• Announcing Our 57th Season

    Tania Thompson
     | Mar 16, 2020

    20-21 Season Logo

    Lineup Includes World Premieres, Classics, Family Friendly Shows and Collaborations

    South Coast Repertory’s 2020-21 season marks the theatre’s 57th year of serving Orange County with distinctive theatre offerings. The “robust, daring and highly theatrical” lineup ranges from classics to contemporary and new works, as well as musicals and shows for families.

    “Next season features stories of the here-and-now that reflect the world of the human experience,” says Artistic Director David Ivers, as he joined Managing Director Paula Tomei in announcing the season.

    “I spent this year getting to know the community in which we live—the people, the culture, the history—and the works next season are a direct response to what I discovered,” Ivers says. “A wide variety of voices are represented, some that aren’t always front and center, and they explore some of the important issues of our time, as well as the universal truths that bind us together. I’m excited for what’s coming up—it promises robust, daring, highly theatrical, edge-of-your-seat experiences—and I hope that our Orange County audiences will find a bit of themselves reflected in it, too.”

    The lineup features four world premieres including the Prelude to a Kiss, the Musical (music by Dan Messé, lyrics by Sean Hartley and Messé, book by Craig Lucas) to be directed by Ivers, Threshold by celebrated actor, writer and producer Amy Brenneman (who stars in the show) and Vladimir by Erika Sheffer. In addition, the season includes August Wilson’s Two Trains Running, the classic Our Town by Thornton Wilder, The 39 Steps adapted by Patrick Barlow from the Alfred Hitchcock movie, Quixote Nuevo by Octavio Solis, as well as the popular family shows, A Christmas Carol and You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, based on the comic strip “Peanuts” by Charles M. Schulz.

    Managing Director Paula Tomei adds, “The range of work we’re offering next season is both compelling and entertaining. Each production promises to connect with our audiences in distinct and diverse ways, engaging all of us in fresh, theatrical adventures.”


    On the Segerstrom Stage

    • August Wilson’s Two Trains Running
    • Quixote Nuevo by Octavio Solis
    • Our Town by Thornton Wilder
    • Vladimir by Erika Sheffer (world premiere), part of the Pacific Playwrights Festival
    • Prelude to a Kiss, the Musical with music by Dan Messé, lyrics by Sean Hartley and Dan Messé, and book by Craig Lucas (world premiere)

    On the Julianne Argyros Stage

    • Threshold co-created by Amy Brenneman and Sabrina Peck, written by and starring Amy Brenneman, choreographed by Sabrina Peck (world premiere)
    • Tiger Style! by Mike Lew
    • The 39 Steps adapted by Patrick Barlow from the novel by John Buchan from the movie of Alfred Hitchcock
    • TBA world premiere, part of the Pacific Playwrights Festival

    Theatre for Young Audiences Family Series

    • You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown based on the comic strip “Peanuts” by Charles M. Schulz; book, music and lyrics by Clark Gesner
    • Last Stop on Market Street by Cheryl L. West, based on the book by Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson, with music and lyrics by Lamont Dozier and Paris Dozier
    • TBA

    Holiday Classic

    • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, adapted by Jerry Patch.


    Not part of subscription packages; but once you purchase or renew a subscription for 2020-21, you gain exclusive, early access to tickets for these two productions.

    A Christmas Carol in 2020: This will mark the last time for the original production. Longtime SCR actor Richard Doyle will step out of his 36-year-role as the Ghost of Christmas Past to portray Ebenezer Scrooge. A brand-new production will debut in 2021. Only subscribers enjoy exclusive early access to these tickets. Single tickets for the 2020 Christmas Carol will go on sale to the public in June.

    The Mozart Project: This collaboration between South Coast Repertory, the Pacific Symphony (Carl St.Clair, music director and conductor) and the Pacific Chorale (Robert Istad, artistic director), brings Wolfgang to life for an all-Mozart evening. The program includes the charming Don Giovanni Overture and the transcendent Requiem in d-minor, interspersed with a portrayal of Mozart’s greatest rival, Antonio Salieri, performed by SCR Artistic Director David Ivers. Only subscribers receive exclusive access to tickets before the general public.

