I’m very proud to be the first to say, “Welcome back to the Lyric Rep!” And I hope that I’m the first one to open the door for you when you return. As the new Artistic Producer, I am beyond eager to get this season rolling, to move past the shuttered dreams of the past year, and to chart a new path that pays homage to the wonderful legacy of the people that came before me while also reflecting our ever-changing world.
Being new to Logan gives me the chance to tell you what I like from an outside perspective. When people would ask me, “Why would you leave Hawaii to come here?” I would point to the immense potential of the Lyric Rep. I love the idea of having a professional theatre affiliated with a conservatory training program, not just for actors but also designers, technicians, and, I hope in the future, for our theatre education students too. The long track record of excellence for the Lyric Rep and the promise of being able to adapt to new visions was just too enticing to pass up. Dean Rachel Nardo calls the Lyric Rep, “the Crown Jewel for the Caine College of the Arts,” and I am honored to be part of a cultural icon with such great administrative and community support.
On behalf of the Lyric Rep team, I can say that we have missed you~~truthfully, we’ve missed all of it, from the designers to the crew to the actors to making travel and housing arrangements~~but most of all we’ve missed having that most important element in theatre—you, the audience. While we’ve spent the last many months planning what this summer might look like, we wanted to make sure that we programmed something that matched our audience’s tastes—something entertaining, but also challenging, smart, wryly funny and new. To be honest, as I write this, we don’t even have the go-ahead to announce the season, let alone know what it will look like for COVID protocols. We have had to do the best we can, starting with the determination that we would do something—it wasn’t an option to sit out another year. But as to what that “something” would be…it forced us to be creative and stay flexible for a constantly shifting landscape. That is how we’ve come up with the current crop of titles—by treating them as staged readings, we have the ability to be as siloed as our most severe COVID protocols would allow, or as open and fully-produced as possible if the virus relented. This season also gives us the chance to highlight stories and advocate for voices that have not been heard as much as they should, to challenge our view of our place in the world.
We also want to take the time to properly mourn the over half a million who have lost their lives to this devastating virus. While we will rejoice in being able to once again perform for you, we need to honor the oh so many that feel the emptiness of loss.
And so—with a grateful bow to the past and lifting our sights to the future—here’s to a new journey. We’re so glad you’re joining us again.
Paul T. Mitri