Going to See the Kid
The Merrimack Repertory Theatre solidifies its Reputation as a Leader in New Play Production with a Holiday Play Premier by Steven Drukman
What do the Boston Red Sox, Ted Williams, a pair of traveling journalists and the December holidays have in common? All four will converge in “Going To See The Kid,” a heartwarming new play by New York University Tisch School of the Arts professor and notable playwright Steven Drukman.
The play will premiere on Nov. 30 at the Merrimack Repertory Theatre in Lowell and run through Dec. 24. “Going To See The Kid” was commissioned by the MRT especially for the 2016 holiday season.
“The MRT wants to be a leader in new play production in the country,” says Alexander Greenfield, MRT’s director of new play development and the director of “Going To See The Kid.” “We also wanted to give something to the community at the holidays.”
Merrimack Rep’s artistic director, Sean Daniels, commissioned the play last spring, according to Drukman, a Massachusetts native described by Greenfield as a Red Sox “super fan.” Drukman has written for the New York Times and the television and film industries, and has penned several plays, including 2014’s “Death of the Author” and “The Innocents,” which premiered in 2011. He will be in Lowell in November to oversee rehearsals and previews.
“It’s an ‘Odd Couple’ kind of story,” Drukman says of the play, which tells the tale of two journalists, one a veteran and the other a rookie, who travel to Florida in an attempt to land a final interview with Ted Williams, the legendary Red Sox left fielder. “[The play] reaches across what appears to be a great divide to reach a nice holiday sentiment,” Drukman says.
But why combine baseball with Christmas?
Kate Brandt, Merrimack Repertory Theatre’s director of marketing & development, says, “It would have been easy to do ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ again. We would have sold out for sure. But that wouldn’t fulfill our mission. Sean [Daniels] feels that people often go to the theater only one time of year — at the holidays. Sometimes it’s their first time seeing a play. He wanted a Christmas show that would not only be wonderful, but would also provide an opportunity for people to experience great original theater.”
Greenfield, who joined the MRT staff this past summer after working for a decade in New York City on several on- and off-Broadway shows, says he has enjoyed working with Drukman. “Sean had a great interest in working with Steve. The Red Sox are one of his passions, so it made sense to have him write a play about them,” Greenfield says. “There is a great intersection between baseball and theater. Both of them cross class divides.”
The MRT’s commitment to producing new plays is one reason Greenfield wanted to work in Lowell. “I was in New York and saw one of the MRT’s press releases and was impressed with what Sean was doing,” he says. “I wanted to be a part of it.”
Drukman also has enjoyed teaming up with Greenfield, although the two hadn’t worked together before “Going To See The Kid.”
“Alex was the student of a colleague at NYU,” Drukman says. “He has been a delight — fantastic. He unlocked the play for me with his great insight; it wouldn’t be what it is without Alex. He and I mirror the theme of the play.”
“Going To See The Kid” stars Merrimack Repertory Theatre veteran actors Veronika Duerr, Joel Colodner and John Gregorio. Tickets are available now for all shows at MRT.org or by calling (978) 654-4678.