Collaboration with ArtsEmerson and Huntington Theatre Company airs on WGBH 2
on Thursday, April 9, at 10 p.m. and will be available nationally for on-demand streaming at www.wgbh.org/mala
BOSTON (April 6, 2020) – With live theatrical performances closed due to the coronavirus, public media outlet WGBH has collaborated with Huntington Theatre Company and ArtsEmerson to bring live theater to the living room. WGBH will present a special broadcast of Mala, a poignant drama written and performed by local playwright and performer Melinda Lopez. This award-winning play will air on WGBH 2 and YouTube TV on Thursday, April 9 at 10 p.m. The play will be available nationally for on-demand streaming starting on Friday, April 10 for 30 days at www.wgbh.org/mala and the PBS app.
“Theater is a powerful medium to process challenging times. So with our Boston theaters dark, we are thrilled to be able to bring this important work to local audiences in partnership with ArtsEmerson and Huntington Theatre Company,” said Jon Abbott, president and CEO of WGBH. “Our shared commitment to the arts strengthens us as a community.”
Set during a winter of epic snowfall in 2015, Mala is inspired by notes Lopez frantically typed to herself on an iPhone while she cared for her increasingly frail and consistently fierce mother. These short missives ultimately create a moving and generous portrait of the way taking care of family tests, deepens, and changes our bonds to the ones we love. Lopez, a regular on Boston stages, also performs the play, directed by ArtsEmerson’s Artistic Director, David Dower. Although the performance was taped in 2018, it will be broadcast for the first time on April 9. WGBH viewers will be able to experience the humor, honesty, and ultimately cathartic experience of this award-winning play by a celebrated local artist.
“At the time this was filmed, we were so grateful to the Huntington and to WGBH for their interest in capturing this show during its return to Boston,” said Dower. “But we had no idea how urgent and moving it would become to have it available to air in the middle of this moment. It seems now like a bit of a miracle that it exists to be shown in this way. The WGBH team has brought such love and care to the making of this broadcast, and Melinda's performance is indelible. We are so proud to have been a part of making this possible and relieved to be able to still connect with our city in this time of standing together by standing apart.”
After performing to sold-out houses during its 2016 world premiere engagement at ArtsEmerson, Mala won the 2017 Elliot Norton Award for Best New Script. Huntington Theatre Company presented a return engagement of the ArtsEmerson production at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA in January 2018, where WGBH recorded and produced the broadcast. Mala went on to play a successful run at Minneapolis’ Guthrie Theater.
“Each time I have seen Melinda Lopez’s stirring play Mala, I leave the theater with a sense of breathless joy and optimism, marveling at Melinda’s ability to draw everyone in as if they were family,” says Peter DuBois, Artistic Director of the Huntington Theatre Company. “Melinda’s message of resilience seems especially relevant now, when so many of us feel isolated as caregivers who are worried about a parent or mentor. Melinda’s play has warmth, laughter, and beauty -- things I know we all need. I am looking forward to sharing it with new audiences through WGBH!"
Following the broadcast, ArtsEmerson will host an online conversation between playwright/performer Melinda Lopez and director David Dower. To participate, the public is invited to log on to ArtsEmersonBlog.org and click on the link to join the Zoom meeting with the artists.
WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web, including Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Arthur and more than a dozen other primetime, lifestyle and children’s series. WGBH’s television channels include WGBH 2, WGBX 44, and the digital channels World and Create. WGBH TV productions focusing on the region’s diverse community include Greater Boston, Basic Black and High School Quiz Show. WGBH Radio serves listeners across New England with 89.7 WGBH, Boston’s Local NPR®; 99.5 WCRB Classical Radio Boston; and WCAI, the Cape and Islands NPR® Station. WGBH also is a major source of digital content and programs for public radio through PRX, including The World and Innovation Hub, a leader in educational multimedia with PBS LearningMedia™, providing the nation’s educators with free, curriculum-based digital content, and a pioneer in services that make media accessible to deaf, hard of hearing, blind and visually impaired audiences. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors: Emmys, Peabodys, duPont-Columbia Awards and Oscars. Find more information atwgbh.org.