    Learn more about the 2020-21 season and renew or purchase new subscriptions.

    All dates and plays are subject to change.

  • Get Your Irish On at Orange County’s Irish Pubs

    Beth Fhaner
     | Mar 06, 2020

    The Irish comedy Outside Mullingar, playing on the Argyros Stage now through March 29, presents the perfect opportunity to don your best green outfit and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. For theatregoers looking to get their pre- or post-show Irish on at a place featuring authentic Irish fare and Guinness on tap, several establishments in ​Orange County honor the Emerald Isle with a cheerful ambience. Here are a few of our favorite OC Irish pubs. Sláinte!

    ​Muldoon's Irish Pub

    *See Mullingar and Save at Muldoon's

    Keep your Outside Mullingar ticket stub to enjoy 10% off food and beverages at Muldoon’s Irish Pub. For more than 40 years, the pub has been committed to Irish culture and is an iconic gathering spot in Orange County. See a show at SCR and then enjoy a meal at Muldoon’s.

    NOTE: This offer is not good on March 17. Discount applies only for in-pub dining; it may not be used for take-out or delivery. Muldoon’s is closed on Mondays. The pub is located at 202 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach. Muldoon’s is an Outside Mullingar partner with SCR. This offer is good through March 29, 2020.

    Harp Inn
    ​The Harp Inn
    O' Malley on Main
    O'Malley's on Main
    McCallans Public House
    ​Macallans Public House
    Dublin 4
    Dublin 4 Gastropub
    Silky Sullivan
    ​Silky Sullivan's Restaurant and Irish Bar
    Blooms Pub
    Molly Bloom's Irish Restaurant & Bar
    Durty Nellys
    Durty Nelly's 

    Muldoon’s Irish Pub

    Located near Fashion Island in Newport Beach, this inviting, upscale pub has been committed to Irish culture for more than 40 years. With an extensive menu featuring American comfort food and Irish cuisine such as fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, Irish stew, house-made corned beef and cabbage, bangers and mash, and Irish soda bread, there’s something for everyone here. Guests can enjoy lunch, dinner, Wilde (happy) hour or Sunday breakfast on Muldoon’s charming open-air patio, or in one of their three indoor spaces. On St. Paddy’s Day, Muldooon’s will offer live music throughout the day and evening with two bands; no cover charge. *See offer ​at right.  muldoonspub.com 

    The Harp Inn – Costa Mesa

    An OC institution in Costa Mesa for more than 30 years, The Harp Inn is a popular gathering spot for the local Irish community. At this authentic Irish pub, patrons can enjoy live music, watch sports (rugby, soccer, NFL) games live on TV and engage in the Irish art of having the craic. Diners can indulge in an all-day Irish breakfast, which includes sausage, black-and-white pudding, eggs, potatoes, beans and toast; a brunch menu is also available on weekends. The regular menu features American comfort food and traditional Irish fare such as fish and chips, corned beef and cabbage, bangers and mash and more. For those looking to quench their thirst, there’s Guinness, Harp, Smithwick’s, Strongbow Cider, Kilkenny and Sculpin IPA. harpinn.com

    O’Malley’s on Main

    Located on Main Street in Seal Beach, O’Malley’s features an upscale pub ambience and an extensive selection of Irish whiskeys and beers, in addition to a full menu including burgers, sandwiches, tacos, salads, and traditional Irish fare such as corned beef and cabbage, Guinness beef stew, shepherd’s pie, fish and chips, salmon boxty and more. O’Malley’s also serves an all-day Irish breakfast and brunch on the weekends. Don’t miss the live music every Wednesday through Saturday evenings, too. With its cozy vibe, fireplace and private outdoor courtyard with a wishing well and mural of the Emerald Isle, O’Malley’s is the ideal place for a St. Patrick's party. omalleyssealbeach.com

