WHO WE ARE
We are SpeakEasy Stage - driving Boston theatre forward and sparking dialogue with courageous, contemporary productions made by and for our community.
We are Boston’s Home for the Bold.
SpeakEasy Stage Company produces intimate, entertaining plays and musicals that are new to Boston and compel thoughtful conversation. We champion new talent and future arts leaders, alongside a diverse community of experienced local theatre professionals who share our devotion to excellence. We treat our artists, audiences, and supporters as collaborators, working with us to make Boston a city that is sustainable for artists.
FROM THE PRODUCING ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Dear Friends and Supporters,
I am pleased to present to you our Annual Report for Season 31, which covers the period from July 1, 2021June 30, 2022.
I’d like to begin this report by saying “Welcome Back to SpeakEasy!” After an unconventional year of digital performances and adjusting to continuously changing circumstances, we made our longawaited return to live theatre in September 2021. The excitement and vitality — from both our audiences and our artists — was joyous and palpable.
We kicked off this season with a small, but mighty production of Adam Rapp’s The Sound Inside. Beginning with an intimate show about connection and loneliness felt like the perfect way to both navigate our return to the theatre and also reintroduce our brand of bold theatre. We followed up our successful reopening with BLKS by Aziza Barnes; People, Places & Things by Duncan MacMillan; Ahrens and Flaherty’s Once on this Island; and — the show I consider to be the greatest artistic achievement in my career — The Inheritance by Matthew Lopez.
Looking back on this season, one of the things I’m most proud of is the slate of artists, artisans, and administrators that I had the pleasure of working with. I want to sincerely thank our incredible staff and board, the production teams, and every actor who graced our stage. We would not have been able to transition back to live theatre so successfully without your grace, flexibility, and understanding. Even as we saw spikes in the pandemic and had to adjust our schedule in real time, our artists rose to the occasion and pivoted seamlessly, putting on our full slate of shows with little interruption.
Additionally, we also presented those shows to a wider audience with the introduction of our Accessibility programming. Beginning with People, Places & Things, we offered two open captioned performances and two audio described performances for every show. This is a program that SpeakEasy has long aspired to implement, and I am so glad that we were able to do so this season. I’m even more excited that this program will continue to grow and be a hallmark of our company going forward.
As I reflect on Season 31, I’m incredibly humbled by the continued support that we have received from our community. We’re back because YOU stayed with us through uncertain times and never stopped believing in our mission. I am incredibly proud of the work that we have produced, although none of it would have been possible without your generosity. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you. I look forward to seeing you in-person at the theatre soon.
Warmly,Paul Daigneault Producing Artistic Director
EQUITY & ANTI-RACISM AT SPEAKEASY STAGE
Our efforts to become a fully equitable and anti-racist theatre company are ongoing and are essential to the identity of our organization. In February 2021 we published our Equity & Anti-Racism Action Plan (SEARAP). This season, we presented our first annual Progress report, to update our community on our accomplishments thus far, and our plans to continue this work.
Some changes implemented include:
● A widely published Community Expectations Statement, which details the behavioral guidelines required to achieve the inclusive and accessible environment for which we strive.
● A script reading committee, composed of artists and administrators from the Boston theatre community, to expand the group identities involved in decision-making surrounding season selection.
● Updated hiring listings to include salary ranges and requirements, expanded job search timelines, and increased artist compensation.
● Significant opportunities for the personal and professional development of our staff and Board of Directors in matters of equity, diversity, inclusion, and access. We understand that this work is never done and will continue to update our commitments and timelines as we learn and grow. To read SEARAP in its entirety, as well as the progress reports that have followed it, visit www.SpeakEasyStage.com/SEARAP.
OUR LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
SpeakEasy Stage and the Calderwood Pavilion reside on the ancestral and unceded lands of the Massachusett people. We acknowledge the truth of violence perpetrated in the name of this country and commit to uplifting the voices of those who have historically been left out of the conversation. We encourage you to learn more about the Massachusett people, their history and their living traditions at www.massachusetttribe.org.
A FOCUS ON PROVIDING ACCESS TO THE ARTS
Throughout our 2021-2022 season, we focused significant efforts on expanding our programming, moving towards the goal of having our work be fully accessible to all members of our community.
