An Interview with the director!
What drew you to work on this show?
The people. I've worked with many different theatre groups, companies and organizations around the Fraser Valley and I keep coming back to Chilliwack and the incredibly hard-working team at Secondary Characters. Nicola and Shelley, the Co-Artistic Directors who also Musical Direct and Choreograph most SC shows are two of the most humble, talented, and dedicated people I've had the honour of working with. When an organization has strong leadership, it inspires everyone to work just as hard, which is why SC always has such great shows.
What are your past experiences directing theatre?
Directing "the Last 5 Years" last summer was an absolute GIFT. I had the hardest working team I have ever worked with...I have never worked on a project before where each member of the cast, crew and orchestra was 100% committed to making the show as great as possible. Other directing projects have included several shows at Douglas College and Simon Fraser University, including a personal fav, "Without" which was a 3 hour cyclical installation performance piece based off of the story of Orpheus and Eurydice.
Who is your favourite character in The Wizard of Oz, and why?
I can't answer that yet! But I am always excited for opportunities to work on well-known shows in order to re-examine well known characters and re-imagine them by going back to the original source material.
What was your first show?
Mount Slesse Middle School's Spring Productions! The PHENOMENAL staff at Mount Slesse wrote original musicals each year for the often 80+ students who came out to audition (casting everyone who auditioned!). My first major musical was Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat with CSOPA...and yes, I can still name every colour in Joseph's coat!
When did you first see The Wizard of Oz?
I grew up watching the Wizard of Oz as a child; Judy Garland has always been one of my favourite performers. I think every adolescent can identify with Dorothy's desire of wanting to find their own unique place and role in life. For me, that was discovering the freedom I felt when I performed in theatre.
In your opinion, what is the most exciting element to this story?
The parts of the musical that weren't included in MGM's movie, such as the Jitterbug number...because we really get to surprise the audience. It's going to be amazing!
What is your favourite musical of all time?
West Side Story. The music is incredibly challenging yet hauntingly beautiful. The characters are each struggling to understand the challenges and pain of being young adults and the play asks if cycles of violence can be broken. These are important questions for teens, that aren't often asked!
Who are your theatrical idols?
Hands down Judy Garland, although I can do a really awful Carol Channing impersonation that I'd love to have the opportunity to perform some day....but for some reason I never seem to get cast when I use it in an audition...