Many actors dream of creating a theatre company of their own. Few ever get to do it.
Newington Mainstage is that dream realized for Kelly Boucher and Cindy Lesser, two veteran actors who created the non-profit company this year in an attempt to bring an accessible, off-the-beaten-path approach to local theatre.
The company was designed with two goals: to create a nurturing environment for actors and to offer unique, under-the-radar productions that might not otherwise receive much exposure. Boucher and Lesser, having performed for years at the professional and local levels, returned to Connecticut in the early 2000s and were drawn together by shared theatrical tastes and a collaborative mindset. After many months of effort, Newington Mainstage was born, designed to foster a “supportive, welcoming, healthy and fun” atmosphere, and offer an alternative to more common Broadway-style fare. “There are a lot of voices that aren’t being heard, both local and professional,” says Boucher.
Quite simply, Boucher and Lesser have designed the company they would want to work in. And they are.
The company’s inaugural performance, “[title of show],” (yes that’s the actual title) lives up to this promise. The musical about two guys writing a musical includes songs like “Two Nobodies in New York” and “I am Playing Me”; its ‘everyman’ sensibility is more “Seinfeld” than “Chicago” or “Spider Man.” Both Boucher and Lesser star, and the cast’s sharp comic timing and giddy enthusiasm are so infectious that it’s difficult to tell where the performance ends and the audience begins.
Newington Mainstage is affiliated with the NCTC Performing Arts Theatre and its successful Newington Children’s Theatre Company; Lesser, a past NCTC board member, provided the connection. The companies share NCTC’s intimate black box performance space and Mainstage proceeds support the development of educational arts programs.
The company will produce three to four shows per year and offer smaller events, like master classes, open mic nights and staged readings. Open auditions will also be held. “There are so many talented people out there,” says Boucher, “and we want to see them all.”
More information can be found at www.NCTCArts.org or via facebook. “[title of show]” runs through June 18, with Friday and Saturday performances at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $18 for adults and $15 for students/seniors, and can be purchased through the NCTC website or by calling (860) 666-6282.