We are always looking for ways to meet new people and enjoy the amazing cultural events happening around town, so when we heard about The Metropolitans, Citi Performing Arts Center’s young professionals group, we were intrigued. We were even more impressed upon meeting the manager of the group, Julie Judson. She is an absolute dynamo whose passion for the arts is infectious, and whose warm personality brings people together and fosters connections. We spoke to Julie to learn more about the group.
So what exactly is the Metropolitans? Who should consider joining?
The Metropolitans is Citi Performing Arts Center’s young professionals group, which launched last year and has grown to nearly 200 members today. More than just a couple of cocktail parties a year, the Metropolitans brings people together. We want our members to meet people like them, who are laying down roots for their careers and their families, and who want to expand their social circles. We want to connect our members to our corner of the city, a cultural neighborhood jam-packed with great restaurants, bars, shopping and entertainment opportunities for all to enjoy. We want to give our members a chance to give back to Boston through unique volunteer opportunities, whether ours is a community that they’ve always called home or a new one that they’re just now getting to know. Finally, we want to empower Boston’s brightest thinkers, doers and leaders to begin their relationship with the largest and oldest non-profit performing arts center in town.
Everyone should consider joining! I’m serious. We created the Metropolitans to be accessible to every young professional in Boston. Our events are designed to be inclusive, organic and fun, and we hope that eventually we will become the group in Boston that people join to begin their relationship to the arts community in the city. Plus, membership is only $50 a year, and we guarantee that you get a lot of bang for your buck when you join. We want all of our members to feel great about their giving, and we’re always thinking about how to make the Metropolitans an amazing experience for everyone.
How did the group get started?
Believe it or not, the Metropolitans has roots in the late 80’s, around the time the Citi Wang Theatre was being renovated. However, the Metropolitans formally had a renaissance in January 2013, when Citi Center identified that they wanted to engage a new generation. At that time, we formalized the types of programming we offered: social events like our signature 1925 Party, Metropolitan Meet-Ups at local hotspots across the city, volunteer opportunities that directly engage Metropolitans with our non-profit mission, and fundraising initiatives that are approachable, that help bolster our arts education programs but also meet young professionals at their level. The group caught on quickly, and we’re so lucky to have an amazing roster of members that grows daily (literally!) who keep coming back for more.
Have there been any surprises or secrets of the theaters that you’ve learned as you’ve become so familiar with these spaces?
Oh, too many to name! These are really gorgeous historic places, and I’m so lucky to have spent so much time in them. I think I’ll save the really juicy ones for when your readers come by the theaters next, but one story that holds personal significance for me took place in the ‘70s at the Citi Emerson Colonial Theatre. My biggest artistic muse, famed choreographer Bob Fosse, brought one of his productions to the Citi Emerson Colonial Theatre to test the show out on Boston audiences before it went to Broadway. He was famously a perfectionist and a total workhorse, and there was one section of one of the dance numbers in the show that he never felt quite right about. One day, he jumped onto a large marble table in a room adjacent to the theatre lobby, and worked on the problem section of his dance atop the table until he deemed it perfect. That image is so romantic and exciting to me, and I love that that table still stands in the theatre today.
What are some upcoming events you are looking forward to?
I love every event, big and small, that we host for the Metropolitans, but I would be remiss if I did not mention our 2nd Annual 1925 Party, happening on Saturday, January 10, 2015. Tickets have just gone on sale, and it’s amazing to hear people coming up to me at other events completely unrelated to the Metropolitans to tell me how excited they are to come to this year’s party. It’ll be here before we know it!
What has been your favorite Metropolitan moment so far?
This is such a tough question – it’s all been incredible. If I had to choose though, I think I’d pick a more recent experience. In mid-September, Jason Mraz (whose music I have always loved) played two shows at the Citi Wang Theatre. One of the nights he came, we reserved 100 seats in the audience just for members of the Metropolitans and their friends. Prior to the concert, we hosted a cocktail party in the theatre before the doors opened to the public. The opportunity to share the Wang Theatre with our members for not only a really fun party but also for a fantastic concert was really special. It really combined all of the things I love about my job in one evening.
Thanks, Julie! Julie has kindly offered to do a private tour of the Wang Theater later this winter, followed by a wine and cheese, just for our readers and their friends. Watch for a follow-up post and a chance to win a spot on the tour! Everyone can learn more about The Metropolitans on their website, and find out more about the upcoming 1925 party on the event page.
All images courtesy of The Metropolitans.