Recently Appearing Locally (AL) had the opportunity to chat with Robert D. Rook (RDR), Managing Artistic Director for TADA Productions, Inc. about their current production and season opener, “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,” and their season.
AL: Tell us about TADA Theatre.
RDR: The TADA Theatre begins its 10th season this month. It is the home for TADA (The Arts Deserve Attention) Productions Inc. For 19 years, TADA has showcased Nebraska talent through a wide array of quality, affordable theatre. It is a store front theatre located on the second floor of the Creamery Building in the Historic Haymarket where it received an Impact Award for downtown development from the Downtown Lincoln Association.
AL: What is special about doing theatre in the Haymarket?
RDR: All theatre is special, but doing so in the Haymarket allows patrons to take advantage of an evening of one stop entertainment. They can park their car, visit some of the wonderful retail shops in the area, dine at the array of restaurants and then see a show at The TADA Theatre.
AL: Why did you choose to bring “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” to Lincoln?
RDR: This show is one of the first that TADA produced nearly 14 years ago and was an audience favorite. When we first did it, no one had ever heard of it. Over the years, more and more theatres have done it and many actors use songs from it for cabarets or auditions. The show has been requested by our patrons repeatedly to bring back and since this was the theatre’s 10th season we wanted to do the show in the space since the theatre had not yet been built the last time we did it. This is an entirely new take on the show and a completely different cast. It’s a wonderful and creative musical that allows four actors to play over 30 characters. It’s performed on a brightly colored set like the old “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” TV show.
Stud and Babe – from “I Love You…” photo by Megan Rook, courtesy of TADA Productions, Inc.
AL: Can you share a story about something funny, poignant or challenging that happened during the rehearsal period?
RDR: The main challenge with this show is the variety of scenes and songs; there are over 25 different vignettes. Each actor has only a short time on stage between each one and they must become an entirely different character in each scene. Add to that the different styles of music and some very quick costume changes and you have some great dynamics for a very entertaining and heartwarming show. It was very fun to discover who each one of these characters would be during the process.
AL: Talk about the people that made this work of art possible –collaborators, community outreach.
RDR; I think every show is a collaboration, not only with the actors and musicians, but also the production team and of course the audience. The musical direction was instrumental because each style of song is very different in this show. Then adding over 30 wigs and seeing what the costumer was adding to the process was also a wonderful treat. Once Dustin Witte, the scenic painter, and I decided on the color schematic, that too added even more to the dynamic. The show is very stylized and allows the audience to use their imagination as well. It has just been a great process!
AL: Tell us about the cast members?
RDR: This show is not easy to cast because it not only calls for great singers, but very good character actors as well. This show is a perfect example of the diversity of backgrounds that I love about TADA. Some are trained in theatre, some in music and some are recent graduates. Bethany Rouse is making her TADA debut in this show. She is a wonderful character actress and dynamic singer who recently received her master’s in music from UNL. Nick Ellis is a recent NWU theatre graduate who returns to us after having played The Baker in “Into The Woods.” He is a terrific character actor. Melissa Ford lives in New York but often returns to visit her family in Kansas. She is a TADA alumnus who has been in “The Addams Family” and most recently in “Lend Me A Tenor,” she is also the choreographer for the show. Patrick Beasley is a Lincoln native who is making his TADA debut with us in this show. Our August productions are our summer stock shows that have allowed us to bring people home for the summer to do shows here so the timing was right for both Melissa and Patrick.
AL: Is this show family-friendly?
RDR: Well, it’s certainly right for anyone who has been in love or a relationship. It’s not for the kids, but the opening weekend audiences were very diverse and really were impressed with it. The standing ovations were genuine. Some people may think the show is all comedy but there are also some very moving songs as well. One of my favorite scenes is one where two people meet at a funeral and they think their time for finding love has passed them by. During the scene, and into the song, they realize that you’re never too old to find love. The variety in the show is unique and very rewarding.
AL: What can the audience expect this season?
RDR: This show kicks-off the season that is probably one of the most diverse we have had in the theater’s history. This fall TADA will bring back “Evil Dead The Musical” following its success last season of bringing in over 60% first time theatre goers and over 130 on the waiting list by the time it closed. That will be followed by “Catherland,” a collaboration TADA will be doing with BLIXT as well as the playwright and composer of the show. The February production will be the musical “Chess.” Many of the topics it deals with are as poignant now as it was when it was written. In April, “Some Enchanted Evening: The Songs of Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein,” will feature TADA alumni and UNL Director of Opera William Shomos. In June, TADA is very excited to share the Lincoln premiere of the Tony Award Winning Musical “FUN HOME.” The season will conclude next summer with “Pumpboy’s and Dinettes” that will be headed up by TADA veterans Michael Tully and Bill Maltas. There are a few more surprises in store to celebrate the 10th season that will allow more opportunities for TADA alumnus as well as those who have never done a show at the TADA Theatre before. Our hope is that there is something for everyone this season and encourage everyone to be part of the magic of TADA! Please visit the website at tadatheatre.info
If you go: “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” runs August 16-19 and 23-26. Tickets are $20 and are available online or by calling the box office 24 hours a day (402) 438-TADA (8232). The theatre is located on the second floor of The Creamery Building at 701 P Street Lincoln, NE, 68508. For additional show information or general inquiries email: firstname.lastname@example.org