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Quest for the West: Adventures on the Oregon Trail!

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Ryan Emmons
July 9, 2012

What is your job on this show?
Director, Co-Book Writer.

Who are your heroes?
My heros are the members of No.11 Productions' ensemble and the cast and crew of "Quest for the West: Adventures on the Oregon Trail!". These are the people who create my artistic family as well as a laboratory in which we can all grow and push each other as artists. These people have the qualities of what all good heros are made of: Courage, unwavering strength, and the ability to see and work towards goals that are much larger than any one (read: non-super hero) person could ever achieve.

Complete this sentence: My show is the only one in FringeNYC that...?
could get your audience immortalized on our Top 10 Scoreboard! The audience works together to decide what the pioneers should do and the musical changes based on the choices made. There are also points given out for each action the audience takes - will you ford the river, take a ferry or caulk your wagon and float across? The audience also goes hunting, yodels like a true pioneer and helps the wagon party jump over dangerous prickly pear cacti! No one person in the audience is ever singled out and the audience never leaves their seats so all participation is anonymous and fun!

In your own words, what do you think this show is about? What will audiences take away with them after seeing it?
This show is about people who have the courage to face the unknown for the chance of a better life. The outrageous comedy comes from the unknown...our characters are not well seasoned rangers, but rather everyday people eager to risk it all to head west. I hope the audience takes away not only some of the comedy and joy that this musical is, but a renewed sense of getting out into the world, finding a good group of people and feeling empowered to manifest dreams that they have of their own.

People who like which of the following recent Broadway shows would also probably like your show: THE BOOK OF MORMON, ONCE, DEATH OF A SALESMAN, CLYBOURNE PARK?
THE BOOK OF MORMON would be most similar because it is a musical comedy that allows its characters to believe deeply in what they are doing and finds the humor in that. In many ways, that is where the humor in Quest comes from - we just don't have any bad language and are family friendly!

Can theatre bring about societal change? Why or why not?
Theatre and the arts in general are connected to the culture so I would like to think that they in fact can bring about societal change. In times of political upheaval and censorship the arts are the first place to be attacked. No.11 Productions' mission is to highlight the strength of the human spirit and the importance of Hope because we see the need now. Our society seems quick to make fun of or brush aside unhappiness, and less eager to "take up stakes and head to Oregon" if you will. In a way, we hope our silly musical comedy inspires action.