Underground Railway Theater

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Underground Railway Theater creates live performance in the activist and collaborative spirit of its namesake. Through interdisciplinary inquiry and partnership, URT creates accessible theater of great beauty and social content–theater that challenges and delights, informs and celebrates. Through its productions and a constellation of education and outreach programs, URT activates commitments to cultivating local artists of all ages and to creating new work. Founded in Oberlin, Ohio, one of the stops on the Underground Railroad, URT toured nationally for thirty years before becoming a resident company at CST. URT has represented Massachusetts at over a dozen U.S. theater festivals and also in France, Canada, Spain, Taiwan, Greece, and Hong Kong.  URT has been comissioned by the National Institutes of Health, Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Mass Humanities. Awards for theater and public education include those from Our Place Theater Project, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Cambridge Peace Commission. The company has been cited for excellence by The Boston Globe and The Los Angeles Times.

Produced Shows
Photo: A. R. Sinclair Photography. Design: Bird Design.

A Disappearing Number

The legendary collaboration of Ramanujan and G.H. Hardy inspires a passionate love story set in the Indian diaspora.

Alexander Cook, Andrew Tung, Lindsy McWhorter, and Yavni-Bar Yam in ARABIAN NIGHTS. Photo: A.R. Sinclair Photography.

Arabian Nights

Enter ancient Persia, and be transformed by the power of storytelling. The Nora Theatre Company and Underground Railway Theater revive their award-winning production (2012 Independent Reviewers of New England Awards for Best Ensemble, Best Puppetry, Best Costumes, and Best Director) of Dominic Cooke’s Arabian Nights.

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Bedlam’s Saint Joan

Four actors perform all 24 roles in Bedlam’s production of Saint Joan, declared “Irresistible! Ferocious!” and “A force of nature!” by the New York Times and a Top Ten Play of 2013 by Time magazine.

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Mr g

Mr g creates time, space, matter, a few basic laws of physics. These give birth to stars, planets… but intelligent life? The Creator’s plans go awry when a mysterious rival questions the nature of free will. Together, we experience the birth and fate of Mr g’s favorite universe: ours.

Brundibar & But the Giraffe. Image by Sandra Cohen/Bird Graphics.

Brundibar & But the Giraffe!

A fairytale opera for the entire family, Brundibar celebrates the triumph of the helpless over tyranny and the transformative power of art.

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Sila

Sila illuminates the competing interests shaping the future of the local Inuit population and of our planet.

Alexander Cook, Andrew Tung, Lindsy McWhorter, and Yavni-Bar Yam in ARABIAN NIGHTS. Photo: A.R. Sinclair Photography.

Arabian Nights (2013)

Enter ancient Persia, and be transformed by the power of storytelling.

David DeBeck, Angie Jepson, and Debra Wise in Sharr White's THE OTHER PLACE. Produced by The Nora Theatre Company and Underground Railway Theater. Photo: A.R. Sinclair Photography.

The Other Place

Renowned neurologist Juliana Smithton’s life is unraveling: her husband is leaving her and a betrayal has led to an estrangement from her daughter – all while Juliana is in the midst of a medical crisis.

Stacy Fischer in DISTRACTED. Photo: A.R. Sinclair Photography.

Distracted

Mama is meditating. Her cell phone rings, waking Jesse up. He can’t sit still, swears like a truck driver and is in trouble at school. His teacher says “Attention Deficit Disorder”. His doctor blames environmental toxins. Dad says, “He’s just a boy!” Experts are consulted. Ritalin is prescribed. Can a pill solve all of his […]

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The How and The Why

On the eve of a national conference Zelda (Underground Railway Theater Artistic Director, Debra Wise), an acclaimed evolutionary biologist, is visited by Rachel, an ambitious graduate student. The two women share a zeal for science, a bold and contrarian approach to the male-dominated field, and much more. During the course of the visit, the young […]

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Car Talk: The Musical!!!

