Thursday, October 18, 2018

2018 Interview with Cate Caplin

Cate Caplin has produced, directed and choreographed over 200 productions and her work has been seen on television, in films, music videos, commercials and in theatrical venues world wide from the Paris Opera House to the Broadway Stage. She is a 34 times Regional and International Theatrical Ballroom Dance Champion, is a published writer and has been the recipient of a Garland Award, a Women In Theatre Red Carpet Award, multiple LA Stage Alliance Ovation, Eddon and Scenie Awards and was honored to receive an Award of Excellence from the LA Film Commission for her work as a Writer, Director, Choreographer and Producer. 

Tell me about this production of She Loves Me and what challenges your directing.  

I've always loved this musical. It's beautifully written, artfully constructed, classically romantic, and it's funny in an extremely welcomed way, especially during difficult political times like these... I think the most challenging part of this process quite honestly has been scheduling!  We are blessed with a superb cast, wonderful chemistry between all the players and a particularly positive, joyful and cooperative manner of creatively collaborating. That should be a "given" in all productions but sadly it is not always the case (!) so I am extremely grateful to have that dynamic during our rehearsal process ... but this has definitely been THE most difficult show I have ever experienced in regard to conflicts and scheduling around commitments out of town, work obligations, unexpected booked gigs, and surprise unavailability, and I have quite honestly been going a bit nuts trying to keep the flow and continuity going for the ones who actually ARE present on a consistent basis!  With a situation like this, the name of the game is to keep finessing the details that need attention with the ones who are there and trust that collectively, the pieces of the puzzles will continue to refine and settle into their happy place! Some times it comes down to sheer will, focus and tenacity to pull these things together! 

Musically this is a lovely show. What do you find fascinating about it?  

The music in this show truly advances the plot and the strength of the text is felt throughout the journey of the story unfolding. The characters reveal dimension and a mixture of qualities and shifts in personality more so than some roles in other "old fashioned" musicals. There are more real moments of anger, vulnerability, uncertainty, bewilderment and frustration than you see in a typical feel good musical yet at the same time, the style of comedy is often heightened, almost borderline cartoon-like in sensibilities. It's a fun line to walk artistically .

There is less dancing in this show. What does the choreography add to the story?  

This may have "less dancing" than a show like 42nd Street but to me, all moments of musical staging are a form of dance. I think the challenge is to make musicalized scenes look seamlessly organic evolving out of the action of the scene. Sometimes that is a trickier assignment than a traditional musical number. Looking for the right balance of choreographed moves laced with natural behavior of the character and blending those worlds so it doesn't look too stagey or not carved out specifically enough is the hard part. Some numbers are still in process as I see the actors exploring and trying different things with the given lyrics and others are more clear when the moves make sense and are married to the lyrics and the action of the scene and I then "lock" them in.  The choreography adds humor, theatrics and musicalized punctuation throughout and the "art part" is finding a way to enhance those colors and details without taking you out of the story.

What is your favorite show...that you have worked on?  Why this choice?  

Many moons ago (!) I was brought into the revival of West Side Story in NY, directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins and conducted by Leonard Bernstein - need I say more?! This was an absolute highlight of my career, and besides being one of the all time best musicals ever written, working on that show with those artists was a thrill of a lifetime. I went on to tour Italy and France with the show, always in 15-20,000 seat Amphitheaters and glorious Opera Houses, always with a magnificently full sized orchestra playing that heavenly music. 

Do you have an overall favorite musical?  

That's a very tough question, I love so many but West Side Story may be my number one choice because of my history with the show.There are others that I love for different reasons, Ragtime, Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music, Light in the Piazza, the list goes on....!

Is there a show you really long to direct? 

There are many shows on my Director "Wish List",  musicals, straight plays and comedies.... A few off the top include Kenneth Lonergan's "Lobby Hero", Anna Ziegler's play "Actually", "Tennessee William's "Glass Menagerie", Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird",  there are many more....

I wish you would put together a one person show about your life. You have so much to enchant us with. Any desire to do that? 

I can't say that it is something I've ever seriously considered. I so love being on the other side of the table now and take great pleasure in coaching dancers and actors and designing and collaborating with other artists and designers..That seems to be my strongest pull and inspiration at the moment but you never know what will lead to what on this creative path! Maybe elements of my story will come out in my future writing and personal projects on stage or in film, we'll see....

What else are you involved with at the moment that you care to share?  

I am currently in pre-production for Georgette Kelly's play, "I Carry Your Heart" which I will be directing at 59 E 59th street in the spring of 2019.
I am very excited to finally have an opportunity to direct in NY, something I have wanted to do for a long time now. We have selected our design team and are now proceeding with casting. Day One we received over 800 submissions for 6 roles. Here we go, the adventure continues....!!!

Anything you wish to add about why audiences should come out to see this production of She Loves Me?

There is nothing like good natured comedy and a warm hearted love story to brighten anyone's day. We've worked hard on this delicious confection and we're delighted and looking forward to sharing it with our theatrical family and friends.


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