this tony award winning musical is so much more than just the story of the boat. it's about hopes and dreams as well as a heartbreaking lesson about man over machine. because maury yeston's breathtaking score silmpy soars i've always imagined this show with a great deal of period movement -- not a dance musical persay but choreography and staging that reflects what was really going on in a world on the brink of war, in a world yet to grasp the collateral damage of caused by the industrial revolution... denial.
i love this little musical. it's so heartbreaking, this tale of two people in entirely different worlds. and that is exactly how i'd stage it. kathy and jamie are never on the same page except for the day of their wedding -- a metaphor jason robert brown realizes with stunning effect. through lighting, set design and staging, i'd strive to capture two experiences of the same journey expressed from each character's very different perspective, hopefully doing justice to the musical's brilliant dramaturgy.
tim burton's startling interpretation of stephen sondheim's grisly musical as slasher film is spot on. in my staging i'd run with that angle but skewer it from the persepctive of sweeney and mrs. lovett's neighbors -- the ensemble. i mean, they are the ones bidding us to "attend the tale of sweeney todd'' and they do carry the bulk of sondheim's haunting score. what are their reactions to something so horrfying happening in ther very own backyard? i wouldn't go all CSI on it, but i always thought it would be interesting to tell the story from their persepcive -- the unsuspecting neighbors.
this musical is breathtakingly tragic. and rarely produced. i saw the 2012 off-Broadway revival and despite the intimate staging and new music i feel it still didn't work because it shied away from the bigness of bullying. and it's even bigger catastrophic repurcussions. carrie white may as well have had a semi-automatic weapon and been roaming the halls of a colombine-esque high school. of course, that is not the direction i'd take the piece in, but it is relevant. i also think to really grasp pitchford, cohen and gore's cultural commentary you must embrace the musical's early 80's sensibility found in the music of carrie white's classmates. it completely evokes a cold and uncaring mentality -- the very seeds of bullying and the irrefutable root of all terrorism.
DREAMGIRLS. JERSEY BOYS.
HAIRSPRAY and SONG AND DANCE . these are this director-choreographer's dream come true. each score lends itself to big production numbers, breakneck staging and immense inventiveness. JERSEY BOYS and DREAMGIRLS > there are ways around the onstage/offstage staging and showbiz tropes we've seen before... i know there are! HAIRSPRAY > so many opportunities for really exciting choreography in a big (pun intended) way. SONG AND DANCE > no one produces this show for good reasons. it's second story ballet conceit is a bitch. and right up my alley.
these are the dance musicals of contemporary theatre that i love and i'd luh-uh-UHV the opportunity to direct/choreograph these shows.
first of all, i'd want to cast only teen-agers. frank wedekind's heartbreaking treatsie of repression and discovery is best displayed when you can see it on the faces of real high schoolers. only then can the true depth of this work's tragic elements ring true. you also have to embrace duncan shiek's riveting rock score and the contemporariness it implies -- mtv and facebook, texting and snapchat. tragically, this is the world of adolescent education today as opposed to, you know, learning about life from parents and teachers.
i absolutely love ahrens and flaherty and the score to this musical is ravishing and it makes me want to dance. by no means is this a big dance show, but there are songs, numbers in this turn of the century era work that absolutely scream out for major amounts of period movement. and i'd love to bring that to the stage.