As we are approaching our 20th anniversary, it’s easy to start reflecting on all the ways we’ve grown, changed over the years, to wax nostalgic for the good old days (not sure why waxing has to be involved but I don’t make the rules).
From our humble roots as a small theatre company looking to fund our first NYC production of Romeo and Juliet…(wait I’m not sure humble works here. We had a ton of egos. Filled with them. Bravado, ego, high artistic ideals). But we were small….So our small roots as a small theatre company… (that’s not very eloquent). Modest roots? (nope)
Ok scratch that last paragraph altogether. We were a theatre company. The New Ensemble (TNE). One of thousands of small Off Off Broadway companies in NYC. (Off Off Broadway got it’s start in Greenwich Village, BTW). The first production of Romeo and Juliet applied some simple, creative and theatrical elements to make it a very accessible and compelling production. The vestiges of that show can still be seen in some of the future creative endeavors of that production team.
As the members of TNE moved on to different cities, careers, started families.. the tour joined up with Bakerloo Theatre Project, and their summer residency in upstate NY. Bakerloo had been around for a few years, and once again the tour funded some fantastic and creative storytelling for several years.
Both The New Ensemble and Bakerloo Theatre Project shared a similar theme: a passion for the text, the written word. For the poetry of Shakespeare, for promoting new playwrights, for small readings of great works of literature. The acting, the directing, the story telling were all top notch, but the focus on the text was primary.
As Bakerloo relocated to Pittsburgh, and many of it’s members moved on to new cities, careers and started families (a theme!) the Greenwich Village Literary Pub Crawl remained. And grew. There are still guides who were members of both The New Ensemble and Bakerloo Theatre Project.
And our passion for the text, the writers and those inspirations remain. Our guides stay involved because we love to recite the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay, Hart Crane, Dylan Thomas…we love turning people on to writers like Djuna Barnes and Dawn Powell. Hearing the rhythms of Kerouac’s prose in pubs he frequented helps bring his work to life- whether you love him or hate him the work resounds.
This passion is what has kept us in business. We’re not just another tour. This is not a job for people who are tired of waiting tables. Our guides have careers, they perform, they teach- they have their lives the lead, but they keep involved with us for the passion and the material.
It shows. It’s why we’re hear 20 years in, it’s why we are one of the most inspiring tours in the city. You’ll hear it in our performances, in our readings, as we bring this great literature alive in one of the greatest cities in the world.
And we’ll have a drink with you while we do it.
Hope to see you soon. Thanks for your support. See you on the tour! #getlitwithus