    Macallans Public House

    At this award-winning, downtown Brea restaurant, guests can indulge in a special dining menu that features high-end comfort food and traditional Irish favorites like shepherd’s pie, bangers and mash, corned beef and cabbage, and fish and chips in an inviting tavern setting. Additionally, a full Irish breakfast is available on the brunch menu. Macallans regularly features an extensive selection of more than 200 types of Scotch, whiskey, and bourbon, and drink specials include 23 Irish whiskeys, four Irish beers on tap, and the pub’s signature Irish coffee. Patrons enjoy the live music, pub trivia nights and Wednesday night whiskey classes, too.  macallanspubbrea.com

    Dublin 4 Gastropub

    Located in Mission Viejo, Dublin 4 Gastropub will celebrate their eighth anniversary on St. Pa​ddy’s Day. Owned by Irish expats, this pub features flavorful, chef-driven small plates like D4 Reuben rolls and Tipperary Irish cheddar mac and cheese, in addition to Irish gourmet fare such as Dublin 4 Irish “pork banger” sausages, house-cured corned beef Reuben sandwiches and Dublin lawyer lobster pie, among other dishes. Guests can also enjoy a premium selection of Irish beers (Guinness, Harp, Smithwick’s and Kilkenny) as well as an extensive selection of whiskeys, spirits, liqueurs, wines and their authentic and signature Irish coffee. dublin4gastropub.com

    Silky Sullivan’s Restaurant and Irish Pub

    In Fountain Valley, get your shamrock on at Silky Sullivan’s Restaurant and Irish Pub with their 7-day St. Patrick’s celebration—featuring live music, green beer and daily festivities—starting Wednesday, March 11 and concluding on Tuesday, March 17. At this popular establishment, patrons can enjoy 17 beers on tap including Guinness, Smithwick’s, Sculpin, Newcastle and Magners Irish Cider, along with traditional Irish fare such as fish and chips, bangers and champ, shepherd’s pie and Sullivan’s Irish sundae—a baked potato stuffed with chunks of prime rib and mushrooms, topped with au jus, melted cheese and sour cream (a veggie option is also available). Fun fact: This pub is dedicated to “Silky Sullivan” (1955-1977), the greatest “come-from-behind” stretch runner in horse racing history. silkysullivans.com

    Molly Bloom’s Irish Restaurant & Bar

    Located in San Clemente, Molly Bloom’s is the place to go for St. Pa​ddy’s Day revelry in south Orange County. With its authentic Irish pub décor, this friendly establishment offers several Irish beers and whiskeys and a menu featuring American pub food and hearty, traditional Irish dishes such as cottage pie, bangers and mash, corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie and Guinness Irish stew. For starters, Irish-themed appetizers include Reuben egg rolls or Irish nachos—wedge fries topped with diced corned beef, cheese, sour cream and green onions. The only Irish-owned bar in south OC, Molly Bloom’s also features billiards, live music every weekend and a free comedy show on Wednesday nights. bloomsirishpubsc.com

    Durty Nelly’s

    Located close to SCR in Costa Mesa’s Stonemill Design Center, Durty Nelly’s is a convivial Irish bar and restaurant featuring pub food, an upright piano for patrons to play, weekend karaoke and trivia nights in a casual setting. Diners here can indulge in American comfort food such as sandwiches, soups/salads and gourmet pub burgers, as well as traditional Irish dishes including bangers and mash, corned beef and cabbage, fish and chips, shepherd’s pie and Irish stew. Quaffers have their choice of Guinness, Harp, Smithwick’s and Newcastle, among other beers, in addition to a selection of wines and cocktails. So, this St. ​Patricks's Day, come see Outside Mullingar and then get your Gaelic on at nearby Durty Nelly’s. durtynellyscostamesa.com

    Orange County has many other Irish pub options including The Shamrock Bar & Grill in Newport Beach, The Auld Dubliner in Tustin, The Original Patsy’s Irish Pub in Laguna Niguel, The Irishman, Killarney Pub & Grill and Gallagher’s Pub—all located in Huntington Beach and Hennessey’s Tavern in multiple OC locations.

    Learn more about Outside Mullingar and buy tickets.

