I have directed many plays and musicals over the past forty years, and contemporary music theater is one of my particular passions. I’ve directed work for the Prince Music Theater in Philadelphia, the National Music Theater Network in New York, the Delaware Theater Company in Wilmington, and Gretna Theater, a venerable professional summer theater in central Pennsylvania; productions I directed have also been presented at the International Festival of Musical Theater in Cardiff, Wales and the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts. I did my MFA in Directing at Carnegie-Mellon University in the 1970’s, and was lucky enough to be part of the last class that Larry Carra taught prior to his retirement. Here’s a sampling of a few recent projects:
March 2014. Kiss Me, Kate, Merriam Theater, Philadelphia.
In this dramaturgical essay, I wrote about Kiss Me, Kate’s out of town tryout at what was then called the Shubert Theater in Philadelphia in 1948.
December 2013. “Coaching Concert,” Danish Musical Theater Academy, Fredericia Denmark.
In the summer and fall of 2002, I worked as Musical Theater Coordinator on Kevin Smith’s film “Jersey Girl,” which was shot in Philadelphia and New Jersey. Part of the story depicts a widower father who takes his young daughter to see the musical “Sweeney Todd,” after which the daughter decides to perform a song from that musical in her school talent show. I provided musical arrangements, musical staging, oversaw the recording of the music and vocal tracks, and appeared in the film as Sweeney Todd. This video documents a few moments from that remarkable experience. (The voices at the beginning are Kevin Smith and producer Scott Mosier from the commentary track on the DVD.)
Below are some images of productions I’ve directed in the past few years:
A Lyrical Opera Made By Two
Gertrude Stein’s cubist lesbian romance, scored by composer William Turner, was performed at the Cardiff International Festival of Musical Theater in 2005 and then again in 2011 as part of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA). The show site includes additional information, including a note from the composer about the piece.
Anyone Can Whistle
This 2005 production at the Prince Music Theater in Philadelphia featured Chuck Wagner as Hapgood and Jane Summerhays as Mayor Cora Hoover Hooper. Directing Sondheim’s eccentric 1964 musical had been a dream of mine for years. I got to talk to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Doug Keating about the show in this advance article, and wrote an essay in my blog about my interpretation.
Into The Woods
These images are from the second of two productions of Into The Woods that I directed at the University of the Arts. The first was back in 1993, in the earliest days of the school’s newly inaugurated musical theater program; these are from 2009, when the musical was remounted as part of the Brind School’s 25th Anniversary season.
The Brind School produced a workshop of this new musical by playwright Yasmine Lever and composer Stew in January 2013 as part of its 2013 New Play Festival.
In 2006 I directed the musical Grand Hotel for the Brind School in the Merriam Theater. Jarrod Lentz’s photography of Mark Mariani’s magnificent costumes remind me what a stunning production this was.