Rachel Klein Interview

The Gospel According To Heather

 

Transcription of interview

at bottom of the page

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Live from The Gospel According To Heather press event, where members of the media were given a sneak peak of this new Off-Broadway Musical, I interviewed Director/Choreographer, Rachel Klein (Symphony of Shadows, The Anthem, Around the World in 80 Days, Gay Bride of Frankenstein).

 

In this interview, Rachel pulled back the curtain to reveal:
  • How¬†The Gospel According To Heather¬†found its way to her
  • What¬†she related to most about¬†the show
  • One rule she lives by
 
Behind-The-Curtain:

I have known Rachel for over a decade. The thing that initially caught my attention about Rachel, was her style. It was unique & all her own. I love that she has stayed true to who she is all these years later.

Our first interview was in 2012 for her show Symphony of Shadows which took place in NYC at Dixon Place.

We had such a great interview that a year later, in 2013, I got to speak with her again.

This time around she was super busy because she had two shows going on at the same time. I couldn't believe she was able to find time to answer my questions, but she did, which is another testament to how amazing she is.

2013 was the last time Rachel & I did an interview together. We tried to coordinate one in 2015, but unfortunately, our schedules did not align.

When I got invited to The Gospel According To Heather press event, I was so excited Rachel was going to be there that I wrote her a private message telling her how I couldn't wait to see her. She replied with just as much enthusiasm.

When we saw each other, we picked up right where we left off! Rachel is full of love, light & energy. I feel all of that is reflected in this fun interview!

In The Gospel According To Heather, Heather Krebs just wants a boyfriend. But how can she even navigate her way through high school if she might be the New Messiah?  A small town in Ohio grapples with politics, religion and teenage romance in this eclectic pop musical.

The Gospel According To Heather plays at Theater 555 in NYC. Click here for tickets!

Connect with The Gospel According To Heather: Facebook and Instagram

Headshot of Director/Choreographer Rachel Klein. Rache is wearing a black jacket with silver buttons, magenta lipstick & brown/black glasses. She as jet black hair. Photo Credit: Charles Chessler

Photo Credit: Charles Chessler

More on Rachel Klein:

Rachel Klein is a NYC based director, coined "Endlessly Clever," (The New York Post), "Nothing short of brilliant," (Broadway World) and of whose work The New York Times has stated: "What makes this show pop is the bracing vision of its director, Rachel Klein."

Rachel's direction and choreography have been seen all over New York City including at the House of Yes, (le) Poisson Rouge, the Highline Ballroom, the National Arts Club, La MaMa, Night of 1000 Stevies, the Hiro Ballroom, Dumbo Dance Festival, the Kitchen, and the Slipper Room. 

Some of Rachel's credits include: Red Roses, Green Gold, Coming: A Rock Musical of Biblical Proportions, The Anthem, Around the World in 80 Days, Gay Bride of Frankenstein, & Symphony of Shadows.

Rachel holds a degree in Theatrical Direction from Columbia College, is a member of the SDC, a member of Musical Theatre Factory, and attended The Actor's Gymnasium School of Circus Arts, as well as The International Directors Symposium in Spoleto, Italy.

Connect with Rachel: WebsiteInstagram

 Transcription of Interview

 

Bobby Cronin (singing Call Me Adam Theme song): Hey everybody, it's Adam, Adam, live and in person for you. Hey everybody, it's Adam. Wonder who he'll interview?

Adam Rothenberg: I am so excited to be at The Gospel According To Heather press event today, and I get to talk to director and choreographer, Rachel Klein, who I have known for over a decade now.

Rachel Klein: Yeah, over a decade. Adam. I love this for us and I love seeing you here. Thank you so much for being here today.

Adam Rothenberg: You're welcome. So my first question is, What made you want to direct and choreograph The Gospel According To Heather?

Rachel Klein: I love this show. So Jim Kierstead the lead producer, the commercial producer on the piece, he and I have been friends for almost as long as you and I have been friends Adam, but not quite.

But Jim has been following my career. He is been so supportive in seeing all my work, and we've been talking about wanting to find the right project for us to collaborate on. And at the beginning of the pandemic, Paul Gordon wrote this piece and just first draft some loose demos and sent it to Jim.

Jim was so excited about this that he called me in the middle of the night and put his phone on speaker phone and was, can you listen to these songs?

And he played for me the opening number, and I was just like, oh my gosh. It embodies all of that kind of raw, angsty, teenage otherness, rock and roll energy. I was really surprised to learn that the piece was written by a grown-ass man. It was like so connected. I felt, to me that it was, it was written by a young woman, the perspective was so clear.

So I read the script. I thought it was tons of fun how it toys with the idea of religion and politics, but makes it fun and palatable and, at the end of the day, the, the message of the piece is that love conquers above everything else and that you have love in your heart, then that's, that's good.

And if you don't, that's bad. Simple messaging in that regard, but it uses a very complex way of telegraphing that. We go on this journey with Heather, our alterna-teen angsty, otherness weirdo kid, which is definitely something that I relate to, to this day [Adam Laughs], but especially in high school.

Oh my gosh. And on top of everything, when she's just trying to fit in, she finds out that she has all these super natural powers that are starting to awaken within her. Then the journey twists into a tale of becoming about acceptance of your own identity and loving yourself. It's got all this great stuff in there, but to circle back to what initially drove me in, is the music.

Excerpt song from The Gospel According To Heather:

"Why should we wait? When it's our time to rebel. Why should we waste these precious days, waste these precious days, instead let's raise some hell."

Rachel Klein: The music kicks ass. Paul Gordon can write a bop. I know his background is in addition to being, Tony nominated Broadway, et cetera, he's a pop music writer and you really feel that the, the show straddles many different genres.

Like you've kind of got that like post third wave California punk vibe. In some of the songs you get a little rockabilly, you get some kind of sixties. The Turtles and The Monkees kind of mod sounds in there, It's this beautiful tapestry of different genres, that are really fun to play with.

It's been a lot of fun to also think choreographically about how does the language of the music inform what each scene is going to be depicting and how, how does that telegraph physically?

Adam Rothenberg: Oh, I love it. I love it. So the show is called The Gospel According To Heather, but what would you say is The Gospel According to Rachel?

Rachel Klein: Oh my gosh, what a cute question [Rachel & Adam Laugh]. The Gospel According to Rachel, I mean, there are some parallels with The Gospel According To Heather and not loving yourself, accepting yourself, accepting others. Not everybody always disagrees, but it's always good to find a common ground. May sound cliche, but I'm a big proponent of building bridges, not walls.

I think that that ties directly into the messaging of the show and what, what drew me to it to begin with.

Adam Rothenberg: I love it. I love it. Well, we do have to wrap up, so I am thrilled that we got to catch up.

Rachel Klein: I'm so thrilled that you're here.

Adam Rothenberg: Thank you. And everybody listening, come see The Gospel According To Heather at Theater 5 55.

Rachel Klein: Thanks, Adam.

Adam Rothenberg: You're welcome.

Bobby Cronin (singing, Call Me Adam theme song): He'll get the dirt and the scoop and the story for he happens to be in the know, just ask anybody whose had him, Adam, lives for the business of show. Call Me Adam dot com

Special Thanks:

  • Richard Hillman PR
  • Theme Song by Bobby Cronin
  • Podcast Logo by Liam O'Donnell
  • Edited by Adam Rothenberg
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