• Making Beautiful Music for "She Loves Me"

    by 
    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.

  • Meet "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon"’s Author/Illustrator Grace Lin and Playwright/Composer Min Kahng

    by 
    Beth Fhaner
     | Feb 13, 2020

    Filled with magic, mystery and fantastical creatures, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a thrilling musical adventure that features young Minli. Minli’s poor village is desperately in need of good fortune, so she sets out on a quest to find The Old Man of the Moon, who holds all the answers to life’s questions. Adapted from the best-selling book based on Chinese folklore, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a beautiful, engaging play for audiences of all ages.

    Curious about the creative minds behind the book and the musical? Read on to meet them both.

    Grace Lin
    Grace Lin. Photo by Danielle Tait.

    Author and Illustrator Grace Lin

    Grace Lin grew up in upstate New York with her parents and two sisters. While the other sisters became scientists, ​Lin became an artist. Surprisingly, being an artist was not ​​her first choice. She first dreamed of being a champion ice skater and drew many pictures of herself twirling and dancing on the ice. Unfortunately, ​Lin had neither the talent nor coordination to make it to skating stardom. However, the pictures she drew of herself held much promise and quickly became Lin's career focus.

    After attending the Rhode Island School of Design, Lin quickly set out to achieve her dream of creating children’s books. Her first book, The Ugly Vegetables, was published in 1999 and was quickly heralded. As well as being an American Booksellers Association’s Pick of the List and a Bank’s Street College Best Books of the Year, The Ugly Vegetables was nominated for the California Young Reader Children's Choice Award and named a Growing Good Kids Book Award Classic.

    She followed that success with the publication of more than a dozen other books, including Dim Sum for Everyone! and Lissy’s Friends. ​Lin's first children’s novel, The Year of the Dog, was released to glowing praise in 2006 and nominated to the Texas Bluebonnet Award list, which she followed with The Year of the Rat. Her novel, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, was awarded the 2010 Newbery Honor, chosen for Al Roker’s Today Show Kid’s Book Club and was a ​New York Times Bestseller. Her early reader, Ling & Ting, was awarded with the Theodor Geisel Honor in 2011.

    As well as occasionally reviewing for The New York Times, ​Lin has became an advocate for diversity. She is a commentator for New England Public Radio and created the video essay, “What ​To ​Do ​When You ​Realize ​Classic ​Books from ​Your ​Childhood are ​Racist?" for "PBSNewHour." ​She also delivered the popular TEDx talk, “The Windows and Mirrors of Your Child’s Bookshelf.” ​Lin also voices her opinions on the podcast: kidlitwomen* and currently hosts two podcasts: Book Friends Forever and Kids Ask Authors. She truly believes, “Books erase bias, they make the uncommon every day, and the mundane exotic. A book makes all cultures universal.”

    To that end, when the cover illustration for her novel When the Sea Turned to Silver (a 2016 National Book Award Finalist) was displayed at the White House, ​Lin, herself, was recognized as a Champion of Change for Asian American and Pacific Islander Art and Storytelling. In 2019, Grace’s picture book A Big Mooncake For Little Star was awarded a Caldecott Honor. Learn more: gracelin.com


    Min Kahng
    ​​Min Kahng. Photo by Ben Krantz.

    Adaptor and Composer Min Kahng

    Min Kahng is an award-winning Bay Area playwright and composer whose world premiere works include The Four Immigrants: An American Musical Manga (Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award, Theatre Bay Area Award, Edgerton New Play Award, National Alliance for Musical Theatre Production grant); GOLD: The Midas Musical (Theatre Bay Area Award); Inside Out & Back Again; Where the Mountain Meets the Moon: A Musical Adaptation; Bad Kitty On Stage!; The Song of the Nightingale and Tales of Olympus. Kahng also wrote the NEA-funded project Story Explorers, an original musical for young audiences with autism. Kahng is an alumnus of the Djerassi Resident Artists Program (Calif.), the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts Residency, Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor and the TheatreWorks New Works Festival. He has been invited as a ​guest ​lecturer/​artist at Harvard University, Stanford University, UC Berkeley, San Jose State University and ​the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. ​He is a Jonathan Larson Grant Finalist, a Richard Rodgers Award Finalist, a Resident Playwright at Playwrights Foundation, a Board Member of Theatre for Young Audiences​/USA, and a proud member of the Dramatists Guild of America. Learn more: minkahng.com

    Learn more about Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and buy tickets.

