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Coney

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Gary Shrader
October 11, 2012

What is your job on this show?
Director.

What type of theater do you like most to work on?
I’m lucky, because of Blue Coyote, to be in a position to choose projects that I personally respond to, and to consistently work with people who share my excitement for them. I like plays that tap into (or challenge) my personal, political, and social views, affirm (or challenge) my sense of humor…that I find touching or vivid or “true,” these are the irresistible theater projects for me.

What are some of your previous theater credits? (Be specific! Name shows, etc.)
I’ve been privileged to collaborate with a number of fantastic playwrights, like David Foley and Matthew Freeman. David (Johnston, CONEY playwright) and I enjoy a long history. We made a tally, and realized that CONEY is the ninth play of David’s I’ve directed. His plays rank among my favorite experiences as a director. I directed both productions of BUSTED JESUS COMIX, A BUSH CAROL, THE GEORGE PLACE, and CONVERSATIONS ON RUSSIAN LITERATURE, all premieres and highlights of the Johnston canon.

How did you meet your fellow artists/collaborators on this show?
It’s been over twelve years now! Bob (Buckwalter), a work colleague, invited me to join the board of Blue Coyote at its inception in 1999, when I met Kyle (Ancowitz). Stephen (Speights) joined the board shortly afterwards, when we incorporated as a not-for-profit the following year. David (Johnston) began working with us in 2003, when we decided that we would produce only new plays. We’re pretty much finishing each others’ sentences, and ordering each others' cocktails, by now.

Which famous New Jerseyite would like your show the best: Snooki, Bruce Springsteen, Thomas Edison?
Bruce Springsteen, twice. The early Springsteen of the first two albums, with their poetic evocations of the rough-and-tumble boardwalk life, and the later, more “mature” Springsteen: CONEY is current, smart, socially conscious, lyrical, and about people who struggle, and find joy, in their walks of life.