Thursday, December 4, 2014

New Work in Progress: FIELD HOCKEY HOT

Last month, we checked in with Kate Galvin, Associate Producer and General Manager at 11th Hour Theatre Company, as she told us about their brand new musical, Field Hockey Hot.

Field Hockey Hot is a smart and entertaining new satire about a high school girls’ field hockey team, their ambitious coach and America’s favorite pastime…winning! When Applebee Academy’s star goalie is injured two weeks before the championship, Coach Shipley Barnes will stop at nothing to win the North American title. It's a hilarious and zany comedy featuring a pop score inspired by iconic musicians of the 1980s and a world where field hockey rules all!

How did Field Hockey Hot find its way to 11th Hour? 
Writer/Composer Michael Ogborn had come to see our 2008 production of Reefer Madness and it just clicked! Michael has an outrageous sense of humor and he'd been kicking around an idea about field hockey and female athletes (those hot, tough, unapproachable girls from high school) but the show hadn't taken shape for him yet.  When he saw our version of Reefer, the style and performances and musical drive matched what he wanted Field Hockey Hot to be. He knew then that he wanted 11th Hour to produce this show.

What attracted you and the rest of 11th Hour to the show originally?  
We love Michael's work and we also love him. Although he may be unknown to many of the NAMT members, Michael's work is beloved in Philadelphia;  he's been produced by 1812 Productions, the Arden Theatre Company and People's Light and Theater, where he has written many British-style Pantos for the holidays. So we were honored that he wanted to work with us. And we couldn't stop laughing when he pitched us the show! Michael sat down at a piano and talked us through the basic story, playing a little bit of the songs and stepping in to each character. He's a master; we were rolling!

Your organization has been quite active in the development of the show.  Tell us a bit about the process of developing the show. 
Once Michael gave us the initial pitch, we agreed to commission it. So 11th Hour has been involved every step of the way, with director Megan Nicole O'Brien providing valuable input to the development of the script. We've also had a few actors involved since the beginning, including Jennie Eisenhower who will star as Coach Shipley Barnes. Michael wrote the role for her after seeing her in Reefer, so her voice is very strong in the style of the piece. We did a few table reads with the staff and a handful of actors. And then we were lucky enough to get a workshop opportunity with University of the Arts. This gave Michael and our Musical Director/Orchestrator Daniel Kazemi the chance to really flesh out the vocal arrangements and gave our choreographer Kat Borelli the chance to experiment with the physical side of the show. We then shifted our focus back to the book and have been working on that for the past several months, trying to work out the complicated second act and figure out how to get the cast to 10 actors (down from 17 in the UArts workshop). There is a lot of gender-bending in the show, so figuring out the right male to female ratio and all of the doubling was a little tricky. We have a final 29-hour reading coming up in December with the full cast and then we start rehearsal in February. 

Why is the show a good fit for your organization and audience? 
11th Hour has had a lot of success with highly stylized comedies like The Bomb-itty of Errors, Little Shop of Horrors, Reefer Madness and The Great American Trailer Park Musical. Field Hockey Hot absolutely fits into that genre and we know our audience is going love this show. And after doing many Philadelphia premieres, we're really excited to be producing our first World Premiere!
Why should everyone come to Philly in the spring to catch Field Hockey Hot

Because you should know Michael Ogborn! Because we have an all-star cast of Philadelphia actors and creatives. And because who doesn't love 80's pop music and men in skirts?

For more information about the show, please click here.  

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