How Time Flies...

It's hard to believe so many months have passed since I last posted an entry on this blog.  So much has happened since the successful run of Big River last spring.  I am currently directing the Oregon premier of Jason Robert Brown's '13'  which will open in February of 2012. The company I am a part of, Staged! has an admiration for Jason's work and we brought him to Portland for the second time in January 2012 (The last time was in the summer of 2010) He and Broadway star Shoshana Bean gave a magnificent concert to benefit Staged! and to help promote the upcoming production.  What a joy they were, as you might imagine, simply stunning.  The cast of '13' had the privilege to rehearse with Jason for three hours the day of his concert.  They worked intensely with a focused professionalism that has become the hallmark of Staged! and our students.  It was a unique and entirely enlightening experience for them and for those of us on the creative side of the project, myself, the choreographer and music director.  Jason is direct, no nonsense and works very intently - a perfect formula for getting the best from a cast of actors.  It was gratifying to provide our young actors with the opportunity to hear directly from the source about their character's motivations, obstacles and objectives.  I have worked with Staged! for five years and I have been a part of the successes and failures that every small company endures.  It was an honor to be a part of such a successful weekend on the road to opening '13'.

The process for '13' has been one of the most rewarding of my career.  We auditioned nearly 150 young performers from all around Portland and put together a cast of some of the brightest, most talented and focused young people I have ever come across.  The process has been challenging, rewarding and, frankly, incredible.  I don't want to write you a summary of the show suffice to say if you don't know it then you simply must educate yourself.  It is a sensitive, funny, smart and truly beautiful look at being thirteen.  The show is brilliantly composed and structured.  Adults enjoy watching this show as much, if not more than, the young people for whom it was crafted.  It goes far beyond the superficial nature of something like High School Musical and draws a world of real people that does not condescend to actors or audience.  The cast of our production have gone after this show like a tiger on red meat and it has been thrilling to witness their evolution.  I adore working with young actors I feel it keeps me sharp and their hunger for the work is inspiring.  '13'  is shaping up to be one of the shows that will become a measuring stick for all the others that follow and that is the most anyone could ask of an experience.