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John Patrick Lowrie (George Howard), Leslie Law (Judy Steinberg), Jayne Muirhead (Georgette Howard), John Dewar (Murray Steinberg)
Photo by Jay Koh. Property of Village Theatre.

VILLAGE THEATRE: What inspired It Shoulda Been You?

BARBARA ANSELMI (Composer): It Shoulda Been You actually started out as a concept piece called “The Wedding Project.” I had been to a whole bunch of weddings in a short period of time and I started to notice that what was going on with the guests (especially at one wedding in particular) was incredibly interesting. At the time I had to come up with an idea for a second year project in the BMI workshop and I thought it would be really fun to explore many different guests view of a wedding. I was working on this with a bunch of different lyricists when the song “It Shoulda You” was written. I presented it in class and someone’s comment was, “I wanna know what happens next.” Well, so did I, so I went on a search for a bookwriter. I finally met Brian and when I asked him to write the book for the show he replied…

BRIAN HARGROVE (Bookwriter and Lyricist): “Hell no. Are you crazy? I hate weddings. Weddings are borrrrriinnnng!” Well, that’s only partly true, but weddings can be pretty boring. We kind of know what’s going to happen – the couple is either going to get married or they’re not. And, let’s face it; doing a musical about a wedding is not exactly a new concept. I’m sure cave men and women were dancing and singing around the fire about weddings before they even realized they could put that fire in footlights. But, I loved Barbara’s songs. And the characters in the song “It Shoulda Been You” were so well defined, that I found the idea of expanding on them intriguing. So I asked her to let me think about it, and if I could think of a story that surprised and interested me, it would probably do the same for an audience, so I did and we did and there you have it.

Brian Hargrove (Book writer and Lyricist) and Barbara Anselmi (Composer)

VILLAGE THEATRE: It Shoulda Been You was a hit at Village Theatre’s 2010 Festival of New Musicals. How did that experience affect the development of the show? Have there been any major changes to the show since then?

BARBARA: “First of all, the Village Festival was such an amazing experience for us. It was incredible to see people who didn’t know us from a hole in the wall, watch and react to the show. It was such a wonderful feeling. On a more technical point, it was good to see what was and wasn’t working with different parts of the book and music. We have made some pretty big changes concerning certain characters and songs. And a lot of that was due to that one (magical for me) night.”

BRIAN: What she says. That was a great experience for us. The theatre, the audience, the whole community was so welcoming and supportive that it made us all the more enthusiastic about the show. Also, part of your process is both a talk back with the creators and questionnaires that you ask the audience to fill out about the show. I have to admit that it took me a month to read them – mainly because it was such a great experience I didn’t want it sullied if someone absolutely hated us. There weren’t any haters, but there were several specific criticisms that we found very helpful. Of course, my favorite comment was – “This show should go straight to Broadway!” I couldn’t agree more, but that doesn’t really help you make it better.

STILL BRIAN (I know, he does like to hear himself talk, doesn’t he?)
As to whether we have made any major changes to the show, the answer is yes and no. The essential story hasn’t changed, but we’ve rewritten a lot, both adding and cutting songs and beefing up some of the character’s development. For instance, Albert (the Wedding Planner) is now an integral part of the story. We always wanted him to be, but to be honest, there was no there there. Now he has his very own song, which although worked pretty well where it was, we’re trying in a different spot in the show so it will (hopefully) work even better. Also, the young people’s parts have grown and become more three-dimensional: especially Annie, the Bride’s best friend and co-maid of honor. We hope by the end of the show, you will have more sympathy for why and how things go down the way they do. And finally, we are in the process of writing a duet for Brian (the Groom) and George (Father of the Groom), which is going to get it’s first outing here at the Village. This new song will replace a scene between the two of them. We hope we’ve gotten it right, but if not, we’ll fix it in rehearsals. That’s one of the joys of working at the Village Theatre. You give us the freedom to try new stuff.

VILLAGE THEATRE: A lot goes into developing a new musical. What have you found to be the most rewarding parts of the experience? What about the most challenging?