SpeakEasy has committed to offering specifically scheduled performances with accessibility resources for all future productions. In January 2022, SpeakEasy began offering two audio described performances and two open captioned performances for every production, allowing those with visual impairments and the Deaf and hard of hearing communities to fully experience our shows. We also offered a special Sensory Friendly Performance of our April 2022 production of Once on This Island for individuals with sensory sensitivities who require an adjusted, more relaxed heatrical atmosphere. We are thrilled to announce that, with the generous support of several grants, these services will remain an essential part of SpeakEasy programming going forward.
Continued Engagement & Access
Throughout this season, we provided over 1,500 underwritten and discounted tickets to more than two dozen community organizations, schools, and youth groups. Examples include Opening Doors to the Arts, METCO, Black Girls Social Club, House of Possibilities, Boston While Black, and the Cambridge Women’s Center. To deepen the theatre going experience for all our audiences, we also offered a range of post-show discussions, specialty panels, and community events for each production.
THE SOUND INSIDEBY DIRECTED BY
Serving as the first show back, Adam Rapp’s The Sound Inside captivated audiences with its revolutionary storytelling and themes of connection. The play centers on the budding relationship between Bella, an author and college professor recently diagnosed with cancer, and Christopher, an eccentric student in her creative writing class. Full of unexpected twists and turns, this psychological thriller asked audiences to reconsider and reach out to those people in life that they may have taken for granted.
Beginning with an intimate show gave us the opportunity to safely navigate producing live theatre under new COVID guidelines. Directed by the wonderful Bryn Boice (who coincidentally directed The Children in March 2020, the last show before the pandemic shutdown), The Sound Inside featured exceptional performances by Jennifer Rohn and Nathan Malin, earning them both Elliot Norton Award nominations for their work.- Karen Bass
“I’m thrilled to report that the one-year, six-month, and three-week intermission has done nothing to diminish the special joy that is a show at SpeakEasy!”
- Jason Allen-Forest, SpeakEasy SubscriberTOP: Jennifer Rohn and Nathan Malin. MIDDLE: Jennifer Rohn. BOTTOM: Jennifer Rohn. Photos by Nile Scott Studios.
- Anonymous audience member
OCT 29 – NOV 20, 2021BY AZIZA BARNES DIRECTED BY TONASIA JONES
When we selected BLKS by Aziza Barnes as our second show of the year, we were aware that so many shows centering Black voices and experiences are rooted in their trauma. After the events of 2020 and our release of SEARAP (SpeakEasy’s Equity & Anti-Racism Action Plan), it felt especially important to bring a story which focused on Black joy, community, and friendship. Brought to life by director Tonasia Jones, BLKS follows Octavia and her friends on a raucous, drunken night out which doesn’t quite go to plan.
Strong performances from Thomika Marie Bridwell, Kelsey Fonise, Meghan Hornblower, Sandra Seoane-Serí, Shanelle Chloe Villegas, and Sharmarke Yusuf earned the cast an Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Ensemble. Thanks to Jenna McFarland Lord (scenic), Cassandra Queen (costume), Kat C. Zhou (lighting), and Anna Drummond (sound), BLKS would also win an Elliot Norton for Outstanding Design. We were also fortunate to have playwright Aziza Barnes attend a performance and then join us for a lively conversation about the play’s themes.
TOP: Shanelle Chloe Villegas, Kelsey Fonise and Thomika Marie Bridwell. MIDDLE: Thomika Marie Bridwell.
Bottom: Thomika Marie Bridwell, Shanelle Chloe Villegas, and Sharmarke Yusuf. Photos by Nile Scott Studios.
“When else do you get to see a production about Black women that is completely humanizing? I’ve never felt so seen by a production.”
PEOPLE, PLACES & THINGS
FEB 11 - MAR 5, 2022BY DUNCAN MACMILLAN BY DAVID R. GAMMONS
People, Places & Things, Duncan MacMillan’s powerful tale of an actress grappling with addiction, had been on our list of plays to produce for quite some time. Actress Marianna Bassham, who played the lead in the production, first brought the play to our attention after its highly successful New York run in 2017; yet it still took over two years to secure the rights, and a total of four years to make it to our stage. Despite opening night being further delayed by a COVID surge, our production of People, Places & Things opened to great acclaim from audiences, going on to win three Elliot Norton Awards: Outstanding Actress, Outstanding Director, and Outstanding Production.
