Nancye Tuttle reports on happenings with the dynamic Greater Lowell Music Theatre, including a songfest of classics by Rodgers & Hammerstein on March 21-22 at UMass Lowell’s Durgin Hall. Read all about it in the Sun newspaper.
Playwright, director, actor, baseball player, UMass Lowell English Dept. alumnus, and organizer supreme Jack Neary is one of the founders of Greater Lowell Music Theatre. (Web photo courtesy of UMass Lowell)
Tonight is the last chance to see “Melody Cavalcade” by the Greater Lowell Music Theatre at Fisher Recital Hall in Durgin Hall at UMass Lowell, South Campus. Last night’s show was a smash. The packed house raved. Where else can you see local performing-arts titans Jerry Bisantz, Michael Lally, and Jack Neary on the same stage? Old-time live radio style production. Just a few steps from Broadway (St.), overlooking the mighty Merrimack River.
The 2nd Annual Lowell Writers and Publishers Winter Roundup is set for Saturday, February 23, 12.30 to 4.00 pm, upstairs at the Old Court Irish pub at Central and Middle streets in downtown Lowell.
Publishers and writers attending include playwright Jack Neary, poet and memoir-writer Judith Dickerman-Nelson, Sweeney-and-Seawell creator Dave Robinson, John Wooding of UMass Lowell and COOL (with his new Vanderbilt Univ. Press book about higher education co-written with Kristin Esterberg, as well as books from Baywood Publishing), Ryan Gallagher and Bootstrap Press, poet and writer Chath PierSath, our own Dick Howe Jr (whose book on Lowell Legends is due in March) Lloyd Corricelli and Sons of Liberty Publishing, Steve O’Connor of two-book fame, Julia Gavin of the Artists League of Lowell, fiction and essay writer Kassie Dickinson-Rubico, Matt Miller (whose prize-winning second book of poems, “Club Icarus,” is now available), and my Loom Press with books by the above-mentioned Judith, Dave, and Matt, as well as Tom Sexton’s new book of Lowell poems and titles by Al Bouchard, Bob Forrant & Christof Strobel, Kate Hanson Foster, Paul Hudon, and other authors with ties to the city and region—with more signing up every day.
2012 Writers and Publisher Roundup at the Old Court [Photograph by Joe Marion]
Jack Neary, Lee Grande, and company have “kick-started” their musical theater venture that will begin with a production of “The Music Man” at UMass Lowell’s Durgin Hall in August. Using the online Kickstarter tool to raise capital, Jack and friends have reached their goal of $7,600 ($100 for each of the play’s familiar trombones). There is still time to top off the contribution cup, however, because there will be additional costs and the Kickstarter opportunity is live through April 15. To date, almost 100 donors have chipped in to help. Read more about the Greater Lowell Musical Theater and connect to Kickstarter here.
The Sun’s Jennifer Myers yesterday wrote about our allied blogger Jack Neary and his crew who are out to start a musical theater organization for Greater Lowell. Jack is using the increasingly popular online fundraising tool “Kickstarter” to raise $7600 (a hundred dollars for each of the 76 trombones in the “Music Man” production being planned). He has pledges of more than $4000 as of today, with 29 days to go. Read Jenn’s article here and get the Sun if you want more (full disclosure: UMass Lowell is a collaborator on this effort being led by two alumni, Jack and Lee Grande).
Just back from the morning dog-walk in the South Common under a sky that is not quite as crystalline clear as it was ten years ago, but close in its blue from east to west. With the late summer rain the grass is as green and thick as you would want to see in early September. At 6.30 am, the Common was quieter than it is on a weekday. A few people moved through on their way to or from the train station.
Today from 1 pm to 4 pm, Jack and Jim Neary and compatriots from the school yard at Sacred Heart will be playing their annual baseball game for the 30th year in a row. This year is special because the Sunday game coincides with the tenth anniversary of 9/11. Today’s game is a benefit for struggling veterans who are assisted by the Senior Corps of Community Teamwork Inc. The living legend Micky Ward is throwing out the first pitch.
Go to Jack’s blog, “Shards,” to see how you can donate by check or credit card. The goal is to raise $5,000, but they are not going to stop there if the contributions keep flowing in. And I’m sure you can show up at Shedd this afternoon with a check made out to Senior Corps at Community Teamwork or a $20 bill for the cause.
In her opionion column in today’s NYTimes, Maureen Dowd writes about the child-abuser priests in Ireland and a hero among the clergy, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, which reminded me of a dramatic moment in Jack Neary’s play “The Porch.” I hope many of our readers were able to see the Actors Inc. performance of the play at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center in the past few days. From scenes shaped around the comedy of everyday life, the play turns in act two and peaks in a tragic scene that brings home the tragedy of a church-based abuse scandal. Neary shows us the power of art to address difficult subjects.
Read Nancye Tuttle’s advance report in the Sun on the Actors Inc. production of “The Porch,’ an insightful comedy by Jack Neary. Both Nancye and Jack are regular contributors to this blog. Read her article here, and get the Sun if you want more. The shows are set for June 2, 3 and 4 at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center, 50 Warren St, downtown Lowell. For ticket info, call 978-984-3151. This is a presentation of the UMass Lowell Center for Arts and Ideas.
“THE PORCH is to eastern Massachusetts what Steel Magnolias is to northwest Louisiana. A deceptively tender play that is also very funny. It’s an inviting place to set a while and will leave you feeling right neighborly.” Broadway World
Tickets are moving fast for the four performances of Jack Neary’s funny and humane play about Lowellians, “The Porch,” coming to the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center on June 2, 3, & 4. Get all the details at the website of Actors, Inc., a community theatre group based in Tewksbury.
Here’s the ticket page link.