Why Boston Court is Important to Me – A response from former Production Manager, Liza Tognazzini
Unless you have worked within the walls of the building at 70 N Mentor in Pasadena, you can only speculate that the great things you hear about it are even remotely true. If you follow their facebook or twitter feeds, or connect with any of the staff on social networking sites, you see the posts about fun things like Grilled Cheese Extravaganza, cupcakes for any and all celebrations, snack cupboards, Canadian jokes, and guitar hero parties on stage. But don’t mistake, there is no question that real work also happens in this building.
Let me take a moment to mention that I am writing this letter completely unsolicited. No one asked me to recount my affection for the organization as a means of asking for your hard earned money. I read Brian’s letter this morning when it arrived in my inbox, and admired the personal touch that it offered. It made me think fondly of the time that I spent at Boston Court, and what a gem the organization is.
I was the Production Manager at Boston Court for three years. During that time, I not only worked with some of the most talented individuals in Los Angeles theater, I became friends with many of them. I was given the rare and unique opportunity to produce work that I believed in, that I was intensely proud of, even if I didn’t always know how audiences would respond. I had heard, in college, that you need to take risks in theatre, to be bold and make strong choices, but I didn’t really understand what that meant, truly, until I landed in Pasadena and got to work with these exceptional artists. I can tell you that the passion that these artists have for their work, and their determination to make magic happen on pennies and peanuts is truly extraordinary. I can’t tell you how many countless (sleepless) nights I spent with dedicated designers and directors and actors, true artisans, working towards producing a play that lit the fire in their hearts and reminded them what they love (and sometimes hate) about live theatre. I can say with certainty that there is not one artist that I worked with in that time that ever got paid close to what they were worth; many of them gave up higher paying, more lucrative jobs in favor of doing work that was creatively fulfilling on our stage.
Boston Court was my Eden- a little slice of paradise, a beautiful garden full of budding creative spirit and determination. I made the heart wrenching decision earlier this year to move on, to pursue new opportunities for my own career. I cannot tell you how much I miss Boston Court, how much I truly miss each individual that came to work every day, each designer and actor that came through those doors and emotionally and creatively poured their soul into their work. While I am fortunate to have found a great job with Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about what it meant to be part of the Boston Court family. No job will ever compare.
So, in response to Brian’s letter, I pledge to donate $150 (Michael, the cheque is in the mail.) I know that not everyone has the money at this time of year. And if you’re a regular theatre supporter, Boston Court is certainly not the only organization asking for your hard earned dollars. But trust me, I know first hand that this is an organization that truly values each and every penny that comes in and out.