Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Plaza Suite - Meet Co-Producer Jamie Blake

Why did LTA decide to produce Neil Simon's "Plaza Suite?"

LTA has a formula for the type of shows it does each season and this falls into the traditional comedy slot. LTA does Neil Simon very well and our audiences love his shows.  Personally, I chose this show because of the director, Shawn g. Byers and the co-producer, Jennifer Lyman. I was asked to co-produce with Jennifer and I gladly accepted. She is organized and fun to work with. As a team we complement each other very well. 

What do you hope audiences will take away from this play?

They see themselves in one of the characters and are able to laugh.  All three acts are different and fun in their own way. The key is the choosing the right actors and our director has done that.  I hope audiences walk away talking about how much they enjoyed the show and then tell their friends to get tickets as it will sell out quickly.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Kissing Rehearsals - Plaza Suite - By Co-Producer Jennifer Lyman

I have been involved in theater for nearly twenty years as a designer, stage manager, producer,  and director. I have even on occasion appeared on stage. I thought I had seen it all but  during rehearsals for Plaza Suite I got to see something unique for me - a kissing rehearsal. 

When you see a romantic scene on tv, film, or on stage hopefully the last thing you are thinking is "I wonder how they choreographed that." If the director and actors do their jobs well, you never will. But... the scene does have to be choreographed: who touches who and where; what kind of kiss; where is the kiss; how long is it; how passionate is it; what is the reaction; are the actors standing, sitting, laying down or some combination; and what happens next? All these questions have to be answered and rehearsed so that the scene looks believable. 

Last week after the regular rehearsal was completed our director,  Shawn, asked Shelagh and Richard to stick around for a kissing rehearsal. Over the next thirty minutes they blocked out, or choreographed all six kisses - each one unique, consistent with the emotional state of both characters, and building towards the climax of the scene. (Get your minds out of the gutter - this is a PG rated show.)

The rehearsal wasn't nearly as titillating as it might sound. It wasn't much different than watching fight choreography. Hopefully when you see it on stage, you will find it believable and a bit more tender than a fight scene. 

-Jennifer Lyman (Plaza Suite Co-Producer)

Plaza Suite - Meet Co-Producer Jennifer Lyman

Why did LTA decide to produce Neil Simon's "Plaza Suite?"

LTA has produced a number of Neil Simon's comedies but it has been quite a while since he graced our stage.  It was time.  I chose to produce this show because I have worked with Shawn g. Byers a couple of times - with us in different roles - and when I learned that he was directing Plaza Suite I jumped at the chance to produce for him.  He is such a talented, positive, fun person that I knew we would have a good time creating Plaza Suite together. I was really lucky when Jamie Blake decided to co-produce with me.  We have known each other for years and have worked together on many shows but this is the first time we have produced together.  I think we make a great team.

What do you hope audiences will take away from this play?

I hope the audience has a good time laughing at the all the wonderful humor that Neil Simon has infused into Plaza Suite and that on their way home they say - "What a great evening!"