Disclaimer: I am not a professional. I just love and want to support local theatre.
I attended a lovely sneak peek of By the Way, Meet Vera Stark at the Unicorn tonight. This show is going to be hilarious- I am scheduled to see the full production with a friend on June 10th.
With this show the Unicorn is ending their 40th season, just bought their building so they can tear off the roof and rebuild it, and next season they will be putting on their 59th and 60th world premieres. (One of the world premieres will feature Vanessa Severo, who wrote and starred in Frida from The Living Room that I wrote about).
The Unicorn is one of the founding members of the National New Play Network. They accept new plays to encourage new works. In listening to Cynthia Levin talk, you cannot help but become extremely excited about the upcoming season. She is a tiny firecracker who pulls facts and snippets from each play or musical for the season, and she was delighted and thrilled the main stage will be named for her next season, as voted on by the board. The trick according to her will be getting the pronunciation right - leh-v-inn.
As my return to theatre support has just begun, I've realized it is a small and supportive community. Walking out of the main stage - soon to be named Levin theatre - there was a photo of Vanessa Severo and Rusty Sneary in a production (I don't rember the name). I overheard audience members discussing different Living Room productions, especially Frida, wishing it were longer. It was fun but over too soon. Not a nasty critic too be found on any production anyone in the audience had seen; just questions on choices and wondering what was going on next. Cynthia is extremely respectful and kind to her patrons, and she knew many by name, and she honored her season ticket holders. She knows how to make everybody feel involved, and welcome, and I've been there twice. I'm surprised they didn't name the whole theatre for her years ago.
For this particular night, for this sneak peek, I was fascinated by the actors and director. In watching Missy Koonce direct (for some reason on her directing table she has small drums, bells, drumsticks that she would tap out of habit) - she was respectful and joked 'I'm glad this introductory audience is here to show you (actors) I'm right (about my choices).' The assistant producer and stage manager were quick and responsive even though I was laughing like an idiot behind them. (They may not invite me back. I kept snorting.) It was fun to feel welcomed and involved, even though I didn't do much work. It was just lovely to feel involved, and I am happy they invite their patrons to join them in this way.