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The Spoon River Project

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Tom Andolora
June 10, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Playwright and Director.

What is your show about?
The Spoon River Project is a theatre piece with music, based on Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters.

Where were you born? Where were you raised? Where did you go to school?
I was born and raised in Jamestown, NY. It's a small city in Western NY. Lucille Ball was born in Jamestown and grew up there. I loved growing up in the same town she did. I was lucky there was quite a bit of community theatre in Jamestown. I was involved in a show almost the whole year round when I was in high school. I was introduced to everyone from Lerner and Lowe to Noel Coward by the time I was 17. I attended a great college not too far from Jamestown. I have a BFA in Musical Theatre from SUNY Fredonia.

Complete this sentence: My show is the only one opening in NYC this spring that...?
takes place, live at night, in the middle of a nearly 500 acre Historic Cemetery! How awesome it feels to have 200+ people sitting in chairs in the middle of a dark cemetery waiting for a show you have written and directed to begin! They have been let off by a trolley deep in the cemetery, They have no idea what they are about to see. The opening of the show is great. I won't give it away.

Do you think the audience will talk about your show for 5 minutes, an hour, or way into the wee hours of the night?
I don't mean to sound presumptuous, but I think they will remember The Spoon River Project, and talk about it, for a long time. Edgar Lee Masters has written a masterpiece. I think my adaptation will introduce Spoon River Anthology to many new people. Sometimes site specific theatre can seem like a gimmick. I believe with The Spoon River Project it is organic. It is the perfect blend of literature, theatre, and location. It becomes a very special experience, seeing live theatre, lit by lanterns and torches in the middle of a dark cemetery. Magical! It has great characters, wonderful music of the period sung by the cast and accompanied by live musicians, and some very thoughtful dances created by the super talented Jeffry Denman. Green-Wood Cemetery itself is an amazing place. It would be hard to forget the first time you enter it's gates.

Which famous person would you most like to get a fan letter from: Denzel Washington, Maggie Smith, Ang Lee, Jennifer Lawrence?
My heart says Maggie Smith (because I am a huge fan) but my head says Ang Lee. What director wouldn't want a fan letter from Ang Lee?!

Who are your heroes?
My Mom, anyone who struggles to overcome the roadblocks life puts in their way and comes out ahead. Soldiers. Teachers.