In addition to the incredible performances put forth by the ensemble, People, Places & Things was also the first show that we produced with our new accessibility resources. We were thrilled to offer open captioned and audio described performances for this production, and for select performances for the rest of the season. With the generous support of several foundations, we are thrilled to be able to continue offering these services for all productions going forward.
“I’ve been waiting for a piece of theatre to reignite my passion and drive post-pandemic. Not only that, it reshaped and molded a deeper love for theatre.”
Isaac Tardy, audience memberDIRECTED TOP: Kadahj Bennett and Marianna Bassham. MIDDLE: Marianna Bassham. BOTTOM: Shanelle Chloe Villegas, Victor Shopov, John Kuntz, Marianna Bassham, Parker Jennings, and Sharmarke Yusuf. Photos by Nile Scott Studios.
“Absolutely stunning! This is my favorite show and this production gave it such beautiful, authentic life.”- Tyler Cavanaugh, audience member
ONCE ON THIS ISLAND
MAR 11 – APR 16, 2022
A revival of SpeakEasy’s very first book musical – and one of Paul Daigneault’s personal favorites – Once on This Island by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty was a celebration 30 years in the making. Brought to life by director Pascale Florestal and and choreographer Jazelynn Goudy, this show danced its way into our hearts and would win the Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Choreography. With themes of resilience, love, and hope, Once on This Island tasked audiences with finding the joy in their lives and not letting go of it.
Thanks to the generous support of MassHousing, we were able to restart our Student Matinee Series and give over 500 students from Boston Public Schools the opportunity to experience this joyous production for free. Additionally, this show gathered one of the most racially and economically diverse audiences in SpeakEasy history, thanks in part to our participation in such discount ticket programs as the state’s EBT Card to Culture and the Huntington Community Membership Initiative.
TOP: Yewande Odetoyinbo and members of the cast of Once on This Island.
MIDDLE: Reagan Massó and Peli Naomi Woods. BOTTOM: Peli Naomi Woods. Photos by Nile Scott Studios.
APR 22 – JUN 11, 2022BY MATTHEW LÓPEZ DIRECTED BY PAUL DAIGNEAULT
Clocking in with a total run-time near seven hours, The Inheritance by Matthew Lopez was easily the most epic production in SpeakEasy’s 31 seasons. Told in two parts, the story follows Eric Glass and Toby Darling, two gay men living in New York, as they try to navigate their lives in an increasingly divided America. Set only a few decades after the AIDS epidemic, this play boldly asks what is the legacy left to us by previous generations? And what do we owe the future and each other?
Hailed as “perhaps the most important play of the century so far” by The Telegraph, The Inheritance, with its exploration of queer identity, not only marked a return to SpeakEasy’s roots, but also highlighted the obligation of artists to pass on stories from generation to generation so they are not forgotten.
“SpeakEasy Stage Company’s production of The Inheritance is as perfect and as vital as it gets. I’ll be thinking about this play for the rest of my life.”
- Christopher Ehlers, DigBostonTOP: Benjamín Cardona, Greg Maraio, Eddie Shields, Ricardo “Ricky” Holguin, Brandon Curry, and Jo Michael Rezes. MIDDLE: Jared Reinfeldt and Eddie Shields. BOTTOM: Mishka Yarovoy and Mark H. Dold. Photos by Nile Scott Studios.
FROM THE CHAIR OF THE BOARD
I am pleased to present the financial results of our 2021-2022 Season.
Our 31st Season was full of opportunities to evolve and grow as a company. We produced five compelling shows that garnered praise from audiences and critics alike — including nineteen Elliot Norton nominations and seven wins! Our work continued offstage, as we unveiled a new branding approach and deepened our commitments to equity and access.
