Last year I had the pleasure of interviewing Andrew Barbato after seeing him in an industry reading of Bobby Cronin's "The Beaten Path" (now called "W2ML"). Since that time, Andrew has gone behind the scenes to write (with Lesley DeSantis) "Alice: A New Musical," and with some of his friends, created Cellar Door Stage, a new theatre company in Stoneham, MA that brings an assortment of fresh musical theatre to the greater Boston area. Since Cellar Door Stage opened their doors to the public, they have performed a staged reading of Kooman and Dimond's compelling new musical "Dani Girl," paid a visit to Boston's Shiriner's Hospital For Children where they performed selections of "Off the Record," had live radio spots on Boston's very own WERS 88.9FM, and debuted their premiere musical, Andrew and Leslie's "Alice: A New Musical." Now "Alice: A New Musical, presented by Erica Ruff Productions is making its NYC debut in the Midtown International Theatre Festival from July 20-30th at The June Havoc Theatre (312 West 36th Street, first floor). Click here for tickets!
1. How did you come up with the idea and concept for "Alice: A New Musical?" Well, as with any new musical, the idea and concept of the show is constantly evolving. I think thats the most exciting part! But if you see the show (WHICH YOU SHOULD!), you will see that we are telling the story in a really creative and beautiful way. The whole world is brought to life by the ensemble of actors that make up the wonderland characters. I always knew that I wanted the show to be presented in a magical, high energy, and SUPER creative way, and we have all been working really hard to create that world. Its going to be so exciting to watch!
2. What is it about "Alice's" story that made you want to write a new version? Why did you choose to make it a musical? What I found so appealing about Lewis Carroll's book, "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland", was how much of a blank canvas it was. It's SUCH a fun book and has so many amazing characters in it, but there isn't much of a plot to it. Our musical is set on Alice's thirteenth birthday, where she is being forced to say farewell to childhood. We've used Lewis Carroll's book as the framework to tell a story about the struggles of growing up and the importance of holding onto the dreams and aspirations we have through our childhood.
3. What do you get from writing a show that you don't get from performing in one? AH! Such a great question! Writing and directing shows is such a different feeling than being in one. I love being in shows of course, but there is such a thrill in seeing something that you had in your head come to fruition on stage. I have been especially BLESSED to be working with a group of such talented and committed actors!
4. What's your favorite part of the creative process in writing a show? I love all the changes that happen! I'm sure it's a pain in the butt for the actors and music directors, but it's so exciting to watch the show get better and better as new music is added, scenes are cut, characters are re-written. It's all very exciting!
5. What's the best advice you've ever received? My mom and dad have always taught me not to let fear hold me back. I feel like there are so many amazingly talented and creative people around that are intimidated to put their work out there, and it's a shame! DON'T FEED THE FEAR!
6. What have you learned about yourself from being a writer/performer? A lot! I've learned not to judge myself, I've learned to think outside the box, I've learned to be thankful for all the wonderful and talented artists that help make things possible....i've learned a lot. And I'm still learning!
7. Favorite place to write and practice/rehearse on your own? The bathroom....
8. Favorite way to spend your day off? Waking up extra late, walking out side, then back in to fall into a deep youtube spiral usually ending at Meghan Hilty's performance of "Thank Goodness." Watch it please....
9. Favorite place to go on a date in NYC? ...if only (Anyone interested in taking me on a date in NYC, feel free to contact me).
10. "Glinda" or "Elphaba"? Refer to question number 8.
11. If you could perform alongside anybody, who would it be? I mean...Bernadette.
12. Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts? What do you order? DUNKIN DONUTS!!!!! I usually order a small iced coffee (extra skim, extra sugar) and a donut of sorts...