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Monthly Notes from 21ten's Artistic Director Ted Rooney


As I mentioned in the last newsletter, there is so much going on at 21ten that it’s hard to pick what to highlight.

The obvious ONE is our world premiere of Taking Care Of Animals that opens next week. I think Jerrod’s (Jordahl) play is going to be huge for 21ten and something special for Portland theater…But I don’t ‘know’ this. Will it be as funny and moving as it was to me when I first read it? It pushes conventions - but does it go too far? The story is unique and takes risks - but in a good way? Will it even work or will it fall flat on its face? Will it not actually be as fresh and surprising to audiences as it was to me when Alex (Hurt) first handed it to me.  Time will tell. But to me this quirky story WITH HEART is the play that needed to be done right now. Never before have I felt that so clearly. And I love that it’s character driven as opposed to all message-ey. Intrigued?

Here are my stabs at briefly describing each of the four characters. Mine is an asshole with a DEEPLY BURIED heart. Illya’s (deTorres) is a dude dying to do the right thing.  Annie’s (Trevisan - from 52 Pick-Up) is the abused rising like a phoenix from the ashes. Michael’s (Heidingsfelder) a simple soul who brilliantly adapts. I am so curious how you are going to react to this new story!!!

There is one more thing on the horizon I am excited to tell you about... But for now it will have to remain a mystery. “What the hell is this thing Ted is talking about?” Look for the announcement of the launch date and come find out. We want to have a huge party to celebrate going live WITH THIS. 

For now, I’m afraid I can’t say anything more. “Oh such a mystery! What could this be? I’m sure it is just bullshit talk! But still, I am curious! I want to be there on the day when this mystery is revealed!” Well, good.

One way or another, I hope to see you soon at 21ten. For Taking Care of Animals. Or at our 6 PM cocktail hour this Friday, or AT our movie night this Sunday evening (Fargo). Or to our next Sunday reading (soon to be announced). Also, it won’t be long ‘til our January production of Caryl Churchill’s A Number GOES LIVE...directed by Mike O’Connell and starring Alex Hurt and Bruce Burkhartsmeier.

SEE YA. Ted.



I think everyone knows how excited I am about 21ten’s BareBones Productions (Look for updates on performances around the city and state and expect our next BareBones show to be christened soon). But I am uncertain the word has yet spread of the remarkable season we have for our main stage. I feel so fortunate to have had a couple projects simply fall into our lap. Shows that normally might’ve been done on a much larger stage are included in 21ten’s 40 seat house season. Remarkable.


Opening November 17th, we have our first world premiere in Taking Care Of Animals. It’s an off-beat, dark, and funny play - Think Coen Brothers. New York Playwright Jerrod Jordahl has taken a shining to us, choosing 21ten as the theater to first tell his wonderful story. Jerrod will be collaborating with us during the rehearsal process, and he and his wife will be flying in for opening. It is such an honor to have him here with his good friend Alex Hurt directing.


In January, we are giving Portland its first full production of Caryl Churchill's A Number. This with two of Portland‘s top actors (Bruce Burkhartsmeier and Alex Hurt) and with longtime Portland actor, teacher, and director Mike O’Connell at the helm. I just can’t get over those two things happening here in only our second season.

To top it off, I have recently been able to take on three part-time employees to help get this place shipshape and running smoothly. Along with several dedicated volunteers 21ten is growing into a wonderful team! And we hope to soon be taking on a part time managing director... knock on wood.


It seems that my hope of using the space to build community by way of great stories being told in an intimate environment by great storytellers may be happening sooner than imagined.


I am also very grateful to have Corrib Theatre again in our space in March. And The Actor's Conservatory (TAC) is bringing their production of Hamlet in April. 


And finally, I am hoping we haven’t bit off more than we can chew – and I am slightly terrified – but we are going to take a stab at Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya in May. Chris Connor, our director, thinks we are ready….

- Ted

Castaway Graduation Photo.jpeg
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