The season was not without its obstacles: COVID-19 variants led to challenges in rehearsals and caused us to cancel or reschedule performances. SpeakEasy’s response was swift and strategic, with comprehensive COVID safety measures put into place. All of this contributed to ongoing pressures on our budget as we dedicated ourselves to keeping audiences, artists and staff safe.
Despite these challenges, SpeakEasy remained focused
on reviving its key initiatives and moving forward. We continued our work toward becoming a more fully inclusive organization, making progress on the goals set forth in our Equity and Anti-Racism Action Plan (SEARAP). We expanded our accessibility program and resumed our Fellowship Program and Student Matinee Series, furthering our support of underserved communities and emerging artists
This was all made possible by our incredible community, who mobilized to ensure that SpeakEasy could make this return, and who remain steadfast in their generous financial support of our work. COVID relief funding and loan forgiveness from the U.S. government, as well as multi-year support through the Barr-Klarman Mass Arts Initiative and the Mass Cultural Council, supplemented earned revenue while attendance was being restored. We saw similar or increased grants from foundations, and SpeakEasy’s corporate partners and individual patrons were generous with sponsorships and donations,
FROM THE CHAIR OF THE BOARD
enabling us to meet or exceed all fundraising goals. Indeed, the Spring Gala was SpeakEasy’s most successful to date, with a record $248,000 raised.
Matthew Lopez’s The Inheritance makes use of a quote from the play’s main inspiration, the E.M. Forster novel Howard’s End: “Only Connect.” Through a period of uncertainty and division, its concise yet profound directives like these that help tether SpeakEasy to the core piece of its mission — connecting with ourselves and each other through the transformative power of live theatre. I’m so grateful to be able to truly connect once again, and honored to be part of the vibrant and dedicated
community of supporters that make SpeakEasy’s work possible. Thank you all for your participation.Warmly, Andrew Fullem Chair, SpeakEasy Board of Directors
Are you interested in becoming a strategic voice for SpeakEasy Stage?
We are looking for dynamic and thoughtful individuals to join both our Board of Directors and our Board of Advisors. Board members participate in a range of activities for the company — from governance and strategic planning to event planning and donor stewardship. For more information about our Boards, you can check out this page.
If you are interested in exploring the opportunity further, please fill out this form. If you have any questions, you can contact email@example.com.
Statement of Activities
Statement Of Financial Position
‘92 LEGACY CIRCLE A group of inspired supporters that have declared an estate gift of any size to the company.
Catherine & Harvey Cotton
Carol G. Deane
Kerry A. Dowling
Jonathan Dyer & Thomas Foran
Gene Bauer & Ellen Shortell
Fulton Charitable Trust
Hannah Weisman & Mike Peluse
Susan & Mark Irvings
Pete & Christine Palladino
Julianne Yazbek & JD Paul
Suzette & Paul Martin
Bill & Barbara Melone
Joan & Paul Nunes
Faith & Glenn Parker*
Jackie & Bob Pascucci
Erik & Ranesh Ramanathan
Joey Riddle & Paul Miller
Susan & Stephen Root
Robert Siefert & Maureen Shea-Siefert
Nancy Stavis in memory of Edward Stavis Ann B. Teixeira
