Theater

Interns Insight

With summer right around the corner, it’s time to start making plans – and there’s no better way to spend your summer than interning in theater. With so many places to choose from, it can be hard to decide where to send your resume to. The current interns at Primary Stages want to help make the decision easier for you. If you’re considering an administrative theater internship, check out what our current interns have to say about their time at Primary Stages.

Why did you choose to Intern at Primary Stages?

  • Austin Kreitler (Marketing Intern): As someone who has a passion for theater and marketing, I wanted to learn more about marketing in the non-profit theater world. I also value the mission and vision that Primary Stages puts out with their work and company and felt that I could learn more about the Off-Broadway Theater Industry here.
  • Debra Mantua (Development Intern): I was looking for a program that was more hands on and would let me grow as a professional, not just do mundane clerical work. Also, as an individual who is interested in non-profits, this was the perfect opportunity for me to get a hands on look at what it’s like to run one.

What has been your favorite experience so far while interning at Primary Stages?

  • Isabel Edwards (Artistic Intern): The readings! I have been able to not only sit in on, but actually participate in readings with established playwrights and working artists. This internship has literally allowed me to be in the room where the work is happening, watching it develop in real time.
  • Anthony Anello (Artistic Intern): My favorite experience interning at Primary thus far was having the chance to sit in on the tech rehearsals of Off-Broadway shows. Being surrounded by so much talent has been both equally inspiring and educational as a budding professional.
  • Debra Mantua (Development Intern): The seminars with our department heads. You get to hear their stories and experiences within the business and ask questions in a “safe space”. The staff here overall are just so kind and want you to succeed and it’s a really lovely environment to be a part of.

Have you had other internships? If so, how has Primary Stages been different from working with other companies?

  • Maddie Osborn (Development Intern): I interned at a few other companies before starting at Primary. While at any internship you are bound to learn a great deal just by being in the room, my supervisors at Primary have consistently gone out of their way to give me valuable learning opportunities. The staff listens to the interns and actively works to make the internship applicable to their intern’s career goals. This is an educational program that is designed to equip interns with the skills and network necessary to succeed upon completion of their internship.

What is the most valuable thing you have learned so far from your internship?

  • Anthony Anello (Artistic Intern): Confidence in myself as a professional.
  • Debra Mantua (Development Intern): Learning to trust in my capabilities and to take advantage of every opportunity we are offered here.
  • Maya Banitt (Company Management Intern): It’s always ok to ask questions about things you are unsure of. There are no bad questions!

What would be your advice to someone applying for the summer internship at Primary Stages?

  • Austin Kreitler (Marketing Intern): Do it! I highly encourage it. I think one big thing that stands out when applying is having enthusiasm and the willingness to learn/take on any task.
  • Anthony Anello (Artistic Intern): Apply! My time here has been so extraordinarily valuable. I am genuinely excited to come in to the office each day because of the incredible people here who have shown me nothing but kindness and mentorship.
  • Maya Banitt (Company Management Intern): Go for it! I am so grateful for all of the valuable experiences this internship has given me. When applying try not to be too nervous, just be open, curious, and let them know why you’d like to be a part of the Primary Stages family!
  • Maddie Osborn (Development Intern): Apply apply apply! Be kind and more importantly be yourself!

 


Primary Stages internships are based in the tradition of theater apprenticeships. Interns form a core of support in all areas of the company’s operations, gaining experience in their chosen department while receiving a weekly stipend of $50, free tickets to all of Primary Stages’ productions, mentorship seminars with senior staff, and free or reduced priced registration for Primary Stages ESPA classes. Our internship program offers the opportunity to develop practical skills while creating relationships with artists and administrators at one of New York City’s preeminent Off-Broadway theaters.

To learn more and apply visit: https://primarystages.org/about/internships

 

GOD SAID THIS Student Matinee

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Students from Forest Hill High School are all smiles after the February 8 student matinee performance of God Said This.

Written by Maddie Osborn, Primary Stages Development Intern 2019.

