Mauckingbird Theatre Company

Produced by Karen Smyles | October 1, 2010

Mauckingbird Theatre Company produces professional gay-themed theater. It was founded by Peter Reynolds, the Artistic Director and Head of Musical Theater for the Department of Theater at Temple University, and Co-founder, Lindsay Mauck who also serves as Managing Director. Their mission is to explore classic literature and musical genres and to offer audiences high-caliber, affordable productions. They have done just that, with an impressive list of works that varies as widely as the casts. Reynolds, who is gay, felt Philadelphia was ready for something like Mauckingbird and was eager to tell stories from the gay experience, his own. When he first approached the idea of starting the theatre, he was advised by some that a gay/lesbian theatre wouldn't be successful here. But, critics and audiences of every background, have embraced this gender-bending company.

Friday Arts visited Mauckingbird in July as they were preparing for their production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, produced in residence at Temple University. It was the company's 7th production. We spoke with Reynolds and the production's Co-director, Lynne Innerst, who is also on the faculty at Temple. Reynolds was thrilled to be working with Innerst, who has extensive experience as a professional actor and a Master Teacher. Both talked about what it was like working on this production, where the casting goes against the original and takes place in a different era. Neither sees it as unusual and we didn't either, after viewing it for just a few minutes. It was just plain good.

The Midsummer cast is made up of Temple University theater students and a number of professional actors. Some are gay, some are straight and one says he is simply "undeclared." They come from diverse backgrounds and bring various types of experience. But, it was obvious that they were all enjoying what they were doing and the opportunity to work with Peter and Lynne. The production ran August 20th to September 12th at Temple's Randall Theater.

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Behind the Scenes

Mauckingbird shared these fantastic photos, taken
when their production was up and running. Enjoy!

Did You Know?

The switching of gender roles is nothing new, especially to the Philadelphia theater scene. Above is a picture dated 1846, of Charlotte Cushman (left), with her sister Susan in a production of Romeo and Juliet. In 1843, Cushman took on the role of first female manager at the Walnut Theatre here in Philadelphia. Cushman was considered one of America's finest actors and became renowned for playing male characters.

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