Stacie Simon & Hal Tepfer & the Puppies
Carol & William Carroll
Joe Castellana & Jim Seligman
Margaret Crotty Blayne Cutler
Paul Daigneault & Jeffrey Mello
Joseph-Rocque Dion & David B. Wright
Jeff & Erica Drazen
Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation
Ken & Claire Edmondson
FJN Charitable Foundation
Tom Formicola & Lenny Goldstein
Temple V. Gill & Christopher R. Yens
Sotheby`s Real Estate
Kathy McGirr & Keith Carlson
Network for Good†
Ann Noble & Valerie Grande
Derek Osterman & Erik Johnson Mark Ostrem
Ross Ozer & Scott Gortikov
Jill Pearson & Dan Ramirez
Margie & Richard Perse
Ellen & Lou Piccioli
$20,000+ Paul Kastner
Keith MacDonald & Tom Webber Sam Yin Anonymous $10,000-19,999 Alex Baker & Butch Chilton
Susan Black & Richard O’Neal
Dr. Brian Bourquin & Paul Mataras
Pat & Mary Cogan
Richard and Beth Compson Family Fund
Anne d’Avenas & Jerry Brody
Richard Davies & Alexander Albregts
Jean Walsh & Graham Davies
Hannah Weisman & Mike Peluse Clea & Neal Winneg
Michael Appell & Guy Ronen
Linda Aronson in Honor of Steven Aronson Jonathan Baker
Garth & Lindsay Greimann
Barbara & Steve Grossman
Mark & Cynthia Haddad
Betsy Rudnick & Bruce G. Posner
Leah Rugen & Andy Boral Dawn & Doug Saglio
Kenneth & Rise Shepsle
Alejandro Simoes & Gigi Watson
Mark Staloff & Greg Bowne
Jill Stauffer & Cyd Berry
Ellen Davis Sullivan & John Sullivan
The Gregory E. Bulger Foundation/ Gregory Bulger & Richard Dix Stacey & Chris Constas
Lucia & Bruce Field
David S. Godkin & Pamela Haran
Robert Volante Paul & Jennifer Walsh $5,000-9,999
Debby Doktor & Marc Fisher Willis Emmons & Zach Durant-Emmons
Constance Gist Guindo & Chirfi Guindo
Carolyn & Alden Hart
Mark Hickey & Jack Cornwell
Jeanne Leszczynski & Diane Dicarlo
Russell Lopez & Andrew Sherman
Bob Band Rick Bankhead & Kemper Thompson
Rick Barber & Mark Renaud
Gene Bauer & Ellen Shortell
Bender Hatch Insurance
Cindy Bero & Shawn Farrell
Jon & Dixie Lee Borus
Kristina & Doug Brendel
Wendy Bailey Hamilton
Jay Hanflig & Donna Sinden
William A. Korman
John & Ann-Mara Lanza
The Nathan & Leslie Levenson
Roberta & Geoffrey Levy
Marianne Sarazen Lonati
William & Anastasia Lyman
Dr. Stuart Madnick
Richard G. Summers & Bill Thompson
Bob & Nancy Tucker
Carl & Sharon Turissini
Tom Weisend & Daniel Faucher Angela Yarde
James Alexander & Thomas J. Stocker
in memory of Bill Gustat
Diane M. Austin & Aaron J. Nurick
Steve Avruch & Ed MacLean
Julita Bailey-Vasco & Dale Vasco
Julie & Michael Bailit
Kathy & Marshall Berenson*
Drs. Paul Boutin & Rich Gurney
Jim Bracciale & Richard Kestler
Mary Lou Buckley
Don & Susan Casey
Kristine Clerkin & Catherine Hay
Christine Coakley & Michelle O’Connell
David Freeman Coleman Jim Connors
Mindy d’Arbeloff & Jim Peyser
The Daughters Fund
The Fife Family Foundation
Mark L. Finklestein
Charitable Gift Fund
Rev. Gretchen Grimshaw
& Thalia Meehan
Laura Haas & Richard Wood
J. William Harris & Terry Rockefeller
Roz & Herb Hill
Ilene & Richard Jacobs
Frederic S. Johnson
Jonathan T. Klein
Edgar Knudson & Louis Mula
Lois Lindauer & Bill Seltz
Mark & Mary Lunsford
George & Jane Metzger
Thomas Novak Mary E. O’Connor
Jim & Josh Peary-Freiman
Lee Ridgway & Donald Vaughan
Roland W. Roy
Dick & Dorothy Santos
Ms. Judith W. Semonoff
& Rabbi Alan C. Flam
Andrea Shirley & Joyce Richmond
Ellen L. Simons
Mark Smith & John O`Keefe
Jim Stiles & Randy Bird
Donna & Steve Tritman
Sara & Stuart Altman
Annette Andruss & Jody Blakeway
Rebecca Backman & Stephen Cotton
Kathleen Beckman & Theodore Postol
