CP Newsletter June 2018

logo In the Wings
The Newsletter of The Concord Players
June 2018
                                     Amanda Casale, Editor 
She has vision.  Not the "pie-in-the-sky" kind, but true vision for imagining what's possible.  She makes a plan, gathers resources, creates a framework, and then forges ahead to make the vision real.  Whether it's a project to improve the building at 51 Walden, a proposal for technical improvements for the Players, a costume design, a graphic design, or responsibility for an entire production, Tracy Wall aims high and always hits her mark.

racy has led the Concord Players as its president for five years, through 15 stage productions and more than 25 DASH awards for the organization.  She's even picked up a few awards herself.

She came to the Players in 2002 to work on costumes for Little Women which takes place during her favorite historical period.  The group was quick to recognize their good fortune in having found her, and as Costume Diva Pat Kane likes to say, "we nailed her foot to the floor." 

Wall, a woman of manifold talents, is best known as one of the Players' beloved costume Divas.  As a designer, she creates moving works of art that flow across the boards in perfect concert with the period of the story and the show's design.  Her costumes speak to the audience about the character and the narrative.  "I specialize in recreating historical garments...," she says.  "My goal is to help the audience know what time period the play is set in, the socio-economic level and the background of a character without their having to think too much about it."

And she loves color.  Her award-nominated costume design for the Players' 2007 production of She Loves Me was an artful composition of hues in green and blue and gold with silhouettes that brought the audience directly back to 1930's Budapest.  For The Scarlet Pimpernel in 2010, she outfitted British fops and French ladies in costumes with lavish accoutrements typical of the era.  Poufs, feathers, flowers, ribbon, lace, and jewelry were appointed throughout her designs with wit and panache.  Not surprisingly that show added another DASH to her collection.

DASH award-winning designs by Tracy Wall for
The Scarlet Pimpernel
It's ironic to note that before Concord Players, Wall hadn't been involved in theater since the 6th grade when she played the Cook in Alice in Wonderland.  Even more ironic is the fact that she doesn't like to sew.  That's right, for her it's a means to an end.  She loves to turn flat fabric into three-dimensional costumes.  Imagining, designing, solving problems to create a work of art - that's what drives her.

How does one acquire so many proficiencies?  Tracy's expertise in all things is self-directed, self-motivated, and self-propelled.  "I study, study, study," she explains.  "When I sign on for a production, I immediately start gathering images of clothing from the time.  I have thousands of images saved on Pinterest.  And after a while, you end up gaining an eye for what is appropriate for a certain time period.  Design for the theater has been learned here [at Concord Players]... reading, watching, practicing," she adds.   
Tracy has drawn on her career as a project manager at Harvard's Divinity School to inform her role as president of the Players.  "...My work skills are applicable for the work I do behind-the-scenes at CP," she tells us.  "That said, what I practice at CP helps hone my work skills, too.  Whether it's being able to juggle multiple and changing priorities or adapting to last-minute changes."

And juggle she does.  This year, in addition to her responsibilities as president, and her role as event chair on the 51 Walden capital campaign committee, she co-produced the Players' biggest and most complicated show to date: The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  She was busy working a year before the show's production date, planning with director Nancy Curran Willis, hiring technical people, coordinating the schedules of dozens of people and the building at 51, and serving on the casting committee.  She does it all with competence and aplomb, never taking her eye off the prize, always with attention to the sensibilities of the many artistic personalities that surround her.

DASH award-winning designs by Tracy Wall
for The Matchmaker
Diplomacy is her greatest skill.  Wall listens thoughtfully to all points of view and mediates disagreements with tact and grace.  And let's face it, a slew of artisans on a tight schedule, performing technical miracles is bound to bubble into a boiling froth from time to time.  Tracy calmly turns down the heat and helps us all remember that we're working toward the same artistic feast.  Oh yes, and she designs lobbies, too.  Did you love that exotic gypsy camp in the lobby for Hunchback?  Of course you did and you can thank Tracy and her equally talented buddy Brian Harris for the inspired installation.

One wonders how she manages it all.

"I'm a Capricorn!  We like order and can slog through a task with infinite patience.  I like to untangle knots," she says.  You may not put much stock in Astrology as a science, but as with everything else, Wall knows what she's talking about.  Consider this description of the sun sign of Capricorn from an Astrological website: "The measured master planner of the horoscope family, Capricorn energy teaches us the power of structure, delayed gratification, and setting goals for the long haul." Yep. That's our Tracy.

She's about to get a break and step down from her long tenure as president, but happily for us, she promises to stick around.  "I'm not going anywhere... I'll stay on the Access 51 Capital Campaign committee and will also be co-chairing the 100th Anniversary celebration.  And I may even get to costume a show or two." Thank goodness!  
Is she sorry to pass the gavel?  "It's bittersweet," she muses.  "The admin of CP has been a part of my life for eight years!  I started on the Board doing special events, moved on to the Exec as VP of Productions and then on to President.  I'll certainly be glad to have two Tuesday evenings a month free, but I love this organization!  I love its history, the other crazy perfectionists who work here, and the quality of the productions we put up.  It's been an absolute honor to have had the opportunity to lead this gem among community theaters." 
Tracy's tenure with the Players has been marked by enormous artistic success, financial stability, technical growth, and most important, strengthened community.  Powerful achievements by a remarkable woman who aimed high for all of us and always hit the mark.

