GTC Founding Members: Stephanie Hazard, Kyle Silver, Andrea Lynn Green; not pictured, Jack Rushton
By Michele Graham
Photographs by ChiChi Ubiña
Get four talented people together, give them a kernel of an idea, and watch them create theatre magic. That’s the genesis behind the Greenwich Theatre Company (GTC), a newly hatched venture that is debuting its performance of the Tony-award winning play God of Carnage this weekend. The energy behind GTC are theater veterans Stephanie Hazard, Andrea Lynn Green and Jack Rushton, and Arch Street, Greenwich Teen Center Executive Director Kyle Silver.
At GTC, Silver continues in the role of Executive Director, Hazard and Green share responsibilities as Artistic Directors, and Rushton is the Director of New Play Programs and Strategic Planning. LOOK interviewed this accomplished quartet about the creation of the Greenwich Theatre Company, its premiere production, and what lies ahead.
What inspired the creation of the Greenwich Theatre company? How did the four of you come together on this adventure?
Kyle: The Greenwich Theatre Company has been a dream of mine for many years. I think anytime that we can entertain our community and especially our young people with live performance it is a true blessing. The relationship between the Teen Center and the Theatre Company will be an ideal hand-in-hand relationship that will complement each other in the way that all good relationships should.
Stephanie: As a professionally trained actress, I’ve been a member of Theatre Artists Workshop (TAW) for the past 10 years and have worked on honing my craft while also developing my skills as a producer and a director. Having previously lived in Greenwich, I was acquainted with the wonderful team at Arch Street. When Kyle publicized his commitment to launching a new theatre company, I immediately reached out to find out how I could get involved.
For our first “new theatre” meeting, I asked Andrea, whom I met when she became a member of TAW, to join me at Arch Street to discuss a mission for the future. We birthed the idea while sitting under a beautiful tree this summer.
Andrea: I spent much of my childhood inside a summer stock theatre in Upstate NY. I went on to get a Theatre Arts Performance degree at SUNY New Paltz. I’ve been working professionally ever since as an actor, in New York and all around the country.
Jack: When a collection of my short plays was produced at TAW in Norwalk this spring, serendipity brought the four of us together. That, combined with the vision of performing God of Carnage in the amazingly unique space at Arch Street, led to grander plans and the creation of the Greenwich Theatre Company.
For the theatre novices among us, what is the Theatre Artists Workshop and how did it inform the creation of the Greenwich Theatre Company?
TAW is a legendary artist membership organization. We performed a public reading of God of Carnage at TAW last year. TAW did exactly what it was designed to do: serve as a developmental ground for theatre artists to hone their craft with the goal of cultivating professional opportunities. Earlier this year, Stephanie also produced a short play festival with Andrea as her Associate Producer at TAW. We realized we were a great team; each of us ambitious and with complementary skill sets. Kyle attended that short play festival, and was interested in collaborating with the team behind it. We came together very organically.
Why a Greenwich Theatre Company?
Greenwich has not had a professional theatre company in over 33 years. Theatre is a powerful medium and should not be underestimated in its ability to reach people in a profound way. We want to bring professional, exciting and challenging theatre to Greenwich and the surrounding communities.
How do you describe God of Carnage to those who are unfamiliar with the Tony award-winning play?
Two sets of parents who live in the same posh neighborhood, but are quite different from one another, meet to discuss a playground altercationbetween their eleven-year-old-sons. Everything seems to go smoothly at first, but as the meeting progresses, it devolves into chaos as they toss aside diplomatic niceties, with not a shred of dignity to be found.
Why did you choose this as your debut play?
It’s a great, complex play about human behavior. The topic is relevant and relatable: people in opposition fighting fiercely for what they believe to be true and right, and for their children and reputation, at the expense of all decorum and dignity. There’s also a battle of the sexes, which is always topical.
It’s a wild ride, with so much humor and many tense moments—it’s just delicious to watch. It won a Tony and an Olivier Award for good reason!
The play is running at the Arch Street Teen Center. Why this location as the home for GTC?
As Executive Director of the Arch Street Teen Center, Kyle has a wonderful, long-standing relationship with the Arch Street community, which is very supportive of our vision. We all want this to be a success, and you can’t beat the location: right on the Roger Sherman Baldwin Park, overlooking the Greenwich Harbor, and a short walk from the Metro North train station. The space itself is wickedly different from any other theatre nearby. It’s cool, unconventional, and lends itself to a very distinct experience for audiences and artists.
God of Carnage Cast: Wynter Kullman, Jason Peck, Stephanie Hazard, Mike Boland
What is your plan for the next 12 months? Next 3 years?
Our first year is about establishing GTC as a non-profit organization, as well as fundraising. We have a three-year development plan in our sights to become a professional Equity theatre, under the Small Professional Theatre contract. This is the dream that can become a reality. If we have the right support, you can expect seasons that include a challenging contemporary play, a New Works Festival, a Classic, outdoor summer Shakespeare for teens, and a full production granted to a new play. We’ll have readings, and special events throughout the year to raise funds for these big ideas.
What are the other components of GTC, especially your outreach to young people?
We plan to provide educational opportunities by holding special performances and programs for students and teachers, further exploring the work onstage. We also hope to engage young people through attendance, auditions, volunteer opportunities and potential apprenticeships. Kyle has over two decades working with teens. The Greenwich Theatre Company will bring this generation, not only entertainment but education as well. This is truly something that our community has needed and strived for.
With the success of the Greenwich International Film Festival, the Bruce Museum expansion and now the launch of Greenwich Theatre Company, Greenwich is solidifying its place as a cultural hub. Any thoughts?
It’s no surprise. Having a theatre company will be a wonderful addition to the mix and provide an alternative to going into NYC for a live theatre experience – it will certainly be more affordable. We hope to pull a lot of talent from Greenwich, the surrounding communities, and NYC.
What’s up next for GTC?
We are in our infancy as an organization, and to meet our goals and thrive, we need the support from the community. Check out our website https://www.greenwichtheatrecompany.org/ for tickets and updates. We have plans to host a Holiday Benefit fundraiser and look forward to developing relationships with donors, patrons, sponsors and volunteers. We are so excited to launch and look forward to a wonderful year ahead!
Join Greenwich Theatre Company for it’s inaugural production presenting God of Carnage performing from September 6th – September 15th