  • Five, Six, Seven, Eight—"Snow White" Choreography

    by 
    Tania Thompson
     | Feb 11, 2020
    The Cast of Snow White
    The cast of Snow White: front row (left to right): Maya Ferchaw, Maggie Moland and Sara Hardyman; second row: Maxfield Ney, Taren Azizi, Timory Taber and Katie Lee; third row: Nicholas Brown, India Howerton, Julia Meads and Remington Walker; and back row: Piper Huntley, Phoebe Morris and PJ Giglia. Not pictured: Quinn Garcia and Kelly Li.

    On a recent Saturday morning, the Junior Players—more than a dozen acting students in Grades 5-8—worked on choreography for their upcoming production of Snow White (March 21-29, Nicholas Studio). That show will be the first of three full productions ​presented by students in SCR’s Theatre Conservatory will present during the year.

    “One, two, three and four…” As the steps are counted off, the ensemble members learn to step, kick, slide and move in unison.

    Watching from the back of the studio, Mercy Vasquez, the show’s director, encourages them, “You’re doing great work!”

    And repeat—"One two three and four, five six seven and eight,” the choreographer count​s. “Keep your body low now—okay, we’re running it!”

    The students are spread out across the floor of the Nicholas Studio—some are on risers toward the back, two are on blocks on either side of the space—and they listen to the instructions that go with the “Charleston” dance music. They run it again and again to perfect each movement and know that repetition is key​, just like rehearsing dialogue for the play.

    Among the notes they receive is a caution not to get lost in the black curtains that drape the sides of studio’s performance space.

    “It’s coming along nicely—that’s by far the best I’ve seen,” Vasquez says. “I like the energy and, remember that you’re having FUN!”

    Rehearsals for Snow White happen during the week and on ​Saturday mornings, but there’s a commitment beyond that Vasquez reminds the cast: “Your responsibility is to practice this at home so that we get more fluid with the movements next time.”

    As time draws to a close for this rehearsal, Vasquez thanks everyone—“I know this is a lot, but whoever said acting was easy?!” she says, smiling. “You’re all called for rehearsal on Tuesday—see you then!”

    Learn more about Snow White and buy tickets.
    New acting students: sign up for Summer Acting Workshop.

  • Meet the Cast of “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon”

    by 
    Tania Thompson
     | Feb 10, 2020
    The Cast of Mountain Meets the Moon
    THE CAST (clockwise from top left): Albert Park, Mike Palma, Miller Tai, Nicole Javier, Chloris Li and Aja Wiltshire

    Seven actors are making their South Coast Repertory debuts in the musical Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (Feb. 7-23, Theatre for Young Audiences). Together, they portray 25 characters and each cast member brings a love for storytelling, adventure and, of course, musical talent to the many roles they play, ranging from young Minli to her parents (Ma and Ba), from a dragon and tiger to the Old Man of the Mountain and others. Read on to meet the actors.

    Guiaya,-RandyRandy Guiaya

    I portray Ba, Vendor and A-Gong.

