Building a family to tell the story
Tonight we open our 21st season at Boise Contemporary Theater with Hedwig and the Angry Inch by John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask.
Hedwig tells the story of growing up in Cold War East Berlin, her botched sex change operation and the struggle to make it in America as a transgender rock-n-roll artist. The show opened Off-Broadway in 1998 and won the 2014 Tony Award for Best Musical Revival.
This revolutionary play is the first musical for BCT, and I see it as a big step toward expanding the possibilities for future work in our home here on Fulton Street.
Our “Hedwig” is the charismatic Adam Enright, who has played the role once before in Los Angeles. Director Tracy Sunderland and I found Adam in New York, auditioning at Pearl Studios on 8th Avenue not far from Broadway.
The currency at Pearl Studios is headshots and resumes. In a spare rented room furnished with folding chairs, a mirror and a piano, Tracy and I were immediately taken by Adam’s dynamic singing and sharp comic timing. In a city that is home to countless actors for whom “Hedwig” is a dream role, Adam stood out and shined. We’ve since learned the he’s also fearless about engaging a live audience.
It looks chaotic, but “tech” Sundays are among my favorite parts of staging a BCT production.
Here, I’m pictured with Tracy Sunderland, BCT Associate Artist and Director of Hedwig and the
Angry Inch. Tracy has been a part of the BCT family for more than 20 productions since 1997.
This show is in very good hands.
Last week, the Boise Young Professionals met at the theater. Asking for a show of hands, BYP Chair-elect Sophie Sestero learned that a fair number in the group had never been to BCT.
“You’ve come to experience something that you didn’t know you loved yet,” Sestero said.
Putting on a play is complex: choosing the show, hiring a director, casting actors, assembling a team of designers and technicians, installing lights and sound and much more. But Sestero put her finger on the most vital element: a living, breathing audience.
One of my favorite times before that live audience takes their seats is “load-in day,” when we install the set. Last weekend, I watched the transformation of a blank space into a detailed loungy showroom for Hedwig and her band.
Renowned Boise artist Sue Latta is an avid theatergoer, but she’d never designed a set until now. I think you’ll be impressed with her work. Keep an eye on the meat locker.
As I watched Sue, Technical Director Michael Baltzell, Lighting Designer Raquel Davis, Sound Designer Fred Loucks, Costume Designer Darrin Pufall, and the rest of the crew, I marveled at the miracle that staging a play represents. This season will include our 70th production since we began in 1996 with “Lone Star” in the basement of the Mode Building. I can tell you this: It never gets old.
At BCT we like to say, “We tell stories here.” As Artistic Director, I love bringing together the family of artists who make the telling possible. Thank you for being part of the living, breathing audience that sustains us.
I’ll see you at the theater. You’re in for a fabulous treat.
Matthew Cameron Clark
Founding Artistic Director
Boise Contemporary Theater
“We tell stories here.”