An interview with Dana Harrel, Associate Producer, and Grabriel Greene, Director of New Play Development, at La Jolla Playhouse, about their upcoming production of Chasing a Song, by Joe DiPietro and David Bryan, directed by Chris Ashley.
Elegant Edie’s team of ambitious hitmakers are upended by the arrival of the newest aspiring songwriter — Edie’s daughter Ginny. As Ginny strives to earn her place in the male-dominated world of the early 1960s music scene, American rock and roll finds itself under siege from the incoming British invasion.
Chasing The Song is a reunion of the Memphis team (director, writers, producers) and La Jolla Playhouse. Why was La Jolla Playhouse excited to work onChasing the Song?
Chasing the Song continues Memphis’s exploration into the history of American rock and roll, and the way that it shaped – and was shaped by – social movements. Memphis tracked how music was a bridge during the turbulent racial conflicts of the 1950’s and 60’s. Chasing the Song carries the story forward, and focuses on a completely different part of our social history: the attempts of women to break into and succeed in male-dominated fields.
La Jolla Playhouse has been working on the show for a while now. What has changed, shifted and grown with the show over the last year?
We started working on Chasing the Song as part of our DNA New Play Series in 2013. The work we were able to do during that workshop process was invaluable in discovering that the central arc of the musical was a mother-daughter story. This happened right as we were about to give our first concert reading. It was a wonderful and nerve-wracking moment. A lot of the work over the last year was making this piece as much about strengthening the relationships between characters as it is about the music industry in the 1960’s.
La Jolla Playhouse audiences love being on the ground floor for a brand new piece and being part of the process. Many have also been following the show since last year’s DNA workshop, so they already feel an attachment to the project. At the core, it’s a great rock and roll musical with a strong story and terrific music – people will enjoy it, just like they loved Memphis.
What are you hoping to discover as the show gets up on its feet for the first time?
We still have a lot of work to do on the show, and we really won’t know exactly what that work is until we get on our feet. That’s the great thing about the Page To Stage program here at the Playhouse: we have the time to make the discoveries that make the show better. Our Page To Stage workshop productions never officially open to the press, and are designed to give creative teams the freedom to continue working on a show throughout the entire performance run. Our audiences help us a great deal in that process. We learn things based on their reactions during the show, and we also hold nightly talkbacks where they get to share their feedback.
What are the plans for the show after La Jolla?
There are currently no plans after La Jolla. Of course we hope more audiences get to see this production, but right now we are focused on putting up the best show we possibly can for La Jolla Playhouse audiences.
Why should people swing by La Jolla to catchChasing the Song?
The reason people should catch it – beyond the simple fact that it’s a tremendously fun show – is because they get to be part of the ongoing development of an exciting new musical as it comes to life on stage for the first time.
For more information about the show, please visitwww.lajollaplayhouse.org