  • Ireland By Way of The Bronx: John Patrick Shanley's Journey "Home"

    SCR Staff
     | Feb 28, 2020
    John Patrick Shanley
    ​Playwright John Patrick Shanley.

    Plays by John Patrick Shanley

    Welcome to the Moon (1982) • Danny and the Deep Blue Sea (1983) • Savage in Limbo (1984) • The Dreamer Examines His Pillow (1985) • Italian American Reconciliation (1986) • Women of Manhattan (1986) • All for Charity (1987) ​• The Big Funk (1990) • Beggars in the House of Plenty (1991) • The Wild Goose (1992) • Four Dogs and a Bone (1993) • Missing Marisa/Kissing Christine (1996) • Psychopathia Sexualis (1998) • Where's My Money? (2001) • Cellini (2001) • Dirty Story (2003) • Doubt: A Parable (2004) • Sailor's Song (2004) • Defiance (2005) • Romantic Poetry (w/ Henry Kreiger, 2007) • Pirate (2010) • Storefront Church (2012) • Outside Mullingar (2014) • Prodigal Son (2016) • The Portuguese Kid (2017)

    Films by John Patrick Shanley

    Moonstruck (1987) • Five Corners (1987) • The January Man (1989) • Joe Versus the Volcano (1990) • Alive (1993) • We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story (1993) • Congo (1995) • Live from Baghdad (2002) • The Waltz of the Tulips (2006) • Doubt (2008) • Wild Mountain Thyme (forthcoming)

    Playwright John Patrick Shanley grew up tough, in The Bronx. He self-admits to being a challenge in kindergarten, elementary and high school—to the extent that he got kicked out of each. And New York University asked him to leave, as well. Then he joined the Marines and, after some kicking around post-military service, he became a writer. When he hit it big with an Academy Award for the Moonstruck screenplay, he became a full-time writer and never looked back.

    And now we come to Outside Mullingar (March 8-29, Julianne Argyros Stage), an Irish romantic comedy that is deeply personal to Shanley.

    “I didn’t want to be another Irish-American guy from the Bronx. I didn’t want any of it; and then bit by bit, I started to reclaim what I had been given in the first place,” he tells writer Marilyn Cole Lownes in an interview for IrishAmerica.com.

    Shanley first visited Ireland and the family farm in 1993, accompanying his father who couldn’t make the trip alone.

    “When I went to the farm, hearing the way those people talked, I thought, ‘Hey, I feel very much at home,’ ” he recalls.

    And the seed for Outside Mullingar was planted. Read the full article here.

    Learn more about Outside Mullingar and buy tickets.

  • Meet the Cast: "Outside Mullingar"

    Tania Thompson
     | Feb 18, 2020
    The Cast of Outside Mullingar
    ​THE CAST: Scott Ferrara, Lynn Milgrim, Richard Doyle and Devon Sorvari.

    John Patrick Shanley’s Outside Mullingar (March 8-29, 2020, Julianne Argyros Stage) is an Irish comedy told with rich language and a few surprises, just the type of story that Founding Artistic Director Martin Benson loves and he’s directing this delightful play. His stellar cast includes longtime SCR favorites, a newer SCR alumna and one making his SCR debut. We caught up with the actors during rehearsals to talk with them about the play’s story, learning to speak with an Irish accent and more.

