The Lyric Stage Company is a multi award- winning Boston theater located in the heart of the city next to Copley Square, performing in a modern, intimate 244-seat space on the second floor of the YWCA building on Clarendon Street.
Spiro Veloudos is beginning his third year as producing artistic director of the company, which was founded in 1974 by Polly Hogan and Ron Ritchell. Since Veloudos' appointment, he has won three Elliot Norton Awards for Outstanding Direction of the LSC's productions ofLost In Yonkers, Assassins, and Never The Sinner. In 1999, he was named Best Theater Artistic Director by Boston Magazine. The LSC's 1999 production of John Henry Redwood's The Old Settler received the Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Production. The company's current offering is A...My Name Will Always Be Alice.
A graduate of Emerson College, Veloudos has worked as a director, actor, and teacher in the Boston area for the past 25 years. In 1981, he became the artistic director of the Publick Theater in Allston, Massachusetts, a position he held until last summer. In 1991, the Boston City Council gave him a special citation for continued service to the Boston Community.
TheaterMania: Is there a difference between The Lyric Stage and other Boston Theaters?
Spiro Veloudos: We are all doing work that we think is important. But the Lyric Stage is one of the few medium-sized companies that has it's own space.
TM: How do you select your season?
SV: I'm planning the 2001-2002 season now. I look for new trends in theater in America. I read scripts, see new plays and, if there is a play I'm interested in, we start the rights acquisitions, which is always the fun part of my job. I'm a producing artistic director, which means that both the business and the artistic aspects of the theater are under my aegis. We're currently looking for a business manager. I'm also acting as the development director along with an active money raising board. We definitely need a development director, because we can't grow without unearned income.
TM: What do you mean by growth?
SV: Growth is moving this theater company, which right now has an annual budget of $50,000, to a budget of over one million dollars. I hope to do that within the next five years.
TM: What happens when you reach your financial goals? What's the artistic impact of becoming a million-dollar theater?
SV: We'll be able to develop more new plays, and the budgets of the shows will be larger. I made a commitment to do a new play within three years of my coming here and, on April 20, 2001 we are premiering a new musical, The Curse of the Bambino by David Kruh and Steven Bergman.
TM: How did you start in theater?
SV: In a grade school Thanksgiving play called Father Talks Turkey. I played Father. I started out as an actor, but I always wanted to direct, because when I direct I get to play all the parts!
TM: What makes you say, "I want to direct this play?"
SV: I like plays that deal with families, in the broadest sense of the word; not just genetic relationship families. In Side Man (which closed at the Lyric on October 14), you have the genetically related family but you also have the broader family: the family of musicians. A play needs to tell a really strong story, or else why put all of those people in a dark room to see it?
TM: What makes you say, "I want to produce this play?"
SV: Our artistic mission is to do plays that entertain, provoke, and challenge. In the theater, there are two classes of producers; those who are explorers and those who are merchants. Producers who explore are very important for the art form, but if you don't make that crossover into the marketplace, than what's the point in doing theater? Theater can't exist without an audience. It's a reciprocal-response experience.
TM: How do you find your actors?
SV: We work with Boston-area Equity actors. We hold open calls and we use the Stage Source auditions every year. We are part of the New England Area Theaters (NEAT) that are having auditions in January. This is a theater about Boston theatrical talent.
[Click on page 2 below for the complete 2000-2001 season schedule of the Lyric Stage Company.]