HARTFORD — Jacques Lamarre, one of Hartford's most beloved cultural boosters, is leaving his job at Mark Twain House & Museum on April 16 to become a senior account manager at BuzzEngine, a West Hartford-based events management and marketing company, Lamarre announced on Facebook on Thursday.
Lamarre, 47, has been the Twain's director of communication and special programs since 2009. He will leave his irreverent and funny stamp on the austere historical landmark, having created and promoted such events as the Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours, the Tom Sawyer Family Day, a Victorian seance, Couture Tours (starting in April), Hal Holbrook's 90th birthday party, an affiliation with the Food Network's "Ace of Cakes" and a Steven King event that brought in people "from 29 different states and four different countries," Lamarre said.
Before the Twain house, Lamarre worked at Hartford Symphony, Hartford Stage, TheaterWorks and other local cultural institutions in promotions positions.
In addition, Lamarre is an acclaimed playwright. He wrote the Charlie Brown segment of Hartford's new holiday perennial "Christmas on the Rocks" and an adaptation of Giulia Melucci's memoir "I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti," which was produced by TheaterWorks and has been staged in Waterbury, Sarasota and Fort Myers, Fla., Cincinnati, New Brunswick, N.J., and the Culinary Institute of America, with productions upcoming in Ithaca, N.Y., Bangor, Maine, and Stoneham, Mass. Lamarre also has written stage and screen plays for drag chanteuse Varla Jean Merman.
In January, Lamarre wrote "Born Fat," adapted from Elizabeth Petruccione's self-help memoir, for Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury.
Lamarre's new play "The Raging Skillet," based on the memoir by Chef Rossi, will be at TheaterWorks starting in May 2017. Lamarre called it "the first punk rock, lesbian, Jewish catering show."
BuzzEngine is best known for its creation, in collaboration with Lego, of the Lego Kids Fest, and also the Boy Scouts of America's Family AdventureFest. In his new role at BuzzEngine, Lamarre will conceive and implement "family-oriented experiences that can travel," he said.
Lamarre said even though BuzzEngine will be the first for-profit company he has ever worked for, the move isn't so much a career change as it is an upscaling of what he already does.
"The biggest event I've done [at the Twain House & Museum] brought in 2,800 people. With [BuzzEngine], on one day at one of their events, that would be an extremely slow day," he said. "They see 20,000 to 30,000 people at the Lego event over the course of a weekend."
Lamarre said he received an email several weeks ago from BuzzEngine "asking if I knew anyone who might be interested in the position. They didn't think I would be interested."
Aaron Wartner, the president of BuzzEngine, said he was happy when Lamarre showed interest because "we were looking for a really creative mind, someone who has a ton of experience developing experiences." Wartner said Lamarre's playwriting experience is an asset. "He can write a play and see it in his head visually," he said. "What we do is all visual and hands-on."
Cindy Lovell, executive director of the Mark Twain House, said Lamarre "has brought tremendous vitality and creative programming to the Mark Twain House and we wish him nothing but the best in his new career."
Lamarre lives in Manchester with his husband Arthur Galinat.