Tuesday, April 15, 2014

New Work in Progress: CHASING THE SONG

An interview with Dana Harrel, Associate Producer, and Grabriel Greene, Director of New Play Development, at La Jolla Playhouse, about their upcoming production of Chasing a Song, by Joe DiPietro and David Bryan, directed by Chris Ashley.  

Elegant Edie's team of ambitious hitmakers are upended by the arrival of the newest aspiring songwriter — Edie's daughter Ginny. As Ginny strives to earn her place in the male-dominated world of the early 1960s music scene, American rock and roll finds itself under siege from the incoming British invasion.

Chasing The Song is a reunion of the Memphis team (director, writers, producers) and La Jolla Playhouse. Why was La Jolla Playhouse excited to work onChasing the Song?  
Chasing the Song continues Memphis’s exploration into the history of American rock and roll, and the way that it shaped – and was shaped by – social movements. Memphis tracked how music was a bridge during the turbulent racial conflicts of the 1950's and 60's. Chasing the Song carries the story forward, and focuses on a completely different part of our social history: the attempts of women to break into and succeed in male-dominated fields.
La Jolla Playhouse has been working on the show for a while now. What has changed, shifted and grown with the show over the last year? 
We started working on Chasing the Song as part of our DNA New Play Series in 2013. The work we were able to do during that workshop process was invaluable in discovering that the central arc of the musical was a mother-daughter story. This happened right as we were about to give our first concert reading. It was a wonderful and nerve-wracking moment. A lot of the work over the last year was making this piece as much about strengthening the relationships between characters as it is about the music industry in the 1960's.
Why do you think Chasing the Song will sing to your audience and be a good fit for this season?

Festival Show Update: BLEEDING LOVE

This month, we check in on Bleeding Love from our 2012 Festival of New Musicals as it prepares for productions in Connecticut and Denmark. The show's writers, Harris Doran, Jason Schafer and Arthur Lafrentz Bacon have been hard at work during the past year to prepare the show for its next steps. 

Bleeding Love is a post-apocalyptic musical comedy about a sixteen year old cellist who has never left her building, who risks going out into the dangerous world in order to get her one chance at love.

When you presented Bleeding Love at the Festival, it was the premiere of the musical for any audience. What did you learn about the show from finally seeing it in front of an audience? 
Yes, NAMT was our very first reading! We learned a great deal about how specific the tone was, because it rides the line between bleakness and comedy, and honest emotion and farce, so we had to make sure we were making that balance clear to the audience.

You were up at Goodspeed Musicals last winter for the Mercer Writers’ Retreat.  What was the focus of that devoted time away?
That was an incredible experience. More productive than we ever could have imagined. The three of us, who do not all live in the same city, got to be together for a week straight and just write. We ended up writing an entirely new opening number, completing a very complicated multi-scene song and brainstorming what the end of the musical would be. An unbelievable amount of productivity in such a short period of time.

The show will have a premiere production this season at The Spirit of Broadway Theater in Connecticut.  What work are you doing on the show to prepare for its first production? 
We are tightening the show to make sure it is production-ready as well as getting our first orchestrations together. We are very excited.

What are you hoping to discover and sort out when the show finally gets on its feet in a production? 
We are excited to finally get the chance to see what the show is as a whole without the rhythm being impeded