Love Jerry included in New York Musical Theatre Festival

Posted on September 18, 2008

I did several jumps for joy recently when I found out that Love Jerry, which premiered at AE in 2006, is going to be included in this year's New York Musical Theatre Festival. Everyone at Actor's Express is proud of Megan Gogerty, the show's brilliant writer/composer.

But it's not a proud occasion for AE just because a show we premiered is moving on to wider attention. It's a singular feeling because of the show itself.

You see, Love Jerry remains one of the crowning achievements of this theatre. When it premiered here in 2006, it opened up dialogue and awareness of the dangers and horrors when a family becomes entangled in the cycle of sexual abuse.

Some protesters brought noteriety to the production, though from my outsider's perspective (I didn't work for AE at the time), the ensuing controversy distracted from the enormous good done by the show. AE partnered with a number of service organizations in the community who offer services and outreach to victims of abuse and hosted post-show discussions after every performance. Sometimes the discussion lasted longer than the play. And at almost every single one of these productions, an audience member would approach a representative from one of the organizations and seek their services. In most cases, this was the first time some of these adults had ever admitted or confronted the abuse they had suffered as children.

So Love Jerry was more than a beautiful show in AE's production history or a feather in our cap. It was an important milestone that illustrated in very real ways the power that theatre has to change lives. Not just make an audience member feel good or entertained, but to really change lives and offer healing.

I am so proud to be the Artistic Director of the theatre that first produced Love Jerry. And I hope everyone in the AE family will join me in wishing Megan Gogerty and the show much success at NYMF.