    Other things I’ve done include the TV show “The Office” and the play The Christians (Mark Taper Forum, LA).
    You may not know that, when I was four, I dragged my mom into a piano store to buy me a keyboard. Instead, she bought a piano and lessons for my sister. I learned to play the piano by watching my sister like a hawk.
    My favorite story from childhood is, well, I love them all, actually! I had a book of fairytales from around the world that I received as a kid and I kept it with me until I passed it down to one of my nieces or nephews (I can’t remember which one, though!).  But I really liked The Princess and the Pea, mostly because I like tall beds, so sleeping on 20 mattresses sounded like fun times. Also, c’mon, Carol Burnett and Once Upon A Mattress—right?!
    A scary moment from childhood was the Whittier earthquake in 1987. It was my first earthquake. We used to have regular earthquake drills in school and there were three options at the time: duck under a table or chair, run out into open spaces or get under a doorway (this last one isn’t a wise option now). I was outside on the lunch benches, under an extended roof, when the quake started. Only a couple of us chose the duck-and-cover option; most of the kids and teachers opted for the scream-into-the-open-space option. I peeked out from under the table and just saw legs and feet running past me in a panic. I was scared that I had chosen the wrong option, but I decided to just stick it out under the table.
    My favorite adventure to date was a cross-country train trip via Amtrak with a friend of mine. We stopped and explored five cities along the way and logged in more than 100 miles of walking over the course of two weeks. Watching the country change scenically and culturally from the West Coast to the East Coast was something I’ll never forget.

    Javier,-NicoleNicole Javier

    I portray two Goldfish, a Villager, an Apprentice, Xiao Mao, a Pottery Vendor and A-Fu.

    Other things I’ve done include the musical Diana (La Jolla Playhouse) and the film Kidnapped.
    You may not know that it’s a common misconception that actors don’t get nervous. But I still get nervous singing in front of people, so I practice a lot and try to remember what I do is fun!
    My favorite story from childhood was The Tortoise and the Hare. It tells the story of the hare who was ridiculing a tortoise for moving slowly. The turtle is tired of the rabbit’s arrogant behavior and challenges him to a race. The hare takes off and, ​confident of winning, the hare takes a nap midway through the race. When the hare awakens, however, he finds that the tortoise, by crawling slowly but steadily, arrived at the finish line before him and won the race. I love this story because it reminds us to stay humble, keep moving forward and stay in our own lane because we ​only control our own progress. I've always been a little slower, more cautious in my decisions and actions. But this story reminds me that everyone has their own way of moving through the world and you have to be true to what suits you.
    As a kid, I had to be brave when I got the wind knocked out of me for the very first time. I grew up with asthma, which can be triggered by things including too much physical activity. It was my cousin's birthday and he had a bouncy house. I must have landed wrong ​because I couldn't catch my breath—it felt like someone punched me in the chest! So I ran inside the house to my mom and we realized I didn't have my inhaler. My cousin's friend was in pre-med in college and had just learned about the respiratory system. He calmed me down enough to slow my breathing and everything was fine. But it was so scary that everyone was just watching us, making sure I was ok!
    My favorite adventure to date was a road trip I took with my best friend from Los Angeles to Vashon Island, Wash. We took two weeks, and spent time in the Bay Area (where I'm from), camped in the Redwoods for the very first time, saw shows at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, wandered around Portland and Seattle, and ended with a friend's wedding on Vashon Island!

    Li,-ChlorisChloris Li

    I portray Minli and an Old Woman.

    Other things I’ve done include musicals at the University of California, San Diego, including Hairspray and In the Heights.
    You may not know that when I was young, my aunt would tell me Chinese folktales—tales about dragons, mountains, lovers and heroes. My favorite stories were the ones about the legendary Monkey King.
    My favorite story from childhood is the ​folktale about Nin 年, the beast who lives in mountains under the sea. It is said that once per year, during the ​winter ​season, Nin would come out and eat villagers and crops. One day, one of the villagers discovered that Nin was afraid of loud noises and the color red. As a result, everyone decorated their homes with red lanterns and scrolls and lit firecrackers to ward off the beast. To this day, people continue these traditions during Lunar New Year.
    I had to be brave in my childhood when my dad was laid off from his job. It was the summer before my sister went to college. I was very scared because college was expensive​—my brother and I would soon be going to college, too​—and I could see that my mom and dad were worrying a lot about money. Though I was scared, I never showed it. I looked for jobs online and studied hard in school. I wanted them to know that they had nothing to worry about and that we all would take care of each other as a family.
    My favorite adventure to date was when I traveled to London all by myself. I took a bus to London without a plan and with no internet access. I took a taxi to get afternoon tea, walked to all of the most popular landmarks, took the Tube to visit Platform 9 and ¾ (thank you, Harry Potter!) and watched the West End production of the musical Les Misérables!

