This month, we checked in with Emily Shooltz from Ars Nova about their upcoming premier of Indie-pop band Sky-Pony’s musical The Wildness. Festival Alumnus Kyle Jarrow (Hostage Song, Fest ’09; Noir, Fest ’14) is Sky-Pony’s principal songwriter.
How did Sky-Pony finds its way to Ars Nova?
We’ve known and loved playwright Kyle Jarrow since he was a founding member of our emerging playwrights group, Play Group, back in 2007. Over the years, we supported the development of several of his theater pieces and showcased his bands in concert, so teaming up with Kyle, Lauren Worsham and Play Company to develop and produce The Wildness is the happy culmination of a long relationship.
What involvement did Ars Nova have in developing The Wildness?
We saw and admired Play Company’s workshop production of an early version of the show. Once we all joined forces to take it to the next level, we brought the creative team on our annual summer artist retreat along with director Sam Buntrock to develop a new draft of the piece and reconceive it for our space. This past fall, Ars Nova and PlayCo co-produced an additional workshop in our theater with full cast and band in order to further hone the concept in the space with the benefit of full rock concert sound.
What work has Ars Nova been doing on the show as it prepares for production?
We continue to work with Kyle, Lauren and Sam to refine the text and structure of the show as they integrate design and staging collaborators, and Kyle is working closely with co-musical director Wiley DeWeese on the sound and orchestrations of the music as we head into rehearsals to ensure that we fully translate the band’s unique art-pop-rock sound to our stage.
How will this show differ from a Sky Pony concert or a more traditional book musical?
The show definitely builds off of the high-energy, sensual, playful vibe of a Sky-Pony concert, but folds in a lush, dark fairy tale that unfolds in surprising ways. It’s a rock-theater-ritual-experience more than traditional book musical or straight up concert.
Why should people head to Ars Nova this winter to see The Wildness?
An indie pop band on the rise, melt-your-face incredible singers, and a rock-fairy-tale adventure to keep you warm on a cold night.