Bravissimo!  Tracy.  Thank you

--Linda McConchie

Membership:  For all current members (except the Hunchback cast that joined - you're already enrolled for next season), watch for a membership letter to renew for the July 1, 2018 to the June 30, 2019 season.

Chicago:  Concord Players member and board member, Brian Kelly, will be performing the role of Amos Hart in Worcester County Light Opera's production of Chicago, opening June 15th and running for seven performances (June 15, 16, 22, and 23 at 8pm and June 17, 23, and 24 at 2pm).  Information can be found at www.wcloc.org.

A Boston Broadway Princess Party: 
The princesses are throwing a ball - and you're invited!  As inspired by Broadway's Laura Osnes, join 20 Disney and Broadway princesses (and some special guests) for a Broadway Princess Party at the VFW Post 1018 in Dorchester on June 23rd at 7pm!  Concord Players member and board member, Amanda Casale, will be performing as Cinderella and Rapunzel.  Featuring mash-ups and medleys of some of your favorite musical numbers, the party will also feature princess-inspired food, a cash bar, a surplus of glittery decorations, and exciting raffle items.  Get your ballgown out of the closet, dust off that tiara, and make your way to the VFW for a Broadway Princess Party you will never forget!  Tickets may be purchased in advance here , or at the door for $15.  Limited thrones are available so make sure to reserve your place soon - a wonderful time will be had by all the fairest guests in the land!
This year's "Shakespeare on the Lawn" production (sponsored by the Concord Players and the Concord Free Public Library) will be Julius Caesar, Shakespeare's timeless and timely take on the nature of leadership, loyalty, and the power of persuasion.  Performances July 28, 29 and August 4, 5 will be in the late afternoon on the lawn of the main Concord Library, with an extra evening performance on Friday, August 3rd at 51 Walden.
Long-time Concord Players member Tillie Sweet passed away in Littleton on May 22nd, 2018, at peace and surrounded by many of her family singing and talking while gathered in her room.  She was 81 years old.

Tillie Sweet

A former nurse, and later, a nurse educator, Tillie was best known for her love of community theater, playing numerous key roles both on and off stage.  Tillie was involved in community theatre for over 40 years.  She and her late husband, Jack, appeared in the Murder Mystery fundraisers for Orchard House, the Concord Free Public Library, The Old Manse, CCHS, and the Concord Antiquarian.  She also appeared as Marmee at the Orchard House during Alcott Family Christmas celebrations.  Tillie trod the boards of Arlington Friends of the Drama, Vokes Theater, ACME Theater, Winchester Players, Belmont Players, Lexington Players, and The Boston Playwrights' Platform.

She was a member of the Concord Players since the mid-1970s.  Onstage she shone as Mrs. Paroo in The Music Man (1976), Mrs. Rose in Hello, Dolly (1984), and especially as Kalonike in Lysistrata (1991), where she lost her voice during one of the performances.  Johnny Kinsman played her eunuch, delivering all her lines that she whispered in his ear, except for one.  She said to him instead, in true Tillie fashion, "You little S.O.B., you're getting all the laughs but I'm delivering the next line!"  And deliver it she did, with every ounce of strength she had, much to the delight of the audience.  It was a fun and memorable performance.  Also among her favorite roles over the years were Auntie Eileen in Cripple of Inishmaan and Vera Charles in Auntie Mame.  She was awarded Best Actress at the EMACT one-act play competition at Brandeis in 1999 for her portrayal of Fran Pearson in The Wall: A Pilgrimage.

Tillie was a past president of the Players (1988-1989), overall Makeup Chairperson for many years, and served a term as FOPAC representative.  She served on the Play/Director selection committees and was casting chair of many productions at the Players.  Tillie did stage make-up for about 30 years.  Some workshops nurtured several of Concord's most creative and willing make-up people.  Tillie was also the Director of the Senior Dramatic Society of the Concord Council on Aging.

For the past eight years Tillie was a mainstay member of the Concord Players Traveling Troupe, a group of senior Players performing staged readings for Retirement and Councils on Aging groups around the Concord area.

--Rik Pierce & Linda McConchie


June 7, 9, and 10, 2018, Thursday and Saturday at 8p.m. and Sunday at 2p.m.  Opera51 is offering Concord Players members $5 off the ticket price for their Thursday evening (June 7th) performance of Charles Gounod's grand opera, Faust. The production is fully staged and costumed, performed with orchestra, and sung in French with English subtitles.  Many familiar faces from Concord arts groups are involved in the production, which relates the familiar medieval tale of Faust selling his soul to the devil in exchange for a temporary return to his youth.  Use the discount code "51-Faust" when ordering tickets on-line or via phone at 978-369-7911.  Further information about the opera and the production is available here

June 16, 2018 at 2 p.m. Children's concert, On a Roll, by musical storyteller Tim Seston.  Original tales accompanied by guitar and puppets.  Proceeds will benefit the Access 51 Capital Campaign.  Tickets are $10 and will be available at the door.

June 23, 2018 at 8 p.m. Teen-oriented big band concert/dance with the Beantown Swing Orchestra.  Tickets $10-$20.  Call 617-272-5730 for more information.