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SpeakEasy Stage Launches The Boston Project Podcast

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SpeakEasy Stage Company will launch the first two episodes of the show tomorrow.

SpeakEasy Stage Launches The Boston Project Podcast

On Friday, August 14, 2020, SpeakEasy Stage Company will launch the first two episodes of its latest venture, THE BOSTON PROJECT PODCAST.

This podcast is an extension of The Boston Project, the company's new works initiative that supports local playwrights in the creation and development of new plays set in and around Boston. The goal of the Project is to produce new works which explore what it means to live in Boston and tap into the full breadth of experiences and identities that make up life in the Hub.

THE BOSTON PROJECT PODCAST came about in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which postponed the staged readings planned for June for this year's Project playwrights. The podcast is a way to both amplify the voices of local playwrights and continue the development of new works until it is safe for artists to be back in the theatre.

The inaugural production of THE BOSTON PROJECT PODCAST is an audio recording of writer

MJ Halberstadt's play The Usual Unusual. The production will be presented over 6 weeks, with the first two installments debuting on Friday, Aug. 14, and then one new episode each week for the next five.

The play centers on The Usual Unusual, a scrappy and quaint bookstore where Boston's LGBTQ+ community has gathered to shop, organize, and flirt since the 70s. When the store's charismatic founder Penn announces his retirement, neurotic staff-member Charlie persuades him to pass leadership on, rather than close the store. The staff's efforts to unite a fractured community under one banner - or simply coordinate a weekly reading night -- stoke generational disputes about identity, community, and trauma.

MJ Halberstadt is a Huntington Playwriting Fellow alum, and an adjunct professor of dramatic writing at Emerson College and Northeastern University. His other works include the plays Deal Me Out, The Launch Prize (Elliot Norton Award), and That Time the House Burned Down.

Megan Sandberg-Zakian, a local free-lance director whose recent credits include directing Skeleton Crew (Huntington Theatre), The Royale, (Merrimack Rep), and The Convert (Central Square Theater), has been involved in the development of the The Usual Unusual for much of its gestation and directs the podcast.

The cast includes Rasheedat "Ras" Badejo, Lily Chrones, Michael John Ciszewski, Olivia Z. Cote,

Will McGarrahan, Han C. Park, Eddie Shields, and Debra Wise.

Helen Deborah Lewis served as dramaturg, Elizabeth Cahill was the sound engineer, and John Meredith was the production "Zoom Room" manager.

THE BOSTON PROJECT PODCAST can be found on all the popular podcast streaming services, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Episodes can also be streamed directly from https://the-boston-project-podcast.simplecast.com/."



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