2011 Summer Season

2011 Summer Season

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Registration for WDW's Second Master Class is Now Open!

Registration is now open for our MUSICAL THEATRE DANCE master class on Sunday, May 15th! We expect this to be a lot of fun! Come and join us if you are a beginner or an expert dancer. Please e-mail westondramaworkshop49@gmail.com to request info and a registration form. If you register before May 1, you will get a significant price break. So, don't delay. There are only 20 slots! We hope to see you there.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Facts about The Who's TOMMY

Composer and Lyricist: Pete Townshend
Librettist: Pete Townshend and Des McAnuff

Broadway Premiere
Theatre: St. James Theatre
Opening Night: April 22, 1993
Total Performances: 899
Original Cast: Michael Arnold, Anthony Barrile, Bill Buell, Maria Calabrese, Michael Cerveris, Tracy Nicole Chapman, Paul Dobie, Jonathan Dokuchitz, Tom Flynn, Cheryl Freeman, Jody Gelb, Christian Hoff, Paul Kandel, Donnie Kehr, Pam Klinger, Lisa Leguillou, Norm Lewis, Crysta Macalush, Michael McElroy, Marcia Mitzman, Lee Morgan, Alice Ripley, Sherie Scott, Buddy Smith, Carly Jane Steinborn, Timothy Warmen
Director: Des Mconuff
Choreographer: Wayne Cilento
Producer: PACE Theatrical Group, Inc., Dodger Theatricals and Kardana Productions
Musical Director: Joseph Church
Orchestrations: Steve Margoshes
Scenic Design: John Arnone
Costume Design: David C. Woolard
Lighting Design: Chris Parry
Sound Design: Steve Canyon Kennedy

After witnessing his father commit murder, Tommy is traumatized into catatonia. As an adolescent, he discovers a natural knack for pinball, and when his breaking through his catatonia, becomes an international pinball superstar.


1993 Tony Award Nominations
Best Original Score (tie)- WIN
Best Scenic Design- WIN
Best Lighting Design-WIN
Best Choreography- WIN
Best Direction of a Musical- WIN
Best Musical
Best Book of a Musical
Best Featured Actor in a Musical - Michael Cerveris
Best Featured Actor in a Musical - Paul Kandel
Best Featured Actress in a Musical - Marcia Mitzman
Best Costume Design

1993 Theatre World Award Nominations
Michael Cerveris- WIN

1993 Drama Desk Award Nominations
Outstanding Choreography-WIN
Outstanding Director of a Musical-WIN
Outstanding Orchestrations-WIN
Outstanding Lighting Design-WIN
Outstanding Sound Design-WIN
Outstanding Set Design-WIN
Outstanding Musical-WIN

For more information on THE WHO, please visit their website:

Saturday, April 9, 2011

R&H- Our Master Creators of the American Musical


After long and highly distinguished careers with other collaborators, Richard Rodgers (composer) and Oscar Hammerstein II (librettist/lyricist) joined forces to create the most consistently fruitful and successful partnership in the American musical theatre.

Prior to his work with Hammerstein, Richard Rodgers (1902-1979) collaborated with lyricist Lorenz Hart on a series of musical comedies that epitomized the wit and sophistication of Broadway in its heyday. Prolific on Broadway, in London and in Hollywood from the '20s into the early '40s, Rodgers & Hart wrote more than 40 shows and film scores. Among their greatest were ON YOUR TOES, BABES IN ARMS, THE BOYS FROM SYRACUSE, I MARRIED AN ANGEL and PAL JOEY.

Throughout the same era Oscar Hammerstein II (1895-1960) brought new life to a moribund artform: the operetta. His collaborations with such preeminent composers as Rudolf Friml, Sigmund Romberg and Vincent Youmans resulted in such operetta classics as THE DESERT SONG, ROSE-MARIE, and THE NEW MOON. With Jerome Kern he wrote SHOW BOAT, the 1927 operetta that changed the course of modern musical theatre. His last musical before embarking on an exclusive partnership with Richard Rodgers was CARMEN JONES, the highly-acclaimed 1943 all-black revision of Georges Bizet's tragic opera CARMEN.

OKLAHOMA!, the first Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, was also the first of a new genre, the musical play, representing a unique fusion of Rodgers' musical comedy and Hammerstein's operetta. A milestone in the development of the American musical, it also marked the beginning of the most successful partnership in Broadway musical history, and was followed by CAROUSEL, ALLEGRO, SOUTH PACIFIC, THE KING AND I, ME AND JULIET, PIPE DREAM, FLOWER DRUM SONG and THE SOUND OF MUSIC. Rodgers & Hammerstein wrote one musical specifically for the big screen, STATE FAIR, and one for television, CINDERELLA. Collectively, the Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals earned 35 Tony Awards, 15 Academy Awards, two Pulitzer Prizes, two Grammy Awards and 2 Emmy Awards. In 1998 Rodgers & Hammerstein were cited by Time Magazine and CBS News as among the 20 most influential artists of the 20th century and in 1999 they were jointly commemorated on a U.S. postage stamp.

