Return to Amanda Palmer


The Dresden Dolls' Amanda Palmer returns to Lexington High for drama
By Jason Crotty
GateHouse News Service
Posted Apr 15, 2009 @ 05:46 PM

Lexington — Amanda Palmer is one-half of The Dresden Dolls, a musical career that has netted her four albums, multiple awards and growing popularity. Now, the lifelong Lexington resident is returning to her roots for her next project, collaborating with high school drama director Steven Bogart on an original play.

“I think we knew it in high school that we had a very special drama experience,” she said. “Nothing prepared me as to how profound an impact he had on me. I have run into people 16 years on that tell me they remember Steven Bogart. We were exposed to something very mature early on.”

Bogart and Palmer, with the help of 20 Lexington High School students, are creating “The Needle That Sings in Her Heart.” The play is about Jewish diarist and Holocaust casualty Anne Frank.

Palmer credited Lexington High School staff — including Bogart and music teacher Jeffrey Leonard — for developing her creative impulses. After attending Wesleyan College from 1994 to 1998, she would frequently stop to visit her mother and stepfather John Oberteuffer, along with her high school stomping grounds.

“I used to visit my high school teachers. They were as much as a base to me as my folks were. I was better friends with my teachers than I was with other students,” she said.

In an e-mail, Bogart talked about working with Palmer.
“We've kept in touch and she comes by at least once a year to help with something or just to see the shows,” he wrote. “We're artist friends and have a great deal of mutual respect for each other.”

Palmer and Bogart have been trying to find a project for the better part of five years, drafting a proposed musical based on “Cabaret” and starting another production from scratch.

With finances an issue, the duo decided a local effort might work best.

“I’m glad we’re able to do this because we can focus our attention just on the art instead of the budget,” said Palmer.

Bogart wrote he was pleased with the play’s progress.

“It's hard to say, since we're still writing, but I think the play has the potential to be an amazing powerful and moving story with arresting images and breathtaking moments,” he wrote.

Palmer, who has been playing the piano since she was 2 years old, said she wouldn’t trade her career arc for anything.

“I’m basically living the dream. You get to have all these fantastic, unexpected experiences all day. The trade off is you have more flexibility in your life,” she said. “I have dreams where I have a desk job, I get out at 6 p.m. and I run home to my honey bunny. But they’re very short lived.”

She credited her mother, Kathy Mockett, for teaching her piano basics, and fondly remembered her younger years of playing in her parent’s living room at her Lexington home.

“I’m now able to understand the space and privacy in the suburbs,” she said. “I became a composer in a bubble. I had an empty room with a piano in it and two parents working full time. That kind of space is a petri dish for creativity.”

Now, after almost eight years on the road with The Dresden Dolls, the opportunity to work something quieter was welcome, Palmer said.

“I’m pretty interested in being happy,” she said. “I’ve got four albums under my belt … I’m ready to work on some film work, sky gazing, book writing. I’m ready to take a break.”

The play will be presented on May 7, 8 and 9 at the Lexington High School auditorium. The shows are all ages and $10. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show begins in 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at amandapalmer.net/tour.

The Lexington Minuteman