As a well-known arts organization in Vermont’s Chittenden County prepares to raise the curtain on its latest production, it is also introducing audiences to its new executive director.
The Lyric Theatre Company is currently in final rehearsals for “A Christmas Story: the Musical.” Based on the classic movie, the musical comedy tells the story of Ralphie and his holiday hopes for a B.B. gun.
Yes, that tacky leg lamp from the movie plays a key role, too.
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“Musical theater is super popular right now,” observed Jose Rincon, the new executive director for the 43-year-old community theatre institution in the Burlington area.
Rincon is back in his native Vermont from a job with a New York City symphony and hoping to further raise the non-profit’s profile, which sees several hundred volunteers sharing their talents to stage each of its splashy shows.
Those volunteers build sets, sew costumes, run lighting, perform, and handle all the other responsibilities required for theater productions.
“In order for us to keep sustaining into our next 50 years, we need to be bringing new people into the fold and training people, so we want to find ways to pass that knowledge along and keep the family growing,” Rincon told necn.
Rincon replaces Syndi Zook, Lyric’s longtime leader.
This past spring, Zook announced she would step down this fall and seek fresh challenges, after helping the organization’s new executive director transition into the role.
The outgoing executive director said in late March that her proudest accomplishment was spearheading a capital campaign to help Lyric purchase a new building where it can prepare for its productions and teach theater skills such as set construction.
"What our new home really enables us to do is to pass that love of theater and those important theater skills onto the next generation," Zook said on March 31. "And Lyric is well-positioned to be a major part of the theater scene in northern Vermont for many years to come."
Rincon, who described himself as “cheerleader-in-chief” for Lyric will hear those cheers when “A Christmas Story: the Musical” opens Thursday night. It runs through Sunday night at downtown Burlington’s landmark Flynn Center for the Performing Arts.
Tickets for the performances are still available through the Flynn box office.