“Berlin to Broadway” Opens in One Week

May 10, 2012 at 3:27 pm Leave a comment

Berlin to Broadway”, a musical voyage with Kurt Weill, opens on Friday, May 18 at Idyllwild Arts. This is the final production of the year for the department and the only main stage musical production. “Berlin to Broadway” takes the audience on a musical voyage from pre-World War II Germany to Broadway’s Golden Age through the music of one of the 20th century’s most influential composers, Kurt Weill.

Students rehearse for the main stage production of Berlin to Broadway

I sat down with THE ACTING, SINGING, DANCING COMPANY, the shows large ensemble cast, and asked them a few questions about the production to help understand the show and all that it encapsulates.

What’s the best part of rehearsing this production? Unanimously, they all said that it’s the choreography. Paulina Kurtz said “none of us are really dancers but we started with the choreography as the first step in the production process. It proved to be very important for the overall rehearsal process to have the choreography set before we went further.” Guest Choreographer Donna Cory came to the Idyllwild Arts campus during her own Spring Break and spent two weeks working closely with the students to teach eight different production numbers. The dance styles covered in the production range from the tango to tap to Broadway style partner lifts. The members of the company all agreed that this was a crucial step in development of the musical.

Asked how the show was put together through the rehearsal process senior Jake Rakusin stated “it began with dancing followed by singing and finally blocking. It was a pretty graceful process.” The ensemble started rehearsal in early March so the show will have been in production for nearly two and a half months before the performance. A lengthy but necessary process for building a show.

The students of the ensemble also said that it’s a multi-faceted show. It’s an opera and a review that required lots of character work & development. The production requires them to develop new & different characters for each piece. They each take turns as “The Guide” for the show and take us through 20 years that tells the history of theatre, from pre-war Germany to the heyday of the American Broadway musical. Paulina noted “the original production of ‘Berlin to Broadway’ was produced in the 1940s and carries political commentary that is still applicable.”

Howard Shangraw, director of the production, said “the audience will leave the show humming tunes that are now standards in American modern songbook.” Songs featuted include “Mack the Knife,” “Lost In the Stars,” “Surabaya Johnny,” “September Song,” and “My Ship” among others. This production fuses serious and popular music into one very special work.

Make sure that you find time to attend the performances which are Friday, May 18 & Saturday, May 19 @ 7:30 pm and the Sunday, May 20 matinee at 2:00 pm.

Entry filed under: Theatre. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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