Interview with Noah Kirby

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Please welcome to The Theatre Project’s production team, Noah Kirby. Noah will be working as the Director for The Hunchback of Notre Dame.


What was your very first theatre experience?

My first theatrical experience was when I was 4 years old. I was in a historical recap play and was so nervous before I went onstage that I nearly passed out. However, once I took to the stage, it was evident that this was where I am supposed to be.

How did you get into directing?

I got into directing my first semester of college. I had the opportunity to try several different facets of theatre early on in life, but I had never gotten the chance to direct a piece until an introductory class all beginning theatre majors are required to take. I knew from the first rehearsal that this the path I wanted to venture along.

If you could do any show, besides the upcoming one, what would it be and why?

If I could direct any show that isn’t Hunchback, it would be Come From Away. I love the story, the music, and the challenges the piece offers. And I think it’s the type of story we can’t get enough of right now.

What makes a good director?

A good director needs to have two skills that a very finely sharpened: 1.) They need to have the ability to visualize anything they hear or read. Without a vision, how can you helm the storytelling of a show? 2.) They need to have Multi-faceted communication skills. The director is in charge of pulling together all of the different worlds of the theatre to make one world for each show. Communication is key in finding success here.

How do you motivate your performers?

I choose to motivate actors by talking them into the moments of each scene. I remind them that they were given their roles because they have the abilities to be successful if they will put in the work! Every actor is different, and so every motivation I give is different. Again, communication is key!

How are you preparing for The Hunchback of Notre Dame?

I have been prepping to do this show by reading, meeting with Libby and the designers, reading, writing down my notes on the story, reading, taking measurements and playing with a model of the set, reading, listening to the score and reading some more. There is so much history in Notre Dame, and there is so much to think about psychologically in all of the characters in the story. I am so excited to put all of the pieces together, but being a story teller means making sure that you know your story well enough to tell.

Stephen Sondheim or Andrew Lloyd Webber?

Stephen Joshua Sondheim. No question.

What do you do outside of theatre?

My favorite thing to do when I’m not working on various theatre projects is to watch comedians online or in live performance.

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Interview with Shellie McClain

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The Theatre Project veteran, Shellie McClain, will be returning for her thirteenth production as Props Manager for The Hunchback of Notre Dame.


How long have you been with The Theatre Project?

My first play was Peter Pan with TTP. I started out with this play as a parent volunteer working on sets

What was your very first theatre experience?

My daughter, Autumn, provided my first theater experience by being cast in Peter Pan. Since then I have been hooked!

What is your favorite thing about being Props Manager?

My favorite thing about being Props Manager is working closely with the Director to bring their vision to life and seeing the kids on stage bringing it all together.

If you could do any show, besides the upcoming one, what would it be and why?

The one show I would love to be a part of is My Fair Lady. I remember as a child watching it and falling in love with musicals.

Any tips or tricks to finding/creating great props?

Knowing and utilizing all my resources is key to providing great props for any show. I have many talented friends that I call on to help me. Many are and have been involved with the Mable House Art Center.

How are you preparing for The Hunchback of Notre Dame?

Watching MANY YouTube videos!!

What is your favorite memory from working with The Theatre Project?

My favorite memory has to be the many hours spent in the costume room working with Shirley Pattison and Susan Cromer. I was privileged enough to be a small part of that aspect of several shows.

What do you enjoy doing outside of theatre?

Outside of working on shows I love spending time with my kids and watching them blossom into wonderful young adults. I also spend a lot of time caring for and raising a small herd of 8 goats. They bring me joy, laughter and peace.

Interview with Lilly Baxley

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Please welcome to The Theatre Project’s production team, Lilly Baxley. Lilly will be working as the Set Designer and Scenic Artist for The Hunchback of Notre Dame.


What was your very first theatre experience? 

My freshman year of high school I was asked to be the props assistant for Thoroughly Modern Millie. The props master quit, however, and they made me the props master instead on a giant musical. I was hooked.

How did you get into set design?

Thankfully, I went to Piedmont College and they truly believe in each student getting basic experience in everything. I took intro to set design and fell in love. My professors let me set design a main stage black box show and I loved it.

If you could do any show, besides the upcoming one, what would it be and why?

Wicked. The music, storyline, and characters light my soul on fire. It holds such a large place in my heart for its ability to tell a story about friendship, a corrupted government, and how it feels to not feel like you belong.

What makes a good set designer/scenic artist?

A designer must have the imagination to create their own work and the flexibility to adjust it based on what the director is looking for and needs. It is not just about the designers work but also the directors vision. It’s all teamwork.

What medium do you prefer to work with?

Wood and or fabric. Metal takes a lot of pieces and parts. Wood will do what you ask it to and fabric has all sorts of possibilities.

How are you preparing for The Hunchback of Notre Dame?

Doing a lot of research on the actual cathedral as well as set designs that have been made in the past for the same production. Noah and I have also met multiple times to discuss his vision and idea for the show as well as my original concepts for the design.

Stephen Sondheim or Andrew Lloyd Webber?

Stephen Sondheim all the way!

What do you do outside of theatre?

Mostly paint, and draw. I love being outside when it is warm either hiking or swimming. Eating is also a favorite past time of mine!

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.

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.