Curtain going up on the exciting Out of the Box Theatre Company!
It’s special and different from any theatre company in the country. As the name might suggest, Out of the Box is outside the box of theatrical tradition and convention.
Our mission is special…It’s a mission with a cause…And it’s for seniors…Artists and Patrons…Like no other company in NYC!
Our purpose is different…It sets us apart from all the rest!
To provide opportunity and freedom for artists to work outside the restrictions of age, race, sexual orientation and disability and inside the sphere of passion:
Our vision for the future moves forward…step by step!
Breathing new life into theater works that have lived a long time is only one part of the equation for the Out of the Box Theatre Company. The other part is allowing actors who have lived a long time to bring the passions and talents gained by their unique experience to roles they may never have had a chance to play before.
The idea was the brainchild of the late Scott Robinson, a ’92 alumnus of the Brooklyn College MFA program in theater, who founded OOtB and served as its original artistic director.
In its first season, Out of the Box presented its first production, Moliere’s The Miser, set to the music of Mozart. Robinson said that “many of the plays we plan to do are either forgotten or so stereotyped in presentation that they lose much of their character. We want to bring them new life.”
But that isn’t the company’s only goal. They also primarily feature actors, directors, and set designers over the age of fifty…and they offer up to 25% complimentary seating each performance to lower-income seniors. “Two key elements to the mission that I thought would make my theater company special,” said Robinson. “We are a theatre company with a cause.”
Out of the Box was incorporated in August 2006, and Robinson lined up a number of Brooklyn College alumni to work with him: John Scheffler, OOtB’s original set designer, is the former director of the College’s set design program and a professor emeritus of the Theater Department; Lin Snider ’94, a cast member, director, and vice-president of the theater company, is also a graduate of the MFA program in theater; Peter J. Coriaty, ’73, has been another cast member; Marge Linney, original treasurer of Out of the Box, was director of the graduate program in acting and is also a professor emerita of the Theater Department; and Oscar Award winner F. Murray Abraham, an honorary board member, taught in the Theater Department.
Out of the Box’s innovative treatment of Moliere’s classic incorporated the traditional “showboat” melodrama format both between and during scenes. Performers provided musical interludes, or olio acts — as comments on the dramatic action. Robinson described it as a “musical approach to a straight play without its becoming a musical comedy.”
In its second season, the company produced a classic temperance play of the nineteenth century, Ten Nights in a Bar-Room, by W.W. Pratt, based on the novel by T. S. Arthur. The performance continued the musical tradition begun with The Miser and blended the words of the playwright with the music of recognized composers. When Arthur’s sensational classic melodrama, said Robinson, was staged with “special effects in the Perils of Pauline fashion, including vaudevillian olio acts–a type of theater rarely seen in New York City.” The company tapped the Brooklyn College Theater Department’s costume-design students to help create period clothes for the play.
Out of the Box's third season, in 2009, consisted of two evenings of one-act plays: Sorry, Wrong Number by Lucille Fletcher, Hello from Bertha by Tennessee Williams, Crawling Arnold by Jules Feiffer, and Hello Out There by William Saroyan.
2010 brought an exciting production of Rain by John Colton and Clemence Randolph, based on the famous short story by W. Somerset Maugham for our fourth season and for the fifth season, in 2011 OOtB offered a staged reading of Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology in Charles Aidman’s adaptation. The sixth season, 2012, brought a change of pace with a more contemporary play, Neil Simon’s comedy 45 Seconds from Broadway.
For the seventh season, OOtB offered two shows for the first time: an enormously successful production of Separate Tables in the fall 2013 and a staged reading of The Hollow Crown in the spring of 2014.
The eighth season production was Brian Friel’s tragi-comedy The Loves of Cass McGuire and in the ninth season, OOtB presented Deep Are the Roots by Arnaud D’Usseau and James Gow.
Scott Robinson was diagnosed with cancer in December 2010 and died April 24, 2011. We lovingly dedicate all our performances to his memory and thank our audiences and supporters for helping us keep Scott’s vision alive.