June 11, 2009


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Curtain Calls
By Heidi Masek hmasek@hippopress.com

• Football action: The Manchester Wolves play on the Acting Loft Field at the Verizon Wireless Arena this season.

How does an educational theater nonprofit become a naming sponsor for a minor-league arena football team? Good question.

Acting Loft board chair Charlie Basbas said it started when the Acting Loft wanted to find a way to thank a very generous donor. The board enlisted help from a supporter with access to Keyspan’s luxury suite at the arena, and took the donor to a Wolves game. He was so impressed he decided to help both organizations. Basbas said the anonymous donor now sponsors the Wolves in the name of the Acting Loft.

It’s not unusual for grants or donations to be earmarked for a specific purpose, or for a donor to help two organizations at the same time this way, Basbas said. However, he does end up explaining the situation while fundraising.

Stephanie Bike, general manager for the Wolves, and Basbas say the team and theater have a symbiotic relationship. Both organizations are in the business of family entertainment. Last season, the Acting Loft was an endzone sponsor.

Basbas freely admits that a child who is dragged to a show might be happier at a Wolves game and vice versa. Both organizations benefit from exposure to the others’ patrons, yet they don’t compete the way a match-up of the Acting Loft and another theater would. Wolves game events aren’t far off from what the Acting Loft does. Bike said half-time can include a kids’ touchdown dance contest among other activities to get kids onto the field. 

Acting Loft volunteers staff an information table at games. Bike’s daughter will attend Acting Loft camp this summer. The ArenaFootball2 league season runs from March through July with playoffs in August. The Wolves have been in Manchester for six years, and the 25-team AF2 league is 10 years old.

How have league members reacted to a field named for a theater? Some owners and general managers of visiting teams have asked “how the heck” it happened, Bike said. But a field-naming sponsor is a big deal, it’s a “hard thing to come by throughout the league,” Bike said. The fact that it’s a nonprofit is huge, she said. The owners brought the Wolves to the community for the community, Bike said.

A few Wolves players and the coach have said they’ve acted, Bike said.

Acting Loft night at the Wolves is July 24. Theater campers can invite their families, and the Acting Loft is providing the national anthem performance and possibly other performances.

• The end: Phoenix Academy is no longer. The performing arts school had existed for about two years at 25 Front St. in Nashua, part of that time as All Access Productions. Student enrollment had dropped from 80 in January to 24 in May, as the economy took a toll on Phoenix families and students, director Brandon Mallard said. About 10 students from northern Massachusetts had to leave Phoenix after layoffs at a company that had employed members of each of their families.

“It got to the point that most of the kids there weren’t paying for classes,” Mallard said. Some cleaned the space in exchange, and adult students sponsored a few teens.

Phoenix ended up two months behind in rent, and then Mallard got a call from StageCoach Productions, which had been using the place to rehearse Alter Boyz, reporting a padlocked door. The landlord eventually allowed Mallard to retrieve other people’s items inside, but won’t let him take Phoenix property. “It’s nobody’s fault,” Mallard said.

“There was so much positive that came from [the school],” Mallard said. He doesn’t want the negative ending to overshadow that. Friendships were formed, and students who couldn’t get into ensembles before are now leads in local shows, he said.

• Making a comeback: Yellow Taxi Productions isn’t staging a park performance this summer, but its members are busy.

The Nashua professional company brings back its courtroom-drama version of Jodi Picoult’s The Pact, this time at the Capitol Center for the Arts, 44 South Main St. in Concord (225-1111, ccanh.com). It’s part of the Spotlight Café series Thursday, July 23, and Friday, July 24, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $20. The Pact is set in a New Hampshire town where a teenager stands trial for shooting his girlfriend. YTP commissioned Jeannette Angell to adapt the novel and the resulting April shows sold out. It has a great ensemble cast.

Also, YTP produces a free staged reading of The Devil Gets Her Say, a new piece by Boston playwright Meron Langsner, Friday, June 19, at 8 p.m., at their millyard venue in 5 Pine St., Extension in Nashua (791-4558, www.yellowtaxiproductions.org). A modern scientist summons Dr. Faustus but gets Mephistopheles too. A talk with the playwright follows. Actors include YTP artistic director Suzanne Delle and Casey Preston, who played Pale in Burn This for YTP in May. Phil Allen directs.

• Cause: The Friends of the Concord City Auditorium are raising money to update their system of ropes, pulleys, etc. that are used on stage. Summer Theatre in Meredith Village presents Forever Plaid on the Concord stage, Friday, June 19, at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, June 20, at 2 and 7:30 p.m., at 2 Prince St. in Concord to benefit the Audi Fly Space Project. Tickets cost $15. Uno’s Chicago Grill on Fort Eddy Road in Concord (225-7474) hold “Forever Plaid Day” Monday, June 15. Visit wearing plaid between 11 a.m. and midnight for a chance to win show tickets, and tell your server you are there for the “Dough Raiser.” Cast members will be there between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., and 5 and 7 p.m.