A new musical comedy inspired by the legendary National Public Radio show! Our hero – the overweight, always-late invertebrate Rusty Fenders – has racked up as many miles as his ‘93 KIA. Attempting to salvage happiness from the junkyard of his life, he collides with his ruthless boss Beaulah Gasket, his unrequited office romance Sheila, […]

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Einstein’s Dreams

Einstein’s Dreams is wry and wild, funny and intellectually stimulating, provocative and surprisingly moving. Alan Lightman’s best-selling novel has inspired dozens of theatrical productions – Savick’s, premiered by Underground Railway Theater in 2007, is Lightman’s favorite. Set in Switzerland, 1905, the play portrays Einstein, a modest patent clerk in a new marriage, struggling to make […]

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Alice’s Adventures Underground

Alice’s Adventures Underground, an adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s classic works, takes adults and children down rabbit holes and through mirrors into worlds seen best when looked at upside down. Written by Underground Railway Theater Artistic Director Debra Wise in collaboration with the company, and directed by Dev Luthra, with music by Roger Miller and Evan […]

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QED

An Evening With Richard Feynman Nobel Prize Winning Physicist, brilliant and controversial theorist, accomplished juggler, prankster, safecraker, and lover of Tuvan Throat Singing.

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Ti-Jean and His Brothers

Underground Railway Theater and Playwrights’ Theatre at Boston University bring the powerful folk parable, Ti-Jean & His Brothers, to Cambridge. A Caribbean family is in crisis: three brothers are pulled into a dangerous game with the Devil in this fanciful, dark, and ultimately hopeful story of battling despair through fierce humor and love. Ti-Jean & […]

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The Fever Chart

Three dream plays inspired by true events. An Israeli soldier meets a mysterious Palestinian woman in the Rafah Zoo. A Palestinian father reveals to a young Israeli their shared history. A bookish Iraqi bird collector tells of his conscription into Saddam’s army. Through magic realism and surprising humor, The Fever Chart: Three Visions of the […]

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Truth Values (2010)

Following sold-out runs in New York and San Francisco as well as a critically acclaimed run at Central Square Theater last year, Catalyst Collaborative@MIT welcomes back Gioia De Cari’s one-woman tour-de-force, Truth Values: One Girl’s Romp Through MIT’s Male Math Maze. Nominated for Best Solo Performance of 2009 by the Independent Reviewers of New England […]

The cast of ARABIAN NIGHTS. Photo: A.R. Sinclair Photography.

Arabian Nights (2011)

Enter ancient Persia, and be transformed by the power of storytelling. King Shahrayar, after being driven mad by his first wife’s infidelity, brands all women unfaithful. He takes a new bride every night, until he meets Shahrazad, who enchants him with magical tales spanning the globe, winning his love and respect in the process. Based […]

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Yesterday Happened: Remembering H.M.

At the age of 27, Henry Molaison became frozen in time. After experimental brain surgery, H.M. (as he was known to the scientific community) was unable to form new memories. His personal tragedy became neuroscience’s golden opportunity, contributing more to our understanding of the brain than had been learned in the previous 100 years. A […]

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From Orchids to Octopi: An Evolutionary Love Story

Catalyst Collaborative@MIT – Underground Railway Theater’s science theater initiative with MIT – presents this World Premiere by award-winning playwright Melinda Lopez, commissioned by the National Institutes of Health to celebrate the 150th anniversary of “On the Origin of Species.” Surprises erupt as a muralist’s work is derailed by hallucinations, pregnancy, and dinosaurs in this witty […]

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Harriet Jacobs

A collaboration between Underground Railway Theater and The Providence Black Repertory Company, the East Coast Premiere of Harriet Jacobs by Lydia R. Diamond brings Harriet Jacobs’ astonishing true story, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl to the stage. The “immensely sophisticated” play about human oppression and how certain people rise above it allows […]

Debra Wise & Michael Forden Walker in TRU GRACE: A HOLIDAY MEMOIR. Photo: Elizabeth Stewart/Libberding Photography.

Tru Grace: Holiday Memoirs

Underground Railway Theater pairs two heartwarming journeys into the foibles of the holiday season. Joyful, whimsical, and rich with humor, both are told from the point of view of children – one a girl, one a boy – and set in the ’30′s – one in the Bronx, one in Alabama. In A Christmas Memory, […]