Two Takoma Park residents have launched a new nonprofit theater group and announced the inaugural production of the company.
Co-directors Steve Quintilian and Julie Lloyd started Encore Theater Company and will produce “Next to Normal,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning musical as the group’s premier production.
The two met at the Theatre Lab’s Honors Acting Conservatory, where they were partners in their final project before graduating in 2018, prior to forming the new company.
“One issue that we noticed is Takoma Park is a really vibrant community that has lots of music and art, but there’s no theater happening in Takoma,” said Quintilian. “We think a vibrant community deserves a substantive theater.
“Our name is Encore Theater Company,” he continued, “and part of what that means to us is maybe you are an actor who came back after years off the stage and you’re trying to get started in a career and you didn’t take a linear path. You didn’t graduate from Catholic or have a theater degree, but you really want to do real, substantive theater—it’s the ‘encore’ career kind of idea.”
“Next to Normal,” by Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt, features a pop/rock score and is the story of a family struggling as a mother suffers from worsening bipolar disorder. It was the recipient of three Tony Awards in 2009 after being developed locally in 2008.
Following its Broadway opening in 2009, the musical was nominated for 11 Tonys and won the 2010 Pulitzer for best drama.
ETC will hold open auditions for “Next to Normal” on March 15 from 2–7 p.m. at Living and Growing, 8777 First Ave. in Silver Spring. The production will open for six performances in August 2020 at Seekers Church at 276 Carroll Ave. in Takoma Park. Interested actors can sign up for a time slot and view a casting breakdown on the group’s website.
“We are partnering with Living and Growing, a Silver Spring therapy practice, to provide prep for the actors, and resources and talkbacks for the audiences,” wrote Quintilian in a follow-up email. “Since ‘Next to Normal’ deals with mental illness, we think it’s important to provide resources for our artists and the community because of the sensitive material.”
“Incognito” will be the company’s second production. It will run in February 2021, with a venue and open auditions to be announced later.
The company’s first season will be financed by donations and ticket sales, Quintilian wrote.
“We are fiscally sponsored through Fractured Atlas, so people can make tax-deductible donations to support our projects through that organization. There are a number of grants we will be eligible for in our second season and beyond,” he added.
“There’s a lot of artists, and everybody is looking for opportunities and I feel like, even with as many theaters as there are, there are not enough opportunities for actors to do what they love,” Quintilian said. “So this is another opportunity to do something meaningful.”
Graphic, with art by Ariel Messeca, courtesy Encore Theater Company