    Doyle,-Richard-HatRichard Doyle

    I portray Tony Reilly. He’s a midlands Ireland farmer who’s the patriarch of a 120-year-old cattle and sheep farm. His much-loved wife passed on years ago and Tony has reached an age where he has become concerned about whether his son, Anthony (who has some strange ideas and seems unwilling to marry), will ever have a family to carry on the Reilly farm tradition.
    My SCR credits include
    A Christmas Carol (for 36 years), Kings, Rest, The Weir, The Beard of Avon, The Tavern and The Crucible.
    My other credits include
    “Cheers,” “M*A*S*H,” Air Force One and Mass Appeal.
    I’m drawn to Outside Mullingar because
    I have always loved Irish plays​—their lyricism, folktales, music and poetry. The pure gentle nature of the comedy and romance in these plays, and their humanism, is so engaging and our Outside Mullingar will be no exception. A generational dispute about how life should be lived is often at the heart of Irish theatre.
    Why this play means so much to me now
    was prompted by being asked to work with my dear friend and SCR Founding Artistic Director Martin Benson. Over the past 55-plus years, he and I have teamed up on dozens of projects and this was one I could not resist.
    Ah, the Irish accent!
    The object is be understood. There are some wonderful comic moments and dialogue exchanges in the play that are made even richer with the accent and we are certain our audiences will enjoy these; as they travel with us to Killucan in the Midlands. We want to help our audiences appreciate that these characters without calling undo attention to accented speech or dialect, all while not getting in the way of the text or story.
    My favorite St. Patrick’s Day drink is
    a pint of Guinness and a "small one" (that’s a generous shot of Irish whiskey), then an Uber ride home to avoid the garda (Irish police). Sláinte! (to your health!).

    Ferrara,-ScottScott Ferrara

    I portray Anthony Reilly. He’s a man who has stayed on the family farm for 42 years and committed his entire life to the land, working by himself from morning to night. He lives with his father, Tony, and has never married—actually never even dated after his teenage years. Anthony’s heart feels deeply, but he lacks the desire to connect with people. He is happiest out in nature—wandering by himself because it is the only place that he feels free and full of joy. When he is reacquainted with the daughter of his next-door-neighbor, the new and volatile relationship upends his perception of love and solitude and sends him off on a path he has never taken before.
    This is my SCR
    My other credits include
    Henry IV, Parts ​1 and 2 (Lincoln Center Theater), The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, Julius Caesar, The Pillowman, Hamlet, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Romeo and Juliet, “Modern Family,” “24” and The Brink.
    I’m really drawn to Outside Mullingar.
    In fact, the first time I read this play before the audition, I cried—there was hope at the end of the story. Even after all of the twists and turns, we get to celebrate two people finding their unique connection. I think it is essential to share art that celebrates this, especially now.
    Yes, there are challenges to speaking with an Irish dialect—
    it needs to sound and feel like it’s your own. Finding a way that merges the technical sounds with play and freedom is crucial for a dialect to be successful.
    My favorite St. Patrick’s Day drink is
    a Shamrock Shake!

    Milgrim,-LynnLynn Milgrim

    I portray Aoife Muldoon. She is ‘of the earth’—a farm woman, who is stricken with emphysema. This brings several physical challenges for me in this role, with a character who is dealing with age and infirmity.
    My SCR credits include
    A Doll’s House, Part 2; Rest; Death of a Salesman; Pygmalion; The Caucasian Chalk Circle; The Heiress; and The Trip to Bountiful.
    My other credits include
    Otherwise Engaged, Bedroom Farce and Charley’s Aunt (all on Broadway); Brighton Beach Memoirs (international tour); Crimes of Passion, Museum, Echoes, Win/Lose/Draw (off-Broadway); regionally in The Marriage of Bette and Boo, Harvey, Treasure Hunt and Arsenic and Old Lace; and on TV in “Chicago Med” and “The Fosters.”
    I’m drawn to Outside Mullingar by
    the wonderful, complex characters that [playwright John Patrick] Shanley has written. And the holding of grudges for years and years and years is something I can relate to (unfortunately)!
    Yes, there are challenges to speaking with an Irish accent
    —you have to be specific and not generalize by speaking with an ‘Irish lilt.’
    My favorite St. Patrick’s Day drink is
    champagne (it’s my birthday)!