Casey Preston and Suzanne Delle will perform in a free staged reading of new play The Devil Gets Her Say. They are seen here in Yellow Taxi Productions’ May performance of Burn This. Ceaser Photography Studio photo. 

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5/7/2009 Review:Actorsingers produces The Producers
4/30/2009 Journey to and through Motherhood
4/23/2009 Concord does the Full Monty
4/16/2009 Courtroom drama
4/9/2009 Scotland- bound
4/2/2009 Curtain calls
3/26/2009 The original sitcom
3/19/2009 Palace to produce The Producers
3/12/2009 British farce and new romantic comedy
3/5/2009 Curtain calls
2/26/2009 Serious stories
2/19/2009 Curtain calls
2/12/2009 On Golden Pond writer honored
2/5/2009 Divorce and death
1/29/2009 Red carpet?
1/22/2009 Curtain calls
1/15/2009 Money, powqer and family
1/8/2009 Offer your two cents
1/1/2009 Tapping into the spotlight
12/25/2008 Curtain calls
12/18/2008 BIg things that come in envelopes
12/11/2008 Curtiain calls
12/04/2008 Remains of an affair
11/27/2008 Ballet — not for the faint of heart
11/20/2008 Mary's new home
11/13/2008 Company, Secret garden and Doubt
11/6/2008 That Broadway sound
10/30/2008 Curtain calls
10/23/2008 Busy theaters
10/16/2008 All in one weekend
10/9/2008 Merrimack Rep at 20
10/2/2008 Curtain calls
9/25/2008 Curtain calls
9/18/2008 Stage sports
9/11/2008 Second Life to the rescue
9/4/2008 Curtain calls
8/28/2008 Tennessee Williams at Weirs
8/21/2008 Change for the moment
8/14/2008 Curtain calls
8/7/2008 Wicked experience
7/31/2008 Merry tales
7/24/2008 Review: the great outdoors
7/17/2008 Curtain calls
7/10/2008 Musical monsters
7/3/2008 Curtain calls
6/26/2008 Curtain calls
6/19/2008 Summer stock
6/12/2008 Curtain calls
6/5/2008 This one time, at drama camp...
5/29/2008 Curtain calls
5/22/2008 Making it big
5/15/2008 Curtain calls
5/8/2008 Curtain calls
5/1/2008 Forging ahead
4/24/2008 The Bard, condensed
4/17/2008 'Balance' in Bedford
4/10/2008 Curtain calls
4/3/2008 Singing for a cause
3/27/2008 These aren't recitals folks
3/20/2008 Albee at MRT
3/13/2008 Murder and rhinos
3/6/2008 Murder and rhinos
2/28/2008 The art of theater criticism
2/21/2008 Breaking the cycle
2/14/2008 Curtain Calls
2/7/2008 NH Theatre awards sixth year
1/31/2008 Elvis fans and ghost stories
1/24/2008 Building an audience
1/17/2008 Curtain Calls
1/10/2008 Fate of Annicchiarico
1/3/2008 A little confidence
12/27/2007 Stage notables in 2007
12/20/2007 If all they want for Christmas is two good seats ...
12/13/2007 Summer stock vs. southern NH
12/06/2007 Curtain Calls
11/29/2007 Curtain Calls
11/22/2007 Broadway composer and actress hit Granite State
11/15/2007 One-man play turns audience into students
11/8/2007 Curtain calls
11/1/2007 First times
10/25/2007 Curtain Calls
10/18/2007 Curtain Calls
10/11/2007 American History
10/04/2007 Active in the community
9/27/2007 Stringing single
9/20/2007 Curtain Calls
9/13/2007 Free range
9/6/2007 Curtain Calls
8/30/2007 Curtain Calls
8/23/2007 Curtain Calls
8/16/2007 Curtain Calls
8/9/2007 Curtain Calls
8/2/2007 That deaf, dumb and blind kid
7/26/2007 Potty humor
7/19/2007 Ease on down the road
7/12/2007 Jekyll vs. Hyde
7/5/2007 If it's free, it's for me
6/28/2007 Transformations
6/21/2007 Curtain calls
6/14/2007 No really, you'll get it
6/7/2007 Curtain calls
5/31/2007 Curtain calls
5/24/2007 Putting the camp in camp
5/17/2007 Curtain Calls
5/10/2007 Curtain Calls
5/3/2007 Curtain Calls
4/26/2007 Still going strong
4/19/2007 Vietnam the the Palace
4/12/2007 Confluence
4/5/2007 First look
3/29/2007 Reluctant star
3/15/2007 In a town far away
3/8/2007 Curtain calls
3/1/2007 Into the future
2/22/2007 But will it play in New Hampshire
