The last interview is with director and MunOpCo Board member Rody Gilkeson. Here, he talks with MunOpCo Board Member Kristen Sehn about why he chose this show, directing with MunOpCo for the first time, his process as a director during tech week and more!
Kristen: First of all, why did you pick this show?
Rody: First of all, when they said they were going to open it up to outside directors, they wanted ideas and I immediately thought of this show because it crosses a lot of generations. Because of the movie coming out in the 1960's, the older audience will remember the title and that movie. And it was a huge hit. And it's Mel Brooks. They love Mel Brooks. And then I remembered that it had won more Tony Awards than any other show ever. And then there was a part of me that said 'Dieruff High School just did it and it was a big hit for them, so it could be a big hit for this production company as well. I really want to see MunOpCo be successful. They started it last year with Catch Me If You Can and I want to keep the ball rolling with The Producers and guarantee that this company is around for a long time.
Kristen: Me too! Yeah, I know one thing that I really love about the show is that it is a new musical, but it's reminiscent of old broadway and, as you said, it crosses generations because of that.
Okay next question: What has been most exciting about the process so far?
Rody: Working with these actors. There are so many top quality people in the show, people that I've worked with in the past and people I've worked with in other capacities but haven't directed. I've never directed Seth (Leo) or Chip (Franz) before. I worked with Bill (Max) in Fiddler on the Roof, and Matt, who plays Roger DeBris, I had never directed before, but we've been in shows together. So it was really great bringing this whole cast together. Of course I have worked with my Elizabeth (Ulla) and Ian (Carmen) before, and it is always fun to work with family. And then best part is that everybody seems to be having a really good time.
Kristen: Yeah I can see that from being at the rehearsals! Everyone looks like they're having a blast. They all really play off of each other well and they are all hysterical!
Rody: Yeah there are a lot of great people, from the ensemble all the way through. Really great comedy and timing. So I'm happy.
Kristen: So how has your first time working with MunOpCo been? Well I know you are a Board Member now and you have been involved, but this is your first time directing, right?
Rody: Yes, it's my first time as a director for the company. I've done a couple shows as an actor, but never any directing before now. Larry and Terry (past director and choreographer of MunOpCo) were here, they did all the shows. But it has been a good experience so far! It has been dificult because it's a big show, but when the show opens and you see more and more tickets sell all of that will be forgotten.
Kristen: Yeah and ticket sales have been going very well.
Rody: Yeah, I just had an interview, so that will be featured Thursday, which is more exposure. And the social media presence helps, the big cast who is constantly sharing what you post on the Facebook page helps.
Kristen: Exactly, between the ads and the posts on Facebook it has been a great presence for us. Everyone is on social media nowadays and MunOpCo has almost quadrupled the amount of followers for the Facebook page in the past year. So we can use it to continue reaching people. But I think the biggest help in reaching people through social media, as you said, has been the cast.I constantly get notifications that they are sharing the Facebook event and the things I post. And that comes from having a passionate cast who really want people to come see the show.
Rody: And that's because they are happy with what they are doing and they are proud of the quality of the work, which is so important. And it keeps getting better during tech. I am not a killer during tech week. I do not believe in overworking the actors. It is a week where stress is high and it is a week where people can get sick and it isn't worth it. I like it when the show peaks on opening night so that the audience sees the cast at its absolute best.
Kristen: I couldn't agree with you more, especially as an actor who has dealt with long tech weeks! Okay one last question: What are you most excited for the audience to see or experience?
Rody: Definitely the comedy of Mel Brooks. His comedy is unlike any other, it is just brilliant. So I am excited to see the audience experience his comedy delivered by our actors.
Kristen: They are not going to be able to stop laughing!
Rody: I hope not!
Thank you for tuning into our interview series! We hope you enjoyed reading and that it has excited you for the show!