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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 3 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 01
One Night Only: New Voices Cabaret, Great Voices, Great Songs
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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One Night Only: New Voices Cabaret, Great Voices, Great Songs

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

NEW VOICES CABARET
ACT THEATRE
January 6 at 8 p.m.


On January 6th, for one night only, Brandon Ivie is back in town to coordinate his cabaret presentation of New Voices. If you know about it, you know that the experience is an exhilarating evening of songs from up-and-coming musical theater songwriters, combined with some of Seattle's well-known and/or up-and-coming musical theater performers.

Most of the music will be new to everyone, and this year, Brandon says that there are 'a lot of new singers who haven't done New Voices before, like nine or ten, so we have new talent which is great.'

Brandon and RJ Tancioco spend a lot of time checking the Internet and keeping up with what musical writers are doing. That activity matches with their love of musicals and Brandon's development into a bi-coastal theater director.

Brandon describes a little of what the evening will hold this year that is extra-special.

'We're premiering a song that Justin Huertas wrote for his new musical, Lizard Boy, that Seattle Repertory commissioned. Justin will sing it with Bill Williams and Kirsten deLohr Helland. They're going to be in it together [at Seattle Rep] later in 2014. This New Voices is exciting because we skipped the summer edition and it's been a year since we've done one. We have a lot of songs that have come our way that we haven't had a chance to showcase yet.'

Part of why this summer's edition didn't happen is because Brandon has had quite a year since SGN last caught up with him, when he directed his company's Contemporary Classics production of next to normal in a co-production with Balagan Theatre last January.

Brandon describes, 'I assistant-directed [the Broadway debut of] First Date with [5th Avenue Associate Director] Bill Berry and got a fellowship to assistant-direct a production of Hello Dolly at the Signature Theatre in Washington, DC with Eric Schaeffer.

'First Date was a blast. It had been a while since I worked with Bill Berry. I know him so well and it was great to be back together and we had never worked on a new musical together with the shared task of putting up a new show. I'd worked on a new show on Broadway with A Christmas Story, but doing it with Bill made it more surreal and special. And it was great to see Bill fulfill a dream. They'd been working on the show for a couple of years.

'The fellowship was the Charles Abbott Fellowship through The Society of Directors and Choreographers [the theatrical union for stage directors], for an up-and-coming director to assist a master director on a classic American musical. I sent a resume and essay [on What You Like About the American Musical Theater] and did an interview with Eric. I was there for about five weeks. I was especially excited because I had known about the Signature Theatre and they do a lot of interesting new work and a lot of shows that I'm interested in. Eric's style of directing is very different for me. He's very environmental and visual, and focused on the space the work is in. It was a chamber production of Hello Dolly with 15 or 16 people. It got great reviews and sold out a lot of seats. I'm going to be assisting him on projects, coming up, which is also really exciting.

'I also got a fellowship from the Drama League to develop Kat Ramsburg's new play, Stupid Hope!' Kat Ramburg feels like a local because she came here for college at Seattle Pacific University, and became part of the musical theater family, here. She's now moved to NYC.

Brandon encapsulates Kat's play, which is a dramedy, as 'about a teacher who works with under-privileged students by giving them free SAT prep for college and she helps them cheat on the test like the rich kids can.' Brandon helped with a workshop process that ended with a staged reading. Kat is working on finishing it up and will be submitting it to places to produce or develop it in 2014.

Brandon says, 'Also, I got to work on this year's A Christmas Story [which reprised at Madison Square Gardens], too. Maybe, I'll have that job every year! At least it's a show I actually like!' At this point, the producers are likely to make this an annual Christmas-time Broadway offering.

So, what's up for 2014? 'The first big thing,' Brandon says, 'is I'm directing a world premiere Off-Broadway called Jasper in Deadland, a rock and roll take on the Orpheus and Euridyce myth. It's a musical composed by Ryan Scott Oliver and the book is co-written by Ryan and Hunter Foster, a Tony-nominated actor and a book writer for musicals. That runs mid-March to mid-April. I got to know Ryan through New Voices. We'd done a bunch of his songs and we started to get to know each other and when I was in New York, we would have coffee or a dinner together. And then he asked me to direct this. We had a developmental workshop of it and we're still making changes.

'Also, I'll be coming back to Village Theatre in April-May to associate direct Funny Girl with Steve Tomkins. And in July, I'll go to Portland to direct a production of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas at the Broadway Rose Theatre. I got to know the artistic director Sharon Maroney when she came up to see the process of Saving Aimee [developed at the 5th Avenue]. They're interested in developing new musicals, too.'

Well, Brandon's 2014 seems to be headed in the right direction!

If you're interested in the few tickets that are left for his New Voices Cabaret, go to www.acttheatre.org or call 206-292-7676 for more information.

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