INTERVIEW WITH CYNTHIA BROWER

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Please welcome to The Theatre Project’s production team, Cynthia Brower. Cynthia will be working as the costumer for A Christmas Story: The Musical.


What’s your history with The Theatre Project?

This is my first time working with them!

What are the responsibilities of a Costumer?

It’s my job to choose what every actor wears onstage and make sure it’s all the right size and labeled and organized for quick changes during the show.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

One of my favorite parts of costuming is doing research on costumes from the time period a show is in and creating an accurate yet creative wardrobe that transports the audience to the time and place of the show. 

What’s something most people wouldn’t know about working on a musical?

There are usually a lot more sets and costumes involved in musicals- the action often moves at a much faster pace and to more places!

Of all the shows you have worked, which one is your favorite and why?

I’ve designed Seussical! the Musical for three different companies, and I’m still not tired of it. The story and music are great, and I love working with different directors to create different interpretations of a world.

Where do you find your inspiration and what personal flair do you want to bring to the costumes?

I want to create costumes that are reminiscent of the classic movie that is so well-known, but bring my own style and flair to them. It’s more exciting for everyone, including me as the designer, if I don’t just copy the movie shirt by shirt.

How are you preparing for A Christmas Story: The Musical!?

When I design musicals, I like to listen to the soundtrack as I do my research and drawings. It’s a great way to engulf my mind in the world of the show.

Stephen Sondheim or Andrew Lloyd Webber?

They’re both incredible artists! Webber wrote so many musicals that are deeply connected to my childhood, and I really enjoy the complexity Sondheim incorporates into many of his songs.

What is your dream show?

What a hard question…If we’re sticking with musicals, I’d like to perform Lucy in Sweeney Todd, design the costumes for Kinky Boots, the set for Rent, and the props/puppets for Lion King.

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Interview with Gerald Williams

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Gerald Williams will return this fall for his FIFTEENTH show with The Theatre Project. To welcome him back we decided to ask him some questions. Get to know this The Theatre Project legend below.


What’s your history with The Theatre Project?

I started in 2010 as an ensemble member for the production of Oliver!  During that production, I was asked to help move sets on stage during the show.  I enjoyed it so much, I kept coming back and volunteering to move sets until I was asked by the director for The Theatre Project production of Honk! if I would be interested in being the Stage Manager.  I accepted and for the past 6 shows, I have been fortunate to be Stage Managing.  I have worked a total of 14 shows with the Theatre Project.

What are the responsibilities of a Stage Manager?

To me the responsibilities of the Stage Manager is to assist with rehearsals by making sure everything is ready, i.e. music, sets, etc.…  Assisting the other Production Staff in making sure the staff is where they need to be.  Taking notes so that I know where sets go, what are cues, and to remind the director in case they forget something they said. 

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I enjoy working with both the production crew and cast.  Especially the cast.  It’s rewarding to see these kids grow from one production to the next.  I have seen so many of these kids grow up and see their talent blossom over time.  Plus, I have been fortunate to make so many new friends working on these shows from new production staff to backstage assistants, it’s been a lot of fun. 

What’s something most people wouldn’t know about working backstage?

That even though it sounds like it could be a lot of work moving sets on and off stage in a short period of time and that some of those sets can be tricky to maneuver, it’s a lot of fun.  

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever done for a past production?

I have been fortunate in that the Directors like to find little cameo’s in different shows.  So I have been a mom, a tree, a police officer, and even a dancing goose. 

How do you wrangle such large casts during rehearsals?

I’m not going to lie, that is a challenge.  It helps to have several other people on the staff to help.  Also, I grew up with a parent who was in the army.  So, there are times when I need to kick into Military mode to get the cast to focus and pay attention. 

Of all the shows you have worked, which one is your favorite and why?

That’s a hard one.  Mary Poppins was fun because that is my favorite movie ever.  I enjoyed working on Oliver! because that was my first show and I was able to be in the production and work backstage.  Though Shrek was a big challenge, I really enjoyed having to move the huge sets around before, after, and in some cases during scenes. 

How are you preparing for A Christmas Story: The Musical!?

By, watching my A Christmas Story DVD over and over and over again.  I can’t wait to get started and see the final result. 

Stephen Sondheim or Andrew Lloyd Webber?

You’ll be surprised, but even though I’ve worked all of these productions, I’m really not that into musicals.  I have no preference either way.  I move on from one show to the next and learn them as I do them. 

What is your dream show?

Definitely Mary Poppins, the music, the sets and most of all, the really cool flying on stage.  It’s just an awesome show. 

Interview with Connie Cameron

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The Theatre Project veteran Connie Cameron will be returning this fall as a Co-Stage Manager for A Christmas Story: The Musical! To get to know her better we asked her a few questions. Here’s what she had to say.


What’s your history with The Theatre Project?

I have been volunteering to help with The Theatre Project for several years.  My roles have included helping with costumes, dressing room supervisor, and backstage ninja.

What are the responsibilities of a Stage Manager?

