Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mail Bag: Letters to David Saint

One thing we love at George Street Playhouse is when hear from our audience. It's part of what makes theatre a two way conversation and partly why this blog exists! After every preview of a show, we host talk backs with the creative team of the production, moderated by David Saint, our Artistic Director. We have a very vocal audience and I thought it would be great to share a recent letter from David Saint's desk:

"I would like to express my appreciation for your outstanding production of The Toxic Avenger, which perhaps was one of the best and most entertaining shows ever featured at the George Street Playhouse, regardless of genre. Not only were the book, music and lyrics unbelievable, the casting and performances were superb as well. If ever there was a production that embodied excellence in every way (and deserves an encore) it was The Toxic Avenger, which was simply a brilliant and totally satisfying piece of theatre.

The other show I saw and enjoyed was the world premiere of Arthur Laurents' New Year's Eve, with Marlo Thomas and Keith Carradine heading up a solid cast. Mr. Laurents' keen unblinking eye for irony and the maturity and depth of his observations of the human condition made the play extremely successful both as an entertainment and cause for reflection.

Thanks to you, George Street audiences are now being challenged as well as entertained! Which means that the product is alive, vibrant, engaging and (most importantly) thoroughly entertaining. And that is about as good it gets!

M.A. Smith"
Got a thought on your mind? We'd love to hear from you. Feel free to post it on the blog and we will try to respond as quickly as possible. Hope to see you at the theatre.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Starting the Season and Making a Splash

We're deep into rehearsals for Come Back, Come Back Wherever You Are and are working on some exciting projects to promote the show. While it would be predictable for this first blog entry of the 2009 - 2010 season to start talking about it, I plan to leave the talking to some other folks. So those of you who waited all summer (you know who you are!) to read a new GSP Blog entry about the first show will just have to wait a bit longer. Instead, below is a blog entry Wendy Liscow at the Geraldine Dodge Foundation just posted about our book club program for 2nd show, A Moon to Dance By. This is the third season GSP staff will travel to over a dozen area book clubs to discuss a book related to a specific theatrical production on our stage. We're very grateful to the Dodge Foundation for the millions of support they give to the arts in New Jersey, and thrilled to have this program featured.

Xtreme Book Club Idea Makes Connections

By Wendy Liscow, Program Officer, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation

Last week I wrote about the importance of recognizing and instilling public value for the arts. So how do we do this? Are there things you are doing as an organization or as an individual that are helping people recognize the importance of the arts in their lives?

Cultural institutions often approach the task of creating value by working to engage people in an experience that goes beyond the basic activity of witnessing the final product of a creative process. They look for ways to deepen the practice of viewing a play, dance, music event, or exhibition by finding unique ways to connect to the lives of their patrons. This requires ingenuity and thinking outside the standard marketing tactics box.

For example, over the past three years, the George Street Playhouse has been connecting their audiences to theatre through an innovative Book Club Package that converts the theatre viewing experience into a three-step engagement. Through a “Reading, Talking, Seeing” process they enhance a book discussion group’s ability to transform the solitary reading practice into a communal activity that takes the words off the page and live onto the stage. And, as an enthusiastic book club member, I am willing to bet it will be even more fun!
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