BARBARA: The most rewarding part for me is to (during a performance) sit back and go on the ride. Because at that point as a writer, you’ve done all you can do. You’ve tried to implement everyone’s notes, you know you are about to see a story you love and you have absolutely no control! During the production at George Street I was telling that to someone in the green room and Tyne came over to me and said, “Now you know what it’s like to have kids.” The most challenging part is the moment before you are able to solve a situation that’s not quite working during the rehearsal process. It’s also one of the more fun parts of the process because I love figuring things out. I love letting my mind go to weird places and come up with ideas that are not quite right, because eventually they lead you down the right path and there’s often lots of laughter involved, especially when you take an idea a little bit too far.

BRIAN: Every time a show goes in front of an audience is a lesson. It’s funny really; sometimes you want a moment to work so badly. And you’ll try it out a few nights, hoping that the first time it didn’t work was a fluke, and the second time, it was too hot in the theatre or someone coughed during it. Until finally, you have to admit that you’re the only one laughing. But that in itself is rewarding. Writers have a saying that can sound a little harsh, but it’s true – “you have to kill your babies. “ The best line, the best musical or lyrical phrase, the funniest joke you’ve ever written will be none of those things if the show as a whole doesn’t work. So you have to be willing to cut things that you love in order to make a show work. But not to worry, you can always recycle them –where do you think “trunk songs” come from?

VILLAGE THEATRE: Why should audiences be excited to see It Shoulda Been You at Village Theatre?

BARBARA: First and foremost, it’s a new musical with an original story written by an awesome librettist. Second, it’s a slice of real life. Although some parts are heightened for the comedy, I can tell you that everything the mom says are things that many moms say. If I had a dime for the amount of people who came over to me after a talkback and said, “That’s just like my family,” and also, when the grandchildren of the woman that Judy Steinberg was named after came to see the show, they said, “You totally nailed Grandma.” Third, it’s a multigenerational story. You get to spend time with many different points of view that all come together on this one day and highlight the idea of deciding to take the wheel of your own life-a moment I hope the Village Theatre audience can relate to and be inspired by.

BRIAN: Well, I can’t really improve on that except to say that the music is exceptional and that many people wanted to buy the cast album after hearing it the first time. Plus, Barbara and I would really like to be able to start flying privately, and the more of you who come; the sooner you can make that a reality. Seriously though, audiences do seem to enjoy the show. They laugh and they cry and they laugh some more. You’ll be seeing something that very few others have seen AND you’ll be one of the first. Love it, hate it, – hopefully love it – that’s got to be a chance worth taking and an experience worth having.

The hilarious new musical It Shoulda Been You – last seen at Village Theatre in the 2009 Festival of New Musicals – is delighting audiences on the Mainstage.  Here are what audiences are saying:

Diana Huey (Annie Sheps), Mara Solar (Rebecca Steinberg), Tim Wilson (Brian Howard), Aaron Finley (Greg Madison)
Photo by Jay Koh.

“I flat out loved this show!”

“What a refreshing musical! Funny, interesting characters. The plot continues to thicken just as we think we’ve figured it out.”

“Delightful show from top to bottom!!!”

“Laughed out loud.  Don’t usually do that. It was great!”

“We literally cried and laughed. WELL DONE! This simply must go to Broadway!!!!!”

“Best show all year”

“Very witty writing and outstanding music!”

“Loved this show! Funny and touching”

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You are invited to one of the craziest weddings that will ever occur! We’ve got co-maid of honors who don’t see eye to eye, a bride whose nerves are through the roof, a best man who is all looks and no brains, a jinxed cater waiter, a WASP mother of the groom and a Jewish mother of the bride, not to mention an ex-boyfriend who invites himself to the wedding. All of these insane characters come together for a day of wedded bliss!

Working on a show about a wedding brings up a lot of memories (good and bad) for our cast. Over the next couple weeks I’ll post stories from the cast. Some are sweet, others are just waiting to be made in to a Katherine Heigl movie. We’d love to hear your stories as well!

Please join us in Issaquah March 12-April 21 and in Everett April 28-May 20. You won’t regret RSVPing to this wedding!

See you there!

