1660 Vine - A New Musical - December 09 - December 11, 2022

Hollywood High School


It's not often that a high school program gets an opportunity to debut new work.  It's even less often that a high school program is given an opportunity to debut a new musical - a musical that's the first of its kind - by a new generation of theatre artists for a new generation of theatre artists.


Earlier in the Spring of 2022, our Vocal Music teacher (and the music director of this production) Lisa Hertzner let me know that she had been approached by a gentleman named Jonathan Prince (President of PhilmCo) about Hollywood High School being the first to perform a new musical, called 1660 Vine.  She, Jonathan and I had a meeting, and I was impressed with Jonathan's passion for the material, and about the goals of the material.  He explained the history of the show and the many themes and goals of the creators, and that he and his production company were producing it for film, but they were looking for a high school to pilot the first theatrical production (since the original stage production had been shuttered by COVID-19 in the spring of 2020).


After reading the script and listening to the music; I heard and saw what Jonathan clearly had, and knew it was the right thing for us to work on as a theatre department, and as a school. I contacted Jonathan and let him know that we would be thrilled to work on this show.


What has followed has been an absolutely joyful whirlwind of a process, from auditions, to rehearsals, working alongside our marvelous bookwriter Jackson Prince, who has made himself so available throughout the process as a collaborator and supporter of the students and the production.


The film version of the show has come first, and obviously, there are big differences between the strengths of what a film can do than what theatre can do.  In approaching our interpretation of this material, Jackson and the creators left significant flexibility for productions to decide whether or not they wanted to pre-record the "online" sections of the script. My decision was to consciously not use recordings of scenes, because I wanted to explore the theatricality inherent in the script.


Furthermore, in a script that moves at the quick pace that this one does, to try and over-literalize the set pieces would ultimately make an insurmountable amount of construction work, and make the transitions plodding and horrible.  Thus, the periaktoi (the mobile three-sided flats) which serve as the "backdrops" of the streaming characters, as well as the various locations of their different homes.  Minimalistic, interpretive choices give us more flexibility and allow the audience to fill in the gaps with their imaginations, which is one of the greatest strengths theatre has as an art form.


However, there has been no greater joy in this process than watching the students interpret and make these roles their own, and I could not possibly be more proud of them.  Having begun work on this play before the movie had even been released, they truly brought themselves to the roles, and plunged straight into the "deep end" of the creative unknown.


I am so incredibly grateful for Jonathan, Jackson, and all of the creative team (the composers and lyricists, the producers, the production team) who have been with us throughout this process and done everything they could to support us.  We hope we've done you proud.


Thank you all for coming, and enjoy the show!

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