“Idaho: The Funny Musical.”
Friday, Oct. 9, 2015|2 a.m.
Keith Thompson, musical director for “Jersey Boys,” sings an opening number as he hosts The Composers Display at Cabaret Jazz in The Smith Center for the Carrying out Arts on Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012.
‘Jersey Boys’ 5th Anniversary
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In Part 1 of 2 of our Q+A with brand-new musical “Idaho: The Funny Musical” writer Pal Sheffield and author Keith Thompson, now under production at our Smith Center for the Carrying out Arts, the vibrant duo discussed the motivation for the musical, the Smith Center and, obviously, Idaho potatoes.
In Part 2, the discussion counts on the progress, challenges and casting of “Idaho”:
In regards to portions, are you 90 percent house with the task?
I would say 90 percent sounds about right. Every time we have actually done any variation of it or reading or anything, there have actually been changes, and I anticipate modifications this time. One thing that writing for television taught me was not to be afraid of rewrites. The good idea is that in this case, rewrites are my own ideas and what I wish to see occur rather than some suit at the network informing me what to do.
The primary character in the program is a person named Whip, and he is a young man who up until now has actually simply been a jokester and doesn’t really take anything really seriously, however he fulfills and falls in love at very first sight, as individuals in musical theater are wont to do, with a young woman who has pertained to town to marry another person who happens to be the bad individual who has everyone in the area under his thumb.
Our hero becomes a reluctant hero. Fulfilling the lady and falling for her modifications his life because it makes him recognize that he has a responsibility to the neighborhood, and the irony is that that commitment might be the very thing that keeps him from having the ability to be with the female.
Is this a difficult task due to the fact that it’s “out-of-town” theater, or exists a benefit to it?
Perhaps because of our early experience, we can work anywhere. It makes it a little more difficult for the Smith Center in needing to put some people up, and we’re going to be casting people in Las Vegas initially, then there might be some who originate from New York and L.a. It’s a logistics problem for the production team, but for us not really.
It always ends up sensation like a household, and we have an excellent collaborative, working relationship with the director and choreographer. Any time we gathering, it just feels like we remain in the playpen, like we remain in the sandbox having a good time.
We are acutely aware that New York and Broadway have specific attitudes about things that are available in from different locations, and I know that New York most likely has specific attitudes about Las Vegas. Since I’ve been right here, among my huge objectives has actually been to make Las Vegas– to put us on the map as far as initial music, as far as theatrical music and new programs. This is an excellent chance for us to state, “Yeah, here we come, yeah, we’re from Las Vegas.”
As far as running out town, I believe we’re lucky to have this chance, not to have it under the microscope, off the charts, if you will, off the radar. Although the Smith Center is anything but off the radar. We’re simply going to take advantage of the opportunity that we’re not saying, “Here’s the big end product.” We’re going to state, “This is a work in progress.”
I’m guessing that Broadway has a little more respect for La Jolla Playhouse than it does for Las Vegas as a birthing ground for Broadway productions.
Yes, I would need to say that’s true, which’s what we’re taking care of to change. Look at the number of programs Broadway has actually sent out to Las Vegas. It’s time we send one back.
I such as that attitude. Talk with me about the casting time table.
The Smith Center Broadway Period 3
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Dolly Parton in Primm
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We’ll probably begin casting in February, March, April– that time frame. At this moment, no one has been picked. We’re leaving it open. We’re going to think about individuals who have succeeded for us in the past, but we’re open to casting concepts. We desire the piece to really have to do with the piece and not so much about a star or stunt casting.
We’re not unfavorable to it. I indicate if Dolly Parton wanted to come and remain in it, we ‘d say, “OK!” But today it’s more of an ensemble piece. We have 8 main characters and a town of wackos, and we just want the very best individuals we can get for all those roles.
I’m sure we’ll be announcing probably mid-spring about the very same time the majority of the summertime stock theaters in America will be doing their casting calls. Our time slot is right about the same. We would be a very practical task for anyone, a star or starlet who’s aiming to put their period together.
It’s new work with genuine potential to head to New York, so we’re excited about it. Something that has been extremely motivating to me is that when we have had readings in New York, we have had a great deal of actors who have actually been in a lot of Broadway shows, and they definitely like “Idaho.”
They like belonging of it, they absolutely get it, they enter the household aspect of it where they recognize there’s something there that’s bigger than any of them as people, and they have a lot of fun doing it. That means a lot to me.
You pointed out Dolly Parton. Would that sort of a character be the girl in the town?
No. In fact, I know Dolly, and I have actually worked with her for a very long time, however at this point if she were to be in the program, she ‘d be the Aunt Perli character, which is the equivalent of Aunt Eller in Oklahoma.
Provide me a concept of a male who would fit the role of Whip.
Simon Jackson would be perfect. We have actually considered him many times. I have no idea that he ‘d be available for a summer season job at the Smith Center, but he’s somebody who we have actually thought about in the past. He’s fairly the leading man. He’s a handsome, earthy hero type. He’s naughty.
Cassie is the woman. She’s probably 25 to 30. She would remain in that classification because she’s a mail order bride-to-be. We believe she’s a virgin, however she’s from a town back East. The man who bought her actually paid additional due to the fact that she’s a virgin. She would think about the mail order bride idea since time is passing her by, and she has to go on and make something take place there.
However she’s got an ulterior motive. It’s all really, really complicated, Robin. She ‘d be a young Meryl Streep. Slim resembles a Will Parker in Oklahoma. The wicked one’s name is Jed Struck, sort of named after Jud Fry in Oklahoma, the bad guy.
He’s mean, and we like that he can be mean and funny at the exact same time. We have the kind of wide-open-eyed idiot who is in love with the town trollop, the Ido Ida woman, then simply completely does not care about her background. He’s been in love with her all his life, and he wants to marry her.
You’re going to have a good time casting this.
It constantly is, and I anticipate it will be even more this time. One of my favorite parts of the entire thing is to put the ideal individuals together. It’s an obstacle, however it’s enjoyable.
I have one amusing silly concern to end our interview: Does everyone get a potato when they go house?
I think we can work that out. I think that we’re going to be doing a lot of potato merchandising, and individuals like potatoes. They such as tater tots and French fries, and I’m hoping they’ll serve French french fries at intermission.
I can see it now: Discount rate coupons from McDonald’s.
They would need to make certain they were Idaho potatoes.
And a packet of Idaho seeds with every ticket offered.
There you go!
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Written by Pal Sheffield with music by Pal Sheffield and Keith Thompson, “Idaho: The Funny Musical” is produced by the Smith Center and will certainly be presented from July 12-17, with previews July 6-8.
Robin Leach of “Lifestyles of the Rich & & Famous” popularity has actually been a reporter for more than 50 years and has spent the past 15 years giving readers the within scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/ Robin_Leach.
Follow Las Vegas Sun Home entertainment + High-end Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/ VDLXEditorDon.
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