Music and Lyrics by Andre Catrini
Directed by Thomas Coté
Produced by WorkShop Theater Company
Nominated for: Outstanding Production of a Musical
About the Production
WorkShopTheater Company's goal is to "transport, challenge and surprise both artists and audiences," so it is not surprising that they were drawn to Allan Knee and Andre Catrini's musical The Astonishing Times of Timothy Cratchit. This production imagines the young boy in Dickens' holiday classic, as a young man venturing into the world for the first time to stake his claim.
Director Thomas Coté shares his thoughts about developing a new American musical.
What attracted you to this subject matter?
Thomas: Allan Knee has been a long-time writer with The Workshop, and I have directed many of his plays. He first approached me with a straight-play version, but as it developed, Andre Catrini came onboard, and suddenly we were doing a musical! I love A Christmas Carol, and I love how Allan and Andre have imagined a continuation of that material. It's just very rich storytelling.
What was your favorite part of working on this production?
Thomas: The collaboration. We had an excellent production team, all of whom were talented and inspired by the material. Everyone's input was important, all the ideas were interesting, and so it was just one of those shows that made us all feel very creative.
What was the most challenging part of working on this production?
Thomas: Money! Stretching budgets, trying to get every dollar to show up onstage. How do you costume three bears when you have absolutely no money left?
What do you want the audience to come away with after watching your production?
Thomas: In this case, I want them to be entertained. Allan's writing is very layered, so there are many poignant and beautiful moments that will adjoin very funny moments, and Andre's music captures those emotions as well. Timothy's journey is a successful one, so I hope people leave feeling happy, maybe inspired, maybe hopeful.
Why do you think it is important to develop new American musicals?
Thomas: Putting together a new play is, I think, the hardest thing to do in theater. Putting together a play with music is probably even harder, so when you achieve any kind of success, it feels extremely gratifying. More importantly, musicals are a very pliant form, and when text and music are put together effectively, it can yield such powerful results. It is a form that can communicate stories in a very unique and compelling way.
What was the most noteworthy part of working on this production?
Thomas: There were really no hiccoughs in this production - that's kind of noteworthy!
AND, we're doing it again! Because The Workshop's mission is to develop new American plays and musicals. Andre and Allan have been hard at work using what we learned last December to revise and sculpt the play. I' m very excited about the revisions - changes to the structure, new songs, new characters. We open December 1 (www.workshoptheater.org).
You can follow WorkShop Theater on Twitter - @workshoptheater