Ross & Midge Benjamin
Paul Blackborow & Jessica Daniels
Denise Bordonaro & David P Johst
Don & Melinda Boroson
Ken Brooks & Jim Ellis
Laura Carney & Andy Clarkson
Bob Chabot & Glen Doerr
John Cini & Star Lancaster
Ted & Carolyn Colton
David Crowley & Fran Pelletier
David Dalena & Brian Patton
Mary E. Darmstaetter
Jon & Kim Davis
Barry & Lisa Fireman
Glenda & Bob Fishman
Flier-Trueblood Spring Garden Fund
Ouida & Brett Foster
Arlene Franklin & Ray Jacques
Mindy Garber & Richard Cohen
Shelly F. Greenfield & Allan M. Brandt
Grace & Bill Gregor
Eric R. Greimann
Todd Michael Hall
Jennifer Harris & David Condon
Rob Harris Peter Haydu
Donovan Henry Megan & Chris Holding
Thomas H. Kean
Stephen Knowlton & Joseph Pettigrew
Nancy F. Korman
Adrianne Krstansky & Ted Hewlett
Will Lambert Stewart Landers
Danielle Maddon in honor of Ann Teixeira
Michael McCay & Dan Salera
Mark & Kate McKone-Sweet
Lori & David McWeeney
Ellen & Jonathan Miller
The Nix Family
Glenn Rizzo & Paul Simpson
Pamela Roberts & Scott McInturff
Peter A. Rombult & Sean N. Murphy
Jeff Rutledge & Tamara Joyce
Mark Saperstein & Eric Karnowski
Chuck Schwager & Jan Durgin
Henry Servinskas & Roy Du Bois
Tracy & Eric Sharakan
Douglas & Karen Skillins
Reginald Stanley Martha Stearns*
Bob & Bobbie Steinbach* Kelly Sullivan
Elizabeth Tapper & Peter Simkin
Catherine Cote Tomey & David Tomey
Pat & Steve Vinter
Davin T. and David P. Wedel Gift Fund Christine & Richard Wellman Laurie Williams
Frances & Richard Winneg
Peter Wulsin & Michael Comey
Anonymous *Contributors to the Thomas Derrah Emerging Artists Fund
†Gifts made through Facebook to the Thomas Derrah Emerging Artists Fund
This list recognizes donors with gifts of $250+ to our Annual Fund and Sponsorship program from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022.Patrick Turner David Weintraub Leah Weintraub Rob Wilson & Sergio Mazon Anonymous Ann Sanders & Deborah Heller Sara Bravo Schauwecker
Board of Directors
Board of Advisors
Michael Appell, Chair
Gene Bauer & Ellen Shortell
Dr. Brian Bourquin & Paul Mataras
Greg Bulger & Richard Dix
Joe Castellana & Jim Seligman
David Freeman Coleman
Christopher & Stacey Constas
Paul Daigneault, Producing Artistic Director
Paul Melone, General & Production Manager
Jim Torres, Director of Marketing & Communications
Cathi Ianno, Director of Development
Kyler Taustin, Interim General Manager
Dominique Burford, Associate Manager of Production & Operations
Alex Lonati, Community Programs & Events Manager
Evan Turissini, Marketing & Creative Services Manager
Jenna Rehrig, Development Coordinator
Claudia Bennett, Associate Production Manager
Christian Krenek, Social Media Coordinator
Randy Biagas-Hill, Development Associate
Dayna Cousins, Interim Development Associate
Rachel Sturm, Admin & Subscription Associate
Jolie Frazer-Madge, Literary & Artistic Fellow
Rulas A. Muñoz, Community Engagement & Artistic Fellow
Interns: Ealon Boudreaux, Sarah Katz, Clara Livingston, Emeline Shepard, Grace Twomey, Acsa Welker
Comprehensive list, spanning 7/1/21-11/30/22.Julita Bailey-Vasco Alex Baker Cathy Cotton Daigneault Danné Davis Kerry Dowling Jonathan Dyer Andrew Fullem, Chair Constance Gist Guindo Susan Irvings Suzette Martin Peter Palladino, Treasurer Joey Riddle Nancy Roberts Alejandro Simoes Ann Teixeira Hannah Weisman Clea Winneg Bob Band Anne d’Avenas Richard Davies Richard Dix Thomas Formicola & Lenny Goldstein Joseph Gimbel & Jo Strobel Meegan Gliner Curly Glynn Laura Haas Ken Hirschkind