    Palma,-MikeMike Palma

    I portray Tiger, Goldfish Man, Peach Vendor and a Villager.

    Other things I’ve done include the film The Bourne Supremacy and the musical Mamma Mia! (East West Players, LA).
    You may not know that, in addition to acting (including working with a musical touring company that performed all over the country), I’m a professional photographer. I photograph celebrities and events like the Oscars and Golden Globe awards!
    My favorite story from childhood is Jay Williams’ book called Everyone Knows What a Dragon Looks Like. It’s a story set in China about an elderly, homeless man who was always ignored by people he encountered. One day, a child gives the man a bowl of rice and a place to sleep; then the man ends up turning into a great big dragon that defeats the army of an invading military. I like it because it teaches you never to judge a book by its cover.
    As a child musical theatre actor, I remember the first time I performed. I was nervous and, of course, scared, but I knew that people were counting on me. I knew what I was trained to do and what I was about to perform! I had to be brave and “just do it!”
    My favorite adventure to date was last November on my most my most recent trip to Japan. That's where I proposed to my longtime partner of 18 years. It was an adventure, as we traveled throughout Japan, with me looking for a great place to propose! I finally ​found a gorgeous area in the Fukuoka region, at a place called Nanazoin Temple, which is known for its lying-down Buddha statue. I didn't propose in front of the statue, but instead at an adjacent shrine on the temple grounds. The shrine was lined with beautiful reddish-orange tori (that’s the word for gate in Japanese). It was a fun adventure and somewhat nerve-racking, as well, until it finally happened.

    Park,-AlbertAlbert Park

    I portray Old Man, a Villager, Painter Chen, Beggar/King and Da-Fu.

    Other things I’ve done include Cambodian Rock Band (Victory Gardens/City Theatre, Chicago) and Vietgone (East West Players, LA).
    You may not know that I was in first grade when I saw my very first play. It was The Wizard of Oz performed by the Asian Story Theater. Eureka! That inspired me to become an actor.
    When I was younger, I read James and the Giant Peach in one sitting. I loved the distinct voices of the insect characters. They were so funny and cool! I also appreciated James’ spirit in spite of his tragic and modest beginnings. The grand adventure and magic was larger than life and I loved the world that author Roald Dahl created.
    In grade school, there was a kid who was teased a lot. On one particular day, he was teased by the other kids because he wore the same clothes every day and because he was different. They accused him of not bathing, which wasn’t true. I told them to stop and then he and I played together during recess. The other kids teased us both, ​but we didn’t care, because we had each other.
    My newest adventure is fatherhood. I have a funny and wonderfully creative 6-year-old son named Felix and an adorable and incredibly good-natured 5-month-old daughter named Coral. They make life worth living. Every day is an adventure with them and I cherish that.

    Tai,-MillerMiller Tai

    I portray Dragon.

    Other things I’ve done include the TV shows “Young Sheldon,” “Mom” and “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” and the musical South Pacific (Utah Shakespeare Festival).
    You may not know that I was recently in The Emperor’s Nightingale ​as one of the most important characters—a panda!
    My favorite story from childhood was “Hansel and Gretel.” Why? Because they got to eat so many sweets!
    A scary moment when I was a kid was in my elementary school’s Golf Club. I got hit in the head by a golf club and still had to go back for the rest of the week at school.
    My favorite adventure to date is searching for the best desserts and boba [tea] in SoCal!

    Wiltshire,-AjaAja Wiltshire

    I portray Ma, Vendor and Amah.