Kat Ramsburg (Jenny, Sister of the Bride)

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Dennis Bateman (plays Albert Crowley, the Wedding Planner)

“As I entered the church, my [soon to be] wife’s uncle told me, ‘There’s still time to run.” Dennis went through with the wedding. “Following the wedding we had our reception on an old steam locomotive which travelled a few miles from Ringoes to Flemington, NJ (famous only for the trial of Bruno Richard Hauptmann in ’34) after which I was almost arrested for driving while tipsy the wrong way down a one-way street. The cop let me off ’cause I’d just got married.”

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Mara Solar (plays Rebecca, the Bride)

“My only cousin decided that September 6 would be the perfect wedding day. That also happens to be my birthday. I wasn’t super stoked about having to fly to Denver and be away from my friends and boyfriend for my 24th birthday, but hey, I’ve always had a pretty good time at weddings, so how bad could it be? Turned out to be my worst birthday ever. Just a few days before, my cheating boyfriend dumped me. So there I was in Denver, a total wreck, attending a wedding. I tried to put on a happy face as much as I could but in every photo I just look horribly angry! I did manage to break a smile when the entire wedding sang happy birthday to me at the reception, but for the most part, I think my demeanor was pretty pathetic. I hated every happy couple I saw, just like single girls on Valentine’s day. Anyway, long story short, I moved on, and have gone back to loving every wedding I attend, especially this one!

Timothy Wilson (plays Brian, the Groom)

“My favorite wedding memory is from when I was three years old. My babysitter was the bride and I was asked to be the ring bearer. Even at three years old, I knew I was in love with her so obviously I was devastated that she would marry someone else. When it was my turn to walk down the aisle I was sobbing. Following the wedding I saw the best man crying as well. I figured he must have been in love with the bride as well.”

Hey Blog Readers! We had a great afternoon with a large portion of the IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU cast — here are a couple behind-the-scenes-esc photos. The actual shots can be found in an album on our Facebook page here.

ImageThe Steinberg Family gets ready to pose!

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“How we lookin’?” The answer? GREAT!

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The best costume team EVER!

Learn more about the show here! Follow them on Twitter here.

We had such a great time last week at our pre-production photo shoot for THE PRODUCERS and for the 2012-2013 Season (can you believe we’ll be announcing next season soon?!!). Here are a few fun shots from the day.

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JJohn David Scott working it… you should have seen his leaps!

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Good ol’ Steve Tomkins!

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THE PRODUCERS is going to be really pretty. Single tickets go on sale March 14, 2012. Season tickets holders can snag the best available seats now –3-show season tickets still available in both locations!

Issaquah:

The power is out at the theatre, and the Box Office is currently closed. Reports indicate that the power should be back on this afternoon—and so the show must go on! However, if the power has not been recovered by this evening, tonight’s performance of The Odd Couple will be cancelled. Please keep checking this page for up-to-date information.

***The KIDSTAGE production of Godspell has been cancelled for tonight–January 19, 2012.

If you are a Subscriber and have tickets for this evening’s performance of The Odd Couple, the Box Office will be happy to exchange your tickets to another performance, subject to availability, at no additional charge. For all other ticket buyers for both The Odd Couple and Godspell, if the show is cancelled, the Box Office will help you move your tickets to another performance of your choice. If the show is not cancelled but you are unable to get to the theatre, you may utilize your tickets to come to any other performance on stand-by. As soon as the power is recovered, the Box Office will be available to help with ticket questions or exchanges at (425) 392-2202.

Everett:

The Everett Performing Arts Center has power and is operating as usual. At this time, tonight’s performance of Annie Get Your Gun will go on as scheduled. However, we do understand that the icy weather may make it impossible for you to get to the show this evening.

If you are a Season Ticket holder, the Box Office will waive the 24 hour exchange policy for tonight’s show and exchange you into a future performance. Call the Box Office at (425) 257-8600 for further information or to exchange your tickets.

If you are not a Subscriber, and can not use your tickets for tonight’s show, we will be happy to offer tickets on a stand-by basis for another performance in the run. Simply bring your unused tickets to the Box Office 30 minutes before curtain and you will be seated as long as there is space available. Contact the Box Office at (425) 257-8600 for further information.

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