Tuesday, April 30, 2013

In the Wings: Company. Meet Gail Deagan, the music director.

Gail Deagan is the music director for Company, the fifth and final production of the 2012-2013 MainStage season at Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette. The music and lyrics are by Stephen Sondheim. The book is by George Furth.

Question: Why did you want to be music director for the show?
Gail Deagan: I love Stephen Sondheim's music. It's so interesting. From a musician's standpoint, it's very full of dissonances, tension points and motifs that come back when there's a certain feeling or thought. It's excellent writing.

Q: What do you do during rehearsals and performances?
G.D.: I teach the cast their songs, pulling all their cues, the right notes and rhythms together for the singers. I learn the cues prior to the entrance to a song, the correct tempos. I also recruit musicians for the show, play many of the rehearsals, and lead the musicians who will be on the stage.

Q: What are challenges and fun parts for Company?
G.D.: There are recurring motifs. There are dissonances and musical tension points that reflect what is happening psychologically on stage. An audience will get that. As far as challenges, the music changes key all the time, it changes meter all the time, the meter is obscured by the way Sondheim writes and some of the pieces for piano are devilishly difficult.

Q: What will an audience enjoy in Company?
G.D.: The humor and the beautiful songs. The ballads are very beautiful.

Q: Do you have a favorite Stephen Sondheim song?
G.D.: I hear bits of West Side Story in this score. He wrote the lyrics to Gypsy, and I love "You Gotta Have a Gimmick." I memorized those lyrics when I was nine before I realized what they were really all about. I love "City on Fire" from Sweeney Todd, any of those really tense songs. My favorite song in Company is "Being Alive."

Company opens Friday, May 3 and runs through Saturday, May 18 at the historic Monon Depot Theatre in downtown Lafayette. Friday and Saturday shows are at 7:30 p.m. The Sunday shows are at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets are $18 for adults, $15 for seniors and $10 for youth age 18 and under. Rush tickets may be available before each performance for $8 to students with a valid college or high school I.D. Follow @lafayettecivic on Twitter before each performance to learn about availability for that night's performance.

The mission of Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette is to enhance the artistic and cultural environment of Greater Lafayette through theatrical productions and educational opportunities.

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