Recently, choreographer Natalie Greene and I discussed how we tackled Brecht in Cal Shakes’ current production of THE GOOD PERSON OF SZECHWAN. Take a listen to the podcast episode below! But SPOILER ALERT: Listening is only recommended once you’ve seen the show!
...and they were both brand-new.
First, I got to witness the world premiere of The Gold Rush Musical! at Bay Area Children's Theatre. (As BACT's Marketing Coordinator, I get cool perks like this!) The fast-paced, educational show will be touring Bay Area schools starting tomorrow - much like Tales of Olympus did earlier this year. Hats off to Austin Zumbro (writer & composer) and Nina Meehan (director) to creating a true nugget of a show (pun intended). Three on-point and energetic actors - Khalia Davis, Alex Lydon and Steven Shear - tell a suprisingly poignant story alongside the educational points (I'll admit, I'm a softy for any character shift in a show). And, of course, there's the fun choreography by Deedra Wong. The amazing thing about today's pre-tour performance was that some home-schooled kids got to attend and watch the show, which they otherwise might not have gotten a chance to see. What a creative way to do a preview! I'm excited for the actors to bring this show to kids throughout the Bay Area. Not only will they be educating kids about the Gold Rush in a lively way, but they will (arguably more importantly) be exposing kids to the arts, to theatre, to music, to dance, to imagination.
Second, I led a vocal rehearsal for The Song of the Nightingale, in preparation for its world premiere, and saw 14 actors give, give, give and work hard on fine-tuning the show (there are 16 actors in the show, but 2 of them had the night off - lucky them). Tonight was a demanding rehearsal; I had the actors focus on vocals while doing their movements/dances, sometimes repeating sections three or more times until I got the sound I was looking for. The amazing thing about this cast is that no one has a bad attitude, no is the bad seed, no one throws a hissy fit or acts like a diva. I am so lucky to be working with such actors. I am so thankful they are playing along with this story I've jotted down.
Today, I saw people having an impact and/or gearing up to have an impact on others. Perhaps that's why I love writing for the stage. I like to tell stories about people making a change for the better, and I believe theatre has power to help us make those changes. Yes, I think that's why I am compelled to write. Though today, there was something equally invigorating about being a music director and an audience member.