    Sorvari,-DevonDevon Sorvari

    I portray Rosemary Muldoon and she's fabulous. Passionate, forthright, steadfast, tough as nails, and yet guided by love and faith. This is a dream role. I'm hoping she rubs off a bit on me.
    My SCR credits include
    The Siegel (I was the surprise 'plot twist' character at the end!).
    My other credits include
    the first national tour of The Graduate, Ah! Wilderness (Lincoln Center Theater), The School for Scandal, Inherit the Wind, Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, The Imaginary Invalid, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Uncle Vanya, The Crucible, “The Mentalist,” “ER,” “The Gilmore Girls,” He’s Watching and Hellraiser: Revelations.
    I’m drawn to Outside Mullingar because
    I'm a sucker for a good, rainy Irish play! But, really, [playwright John Patrick] Shanley's language is so gorgeous—alternately soul-piercing and hilarious. I love the complicated parent-child dynamics and the poignancy of people finding their way to each other, maybe even despite their best attempts.
    Yes, there are challenges to speaking with an Irish accent—
    not letting IT use YOU! I have to work very technically in the beginning and really over-focus on the sound changes so that (hopefully) I can completely forget about it and just say what Rosemary needs to say...how she happens to say it. By the time we get to performances, if I'm still thinking about the accent, I won't be doing my real job.
    My favorite St. Patrick’s Day drink is
    , well, hmmmm. I’m not much of beer fan. How about the just-invented (by me!) Mullingar Martini—your choice of gin or vodka…with a sprig of Rosemary!

    Learn more about Outside Mullingar and buy tickets.

  • Making Beautiful Music for "She Loves Me"

    Beth Fhaner
     | Feb 13, 2020
    Musicians from She Loves Me
    The ensemble behind the music of She Loves Me—front row (left to right): Robert Peterson, Tim Christensen, Alby Potts, Dustin McKinney and Elizabeth Brown; back row: Jay Mason, Louis Allee and Tom Griep.

    The charming, romantic Broadway hit She Loves Me features glorious music throughout the show—all performed live by eight musicians backstage. Orchestra members Tom Griep (conductor and keyboards), Alby Potts (keyboard and programming), Robert Peterson (violin), Elizabeth Brown (cello), Jay Mason (reeds), Dustin McKinney (trumpet), Louis Allee (percussion) and Tim Christensen (bass and contractor) are responsible for performing the beautiful score heard throughout She Loves Me.

    To learn how the music ultimately comes together with the actors and the music ensemble in this delightful musical comedy, we talked with musical director Gregg Coffin and conductor Tom Griep about their processes and what they love about this show.

    Q&A with Music Director Gregg Coffin

    Coffin was last at SCR as the music director for One Man, Two Guvnors (2015).

    Can you describe the work of a music director?

    The music director is responsible for every musical aspect of a production including helping the director cast the show for the vocal needs of the score (vocal ranges of actors, make-up of ensemble), working with the orchestra contractor to hire the musicians needed to perform the score, teaching the score to the actors, overseeing the performance of the score by the orchestra, interfacing with the sound designer to help achieve the strongest sharing of the score in the theatre, and adding or cutting music to fit the shape of the production (for scene changes, underscores, curtain call).

    Why is this show a favorite musical of yours?

    She Loves Me checks so many boxes in good musical theatre: a wonderful book by Joe Masteroff, beautiful and varied music by Jerry Bock, dexterous and emotional lyrics by Sheldon Harnick and great source material—the original play, Parfumerie by Miklos Laszlo and the MGM movies The Shop Around the Corner [1940] by Ernst Lubitsch and the musical movie adaptation, In The Good Old Summertime [1949].

    What would you like the audience to know about the music and the music ensemble for this show?

    The score for She Loves Me is one of those great examples of integrative musical-storytelling. Each of the songs brings us forward to a keener and more specific understanding of the characters. For such a confection of a musical, there is no fat to be found in the score—each song is a wonderful example of integrating music and story to form a cohesive whole. The melody of a music box becomes the underscore of a sale that earns Amalia her job at Maraczek’s Parfumerie. The “slow to hurry” idea of Hungarian czardas violin music informs Sipos’ worldview to Georg. Holiday shoppers and Christmas carolers collide in a musical number that spins faster and faster as shopping days whisk by. The lightness and dexterity of an operetta aria informs the joy Amalia discovers in the simple and unexpected gift of vanilla ice cream on a day when she is feeling low.

    And as far as the music ensemble for this production, you couldn’t ask for a stronger group of actor/singers to convey the beauty, the depth and the joy of this score. And they’re supported by an amazing orchestra of ​eight players—virtuosos each and every one.

