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Grand Horizons - Poster

Made Possible in Part by:
Susanna Natti & Alan Willsky

TALL TALES FROM BLACKBURN TAVERN

World Premiere by John Minigan

Directed by BRYN BOICE

Original Music and Lyrics by John Minigan
Musical Arrangements by Colin Minigan

A world premiere of epic proportions, this play brings to life the infamous Gloucester Sea Serpent, the unheard-of Ghost Army fought off by Ebenezer Babson, and the secrets from the Witches of Dogtown. Employing projections and puppetry to tell these larger-than-life fish tales, audiences will revel in the magic of Gloucester’s oral history. Ages 8+

In celebration of Gloucester’s 400+ Celebration, Gloucester Stage has commissioned local playwright John Minigan (Sleepy Hollow, Queen of Sad Mischance, Noir Hamlet) to write TALL TALES FROM BLACKBURN TAVERN, based on folklore from Gloucester’s 400-year history. Directed by award-winning director, educator, actor, and producer Bryn Boice, this production runs from September 1 – 24.

Performances are Wednesday & Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday & Saturday at 8:00pm, and matinees Saturday & Sunday at 3:00pm indoors at Gloucester Stage Company, 267 East Main Street, Gloucester MA.

SEPTEMBER 1 – 24

Grand Horizons - Calendar

Performances

7:30 pm, WED + THU
8:00 pm, FRI + SAT
3:00 pm, SAT + SUN

Preview Performances

September 1 + 2

Talk Backs

September 10 + 17

Champagne Opening

Sunday, September 3

Run Time

90 minutes, no intermission

Critical Praise for Gloucester Stage’s Tall Tales from Blackburn Tavern

“A colorful and comic chronicle of tales and legends”

The ArtsFuse

David Greenham

“can both inspire belly laughs and connect you to a community’s wild history.”

The Manchester Cricket

Erika Brown

“a show that is equal parts haunt, hoot, and holler”

METR Magazine

Kevin T. Baldwin

Made Possible in Part by:

Meet the Creative Team

Bess Wohl - headshot

John Minigan / Playwright

John Minigan is a recent Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellow in Dramatic Writing and New Repertory Theatre Playwriting Fellow. His solo adaptation of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow premiered at Greater Boston Stage Company in 2022 and will have its West Coast premiere in 2023. His Queen of Sad Mischance won the 2022 Judith Royer Award from Kennedy Center/ATHE, and his Noir Hamlet was an EDGE Media Best of Boston Theater 2018 selection and a 2019 Elliot Norton Outstanding New Script nominee. He has developed new work with Urban Stages, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Portland Stage Company, Utah Shakespearean Festival, and the Great Plains Theatre Conference, and his work is included in the Best American Short Plays, Best Ten-Minute Short Plays, and other anthologies. John is affiliate faculty in Theater Education at Emerson College and serves as Dramatists Guild Ambassador for the Boston area. johnminigan.com

Bryn Boice Headshot

Bryn Boice / Director

Bryn Boice is an award-winning director, educator, actor, and producer. Recent area credits include: Gloria (Gloucester Stage);The Sound Inside (Speakeasy Stage); The Half-Life of Marie Curie (Central Square); Admissions (The Gamm Theatre); The Children (Speakeasy Stage); Universe Rushing Apart: Blue Kettle & Here We Go – two Caryl Churchill one-acts (Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Director–Large Theatre, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company/CSC; and an all-female production of Julius Caesar for Actors’ Shakespeare Project. Bryn is the Associate Artistic Director of Commonwealth Shakespeare Company and Director of the CSC Academy. She teaches Dramatic Theory & Criticism, Acting III, Directing I, et al, at Salem State University. MFA Acting (FSU’s Asolo Conservatory) and MFA Directing (Boston University). www.brynboice.com

Meet the Cast

 

Jaime José Hernández* / Actor 2

Gloucester Stage Company: Debut, Actors Shakespeare Project: As You Like It, Moonbox Productions: The House of Ramon Iglesia, Gamm Theatre: Sweat, Lyric Stage Company of Boston: Fabulation, or the re-education of Undine, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company: Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, American Repertory Theatre: The Arboretum Experience, Hub Theatre Company of Boston: The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Apollinaire Theatre Company: Romeo & Juliet, Zeitgeist Stage Company: Vicuña. Jaime is a founding member of Teatro Chelsea. Represented by: Kreativ Media Partners. jaimejosehernandez.com @jaimejose.hernandez

