the Vermont Folklife Center and Weston Playhouse Theatre Company.

Congrats, everybody! The full NEA document here

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