Nathaniel Shaw is the founder and Artistic Director of The Active Theater. For the company he has directed the 1st New York City revival of "The Violet Hour," the world premiere of "Bridgeboy," and the MITF Nominated world premiere of "Body Language."
Under his leadership the company has collaborated with artists such as Tony Nominees Marcia Milgrom Dodge and Xanthe Elbrick, Jeremy Dobrish, Christian Campbell, Michael McGlone, Samantha Buck, and Marc Robin. Active has produced in collaboration with Greg Schaffert, Craig Haffner, and Karl Held, and Bud Martin.
His regional credits include the Direction of "Hair" at the Mount Washington Valley Theater Company, which garnered 13 NHTA Nominations, including Best Direction and Best Choreography. Also for Mount Washington he Directed and Choreographed "Hairspray" and "Damn Yankees," and Directed "A Chorus Line." His choreography has been seen at the Broadway Palm Theater in Mesa, Arizona in "Fiddler on the Roof" and "Babes in Toyland," as well as in the film "Perception" by Daedalus Productions.
This past fall Nathaniel was the Associate Director of the Off-Broadway comedy "Any Given Monday" at 59E59 Theaters. Currently, Nathaniel is directing The Active Theater's production of Jennie Contuzzi's "Body Language" through June 10 at the Workshop Theatre in NYC (312 West 36th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenue, 4th Floor). Click here for tickets!
For more on Nathaniel be sure to visit http://nathanielshaw.net!
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? Performing is in the blood in my family....My parents are both modern dancers. I once told my Dad, "I want to be just like you Dad, but not a dancer. Years later of course, I followed his footsteps as the only father/son combo to have danced in the Paul Taylor Company.
2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? I was so inspired by the Direction of Roger Rees and Alex Timbers on Peter and the Starcatcher....I would love to be a fly on the wall in their next creative process.
3. You are the Artistic Director of The Active Theater Company. What made you want to start your own theatre company and what have you gotten from this venture? Well, I've gotten a career from this. I sort of feel like my searching for the right fit as an artist has come to an end. I've never been more comfortable than I am in the directors chair, and steering the shop of a company. We started initially like a lot of small theater organizations....to give all the wonderful artists we know a chance to shine in the city. While that remains an important part of the mission, it has grown into much more than that.
4. The Active Theater is currently producing Jennie Contuzzi's "Body Language." What made you want this show to be part your season? What do you identify most with it? I want to do plays that challenge our audience to think about things in a new way, or from a different angle, or get a glimpse of themselves in a form they didn't imagine before. Body Language does all of those for me. It creates a very jarring dynamic setting a positive journey inside a very questionable context.
5. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing "Body Language"? I hope that they are on board with the struggle our central character is faced with, and can applaud her courage to accept herself for who she is. However, what she chooses to accept will challenge most people's sensibilities.
6. You have also choreographed and directed a number of productions regionally. What do you get from being a choreographer that you don't get from being a director/actor? Which shows have been your favorite to work on? In most ways I don't think it is much different. Given my background with modern dance, and what I believe is essential to musical theater choreography, the story telling must lead. I feel like the choreography must be right in line, with the mood and journey of a scene. I've found the most satisfaction working on "Hair" and "Hairspray."
7. What have you learned about yourself from your various endeavors? I wouldn't want to do this alone. I'm lucky to have my amazing wife, Lisa.
8. What's the best advice you've ever received? Make sure you have fun....Also from my father.
9. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Again, my wife.
10. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Flying.
11. Favorite way to spend your day off? Again, with my wife.
12. Favorite way to stay in shape? Used to be dancing, now it's weights and running.
13. Boxers or Briefs? Boxer Briefs.