Paul Melendy* / Actor 4

Paul is positively giddy over returning to beautiful Gloucester again in his first main season production since 2019’s The 39 Steps. Other previous appearances on the GSC stage include Home for the Holidays Special (2022), Adrift (2022), and Cyrano (2018). Recent area collaborations include Clue, Miss Holmes Returns, and The 39 Steps (Greater Boston Stage Company), Vanity Fair (Central Square Theater), A Christmas Carol and The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley (Merrimack Repertory Theater), and A Confederacy of Dunces (w/ Nick Offerman, Huntington Theater Company). Paul is also the grateful recipient of the Elliot Norton Theater Award for Outstanding Solo Performance for his work in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (2022, Greater Boston Stage Company), written by Blackburn Tavern playwright John Minigan, a friendship Paul hopes continues till the end of his theater days. You may catch Paul on your TV screens in commercials for VistaPrint, Plymouth Rock Insurance, Suburban HVAC, or Flooring America, on Boston area billboards for Linksquares, or on Max in the first season of “Julia.” Film credits include “Love, Weddings, & Other Disasters”, “A Show-Stopping Christmas”, “Father of the Year”, “Unfinished Business”, “The Makeover”, and “The Pink Panther Deux”. For even more on Paul, check out his website at www.paulmelendy.com Thank you for your gracious attendance!

Katie Pickett* / Actor 1

Gloucester Stage Company debut! Selected credits: Greater Boston Stage Company (Clue, A Christmas Carol), Apollinaire Theatre Company (Dance Nation), Hub Theatre Company (Into the Breeches!, Elliot Norton Nom.), Umbrella Stage Company (Head Over Heels), Speakeasy Stage Company (Hot Star, Nebraska), Arts After Hours (Next to Normal), Arlington Friends of the Drama (9 to 5 and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), Hovey Players (Falsettos), Quannapowitt Players (Chicago), and The Longwood Players (Company, Merrily We Roll Along, A New Brain, She Loves Me, Nine, Songs for a New World, The Pirates of Penzance, and Sweeney Todd). Much gratitude to Rebecca and Bryn for this opportunity, and all love to Emmanuel for his unflinching support. 

Sadiyah Dyce Stephens* / Actor 3

Sadiyah Dyce Stephens (she/they) is more than happy to be returning to Gloucester Stage after her GSC debut in Zora Howard’s Stew. Dyce is a New York City native, raised in The Bronx, and has been afforded opportunities with plenty of different people, in many different environments, allowing for her to experience plenty of narratives first hand. With many points of intersectionality, and balancing both dance and acting, Stephens is excited to bridge communities through the conversations they don’t have. She intends to pave her own path in the theatrical world while answering the big questions even if it means a new answer every day. Stephens holds a BFA in Contemporary Theatre at The Boston Conservatory at Berklee. Her other credits include Bright Half Life (Vicky), Midsummer Nights Dream (Hermia), Everybody (Usher/God/Understanding), TJ Loves Sally 4Ever (Annette), and The Wiz (Dorothy). www.DyceStephens.com

Kayla Armstrong / Understudy Actor 1 & 3

Kayla is excited to commemorate Gloucester’s 400th anniversary with the premiere of Tall Tales from Blackburn Tavern. Kayla just recently graduated from Suffolk University with a BA in law, but she has always loved the arts. She believes theater can empower marginalized populations by sharing their stories. Suffolk University’s Working: A Musical, directed by Wesley Savick, features her most prominent performance as DIANE WILSON. She most recently wrapped up an eight week intensive apprenticeship with Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, performing as SNUG in A Midsummer Night’s Dream directed by Victoria Townsend. 

Mark Efinger / Understudy Actor 2 & 4

After a 20 year Hiatus, Mark is pleased to return to the professional stage. He holds a BA in theatre from Middlebury College, and an MFA in Directing from UNC- Greensboro. He spent 20 years teaching Theatre at Phillips Academy, in Andover, and has directed two shows that won the Moss Hart Award from N.E.T.C. The Song of Jacob Zulu and Violet. His Professional acting credits include, Robert in Proof at the Lost Nation Theatre in Montpelier, VT. And, George in Same Time Next Year as a dinner theatre tour for the US Military in Germany.