ArtsEmerson is Boston’s leading presenter of contemporary world theatre. Their mission is to bring people together to experience powerful performances that delight, provoke, and inspire, celebrating both people’s differences and common humanity. Founded in 2010 by Robert J. Orchard — the year the U.S. Census confirmed there was no single cultural majority in Boston — ArtsEmerson committed to building a cultural institution that reflects the diversity of its city. The organization’s imaginative season of globe-spanning performances, film, and dialogue invites everyone to be part of a Boston that is more creative, equitable, and connected. ArtsEmerson is led by Artistic Director, David Dower and Executive Director, David Howse. For more information, visitArtsEmerson.org.
Huntington Theatre Company
The Huntington Theatre Company is Boston’s leading professional theatre and one of the region’s premier cultural assets since its founding in 1982. Recipient of the 2013 Regional Theatre Tony Award, the Huntington brings together superb local and national talent and produces a mix of groundbreaking new works and classics made current to create award-winning productions. The Huntington runs nationally renowned programs in education and new play development and serves the local theatre community through its operation of the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. The Huntington has long been an anchor cultural institution of Huntington Avenue, the Avenue of the Arts, and will remain so on a permanent basis with plans to convert the Huntington Avenue Theatre into a first-rate, modern venue with expanded services to audiences, artists, and the community. Under the direction of Norma Jean Calderwood Artistic Director Peter DuBois and Managing Director Michael Maso, the Huntington cultivates, celebrates, and champions theatre as an art form. For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org.
About the Artists
Melinda Lopez (Playwright, Performer) is the 2019 recipient of the Elliot Norton Award for Sustained Excellence. She is the Artist-in-Residence at the Huntington Theatre Company. Her play Mala (ArtsEmerson, Guthrie Theatre, Huntington Theatre Company) earned the 2017 Elliot Norton Award for Best New Play and an Arts Impulse Award for Best Solo Performance. It is also available on Audible in English and Spanish language versions.
Ms. Lopez was a 2019 Mass Cultural Council Fellow in dramatic writing and a Mellon Foundation National Playwright Resident at the Huntington Theatre Company. Her award-winning play Sonia Flew (Elliot Norton Award, IRNE Award) has been produced all over the country, including at the Huntington Theatre Company, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Coconut Grove Playhouse, Contemporary American Theater Festival, San Jose Repertory Theatre, and many others. Other playwriting credits include an adaptation of Federico Garcia Lorca’s Yerma (Huntington Theatre Company), Back the Night (Boston Playwrights' Theatre), Becoming Cuba (Huntington Theatre Company and North Coast Repertory Theatre), and Caroline in Jersey, (Williamstown Theatre Festival.) Spanish translations of Ser Cuba and Sonia Se Fue were presented at the 2018 National Theatre Festival in Camaguey, Cuba. Ms. Lopez is also an actress and has appeared in regional theatres (Huntington Theatre Company, SpeakEasy Stage Company, Boston Playwrights' Theatre, Guthrie Theater and Portland Stage), and on film and radio. She teaches theatre studies at Wellesley College and playwriting at Boston University. She actively provides humanitarian aid for the people of Cuba and was mentioned by President Obama in his speech to the Cuban and American people in 2016. Mayor Martin J. Walsh declared October 29, 2016 “Melinda Lopez Day” in the city of Boston.
David Dower (Director) joined ArtsEmerson as Director of Artistic Programs in 2012. He is also Co-Founder and a Contributing Editor to HowlRound. Prior, he served as associate artistic director of Arena Stage (Washington, D.C.). He founded and served as Artistic Director of The Z Space Studio and co-founded and served as Co-Artistic Director of The Z Collective (San Francisco, CA). With ArtsEmerson he directed Guillermo Calderón's Kiss, Daniel Beaty’s Mr. Joy and Breath and Imagination, Melinda Lopez’s Mala, Baritones UnBound, and Maurice Hines’s Tappin’ Through Life. Dower earned the Inclusive Excellence Award (Emerson College), was a Gerbode Fellow (Gerbode Foundation), was named “MVP of Bay Area Theater” (San Francisco Chronicle) and was a Policy Fellow (National Endowment for the Arts). He studied at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, American University (Washington, D.C.) and Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico. Originally from Westerly, RI, David resides in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood.
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