Despite Hammerstein's death in 1960, Rodgers continued to write for the Broadway stage. His first solo entry, NO STRINGS, earned him two Tony Awards for music and lyrics, and was followed by DO I HEAR A WALTZ?, TWO BY TWO, REX and I REMEMBER MAMA. Richard Rodgers died on December 30, 1979, less than eight months after his last musical opened on Broadway. In March of 1990, Broadway's 46th Street Theatre was renamed The Richard Rodgers Theatre in his honor.

At the turn of the 21st century, the Rodgers and Hammerstein legacy continues to flourish, as marked by the enthusiasm that greeted their Centennials, in 1995 and 2002 respectively.

In 1995, Hammerstein's centennial was celebrated worldwide with commemorative recordings, books, concerts and an award-winning PBS special, "Some Enchanted Evening." The ultimate tribute came the following season, when he had three musicals playing on Broadway simultaneously: SHOW BOAT (1995 Tony Award winner, Best Musical Revival); THE KING AND I (1996 Tony Award winner, Best Musical Revival); and STATE FAIR(1996 Tony Award nominee for Best Score.)

In 2002, the Richard Rodgers Centennial was celebrated around the world, with tributes from Tokyo to London, from the Hollywood Bowl to the White House, featuring six new television specials, museum retrospectives, a dozen new ballets, half a dozen books, new recordings and countless concert and stage productions (including three simultaneous revivals on Broadway, matching Hammerstein's feat of six years earlier), giving testament to the enduring popularity of Richard Rodgers and the sound of his music.

This article is courtesy of: www.rnh.com


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Years of Workshop- A Post by Long Time Participant/ Staff Member, Chris Holownia

In my early adolescent years, after school let out, my parents were at an obvious loss as to what they should do with me. I didn’t want to attend your run-of-the-mill sleep-away camp; I harbored no desire for playing sports; and I possessed precious little in the way of social skills. My interests and inclinations simply failed to gibe with those of other kids my age, and this proved at once baffling and frustrating. I took piano lessons, studied music theory, and sang in a youth choir, but none of these activities sufficiently rounded out my schedule. One summer, my mother brought me to see a couple of shows produced by the Weston Drama Workshop. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Middle schoolers performing a full-length, mainstream musical comedy complete with eye-popping choreography, large sets, beautiful lighting, dazzling costumes, working microphones, and a professional band? Such high quality art done at such a young age was absolutely unheard of. I needed to be on that stage. It was too late by that point to get involved with The Hobbit, but I auditioned for Babes in Toyland and Merrily We Roll Along the summer after my sixth grade year, and I’ve participated faithfully ever since.

15 years later, having risen through the ranks, I am now a proud member of the WDW Board of Directors. In the interval I have performed onstage, backstage, and in the pit orchestra for over 20 of their productions. I have both directed and music directed shows for the morning and evening programs. I’ve painted sets, donated props, and organized costumes. I look forward to each upcoming season with just as much anticipation as the kids do. Right on the tail of our culminating events near the end of July, I’m already helping to design the following summer’s program, reading evaluations, and devising new ways to make the next WDW experience even better than the last. I take pleasure in frequent collaboration with the staff during the intervening school year, and I derive a great deal of joy from seeing as many WDW participants as I can perform in or direct their own school productions around the area.

Do I sound addicted? In all honesty, there is no other place I would rather spend my summer months! The Regis College Fine Arts Center in Weston, where WDW performs, is about as high-class an auditorium as you can come by in this area. The lighting and sound capacities are top-notch, the building is air-conditioned, and we even have access to a black box theater, a set shop, a green room, and makeup rooms. It is a true privilege to work in that space. It is there that I first found a summer home where I felt comfortable in my own skin. I was able to shine and flourish in ways I could not have hoped to do at school. I forged lasting, meaningful friendships that have provided a great deal of social and emotional support over the years. I discovered a niche where people believed in me and helped me to grow immensely, both personally and professionally, in ways I never would have imagined possible. It is there that I performed such roles as King Pellinore in Camelot and Joseph in Joseph…, conducted such scores as West Side Story and Children of Eden, and finally directed a full-scale production of Honk! What a thrill. I have learned almost everything I know about musical theater, music direction, acting, singing, dancing, auditioning, performing, directing, teaching, and leading from my time with WDW. I was and continue to be inspired each and every summer.

