Saturday, March 7, 2015

2015 Interview with Brady Schwind, Director of Carrie the Musical

What has been your greatest challenge in directing Carrie The Musical?

The biggest challenge to directing this production of Carrie is our environmental staging which is at once intimate and epic - putting the actors and very complicated special effects only feet away from audience members. It's rather like creating a two hour 'close-up' magic trick - you can't hit any false notes - either in the slight of hand of the effects, or in the honesty of the performances.The audience will be right there for everything.

More specifically, the technical challenges of the show are enormous. We've got 300 lighting cues, illusions, water, blood, complicated sound effects.  Integrating those elements takes enormous logistic planning. The tone of the piece has to be just right to work -- horror relies on thrills and unexpected surprises, but the story also demands humor, and emotional honesty.  Balancing those elements is a careful science. 

Explain how the changes in the script affect your work on the piece.

I've luckily had Lawrence Cohen, the original book writer, at my disposal in creating this production, and he has been incredibly supportive of our vision for this piece, and open to tweaks to the script that work for 'this' concept of the musical. That collaboration works much as it does on any re-imagined production; Larry and I talk about new ideas for a certain scene; he creates wonderful new lines which we explore in the rehearsal room, and then we hone in together to create what will ultimately work best in performance.  

How vastly different is this piece from the original Carrie?

Larry, Michael and Dean already did a drastic re-write to the musical before it opened Off Broadway in 2012 at MCC.  We are starting with the template of that revision and are making tweaks for our re-imagining. But audiences familiar with that production can expect quite a bit of new dialogue, a new scene involving Margaret in a parent-teacher conference at Carrie's high school, and musical verses in "Do Me a Favor" and "The Destruction" that are restored from the original Broadway mounting.

What is your cast contributing?

They are sensational!  Fearless and true. Misty Cotton who plays Margaret is one of Los Angeles's finest singing actresses; Emily Lopez who plays Carrie is a real find: she was living in Vermont at the time of our casting for this production, and won the role after submitting two sensational audition videos.  And for the younger roles, we are blessed with some of the best new talent in Los Angeles. It has been a joy to give so many kids right out of school their first professional contracts.  

What do you wish audiences to take away?

I want them to be thrilled and moved and above all else, I want them to have fun. Theatre should be a visceral experience.

Remember Carrie will perform in La Mirada at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, 14900 La Mirada Blvd., La Mirada, March 12 - April 5!

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