Arlington Friends of the Drama

James Grana on AFD Theatre’s “Sunset Boulevard”

Sunset Boulevard final weekend

Sunset Boulevard has one final weekend at AFD! The words of board member and program director James Grana tell why this is a must-see show at AFD. Final performances are Friday March 17 at 8 PM, Saturday March 18 at 8 PM, and Sunday March 19 at 4 PM. For tickets, visit http://www.afdtheatre.org/up-next. Don’t miss it!

 

“On Friday evening, March 3rd I attended the opening night performance of Sunset Boulevard. It is being presented at my home theater company, Arlington Friends of The Drama in Arlington, MA.

The excitement as for what was to come on stage began as I stepped into the lobby. We were all greeted with our own red carpet. Audiences were invited to have their picture taken. Welcomed by ushers perfectly engaged and costumed as real ushers. The one thing that wasn’t available was the Hollywood Walk of Fame. No chance of anyone stepping on your name. The Box Office staff, the refreshment personnel, the lobby display, the many greeters, immediately made everyone feel warm and the feeling that we were in for a most memorable event. It isn’t every theater you enter where the excitement begins as you enter the door.

Greeted with a program: a beautiful cover design by David Foucher, write ups and photos of cast and crew, ads where organizations show their support of the arts and AFD in particular.

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Trey Lundquist and Janet Ferreri. Photo by Leslie Maiocco.

 

I had to let the program perusal take a back step as I sat with an open mouth, as I took my seat. There was so much to see and absorb, and yet the performance had yet to begin. The projections on both sides of the stage, the background music, multimedia with the eye-catching technical aspects all beautifully covered.

AFD has always had the reputation of bringing shows most people might feel “is too big a production to mount on AFD’s stage” or possibly too much of a challenge. Those comments have been proved as a “fake fact”! Successful productions as Sweeney Todd, Follies, Titanic, are just a few examples of AFD’s dedication to the arts and to our public.

The original Sunset  Broadway set design 20 years ago was overwhelmingly big, bright, rich and in a large Broadway theater. My feeling about that scenic design was it was difficult to concentrate on the acting and singing without being distracted by the over-the-top production values. Why? Focus kept shifting to chandeliers, set changes, upper and lower levels. It was disconcerting when you should be invested in the action and the performers.

The creativity of director Kevin Mark Klein brought us all of this and more. Kevin knows, believes, and accomplishes all with his heart and soul. His technical chiefs handled everything with the utmost professional and committed drive. The lighting design by Iain Bason assured that every area was used and intricate, minus any blind or dark or unused areas. This carried over with the special effects when a quick cut away from stage shifted to the multimedia design from Cyn and engineer Jeff Munro, via monitors strategically mounted on the wings at the apron of the stage. No time lapse for scene changes. They were nonexistent. Action kept flowing.

Glowing credits and much recognition have to be extended to the talented stage manager Robin Liberty. Hers was a herculean task executed with complete professionalism and exemplary knowledge.

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Alexis Kirkpatrick, Emily Morris, Trey Lundquist, Adina Lundquist, Dilara Eynula. Photo by Leslie Maiocco.

Lest we fail to mention the glorious set design by Mr. Kline, Gareth Williams, and Jack Rosebaum. The staircase, the upper level, it was a unique design throughout. Each and every aspect of the set were all wonders on their own. All set the mood with the immediate entrance to the mansion. We knew we had Norma’s address right away. The scenic artistry of Judy Weinberg for properties and set dressing, all assured us of an inside look at the world of Norma Desmond. Technically all avenues were exemplary.

The cast! Wow! Many musicals have a large chorus that are used precisely as a chorus. Sunset does not have a chorus! It has a spectacular ensemble! Here we have a cast where every single performer acts/sings/dances and is topped off with their own individual character personified.

Speaking of dancing, that artistry with the tango and waltz is directed by Eileen Herman-Haase and Raul Nieves. Orchestration for Sunset calls for 14 to 27 players. The amount of musicians permitted at AFD is 8. Musical Director Stephen Bergman has captured the essence of 8 players with a sound that is rich and full and extraordinary. All perfectly coordinated between singers and musicians.

As costume designer, Lindsay Hurley never missed a step in any of the many areas. The cast moved quickly from scene to scene, different characters, different places and different ages. Costumes and make-up worked closely and obviously together making all seamless. Kudos to Deanna DiSciullo Lander for hair and makeup creations.