We go to the theater to witness stories being brought to life. It’s an opportunity to reflect and relate with one another about the human experience. Over time, however, whether we work in theater or are loyal patrons, we develop a critical eye and forget why we originally came to the theatre. Our palates become refined and we take our seats at the next show with a myopic lens, holding on to expectations of how we want the characters to make us feel. Rather than taking in the story that is being created before us, we become distracted by the details of the craft. When I attended a student matinee production of God Said This, I was stripped of my expectations and given a magical experience.

On a rainy Friday afternoon, groups of students waited outside the theater to get their tickets. Some kids were discussing their weekend plans, others their current school work, and another group spoke with excitement to our Director of Education & Engagement, Amy Harris, about their plans for college. It was easy to identify which students were more excited than others about the opportunity to see live theater. However, once they were settled into their seats in the Cherry Lane Theatre, the house lights dimmed, and Jay Patterson entered the stage, there was a unified energy of awe. As the play continued, you could feel them embrace the world of the play as they followed every twist and turn of the story. Audible reactions echoed across the theatre as the characters navigated loss, embarrassment, stress, and love. Students physically reacted by either holding a friend’s hand, looking away from a moment they almost couldn’t bear to witness, slapping their legs as they laughed with delight, or leaning in to feel a little closer to the moment. By the second or third scene I couldn’t help but relax into their approach to the show. I had already seen the play once before, but I found my preconceived notions of the show gently stripped away as I connected with the energy around me. By the end of the show, the audience seemed to be having visceral communal reactions. All at once we were being punched in the stomach but also helped to stand by the person next to us.

At the end of the play we hosted a talkback with the cast and playwright Leah Nanako Winkler. While the talkback was an opportunity for the students to learn more about the process of creating and producing a play, it was a lesson for the rest of us on how to open our hearts to the story. During the talkback, students asked genuine questions—it was evident that rather than searching for the production’s flaws, they accepted the play as a cathartic experience. A common theme that continually popped up was the expression of love. Based on the character’s explanation of “the language of love”, Amy Harris posed the question, “Is it easier to say ‘I love you’ or show someone you love them?” This sparked a passionate discussion where one person’s idea bounced off another’s, with students often citing personal anecdotes as examples. The conversation ended with the students agreeing that “showing someone you love them is generally more challenging because words are easy, but at times the raw emotion behind love makes saying it much harder.” As they commiserated over the family’s story with peers next to them and related the characters’ experiences to their own, one thing was clear: the students felt a deep connection to the play. Because the students accepted the story on its own terms they were able to relate to the characters on a personal level, which in turn validated their own emotions.


To support Primary Stages Student Matinee Program visit https://primarystages.org/explore/student-matinees.

Wisdom & Inspiration from A.R. Gurney

Over his lifetime, A.R. Gurney shared many words of wisdom with audiences here at Primary Stages and at theaters across the country. Here are some of our favorite anecdotes of advice from one of the most prolific playwrights of the 20th century. (And follow us on Instagram for new wisdom each Wednesday!)

The Primary Stages production of Final Follies by A.R. Gurney runs through October 21, 2018 at the Cherry Lane Theatre. Click here for ticket information and more!

All About A.R. Gurney – A History of the Prolific Playwright

A. R. Gurney wrote plays for nearly fifty years. Besides Love Letters, his more familiar ones are The Dining Room, The Cocktail Hour, and Sylvia, and is known to Primary Stages audiences for the plays Black Tie, Buffalo Gal, The Fourth Wall, and Indian Blood. He taught literature at M.I.T. for many years before turning to writing full time. Besides plays, Gurney also wrote three novels, two opera librettos, and several efforts for TV. Most of his plays have been produced Off-Broadway by such theater organizations as Primary Stages, Playwrights Horizons, Lincoln Center, and the Flea Theater. Gurney passed away June 14, 2017. He was a member of the Theatre Hall of Fame and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as father of four children, grandfather of eight grandchildren, and husband of fifty-seven years to his wife, Molly.

Let’s take a look back at some of the highlights of his career.

