If/ Then - January 11 - January 13, 2018

The Beacon School

 A Note From the Director 

So musicals in a black box theatre are kinda my thing. Twelve seasons on 61st Street taught me how to see and think in small spaces, but also taught generations of Beacon students to fill music and text with a the real and conversational truth working so close to an audience creates. It’s no lie that working in small spaces teaches you the craft. When there’s nothing to hide behind, you simply can’t hide. So you don’t. You stop “acting” and start living truthfully in whatever world the box contains.


When the opportunity to teach theatre production presented itself this year I jumped at the chance to balance the excitement of the big beautiful stage up stairs with the urgency an intimate audience demands. And thus this chamber musical, which provides the perfect balance of essentials needed for the winter slot in our “bring on the joy” season of comedy and magic.


If/ Then delivers women centered story with a contemporary pop score by a writing team we’ve yet to produce. Yorkey and Kitt weave a tapestry of New Yorkers together that is all too familiar to us, and at the same time, ambitious and vulnerable. The music is so conversational, so chatty, so un-musical like. The lyrics are abrasive, or absurd, and the story is charming, heartbreaking and true. Just like New York City, it’s a little gritty, and diverse in every way imaginable.  


Furthermore, this first high school production of If/ Then is Beacon’s most student-centered theatre production to date. I truly feel like I did not direct this play. I produced it and designed it, sure, but Brittany, Hawa, Leandro and Serena, with the notable help of Daniel, Cole, Lila and Nicole staged 80% of what you see today. They too are learning to see and think in small spaces, because there is simply no place to hide from the truth when the audience is eight inches away.


Each year the Theatre Development Fund invests time, teaching and theater tickets for our students. Working with TDF our class started staging and choreographing pop songs in early fall and in just 50 minute slices of their day assembled this beautiful play. Every student you see also helped develop the set plan, the color pallet, the sound scape, the score. I could not be more proud of every one of these whimsical New York spirits. So many first time singers! So many stage debuts! So many new technicians picking up skills they never expected to love. This is the changing of the guard. Our class is exactly what high school theatre should be; the older more experienced students mentoring their younger colleagues with a steady hand, proving that when a community comes together like New Yorkers, ANYTHING is possible.











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