The Stage Manager has a unique job because it serves a double function of assistant to the director and production staff during the rehearsal period and then becomes the person that answers all calls for help during the actual performance and insuring that the production runs smoothly.  Responsibilities include making sure performers make their cues, have props set, costume changes prepared, as well as coordinating set changes and maintaining a sense of calm during the performance.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I love being a part of a team that is able to successfully create an amazing and magical theater experience for performers and audience members.

What’s something most people wouldn’t know about working backstage?

Backstage is limited when it comes to space so when we have productions with very large set pieces it takes a lot of coordination and choreography just to move them around and get them into their ready positions while doing it practically silently.

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever done for a past production?

During the production of Mary Poppins, there were many times that I was behind set pieces on stage during the performances to either be a spotter for dancers or to be “on ready” to move the set piece once the number was over.  It was fun because the audience never knew we were back there.

How do you wrangle such large casts during rehearsals?

All the performers in the productions are so invested in the show that they are not difficult to keep under control during rehearsals.  The level of excitement is pretty high for opening night so keeping them aware that they have on “hot” microphones on can be the biggest challenge, but overall it’s always a pleasure and not a problem.

Of all the shows you have worked, which on is your favorite and why?

Mary Poppins has been my favorite show to work on because there was so much going on backstage during the production between moving large set pieces, making performers fly, pulling in large backdrops and helping to pull off the many magical moments that this production required.

How are you preparing for A Christmas Story: The Musical!?

I have been told that this production may have a lot of moving parts backstage so I am looking forward to helping to coordinate and problem solve.  I enjoy a production that is full of activity.

Stephen Sondheim or Andrew Lloyd Webber?

Andrew Lloyd Webber is definitely my favorite.  His musicals were some of the first musicals that I experienced on Broadway as a young woman and inspired me to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in acting as well as costume, stage and lighting design.

What is your dream show?

The Phantom of the Opera.  I would love to be a part of a team that can successfully carry out so many iconic theater moments.

 

 

INTERVIEW WITH NELAH GABLER

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Nelah Gabler will be the Scenic Artist for the upcoming The Theatre Project production of A Christmas Story: The Musical! She took time from her vacation to answer some questions about her theatre experiences and future!


What is your history with The Theatre Project?

I believe my first show as scenic artist was Oliver! I also had the joy of acting in it as well.

You are joining the production team as a scenic artist. What does a Scenic Artist do for a show?

The Scenic Artist brings the director’s vision to the stage set through textures and painted effects.

How do you go about visually translating a script to the stage?

I translate the set by working with those scenes that need to visually be supported, but not overwhelming the story. The design needs to be kept as simple as possible and allow the actors to take us there. However simple does not mean boring!

When creating sets and backdrops do you prefer a realistic or expressionistic approach?

Those approaches are both up to the director. However I cannot prefer one over the other as they both allow me to have a great pallete and vision.

Of all the shows you have seen which one had your favorite production design and why?

For TTP that would have to be Suessical. The design was original with the giant books, functional and kept scene changes to a minimum. It was also visually fun and pleasing to the audience. Overall for me the Broadway production of Peter and the Starcatcher for those same reasons. When I see a show I am all about the set and how they make pieces interchangeable, Peter was magical that way.

How are you preparing for A Christmas Story: The Musical!?

Still in the early stages, but working with Rachel and David on how to make this show that has many large pieces and scenes move well and still tell the story. This show will be more about producing a time period and feeling.

How can someone become a better visual artist?

Just like anything else lots of practice and experience. I majored in theatre so all of my visual art experiences have helped me to here. I have worked with some creative and amazing folks in community and equity theatre settings. Experiences are major as well asking lots of questions! And of course the internet is your friend in being able to educate and understand techniques.

What do you do when you’re not working with The Theatre Project?

I teach visual art youth classes, set design and painting, travel and work in pottery and painted paper collage.

What medium do you prefer to work in and why?

Well that changes! Right now I am working towards finding my story through painted paper collage. I have worked on this journey for a while and now have time to seek out other artists and styles to learn new techniques.

Where did you study art?

I studied theatre at the University of West Georgia.

Who inspires you and how do they inspire you?

In the professional set world it’s a guy names Edward Cox. He is able to work big and small and produce pieces with amazing speed and perfection. In community theatre, a former coworker and artist, Holly Corin, showed me many of the techniques I still use today.

In the visual arts world right now it’s Elizabeth St. Hilaire. She has many of the same experiences as me as how art gave her confidence as a child and helped her find her way.

Overall, Harris Wheeler my HS chorus teacher, who introduced me to theatre and remains an amazing musician and human being, will always be my inspiration.

What is your dream show?

I’m not a huge fan of the show but always wanted to paint Into the Woods.  I would also like to work on Matilda because that set has always made me smile.


You can see Nelah’s beautiful work in A Christmas Story: The Musical! this fall with performances November 10, 11, and 12. They are still taking registrations for the August 13 auditions at the Mable House Arts Center. Call 770.819.3285 for more information.