But the stellar performances, the excellent facilities, and the first-rate, all-around professional theatrical experiences I’ve enjoyed from both sides of the WDW casting table are nothing compared to the people who make it all happen. The passion, energy, and vitality of those die-hard WDW fans – participants, staff, parents, volunteers, designers, board members, et al. – are contagious and unparalleled in the field. I jump out of bed each morning with such excitement as I rush to Regis College to spend the day with them. I have never known a more talented, committed, wholehearted, generous, caring, fun, successful group of thespians. Their work ethic stems from a genuine love of the theatre and an unrelenting desire to provide young people with a truly awesome drama workshop that is inaccessible elsewhere. Everyone plays an integral role in the process. Creativity abounds. Volunteers flow out of the woodwork. It is such a pleasure to work in an atmosphere where the expectations are never for anything short of excellence. It’s really no wonder that the program expands each season, no matter what shows are put on. I always feel an extreme sense of pride to be a part of it all.

So come check us out! If you’d like to perform on stage or join the technical theatre program, registration is now open for the Summer 2011 season. Auditions are in mid-May. Visit www.westondramaworkshop.org for more details, or call (781) 893-1896. And if you’re over the age of 23, we’re constantly looking for people to help with the insane logistics of mounting four fully-staged productions in one month. I guarantee that you will be glad you found us. WDW changed my life, and it could easily change yours.

Christopher Holownia was the valedictorian of the WHS Class of 2002 and went on to attend Yale University where he conducted the Whiffenpoofs and eventually graduated cum laude with a B.A. in Philosophy. He subsequently founded and developed the Mandarin Chinese program for the Wellesley Public Schools. He currently teaches foreign languages at WHS and serves as a choir director at St. John the Evangelist Church. He has directed the music for over 30 musicals in 7 years and aspires one day to have a theater company of his own.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Chatting with Holly- An Interview with Director, Hollis Welch Sullivan

I had the good fortune of interviewing long-time staff member and alumni of Weston Drama Workshop, Holly Sullivan this past week for our blog. The responses to the interview are listed below.

CB: When did you become involved with Weston Drama Workshop and in what capacity?

HS: I first started with WDW when I was a student member at about age 10. I had seen a Workshop production the previous summer and couldn't wait to be invovled. The year I started, the morning show was Treasure Island - they were straight shows in the morning back then - and I played a pirate with a crippled hand. I even sported a grease-paint beard! Quite lovely. :) After that summer I was hooked. I was involved with Workshop every summer after that (except for the one when my dad thought I should try doing something else. I was so bored that summer he never suggested anything other than workshop after that!) When I was in college I started music directing the morning shows and worked my way up to directing. I took a few years off to get married and then a few more when I had kids but I've been involved many more years than not since I was 10 years old.

CB:What has been your favorite WDW experience and why?

HS: I cannot narrow all those years and all those shows down into one singular favorite experience. There are several that come to mind... I'll never forget the 1976 season - the last season we were at Country School on the outdoor stage. Very appropriately is was an Americana selection of shows: Tom Sawyer in the morning and Oklahoma and Dark of the Moon on the outdoor stage at night. Unfortunately, a few of the night shows were rained out so after the closing show of Oklahoma an extra performance of Dark of the Moon was scheduled around midnight that same evening. As the production got underway, the full moon rose up behind the tri-lons and gave the production a very mystical quality!

Another favorite moment was when I got to be the title role in The Merry Widow. It was a beautiful production with period costumes and the cast was full of so many talented people. It was a real time of growth for me as a performer.

Just because three is a magic number, my third favorite WDW experience was having the privilege to direct Ragtime a few years ago. The production team worked so hard to make every aspect of the show come together. When you combine so much talent with a fabulous book and score and then get an amazing cast who worked so hard and gave it their all, you can't help but have an award-winning outcome... and we did! :)

CB: Favorite spot in the Regis College Fine Arts Center?

HS: One of my favorite spots in the Regis theatre is the set of stairs on the right as you enter the theatre from the ramp to the left of the box office. When I've directed a show I like to slip into the theatre and sit on the stairs and watch the cast, pit and crew work the magic that we practiced making together. It is a thrill to sit there and see the story unfold and to get a sense of the audience's reaction to the show. Of course, now that I've told you where this spot is I'm going to have to find a new spot this summer... :)

CB: Favorite summer delight?

HS: I'm not sure what you mean by favorite summer delight. However, assuming you mean it in a workshop-related sense, I really like opening nights. After weeks of hard work and fun times it's great to see it all come together and for the cast and crew to get the applause they so richly deserve.