    What are the challenges and opportunities that you found in working on She Loves Me?

    Time is always a challenge. I will forever wish I could have one more hour to work on a song, one more call with the orchestra to go over notes or one more preview to hear how the audience is occurring with the work.

    And it’s more of a challenge nowadays to deliver the truest representation of an original score with the amount of players we typically get in a pit [orchestra]. These musicals were written for pits of many, many players—sometimes multiple players on a part. And that means that each member of our pit must be a ringer. Each musician represents a certain voicing in the make-up of an orchestration—reed, brass, string, percussion. So, as the idea of the orchestration becomes more “chamber,” each member of the pit becomes more important and iconic in the role they play musically.

    How do you work with the musicians?

    I start working early on in the process by reaching out to a musical contractor to discuss the make-up of the pit. No two scores are alike, so it’s important to fill the pit with players who will best exemplify the voicing of the score. Some scores call for lots of brass, others need rock instruments. Then once we have the players contracted, I look at the books of the score (the parts for each musician) and begin accounting for the musical ideas of the orchestrators.

    How do you work with the actors?

    I work with the actors on lots of different levels. After the songs are taught for melody, breathing, diction and dynamics, I begin asking the actors about intention and looking for ways that the music will support what they want to explore actively in the scene/song. “Why does she say that?” “How does that melody echo what he feels there?” A very wise mentor of mine once said, “Singing is acting on pitch” and I always try to help actors find how the music and the lyrics work together to move us from one point to the next.

    How and when does the work of both groups come together?

    The musicians get about a week or two alone with the books and then one full day of rehearsals together to read through the score. The actors get a couple of concentrated days at the beginning of the rehearsal process specifically dedicated to learning the music. That work continues throughout the weeks in the rehearsal room with a pianist as accompanist (I work with two accompanists, one in the scene room and one in the choreography room). Then, at the end of that process, we put the pit and the actors together for a rehearsal called a sitzprobe (from German opera terminology, meaning “seated rehearsal”) where we sing and play the entire score as a group for the first time. After that, we move into the theatre (where a pianist accompanies us through most of the technical rehearsal process) and then the orchestra joins us again for a couple of dress rehearsals before we move on to the process of previewing the production before an audience.

    Q&A with Conductor Tom Griep

    Behind the set pieces, in the wings of stage right, is an area set up for the eight musicians. Their conductor is Tom Griep, who is one of two keyboardists. While never seen by the audience, the musicians are an integral part of each performance.

    What is the set-up backstage, so that you're able to work seamlessly with the action on the stage?

    The pit is set up in a long rectangular shape on the stage right wing. Two musicians will fit side by side in this set up. Each of the eight musicians has a small video monitor of me conducting, so they can see me and they have a small mixer/speaker, so they can adjust what they want to hear.

    What can you hear and see from backstage?

    I have four video monitors. One is from an infrared camera so I can see the set pieces as they move in the dark. One is from a color camera, so I can see the action on stage in the light. I also have a computer monitor, so I can see the 300+ patch changes of accordion sounds, harps, woodwind and brass sounds I am playing [keyboard] and a small video monitor of myself conducting. I also have four pedals, volume/sustain/patch change and a conductor talkback mic that allows me to talk to the musicians in their headphones or speaker.

    What is special about this show for you?

    I’ve known [director] David Ivers and [actor] Brian Vaughn for many years, when they were both working together at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, so I was jazzed when Ivers asked if I wanted to get involved. Small world that it is, I discovered a couple of the actors in this production contacted me during the audition process through my website, PianoTrax, to have me record some songs for their callbacks and they were cast in the show.

    What’s great about this group of musicians for She Loves Me?

    Our orchestra contractor, Tim Christensen did a great job assembling the best professional musicians. It’s a very challenging score that requires top-notch players.

    What would you like the audience to know about the music and the music ensemble for this show?

    ​That having live musicians working with live actors gives the audience the best experience.

    Learn more about She Loves Me and buy tickets.