Friday, January 18, 2008

MinnPost: Children's Theatre Company Preview

To prepare for this week's MinnPost article about the music for Bud, Not Buddy, the new play at the Children's Theatre Company. I read the book on which the play is based, saw a preview performance of the play, and read articles online about the book, the author, the play, and the playwright. Victor Zupanc, CTC's resident composer, was generous with his time despite the fact this is preview week and he'd just come out of a long rehearsal. He told me how rare it is for a theater to have a resident composer and how important it is to him to be on staff at CTC:

"I like to be in rehearsals, all the rehearsals, from the first day—to be there with the director and develop [a play] together. That's not normal these days, unfortunately, because of economics. Most theaters can't afford to hire a composer to sit in rehearsals for six week. Usually they hire someone to write a score, maybe attend three to four days of rehearsal, then tech rehearsals. I have worked that way, and I am never fully satisfied when I do that.... I have worked at 40–50 theaters but haven't worked at another one with a full-time music director. It's a luxury, and it's great. It's crucial for the type of work we do and how rich and colorful all the shows are."

In the book Bud, Not Buddy, author Christopher Paul Curtis has a jazz singer perform the song "What's New?" In the play, she sings "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To." That was director Marion McClinton's idea, something he was able to share with Zupanc because they were there together, and it works perfectly in a play about a boy in search of a family and a home.

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