Acting was phenomenal: Trey Lundquist and Heather Hannon Rufo as Joe and Betty, beautiful together and apart; Jim Ansart as Max, whose love for Norma was kept hidden with a stoic sadness; Charlie Carr as Mr. DeMille, who shows empathy to Norma at the studio; and absolutely every living soul that made this journey so memorable. Once again proving the old theater adage “there are no small roles, only small actors.”

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Trey Lundquist and Janet Ferreri. Photo by Leslie Maiocco.

Now to the Grande Dame: Janet Ferrari! Better yet, it will be a long time before I can ever refer to her as Janet. She is Norma, heart, soul, frightened, magical, heartbreakingly lovable. Whether it was the many up and down trips on the stairway (and I bet you will never hear her footsteps on any of those trips), this wonderful actor was always present in the most beautifully created designs again by Lindsay Hurley. From turban to custom couture, all meld with class, style and period.

Two very special women coordinated and brought all of these elements to fruition beautifully. Ginger Webb and Margie Hilton. What was surely an overwhelming venture was handled and executed with the most loving and experienced hands of these two women.

Well, I could go on and on. Instead, I honestly recommend that you visit “for yourself” and “see for yourself” the magic in the making. When I believe in something, I want to shout it from the rooftops. Rather than stopping everyone on the street, please give my enthusiasm a read.

Jim Grana

“With one look, they’ll forgive the past,
They’ll rejoice, I’ve returned at last,
To my people in the dark, still out there in the dark”

Norma Desmond auditions for you!

Congrats to cast of “The Graduate”

Thanks to everyone who came out to audition for our production of “The Graduate”! We’re always stunned by the wonderful talent in our community.

Congrats to the actors who were cast. We look forward to seeing you in May for this hilarious play.

“The Graduate”
A play adapted by Terry Johnson
based on the novel by Charles Webb
and the motion picture screenplay by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry
Directed by Joe Stallone

CAST

Benjamin: Dominic Berger

Mrs. Robinson: Karen Fanale

Mr. Robinson: Mark Jefferys

Elaine: Miranda Reilly

Mr. Braddock: Tom Formicola

Mrs. Braddock: Jyoti Daniere

Hotel Clerk/Priest/Man in Bar: Lou Fuoco

Psychiatrist/Barman: Steve Robins

Stripper/Receptionist: Sara Maria

PERFORMANCE DATES

Friday, May 12 at 8 PM
Saturday, May 13 at 8 PM
Thursday, May 18 at 7:30 PM
Friday, May 19 at 8 PM
Saturday, May 20 at 8 PM
Sunday, May 21 at 4 PM
No show Sunday, May 14 due to Mother’s Day.

What’s news? This is news. A note from AFD’s president

President’s Corner: A Note from David Warnock

“What’s new at AFD?” Well, since the last Prologue, a number of things:

New Events

• The Indie Film Festival screened four short films on two nights in December, turning AFD Theater into a cinema.
• Neil McGarry’s one-man performance of A Christmas Carol, a Bay Colony Shakespeare Company production, delighted an audience of children and adults who joined us for a holiday party.
• The Sunset Boulevard movie-screening event at the Regent Theatre featured a red carpet, cast and guests in formal attire, a musical preview, and of course, the classic film.

New People

• Six of the seven directors, music directors, and choreographers for next season are new to AFD!
• New-to-AFD Co-Producer, Barbara Moss, joins me in producing The Graduate.
• Five new board members are to be elected at the General Election Meeting March 26.

New Shows

• An Inspector Calls had a successful run in November.
• Sunset Boulevard opens on March 3.
• The Graduate opens on May 12. •

The new 2017–2018 season was announced:

The Light in the Piazza
The Game’s Afoot or Holmes for the Holidays
9 to 5: The Musical
Unnecessary Farce

The call is going out for new short plays for ArlingTEN 2018. 

There you have it! Our thanks to our volunteers, to the folks who think outside the box to create new events, to new collaborators, and to the dedicated members who make it all happen!

Looking forward to seeing you at our theater to see what else is new.

David Warnock, President

“With One Look” You’ll Fall in Love with Sunset Boulevard – March 3–19

We are bouncing with excitement about our upcoming production of Sunset Boulevard, starring Janet Ferreri, Trey Lundquist, and Jim Ansart. Directed by Kevin Mark Kline, with musical direction by Steven Bergman, the smash hit comes from the inimitable Andrew Lloyd Webber, with book and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton.

Show dates are March 3–5, 10–12 and 17–19, with the usual 8 PM show time on Fridays and Saturdays and 4 PM on Sundays. Reserve your tickets now.

