This season has been one of excitement and accomplishment for Chautauqua Theater Company.
Over the course of the summer, CTC has seen the success of staging its first ever New Play Workshop musical, Agent 355; the challenges and rewards of putting on the largest show in its history, One Man, Two Guvnors; the excitement of seeing a recently workshopped show hit Broadway, Birthday Candles; and the expansion and solidification of its traveling Shakespeare program, as A Midsummer Night’s Dream visited five venues and brought a taste of Chautauqua beyond the Institution’s gates.
“It was a good year,” said CTC Artistic Director Andrew Borba. “It really was an exceptionally good year for us.”
Kicking off the season with both The Christians and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Borba said the accomplishment and excitement began immediately. The conversations sparked by The Christians and the community fostered by the roving Shakespeare were immensely satisfying to see, he said.
CTC Managing Director Sarah Clare Corporandy agreed that the season was an exceptionally positive one. She expressed gratitude for the way that both The Christians and One Man, Two Guvnors were received.
“Going from the heartfelt, guttural satisfaction that people felt from The Christians, to hearing people say, ‘Oh my gosh, thank you, that was so much fun,’ was just a joy,” Corporandy said. “When people acknowledge and appreciate that they’re going on this roller coaster with us, that’s really rewarding.”
According to both Borba and Corporandy, One Man, Two Guvnors was the largest, most technically impressive show CTC has ever staged. It involved engaging practical effects, intensive accent work, detailed stage combat and more.
Despite the daunting demands of the show, Corporandy said the company pulled it off, without placing undue strain upon themselves.
“We didn’t give it any more time or resources than any other shows,” Corporandy said. “But we still pulled it off, and it did some amazing things for our company.”
As the season progressed, CTC introduced its three New Play Workshop shows: How the Light Gets In, On the Exhale and Agent 355. Each show was fundamentally different from one another, touching on vastly different subject matter and having distinct manners of presentation.
Borba said he was thrilled to see the breadth of content CTC was able to deliver to Chautauqua audiences throughout the season.
“I think we produced, over nine weeks, not only an extraordinary amount of work, but some extraordinary work as well,” Borba said. “Not everyone gets to see everything, but I truly think that we were able to bring a lot to the table.”
But of course, there can be no shows without people to build and stage them.
“We couldn’t have done it without these amazing people,” Borba said. “To produce this successful, strong season, we had a successful, strong company that was supported from all angles and allowed us to make this work as good as it could possibly be.”
All in all, both Borba and Corporandy agreed that 2019 was a good season for CTC.
When summarized in three words:
“Satisfying, empowering and communal,” Corporandy said.
For Borba: “Joyful, unifying and aspirational.”