Lenny at Large: Meet the people in 'Our Town'

Lenny Megliola

There's no delayed reaction from Nora Hussey when she's asked why Wellesley Summer Theatre chose to put on "Our Town."

"Because it reminds us of who we were and what we were like," says the director of Theater and Theater Studies at Wellesley College.

The country could use a good dose of that.

The Thornton Wilder classic will be performed at the prestigious Wellesley College Summer Theatre, in its 11th season, at the black box space starting Wednesday and running throughout the month. Hussey is directing.

She has cast a diverse group of actors to tell Wilder's iconic story of small-town America as the 20th century was about to kick in. The play speaks right to the heart of the citizens of Grovers Corners, N.H., and to a way of life inevitably interrupted by death.

New Yorker magazine critic John Lahr eloquently wrote, "'Our Town' leaves us with a sense of blessing and the unspoken but palpable command to achieve gratitude in what remains of our days on Earth."

Zach Bubolo plays George in the play. "I did an ('Our Town') scene my junior year in high school," says Bolton. "Everyone had to do 'Our Town' in high school."

Bubolo chose Boston College for its "academic reputation, but I didn't know what my major was going to be. Then I realized I didn't like anything more than theater," which he'd done in middle and high school.

"He's an all-around versatile actor," says Hussey. "He seemed perfect for the part."

Heather Boas graduated from Wellesley College in 2003, and has never let go of her college ties. "I knew 'Our Town' was coming. I came from Chicago to do this show. I really wanted to play Emily."

"She's done a lot of work as an undergraduate," says Hussey. "She's very disciplined. Her work ethic is excellent."

"I really like this company. It's great to come back and work with people you worked with in the past," says Boas. "It's like coming home to family. Nora's a great director. She really listens to the actors."

Danny Bolton, another Boston College grad (Class of '88), plays Mr. Webb, Grovers Corners' newspaper editor. Bolton has directed several Walnut Hill School summer productions and has acted and directed steadily in the area. He appeared in Wellesley's highly praised "Bronte," which Bolton calls "one of my favorite roles. Nora's been very good to me. I've worked here many times."

Bolton has also appeared at Merrimack Rep in Lowell and Boston's Lyric Stage Company.

He took an early interest in the stage life. "My parents took us to see a lot of theater. At 8 or 9 I knew what I wanted to do. I was obsessed." He credits his high school drama teacher, Kevin Kynock "my mentor," he says with encouraging and inspiring him.

"After BC," says Bolton, "I dove right into theater. There wasn't much I wouldn't do. There were a lot of non-paying gigs." To put a few coins in his pocket, he did training films.

Playing the newspaper editor, Mr. Webb, Bolton says, "he's very dedicated to two things in his life: the newspaper and his family. He balances them very nicely."

Boas works in the education department at Chicago's Children's Museum. Getting to portray Emily means a lot to her. "She's such an interesting character. She has the most interesting journey. She starts as a 16-year-old, falls in love, gets married and dies."

Bubolo has plunged completely into his theater life. He has his Equity card. "I'm trying to make acting my full-time job." Versatility helps. "I've done musicals," he says. "I took voice lessons at BC." He's also done some modeling.

Bubolo says what really fulfills him is "playing roles that I won't be able to play again until I'm 50."

Tickets for "Our Town," which runs June 4-28 at Wellesley College, 106 Central St., are $25, $10 for students and seniors. To reserve tickets, call the box office 781-283-2000 or go to The theater is wheelchair accessible.