Call Answered: Jenn Maley: "OSCAR at The Crown", "Be More Chill", & "Indecent"
What a thrill it was to interview Jenn Maley, one of the youngest Tony-nominated producers on Broadway. At 22 years old, Jenn was nominated for their work on Indecent and is about to be represented on Broadway with Joe Iconis & Joe Tracz’s Be More Chill, but first Jenn is the executive producer of the immersive queer nightclub musical OSCAR at The Crown, which celebrates the rise and fall of one of history's most flamboyant characters, Oscar Wilde.
Presented by The Neon Coven, OSCAR at The Crown plays through February 2 at 3 Dollar Bill in Brooklyn (260 Meserole Street). Click here for tickets!
1. This winter you are the executive producer of the immersive queer nightclub musical OSCAR at The Crown. How did you get involved with this project? I was first introduced to the idea of OSCAR at The Crown by the composer and choreographer, Andrew Barret Cox. I saw his concert at Feinstein’s/54 Below and we started to discuss other potential projects together.
At one point, he started to tell me about his new company, The Neon Coven. Eventually, he connected me with another co-founder of The Neon Coven, Shira Milikowsky, and we hit it off right away. It was so apparent how much The Neon Coven loved working together and how well this show aligned with their mission. Since this was their first full production, we had wonderful conversations about how an Executive Producer could help oversee the development of this piece since they all were wearing multiple hats on the production.
2. The show celebrates the rise and fall of one of history's most flamboyant characters, Oscar Wilde. What is it about his story that you relate to most? I love how unapologetically queer this version of Oscar's story is. From specific choreography rooted in queer culture to showing Oscar Wilde and Bosie to taking place at a queer venue in Brooklyn, this show allows for queerness to not only be seen, but emphatically celebrated.
3. What should audiences know about this show before attending? They should be ready to move around and dance! This piece is immersive and takes place directly at the center of a nightclub. Also, the songs are BOPS so if you can listen to them on Spotify or iTunes before, you are very encouraged to sing along.
4. The audience is brought to a secret bunker far in the fascist future comprised of sequins, reality television, and the complete works of Oscar Wilde. This question is broken into four parts:
If you had to live in a bunker, what three people would you want to join you? Arya Stark, Gilda Radner, and Diana Oh
What's your favorite outfit to wear sequins with? A suit and then sequined shoes
What's your favorite reality TV show? Currently, Drag Race All Stars.
What is your favorite Oscar Wilde work? The Importance of Being Earnest
5. The show is also a social commentary about life today when everyone is so busy staring at their phones wondering about their latest Instagram post. What is the funniest story you've encountered from staring at your phone too much? What is a good Instagram story you can share with us? I am definitely on my phone way too much -- my partner always calls me "the mayor" when she wants me to get off a phone call or my email. I guess I spend most of my time on Instagram watching videos of french bulldogs doing really cute things like eating watermelons.
6. At 22 years old, you are one of the youngest Tony-nominated producers on Broadway, with 2017's Indecent. When did you realize you wanted to be a producer? What did you learn about producing a show from working on Indecent? I started to really understand in college that I wanted to be producing. I wanted to be able to help guide stories from conception to audiences. I was so fortunate to be working on INDECENT at 22 years old. I learned how important it is to produce stories that you truly believe in. I learned more about raising money, marketing through award season, group sales, and investor relations. I also was incredibly lucky to work with Daryl Roth as my mentor and I continue to lookup to her leadership.
7. Your other producing project is Joe Iconis & Joe Tracz's Be More Chill, which is making it's Broadway premiere this winter as well. What excites you about this show? I absolutely love how many people feel that BE MORE CHILL speaks to them. I am particularly excited about the number of young audience members who are finding their love of theatre through the show. It is crucial for our next generation of theatre-goers to start seeing themselves and stories they care about onstage. I'm also a huge fan of the music by Joe Iconis and the family of artists who work with him.
8. What is something you want to Be More Chill about? Flying.
More on Jenn:
Jenn Maley is a Tony-nominated producer for Paula Vogel’s Indecent and a director. Currently, Jenn is a co-producer on Be More Chill by Joe Iconis and Joe Tracz, opening on Broadway in 2019. Other select producing credits include Reunion '69 and '85 (Byron Theatre) and Associate on The Mad Ones (59e59). Jenn recently was the Assistant Director to Tyne Rafaeli for Usual Girls by Ming Peiffer at Roundabout Theatre Company.