The New London Barn Playhouse has capped its historic 85th summer season by becoming the 2017 recipient of the New England Theatre Conference's (NETC) Moss Hart Memorial Award for Professional Excellence, for its August production of All Shook Up. This is the second Moss Hart Award won by the Barn in as many years.
According to the NETC, “the Moss Hart Memorial Award has a two-fold purpose: to honor the memory of Moss Hart, dramatist and director, for his wit and sensitivity, for his unconquerable enthusiasm for life and for his work in the theatre; and to recognize and encourage outstanding theatrical productions throughout New England of playscripts that present affirmative views of human courage and dignity, that have strong literary and artistic merit, and which in their productions, exemplify fresh, imaginative, creative treatment within the intent of the playwright. The New England Theatre Conference, in making the annual Moss Hart Memorial Award, seeks to encourage artistic growth and the highest standards of excellence in theatre.”
The 2017 Moss Hart Memorial Award recognizes the Barn's production of All Shook Up, which was directed and choreographed by DJ Salisbury with music direction from Robbie Cowan. All Shook Up brought together Barn veterans and newcomers to create a one-of-a-kind experience that thrilled audiences. Sharing the stage with our stellar 2017 Acting Intern Company were beloved Barn favorites and seasoned Broadway professionals who brought life to the Elvis Presley score. Featuring over 150 individually-created costumes from Costume Designer Beau Hamilton, a whimsical scenic design from Brad M. Carlson, and inventive lighting from Cecilia R. Durbin, All Shook Up was an enormous crowd pleaser, ultimately becoming one of the top five bestselling productions in Barn history and garnering extraordinary word-of mouth in the region.
The Barn previously won the Moss Hart Memorial Award in 2016, for its record-breaking production of Crazy For You. On winning for a second consecutive year Producing Artistic Director Keith Coughlin stated, “We at the Barn are honored to accept this award. It recognizes the hard work and dedication of the whole team, both on and off stage, that helped make All Shook Up and the entire 2017 Summer Season possible. Each year we set the highest possible artistic standards for ourselves, and we are proud to be recognized by the New England Theatre Conference in this way and proud to be a part of this theater community.”
In the three years since Keith Coughlin assumed the position of Producing Artistic Director the New London Barn Playhouse has seen continued growth artistically and throughout the organization. The 2017 Summer Season was one for the record books in several ways:
West Side Story broke all existing Box Office records, becoming our bestselling production in history
On Golden Pond became our best-selling season-closer in history
We enjoyed over 20,000 individual patron visits
Over 100 Acting and Technical Interns, Guest Artists, Designers, and Staff were housed and fed over the course of the summer
2017 Summer Camps saw enrollment increase by almost 40% over 2016, introducing over 200 young artists to the magic of live theater
The Junior Intern Company presented five glorious Children's Theater productions, welcoming over 2,000 patrons of all ages to their performances
Over $5,000 in tuition forgiveness was distributed across our Education Programs
Additionally, as has been previously announced, the Barn has been deeply honored to receive a $125,000 grant from the Pussycat Foundation, a private foundation affiliated with the legacy of the great Helen Gurley Brown. The gift is part of a larger “Genius Grant” award recently bestowed on the Barn's Artistic Director Emerita Carol Dunne, whose work at the Barn from 2008 to 2014 was seminal in transforming the organization into the award-winning regional theater it is today. The Genius Grant has been split in half and directed to both the Barn and to Northern Stage, where Carol has served as Producing Artistic Director since 2014, to honor her extraordinary impact on both organizations, her many years of dedication to the arts in our community and her role as one of the country's leading female artistic directors.
Looking forward, the Barn is gearing up to ride the momentum from such a successful summer straight into the 2018 season. Details on the upcoming 86th Summer Season will be announced this winter, but subscriptions are already on sale. Visit www.nlbarn.org to see some of the productions being considered and to reserve your subscription today.