2/15/2007 Curtain calls
2/8/2007 Family affair
2/1/2007 Curtain calls
1/25/2007 Curtain calls
1/18/2007 Curtain calls
1/11/2007 Curtain calls
1/4/2007 Fork in the road
12/28/2006 Standout performances of '06
12/21/2006 Curtain Calls
12/14/2006 Players remember Peter Bridges
12/07/2006 Young talent
11/30/2006 Lighthearted farce for the holidays
11/23/2006 Curtain Calls
11/16/2006 Good theater
11/9/2006 Preview roundup
11/2/2006 Access to the ancients
10/26/2006 Aida on a Nashua stage
10/19/2006 Children of a Lesser God brilliantly played
10/12/2006 A true love triangle
10/05/2006 Curtain Calls
09/28/2006 Bringing people back to life
09/21/2006 Getting judged
09/14/2006 Long strange journey
09/07/2006 Curtain Calls
08/31/2006 Curtain Calls
08/24/2006 Putting kids in charge
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08/10/2006 All theater, all summer
08/03/2006 A Jesus musical, reworked
07/27/2006 A match made in Maine
07/20/2006 Variations on a theme
07/13/2006 I Hate Hamlet
07/06/2006 Serious theater
06/29/2006 L.A. in Peterborough
06/22/2006 Da Vinci to Rube Goldberg
06/15/2006 Peter Bridges remembered
06/08/2006 From Hairspray to monkeys
06/01/2006 Special Theatrics
05/25/2006 Live Brit-com
05/18/2006 Evil stepsisters earn the yuks
05/11/2006 A message to mom
05/04/2006 Meet the cast
04/27/2006 'I hope i get it'
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04/13/2006 Nashua rocks The Wiz
04/06/2006 Nashua rocks The Wiz
03/30/2006 Cabaret is Mnchester bound
03/23/2006 A 42nd Street detour
03/16/2006 Actor-director wants your ideas
02/23/2006 Yellow Taxi's Theater Festival opens March 1
02/16/2006 Herding CATS
02/09/2006 An†actors' studio
02/02/2006 A thing about love
01/26/2006 Spring theater season warming up
01/19/2006 Gearing up for the big night
01/12/2006 This Phantom is not a menace
01/05/2006 Jim Kelly, sci-fi writer and alternate historian
10th anniversary at Capitol Center
10 Ways To Survive The Audition
A Chorus Line
A Figaro Worth Cheering
A 'Living Newspaper' on stage
A tale of two wives
A Tribute To Music
Actorsingers Deliver On Superstar
Beauty and the Beast
Bedford Off-Broadway Gets Spooky
Being The Beatles, 1964 The Tribute
Bringing NYC to Wilton
Creating the venue from antiques
Crimes Of The Heart
Curtain to rise on Dana Center
Dana Center Takes Center Stage
Ensemble elevates Palaceís Godspell
From stage to the silver screen
Great play, too bad itís over
Greater Tuna
Humble Boy
Itís cabaret, hear it sing, joke, tease
It's Child's Play
Jesus Christ Superstar
Kids Tackle Edgar Allan Poe
Local boy hits the big time, doesnít lose his head
Lowell theater opens with a winner of a satire
Madco welcomes Boston actor-director
Meet John Sefel, Director
Meet Suzanne Delle, Yellow Taxiís driver
Music Man to run three weekends
New Thalian Players
Palace announces 2005-06 season
Peterborough Playersí Solidarity is solid gold
Plaid (II)
Playing with manís best friend
Proud of the Peacock
Racy, crazy blast at the Palace
Reviving His Passion
Robert Dionne, The man behind the Majestic
Rosemary Dann
Secrets Every Smart Traveler Should Know
Short-Attention Span Theater
Side Show
Sideshow slips sideways
Spending The Summer On Stage
Stages of learning
Steel Magnolias
Suessical: The Musical
Theater Of The Imagination
Theater Kids Without A School
Theater in the park draws big
The Drawer Boy
The Festival
The†Five best shows of 2005
The Prisoner Of Second Avenue
The Russian/American Kids Circus
The Senator Wore Pantyhose
The Tony Awards, they're grrrrreat
The Warmth Of The Cold
Three nights, three shows at the Palace

Under the Caribbean with the little mermaid

Wake up to Ďnight Mother