    Other things I’ve done include the film Inferno and the play Cambodian Rock Band (Victory Gardens/City Theatre, Chicago).
    You may not know that I did my first musical when I was five years old!
    My favorite story from childhood was a Japanese folktale called My Lord Bag of Rice. A brave soldier saves a sea king and his family from a giant centipede and is rewarded with magical items, one of which is a bag of rice; the bag is always full no matter how much you take from it. He uses it to feed his family, friends and community. I loved this story because the soldier was brave, smart, confident and kind.
    When I was a kid, I always stood up to bullies. I didn’t like it when someone was made fun of. It was scary to stand up to mean kids, but it was more important to me to try to stop the bullying.
    My favorite adventure to date was exploring Guatemala!

    Learn more about Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and buy tickets.

  • Seven Questions with Jo Winiarski, Scenic Designer for “She Loves Me”

    by 
    Beth Fhaner
     | Feb 03, 2020
    She Loves Me set
    Marlene Martinez, Sam Ludwig, Ricky Abilez, Brian Vaughn and Matthew Henerson on Jo Winiarski's set in She Loves Me.
    Jo Winiarski
    ​Scenic designer Jo Winiarski. Photo by Lloyd Bishop.

    When you walk into the Segerstrom Stage for She Loves Me, the first thing you'll notice is ​Maraczek's Parfumerie—a round-fronted building in the center of the stage. Throughout the course of the show, a turntable and moving walls take you inside the shop, to a cafe, an apartment, a work room, a hospital room and other locations. The ingenious design comes from set designer and art director Jo Winiarski, who has designed extensively for off-Broadway theatres and various other New York theatres, in addition to several regional theatres. She also was the original art director on “Late Night with Seth Meyers” for its first five seasons. Additionally, she received an Emmy Award nomination for art direction for “A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All.” She has an MFA in design from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.

    Prior to the opening of She Loves Me, we caught up with Winiarski to ask her a few questions about her scenic design work for this charming, romantic musical comedy, where much of the action centers on Maraczek’s Parfumerie in 1930s Europe.

    What was your inspiration for the set design of She Loves Me?
    Winding European streets!

    Since the play is set in 1930s Europe, what kind of research did you need to do?
    I looked at a lot of old shops in Europe and images from the ’30s. I also was lightly inspired by the film Amélie.

    What are the challenges of designing a show like this?
    Any show with multiple locations has its challenges such as storage and movement. Other questions that come up include how much story can be told through the right bit of wallpaper or curtain? I think the biggest challenge​ with the Segerstrom Stage space is the width versus the depth of the stage. [EDITOR'S NOTE: the stage is much wider than it is deep.]

    What initially captured your interest about She Loves Me?
    [Artistic Director David] Ivers and I have done many shows together. I designed a bunch [of productions] with him as the director and, actually, a handful that he was in, so we have a long history of collaboration. I love the music of this show, so that always helps too!

    What was your experience like working as the original art director on “Late Night with Seth Meyers” for its first five seasons?
    Being the art director from the start of the show was a dream job (I worked episodes 1-844). I learned so much in my ​more than 5 years at NBC. The art department was two of us, me and the production designer. This made for involvement in every visual aspect of the show, as it was just us! We did so many different types of designs while I was there, from the day-to-day looks to band looks to the short films we made. I left to relocate to the Salt Lake City-area and it was one of the harder decisions I have made.

    What are some of your favorite productions that you’ve designed for?
    Ivers and I did a Taming of the Shrew at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival that I think is definitely in my list of favorites. It was set on the boardwalk, loosely Coney Island-inspired, with a rockabilly flair. Being from Jersey, that show hit on an aesthetic and world that really spoke to my heart. I designed a Ferris wheel in the distance for that show that is definitely my favorite piece of scenery ever. I also recently did a production of They Promised Her the Moon at The Old Globe [San Diego] that was a total joy to work on.

    What’s next for you?
    Next is Hurricane Diane at The Old Globe, directed by James Vazquez. A totally different, and equally fun, challenge.

    Learn more about She Loves Me and buy tickets.