Meet the Production Team 

Brzezinski & Schap / Puppetry Consultants

Brzezinski & Schap, the creative partnership of Caitlin Brzezinski and Libby Schap, began constructing and producing shadow puppet theater collaboratively in 2016. Together they have developed a distinct style featuring moving shadow screens, innovative light textures, and blurred lines between performer and shadow character. Their premiere production was a whimsical full-length shadow play, Flying Lessons, that began touring the US in 2019. Flying Lessons was a recipient of the Jim Henson Foundation Workshop Grant (2018) and Production Grant (2019). The duo was featured in the Reel Puppetry Film Festival with their short film shadow series Body Stories, which asks the viewer to explore the question: what is it like to be in your body? Their newest production, The Changing Room, was developed and workshopped during the Object Movement Puppet Festival and performed at the 2023 National Puppet Slam.

Steven Doucette / Properties Designer

Steven Doucette is a theatre artist local to Boston. PROPS ARTISAN: Boston Lyric Opera (Madama Butterfly (upcoming), Bluebeard’s Castle / Four Songs (2023)); Wheelock Family Theater (Make Way for Ducklings (2023), Matilda (2022), Wizard of OZ (2022)); American Repertory Theater (1776 (2022) Interim Props Carpenter); Greater Boston Stage Company (All is Calm (2021)); Gloucester Stage Co. (Gloria (2022); The Commonwealth Shakespeare Company (The Tempest (2021)); Huntington Theatre Co. 2019-2020 season (Apprentice); Des Moines Metro Opera 2018 season (Intern). PUPPETRY: Life of Pi (Repair Technician, American Repertory Theater 2023); Old Jake’s Skirts (Puppet Designer and Builder, Emerson College 2022); Wizard of Oz (Designer and Builder, Wheelock Family Theater 2022). Steven holds a BFA in Scenic Design from BU. He also sews, writes, and dabbles in drag.

Amanda Fallon / Lighting Designer

Amanda Fallon (they/she) is a lighting designer, director, visual artist, and educator with a deep love for new work and devising. Following the completion of an MFA in Lighting Design at Boston University, they’ve continued to work throughout New England for professional and educational institutions including Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Speakeasy Stage Company, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, Wheelock Family Theatre, and Brandeis University. They are pleased to be joining Gloucester Stage Company for this wild ride of a tale!
 

Lindsay G. Fuori / Scenic Designer

Lindsay G. Fuori (she/her) is thrilled to be returning to Gloucester Stage! She started her career in Boston and is currently a New York based artist. Lindsay previously designed Native Gardens at GSC in 2019. Recent credits include: Mountain Octopus (Creede Repertory Theatre), Millennials are Killing Musicals (Out of the Box Theatrics), Waiting for Lefty (Quintessence Theatre),  El Matrimonio Secreto (Florida Grand Opera), Candida (Gingold Theatrical), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Commonwealth Shakespeare Company), The Marriage of Figaro (Intermountain Opera) and Made by God (Irish Repertory Theatre). Lindsay was nominated for an Elliot Norton Award for her work on Parade (Moonbox Productions 2019). She received a Henry Award from the Colorado Theatre Guild for her work on Hazardous Materials (CRT 2019). Lindsay holds a BFA in Scenic Design from Boston University. lindsayfuori.com

Chelsea Kerl / Costume Designer

Chelsea Kerl is a Boston based freelance artist and educator; she received her MFA in Costume Design from Boston University and previously attended the University of Maryland.  Previous designs at Gloucester: Grand Horizons, Mr. Fullerton Between the Sheets, Tiny Beautiful Things, Native Gardens, Ben Butler, Madame Defarge, To Kill a Mockingbird, Man in Snow, Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!), A Measure of Normalcy, and Gloucester Blue.  Chelsea is the costume shop manager and costume design professor at Wellesley College; she also teaches at Bridgewater State University and has often worked in the costume shop of the American Repertory Theatre.  Select recent designs include- Huntington Theatre Company: Witch (Elliot Norton Award Winner, Outstanding Design: Large Theatre), Wheelock Family Theatre at BU: Willy Wonka; SpeakEasy Stage Company/Front Porch Arts Collective: Pass Over; Company One/American Repertory Theatre: Greater Good.  More of her work can be seen at www.chelseakerl.com.

