Special Events

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Panel Discussion: Women’s Rights, Prohibition, and the Fall of Fatty

Thursday, March 1, 2018 

Free, open to the public
After the 7:30pm performance of Lost Laughs:
The Slapstick Tragedy of Fatty Arbuckle

In the Nancy L. Donahue Theatre at Liberty Hall
Reservation not required

Drs. Julie Nash and Robert Forrant and actress Kristen Mengelkoch will join moderator Bonnie J. Butkas for a panel discussion of the historical context of Lost Laughs including the growing fight over women’s rights, Prohibition, the rise of yellow journalism, and more. Kristen Mengelkoch will share her experience creating the roles of Virginia Rappe, Buster Keaton and more.

Dr. Julie Nash is the Vice Provost for Student Success and Associate Professor at UML. Her expertise is in 18th & 19th century British Literature, The British Novel and Women Writers. Her research interests include Student Success and Retention in Higher Education, Servants in Literature, Literature of the Industrial Revolution, Literature of Industrial Lowell, Maria Edgeworth, Elizabeth Gaskell, Women’s Literature. She is vice provost for student success, where she oversees retention and student success, curriculum, and accreditation. Prior to serving as vice provost, Dr. Nash served as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies in the College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, as Honors Director, and as Gender Studies Director.

Dr. Robert Forrant is a Distinguished University Professor, Co-Director and Senior Research Fellow at UML in the College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. His research interests include 19th and 20th century U.S. history; labor history; immigration history; Lowell and Lawrence, MA history; and Great Depression and New Deal. He is the recipient of the Teaching Excellence Award (2016) and The President’s Award for Public Service (1998). He is partnering with MRT to provide deeper historical context for members of MRT’s Cohort Club and its general audience.

Kristen Mengelkoch plays the role of Virginia Rappe, Buster Keaton and many more characters in MRT’s production of Lost Laughs… She recently appeared in the First National Tour of the Tony Award winning musical A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, and has performed Off-Broadway in NEWSical the Musical  and multiple editions of Forbidden Broadway (appearing on the Original Cast Recording of FB Goes to Rehab). Regionally she has performed at Geva Theatre Center, Gateway Playhouse, Moonlight Stage, North Coast Repertory Theatre, The Theatre in Old Town (Miracle Theatre Productions), The Welk Theatre and Southern Colorado Repertory Theatre. Television: Veronica Mars (Co-Star). From 2007-2009, Kristen was the co-founder/co-producer of Ampersand Theatre Company in New York City. Kristen is a graduate of San Diego State University’s Master of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre program.

Bonnie J. Butkas (Executive Director, MRT)  joins MRT from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), where she served as Senior Director of Foundation Relations. She has led panel and community discussions around funding, race and theatre, organizational change, and political action. At RIT, she secured the university’s first significant gifts from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Henry Luce Foundation. She was the Director of Development at Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, New York, where she led five years of unprecedented growth in the company’s contributed income including a successful $10 million capital campaign to renovate Geva’s building and grow the endowment. Ms. Butkas has also served as the Director of External Relations at the York Theatre Company, the Director of Development and Communications at TADA! Youth Theatre, Directing Assistant of The Lion King on Broadway, and the co-founder of Lexington Dance Collective. She has volunteered with the Association of Fundraising Professionals of Genesee Valley, Girl Scouts of Western New York, and the YWCA of Rochester & Monroe County.

This program is funded in part by Mass Humanities.


MRT's 39th Anniversary Gala Honoring Niki Tsongas

Saturday, June 2, 2018 - 6:00pm

UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center

50 Warren Street | Lowell, MA

Join the Friends of MRT for this signature event honoring Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, all in support of MRT's educational programming.

The event will feature:

  • Cocktails
  • Seated Dinner
  • Silent and Live Auctions
  • Entertainment

Gala Co-Chairs
Ann Kazer and Tom Larkin
Honorary Gala Chair
Nancy L. Donahue

If you would like to attend the auction, please contact:

Marianna Wood | marianna.wood@mrt.org | 978-654-7579
Nick Kane | nick.kane@mrt.org | 978-654-7559
Purchase Your Ticket to This Event Online

Please indicate your menu preference between Beef, Fish, and Vegetarian. We are happy to accomodate any special dietary needs. Please call us and we can arrange a meal tailored just for you!