PRESS RELEASE: Set the Stage Celebration - May 16

DATE: MARCH 30, 2016
CONTACT: Kate Brandt,
PR CONTACT PHONE: 978-654-7595
BOX OFFICE: 978-654-4678


Set the Stage Celebration – May 16, 2016

Lowell, MA – This spring, Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) will celebrate one of its most successful seasons and look ahead to the future at its annual fundraising event, the 2016 Set the Stage Celebration. The evening will feature musical performances by Benjamin Scheuer, whose performance of The Lion kicked off Sean Daniels’ inaugural year as MRT’s artistic director and broke several box office records. Scheuer will perform a mix of songs from The Lion and others previously unheard by MRT audiences. Joining Scheuer will be Charissa Bertels, whose one-woman musical, My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend, was recently announced as the closing production of MRT’s 2016-17 Season. Bertels is currently on the national tour of the Broadway musical If/Then.

The event, put on by the Friends of MRT, a volunteer group, will be held on Monday, May 16 at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium. Cocktail hour will begin at 6:00 pm with dinner following at 7:30 pm. A three-course dinner will be provided by Two Chefs catering. Silent and live auctions will feature bidding on many unique packages at a variety of price points that fit many budgets.

Artistic Achievement Award
Sean Daniels will present this year’s Artistic Achievement Award to lighting designer Brian J. Lilienthal. Lilienthal designed the lights for 21 MRT productions since he started working with MRT in 2005, including this year’s productions of I and You, Tinker to Evers to Chance, The Realness: a break beat play and the upcoming production of Home of the Brave. He is also a member of the MRT Patriot Program and is scheduled to design lights for four of next season’s productions: 45 Plays for 45 Presidents, Going to See the Kid, The Making of a Great Moment and Women in Jeopardy!  In 1993, MRT began a tradition of recognizing one individual’s extraordinary artistic impact on the organization. Since then, nine individuals have been recognized for their work.

In addition to his work at MRT, Lilienthal has designed lights for over 250 productions around the country at theatres that include Hun¬tington Theatre, Arizona Theatre Co, Mil¬waukee Rep, Cleveland Playhouse, Pasa¬dena Playhouse, South Coast Rep, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Cincinnati Play¬house in the Park, Arden Theatre, and Trin¬ity Rep, among others. Mr. Lilienthal has designed operas for Long Beach Opera; Bard Summerscape; and Portland Opera Repertory Theatre. He received a Los Angeles Ovation Award for lighting design and multiple nominations for Boston’s IRNE Award. He teaches light¬ing design at Tufts University and was the resident lighting designer at National Playwrights Conference, Eugene O’Neill Theatre Cen¬ter from 2007 through 2015.

Daniels says, “Brian was invaluable to me as I started a new chapter at MRT. He is a long-term collaborator of mine – our first show together was almost ten years ago – and he has been working here even longer. His counsel, his humor, and his top-notch work have helped to set the standard for design and collaboration in the building. He was part of the team that transferred I and You Off-Broadway, and was the lighting designer for two out of three of our world premieres this year. When we talk about the family of MRT, and those who will help us take this institution to the next level – Brian is always one of the first names mentioned, and with good reason: he’s a deep part of MRT’s success, past and future. I’m grateful to have him as a friend and a colleague – though let’s hope this award doesn’t totally go to his head….”

Tickets and Sponsorship
More information about the event including online ticket sales and sponsorship benefits are available at Tickets are $100 per person and are available online or by calling the Box Office at 978-654-4678. Sponsorship details are also available online or by contacting Development Manager Jill Meredith Vinci at or 978-654-7559. Proceeds from the silent and live auction, sponsors and ticket sales will benefit MRT’s production and educational programming.

Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) has been Merrimack Valley’s professional theatre company since 1979, and is an integral part of Lowell’s identity as the cultural heart of the region. The company is known for its high production standards and for creating compelling new plays and regional premieres that reflect the lives and emotions of its audiences. MRT is one of just three theatres in Massachusetts that is a member of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT), which has 72 members nationwide.

Merrimack Repertory Theatre
Performance Space: The Nancy L. Donahue Theatre
(In Liberty Hall, adjacent to Lowell Memorial Auditorium)
50 E. Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA 01852
Box Office: 978-654-4678