Thursday, September 5, 2019

Shadows, a dance musical

Produced by Go Joe Enterprises
Book by Randall David Cook
Music by Edison Woods, Maxim Moston and Karen Bishko
Directed by Joey McKneely

Nominations: Outstanding Choreography / Movement - Joey McKneely; Outstanding Original Music: Karen Bishko, Maxim Moston, & Edison Woods

About Shadows, a dance musical
When a married woman starts an affair in her NYC pied-à-terre, she discovers it is haunted by spirits. Trapped by their own violent past, the spirits try to stop this affair from escalating. Past informs the present as the cycle repeats itself to a dramatic conclusion.

How far will you go to keep the one you love?

Photos by Jay Michaels

The nominees and producer Jay Michaels discuss their experience of creating this new concept musical.


What first attracted you to this work?
Joey: The show was an opportunity to create a new form of a musical. Trying to create something fresh using dance as a major form of narrative was the big attraction.

Karen: I was attracted to this show because it's a script about a passionate affair between two unhappily married people. I remember hearing an interview with Sting once where he talked about how love triangles are brilliant for songwriting. I thought I could get stuck into this.

Maxim: My writing partner Julia Frodhal came to me with this project and I loved the idea of melding dance and drama.

Jay: Joey McKneely and Randall David Cook created the project

What was your favorite part of working on Shadows...?
Joey: My favorite part was collaborating not only with my fellow creatives, but with our extraordinary cast of actors and dancers. To see how passionate they all were from the get go was a real treat to experience.

Karen: The people. What a wonderful team.

Maxim: Seeing the actors and dancers put it all together after years of looking at a page or a sound file.

Jay: Watching it come to life

What was the most challenging aspect of this experience for you?
Joey: The most challenging part was trying to get it right. Once an audience comes into the theater, they let you know what's working and what's not. With the limited time we had, it was really a push to try to make the changes to the show and discover how we could improve our show.

Karen: Being sent home to write a song overnight. There was a hole in the script, which I pointed out and then got nominated to fill. By then I knew the amazing actor and voice that I was writing it for (John Arthur Greene) so it was a different and better experience. Also rewarding because John loved the song when I took it to him the next day.

Maxim: Multiple directions were explored, which meant multiple cues and some brilliant cues needed to be discarded.

Jay: Producing it. Independent theater is far more "hands-on" than Broadway (which McKneely is used to) and needed a lot more care and attention. It became that much more satisfying as all facets could have your signature.

What do you think the funniest or most ironic part of the production for you?
Joey: Wow...being the producer, director, choreographer, conceiver, set/tech supervisor, delivery driver, janitor and anything else that needed to get done during this process was the most exhausting yet inspiring thing I have ever attempted to do.

Karen: Our dress rehearsal was a disaster. Everything went wrong. Ballerina Irina Dvorovenko, possibly the most graceful woman I've ever met, couldn't shut the french doors on the set. She ended up slamming them so hard that the whole set nearly fell over. Randall David Cook (the book writer) and I nearly died laughing. I still laugh every time I think about it.

Maxim: Melding of "high art" and comedy reminded me of On The Town.

Jay: The musical is a Gothic ghost story that took place in a 100 year old building and the theatre is over a century old (which McKneely didn't know when acquiring it) so the whole picture was "supernatural."

What was the best part of working with this company of artists?
Joey: The best thing about these artist is that they all believed in the show. They gave they're all every day. I am so grateful for their time and commitment to the show.

Karen: No egos! Everyone was just a team.

Maxim: Their total dedication.

Jay: Brilliance and mind-reading. Amazing talent and knowing what "works"

Did you gain any insight or learn anything new from this experience?
Joey: Yes, I discovered being a producer is way harder than directing/choreographing a show!

Karen: I learned so much, especially from Joey McNeely. He worked so hard and he pushes everyone and they respond. I also really learnt, quite simply, to work from someone else's script. Randall would give me extra notes about exactly what he thought the song should say, I'd put my twist on it and somehow it worked.

Maxim: I actually like dance.

What does receiving this nomination mean to you?
Joey: It is a huge honor to get this nomination. For all the hard work and sacrifice I made just to get the show on stage, it feels like a little slice of heaven is saying "don't give up, keep going!" It is an enormous gift.

Karen: I'm over the moon to be nominated for this award because I knew this show was different and special and I've worked hard on the songs for years. They're not traditional musical theatre songs at all and it's lovely to be recognized for them.

Maxim: A true honor.

Validation for the work; acceptance by the community; an honor.

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