Caught in the Act

Wheelock Family Theatre Salutes Sue Kosoff

By Jared Bowen

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 carnival

Carnival at the Wheelock Family Theatre, with Kevin Fennesy and Steve Aveson

BOSTON — Parting, especially in the uber emotional and dramatic confines of the theater, truly is “such sweet sorrow.” So the staff and vast alumnae of Boston’s Wheelock Family Theatre will attest to tonight as they bid farewell and happy retirement to founder and producer Susan Kosoff. 

For 32 years, Kosoff has guided Wheelock and its extensive repertoire of professional productions. It’s a legacy that will be honored at a gala benefit: “A Salute to the Wonderful Wizard of Wheelock Family Theatre.” Funds raised will go toward the theater’s educational programs, outreach and providing free and subsidized tickets to young patrons.
 
 mattress
Once Upon a Mattress at the Wheelock Family Theatre, with Bobbie Stenbach, Larry Coen, Monica Tosches and Byron Darden

With Sue and her fellow co-founders at the helm, Wheelock not only flourished, it served as the pioneer for programs, issues and access we take for granted today. The theater was among the first in the country to employ colorblind casting—bringing to its stage an African American Superman, an Asian Cinderella and a Latina Peter Pan. It staged classics like “The Sound of Music” and “Charlotte’s Web” alongside shows dealing with divorce, racism and homophobia. The Wheelock was also among the first theaters in the country to audio-describe productions for blind patrons and to employ open caption for the hearing impaired.
 
A host of fame-fated kids have starred in Wheelock productions, including a young Matt Damon, Joey McIntyre, Julia Jones of the “Twilight” films and Katherine Doherty, who went straight from the Wheelock stage to the literal embrace of Catherine Zeta-Jones in “A Little Night Music” on Broadway.
 
Sue is responsible for much of what the Wheelock has achieved. A teacher, friend and absolute sweetheart, she inspired thousands during her long and impressive career. It’s no surprise that Wheelock Family Theatre is having trouble letting go. Parting, more than sorrow, sometimes just hurts.

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About the Author
Jared Bowen Jared Bowen
Jared Bowen is WGBH’s Emmy Award-winning Executive Editor and Host for Arts. 

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