Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Dirty Blonde - meet director Jennifer Lyman


What do you find appealing about this show?
I decided to direct Dirty Blonde because I not only enjoyed the story and the characters, but I saw the show as a tremendous challenge I knew I could conquer.  There are more than 40 scenes which take us to at least 20 different locations spanning 73 years and populated by 18 characters.  Plus there are two well know iconic characters, singing, dancing, and men in drag.  Who could say no to all that?

How does this show differ from other shows you have worked on?
Dirty Blonde is play with music – kind of like a mini-musical.  Back in 2010, I directed A Christmas Carol for LTA which is similarly a play with music. Adding music and dance to a play increases the complexity of the production immensely. I could never have done this production without the talent, dedication, and creativity of our musical director, David Dender, and our choreographer, Grace Mechanic.

What do you want the audience to experience with Dirty Blonde?
First and foremost I hope that the audience will be entertained.  Above that, I hope that people come away with a better understanding of Mae West and how extraordinary she was.  I also hope that they connect with the characters of Jo and Charlie and root for them to find in each other the love and acceptance we all want.

What surprised you about Mae West?
Before preparing for this show, I didn’t know much about Mae West.  I had never seen any of her movies or heard her sing.  In researching her life and career I was surprised to learn how hard she worked creating the character of “Mae West” and how she committed to being that character whenever in the public eye.  I don’t think many people ever got to know the real Mae. 

Jo and Charlie are fans of Mae West.  What are you a fan of?
While I don’t take my fandom to the level of Jo and Charlie, there are a few things I will admit to being a fan of including: European-style board games, cooking, television series featuring anti-heroes (i.e.The Shield, Sons of Anarchy, and Breaking Bad), Joss Whedon, zombies, and the well written novel.

What made you get involved in theater?  How did you get involved with LTA?
Some friends convinced me that I would enjoy volunteering at LTA and suggested I start by helping the lighting crew.  At their suggestion, I showed up at the light hang for No Sex Please, We’re British, and just dived right in.  I learned on the job and it ended up being one of the best things I’ve ever done.  Over the years I have be able to help create so many wonderful productions working in lighting, sound, set dressing, costuming, wardrobe, stage managing, producing, and directing.  I met some of my best friends here at LTA and have so many wonderful memories.

What advice would you give others who are interested in working in theater?
If you want to be involved you have to be persistent.  It is easier to get involved in some areas than others.  LTA needs lots of ushers and set builders (and people to help with tearing the sets down) - those activities are an easy entrance into the LTA family.  Once you have met some people it is easier to get on the smaller crews like lighting, sound, or wardrobe.  If you want to be an actor, I suggest taking some of LTA’s acting classes and then just audition, audition, audition.

 Tickets and info: www.thelittletheatre.com

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