  • Audience members can walk the red carpet, snap a selfie in the lobby, and enjoy a champagne reception on opening night.
  • A talk-back with the cast is scheduled after the March 5 matinee.
  • An open dress rehearsal for seniors and high school students is on Thursday, March 2, at 7:30 PM.

Based on Billy Wilder’s Academy Award-winning 1950 movie of the same title, the plot revolves around Norma Desmond, a faded star of the silent screen era, living in the past in her decaying mansion on the famous Los Angeles street. When young screenwriter Joe Gillis accidentally crosses her path, she sees in him an opportunity to make her comeback to the big screen, while Joe sees it as an opportunity to make some money freeloading off the rich, but now delusional, movie star.

Filled with both romance and tragedy, the musical won Tony awards for Best Musical and Best Musical Score when it opened on Broadway, and has been performed in ten countries and on four continents.

AFD Theatre is never daunted by a challenge and has gathered together a stellar production team. Kevin Mark Kline is directing this show, which has been on his bucket list for a long time.

Music direction is by Steven Bergman–if you came to the movie screening event at the Regent Theatre, you know he is doing a great job bringing out the talents of our excellent cast. Gareth Williams has co-designed the set with Kevin, and is set tech as well. Jack Rosenbaum is a third set co-designer and has contributed exceptional scenic painting and posters.

Lindsay Hurley is designing costumes, while Deanna DiScullo Lander makes a welcome return to AFD after a long absence to do hair and makeup.

On the tech side, Iain Bason is designing lights. Tom Powers, who usually designs sound out in the far western suburbs, is trekking into Arlington because this is one of his favorite musicals, too.

Cyn Marsden is designing the projections, which is a very creative and essential part of pulling off this production on a small stage. Judy Weinberg is doing a stellar job running all over the area finding period props. Ginger Webb and Margie Hilton are co- production managers, while Robin D. Liberty serves as stage manager extraordinaire.

On the cast side, we are absolutely delighted that Janet Ferreri returns to the AFD stage to channel the diva Norma Desmond. Trey Lundquist is making his AFD debut as Joe Gillis following recent work with Riverside Theatre Works, Cohasset Dramatic Club, and MMAS Blackbox Theater.

Jim Ansart plays the enigmatic Max von Mayerling, Heather Hannon Rufo plays Betty Schaefer, and longtime AFD member Charlie Carr plays Cecil B. DeMille. Other cast members include Corrine Apostolides, Paul E. Dingman, Dilara Eynula, Timothy Gravely, Patrick Harris, Ira Kantor, Adam Kaplowitz, Alexis Kirkpatrick, Adina Lundquist, Robert McCall, Emily Morris, Nick Stevens, and Lisa Tierney.

“With One Look” You’ll Fall in Love with “Sunset Boulevard”

With hauntingly beautiful songs like “With One Look,” a cast that includes Janet Ferreri, and a creative team led by director and choreographer Kevin Mark Kline and musical director Steven Bergman, you will fall in with AFD Theatre’s “Sunset Boulevard.”

Performances are March 3-19 with Friday and Saturday shows at 8 PM and Sunday matinees at 4 PM. Tickets are $25.

Opening night is just weeks away so get your tickets now! In the meantime, enjoy these rehearsal shots captured by Mary Babic, plus some set photos and backstage images from Kevin Mark Kline.

Did you know? The legendary Gloria Swanson created the role of Norma Desmond in the 1950 Billy Wilder movie on which the musical is based. Patti LuPone starred as Norma in the original London production. Glenn Close was Norma in the original Broadway production and is currently reprising her Tony award-winning performance in a Broadway revival.

Janet Ferreri in AFD’s Sunset Boulevard Janet last appeared on the AFD stage in “The Boy from Oz,” in which she played the role of Judy Garland. If you saw “The Boy from Oz,” you know why we’re thrilled to have her return to bring our Norma to life!

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Friends of the Drama, we’re trying to seduce you… aren’t we?

Get your monologues ready to audition for the upcoming production of "The Graduate"!

Auditions in mid-February, production in May. Joe Stallone directing, heading to EMACT, fun and funny play.

“The Graduate”

A play adapted by Terry Johnson

based on the novel by Charles Webb and the motion picture screenplay by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry

Directed by Joe Stallone

Auditions will be held at AFD Theater, 22 Academy Street, Arlington, MA

AUDITION DATES / TIMES
Auditions will be grouped in 1-hour segments.

