The Missing Ingredient: By Artistic Director, Christian Lebano

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You all know by now about my love of theater and for this theater in particular, but what may not be so common knowledge is that my other great passion is cooking. Among my friends I’m known as quite a good one. I’m an intuitive cook – I learned that from my mother – and can make a meal out of almost anything in the pantry and fridge. I have a knack for finding just the right spice or ingredient for making a dish sing.

Well last night at our invited dress rehearsal I was reminded of the final ingredient in any performance – YOU! We had a group of 18 theater students from the American Academy in the audience and the show took flight. I will say that Deathtrap was as ready to be seen as any show I have ever worked on. These last few rehearsals have been just about fine-tuning the technical elements and how the actors interact with them. I think we were all itching to put it in front of people. I often say to actors that I’m working with when asked about how to play a moment that “the audience will tell us what it needs.” And I really believe this – that’s why a play is always better a few weeks into the run than it is at opening. It needs to simmer in front of an audience.

Last night the students laughed and gasped and a few shrieked at all the right moments. I could see the relish in the cast’s eyes – no one knows them better than I do at this point. It gave them confidence to trust the work we had done in preparation for tonight’s opening. I hope you’ll see this one. I’m very proud of it. You are just the spice I’m looking for! Deathtrap is selling briskly – we have our highest presale in our history! – it opened January 15 and runs through February 20. This one is going to be great fun – don’t miss it.

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I’m excited to announce a new Initiative at the Playhouse – a once-a-month reading series of plays I am interested in producing in the future. These plays will generally be the last Monday of the month and will be directed and star many actors you’ve enjoyed over the last few years. D.J. Harner ( who played Mother and General Cutter in Battledrum) will work with me to produce this Series (we haven’t settled on a name yet). The Reading Series will be free to attend. We launch our first one Monday, January 25 at 7pm. Arthur Hankett (who was in The Twentieth Century) will direct and perform in Eric Overmyer’s On the Verge a wonderful play I can’t wait to hear out loud. Do come, we’ll have refreshments and it should be great fun. I have a wonderful list of plays coming up: Bus Stop, The Skin of Our Teeth, The Octoroon and many more.