 

Miranda Gonzalez / Asst. Stage Manager / Apprentice

Miranda Gonzalez is a stage manager and director originally from Brownsville, TX. They’re a recent graduate of Pacific Lutheran University (‘23) in Tacoma, WA where they received their B.A. in Theatre in addition to minors in Philosophy, Communications, and Pre-Law. A couple of highlighted credits include Dance 2022 Showcase (SM), One Acts: At The Dining Table (Director), and Amélie: A New Musical (Ast. Director). Miranda is absolutely honored to be spending her summer at Gloucester Stage Company as one of their Stage Management Apprentices! They look forward to forging new connections between intersectionality, the principle of proximity, and theatre. The future holds many possibilities for Miranda, from pursuing an M.F.A in directing to attending law school with a concentration in contracts to represent the new generation of theatre professionals! Much love is sent to her family and friends. “Thank you to GSC for this amazing opportunity!”

Colin Minigan / Musical Arrangements

Colin Minigan is a Massachusetts-born composer whose recent music is concerned with natural phenomena, and the relationship between static and fluid elements of musical composition and performance. In addition to concert music, he has frequently collaborated on dance projects and theater projects. Colin is also an active songwriter. Colin obtained his B.A. in Music Composition and minor in Asian Studies from Skidmore College in 2016, M.M. in Music Composition from Boston Conservatory at Berklee in 2020, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Music Theory and Composition at the University of California, Davis.

Ryan Natcharian / Puppeteer / Apprentice

Ryan Natcharian is a new graduate of Wesleyan University with a B.A. in Theater and Creative Writing. Originally from Simsbury CT, Ryan has always wanted to move up to Boston and start creating theater in whatever way possible. As a long time camp counselor, Ryan has lots of experience in nontraditional classrooms and is excited to take that knowledge into a theatrical setting, teaching about all the different aspects of theater. Previous roles over the course of their college career include Heroes of the Fourth Turning (Scenic Designer), To Play or Not to Play (Scenic Designer), Fun Home (Actor), and One Night in the Tavern (Writer and Director).

 

David Remedios† / Sound Designer

David Remedios has previously designed sound for GSC’s Gloria, Barefoot in the Park, Out of the Mouths of Babes, The Effect, The Totalitarians, The Flick and An Ideal Husband. Recent credits include Macbeth (Commonwealth Shakespeare); Your Name Means Dream and Redeemed (Contemporary American Theater Festival); The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (Greater Boston Stage Company); The 39 Steps (Merrimack Rep). David’s work has been heard regionally at Everyman, Arizona Theater Company, Huntington Theatre, Portland Stage, City Theatre Company, Alley Theatre, Trinity Rep, 59E59, Geva, The Studio Theatre, Theatre for a New Audience, American Repertory Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, and Cincinnati Playhouse; and internationally at prominent arts festivals in Bogotá, Paris, Hong Kong and Edinburgh. David is Program Head of Sound Design at Boston University’s School of Theatre, and is a proud member of United Scenic Artists Local USA 829. remediossound.com

Marsha Smith* / Production Stage Manager

Marsha Smith is from a small farm in southern NH and earned her degree from Emerson College. She has been working professionally in and around Boston, with a few brief stops in NYC and beyond, for over 20 years. Marsha loves her work and thanks her friends and family for the lifetime of support they have given her.

 

Critical Praise for Playwright John Minigan

“Captures both the thrill of the spooky story and its moral… with finesse”

The Boston Globe

“Highly recommend… very, very clever… wicked fun”

Jared Bowen, WGBH

“Compelling… One of the finest plays you’ll see at Fringe this season.”

TheaterMania

*Member of Actors’ Equity Association (AEA)
ºMember of Stage Directors & Choreographers Society (SDC)
† Represented by United Scenic Artists, Local USA-829 of the IATSE
TALL TALES FROM BLACKBURN TAVERN is a commission by Gloucester Stage Company and presented by special arrangement with the Playwright.