  • Thursday, February 16, 2017, from 7 to 8 PM and 8 to 9 PM

  • Saturday, February 18, 2017, from 1 to 2 PM and 2 to 3 PM

  • Callbacks: Saturday, February 18, 2017, from 4 to 6 PM

 To schedule your audition segment, please contact Mary Fitzpatrick. Email marymarkfitz@gmail.com or call 727-543-5092

AUDITION INFORMATION

Please prepare a short monologue of any style from a modern play written after 1960.

  • There will also be readings from the script.

  • Bring a hard copy resume and headshot.

  • Bring a hard copy completed audition form. Click here to download form.

Please read story synopsis and character synopses below.

PERFORMANCE DATES AND TIMES

  • Friday, May 12 at 8 PM

  • Saturday, May 13 at 8 PM

  • Thursday, May 18 at 7:30 PM

  • Friday, May 19 at 8 PM

  • Saturday, May 20 at 8 PM

  • Sunday, May 21 at 4 PM

  • No show Sunday, May 14 due to Mother’s Day.

 June 23–25: A cutting from “The Graduate” will be entered in the EMACT Festival which will take place June 23–25. Exact date/time not yet scheduled by EMACT.

REHEARSAL SCHEDULE

Rehearsals will be Mondays and Thursdays from 7:15 to 10 PM and Sundays from 3:30 to 7 PM.

  • A few additional rehearsal days will be added; TBA based on cast availability.

  • Not all actors will be called for all rehearsals.

  • Tech Week: May 6 through May 11. Detailed schedule TBA; please hold ALL dates open.

  • Complete rehearsal and tech schedules will be available no later than the first rehearsal.

 Please indicate ALL dates that you are not available and ALL time conflicts (If we know in advance, we may be able to work around your conflicts).

Seeking actors for the following roles

CHARACTER SYNOPSES (NOTE: Actual age is less important than suitability for the role.)

  • Benjamin Braddock (early 20’s) Recent Ivy League college graduate—the best and brightest—conflicted about values, his future, and his life. To rebel or to confirm, that is the question. Seduced into an affair by family friend Mrs. Robinson, but in love with her daughter Elaine.

NOTE: Must be comfortable appearing shirtless and in underwear only (at least briefly). Nudity is optional but not required and a closed set can be arranged for those rehearsals.

  • Mr. Braddock (late 40’s-mid-50’s) Benjamin’s father, a well-off businessman and emblematic of “the establishment.”
  • Mrs. Braddock (late 40’s) Benjamin’s mother, a good wife and socially appropriate.
  • Mr. Robinson (early- to mid-50’s) Mr. Braddock’s business partner and neighbor, an even more severe example of “the establishment.”
  • Mrs. Robinson (late 40’s to 50’ish) Mr. Robinson’s alcoholic, unhappy repressed wife, full of regret and secret passions. Sexy and alluring, she might be called a “cougar” today.

NOTE: Must be comfortable appearing in underwear and/or sexy negligee. Nudity is optional but not required and a closed set can be arranged for those rehearsals.

  • Elaine Robinson (20-ish) The Robinsons’ daughter and high school friend of Benjamin. Optimistic and a conformist, she expects a “normal” life like that of her parents and their friends.
  • Stripper, Receptionist (Female, 20’s-40’s)
  • Hotel Clerk, Psychiatrist, Barman, Priest (Male, any age)
  • Patrons in Strip Club, Wedding Guests (2 Male, 2 Female; minimal rehearsal requirement)

ABOUT “THE GRADUATE”

Benjamin Braddock is a confused young man. Having spent four years achieving a brilliant scholastic record, upon graduation he finds himself adrift, uncertain about his future, disconnected from his purpose, and increasingly alienated from the upper-class, suburban, “plastic” world of his parents.

 Fighting panic and boredom, he is deeply conflicted but ultimately willing when Mrs. Robinson, the unhappily married, alcoholic, and dangerously charismatic wife of his father’s business partner, tempts him into an affair. Benjamin’s tenuous existence of lazy days and stolen nights falls apart when he falls in love—with Elaine, Mrs. Robinson’s upbeat, optimistic daughter.

Terry Johnson’s stage adaptation of “The Graduate” is full of rapid-fire dialogue between fascinating and horrifying characters.

“The Graduate” is iconic, known mostly as the 1967 movie directed by Mike Nichols. The movie was an adaptation of the 1963 short novel by Charles Webb. And in 2002, both were interpolated into a stage play by Terry Johnson. Still today, its iconic words and images persist.