Merrimack Repertory Theatre Blog



An illuminating and entertaining portrait of the great American poet Robert Frost, This Verse Business, by A.M Dolan, directed by Gus Kaikkonen, at Merrimack Repertory Theater, October 20 – November 13, 2011. Told in Frost’s folksy yet penetrating style, this one-man play is full of poetry, wit and “promises to keep.” Tickets are on sale now and available online at or by calling 978.654.4MRT.

This Verse Business features Tony nominated and Emmy Award-winning actor Gordon Clapp (Robert Frost) in his first appearance on Merrimack Repertory Theatre’s stage. His performance on NYPD Blue as Detective Greg Medavoy won Clapp a 1998 Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. He played instigator Dave Moss in the 2005 Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross. He has also been seen in guest roles on shows such as Damages, Deadwood, Cold Case, Without a Trace and HBO’s Taking Chance. His film appearances include Flags of Our Fathers, The Game Plan and The Grind.

Sharing the work of Robert Frost on stage has been a long-time goal of Gordon Clapp. “I grew up in the White Mountains of New Hampshire,” says Clapp. “When I went away to school in Connecticut I took Robert Frost with me and he brought me home. Over thirty years ago I promised myself to bring him back to life on stage. When I stumbled upon Andy Dolan’s wonderful script I knew the time had come. It will be particularly gratifying to perform the piece in Lowell, one town up river from Lawrence where Frost spent most of his boyhood. I look forward to working at Merrimack Rep. I’ve heard glowing reports from former company members and patrons alike. And I hope to meet many Frostaceans — my affectionate name for those who knew or crossed paths with Frost at some point in their lives.”

The creative team features Gus Kaikkonen (Director and Scenic Designer), Rob Shearin (Scenic Assistant), Lee Viliesis (Costume Designer), John Eckert (Lighting Designer), and Jason Weber (Sound Designer).

“I am thrilled that Merrimack Rep has chosen to produce my play this season,” says A.M. Dolan, who appeared in The Front Page at MRT in 2000. “I never expected to return to MRT as a playwright, but I’m more than delighted to leave the on-stage work this time to the incredibly talented Gordon Clapp. Not only does he conjure up Frost as the poet, but the wickedly witty platform performer as well. He’s amazing.”

“When I first read Andy Dolan’s This Verse Business, it jumped off the page” explains Director and Scenic Designer Gus Kaikkonen. “Andy captures Robert Frost’s brilliance, wit and edge. Frost’s wily New England sensibility is the perfect antidote to our current national malaise. Gordon Clapp is deservedly a much awarded, world-class actor, who grew up in northern New Hampshire idolizing Robert Frost. His nuanced performance is not only authentic but hilarious.”

A. M. Dolan is delighted to return to MRT, this time in the role of playwright, where in 2000 he appeared as Pincus in The Front Page and where he watched Tom Jones sing “It’s Not Unusual” from the wings of the Memorial Auditorium stage while waiting for his last entrance in Liberty Hall. His plays are Five Live Poets (2001 Somerville Arts Council Artist Fellowship), In Country Heaven (2004 Falmouth Academy production), and This Verse Business (2010 world premiere at Peterborough Players in New Hampshire, 2010 Kaplan Prize, Eventide Arts Festival). He has acted with the Old Globe Theatre, Huntington Theatre Company, the Texas Shakespeare Festival, Grand Canyon Shakespeare Festival, Barnstormers Theatre, Bar Harbor Theatre, Wellfleet Harbor Actor’s Theatre, Theatre at Monmouth, Payomet Performing Arts Festival, Old Lyric Rep, New Rep, New Century, and Stoneham Theatres, among others.

Merrimack Repertory Theater’s 2011-2012 season is sponsored by Lowell Cooperative Bank. This Verse Business is sponsored by Courier, with additional support from WGBH. Merrimack Repertory Theatre is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.


Gordon Clapp


(Robert Frost) Merrimack Repertory Theatre: debut. Broadway: Glengarry Glen Ross. Off Broadway: Blood from a Stone with Ethan Hawke, The New Group. Regional: Measure for Measure, Peterborough Players. Television: 12 Seasons as Detective Greg Medavoy on NYPD Blue, Cheers, Night Court, CSI, Monk, Deadwood, Without a Trace, Damages. Film: Flags of Our Fathers, The Game Plan, Eight Men Out, Matewan. Awards: Emmy Award for NYPD Blue, Tony Award Nominee, Theatre World Award and Drama Desk Award for Glengarry Glen Ross. Note: Mr. Clapp would like to thank his son Billy and his love Elisabeth for their patience with his nomadic tendencies of late.

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1 Comment so far
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Here is my account of Meeting Robert Frost. I trust that Gordon Clapp can bring Frost to life on your stage.

Monty Joynes Boone, NC

Comment by candidmentor

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