Gurney headshot by Walter Kurtz

A.R. Gurney

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A.R. Gurney and Holland Taylor at the first reading of Love Letters

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David Pittu and Sandy Duncan in Primary Stages production of The Fourth Wall

"Indian Blood" a new at Primary Stages

Jack Gilpin, Rebecca Luker, Charles Socarides, John McMartin, Pamela Payton-Wright, and Matthew Arkin in Primary Stages 2006 production of Indian Blood

Primary Stages - Black Tie

Daniel Davis and Gregg Edelman in Primary Stages production of Black Tie

A.R. Gurney - Buffalo Gal - Primary Stages

Jennifer Regan, James Waterston, and Susan Sullivan in Primary Stages production of Buffalo Gal

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The cast of A.R. Gurney’s Sweet Sue

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Matthew Broderick and Annaleigh Ashford in the 2015 Broadway production of Sylvia

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Sarah Jessica Parker in the original production of Sylvia at Manhattan Theater Club in 1995

 

The Primary Stages production of Final Follies by A.R. Gurney runs through October 21, 2018 at the Cherry Lane Theatre. Click here for ticket information and more!

Final Follies Production Photos

A.R. Gurney’s Final Follies began performances on September 12 and is running through October 21. Take a look at photos from the production featuring cast members Betsy Aidem, Colin Hanlon, Mark Junek, Piter Marek, Greg Mullavey, Rachel Nicks, and Deborah Rush. All photos are by James Leynse.

A.R. Gurney's Final Follies at Primary Stages.

Colin Hanlon and Rachel Nicks

A.R. Gurney's Final Follies at Primary Stages.

Greg Mullavey and Mark Junek

A.R. Gurney's Final Follies at Primary Stages.

Deborah Rush and Piter Marek

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Betsy Aidem and Deborah Rush

A.R. Gurney's Final Follies at Primary Stages.

Deborah Rush

A.R. Gurney's Final Follies at Primary Stages.

Betsy Aidem and Piter Marek

A.R. Gurney's Final Follies at Primary Stages.

Colin Hanlon and Piter Marek

A.R. Gurney's Final Follies at Primary Stages.

Rachel Nicks, Betsy Aidem, and Piter Marek

A.R. Gurney's Final Follies at Primary Stages.

Colin Hanlon and Rachel Nicks

The Primary Stages production of Final Follies by A.R. Gurney runs through October 21, 2018 at the Cherry Lane Theatre. Click here for ticket information and more!

A Taste of The Roads to Home

Please enjoy these highlights reels from The Roads to Home! 

A Nightingale

 The Dearest of Friends

 Spring Dance

The Primary Stages production of The Roads to Home runs through November 27, 2016 at the Cherry Lane Theatre. Visit the Primary Stages website for tickets and more info.

Behind the Scenes: Exit Strategy’s Set Design

Scenic Designer Andrew Boyce gives us a behind the scenes look at the process of creating the set for Exit Strategy by Ike Holter.

Tell us a little bit about the set design for Exit Strategy.

The play takes place primarily in the teachers lounge of a dilapidated public school in Chicago. So we dove into creating this environment as realistically as we were able. The play asks for that naturalism. I had the opportunity to go and visit some Chicago high schools, take photographs, etc. – so the materials and layout of the space came from that investigation.

What is your favorite part of the set?

It’s hard to pinpoint a singular, favorite part – but I did love wrestling with, and creating all of the little details that add up and round out the verisimilitude of this room. Thinking through the material choices, the right pieces of furniture, set dressing, etc. It was an exercise in specificity and patience in continuing to search.

Tell us a little about the process of designing the set to be used in (and moved between) Philadelphia and The Cherry Lane Theatre in New York.

That was the trickiest part of this process. They are two very different spaces that have different proportions, audience relationships, and design challenges. And tearing down and rebuilding scenery is always tricky – things get beat up, change, need re-configuring. Supporting the play in the two different spaces was an exciting challenge.

The set is quite detailed. What’s something that the audience may not notice right away, but should keep and eye out for when they see Exit Strategy.

Maybe the paper-products in the dressing? The teachers-union announcements, the posters, the recycling directions… [they’re all] straight from the source.

 

The Primary Stages production of Exit Strategy by Ike Holter is running now through May 6, 2016 at The Cherry Lane Theatre. For more information and tickets, visit our website.