Interview with Director Bryan Garey
If you enjoyed last week’s interview with Colleen Kelly, then we hope you’ll dig this. This weekend we sat down with the one, the only, Bryan Garey to talk about the unique challenges of directing Woody Guthrie’s American Song; you’ll find our interview below!
Hi Bryan! Thanks for taking time to answer a few questions. With Woody Guthrie’s American Song opening this week, we just wanted to sit down with you and get your thoughts on the show and your team’s process. Let’s dive right in – What was your experience with Woody Guthrie prior to directing this show?
Like most folks, my knowledge of Woody Guthrie was limited to “influential folk singer and song writer” and “This Land is Your Land.” This wonderful piece exposes all of us to his incredible music, so beautiful, melodic, and meaningful. And, it introduces us to his life story and the stories of people during his lifetime. Like us, folks were going through tough times and Woody found a way to provide insight, empathy, and comfort through his words and music.
Guthrie’s catalog ranges from the obscure to the, well, “This Land is Your Land” – did you feel a need to balance the show relative to each song’s individual fame?
The music is so good, no balancing was needed. What we try to do is honor the music by performing it well and also bringing the audience into the time and the work. Folks will be singing along and leave the theatre humming the tunes and, I hope, reflecting on Woody’s life and work. Many may also find comfort in the music as it is universal and is relevant to our struggles today.
Your cast came to this process with a very diverse skill set, and range of experiences as performers. What work did you do to unite those talents to a cohesive vision?
We rehearsed as a team the entire 3-week process and created an open and collaborative environment where many good ideas where shared and incorporated from everyone throughout the rehearsal time. We also tapped into strengths…different musical talents, comic talents, etc., so that this is truly an ensemble piece.
What was your favorite part about working on this show? And what would you like your audience to feel when the curtain closes?
The music, first and foremost. People will love the songs and performances. And, as a bonus, they will learn about Woody and the American people of the 30’s and 40’s. Finally, they may even be surprised as how much this work is alive and relevant today. We need relief and comfort from the day-to-day struggles we all face. Woody Guthrie provided that in his time and for our time, too.
Thanks again Bryan, really looking forward to seeing the show this weekend! Can’t wait to see what this ensemble has created!
If you haven’t yet, clink the box office link at the top of the page and grab your tickets now! On the 4th of July we’re doing a special matinee followed by a hot dog cookout for the Company and all those attending the matinee! A pretty cool way to kick off your Independence Day celebrations!