CB: Favorite musical?

HS: I have a lot of favorite musicals. However, the one that I'd most like to try directing sometime soon is Kismet. I was in the chorus of this show twice - once at WDW and once with the Weston Friendly Society - and loved it both times. The music is based on compositions by Aleczander Borodin and is amazing. The story is sort of an Arabian Nights and has many fun characters. It has gorgeous songs, whirling dirvishes, dancing and a captivating story. It's just magical. It is one of those shows that is not too well known and isn't done a lot which is too bad. It's funny, beautiful and I just love it.

CB: Why do you believe the story of OKLAHOMA needs to be told?

HS: Oklahoma has been called the grandfather of the modern American musical and it is a well-deserved title. While it is not the only show that can or should be credited this way (think Showboat, etc.) it has certainly played it's part in terms of developing the art form. Oklahoma helped to establish music as an integral part of telling the story of the show. The songs helped to further the plot and develop the characters which a lot of musical theatre prior to Oklahoma did not. The story itself is a charming love story set in the time when the Oklahoma territory was on the verge of becoming a state in this great nation of ours. The Rogers and Hammerstein score is full of many memorable songs and features a beautiful ballet which, as with the songs, helps tell the story. Unfortunately, far too many of today's students are unfamiliar with the story and score for this great show. WDW has so many talented members year after year who are serious about developing their craft and they don't realize that part of their education is missing because they haven't been exposed to some of the classics like Oklahoma. Hopefully, a lot of those same talented students will come this year and learn first-hand what has made this show stand the test of time.

CB: What is one word to describe Weston Drama Workshop?

HS: Just as I couldn't think of only one favorite memory, I don't think I could sum up WDW with only one word. However, if I could limit myself to three words I would choose Quality, Friendship and Fun. WDW has high standards and their shows are always of very high quality, well worth the amount of time and effort required of all involved. Over the years, many meaningful and lasting friendships have been formed among the members of WDW. I love the fact that I have had the privilege of directing the children of some of the friends I made back during my student years at Workshop. The generations continue! This very fact alone is a testament to the fact that Workshop is fun. People wouldn't come back year after year if they weren't having fun. Many students audition for Worskhop because they are interested in a particular show or they want to be on stage. However, many others come back year after year because they know their time will be well-spent AND they will get to spend time with their friends from other towns with whom they did workshop last year. What more could you want?

Holly Sullivan will be directing the PM Program production of OKLAHOMA! this summer at Weston Drama Workshop.

Friday, January 14, 2011

And so it begins...

It seems like yesterday we were sitting in the Regis College lobby packing up scripts and scores, vacuuming the theatre, sweeping the black box, and moving the furniture back into the Green Room. However, plans for the 49th Anniversary Season of Weston Drama Workshop are already underway. The work for the next year begins the day after strike.

The first step in the process is season selection. Shortly after Workshop, we sit down and review all the participant comments and surveys to inform how we proceed for the following year. We then send away to read for many, many scripts. After a few months of reading and discussion, we sit down to meet and put together what we believe to be a diverse, challenging, and comprehensive season of shows. We think that this year, our season certainly fits that bill.

This past Tuesday we held our Annual Meeting. It was so much fun to see all of our participants and some new faces as well. A board meeting followed. The Board of Directors of Weston Drama Workshop is a group of parents and alumni who work tirelessly year round to ensure that the program is a success. They serve on committees and carry out hundreds of hours of volunteer work each year. This year the Board has four new members: Chris Holownia, Meg Kelly, David Ortmeyer, and Betsy Selig. They have quite the year ahead of them in preparation for our 49th Season and the 50th Anniversary Celebration to follow.

The next step- hiring the staff. It is always a long process, but a fun one. We meet with old staff members, and new people we have never met before to put together our staff for the summer. This process usually takes us about two months. At the conclusion of hiring all the staff, we immediately go into pre-production for the shows. Pre-production is when we plan everything that needs to get accomplished: set designs, costume designs, lighting designs, props lists, casting breakdowns, rehearsal schedules, basically everything we need to do get ready for Auditions in May. In fact, pre-production for our set designs has already begun. Nick Sulfaro, our set designer this year, met with Director, Aidan O'Hara to discuss set conceptualization for The Who's TOMMY this morning.

So, as you can see Weston Drama Workshop may seem like a summer program, but really it takes a year of preparation to pull off four stellar productions.

This blog- Shop Talk, we hope, will be an accessible way for you to follow what's going on at Weston Drama Workshop and hear from many different voices throughout the year.

Bye for now,

Chris Brindley,
Associate Producer