Crazy For You: An Interview with Mr. Othman


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Gabriel Dunatov ’14 (G.D.)

G.D.:

To start off, could you give students an idea of what “Crazy for You” is all about? Where does it take place, who are the prominent characters, etc.

A.O.:

Crazy for You is a musical based on Gershwin songs. Basically, they took famous musical songs from the Gershwin brothers of the 30’s and 40’s and created a new musical around that. The story is about a big town New Yorker meeting a small town girl from Nevada, falling in love, messing it up, and having to win her back while saving the theater.

G.D.:

What inspired you to pick this particular musical for this year?

A.O.:

After the success of Les Mis, Mr. Beyer and I knew we wanted to do a comedy and a big dance show. Crazy for You had all the elements we were looking for and was a good fit for the talent we had.

G.D.:

After the incredible production of Les Mis last year, how do you go about equaling or topping that effort from a technical, musical, and director’s perspective?

A.O.:

It is never about topping what you’ve done in the past, as each play has its own unique elements and challenges. We’ve never had a big dance before. This is a musical comedy, so all the pieces will be going over the top. We are not trying to top our previous efforts, but rather to create a new solid musical. These songs are sing-alongs, and the dancing will amaze the audience.

G.D.:

After dealing with Revolutionary France in Les Mis and Spain in Don Quixote, how do you think the shift from these exotic locations to rural/western America will affect the set design and direction of the play?

A.O.:

Every show has a different setting and different feel. One of the things I want our theater to have is for students who have participated throughout multiple years to have different theatrical and cultural experiences. This show provides a new experience for them.

G.D.:

Les Mis and Don Quixote both saw some sampling of the respective cultures. For example, Don Quixote had some Spanish dancing. How prominently will wild western American culture be portrayed?

A.O.:

This play lives in two worlds. One is socialite New York of 1930s, and other is rural Nevada that is very western at the time. This play lies in both worlds, and we will see a bit in both. It is always fun to recreate moments and feelings in history.

G.D.:

What were the criteria for the lead actors/singers in the play? Were you looking for any special qualities that you have not in years past because of this choice of musical?

A.O.:

In Les Mis, we really had to look for students who were talented singers because of how vocally challenging the musical were. With Crazy for You, we needed actors who could sing, dance, and act well. Overall, this musical casting focused on more divergent types of talent.

G.D.:

Regarding all the choreography and epic battles in Don Quixote, are students going to see anything similar in this play?

A.O.:

There is one brawl with some fight choreography. However, we also have a dance choreographer to handle all of the dancing sequences in the musical, which we have not had in the past.

G.D.:

Could you give students an idea of what the song selection is like in this musical?

A.O.:

So, when the Gershwin brothers wrote this, they featured the songs that were the popular music of the era. If students don’t know these songs, their older relatives will. Some of the big numbers are “Rhythm”, and “You Can’t Take that Away from Me”.

G.D.:

Given the decline of the importance of art in schools nationwide, what do you believe is the role of drama in a high school environment?

A.O.:

I think the arts are hugely important in education. It is a great balance to all of the logistical classes we have. Art develops student’s creative talents. As the arts are an important part of our culture and lives, they should be a part of our schools as well, whether through art, drama, or music. We are very blessed that Prep sees the value in arts and education so well.

G.D.:

Where there any distinct challenges to adapting this musical to Prep’s theater environment? The dance choreography was a big challenge.

A.O.:

The setting is in multiple locations, so we had to have some more imaginable sets. Additionally, finding the right mix of talent to play these characters proved tough as well.

G.D.:

Is there anything else you would like to add?

A.O.:

The cast has 49 students. This is a fun comic musical that everyone should experience. And, there’s nothing like seeing live theater, so come see the show!

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