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A Production Pipeline Streams From Emerson to Lyric Stage Company

If you’re involved with Lyric Stage Company of Boston chances are that you’re going to work with an Emersonian.

A man and a woman stand next to each other smiling
Courtney O’Connor ’97 MFA ’20 is the artistic director for the Lyric Stage Company, and Matt Chapuran ’02 is the executive director. (Photo courtesy Lyric Stage Company)

Executive Director Matt Chapuran ‘02 is an alum and affiliated faculty member. Artistic Director Courtney O’Connor ’97, MFA ‘20 is an alum and senior affiliated faculty member, and her predecessor, Spiro Veloudos ‘74, is an affiliated faculty member. Board member Sasha Castroverde ’08 is associate director of Annual Giving at Emerson.

And the beloved and recently retired faculty member and Senior Artist-in-Residence Ken Cheeseman has acted in Lyric plays through the years, including The Treasurer, the last play performed with a live audience before the pandemic. Oh, the play was also directed by Rebecca Bradshaw ‘11, who was once a student of Cheeseman’s.

Two people act on a stage sitting in airplane seats. The woman is pregnant and the man is not. They are smiling at each other.
Shanaé Burch ’13 and longtime affiliated faculty member Ken Cheeseman in The Treasurer. (Photo by Mark S. Howard)

“[Veloudos] was a big proponent of hiring local artists, which is still a part of the company’s identity,” said Chapuran. “So many, many Emerson alums, students, and faculty have worked on and off stage over the years.”

Considering Lyric’s location on Clarendon Street, one could say there is an almost literal pipeline from the College to the Company.

Early Associations

Starting her first winter on campus, Marieska Luzada ’23 got involved with Lyric through the College’s work study program. She learned about the opportunity through an orientation week employment fair. Since being promoted, she is now the press and digital marketing assistant for Lyric.

“I saw Little Shop of Horrors the previous week at Lyric and liked it. Theatre has always been a huge part of my life and continues to be,” said Luzada. “I was really, really interested in working for Lyric.”

Recently, numerous Emeronians worked on the Lyric First Page Writing Festival, a partnership between Lyric and Boston Public Schools (BPS). BPS students submitted plays, and the two organizations created a reading committee and sent feedback to teachers and students. The plays were performed by Lyric via Zoom, and included professional actors, along with current Lions.

Five people on a screenshot of a Zoom meeting
A screenshot from a rehearsal for Walking Play, which the Lyric Stage Company has been producing since January. Top from left to right: Jess Meyer ’21, director; Aja M Jackson, production manager; Juliet Archer-Walker ’21 played T
Bottom from left to right: Katie O’Connor, audio engineer; Sis K played Yaya.

Elizabeth Albahary ‘24 and Gaby Hernandez ’24 were hired as actors, and have been part of the production team at Lyric throughout their first year. Hernandez said she’s been able to push her creativity while innovating during the pandemic. She said Lyric has made her feel like an important asset to the company.

“Working at the Lyric Stage has given me strong skills that I didn’t know or had before, and I am very happy that this experience has shaped me as a performer,” said Hernandez.

Recent grad Tuck Wunderle ’21 worked as a production assistant for Lyric throughout his four years.

“Working at the Lyric Stage has been one of the best parts of my Emerson experience,” said Wonderle. “As a production intern from freshman all the way to my senior year, I gained more hands-in knowledge than I ever could have expected. Plus, I had an amazing group of work colleagues as well!”

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