PaperCity Magazine

February 2020- Houston

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Page 41 of 103

47 goers have never seen anything like it in Texas. It's a beautiful, efficient ecosystem where great art can be made. The back story — Stages and MFAH. Once we decided we needed the MFAH warehouse building, we had to convince [museum director] Gary Tinterow that we could raise the money and transact. He was skeptical but patient, and the MFAH will always have a big footnote in our evolution. A nice chunk of our budget went to the museum, and I like that the money stayed in the local arts community. On selecting Gensler as architect and Charcoalblue as theatrical designer. I was in key meetings, then sat back and let our building committee volunteers do what they do best. Philip Edmundson was a great leader. I was on the new branding team — what I do in real life — and I would say we get an A+ for the simplicity of the new brand. How fitting for the Lancaster Lounge to be named in your honor. It was a total surprise, but how perfect. The donors consist of an inner circle of friends, family, and work friends — with a big boost from the Hines family. Favorite aspect of the lounge. Private card-key access for donors. And the wine lockers. On what makes The Gordy unique. The generosity of space but intimacy of experience. The sense of community I know will be alive there for decades. A giant parking garage. Managing director Mark Folkes and artistic director Kenn McLaughlin. They are the real heroes here. Most unforgettable Stages productions. Xanadu: Guys, the movie was awful but this is the funniest, most charming show ever. It's way better than the other roller- skating musical. I hope we resurrect it. Luna Gale: This tough and timely show exemplified the wide range of Stages productions. The quality of direction and acting was peerless. Carolyn Johnson and Jeremy Gee — wow. Grey Gardens and I Am My Own Wife: Two great shows we did on a more intimate scale. My pal from Highland Park High School Honors English, Doug Wright, wrote the book for the musical and the play, respectively. One of us went on to win the Pulitzer — and it wasn't me. Memorable actors and actresses on Stages' stage. There is so much talent cycling through and maturing, I can't even keep up. I love any show with Holland Vavra, Susan O. Koozin, or Sally Edmundson. These three consummate professionals prove our theory that a working actor can make a living in Houston. They all could be on Broadway, but I'm thankful they stay in Texas. Your own theatrical background. I was in Teen Children Theater, growing up, at the Dallas Theater Center. I was actually more interested in their Frank Lloyd Wright building than being on stage. Definitely more comfortable on the biz side. First play. I grew up when an arts education was a given, so I went on a lot of field trips. In 1979, I actually tried out for Peter Pan in the Dallas Summer Musicals to be one of the Darling children. I made it to the final cut, and then, at the end, Sandy Duncan (who was Peter Pan), came out, and I was taller than she was. I was released from the rehearsal with an apology — sorry, Sandy is the star. Theater travels. I have an apartment in NYC, so I'm there all the time, and I make it a point to see almost every play and musical. I also go with the Stages board on annual theater trips — most recently, London and Chicago. Super fun. Best play outside of Houston. Hedwig and the Angry Inch for the rock 'n' music. Hadestown is a current must- see. Assassins is one of my favorite shows, weird as it is. And Equus in London with Daniel Radcliffe was pretty great. Top actor or actress you've seen — beyond a Houston stage. This is tough. I would say Dustin Hoffman in Death of a Salesman, Glenn Close in The Real Thing, Paul Rudd in any Neil LaBute play, and Elaine Stritch in Elaine Stritch at Liberty. I was there the night she had a diabetic setback, took an hour to get back to normal, and then performed the three-hour show with aplomb. She was one-of-a-kind. On The Gordy's role in the city theater scene and beyond. A newly minted "legacy organization" that everyone in Houston should experience. Statewide, a model for arts administration and equity, diversity, and inclusion. Nationally, if we don't win a regional Tony, I will be sad and puzzled. Dream play you'd like to see produced by Stages at The Gordy. Easy: Sunday in the Park with George, Sondheim's finest work. On what live theater provides versus the cineplex or Netflix. A shared experience that cannot be duplicated. Buy the tickets and come see the shows. And Netflix doesn't offer a Lancaster Lounge! George Lancaster in the Lancaster Lounge, The Gordy (continued from page 38)

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