Founded in the spring of 1985 by Lauren Singer '86, Next Act began as a small but dedicated musical theater group composed of Next House residents. Under Lauren's direction, Next Act performed "Anything Goes" as its debut production, followed by "The Pajama Game" in the spring of 1986. Upon her graduation, Lauren passed the Director's Hat to Ivan Deutsch '87 who followed in her footsteps by directing the Spring 1987 production of "Sweet Charity". Since that time, each Next Act director has continued the tradition of passing along the Director's Hat in this manner.
Over the years, Next Act has grown and expanded from its humble beginnings. In the early days, there was no stage, no curtain, and no professional lighting. Costumes and props were the personal belongings of the cast and crew. Today, Nactors are furnished with Next Act's own collection of props and costumes, and they perform upon a hand-crafted, student-constructed stage illuminated by professional stage lighting. In the weeks leading up to Next Act each spring, Next House's George Hosker TFL (Tastefully Furnished Lounge) is transformed into a fully functional theatre space with seating for an audience of approximately two hundred.
Next Act productions are completely produced, directed, staffed, and performed by MIT undergraduates. Members of the MIT community have the opportunity to participate in all aspects of the show as a member of the production staff, on-stage as a performer, or as a member of our pit orchestra. As this is a community-building project, all students who audition are guaranteed a part in the show, regardless of experience. Consequently, many students who would not otherwise have joined a theatre group on campus are given the opportunity to discover the fun and rewarding experience of taking part in a theatrical production. Although Next Act has undergone significant technical changes and improvements over the years, the dedication and enthusiasm which students bring to Next Act each spring has remained unchanged.
The Popping of the Director's Hat
Each performance of Next Act kicks off with the ceremonial popping of the Director's Hat. At the conclusion of the final performance, the Director turns over the hat to his/her successor who pops it for the first time to signify the end of yet another season.
Some years, Next Act members put on Cabaret in the fall. Vocalists and musicians perform songs, both from musical theater and not.
We hope you'll join us at our next one for delicious food, great company, and beautiful music!