If one person could literally and figuratively be on top of the world, then Jacques Lamarre has a great likelihood of being at the apex of the mountain holding the flag. He has a job he loves as the Manager of Communications and Special Projects at the trendy and topical Mark Twain House and Museum that just celebrated “Mark My Words,” at New Haven’s Woolsey Hall at Yale University. The conversation with bestselling authors David Baldacci, John Grisham and Jodi Picoult raised $125,000 for the house and museum.
Two Saturdays ago, he wed Arthur Galinat, an international student adviser at the University of Connecticut in charge of immigration compliance. They met six years ago online through Yahoo personals and their Halloween themed wedding took place at the Mark Twain House and Museum, attended by all the theater folks he met at his past careers as publicity representative for the Hartford Stage, Yale Repertory Theatre, Yale School of Drama and TheaterWorks of Hartford.
While involved in the “crazy, exhausting environment of theater,” Lamarre met Jeffery Roberson, who performs as an international drag cabaret chanteuse. Roberson was at the Hartford Stage in 2003 as Varla Jean Merman in “The Mystery of Irma Vep” and the two men connected comically. Roberson asked him to help him write shows for Varla jean and they have just completed number eight as well as a full length film “Varla Jean and the Mushroomheads,” about her sagging cabaret career that she tries to invigorate by doing a television show for children. Filmed in New Orleans, the movie should be released next year.
Working with Roberson on the first show “The Girl with the Pearl Necklace” all the way to their latest venture “The Book of Merman,” has been “exciting and wonderful.” The shows have been staged at Joe’s Pub in New York City, in Provincetown on Cape Cod, in major cities across the United States, all the way to the Sydney Opera House in Australia.
Prior to this, Lamarre referred to himself as “The Accidental Playwright” and “The Incidental Playwright,” not making a living at it but enjoying it and experiencing a lot of luck. He wrote a mystery play in sixth grade he was really proud of and wrote some scripts while working as a teenager at a summer theater in Milford, New Hampshire, the most successful of which was “Rapunzel.”
Even when Lamarre was studying to be a priest at a Catholic seminary in Rome, he found time to write skits for his classmates, a pastime that was not always appreciated. He was accused of “going too far and being irreverent.” Back in Hartford, he began his career in p.r. and didn’t write again until he penned a script for Michael Wilson and Joanne Woodward to use for a Connecticut Critics Circle awards ceremony.
Since then the writing bug has bitten fiercely and continues with Lamarre sending off scripts and short stories to contests and festivals with some amazing results. On Friday, November 11 at 7:30 p.m., his play “The Rub,” about parents confronting their adult son about his secret obsession, will be presented at the Buttonwood Tree, 605 Main Street, Middletown. This is a once a year showcase of plays by a group of playwrights, the Floating Theater of Middletown, who meet throughout the year for support and literary feedback.
Two days later, on Sunday, November 13 at 3 p.m., Hartford Opera Theater will present “New in November” at Billings Forge, Broad Street, Hartford, featuring six new short operas. “The Family Plan” by Philip Martin is based on a play by Lamarre, written for the New Mexico Fusion Theater’s annual contest. With a theme of tangled webs, his play, one of 21 semi-finalists in a field of several hundred, concerns a young Italian-American couple planning a wedding reception seating chart to hilarious results. For tickets ($10), go online to www.hartfordoperatheater.com.
As if that weren’t enough to brag about, from Friday, November 18 to Saturday, December 10, weekends, the Hole in the Wall Theater, 116 Main Street, New Britain will offer four world premiere one-act comedies by the man of the hour, “Jacques Lamarre Has Gone Too Far.” The company which has been producing works for four decades is community theater at “the cutting edge, doing really funky stuff,” according to the playwright. The quartet of plays look at life in America today as a social and comic commentary on our inability to interact politely, everywhere from a dog park to Disneyland. For tickets ($20, students and seniors $12), call 860-229-3049 or online at www.hitw.org. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sundays, November 27 and December 4 at 2 p. m.
With pen in hand, and inspiration on his shoulder thanks to his proximity to Mark Twain’s ghost, Jacques Lamarre is securely at the top of his literary world, sure to look down and toss his witty observations on unsuspecting audiences to their amusement and delight.