Musical Theater Alumna Alexis Scheer Receives Alumni Entrepreneurial Grant
Alexis Scheer (B.F.A. '14, musical theater) describes her playwriting as brazenly millennial and fiercely feminist, exploring subjects through a Latinx lens. As the producing artistic director and founder of the Boston-based Off the Grid Theatre Company, Scheer not only intends to bring underrepresented stories to the theater, but also hopes that her work will resonate with a millennial audience. “As [millennials] grew up, technology was exploding at a rate that no one could keep up with. We speak a certain way and we have a different sense of humor. In a lot of areas of life, we’re the least repressed, and the most progressive generation,” she says.
Scheer is one of three recipients of the 2018 Boston Conservatory at Berklee Alumni Entrepreneurial Grant, which is designed to empower alumni to explore and develop their unique programmatic ideas in the arts. For Scheer, receiving this award serves as a reminder of Off the Grid’s humble beginnings. “It started in the basement of the Conservatory—literally. I was a sophomore and I had written some short plays that I wanted to direct. I got together with some really talented peers and the first thing we performed was a staged reading of four short plays that I wrote...and twelve people came!” Since that time, Scheer and Off the Grid have grown to produce award-winning, nationally recognized productions. Most recently, Scheer was named a Rising Theater Star in the Improper Bostonian magazine’s 2018 Boston’s Best issue.
Scheer will use the grant to support Off the Grid’s current production, Our Dear Dead Drug Lord, a play that follows a gang of teenage girls who try to resurrect the spirit of Pablo Escobar. The company is calling this production their “youngest” show to date, targeting an audience base often overlooked by most theater companies. “We are particularly interested in engaging with audience members between the ages of 16 and 32. It poses a real opportunity to speak to a millennial audience rather than speaking down to them.”
Scheer, who also wrote the play, has high hopes for the production. She sees it as an opportunity to promote diversity and inclusion in theater. “I’m writing the roles I wish I could have played when I went to the Conservatory. Young people have a lot to say, and this play focuses on teenagers who are relentless and unapologetic—and who are actually teenagers, not what television says teenagers are.”
Our Dear Dead Drug Lord will stage a workshop premiere from August 17 to September 1, 2018.